MANILA, Philippines — This year’s Philippine hosting of the World Street Food Congress has been called off once again.
“The World Street Food Congress 2019 Philippines, all set and officially approved recently, is again canceled by TPB (Tourism Promotion Board) and DOT (Department of Tourism), like they did in 2018,” the organizers said in a Facebook post.
The organizers said the decision was “very disturbing and disappointing.”
“No reason nor rhyme was given and this, was after 6 months of legwork the WSFC did in curating and accommodating the TPB and DOT ideals for the event,” they said.
“This unbecoming of the TPB and DOT, but we doubt this is personal as we have a good working relationship with the ground team,” they added.
The decision was made just three months after WSFC founder KF Seetoh of Makansutra announced that the organizing body would stage the 2019 edition of the food event in October at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.
The organizers said they already located and invited chefs, cooks, street food professionals and vendors from 14 countries participating in the international culinary event.
These included international speakers, street food vendors with Michelin Stars and World Street Food Award winners and food journalists. They also worked with seven culinary colleges in the Philippines and 200 students for the event.
“We curated a special showcase to feature these students and their local food skills to be showcased in Singapore, among others,” they said.
The organizing body then apologized for the sudden pullout of the event, thanking food fans and sponsors for their support.
Despite the cancelation, the WSC organizers said they are still optimistic for future hosting of the culinary event. They said they suggested the inclusion of the Philippines to the Netflix show “Street Food” which streamed globally in April.
“But fret not, we still believe this event is good for the Philippines and we will press on to deliver it, albeit, we have to go back to the drawing table,” they said.
“It created a lot of international noise despite all the protests about origins and recommendations. Food noise is good noise,” they added.
The country hosted WSFC in 2016 and 2017. The May 2017 edition was hosted in coordination with DOT and TPB led by then Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and TPB Chief Operating Officer Cesar Montano.
The WSFC, however, was called off in April last year due to “circumstances beyond TPB’s control.”