THE SOUTHERMOST region of the Philippines may be known for many things, like the home province of world-renowned Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, as the breadbasket region of the country, the tuna ‘capital’ of the country, but few know that Soccsksargen, Region 12, or Central Mindanao, is actually a culinary potpourri, filled with extraordinary food.
This April, the Department of Tourism conducts the month-long national gastronomic festival, the Flavors of the Philippines, where regions and provinces will showcase their unique cuisines through various events that will range from will range from simple food tastings, meals, and buffets, to community-wide fiestas, bazaars, and agri-fairs. Soccsksargen Region will conduct SOX Food and Fashion Fair on on the last week of April at General Santos City.
“These events will put our region on the tourism map. It’s high time we’ve shown the beauty of our region and provinces, and to showcase the authentic culture we have, the vast potential for tourism, and the abundant resources we share,” said DOT Soccsksargen Regional Director Nelly Dillera.
The SOX Food and Fashion Fair, organized by DOT Soccsksargen, is both a culinary and cultural showcase where indigenous tribes from the region, namely, the T’Boli, the B’laan, the Manobo, and the Teduray will be performing their unique customs. A dance drama will be presented by the Hinugyaw Cultural Troupe from Koronadal, South Cotabato.
The cultural fair will be followed by a fashion show organized by the same city. The show will present avant-garde collections and clothing that reflect the life, work, and culture of the indigenous tribes of the region. Sitting as judge for the fashion show is Project Runway Season 4’s 1st runner up, Jared Servano. The fashion show will then be followed by a culinary event that features both traditional and modern cuisine by the same indigenous tribes.
Flavors of SOX is a food demonstration event in partnership with General Santos City’s restaurants and hotels. The food demonstration will feature the cuisine of the T’Boli, the B’laan, and the Maguinadanaoans.
“There is also a need to highlight the huge investment potential of our region. Flavors of SOX will open the region to business and investment matching, and other interactions and opportunities,” Dillera said.
Soccsksargen is in mountainous Central Mindanao, sitting between ARMM and Region XI (Davao Region). The region is composed of the provinces of Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, General Santos City and Sarangani. The region is both hilly and flat. Most of Soccsksargen and its industries are agricultural with a significant percentage of fisheries.