LAST WEEK’s launching of GrabFood delivery services in Iloilo City and the neighboring towns of Pavia and Oton is an opportunity for start-ups and small- and medium-scale enterprises in the food sector to expand as well as help boost culinary tourism, according to the Department of Tourism’s (DoT) Western Visayas head. “The region is composed of eight million residents and 5.8 million (annual) tourists… This is a challenge for start-ups, SMES, and established hotels, to prepare and produce more food not only for the locals but also for the tourists,” DoT Regional Director Helen J. Catalbas said during the launching ceremony. Among the initial GrabFood local partners are Jo’s Chicken Inato, Lechon House, Loco Local Coffee, Netong’s Original Lapaz Batchoy, Lar’s Buko Batchoy Eatery, Kucho, Harry’s Seafood Bistro, Floyd Famous BBQ, JD Burger Project, and MYO Cafe.
Jo-ann Y. Yoshida, Grab Philippines’ regional head for Western Visayas, said they will continue to assess the market for opportunities in other parts of Iloilo province and the region. “There are so many things that Iloilo City is being positioned right now. From being a premiere MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) destination to becoming a digital city and a center of culinary tourism,” Ms. Yoshida said. GrabFood Philippines Head EJ Dela Vega said they aim not just to promote the city’s culinary tourism, but also bring more livelihood opportunities for Ilongggos through technology. “As tourism continues to boom in Iloilo, we want to be there to support it. As we expand GrabFood’s operations in the country, we recognize that our job doesn’t end from delivering a meal to our consumers. We are inspired by our deeper goal of delivering positive impact into the lives of our partners and the people who take pride in the development of their city,” he said. GrabFood also participated during last weekend’s Dinagyang Festival through the Kaon, Ta Iloilo food fair. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo