EventsPhilippine NewsPress Release

IFEX Philippines 2024 draws nearly 10,000 visitors to food expo

MANILA, PHILIPPINES Thousands flocked to IFEX Philippines 2024, where the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) organized a major showcase of the country’s local and international food flavors and ingredients for trade and retail.

Activities included live cooking demos and learning sessions from the culinary community and industry personalities. The three-day event was held at the World Trade Center Metro Manila from May 10 to 12.

CITEM officially opened the 17th edition of IFEX Philippines last May 10 to an estimated crowd of nearly 10,000 for the combined three-day event at the World Trade Center Metro Manila in Pasay City, Philippines. The event surpassed expectations with initial and unofficial total export sales crossing $165 million, as compared to the $163.29 million generated in 2023.

Experience a festive salu salo at IFEX Philippines 2024 insert6
IFEX Philippines 2024 officially opened by (l-r): PLDT AVP and Business Head Corinne Zablan; Pasay City LGU Chief Of     Staff Peter Eric Pardo; Chair William Co and President Sergio Ortiz-Luis of PHILEXPORT; Senator Mark Villar; Dr. Mina Gabor, CITEM Founder and President of International School of Sustainable Tourism; Center for International Trade Expositions       and Missions OIC Ma. Lourdes Mediran; Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Carol Sanchez; Department of Agriculture-AMAS Director Junibert de Sagun; and National Food Authority OIC Deputy Administrator Mario Andrada.

CITEM, together with more than 500 exhibitors and event partners from across the country, welcomed visitors composed of the diplomatic corps, government agencies, international and local trade buyers and partners, retail customers, and media outlets. Members of the diplomatic community from Asia and neighboring regions also came to show their support. 


Leading the official opening activities, CITEM Officer-In-Charge and Deputy Executive Director Ma. Lourdes Mediran said that “our country has a rich tapestry of flavors that remain unknown to certain parts of the world.” She added that the power of food to bring a sense of community and belonging is the perfect vehicle to show the world the excellent food offerings, innovative craft, and export capabilities of the Philippines.

This year’s export food promotion efforts of CITEM espouses the unifying concept of a traditional Filipino celebration of salu-salo (feast), which reflects the community of food MSMEs, manufacturers, producers, distributors, and consumers in the export value chain.

Experience a festive salu salo at IFEX Philippines 2024 insert1 1
FEX Philippines Opening Day, May 10, 2024 (l-r): CITEM OIC Mediran speaking at the Opening Ceremony; Senator Mark Villar lauding CITEM during his keynote address. 

The honorable Senator Mark Villar, who chairs the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship; and Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions, and Currencies echoed the importance of effective partnerships in his keynote address.

He congratulated CITEM for bringing IFEX Philippines to life and its continuous efforts to champion the country’s food and talent. He said that while others may call Filipino food “exotic,” it is more of the innate creativity that makes it stand out, adding that it becomes a worthwhile experience when shared. He said of IFEX, “It is a platform where visions are turned into reality and opportunities are seized.”

Wishing for more food expositions like IFEX in the country, he expressed his strong commitment in further championing the food industry, assuring CITEM of having a staunch ally in the Senate.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Ana Carolina Sanchez spoke on behalf of Secretary Alfredo Pascual to share the message of the DTI. Mirroring the sentiments of the senator, she also underscored the importance of delivering comprehensive mechanisms to allow for inclusive growth opportunities and sustainable development. She cited DTI’s private-public partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Clark International Airport Corporation for the Three-Year Food Logistic Action Agenda, as it focuses on establishing secure food distribution routes and access points resulting in affordable and reliable food sources across the country.

Among the major groups that are benefiting and crucial to the success of the food trade industry are the MSMEs. During the ceremony, highlights of the media salu-salo were shown, followed by the announcement of the complete list of the latest winners of the Katha Awards for Food. These winning products are also available at the exhibition floor, along with thousands of export-quality food and beverage offerings.

Experience a festive salu salo at IFEX Philippines 2024 insert2 1
A salu-salo of foreign and local affairs (clockwise, top left): Philippine Trade and Investment Center-Shanghai Commercial Counsellor Glenn Peñaranda; Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega with exhibitor ZC E & L Corporation; PHILEXPORT President Ortiz-Luis and Philfoodex Corp. President Ruben See at the Flavor Finds display; and at the  middle, Argentine Embassy Charges d’ Affaires Leandro Waisman with other dignitaries.

Meanwhile, DA Agribusiness and Marketing Service (DA-AMAS) OIC and Director Junibert de Sagun, commended IFEX for continuing to be a world-class showcase for Philippine food, as well as the dedication and hard work of the participating exhibitors that include over 42 regional exhibitors. He said that beyond serving as a B2B platform, IFEX stands as an opportunity to foster more trade relations and economic opportunities. He is optimistic that last year’s sales in agriculture can be surpassed with the help of its partners and programs like CITEM and IFEX Philippines, respectively. “As we continue to share our language of food to the world, we look forward to more fruitful partnerships for a masaganang (abundant) Philippines.

Experience a festive salu salo at IFEX Philippines 2024 insert5
DTI Usec. Sanchez (at center) graces the opening of the Philippine Halal Pavilion.

Other notable figures from the public sector include Philippine Exporters Confederation (PHILEXPORT) President Sergio Ortis-Luis Jr., Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Eduardo Jose de Vega, Pangasinan Governor Ramon Guico III, and CITEM’s Founder and First President Dr. Mina Gabor. She also served as Tourism Secretary. International delegates from Argentina, Brunei, Malaysia, and Pakistan also witnessed the occasion.

Following the formal opening, CITEM guided the guests inside the various show components of the exhibition to meet and greet the participating exhibitors in their respective booths and mingle with other trade visitors. DTI Usec. Sanchez also officially opened the Philippine Halal Pavilion during the VIP Tour.

Experience a festive salu salo at IFEX Philippines 2024 insert4
IFEX Philippines 2024 visitors are greeted by a vibrant selection of the country’s Premium 7 at the DA showcase.

The DA, for its section, features exhibitors offering the so-called Premium 7, which is part of the continuous promotion of the country’s top crops. These raw food supplies are in high demand due to their various possibilities beyond food production. The Premium 7 is composed of the following: banana, cacao, coconut, coffee, mango, pineapple, and tuna.

Experience a festive salu salo at IFEX Philippines 2024 insert3
IFEX Philippines Project Manager Rowena Mendoza presenting the recognitions to Ms. Clang Garcia and Ms. Abi Marquez. 

Other attractions included a photo gallery capturing 15 years of heritage food research from Philippine Food Holidays author and Philippine Gastronomy Tourism scholar Clang Garcia. She is also one of the first to become a FOODPhilippines Advocate Par Excellence with Food Content Creator Abi Marquez. They were conferred at the IFEX Philippines 2024 Media Salu-Salo, where Clang also guested as panel discussion moderator.

Partner with adobo Magazine

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button