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PH bags Guinness World Record for most variety of pork dishes on display

By Yoniel Acebuche Published Mar 03, 2024 11:16 am

The Philippines has achieved an incredible feat by breaking the Guinness World Record for showcasing the largest array of pork delicacies.

Hosted by Araneta City, the country successfully snatched the title for the most variety of pork dishes on display at the Quantum Skyview of the New Gateway Mall 2 on Friday, March 1, during the launch of the three-day National Hog Festival 2024, organized by the National Federation of Hog Farmers, Inc.

According to Alfred Ng, vice chairman of NatFed, the record-breaking moment aims to promote "the food security, safety, sovereignty of the local agricultural sector, and tourism.

"With the hog festival, we also hope to boost our country's tourism by highlighting our rich culinary tradition of serving pork dishes," he said.

Evaluated by Guinness World Records official adjudicator Sonia Ushiroguchi and hog industry experts, 313 out of 341 dishes paved the way for the country's title as the minimum number of dishes using pork as the main ingredient had been set at 300.

The dishes must fall under the following criteria: pork as the meat used, have at least three kilograms contained in each dish, and dishes should be unique.

A total of 341 pork dishes, cooked and prepared by participating restaurants and culinary schools, were showcased in long rows of pop-up booths, including lechon, pork barbecue, char siu, pork ribs, and pork belly.

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel also graced the event, emphasizing that the event served as a glimpse of the country's hogging industry.

"This event will definitely increase awareness sa mga consumers [that] there is a huge hogging industry in the country to support," he told the media.

Furthermore, the agri chief noted that the momentous event was also meant to revive the local hog industry following the numerous cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) while aiming to curb the spread of the disease.

"Hopefully we could slowly eradicate ASF, hopefully by next year. Ang aim natin is to lessen imports and palakihin ang locla production," he added.

Pork production and pork import

According to the US Department of Agriculture, particularly the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Manila, 2023 pork production saw a decrease due to ASF outbreaks and high pork prices in the international market.

FAS Manila said that last year's pork production was estimated at 975,000 MT. This is because of the outbreaks in Cebu, a significant supplier to Metro Manila, and Maguindanao del Sur. in March. Pork imports, meanwhile, are estimated to be down to 525,000 MT.

To address this, President Ferdinand Marcos signed an executive order extending lower tariffs on pork, corn, and rice in late December last year. Through this, all meat imports (fresh, chilled, or frozen) are subject to a tariff rate of 5 percent for in-quota and 25 percent for out-quota.

The extension will remain in effect until December 31, 2024, or for an additional year.

As per the executive order, the prolonged lower tariffs were implemented to maintain food price stability because of the anticipated adverse impact of El Niño and the continuing presence of ASF that affects local pig output.