Dec. 04, 2015 ...

Aiming to develop Ilocos Norte as an ultimate destination of
export-ready and top-quality food products, the Bakers and Restaurant
Association of Ilocos Norte (BRAIN) successfully held the third Ilocos
Norte Food and Trade Expo (INFOTEX) on December 3 to 5, 2015 at the
Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena, Laoag City.

In partnership with the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN),
BRAIN has organized INFOTEX to become an avenue that highlights the
dynamic gastronomic scene of the province by bringing together local
buyers and sellers.

Most importantly, the event offers the province’s Small and Medium
Enterprises (SMEs) diversified purchasing options.

“This year, we intensified our support to our SMEs as we provide them
a unified trading platform where all supplies, ingredients and equipment
are in one place,” said Pamela Aragoza, noted restaurateur and INFOTEX

She added that the expo assists SMEs to widen their advertising reach as
“they had the chance to introduce and showcase their products and
merchandises to the general public.”

Believing that SMEs have an important role in the economic growth of the
province, Governor Imee R. Marcos has actively shown support by
providing them financial assistance as well as opportunities to promote
their products and services.

Last May, the provincial government helped various Ilocano food
entrepreneurs in joining the International Food Expo, the country’s
most celebrated food trade show.

Reaching a record-high of 380.64% increase in tourist arrivals in the
past two years, Ilocos Norte’s gastronomic tourism, which attracts
thousands of locals and foreigners alike, has been actively promoted by
Governor Marcos.

Ilocos Norte Tourism Head Aianree Racquel revealed during the expo’s
opening that more projects and activities are being planned to improve
the province’s gastronomic scene.

“We just launched on December 1 the Dragon Fruit Wine and Imeldifique
Cooking Wine which are made out of Ilocos raw ingredients of garlic and
dragon fruit. This is a significant project because the products are
produced by Destileria Limtuaco & Co., Inc., the oldest distillery in
the country.” said Racquel.

He added that this project enables “a big company to produce products
inspired from the province…ready for the international market” also
hoping that it “will boost local production and to encourage more
investments in Ilocos Norte.”

 Aside from the food trade and exposition, the event also included
on-the-spot series of showdowns that displayed the culinary skills of
students from different schools in the province. The contested
activities included table setting, cake decorating, fruit and vegetable
carving, local cuisine cook-off and dessert bake-off.

“INFOTEX has been greatly supported by Governor Marcos. We would like
to thank her for continuously being part the activities of BRAIN – for
giving us the venue and for all the things that we need to make this
(event) work,” said Aragoza.