The Philippines have long ago flirted with the flavors of France.
The celebrated hedonic affair between Pinoys’ taste buds and their love for traditional food like lechon baboy, adobo andsumptuous green mangoes served with bagoong is finally giving way to a new chapter in that story as it takes a different twist to discovering Pinoy’s new amour – the French tang.
Much to everyone’s surprise, the thriving appetite for French cuisine, culture, language, fashion and labels and to set foot in one of the most romantic cities in the world – Paris, undeniably completes and gives a great satisfaction to the Filipinos’ eclectic palate.
In adding to the ambrosial delight, one typical example is best observed by looking closely at the new Pinoy’s menu served a la Française.
Though considered as the first part of a traditional French meal involving cocktails or other alcoholic beverages with the main purpose of arousing the appetite; for most Filipinos wishing to travel abroad, this is the part where the dream of going to France starts. Arousing the desire to pursue the dream means preparing the needed documents and travel budget.
Follows the appetizer. I call this stage – first entry to France. A first taste to French bureaucracy and charm, a quick glimpse to “Frenchness” and a momentous phase of presenting yourself together with the legal documents at the French Embassy and Consulate.
Thanks to the Philippines dynamic economy, the queue at the French Embassy in Manila, especially for obtaining a Schengen visa to France is getting longer. Traveling to Europe is no longer limited to the rich and famous, to the sons and daughters of politicians and even to the spouses of French citizens working in the country.
What this means is that more and more middle income individuals are packing up their bags and looking forward to experience life in the City of Lights.
Le Plat Principal.
This is the most important part of these gustatory delights –known as the main course. I dubbed this stage as the moment of truth. Rejected or to be granted. One factor that plays a significant role in the approval process is to demonstrate the ability to be financially solvent.
With a stellar growth in the Philippines gross domestic product (GDP) at a rate of 7.8% in the first quarter of 2013 surpassing China’s 7.7% and being one of the highest among Southeast Asian economies, it creates a reason for more Pinoy’s to be merry and confident enough to being a bonvivant. What’s exciting to know is that with the country’s dynamic, young and talented work force as well the remittances from abroad; all contributes in driving robust domestic and international spending.
“I am delighted to know that nowadays more Filipinos are discovering France considerably the emerging middle class; and what’s interesting is that there is an exchange as well with tourist traffic from France and its is gradually picking up amid growing interest in the Philippines, about which the French virtually know nothing,”French Ambassador in Manila Gilles Garachon, happily remarked.
Ambassador Garachon who had been in diplomatic service since 1985 is no stranger to Asia. His appointment as Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines in February last year brought back nostalgic memories on his first trip to Boracay some 20 years ago and perceives the Philippines as a beautiful island-paradise.
“The world, especially France had been noticing the Philippines with its great potential. It’s starting. There is a momentum. And I think we have to keep this momentum. The Philippines has a lot in store and I am sure that there is plenty of room to increase the relations in terms of cultural as well as in the field of trade”, Mr. Garachon said charmingly, with a smile.
A good meal starts well and ends well and that is with a good dessert.
In addition to the changing lifestyle and taste of Pinoy’s to experience a touch of class, flights by the country’s flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) going to Europe are becoming a reality. Travelers can expect daily flights to Paris, London and other destinations starting this fall according to Philippine Airlines Chief Executive Ramon Ang.
The lifting of the European Union (EU) ban will pave the way for more flights and opportunities making it easier for Filipinos to travel to a particular European destination bringing along with them the culture, experiences, memories and of course the ubiquitous “pasalubong” (souvenirs) upon return, asit gives a sense of satisfaction to Pinoy’s taste and an appetite for the new menu served on the table.
Indeed, more than just flirting with the flavors of France, Pinoy’s are happy to order the “Plat du jour”(dish of the day) and eat with all the heart’s content.