MANILA -- Buhay Carinderia-Redefined, a program that began as an advocacy to improve the image of local food stands that represent Philippine culture and dishes, was officially launched here Wednesday.

The launch was led by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the Department of Tourism (DOT), and Marylindbert International, Inc., which initiated the program.

The redefined brand was originally named Carinderia Fiesta before it became Buhay Carinderia.

This is the first time the TPB will support the advocacy and together with Marylindbert, it will scour the country in search of the best dish and best “carinderia”.

Maricon Ebron, head of the TPB Marketing and Promotions Sector, said the search would start in June, with the culminating event to be held in Manila in November.

"Sa Manila, dito na gaganapin yung main competition ng mga nanalo per region (Regional winners will vie in the main competition that will be held in Manila)," she told reporters.

Linda Legaspi, president of Marylindbert International, said Buhay Carinderia-Redefined recognizes the fact that gastronomy is becoming an important attribute in the development of niche travel and destinations.

"Gastronomy is one of the fastest-growing reasons for people to travel," she said.

As Buhay Carinderia-Redefined tours each province, Legaspi said they would attempt to discover the specific gastronomy these places have to offer.

She said a number of destinations have already grasped their potentials and are actively enticing visitors to immerse themselves in the food culture of their own city.

"Buhay Carinderia-Redefined believes that gastronomy tourism has strong potentials to improve a destination, promote culture and contribute to other sectors, such as agriculture and food manufacturing," Legaspi said.

Buhay Carinderia-Redefined's inaugural visits will be in Northern Luzon, where organizers will identify the best dishes, the individuals who prepare them, and the “carinderias” where they work.

These local chefs will gather at the Vigan Convention Center for a two-day exposition.

The same framework will be followed in the search for talented culinary amateurs in Bicol, Visayas and Mindanao. The search will run until November for the final culinary exposition in Manila. (PNA)