The Bicol Communities League Inc. hosted its first The Best of Bicol Exposition of indigenous Bicol products at the city of Blacktown New South Wales on the 26th of October 2019. The Expo was proudly supported by the Philippine Consulate General of Sydney, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Tourism.
The event was graced by the Philippine Ambassador to Australia HE Hellen de la Vega with the introduction of the Hon. Sydney Consul General Ezziden Tago.
The newly elected Blacktown City Mayor, Tony Bleasdale did a Welcome to Blacktown speech supporting the launch in promoting cultural diversity and multiculturalism in the city. He paid tribute to the Filipino’s sense of family and various contributions to the city of Blacktown.
The event followed two simultaneous programs. One was the Filipino Street Food Festival held at the open grounds outside the Max Webber Library where food and sponsor stalls were installed and the day-long entertainment was held.
The other was the full display of various Bicol products and features at the Max Webber Library Function Centre which was classified into three categories: Bicol’s flagship flavours (Flavours Philippines), handicrafts (Woven Chic) and tourist destinations (Destination Bicol).
Bicol’s tree of hope, the Pili tree, was put into limelight with its crispy pili nut delicacies in various flavours. The pili nuts are known to produce 2% more fat omega oil than macadamia nuts at 7%. Elimi Naturals brought pili production at separate level with its natural personal care and beauty products. The Expo also showcased coconut crispy chips, a 100% organic and nutritional alternative food product both in the USA and UK markets.
Bicol traditional handicraft items made from abaca fibers such as straw bags, footwear, clothing, and Christmas tabletop decorations were also exhibited.
Bicol’s top tourist destinations in the provinces of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate, and Catanduanes were featured to highlight the region’s natural beauty, wonders and picturesque landscapes.
Video recorded messages of HE Vice President Leni Robredo and Legaspi City Mayor Noel Rosal were presented in support of the Bicol Trade and Tourism Expo and the growing business opportunities in the region itself.
Blacktown City Council Head of the Economic Development & Corporate Strategy Mr David Sommerville gave an overview of the local business opportunities and best practice of doing business in Blacktown City gleaned from the recent trade delegation experience in India last month.
DTI’s Ms Alma Argayoso, the Special Trade Representative to Australian & New Zealand, followed through with her Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan seminar identifying top business ideas in the Philippines. This was followed by a lively open forum where participants broke out into small groups to share ideas and business possibilities.
This Expo aspired to pave the way to the marketability and accessibility of indigenous Bicol products in Australia and to strengthen and sustain Bicolandia’s livelihood and ecotourism programs.
The Expo project manager Bobby Lastica ended his overview of the event with the words, “If we can market Bicol products in Blacktown, we can market them in Australia and beyond.”
The Expo was made possible by the untiring members of the Bicol Expo Organising Committee, the Bicol Council and its main sponsors led by the Catholic Cemeteries and Crematoria, Philippine Airlines and Golden Globe Travel.