Philippines sets new Guinness World Record at pork festival

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
Philippines sets new Guinness World Record at pork festival
Guinness World Records official adjudicator Sonia Ushirogochi announces that the Philippines achieved the world record for the most number of pork dishes on display during the Hog Festival in Cubao, Quezon City on March 1, 2024.
Michael Varcas / The Philippine STAR

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has set a new Guinness World Record for the most number of varieties of pork dishes on display yesterday during the start of the five-day Hog Festival in Cubao, Quezon City.

Guinness official adjudicator Sonia Ushirogochi announced that the country achieved the world record for most number of pork dishes on display with 313 pork dishes.

“As you know the minimum is 300. Today, we have 341 dishes that were submitted. However, we have some disqualifications, some of the dishes do not meet the guidelines. We have 28 dishes that do not meet the guidelines, so with a total of 313, we have a new Guinness World Record for most varieties of pork dishes on display,” Ushirogochi said.

According to Ushirogochi, each dish should be at least three kilos.

Ushirogochi presented the Guinness World Record certificate to the members of the National Federation of Hog Farmers Inc. (NatFed).

Sen. Cynthia Villar, during her keynote speech, said that the hog festival would boost the country’s tourism, which can contribute to job generation and boost local economy.

“The love of pork of our kababayans will remain so we need to find a good source of pork,” she added.

As of September 2023, the Philippine Statistics Authority identified the top five regions with the highest volume of hog production as Calabarzon, Central Luzon, Northern Mindanao, Central Visayas, Davao region and Zamboanga Peninsula, she said.

“About 67.5 percent of the country’s swine population come from smallholder farms, while the remaining 30 percent came from commercial and semi-commercial farms,” Villar said.

However, the hog sector registered P200-billion losses since African swine fever (ASF) cases were recorded in 2019, Villar noted.

“The Bureau of Animal Industry in November 2023 said only 11 provinces out of the 82 remain ASF-free. They are Batanes, Occidental Mindoro, Palawan, Bohol, Siquijor, Biliran, Bukidnon, Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Our biggest producers (of pork) like Central Luzon and Calabarzon were hardly hit by ASF,” she noted.

According to Villar, with the absence of ASF vaccine, the country can only rely on good animal practices in preventing diseases and disease-causing agents to spread.

NatFed vice president Alfred Ng said that through the festival and Guinness record, hog producers will also be able to link and network with institutional markets such as restaurants and hotels to lessen their dependence on imported pork.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. vowed to help hasten the recovery of the local hog industry from ASF.

He added that the agency’s immediate focus is the implementation of biosecurity measures and quarantine protocols.

“We are dedicated to intensifying surveillance and monitoring efforts for swift detection and response to new ASF cases, recognizing the critical role of early detection in controlling the virus,” Laurel said.

Laurel added that the country’s total hog population went down to 9.94 million and 9.43 million in 2021 and 2022, respectively, from 12.8 million population in 2020.

He said the DA is collaborating with scientific institutions and industry experts to boost hog production.

“We understand the financial strain on our farmers and we’re committed to providing financial assistance and support programs. Additionally, extensive public awareness campaigns is a priority to educate farmers, industry stakeholders and the public about preventive measures against ASF,” he added.

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