December 1, 2023

After being sidelined by the pandemic for almost three years, the annual Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism (HRT) Week is back to help spur Baguio’s tourism and develop future leaders of the hospitality industry.

The event would be more than a week of activities that are aimed to promote the city as a top wedding and culinary destination in the country as it coincides with the celebration of the 114th charter day anniversary of Baguio City.

The HRT Week has started off with the showcase of the largest wedding cake that is on its fourth edition on Sept. 2 at the SM mall atrium.

Baguio Country Club executive pastry chef Arthur Nucaza said the wedding cake was expected to feed 10,000 to 12,000 partakers. It will be distributed to the public for free.

He said the first layer is 24 by 18 feet, second layer 18 by 14 feet, a third layer measuring 14 by 10 feet, and a 10 by seven-foot top layer featuring red velvet, chocolate, carrot, banana, and blueberry vanilla flavors.

The cake was made of 450 kilos of flour; 32,000 eggs; 20,000 pieces of bananas from Davao, 600 kilos carrots from La Trinidad, Benguet; 300 kilos each of dark, milk, and white chocolates; and 15,000 kilos of white sugar.

It was prepared with the help of at least 16 pastry professionals from the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio and 40 students from culinary schools in the city.

Coinciding with the unveiling of the wedding cake was the wedding of 20 couples.

HRAB President and BCC General Manager Anthony de Leon said the Largest Wedding Cake 4.0 was not trying to break any Guinness Book of World Record but is being done for the city and community and to provide an experience for the practitioners in the pastry operations.

HRT Week event executive director Malou Galiste said other main events consist of the Mr. and Ms. HRAB 2023 talent competition on Sept. 9, 2 p.m. at the SM Baguio atrium and pre-pageant night (press presentation and swimwear competition) on Sept. 11, 5 p.m. at the BCC Cordillera Convention Hall; and coronation night on Sept. 16, 2 p.m. at the BCC Cordillera Convention Hall.  

She added around 60 culinary competitions for students and professionals as well as job fair, trade fairs, and seminars will be held from Sept. 21 to 23, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at BCC; sponsors’ cocktails on Sept. 22 at the BCC ballroom hall; Meet the Masters on Sept. 23, 6 pm.. at the CAP-John Hay Trade and Cultural Center; and closing and awarding ceremonies on Sept. 23 also at CAP-John Hay Trade and Cultural Center.

The regional culinary competitions will be held in partnership with the National Food Showdown and will feature new competitions to be participated in by the culinary schools and industries of Baguio and Luzon with their counterparts form Visayas and Mindanao for the regional competitions with the theme, “Malakas at maganda: The search of Philippine cuisine” focusing on exploring the regional ingredients of the country and new techniques in cooking and preparing them.

The competitions will be judged and critiqued by noted chefs from Metro Manila and Baguio City.

“The event coincides with the charter day of Baguio and with September as a tourism month. It is part of the contribution of the HRABwhere the main objectiveis the development of future leaders of the hospitality and tourism industry. We will not be here forever, so we have to keep on developing the future leaders of the hotel, restaurant, and tourism industries,” de Leon said. – Hanna C. Lacsamana