FOODBIZ landscape – Philippines

In Concept & Design, FOODBIZ landscape, Vol. 19



Land area*:
About 30 million hectares, half of which is classified as forestlands, 47% as alienable and disposable lands, and the remaining 3% as unclassified forestlands

Population**: 100.98 million (as of August 2015)
Currency: Philippine Peso (PHP) – (USD 1.00 is equivalent to PHP 50.00)
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)**: 6.8% in 2016
Cost of living***: 53.78% lower than in United States
(aggregate data for all cities, excluding rent)

The Philippine economy is likely to grow 6.9 percent this year and in 2018, and 6.8 percent in 2019, according to World Bank.


The Philippines now ranks no. 58 out of 180 countries in the list released recently by the Economic Freedom Index (EFI) 2017. The country, which has been consistently upgrading its ranking every year since 2011, made it to the top-third.

The EFI, published annually by US-based Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, measures a country’s commitment to free enterprise and scores the nation’s economies in diverse categories, including tax rates, licensing requirements, investment restrictions, and court system efficiency, among other items. For economies with a score of 80 or higher, the countries are classified as “free”, “mostly free” for scores between 70 and 79.9, “moderately free” for 60-69.9, “mostly unfree” for 50-59.9, and “repressed” for a score below 50.

The Philippines increased by 2.5 points from 63.1 last year to 65.6 this year, maintaining a “moderately free” status for four years in a row. The positive result makes the country land into the number 4 spot in the ASEAN region. The Philippines is behind Singapore (2nd), Malaysia (27th), and Thailand (55th), and ahead of neighboring countries Indonesia (84th), Cambodia (94th), Laos (133rd), Myanmar (146th), and Vietnam (147th).


Here is a quick guide to starting a business in the Philippines.

1. Register the business.
Get a certificate of registration from the relevant authority, depending on the structure of your business.
• For single proprietorship, get a certificate of registration from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
• For partnership and corporation, get a certificate of registration from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
• For cooperatives, get a certificate of registration from the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).

2. Secure permits to operate.
Get a clearance or permit to operate from the following offices:
• Obtain a clearance from the Homeowners Association if you will operate the business inside subdivisions or villages.
• Get a barangay clearance from the Barangay Hall where your business will operate.
• Secure a business permit from the City Hall where your business will operate.
• Register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue to get your business a Tax Identification Number (TIN) and the authority to print official receipts and invoices.

3. Register your employees.
Visit the following offices to register your employees:
• Social Security System (SSS)
• Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) – if your establishment will hire five or more employees
• Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF), more popularly known as Pag-IBIG Fund – Republic Act (RA) 7742 requires all SSS members with a minimum monthly salary of Php 4,000 to be registered.
• Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) – RA 7875/RA 9241 require all employers and employees of government and private sectors to be registered.

4. Verify if you need other permits from relevant authorities.
Check with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) if you require special clearances or permits from other government institutions, especially for food-related businesses. Here are some government regulatory bodies:
• Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA)
• National Food Authority (NFA) under the Department of Agriculture (DA)
• Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)
• Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI)
• Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI)
• Food and Drug Administration


According to the Department of Tourism website, some of the country’s notable attractions as an investment destination include the following:
• A pool of highly trainable English-speaking resources
• A huge potential market for consumer goods due to its fast-growing population
• Government’s foreign-investor friendly stance with liberalized policies and regulations to attract foreign investments
• A favorable location for expansion programs and production facilities in Asia Pacific, supported by the government’s grants of economic concessions
• The opening of previously-restricted industries to foreign investors, such as the telecommunication, transportation, banking, retail trade energy, post-extractive petroleum processing and distribution industries
• The high availability of opportunities for foreign investors to pursue, especially those related to the country’s development
• The presence and accessibility of special economic zones and free ports in many parts of the country
• The booming call center sector that is generating employment opportunities for the locals, also resulting to growth in food business – including 24/7 convenience stores that now offer microwaveable/ ready-to-eat meals

When it comes specifically to the food industry, the country offers more reasons to entice investors:
• Filipinos embrace a “frequent snacking” culture, offering a favorable opportunity for food and beverage investors
• Booming tourism industry – in January 2017, the Philippines recorded an all-time high of 631,639 tourists, an impressive growth of 16.48% compared with the same period last year.
• Top agricultural exports for the fourth quarter of 2016: coconut oil, bananas, pineapple and its products, tuna, coconut products, seaweeds and carrageenan, tobacco, rubber, shrimps, and prawns
• Growing hotel and restaurant industry sector
• Rapid modernization and expansion of retail chain operators across the country, providing more opportunities for foodservice brands and products to expand their reach to customers


The Philippines is a major business hub in the Asia Pacific region. The leading economic hubs in the country include the following areas:

Also referred to as the National Capital Region, Metro Manila is the main gateway to the sprawling archipelago. It is the home of the country’s significant historical and cultural attractions, as well as sprouting skyscrapers and modern shopping malls. It is the core of the country’s activities, the government seat, and the centre of economic, social, educational, and cultural activities.

The metropolis is composed of 16 cities and one municipality. Among the primary economic areas of Metro Manila are Makati City (the country’s financial hub), Bonifacio Global City (also called The Fort or BGC, the financial district of Taguig City), Ortigas Centre (Pasig City’s central business district), Alabang (Muntinlupa City’s commercial center), Pasay City, and Quezon City.

Often referred to as the Queen City of the South, Cebu is a bustling metropolis, the second largest outside of Metro Manila. Cebu City is a highly urbanized center that has at least nine economic zones and is also home to abundant natural resources and popular tourist destinations, teeming with white sand beaches.

Located in the central part of the country, Bohol is easily accessible by air from Manila and is less than two hours away from Cebu by boat. Its accessibility and good location, quality manpower, developing infrastructure, and healthy environment make Bohol a business-friendly province. Another popular tourist destination in Visayas, Bohol – the tenth largest island in the Philippines, is also blessed with pristine beaches, breathtaking dive sites, and the popular Chocolate Hills.

Located in Mindanao, the southern part of the Philippines, Davao is regarded as the most progressive city and the centre of economic activities in the south. It is called the “Crown Jewel of Mindanao” because of its status as Mindanao’s premier city, financial centre and trade hub.

A popular destination located at the centre of the Philippine archipelago, in the Western Visayas region, its location earned the province the name “The Heart of the Philippines.” Iloilo prides itself in being the Food Basket and Rice Granary of the Region because of its fertile lands and rich marine life. A fast-growing modern city, it also offers visitors a wide variety of natural and historical attractions.

Bacolod is the gateway to the Negros Occidental province, serving as the entry point to the 12 cities and 19 towns of the province as well as the neighbouring Negros Oriental. Regarded as the “City of Smiles,” Bacolod was recently voted number 1 among the ten leading cities in the country as “The Best Cities to Live in the Philippines” by a social media group. It is
also the golf center of the Visayas region.

These three provinces are part of CALABARZON region, located south of Metro Manila. Several industrial parks, information technology parks, and economic zones can be found in these provinces. Laguna is a scenic province with a galore of natural wonders, including Laguna de Bay, the country’s largest lake. Cavite teems with natural resources and beautiful landscape. It is also home to tourist attraction and dining destination, Tagaytay. Batangas is famous for its beautiful beaches and rich marine life since most of the towns are surrounded with water. The Batangas Port is Calabarzon region’s trading point.

Located in Central Luzon, Subic and Clark is the hub of air transport, tourism, trade, and finance in that part of the region. These two areas are now the booming sites for freeports in the Philippines, and boasts of fast developing industrial and tourism destinations. Attractions include jungle safaris, ocean adventures, shopping, fine dining, gaming and nightly entertainment.


When you are with Filipinos, you will realize that the casual, friendly Filipino greeting for “how are you?” is “have you eaten?” It is because Filipinos are known to express their hospitality through serving and offering food. So when the Department of Tourism launched the Kulinarya (Culinary) Tours across the country, the food festivals were well received both by locals and visitors. After all, Filipinos have a great passion for food!

Kulinarya Tours highlight the country’s culinary delights from north to south, showcasing the food specialties and native delicacies of each region, province, town, and even family recipes. They also highlight the distinctive food preparation techniques and history as well as culinary traditions.

These places are some of the country’s popular destinations and the most famous food available in each area:

Located in the northwestern coast of Luzon, this charming region boasts not only of beautiful beaches and charming colonial town; it is also famous for its homegrown cuisine amidst the historic villages and churches, as well as natural resources. The region’s specialties and popular dishes include the crispy empanada (stuffed pastry), bagnet (deep fried crispy pork belly), longganisa (Filipino-style sausage), pinakbet (mixed vegetables cooked with shrimp paste), and poqui-poqui (roasted eggplant, eggs and tomatoes).

Popular for its towering Christmas lanterns and hot air balloon, the province of Pampanga is also regarded as the “Food Capital of the Philippines” because of its rich culinary history and traditions. Among Pampanga’s notable dishes are kare-kare (oxtail with vegetables and peanut soup), kilawin (ceviche) and sizzling sisig (a dish made from parts of a pig’s head, boiled, grilled, and then chopped and served in a sizzling hot metal plate with onions, chillies, and calamansi or Philippine lime). Sisig has many variants and has spread all over the country and in several parts of the world. Pampanga is also famous for producing its own version of traditional Filipino-style cured meats and sausages – tocino (bacon), tapa (cured beef), and longganisa (chorizo).

Pampanga’s neighbouring province, Bulacan, is regarded as the country’s centre for desserts and pastries because of its wide variety of sweets and native delicacies. The province is popular for producing sweet goods such as pastillas (soft milk candy), macapuno or ube balls (soft coconut sport or purple yam candy with condensed milk), inipit (flat pastry), and cassava/rice cakes, among others.

Shopping centres teeming with full-service restaurants, fast food chains and food courts, the metropolis boasts of a wide array of cuisine – from all-time favourite Filipino dishes such as the classic adobo (chicken or pork stewed in soy sauce, vinegar, bay leaves, garlic, and peppercorn), kare kare (oxtail, tripe, eggplant and other vegetables cooked with peanut sauce), crispy pata (deep fried pork leg), and sinigang (pork, beef, prawn or fish cooked with vegetables in tamarind-based soup), to diverse international cuisine. But beyond these busy malls, visitors will also find many more culinary destinations and street stalls around Metro Manila offering a great diversity of culinary masterpieces – from specialty dishes to street foods and fingers foods. La Loma in Quezon City offers a long line of restaurants serving crispy lechon (whole roasted pig); Maginhawa Street in Quezon City boasts of rows of restaurants and coffeeshops; Binondo in Chinatown, Manila serves different local and Chinese flavours, and there are several food parks around the metropolis offering a great variety of local and international cuisine.

This Queen City of the South is the home of world famous dried mangoes, danggit (dried and salted fish) and everybody’s favourite – lechon (roasted pig). Other favourites are ngohiong (crunchy spring rolls), bam-i (mixed canton and sotanghon noodles with black fungus mushroom, shrimp, pork, and chicken), and humba (sweet pork stew).

Batangas boasts of many food specialties. Some of them are bulalo (beef bone marrows and shanks boiled until the fats and have melted into the clear broth), kalderetang kambing (stewed mutton, cooked with tomato sauce, bell pepper, potatoes, and carrots), lomi (native noodle soup), deep fried tawilis (a small fish that can be found only in Batangas), and sinaing na tulingan (steamed fish). Batangas also has various sweets like panutsa (caramel peanuts) and bukayo (sweetened coconut).

Known as the Coffee Capital of the Philippines, Cavite produces the coffee needs of nearby Metro Manila and other parts of the country. Cavite’s culinary pride includes pancit pusit (noodles cooked in squid ink then sprinkled with pork crackling and sliced bilimbi), pancit estacion (stir-fried noodle dish but uses mung bean sprouts instead of typical noodles, and the sauce is made of smoked fish, bilimbi, achuete or annatto extract, and corn starch), tamales (steamed rice flour stuffed with pork, chicken, and egg), and quesillo (cheese made from carabao’s milk).

Amidst the amazing ancestral houses are food establishments that offer the city’s specialties and native delicacies such as La Paz batchoy (hot noodle soup with pork innards, liver and heart served with hot broth topped with crunchy chicharon, garlic, and onion leaves), pancit molo (flat noodle soup, Ilonggo version of Chinese wanton soup), biscocho (baked bread topped with butter and sugar), and pinasugbo (deep-fried thinly sliced banana cooked with caramel and sprinkled with sesame seeds).

Dabawenyos, the people residing in Davao, are quite creative with their cuisine. Among their popular, unique dishes are kinilaw na tuna (diced raw tuna marinated in vinegar and other spices), sinuglaw (a combination of kinilaw na tuna and grilled pork belly, pakfry (tuna tail cooked in vinegar then deep fried to make it crispy), piniritong ikog sa bariles (deep fried tuna fish tail), and ginanggang (grilled banana brushed with margarine and sprinkled with sugar). Davao is also home to some exotic fruits such as durian, pomelo, mangosteen, and rambutan.

The Philippines’ Department of Tourism named Boracay as the “ultimate culinary island”. A popular destination because of its white sand beach, the island also offers endless dining possibilities – from delectable local dishes to a wide variety of international cuisine. Fresh seafood always attracts local visitors and foreign tourists – cooked the way they want it.

The province’s famous delectable dishes include pancit habhab (native noodles), kulawo (banana blossom grilled in charcoal with spices, vinegar and coconut milk), and longganizang Lucban (native sausage). Quezon is also popular for its native delicacies such as kiping (local wafer) and broas (local ladyfingers). Another popular product from the province is lambanog (vodka-like drink).

Albay and Sorsogon provinces in the Bicol Region offer an interesting combination of chilli hot cuisine and sweet delicacies. Food specialties include Bicol Express (a native dish that is cooked in heavy coconut milk with lots of hot chilli peppers), laing (dried taro leaves cooked in coconut milk), pinangat (native foe gras), and pili nuts desserts.

Negros Occidental has always been known as the “sugar bowl of the Philippines” because of its huge sugarcane plantations. No wonder the place is also well known for its endless creation of desserts and pastries. Bacolod’s (capital of Negros Occidental) most popular dish is chicken inasal (chicken barbecue). Famous native delicacies are kalamayhati (sticky rice cake), Napoleones (custardfilled pastry), and piaya (sweet pastry, thin version of moon cakes).


Being the “Seafood Capital of the Philippines,” Roxas City (capital of Capiz province) offers a wide range of fresh and succulent seafood delicacies. The place has a never ending supply of lobsters and crabs, prawns and shellfish, mussels and angel wings, among others. The province also boasts of snacks such as suman (sweetened sticky rice cake wrapped in banana leaves), turon (deep fried banana rolls), and bibingka (rice cake).


Philippines is a country where you will always find a place to eat – from street shops to food parks, from food courts to fast food chains, from full-service restaurants to fine dining.


Conveniently located in residential areas, school and business locations, street stalls and kiosks are popular food destinations not just in Metro Metro Manila but also in many parts of the country. In business areas like Makati City, food trucks selling rice meals, burgers, native delicacies, and desserts are also operating. In 2015, San Miguel Purefoods Co Inc remained the leading player in street stalls/ kiosks category, according to a Euromonitor report. This standing can be attributed to Tender Juicy Hotdog’s popularity, especially among children, and their efforts in bringing the product to school fairs and sports leagues was a good strategy. The street stalls and kiosks concept is expected to grow continuously because of the relatively low investment required.

Conveniently housing a wide variety of food choices under one roof, food parks are becoming more and more popular destinations not just among millennial food lovers and bloggers who are in constant search of new places to eat, but also among foodies who are willing to travel afar to try new food hangouts. Among the popular food parks are StrEAT Food Parks in Maginhawa and Commonwealth, The Yard, Grub Hub, and The Vibe – all in Quezon City; Crave Park, Carnival Food Park, and The Truck Park in Marikina City; Food Haven at 77 in Pasig City; Chill Out Food Park in Caloocan City; and the recently opened Buendia Food by The Court in Makati City. More food parks are expected to open to cater to the demanding taste of the millennial.

Artisanal coffee shops (those that use high-quality coffee) and gastropubs continue to flourish in the Philippines, according to a recent Euromonitor report. This growth can be attributed to the consumers’ proliferating sophistication over beverages and food that are served in coffee shops and bars. Interestingly, independent players recorded an 89% share of total value sales in the channel in 2015. As for the chained players, Rustan Coffee Corp took the lead with a value share of 6% overall due to its Starbucks brand. Some of the newly opened artisanal coffee shops in the metropolis are Satchmi, Single Origin, Toby’s Estate, and Frank & Dean. Among the new gastropubs are The Bottle Shop in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, OnBoard Game + Gastro Pub in Makati City, and Brewery Gastropub in Iloilo. Artisanal coffee shops and gastropubs are expected to gain a stronger following due to the growing middle-income segment, who prefer a comfortable setting, good quality food, a wider selection of alcoholic beverages, and who have developed a more sophisticated taste for their coffee.

Many people travel hundreds of miles to see great places, and there are those who would travel the same distance to eat a seriously good meal. There are restaurants that are easily accessible in the metropolis, and there are also dining places that are located in either far-flung areas or hundreds of miles away, yet people brave the distance to get to them. This type of restaurants are also making waves in the Phillippines. Tagaytay City is one of the easiest places to visit because it is only a few hours’ drive from Metro Manila. Famous destination restaurants include Balay Dako, Breakfast at Antonio’s, and Bag of Beans. Pampanga in Central Luzon has many destination restaurants too, including Café Fleur by Chef Sau del Rosario, 1956 Downtown Café and Bale Dutung by Chef Claude Tayag, and Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy & Sisig.

There are several fast food chains in the Philippines, many of them offering the typical chicken meals, burgers, pizza, and spaghetti, although trying hard to offer a new twist to their products. There are also fast food establishments who offer home comfort food. Jollibee Foods Corp remained the leading fast food franchise with a value share of 31% among the chained brands. Jollibee has grown its portfolio to also include Mang Inasal, Greenwich, Chowking, Red Ribbon, and Burger King brands. According to Euromonitor, there is an expected slowdown in the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) primarily due to the channel’s maturity as well as the notable increase in the number of consumers from the middle-income market segment, who prefer to dine in full-service restaurants than fast food.

With the increasing number of shopping centres and business hubs especially in the metropolis, full-service restaurants continue to expand. Existing brands are growing, and new ones are also entering the market – offering either local cuisine or dishes from different parts of the world. Among the full-service restaurants that are showcasing Filipino dishes with a twist are Purple Yam, Locavore, Manam, and Sarsa Kitchen + Bar. Independent players dominate this category, recording 75% combined value share in 2015. Meanwhile, Max’s Group Inc is the leading fullservice restaurant chained player, with a value share of 5% in 2015. Max’s brand portfolio includes Max’s (its flagship brand), Pancake House, Dencio’s and Teriyaki Boy.

More foreign full-service restaurant brands are expected to enter the market, according to Euromonitor. This is because of the customers’ increasing sophistication over food. This market sentiment, however, will encourage local companies to seek partnership with foreign brands instead of creating new concepts, and inspire the foreign brands to localise their offerings to suit to Filipinos’ taste.

Busy lifestyle and heavy traffic in the metropolis are encouraging some food companies to set up mobile applications or online platforms where consumers can conveniently order food without
having to call the food establishments. This trend is becoming more popular now, especially because Filipinos are now becoming heavy users of technology and smartphones.





FB_18Council of Hotel and Restaurant Educators of the Philippines



FB_20Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines


FB_21Let Toques Blanches (LTB) Philippines Chefs Association


FB_22Philippine Franchise Association


17th International Exhibition on Worldwide Food & Beverages, Technologies and Machineries
August 2-5, 2017
SMX Convention Center and World Trade Center


August 2-5, 2017
SMX Convention Center


August 2-5, 2017
SMX Convention Center
Eileen ChanFOODBIZ landscape – Philippines