By Abner Galino

The Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles (PCG-LA), led by Consul General Edgar B. Badajos, officially launched its Lutong Pinoy: Lasang Pinoy sa Los Angeles in the popular Gerry’s Grill in Artesia.

                The project is meant to promote Filipino Cuisine through a sustained online campaign in consonance with the celebrations of the Philippine Food and Heritage during the months of April and May.

                During the program, ConGen Badajos pointed out the strength of culinary arts not only in promoting the culture of a people, but as well as in building up the economic strength of an ethnic community.

                Fortunately, the PCG-LA project comes at a time when the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County are already preparing to open up more on its businesses due the declining cases of coronavirus transmissions.

In a press statement, the Los Angeles County said it has begun “to meet the qualifications for the least restrictive yellow tier in the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework.”

If the numbers continue to decline in the case rate and test positivity rate for an additional week, LA County could possibly move up to the less restrictive “Yellow Tier” by early May.

In the yellow tier, capacity limits at various businesses and events can increase. Bars would be allowed to resume indoor service at 25% capacity.

On Tuesday, L.A. County’s adjusted case rate dropped from 2.7 new cases per 100,000 people to 1.9 new cases per 100,000. The overall test positivity rate dropped from 1.2% to 0.9%, and in areas with the fewest health affirming resources, L.A. County’s test positivity rate dropped from 1.4% to 1.0%.

                The newly arrived consul general also took the opportunity to meet and dine with the members of the local media which included Weekend Balita’s Myrna Aquitania, Philippine Post publisher/editor Val Abelgas, Asian Journal’s managing editor Christina Oriel, GMA 7’s Josh Andowitt, ABS CBN’s Steve Angeles and Weekend Balita’s editor for Filipino American news Abner Galino.

                Badajos also tried his hands in grilling seafood that were prepared Filipino style.

                The consul general was joined by Philippine Department of Tourism director Richmond Jimenez, Consul Dyan Miranda-Pastrana and Gerry’s Grill owner Dr. Ray Mangune.

                In a brief provided to the media, the PCG-LA said the  project seeks to “expand mainstream media awareness of Philippine culinary tradition through actual photo shoots and videos of Filipino cuisine and food preparation on social media platforms; promote and support Filipino and Filipino-American-owned small and medium scale enterprises (particularly restaurants); and foster a better understanding of Filipino culture with emphasis on the contributions of Fil-Am and Filipino owned businesses to the US economy.”

Philippine Consul General in LA Edgar Badajos hands a plaque of recognition to Gerry’s Grill owner Dr. Ray Mangune as Consul Dyan Miranda-Pastrana and PDTI director Richmond Jimenez look on. Photo by Myrna Aquitania