Story and photos by: Jennifer P. Rendon
BORACAY Island – Beyond the intimate tango dance, Argentina could be synonymous to beef and, of course, wine.
For most Filipinos, the distance between the Philippines and Argentina would make it improbable to indulge first hand in its best beef and finest wine.
But wait! There’s no need to travel 17,115 kilometers to taste how sublime the Malbec, how exquisite the Torrontes, or how buttery Argentinean beef is.
Argentina figured in the Philippines with the celebration of the Argentine Day in Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan on Feb. 16, 2018.
A beef and wine tasting event highlighted the celebration in the island, with the stunning white beachfront as backdrop. The event gathered around 100 visitors to the Azure Beach Club at the Crimson Resort and Spa.
José Néstor Ureta, the Ambassador of the Argentine Republic in the Philippines, graced the occasion.
This celebration aims to promote and increase the knowledge about the finest Argentine products to the beautiful premier tourist destination in the Philippines, Boracay,” Ureta said.
It’s the first time that the Argentine Embassy brought the celebration outside Metro Manila.
“I came a couple of months ago to Boracay and I loved the island and I have said to myself that I have to make something of Argentina presenting our country, presenting our wine, our beef to this beautiful island,” Ureta said.
An urge to go out of Manila had been nagging the organizers and picking Boracay seemed to be a unanimous choice knowing “that this island is visited by around 2 million persons in 2017,” Ureta said.
He admitted, though, that it wasn’t a walk in the park organizing the event from Manila.
The Argentine Embassy then began talks with Philippine importers of wine and beef and with the management of Crimson Hotel.
BEEF AND WINE
Ureta said presenting Argentina’s beer and wine is to allow the people of Boracay and its visitors to know more about his country.
Currently, Argentina is the fifth world producer (and the 9th wine exporter) of wine in the world.
Their flagship grape is the Argentinean Malbec that was brought to the country in 1853 from France. Argentina has the largest Malbec acreage in the world
“And as I said, it’s the symbol of our wine,” he said.
At the beginning, our wine makers are more interested in quantity than quality, he recounted.
“But nowadays, since 1990, our country is exporting wine and I would say it’s very well known,” he said.
But aside from Malbec, Ureta said they have other wine options like Bonarda, the Torrontes, and the Cabernet Sauvignon.
Ureta said they have come a long way since 2011 when the country first celebrated the Malbec day in 36 countries and 45 cities.
“Last year, we celebrated 110 events, 110 cities, and 70 countries. I’m happy to present the quality of our products here in Boracay,” Ureta said.
Argentinean meat was allowed to be imported in the Philippines in 2017.
“Since then, we have been increasing the quantity. Last year, we exported to the Philippines around $3 million, which is an increase of 15.52 percent relative to last year,” Ureta said.
Just like the Philippines, beef is also important to Argentina.
“We are the largest exporters of beef after Brazil and Australia,” he said.
Argentina has a cattle stock of around 55 million.
As the sales and export increase, Ureta said the quality is also getting better.
For Ureta, the bilateral trade between Argentina and the Philippines is “quite good.”
“Bilateral trade has to be balanced and the Philippine exports to Argentina are also important,” he said.
Experts on livestock and dairy products from Argentina had earlier conducted a workshop in Quezon province in a bid to improve the quality of livestock in the Philippines.
Argentina, with its vast territory and huge variety of climates and microclimates, is more than just wine and beef as the South American republic boasts of its tourism.
Ureta said the country’s culture, customs and food make it worthwhile for tourists to visit.
Never mind the distance (from the Philippines) and the transportation cost that goes along with it, but Argentina’s beautiful landscapes and cultural heritage would surely put visitors in awe.
But in the meantime, Ureta said the Philippines could bask in Argentina’s beef and wine.