The annual Batangas Food and Beverage Exposition (BAFBEX), organized by De La Salle Lipa’s (DLSL) College of International Hospitality and Tourism Management (CIHTM), celebrated its tenth year by hosting an online forum discussing future careers and challenges in the hospitality profession via YouTube live stream, Dec. 14.
Since its first launch in 2010, BAFBEX is one of the premier events hosted by the department as a way to provide a platform for college students to hone and showcase their skills and competencies as young hoteliers and restaurateurs through informative seminars and competitions.
In line with this year’s retro gaming theme, BAFBEX launched its first online event using technology and social media as a way to invite participants outside DLSL.
Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, the current secretary of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and keynote speaker, discussed the impacts of the pandemic on the transition and adjustments of various businesses to cope with the new normal.
“You’ve already seen how the pandemic has changed the way we interact with these workers as contactless transactions have become the norm,” said Puyat.
Furthermore, she also considered the application of technological changes in hospitality careers post-pandemic given that the market has acted on the opportunities to become more digital-savvy, environmentally conscious, and culture-oriented in terms of experiencing new places.
Following Puyat’s talk, Angelo Lopez Guison, chef and certified Servsafe manager, focused on the different factors that contribute to food quality and production, such as upholding the safety standards and sustainability of food products despite dealing with the constant shutdowns due to the pandemic.
“[We need] to put primary importance in food safety because nasa pandemya na nga tayo, magkakaroon pa ng food borne illness [at] outbreaks,” said Guison.
Moreover, he mentioned that the welfare, mental health, and wellbeing of kitchen workers is an issue that needs to be addressed in the food industry.
Guison also reminded the students of the values that graduating students have to embody as they undertake careers in hospitality.
Subsequently, Kia Del Rosario, a food stylist and content creator, highlighted the power of a positive mindset and robust support systems to combat stress and pressure during the pandemic.
“We are limited with the pandemic, but with that limitation, we can still strive our best to make it enjoyable and to find other ways of coping para maging productive tayo,” Del Rosario reminded.
In partnership with the faculty of CIHTM, the preparation for BAFBEX 10 began in May 2021 with a series of consultations and meetings to determine and settle the concept, objectives, and activities included in the program.
“There were many challenges faced by our team, and those expectations changed as we faced those challenges. It was not the event we hoped to have before the pandemic arrived, but it still exceeded my expectations because of the team and those who supported the event,” said Mikhaela Marie Oco, the overall executive head of the event.
Meanwhile, participants also expressed their appreciation for the inspiring talks and engaging activities throughout the event.
“The speakers were really great and inspiring, to be honest. They were professional, and they were able to convey their expertise and their shared knowledge about the industry to their viewers,” said Trisha May Ona, a fourth-year hospitality management student.