Filipinos slam offensive Toronto story on Pinoy food
MANILA, Philippines – Respect our food. Filipinos in Canada sent this message to the Toronto Star after a recent article published on August 13 called Filipino food "PETA-offending" and rated different kinds of their food using an "ick factor."
PETA, or the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is an international animal rights organization that often protests conditions of animals before they are slaughtered.
The original article was called "PETA-offending treats on the menu in the Philippines," which was written by Rosemary Counter, a Canadian food blogger who toured the country trying different kinds of Filipino food including balut, "chicken ass," crocodile sisig, and keso (cheese) ice cream."
Robert Diaz, a Filipino professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Canada, said the article was unfair and "painted the entire culture as foreign or 'other.'" He told Global News Canada he was "deeply troubled by it. It’s quite disturbing for someone like myself, who is Filipino and also teaches Filipino Studies, that this article was written in the first place."
A Change.org petition was launched demanding the paper take down the article. While the Star has not taken down the article, they've changed the headline and issued an apology: "In describing the “ick factor” of these foods, neither the writer, nor the Star intended to offend or disrespect anyone or to suggest that all Filipino food is “disgusting.” As the article makes clear, the writer enjoyed most of the dishes she tried. The Star apologizes for not making the context of this article clear."
But the apology was not enough for some readers. "The writer, Rosemary Counter, unfairly framed the article by highlighting each dish’s “ick factor” rather than objectively reporting on what could have been a very delicious food trip had she been guided appropriately," Rosemary Palanca of Toronto wrote in a letter to Toronto Star's editor on August 24.
Diaz also said that while he commended the Star for amending the article that it is important to acknowledge the "harmfulness" of the article, saying that they are still troubled by the article for the "lack of context" and "insensitivity".
Diaz said in the Change.org petition: "While we understand that all types of information may be troubling to a diverse readership, we nonetheless ask the editors to reflect on the condescending tone of Counter’s article, particularly because it is not located in the Opinion section of the newspaper but rather its Life/Travel section."
In 2014, another blogger from Norway said that she would "rather go hungry," than eat Filipino food again, speaking about her bad experience with tasting Filipino food.
Last April, a petition was launched against New York City restaurant Maharlika to stop serving balut, a Filipino delicacy or fertilized duck egg with embryo.
What do you think about the article? Should it be taken down or is the apology enough? Share your thoughts below. – Rappler.com