Walking through the streets of Manila is a realization of how life goes for the upper class society and how the low class society like us struggle for everyday living. As the moon witness the city lights, I patiently and courageously search here for the prize of the night. My stomach crumbles as I look and daydreams or should I say night dreams linger as foods float in the air surrounding me. You may wonder what prize I’m talking about, a prize that my tomorrow depends, my family awaits and my community’s hope for surviving. My prize? Leftover foods from restaurants which I scavenge from garbage sites and dumps, we also call – Pagpag.
In Tagalog, Pagpag is the act of brushing your clothes to sweep off dusts in your clothing but for us, its chicken pulled off the trash and a way for us to survive our daily lives.
After filling my bucket with different kind of leftover foods such as half eaten patties and fried chickens. My stomach turns upside down as sour smell of the food or should i say leftover food I collected sooth the air I breathe. I need to resist this, yes, I should, for my siblings who wait for my return.
Miles from the dumpsite I scavenge, is a community suffering in hell. Innocent children are still awake, wearing tattered shirts, who try to get some pagpag from the bucket i carry. I gave them each one, just to calm the urge of their dying stomach. More turnovers and i am now here in our humble home covered by plywood and tarpaulins which reveal the faces of dumbass politicians i never knew have existed.
My 7 younger siblings hugged me as I enter, my pregnant mom was on a rest while my dad is not still on home. Empty plates surround our small table as one of my brothers holds his tummy, on grief because of hunger. I then went to our kitchen, bit by bit cleaned the pagpag to ensure the safety of my family. Washed it with water thoroughly, removed every dirt, washed it again and cooked it with soy sauce, vinegar and bit of salt and other spices.
There you go, I have finished cooking our delicacy of the night, Adobong Pagpag.
My siblings wait as I fill their plates adobong pagpag and a bit of rice, I saw their smiles, enough to make my sweat worth it. Like a lion hungry for food, they ferociously ate the food in their plate, a reason for me to force them to stop. They all know the reason why I held them in anticipation.
We all had our sign of the cross and within our hearts, said in chorus ‘Oh lord God, thank you for the food in front us.’
For the reader of this, Do not waste food, be grateful for what you have, because someone out there was struggling just to have what you had.
An Advocacy of ELE151 Kampo Kawayan