Food for thought


Credit: Read the original article from PhilStar Newsmakers.

From an all-Filipino pizza packaged in a sombrero woven from dried palm leaves, to coffee beans from Bukidnon, to chorizo burgers and ube-flavored milk shakes, the food on our table during this lingering lockdown can put food on other people’s empty tables as well.

This, without having to conduct a feeding program ourselves. We can help Juan dela Cruz bring home the bacon to his table by patronizing locally produced goods or services.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, appearing before the Senate this week, cited a DTI survey showing that six percent of the total 1.5 million registered businesses or about 90,000 companies, mostly micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), have shut down due to the pandemic.

He said 99.6 percent of the registered businesses are MSMEs. It isn’t hard to do the math when we figure out how many workers were displaced by the closure of some 90,000 MSMEs.

Thus, companies, whether startups or multinationals, that put their money where their mouths are, and pay more than just lip service to inclusivity in this time of the pandemic, deserve more than a bite of the business we give.


I recently got a taste of Super Sam’s (short for Super Samahan’s) Portobello mushroom burgers — juicy Portobello mushrooms fried to perfection like breaded chicken fillet. The burgers came in a bright yellow box, which reminded me of a Jack-in-the-Box, except that what lies inside is a burger. They also have choriburgers, their bestseller that is the all-Filipino version of the hamburger.

“We started Super Sam because displaced professional chefs and kitchen staff approached me, looking for work,” says businessman Gerry Sy, who also owns Opulence in Greenhills, a high-end lifestyle store.

Super Sam is short for “Super Samahan,” because, according to Gerry, “We Filipinos are known to help each other especially in times of distress. We value pakikisama (relating with others) and samahan (relationships).”

So far, Super Sam has hired for their commissary 12 restaurant workers whose places of work shut down during the crippling pandemic. Super Sam has also tied up with riders, mostly displaced drivers, to deliver their menu offerings (burgers, chicken and milkshakes) around Metro Manila.

“Our advocacy now is for every burger sold, we will donate a portion, P5, to charity, especially to the home for the aged and orphanages,” he adds. Gerry, his wife Jinky and their partners Arnold and Sharon Carlos also made sure they use local ingredients for the items on their menu to further help local farmers and poultry owners.

(For inquiries, go to on Instagram.)


‘Hat’ stuff: Pizza the size of a round tabletop, smothered with Laguna cheese and Lucban longganisa in a super wide-brimmed sombrero.

I also got some “hat” stuff — a super wide-brimmed sombrero from HSBC, tied up with a straw ribbon. It was jaw-dropping in its sheer size, but what it coddled left one’s jaw virtually on the floor — pizza the size of a round tabletop, smothered with Laguna cheese and Lucban longganisa.

The sombrero and the sorpresa within it were harbingers for HSBC’s newest campaign,“Together, Let’s Love Local.”

HSBC’s “Together, Let’s Love Local” campaign aims to help world-class Philippine-made brands to flourish by encouraging consumers to buy local, thus helping provide jobs to artisans and staff serving at top-notch restaurants and destinations facing challenges at this time. By supporting this campaign, HSBC credit card holders will enjoy exclusive offers as they purchase locally made products, relish Filipino flavors in local restaurants, and stay in Philippine-operated hotels and resorts.

Participating brands include Kultura, Pili Ani, Rustan’s, Ellana Minerals Cosmetics, Sesou Nature Source, XO46 Heritage Bistro, Vitalis Villas Ilocos, Boracay Tropics Resort Hotel, Hotel Luna Vigan, and Le Monet Hotel Baguio.

“HSBC has been helping build the nation for the past 145 years in the Philippines, and we continue to do so especially during these challenging times.  Through our partnerships and credit card campaigns, we want to enable customers to support these initiatives with a cause – be it helping our medical community, making online education more accessible, or supporting local businesses and providing livelihood to millions of Filipinos,” shared Peter Faulhaber, HSBC Philippines head of Wealth and Personal Banking.

“Together, we help the nation recover and fuel the engine for the local economy to thrive,” Peter added.

(For more details, you may visit Love Local Red Hot Deals | Credit Card Offers – HSBC PH)


Getting ready: Start your day right with coffee from Hineleban Farms.

Since I can’t start my day without coffee — I just love its perks and comforts — it gave me such a lift to receive from Jan Chavez Arceo packs of coffee beans from Hineleban Farms in Bukidnon.

Hineleban is symbolized by an abundant Ficus tree in the midst of the rainforest, surrounded by bees gathering nectar. According to its brochure, “the farm’s mission is to reforest the Mindanao mountain ranges and to create sustainable livelihood for indigenous people, especially farmers, through its Transformational Business Partnerships.”

Nestled at the foothills of Mt. Kitanglad in Bukidnon, Hineleban Farms has been transformed into a paradise with indigenous tree species and wildlife. They also have adlai grain, said to be a healthy substitute to rice and known abroad as “Job’s Tears.” The farm also produces turmeric, touted to be a superfood that reportedly prevents heart disease, detoxifies the liver among others.

(For inquiries, go to

But what really made my day was when Jan told me, “One day, Capt. Ri will prepare coffee for you. Hopefully it will be Hineleban.” In my dreams.

But my dream, really, is that every time I put something good and nourishing in my mouth, I am able to help nourish another Filipino who may have nothing to put in his.

(You may e-mail me at Follow me on Instagram @joanneraeramirez.)


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