The Filipino phrase WALANG GUTOM, with which we have marked aprons, bowls, and masks, means both the imperative END HUNGER and the descriptive THE END OF HUNGER. Here, we use it to refer to the end of our work in the Philippines and in this “final” post, we will reflect on our experiences and set some goals for going forward.
As we were leaving, we were put in touch with exactly the artists we would have loved to meet on day one. These are Precious Leano and Alex Baluyut of the Art Relief Mobile Kitchen (ARMK).
Our goal in Ozamiz (a small city in the Western portion of the island of Mindanao) was to forge a connection with the members of La Salle University in Ozamiz (LSU). and to inspire connections between the arts, hunger action, and ongoing projects at La Salle in a potential partnership with a cluster of indigenous families currently living in the town of Penacio.
Bahay Kalinga is a program of the Arnold Janssen Kalinga Foundation (whose central Manila operation we’ve visited several times) in which annual cohorts of roughly a dozen unsheltered men are given the opportunity to join a seven-month residential program intended to support them in their effort to (re)join the workforce and find affordable housing. We knew little more than this when we headed off to visit Bahay Kalinga, but were very impressed by what we found there.
While we were in Bacolod, a package arrived in Manila containing our aprons. We were relieved and a bit surprised that they were not held up at customs. The aprons are printed with a version of the Spatula&Barcode logo that replaces the gingham pattern of the Foodways series with a pattern of rice grains and includes the words WALANG GUTOM, which can be translated as an imperative to END HUNGER or the descriptive phrase THE END OF HUNGER.
We traveled to Bacolod, a small city in Negros, to meet with members of Sagup Negros, a social enterprise initiative focused on creating a model for the reduction of food waste from the wholesale market.
This post reflects on several of our early experiences and discussions around hunger and raises some of the emerging questions about the culture(s) of hunger that we’re thinking about. It’s speculative and far from any kind of settled thinking.