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‘Love and passion in every dish’ offered by The Pantry Project Manila

Introducing The Pantry Project Manila, established on July 16, 2020 with a startup capital of approximately P25,000.

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The family of Jansen Prado always had this plan to launch their family’s heirloom recipes. “We want to ‘put them out there’ and share to everyone the love and passion that goes into every dish,” said Jansen.

That plain stalled prior to COVID-19; though it was also the pandemic that made it happen, as they eventually established The Pantry Project Manila on July 16, 2020, with a startup capital of approximately P25,000.

Now What makes the offerings of The Pantry Project Manila special compared to others?

“Before launching each dish, it has been long enjoyed by families and relatives. Home cooks have mastered their own recipes. These may have been handed down to them and they have made some tweaks for improvement. Some have become results of passionately putting creativity into each dish. So you see, there is heart in every recipe, passion is undoubted as they serve these to their families,” Jansen said.

And so there’s a guarantee that “Nostalgia, warmth and home – you just keep coming back.”

Must-try include: Badass Bopis (280Php), Chicken Milinesa (300Php), Chicken Casserole Bake (350Php), Chinese Boiled Dumplings (130Php).

Wanna get in touch with The Pantry Project Manila? Head to Facebook or Instagram: @pantryprojectmnl; email pantryprojectmnl@gmail.com; or call/text 09052700617.

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Say hello to this LGBTQIA-themed tarot deck

Introducing the Rainbow Seekers Tarot, what Henson Wongaiham describes as “a testament of the LGBTQIA people – our triumphs, adversities, and our quest to love and be loved.” It can be used for divination, meditation, self-reflection, or even for fun.

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“Creating an LGBTQIA- themed tarot deck was never part of my life plan,” said Henson Wongaiham, a certified tarot master and advertising professional from Manila. Instead, there was this “unexpected yet seemingly divine development which I boldly decided to pursue.”

But Henson said that it was always “a personal struggle of mine to find an inclusive tarot deck that I can fully resonate with.” And though the physical deck may have taken almost a year to create, this may actually have been a work-in-progress for decades.

And so introducing the Rainbow Seekers Tarot, what Henson describes as “a testament of the LGBTQIA people – our triumphs, adversities, and our quest to love and be loved.” It can be used for divination, meditation, self-reflection, or even for fun. There are no set rules to using this deck. 

GUIDED FOR TRANSFORMATION

In the development of the Rainbow Seekers Tarot, Henson said he did not hesitate to seek help when he felt the need. 

“I consulted on art, since I don’t consider myself an artist and I can’t draw to save my life. I also sought help to edit the guidebook. Furthermore, I sought the help of my spirit guides to transform seemingly basic shapes and colors into art as an instrument of empowerment,” he said.

And the collaborative effort shows, helping make these cards different from those already out in the market.

“Generally, where a lot of tarot and oracle cards have complex, detailed, and mind-blowing artwork, the Rainbow Seekers Tarot took the minimalist, graphic route. It used preset shapes and colors to form powerful images that capture how I personally understand the tarot. Somehow, despite the minimalist design, the cards are still extra open to interpretation,” Henson said.

True to its name, though, “what makes this deck unique is how it incorporates Pride flags into the card designs while still trying to convey the traditional meaning of the tarot card.”

There’s also a tribute to the Philippines in one of the cards, too, since this is a proudly Filipino-made deck. 

DEALING WITH INTERSECTION 

The fact is, there’s an analogy – in a manner of speaking, i.e. the use of tarot cards remains non-mainstream, just as the LGBTQIA community as a whole is also still largely misunderstood. 

For Henson, “there is definitely an intersection. Imagine, two taboo topics in one Rainbow Seekers Tarot: 1) Tarot, which, for some, are still believed to be evil, and 2) LGBTQIA, which admittedly, is merely tolerated and not accepted. Bingo na Bingo, di ba?”

But for him, that these are seen as “taboo” at all “are products of colonization and the patriarchal system that came with it.” And “we must learn to unlearn.”

Henson added: “We need to start having these conversations to educate people that: 1) Tarot is not evil; It can be used as a tool for empowerment; and 2) LGBTQIA people are not abominations; we are people worthy of love.”

True to its name, though, “what makes this deck unique is how it incorporates Pride flags into the card designs while still trying to convey the traditional meaning of the tarot card.”

GRAB, GRAB, GRAB

There is no need to be part of the LGBTQIA community, or be a tarot reader to be able to use this deck.

“We’re all seeking our own rainbow. Anyone can use the Rainbow Seekers Tarot to empower him/her/them to find his/her/their own rainbow, whatever it may be,” Henson ended.

The Rainbow Seekers Tarot comes with a bonus “When Oracle: Rainbow Edition”, which was done in collaboration with Ledz Lim. The basic set (Rainbow Seekers Tarot plus a bonus When Oracle: Rainbow Edition) cost PhP1,234. 

The Rainbow Seekers Tarot also has special sets with crystals, spell jar, candle and bracelet – all rainbow themed. These magical rainbow items are from Chakras.ph, Eclectic Femina PH, Marikit MNL Candle Co., and House of Mystics

For information or to order, head to IG: @king.of.rainbows.

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‘Coffee for Peace’ enables Filipinos to build peace with coffee


Because at the heart of CFP’s operations is training farmers on coffee processing to develop skills to produce high-quality coffee beans.​ CFP provides knowledge on the market for farmers to understand what consumers want in coffee, and the value of what they do for awareness on fairer trade pricing.

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao from Unsplash.com

What if every Filipino, no matter where they’re based in the country, can be a “force for good” simply by sticking to routine—like, say, enjoying their morning cup of coffee?

Davao-based Coffee for Peace (CFP) proves this can be the case as its CEO and co-founder Felicitas “Joji” B. Pantoja confirms that they are a growing community of farmers and business owners practicing and advocating inclusive development principles in the coffee industry. Social entrepreneurship is their business approach to achieve justice and harmony in society and environment.

“As a reputable processor for good beans and an experienced roastery, CFP means business continuity for business owners but equally: support for farming communities. CFP even gives buyers the option to create their own brand under a MOA where 10% of very kilo sold goes back to farmers,” says J. Pantoja. 

Where does the customer from Luzon or Visayas ordering through the online shop fit into the peace building in Mindanao? “CFP by design allocates 25% of its net profit for its Peace and Reconciliation Teams, composed of volunteers from conflict-affected areas and international volunteers. They are trained in inter-faith dialogue, cross-cultural comms, trauma healing, relief and medical operations,” says J. Pantoja.

Because at the heart of CFP’s operations is training farmers on coffee processing to develop skills to produce high-quality coffee beans.​ CFP provides knowledge on the market for farmers to understand what consumers want in coffee, and the value of what they do for awareness on  fairer trade pricing. “We want farmers to be confident about the business side of farming, understand their market, correctly price and inspire the next generation to be farmpreneurs too,” says J. Pantoja.

Once the training is complete, CFP offers to partner communities post-harvest services at cost such as: coffee pulping, coffee dehulling, and coffee drying. Coffee for Peace also offers to partner-farmers and those who buy from them shared services such as: toll roasting, packaging, label design, and photography. The training result is a higher quality coffee product produced by a community in the Philippines.

Nurturing grassroots ‘farmerpreneurs’

At the Philippine Coffee Quality Competition, the top five awards went to Specialty Arabica coffee farmers from Davao del Sur. For jury member Byron Pantoja, CFP VP for operations, this indicates “farmers taking ownership of their craft as producers of some of the best coffee in the Philippines. We need to give more farmers the freedom, knowledge, and opportunity to innovate their coffee processes based on the demands of the market and the limitations of their land. That sense of ownership over what they do is what’s going to make them the best.”

Nurturing community ‘farmerpreneurs’ and realizing the country’s potential for premium to specialty coffee go hand in hand. J. Pantoja says, “Only 25% of the country’s 111M population is served by Filipino coffee farmers. Local cafes are challenged in sourcing good beans. We partner with DTI on bridging gaps such as training, equipment and drying space but getting to a scale that boosts our national reputation as a good coffee producer will take time. From 2,000 kilos at start, we are now at 32,000 kilos and encouraged to continue.”

Coffee for Peace has trained close to 880 farming families from different parts of our country, representing 13 tribes, including some Muslim areas. “Our model is to create our own competitors by giving them the secrets to making good coffee. We want to groom ‘farmerpreneurs’ who are also skilled in coffee tasting, financial management and conflict resolution. We want barista interns to dream of having their own coffee kiosks. For every kilo of coffee, one can make 140 cups of 6 ounces, and a barista in Davao nets 5K a day with his own coffee cart. The same can be done anywhere in the Philippines. Imagine if every region’s farmers had their own pop-up café or coffee cart, neighborhoods will also be educated to buy local,” says J. Pantoja.

“Premium specialty coffee from the Philippines” requires a mindset change that’s supported by the fact that local coffee has scored 80% special quality standard, points out Pantoja. A member of the National Coffee Council, she spoke about the need to streamline various resources from government policy and services and link these to smallholder farmers. “We want every island to join the national movement within the coffee industry to raise the level of coffee quality. Grassroots farmers also mean less carbon footprint for supplying the coffee locals want. We’ve gone to uplands to help a micro-lot owner assess the possibility of coffee farming. We’ve also linked roasters, who used to order coffee from us, straight to the farming community.”

Photo by Nathan Dumlao from Unsplash.com

Coffee and PH culture

Coffee is innate in the Filipino culture. “When we visit high-conflict communities, coffee served from a palayok is good quality. When I brought a sample to Canada where I used to live, the roasters said there was potential for premium quality to specialty. But we can only produce limited quantities. Opening opportunities for our farmers drove me to collaborate—inspire baristas to educate customers, get roasters to work with traders who source from farmer,” said J. Pantoja.

Operating for 13 years now, Coffee of Peace started with peacebuilding work. “Coffee is the vehicle but the ‘product’ is peace. In our peacebuilding work in Maguindanao, Basilan, and Sulu, we saw that coffee makes Moslem and Christians sit together and dialogue to settle conflict. In our environmental work, we saw that Arabica trees are included in our national greening program. Giving life back to forests also give locals a new, sustainable means of livelihood. I tell farmers: ‘You don’t have to go to the city, the buyers will come to see protected forest.’ We also advise farmers to get to know their customers, then the process follows,” said J. Pantoja.

As a case, Korean buyers came to Davao looking for fine Robusta. Local farmers have since expanded to Robusta. Explains B. Pantoja, “While specialty Arabica has fruity flavors like blueberries and strawberry, fine Robusta has a super smooth, full-bodied chocolatey taste like black tea.”

This distinction in tastes can be a strength of the Philippines as a group of islands since, explains J. Pantoja, we can’t compete with the land mass and harvest volumes of Vietnam, Brazil or Colombia, and we can’t produce for large coffee chains. “Instead, our edge is premium specialty coffee, with micro-lot orders of 1 to 2 tons that are of a quality and fetch a good price. Each island can produce a different taste profile depending on soil and fauna of that area. Arabica alone has 3,500 subvarieties, while Robusta has 2,400 subvarieties. The higher, the elevation, the sweeter the coffee.” The growing community of coffee champions and curiosity of millennials can only drive excitement over developing Philippine variants that are also ‘Just’ coffee of the social-justice kind.

For more information, visit www.coffeeforpeace.com and peacebuilderscommunity.org. Follow Coffee for Peace at www.facebook.com/coffeeforpeace.

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Yummy ‘kakanin’ of Dhea & Drei’s Home Made

Introducing the kakanin from Dhea & Drei’s Home Made. “Hindi lang mas presentable, mas masarap ito at swak sa budget,” said Arielou Barsaga.

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A lot of ‘kakanin‘ (Filipino snack food) are being sold online; but Arielou Barsaga said that what her business is offering may have an edge (particularly where she’s selling in Barangays San Antonio in Makati; and Bukid, Sta. Ana and Sta. Cruz in the City of Manila) because “hindi lang mas presentable, mas masarap ito at swak sa budget (these aren’t only presentable, but they taste good while being affordable),” she said.

And so introducing the kakanin from Dhea & Drei’s Home Made.

The offerings include:

  • Buchi with ube filling (P60/pack of six)
  • Buchi with cheese filling (P60/pack of six)
  • Palitaw with ube filling (P55/pack of six)

Truthfully, the ube isn’t as ube-ish as we want it to be. But there are pluses, e.g.

  • This is FRESH; still warm when delivered
  • The buchi in particular isn’t as oily as other buchis tend to be (for instance, like Chowking’s)
  • And the serving (while not compact) is (still) a mouthful

As side note, when savored warm, you won’t taste the filling. But let it rest for a few minutes, and then you get to savor the cheese and ube. Finish ASAP as refrigeration greatly affects the yumminess (besides, it defeats the purpose of ordering it free).

So for those in Barangays San Antonio in Makati; and Bukid, Sta. Ana and Sta. Cruz in the City of Manila), this is a must-try indeed…

Visit Dhea & Drei’s Home Made in FB, or contact 09451337537 or 09615991008.

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