The Philippines, a country known for its stunning skyscrapers and sprawling malls, has always held a certain allure for Andrew. Yet, his previous visits barely scratched the surface of what this nation has to offer. This time, his goal is clear: to delve deep into the unexplored and lesser-documented aspects of Filipino culture. On his journey he discoveres the resilience and ingenuity of its people in the face of challenging circumstances.
Pagpag: A Second Chance at Fast Food
"Pagpag" is not a delicacy; it's a testament to survival. It involves scavenging leftovers, shaking them off, and then recooking them. Andrew couldn't help but ask, "How often do people eat this?" The answer surprised him: "Every day." It's a stark illustration of how some people waste food, discarding perfectly good items, like chicken wings or drumsticks, which are then collected, recooked, and served as pagpag.
The dish's appeal lies in its affordability, making it accessible to even the poorest of the poor. However, there's a dark side to pagpag. It carries health risks, with potential exposure to bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Despite these dangers, pagpag continues to feed many hungry Filipinos, showing the resilience of a community forced to make do with what's available.
Black Soldier Fly Larvae: Nature's Recyclers
Amid these challenging circumstances, innovation thrives. Enter the black soldier fly larvae, once considered a nuisance but now seen as an opportunity. These larvae offer a sustainable solution to waste management and a source of protein for those brave enough to try them. The conversation naturally leads to a peculiar question: "Can humans eat this stuff?" Surprisingly, the answer is yes.
These tiny creatures are essentially protein powder for agricultural animals and can even be used in pet food. Their ability to convert waste into valuable resources is at the forefront of the circular economy, promoting sustainability and resource efficiency.
Mad Honey from Native Bees: A Risky Delicacy
The journey continues as Andrew ventures into the remote, untamed jungle in search of "pisukan," a native bee producing a unique variation of Filipino mad honey. The locals cook and consume these larvae, dipping them in honey. This delicacy is revered for its unique flavor and rumored health benefits, particularly for older people. However, it perilously straddles the line between being a healing miracle and a dangerous indulgence, highlighting the Filipino penchant for taking calculated risks.
Gold Mining in Paracale: Perilous Prosperity
Andrew's journey takes a dramatic turn as he explores Paracale, where men toil beneath muddy depths in treacherous tunnels, risking their lives for grains of gold. The environmental destruction in this region is severe, raising ethical questions about the environmental cost of prosperity. It becomes evident that the dangerous job of tunneling doesn't necessarily translate into higher pay, raising concerns about fairness in this perilous pursuit.
Directed by: Andrew Fraser