One easily recognises a Filipino by a few things. The way we point our lips to show something, our infamous psst-ing to call someone’s attention, or how we often manage to make all our dishes distinctively (sometimes overbearingly) sweet.
A lot of the time, it’s also in our humour, resourcefulness, and goodwill that we like to call bayanihan. What results upon combining these qualities in the face of a pandemic is a roster of ingenious and witty community pantries that aim to help the needy — all the while staying optimistic.
Among the many known and undocumented community pantries in the Philippines, some of the ones that stand out are those that come with witty concepts. They display hilarious signages, feature unconventional donated items, and some even encourage trading items for small activities.
Witty community pantries Filipinos have come up with
1. This community pantry in Cavite with honest reminders
The Stock Box community pantry was started by Silang resident Marvin Garcia. It uses witty signages that basically remind everyone to only get what they need, rather than hoard items for themselves which, in case you missed it, people actually did at the original Maginhawa stall.
2. This community pantry in Rizal that also offers soju
Rather than sticking to the usual basic necessities (by an average Filipino’s standards), a community pantry in Cupang, Antipolo also gives away bottles of the most popular liquor in Korea, soju, to the delight of Hallyu fans in the neighbourhood.
3. This community pantry in Davao City with free contraceptives
From condoms to lubricants, the free items in this Mindanao community pantry also cater to locals’ other needs in the time of a pandemic. Locals likewise appreciated the abundant supply of oral contraceptives found in the stall, which is located in Barangay 76-A Bucana.
4. This community pantry for those looking for love
Not all community pantries in the Philippines offer goods. In fact, for this one stall in an identified street and city, a man is seen giving himself away in a jowa community pantry. In Jesse James Joves’ sign, he also listed the qualities, tall, dark, loves the Lord, no issues, and slightly used.
5. This community pantry in Nueva Ecija that trades food for chores
In Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija, there’s a home community pantry that takes the idea of helping one another a step further. For Pau Gelacio, she wants to motivate her siblings to do house chores, but in a way that they will be rewarded afterwards.
Along with the witty community pantries are those that aim to make the concept more inclusive and even environmentally friendly. Such is the case in a few community pantries with free food for stray animals. Some even set up zero-waste pantries that use recycled and recyclable materials. One stall is also being run by members of a K-pop fandom.
Further inspired by community pantries, there’s a community e-library that hopes to provide entertainment and education among Filipinos online. All the same, these unexpected twists to the community pantry movement show how Filipinos can invoke fun and creativity even in seemingly hopeless times.