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Now serving: Meaningful connections |

Young Star

Now serving: Meaningful connections

Yra Luis Gener Gutierrez - The Philippine Star
Now serving: Meaningful connections
Clockwise from left) Zuh Dai, Gab Manalo, Dr. Marko Ruste, and Rica Aquino.
STAR / File

“G!” is what I usually reply to friends and family whenever they ask me if I want to go get pizza. The hearty dish is no stranger to bringing people together.

In 2021, The New York Times reported pizza as a “perfect pandemic option, a comfort food for a time that is anything but comfortable,” and it “can easily feed — sometimes fairly inexpensively — an entire family.” I’m reminded that eating with loved ones is a way of surviving life, especially during strange and difficult times. It’s the connection that we form over food that nourishes our souls.

This is the very message of Sarap to Feel G, a short film by Filipino pizza chain Greenwich. It features people with different stories: Dr. Marko Ruste, who’s always perceived as arrogant but is actually soft-hearted; Rica Aquino, a pro-boxer who dominates a male-centered industry; and Gab Manalo, a deaf streamer, and his artist girlfriend Zuh Dai. Despite their differences, they are welcomed for their individuality.

Building connections over food

Alizon De Torres, Greenwich marketing head, says the short film is about “every day’s ‘little big’ moments” and creating meaningful connections — both often facilitated through feel-good food.

Take Dr. Marko, who, like a lot of Filipinos, sees sharing meals as a way we share a piece of ourselves too. He says sharing is an act of opening up and an invitation for others to do the same. Mealtimes become a safe space.

This is particularly resonant for Gab, the first deaf streamer in the country and an advocate for inclusivity in esports and beyond. Beside him is Zuh, who interprets for Gab and I. He says he appreciates it when people communicate with him even without knowing sign language, using alternative methods like pen and paper.

Some people, Gab adds, think it may be rude to write on paper when talking to him, as if “(they’re) highlighting (they) don’t know how to sign.” But that matters much less than the fact that you’re taking steps to communicate.

Sharing a meal in a post-lockdown world is enriching

The COVID-19 pandemic halted our physical interactions with loved ones — we ate together only via video call or with a plexiglass barrier between us.

Now that things are returning to normal, I ask Zuh why she thinks sharing a meal with her loved ones is important. “Gab and I started dating during lockdown. We always bond and have a break during meal times.” It’s how they spend time together despite their busy schedules. “(In that) moment, we can forget all the other things we’re doing.”

For many of us, simply sharing a meal and spending time with people that matter to us makes us feel loved. We feel joy in the “little big” moments we share with them.

Rica Aquino echoes this and urges us to find time to share meals with people we love. “I know work matters, school matters, but I think the most important thing for us is building connections and relationships.”

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Watch the short film at Follow Greenwich at @GreenwichPizza.

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