‘Lugaw is essential’ phrase catches on anew as Robredo shares spicy lugaw lunch

April 15, 2021 - 12:12 PM
Leni's rice porridge
Vice President Leni Robredo sharing her lunch while on duty in her office's teleconsultation service in this photo from her Facebook account on April 14, 2021. (Photo from Leni Gerona Robredo via Facebook)

The buzz around the phrase “lugaw is essential” to support a food delivery rider blocked by a quarantine official reemerged among Filipino social media users.

Vice President Leni Robredo shared a spicy version of the local porridge was her lunch while on duty for her office’s “Bayanihan e-Konsulta” initiative.

Robredo on Wednesday shared a photo of a bowl of spicy lugaw or rice porridge on her Facebook account, accompanied by a bowl of tofu and pork.

The vice president said it is her “lunch” while she volunteers as a chat agent for her office’s teleconsultation service which also provides information on COVID-19 response, including protocols in testing and quarantine.

‘Lugaw is essential’ 

Those who saw the official’s post remembered the incident that went viral in late March.

A food delivery rider was then apprehended by a barangay official after attempting to deliver rice porridge in Bulacan, which was under enhanced community quarantine at that time.

READ: #LugawisEssential: Rice porridge delivery sparks essential goods debate

Curfew hours were imposed to restrict the movement of people in a bid to mitigate the transmission of the virus.

The rider was told that rice porridge is supposedly inessential despite it being a meal.

The incident caused the Palace to clarify the ECQ guidelines and note that any food item is “considered an essential good.”

Filipinos, in support of the rider, made the hashtag “#LugawIsEssential” gain traction on social media.

The company of the rider also released a promo involving the phrase.

Robredo’s post reinforced that the country’s version of rice porridge is essential.

“Lugaw is essential…Perfect for a rainy day,” a Facebook user commented. 

“Kami lumaki sa lugaw, lalo na iyong mga nakatanda kong kapatid. Kaya nakakagalit kapag sinasabi nilang hindi essential iyan,” another commented.

Some pointed out that the Filipino rice porridge is perfect for any occasion and that it is nutritious.

“Ang sarap nyan! Masustansya pa!” one user said.

“Lugaw will always be my comfort food… thus it is ESSENTIAL,” another wrote.

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts in a video last March 31 explained that this dish is usually made for children and for those who are sick. It added that it was called lugaw because it is made with “love.”

The National Quincentennial Committee, in a separate Facebook post on the same day, said that lugaw is “one of the earliest documented food of our ancestors.”

“The 1613 Vocabulario de la Lengua Tagala by Fr. Pedro de San Buenaventura, OFM defines it as rice mixed with milk or water or of both (porridge),” the committee said.