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Is lugaw, a savory Filipino rice porridge, absolutely necessary?

After a village official outside of Metro Manila apprehended motorcycle riders for waiting outside a restaurant past curfew during the new lockdown, Filipinos have both laughed and fumed at the issue for over a week.

Since March 29, the Philippines’ capital and neighboring provinces have been under tighter restrictions in order to combat an unprecedented new wave of COVID-19 infections that has set new records.

When one of the riders, Marvin Ignacio, was delayed, he was about to deliver porridge to customers who had booked his services via a mobile app. He reasoned that the food item was one of the government’s “critical items” that could be delivered outside of curfew hours.

The village official, on the other hand, continued to give Ignacio a lecture on what constituted an important. Unlike water, milk, and groceries, the official claimed that porridge was not necessary because a person could go a day without it.

The official then ordered the restaurant to shut down right away, as well as the food delivery service riders who were waiting outside to return home.


Fortunately for Ignacio, he captured the whole incident on Facebook live footage, which went viral in a matter of hours, sparking outrage and spawning a slew of social media memes.

“Anyone will tell you, it’s food. Food is essential. Lugaw is food. Therefore, lugaw is essential, right? It’s common sense,” Ignacio told Al Jazeera later on.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s office was forced to issue a statement in response to the incident, with his spokesman Harry Roque stating that food deliveries should not be hampered and should not be stopped at checkpoints.

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“The local regulation must be consistent” with national lockdown regulations, interior department spokesman Jonathan Malaya told Al Jazeera.


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