By Van Catayong
HAPI-Zambales Lead Convenor
“Give a man bread and he will eat for a day; teach him how to bake and he will eat a lifetime.”
During HAPI National’s visit to Anawangin Cove in San Antonio, Zambales last March, we did a brainstorming activity along the beach about possible future projects that our HAPI-Zambales Chapter could do. Angie Driskell (HAPI Jr. Ambassador) came up with a clever idea: she told me that since Garry and I have a bakery, and bread-giving is our pioneer project, why not come up with a livelihood workshop that involves baking? Back then, I thought it was a crazy idea – how could you conduct a seminar during a global pandemic? But as the old saying goes, “If there’s a will, there’s a way.” And so we finally did!
After facilitating more than 20 bread-giving drives since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we at HAPI-Zambales were able to share our knowledge and skills in baking bread through our 1st Livelihood Workshop. The workshop focused on how to start up a bread-making business. We invited LEAD Shelter clients and staff to be trained in the basics of baking bread. Garry Rabang, HAPI-Zambales’ Assistant Lead Convenor, was the official pastry instructor for the workshop!
Everyone got involved in preparing and baking our products. We introduced them to “no-bake products” which only required simple kitchen tools: with these products, you can cook your favorite brownies with just your frying pan! We also tried making fried products like donuts. Another part of our workshop line-up was making pan de sal, sweet doughs such as Spanish bread, choco bread, and pan de coco. We also taught the participants the basics of pricing their creations and how they will be able to use their newly-learned skills to start up their own business.
“Baking has a set start and end point that helps people feel a sense of control and purpose, both of which help stave off feelings of overwhelm and depression.” – Nichole Beurkens
The workshop was also therapeutic for all of us. It made us proud to see the participants create their own products and be social with other like-minded enthusiasts.
This event would not have been possible without the help of lots of people. Thank you to: Christopher L. Geake for your kindness, generosity, and support for our events and advocacies; Sir Archie Domdoma Jr. of JLGMH-Lead Shelter & staff and to all the attendees; and to Chef Fherlly & Chef Karlo of K.I. Portacio Baking Lab for the guidance and the amazing venue.
“Five years ago, Van and I baked our very first bread (pan de sal) in this exact lab. Who would have thought that today, we were able to share our basic bread-making knowledge and skills to the participants who showed enthusiasm and interest in our craft. Thanks, everyone!” – Garry
As soon as the COVID restrictions ease, we will be able to conduct more livelihood programs and invite more attendees, particularly from the marginalized sectors, so they could start to build their own businesses, help their families, and be financially independent in the future.