COVID-19 continues to devastate the world with a second wave that’s affecting hundreds of people every day. The Philippines continue to remain in quarantine with the mandatory modified extreme community quarantine (MECQ) guidelines affecting not just the country’s business landscape but Filipino’s mental health.

To cope with the pandemic, multi-awarded painter Dindo Llana, known for his sociopolitical satires that incorporate local cuisine, political leaders, and Filipino folklore developed a new canvass for his art – food. Dindo’s usual medium of acrylic in either canvass or wood was replaced by ingredients from his meals.

“I lost my job. I have to deal with that loss of income together with the psychological and emotional impact of the pandemic. I’m in constant paranoia and fear of catching the virus. Going out of the house even if needed is a psychological and physical struggle, having the constant fear of catching the virus if i breach just one protocol,” relates Dindo who worked as art director for 24 years in the advertising industry before focusing on his painting.

“Aside from preparing mask, face shield, bag, and attire for going out, I have to ready disinfectant and containers in the holding area and ready things for bathing when i return home. There’s no actual face to face interaction with friends and relatives. I can’t touch them, more so hug them, being always at least a meter away. Thank God for technology, there’s at least a semblance of interaction… The farthest I’ve been in more than four months is 3 kilometres away from home,” he continues.

Dindo’s work continues his social commentary and extends his thanks to all his friends who extended their help. His first works were reminders to follow protocols: stay at home, wash hands frequently, and social distancing.


“But the first political commentary was a breakfast i made when the emergency powers of Pres. Duterte was granted by the legislative body. I called it Power Breakfast. The emergency powers he was being given was encompassing and was not necessary, given his existing powers, to combat the pandemic,” he explains.




 The following are some of his work (so far) as he copes with the effects of the pandemic…


A friend of mine had chicken for ayuda from her barangay. So she made adobo. She sent some to me along with other food. And sent her back cordillera black rice and a hand mixer she needed that I wasn’t using… Thanks for grab delivery, you can book two-way! And let us share during the lockdown. I reheated the chicken adobo with more garlic and bay leaves. Removed the meat and sautéed the left over Sagada purple rice with the adobo sauce. Then thought of shaping the rice like chicken with the drumstick as legs, the ass part as the actual ass, garlic cloves as claws and beak, and bay leaves as “palong”.  I usually just think of something with what’s I’m gonna eat, make something when the meal is cooked… 


It was a commentary on the Health Secretary Duque’s statement during an online Senate hearing around mid-May that we were in the middle of a second wave in the COVID pandemic. There was an uproar… 

I just bought a small cabbage from a street vendor that day. I make it a point to buy from the street vendors who come to our village to help them out. Maybe they help me more coz I’m paranoid to go out. Again, I also had left over rice. So, I just sautéed the cabbage with garlic, onion, and tomato then fried the left-over rice after, on the same pan without washing it. Economy of use and effort.


This is how I felt when the gov’t announced General Community Quarantine without mass testing. Without the proper test, isolate, treat and trace undertaking prior to letting the people go around more freely. 

There’s this “carinderia/sari-sari” store at the village gate where I go to buy chips, canned milk, etc. When i went to buy Dingdong (mixed nuts), there was longganisa! So, I got [that] for dinner. Again, I patronize the small businesses rather than order online coz they have [a] smaller market reach, they don’t have the internet market… There was also a can of Argentina meatloaf from barangay “ayuda” I kept to try. I gave the ayudas (rice and canned goods) to Conspi* staff, some to our village security guards.

I fried the longanisa and meatloaf then the rice after. Then topped the rice with Japanese rice toppings given by a friend.



Deep into the pandemic, I felt that the Inter-Agency Task Force (AITF) and the National Task Force (NTF), the group tasked to fight the COVID pandemic, the group with Digong*  in his late late late late late night show, were juggling with our lives pointlessly… And I felt so helpless and hopeless… The groups are composed mostly of military generals. They make actions and come up with rules and force them on us without consulting the experts: the medical experts, epidemiologists, scientists… Heck, these are the experts who should be heading those groups and they’re not even consulted! And why address the nation at midnight? Unprofessional, unpresidential! On top of that, the admin was pushing for the Terror Law and closing down a TV Network!

Tofu and saluyot adobo in 3 kinds of vinegar (Ilocos vinegar, balsamic, and red wine vinegar) and alamang-hibe rice. It was actually a left-over meal from the day before. I like adobo when it’s a day or two old…


Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque proclaimed victory with a fist bump on June 30 against the UP prediction of 40,000 cases by the end of June. There were actually 46,335 positive cases that day but 37,514 confirmed cases. Test backlog and DOH inefficient data recording… 

Tofu and saluyot adobo in 3 kinds of vinegar (Ilocos vinegar, balsamic, and red wine vinegar) and purple Sagada rice. This was the meal before No Consultation.


Kalabasa, kangkong, ampalaya, sibuyas in gata. It was already in a bowl and I was about to eat when I realized I can try to make Trump! That was the time when he was on the news suggesting disinfectants can be injected to cure COVID…

Kalabasa sent by a friend (i also made a smiley out of it). Kangkong, ampalaya, and sibuyas from a street vendor. Gata mix from the carinderia.


This was at the start of GCQ (General Community Quarantine). A reminder to wear a mask coz it’s more dangerous out there GCQ being proclaimed without going through mass testing…

The mangoes from a friend was going over ripe so i had to eat some and made some into mango jam. There was also cassava wrap from another friend and I had left over cream from making ice cream.


This was more than a month into the lockdown and first time that a fish vendor came to our street! I bought pechay, okra, corn, and tomatoes earlier from a street vendor. I have lots of ginger for salabat.

I just steamed them together and thought of dressing up the galunggong after…


I started planting towards the end of ECQ. I was too afraid and paranoid of the virus earlier in the lockdown to think of planting… Now i have, ginger, lemongrass, basil, mint, ternatea, ampalaya, patola, kalabasa, okra, kamatis, talong, and camote. Some from kitchen scraps, some from seeds, some given by a friend and some bartered with a drawing. All potted in the verandah...

Camote tops 1 was the first harvest. With egg and purple rice. Sprinkled with nutritional yeast given by a friend, chia, pumpkin, and flax seeds, camote tops 2 is a more recent harvest showered with vinegrette (virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar) sprinkled with nutritional yeast and hemp hearts, both sent by a friend.

This current pandemic brings out so many things in all of us. What we all must do is to consider this a challenge to bring out a more positive version of ourselves, if not more hopeful. Find out what floats your boat these days and who knows, there might be an artist inside you. 


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