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PH brands, orgs join in quirky campaign, jabs on #LugawIsEssential debacle

Teddy Cambosa - April 6, 2021

Manila, Philippines – A handful of local brands and organizations in the Philippines have shown their quirky side by joining the online trend in regards to the recently-debated online trend #LugawIsEssential.

The context draws its origin from the now infamous ‘lugaw incident’ where Marvin Ignacio, a food delivery rider working for Grab Philippines, was held in a checkpoint at Brgy. Muzon, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan by barangay (local government unit) officials since his delivery of ‘lugaw’, the Filipino equivalent of savory porridge, was not deemed ‘essential’ in terms of service.

As the Greater Manila area, including the province of Bulacan, is still under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), many people resort to food deliveries, to which the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has deemed ‘essential’.

The video appeared in the Facebook Live video of the food delivery rider, who streamed the confrontation with barangay officials. The incident went viral on Maundy Thursday, 1 April, which has drawn flak among netizens due to the ‘paradoxical’ nature the barangay officials gave in terms of the item’s essential nature. Despite initially blowing up on Facebook, the trend became more prominent in other social media channels, including Instagram and Twitter.

As the trend #LugawIsEssential spiked in popularity on Twitter Philippines, several known and local brands have jumped in the trend to poke fun at the ongoing trend, while maintaining campaign presence and relevancy at the same time.

Jumping first on the trend is the rider’s employer Grab Philippines, where in one of their posts, they quote that “If food is essential, and lugaw is essential, therefore LUGAWISESSENTIAL”. The post itself has acted as a new local campaign by Grab PH of using the promo code to gain a free delivery perk from the service itself.

Furthermore, the Philippine arm of GrabMart also uses the same promo code campaign to entice customers with a free delivery perk when they buy the ingredients of lugaw, which include rice, egg, garlic, salt, and ginger as staples.

Some Grab PH users have also noted a new advisory message on the app’s dashboard which similarly pokes fun at the lugaw incident, stating that they are “serving you 24/7 this ECQ so that you can stay safe at home while we bring you essentials (food and lugaw included!).”

Meanwhile, the Philippine division of smartphone brand Xiaomi posted a tweet reminiscent of the time of how the founders of Xiaomi in 2010 united on a meal of lugaw in deciding what to call their company as.

Oil company Phoenix Fuels, on the other hand, pokes fun at the debacle by posting an infographic stating the ‘essential’ ingredients of making lugaw, accompanied with a Twitter thread helping online users how to cook porridge. The online post aims to promote Phoenix Fuels’ liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) products.

On a similar note, local weather channel Panahon.TV also posted a photo, enumerating and visualizing the lugaw ingredients at the same time.

As the trend fell into the observance of April Fool’s Day as well, some smaller local brands have also jumped into ‘trolling’ their online audiences with ‘new products’.

On a weird note, local adult pleasure brand frisky ‘announced’ that they have recently launched a new lube product, with lugaw as the new flavor, to which they ‘announced’ is on sale on both Lazada and Shopee.

Meanwhile, local candle scents maker Clementine Scents announced that they have launched a ‘lugaw-scented candle’ to allow customers “enjoy the scent of [the] favorite Filipino porridge, wherever, whenever.”

A screenshot of the Instagram post of Clementine Scents

Other brands and organizations that poked fun on the #LugawIsEssential debacle includes the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, local anime media group portal AniRadio Plus, and Default Cafe Pub, which made a jovial take on the likewise viral photo of President Rodrigo Duterte blowing a ‘birthday cake’ made out of steamed rice.