by Vina Medenilla
SURIGAO DEL NORTE – Due to the difficulty of searching for cardboard pizza boxes in town caused by community quarantine, a restaurant in Siargao island found a sustainable solution by creating their own pizza containers through the help of local Tangbo weavers.
The creation of the boxes
Rio, co-owner of AQWA Siargao, said that the only way they can get cardboard pizza boxes is by purchasing them all the way from Manila or Cebu. Given the minimum quantity, delivery fees, and waiting time that it entails before they can obtain them, Rio and his wife had to think of an alternative. They figured out that a weaver named ‘Ate Bibing’ could help them with the concept of woven pizza boxes. When they reached out to her, the weaver agreed and began gathering her family members and some neighbors to start handcrafting the boxes using pandan leaves.
The couple collaborated with the weavers of Barangay Tangbo. Ate Bibing said to them that to make the boxes durable, it must be woven with two layers of pandan leaves, which everyone agreed on.
Moreover, Rio researched about woven boxes and found inspiration from a restaurant in Laguna that also uses woven pizza containers out of dried pandan leaves.
In terms of production, it takes one day for a weaver to make one pizza box that consists of cover and base. They use abaca rope to bind the boxes.
This initiative of AQWA Siargao is said to be the first on the island. In their Facebook post, they wrote, “Our aim is to have less waste and promote sustainability. We are also helping local Tangbo weavers to earn extra income, especially at this time of the pandemic.”
Since there is no phone reception in Tangbo where the pizzeria is located, orders via mobile are not available. AQWA Siargao only offers pick-up options and customers are encouraged to either bring their containers or to use the woven boxes. Should the buyers opt to avail of the woven boxes, there’s a deposit fee of P150 for each box. They can keep and use the boxes for future orders. If not, they can also bring it back for a refund.
Aside from these eco-friendly boxes, the restaurant promotes sustainability through reducing plastic consumption by using glass bottles in every beverage they offer. They also grow herbs like arugula, basil, parsley, and mint that they add to different recipes served in the resto. AQWA Siargao is also working on a self-sustaining farm project where they will grow vegetables and will raise chickens for fresh eggs. The project will involve persons with disabilities as an effort to include and to give equal opportunity for everyone.
Hopefully, the initiatives that AQWA Siargao are carrying out would be an example for other restaurants not just on the island, but also to other municipalities nationwide.
For more information, visit AQWA Siargao.
Photos from AQWA Siargao.