First We Feast

Last summer, First We Feast“, a documentary essay by Alice Sarmiento (Alum NYC ’19) was published in Schloss-Post.

»Kain!« »Kain ka muna!« or »Kain tayo!« are common ways to demonstrate Philippine hospitality. They all roughly translate to the same thing: »Let’s eat.« In her documentary essay, Alice Sarmiento reports on the life, and motivations, and cultural backgrounds of German-Filipino women. Sarmiento traces down that many of these women are part of a larger community, in which hospitality, personal and professional development, but also rituals, like dancing, cooking, and sewing together—make bigger things possible for an otherwise isolated population. »The collective,« says Sarmiento, »in this case, can be emancipatory.«

Translated from English to Hiligaynon by Allyn May Canja.

»Through the work of women like Chuchi and Lourdes, it becomes evident how these seemingly clandestine concerns—dance, cooking, needlepoint—make bigger things possible for an otherwise isolated population.« Photo by Adi Zufall, 2019.

“The Bürgersaal Rathaus in Herbolzheim-Neudenau does not turn up on Google Maps after the first search. After several tries, I realize and accept that what I am looking for will not be easy to find. I make plans instead to arrive an hour early and just explore the town where I have set an appointment with LuViMin e.V. – a charity organization formed by Filipina migrants in Germany.”

left: »This is Lourdes Pfisterer, founder and President of LuViMin, gemeinnütziger Verein für Hilfsbedürftige auf den Philippinen e.V.« Photo by Adi Zufall, 2019. right: »[Our] food signifies entering domestic spaces, and with these, broader discussions on gendered labor and the industrialization of care— from the household to the hospital.« Clockwise from bottom left: Sinta Wibowo, Vatey Tan, the author, Amelia Fischer, Jenny Pfleiderer, Annie Strobel. Photo by Adi Zufall, 2019.

»The Filipino population in Germany is well over 50,000, with about 3,500 in the southern German province of Baden-Württemberg alone, spreading across the vast region and clustering only in the usual spots commonly attributed to the diaspora.«


About Alice Sarmiento
Alice Sarmiento, Manila/Philippines — Cultural journalism, Solitude fellow 2019

Alice Sarmiento is a writer and independent curator born and raised in Manila, Philippines. She fosters small animals, sews on occasion, and writes for a living. Alice has published work with a number of magazines and journals, including Ideas, the online publication of Asia Art Archive, and the Art Studies series published by the Japan Foundation Asia Center. She is a cofounder of Grrrl Gang Manila, stubbornly clinging to the notion that another world is possible.