This footage from inside a Filipino slum shows how poverty-stricken locals eat meals made from waste food – that has been re-cooked and sold as a new dish.
Tens of thousands of locals feast every day on the revolting left-over junk food – known as ‘pagpag’ – which is scraped together from restaurant bins in slums around the capital Manila.
The practice – which is illegal – sees stall owners gather half-eaten burgers, pieces of fried chicken and sausages before mixing them together and boiling them to kill the germs.
They then sell the recycled food from the likes of JolliBee, McDonalds and KFC, for between 10 Pesos (15 pence) and 20 pesos (30 pence) a plate.
Despite the health concerns, the popularity of ‘pagpag’ has boomed among the city’s increasing population of poor who struggle to afford fresh food. Officials have even praised pagpag for helping to reduce levels of hunger in the country.
”I eat pagpag every day,” said resident Manuel, in the slum community of Helping Land in Tondo, Manila.
”It’s tasty and I only pay 20 pesos for the food. I’ve been eating this for the last four of five years, maybe longer.”
In Tondo, a small scale market has emerged where pagpag is served up with rice at dozens of different wooden shacks and stalls.
The food – sometimes mixed with sauces or herbs – is called pagpag after the Filipino term which means to ‘to shake and remove the dirt’. It is gathered from the bins outside fast-food shops and the area’s garbage sites.
The practice started more than 40 years ago in landfill communities and has grown in popularity among the city’s poor. It allows people to scrape together a living by trawling rubbish bins and dumps in the early hours of the morning before they’re collected by trucks.
They then sell the re-hashed food, which can also include slices of pizza, spaghetti or potatoes, throughout the day.
To make sure that it is ‘clean’ the street food vendors boil it in water first before re-cooking it into another dish.
Manila Health Department said that the practice is illegal and could potentially put the lives of people eating it at risk. They have conducted information drives and even suggested that restaurants put odorants in their garbage bags to prevent the pagpag collectors from taking it. The restaurants are also being fined if they are caught giving out their leftover wastes to Pagpag collectors.
Despite this, people are still buying Pagpag as it is cheap and easily available. Some people say that it tastes good, as the meat was already seasoned by restaurants.
Welfare groups have also credited pagpag with reducing the levels of starvation and hunger in the city, which has been steadily dropping since 2015.
”We would like to attribute this development to the proliferation of ‘pagpag’ food. It’s very cheap, very delicious and easily accessible to the poor,” said Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa spokesman Alan Tanjusay.