The Facebook page Gulay Lang was barely 2 months old when the enhanced community quarantine was enforced in Luzon. This home-based business shifted from posting appetizing vegan/vegetarian meals to calling for donations to deliver hot meals to dorm residents at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman.
There are 255 residents stuck in the 10 dorms of UP Diliman, according to the Facebook post of the university’s Office of Student Housing. They were not able to go home before the lockdown. Some of their immediate needs include toiletries, cleaning supplies and food.
Gulay Lang owners Rom Yumul and wife Zofia Leal, both University of Santo Tomas alumni, did not hesitate to think of ways to help them out. They launched an Adopt a Community campaign. They could cook and deliver food to the residents but they needed support in buying the ingredients.
“We got into helping the UP students because they were the first people we knew who were immediately affected by the quarantine,” Yumul said. “We understood how scary it must be to go through this difficult time away from the comfort of home. We know that they worry about where to get their next meal. So we wanted not just to bring them food but to also make them feel that they are not alone in this.”
They started on March 21 and, as of this writing, have distributed 819 meals to eight dorms for students and their staff, five hospitals, one dialysis center and individual volunteers.
“We deliver three meals a day for the residents’ breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Yumul said. His cousin, Ara Padilla, delivers the food to the residents because they live nearby, but they send the meals of hospital front-liners through Grab or Lalamove.
Note of encouragement
A regular meal consists of one viand, a cup of rice and a note of encouragement. “You are loved” or “Stay healthy” is taped on top of each lunch box.
This is quite a feat for the couple that operate from the kitchen of their aunt’s house, where they are living with their two kids.
The concept of Gulay Lang is to deliver plant-based lunch or dinner sets.
“We want to provide healthy, tasty and affordable plant-based meals to a wide range of people,” he said.
The couple started their plant-based diet journey three years ago. They learned how to make versions of well-loved dishes without meat, dairy or eggs. Like many businesses, it started with the couple cooking meals for their friends.
“When we needed extra income, we thought Gulay Lang would be a good venture, since it already involves what we like to do—cooking vegan meals for others,” Yumul said.
The two are also behind the Ubba Woven Wrap made from abel Iloko. Ubba is an Ilokano word which means “to carry,” usually an infant or young child.
Some of the meals they deliver to dormers and front-liners are lumpiang hubad, monggo, menudo, tapa with parsley salad, sopas and pancit bihon.
Some dormers have their favorites. “Gulay Lang meals are delicious and nutritious. My favorite is the veggie kare-kare,” said Ash, a graduate student. She was not able to go home to her province before the lockdown.
They also delivered donations to the “lumad” children living in the UP compound. They happily posted that one of the children got so excited at the sight of corn. They said that corn is a staple in their school.
Gulay Lang is continuously delivering hot meals to the dormers and hospitals. You can ask for details on how to support their cause by going to their Facebook page. You can find their weekly menu on the same page if you want to order.