Annual pop-up restaurant, Conflict Café, is returning to London this weekend—dubbed Peace Day, Sept. 21—this time featuring food from the Philippines.
Londoners will experience a one-of-a-kind Filipino salu-salo, typically a gathering of friends and family for a feast, with a three-course sharing meal created by Anglo-Filipino chef Mark Corbyn of London supper club, The Adobros.
The Conflict Cafe communal dining concept, created by peacebuilding NGO International Alert, is an interactive experience of peacebuilding through food.
The Philippines, a Southeast Asian archipelago of 106-million people, has made international headlines for its current administration’s brutal war on drugs.
Peace and prosperity also continue to be destabilized by ethnic, political, and economic violence from decades of conflict with Muslim and communist rebellions, and more recently, violent extremism, as demonstrated by the 2017 war in Marawi City.
One glimmer of hope, according to some observers, is the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law, which grants wider autonomy and self-rule to Muslim-inhabited Mindanao in the South and is crucial in ending the conflict in the region.
The Muslims belong to a minority in predominantly Christian Philippines.
Filipinos continue to find something to celebrate and remain hopeful for despite the struggles, according to a statement from the NGO International Alert.
They do this best through sharing a meal with each other. Eating together is also central to the warm-hearted hospitality that Filipinos are globally known for.
“For Filipinos, food has always been a way of bringing people together to share stories, talk about any topic—even the most difficult ones, and creatively explore ways to navigate issues,” said Nikki de la Rosa, International Alert Philippines’s Country Manager, “By eating together at Conflict Café, diners not only experience the rich culture and cuisine of the Philippines, but also hear stories of people who are leading change in their communities.”
In the Philippines, International Alert works directly with people affected by conflict to examine its root causes and brings people from across the divides in dialogue to look for solutions.
It developed a conflict monitoring system that helps government, business, and civil society to plan and implement programs that do not result in more conflict.
It also mitigates clan feuds over access to natural resources, and political contests, among other issues, and harnesses women’s and young people’s energies and dynamism to participate in community projects, businesses, and local governance, especially those who are most vulnerable to the influence of threat groups.
Conflict Café is run in partnership with Eatwith.