Eating joyfully with bare hands

Personalities Neri Miranda, LA Tenorio, James Deakin, Tessa Prieto-Valdes, Chef JP Anglo, Boy Abunda and Bianca Gonzales take part in “The Dinner.”


While people in most Asian countries use chopsticks when they eat, pre-millennial Filipinos have been known to eat with their bare hands.

Probably one of the most loved of Filipino traditions, eating with hands or kamayan also evokes positive thoughts and brings back great childhood memories. It even makes food taste better.

For sure most Filipinos have not eaten using their hands in a long time, especially those living in metropolitan areas. With the convenience of utensils and hygiene concerns, people would rather not eat with their hands anytime, anywhere. It could be because of embarrassment and self-consciousness, thus missing out the enjoyment kamayan brings during meals.

To let people rediscover the joy of eating with hands, Safeguard Philippines released a new film titled “The Dinner.”

In the film, Boy Abunda, AiAidelas Alas, Bianca Gonzalez, Tessa Prieto-Valdes, Neri Miranda, James Deakin, LA Tenorio, Drew Arellano and Chef JP Anglo enjoy a full course meal of Filipino dishes with a twist—they all had to eat with their hands—as they bond over a shared heritage and reminisce how going kamayan is something that all Filipinos should be proud of.

Shot without a script and in just one take, the film captures the celebrities’ real and natural reactions – pure shock to perplexion when the waiters took away their utensils – to the experience of eating with their hands.

“This is the oddest thing I think I’ve ever done,” Deakin said, while Tenorio wondered, “what’s going to happen here?”

But over the course of the dinner, as conversations break out and guests start enjoying their meal kamayan-style, the uneasiness gave way to meaningful talks and bonding.

The celebrities delved into deeper conversations and talked more about the barriers that come in the way of Filipinos eating with hands more often.

Ai Ai de las Alas and Drew Arellano help demonstrate how clean hands enable richer dining experience.

Boy Abunda asked, “Anobaang stigmas pagnagkakamay?” Neri Miranda answered, “Nakakahiyanaman, di ba? Kasigrabenaman, nagugutuman? Parangganun.”

Despite the reasons that hinder Filipinos from going kamayan, one cannot deny the fact that there is really something special when one eats with bare hands.

“The taste of food changes when you eat with your hands. Everything is about the senses, right? You have the sense of smell, taste and touch when you eat with your hands. So, the whole experience is improved,” Deakin shared.

As depicted, eating with hands is a way to bond and have fun with family and friends – which was very evident when the celebrities engaged in conversations and freely ate with their hands, finishing off even licking their fingers.

Apart from showing how using one’s hands to eat food can bring about comfort toward the people around and make the food taste better, the film also demonstrated how clean hands enable richer experiences.