No food holder? Go banana. It has been a usual custom for most Filipinos that if they do not have any plates, bowls, spoon or pork for eating, they go banana. No, they do not go nuts but they go on their backyards to find help from a banana plant. Most Filipinos, I bet, already know what I am talking about, that is, Filipinos will cut then banana leaves and will use it as their plates or food holder and eat with their bare hands. This style of eating of most Filipinos has been adopted by a food restaurant in the Philippines, the Binalot Fiesta Foods.
Binalot Fiesta Foods is the first and so far the only Filipino restaurant that uses banana leaves as an alternative food holder for the food one will order for dine-in in their restaurant, as well as banana wrapper for the food one will order for take -out. And this “green” style of them of serving foods to their eating customers is not left unnoticed by the Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility (AFCSR) which rewards annually business organization that enforces and practice environment friendly programs and corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects in their business undertakings. For Binalot Fiesta Foods received the Intel-Aim Corporate Social Responsibility Award for 2010.
Amidst the high-technology and improvement in the business sector, Binalot Fiesta Foods resort back to basics despite of criticism they will get from some people that will see and treat their way of food serving as a primitive way of handling food plus the risk of bad micro-organism that will be induce on foods they serve by doing such handling. But Binalot Fiesta Foods never mind such detractions and concentrate of their “leaf of faith” on banana leaves instead.
Actually, it is a “green” marketing strategy in order to compete well with world known successful fast foods and restaurants like Jollibee and McDonald to get a share of the Philippine market in line of food business, which indeed goes well and have received an international recognition for their undertaking.
It is a bright “green” marketing idea that not only they could profit from it but also in the same time help the environment by reducing the percentage of usage of polystyrene packaging on fast food chains that could bring negative impacts on environment when burn or trash anywhere; plus they could give a livelihood for poor communities by hiring them for manual processing of banana leaves to be use as a natural food holder and wrapper for their food chains through their CSR program DAHON (Dangal at Hanapbuhay Para sa Nayon).
Truly, the leaf has given them a lift on their business and a reap of fruits for their “leaf of faith” on the banana leaf. Nature has paid them back by backing up nature’s healthy ways.
Eating on a banana leaf was said to be inherited by Filipinos from their ancient ancestors long before the Spaniards conquered the Philippines. It was said to be a Hindu or Indian origin way of serving food which has some connection to said to be ancient belief system of Filipinos – Maharlikan-Lemurian kind of belief system- which of course have correlation with modern Hinduism and connection to Indian people. Actually, the Spaniards call the Filipinos then “indio” mean “Indian”. The term “Pilipino” or “filipino” was just the term and labeling of the Spaniards to the true Filipinos to designate that these Indian people are now King Philip’s people, thus the Spaniards rename them and baptized the true Filipinos from Indian into now “Filipinos”; so also the Filipinos homeland, the Spaniards labeled or rename it along with King Philip’s name – Philippines
So therefore, eating on banana leaf is indeed a true tradition of ancient Filipinos whose cousins or maybe blood-brothers are Indian people. For the Indian people today have also such kind or style of serving foods, that is serving it on banana leaves and eating with bare hands.
And this ancient old Filipino tradition was used commercially by Binalot Fiesta Foods.