Luisa Brimble is the cultural leader, creative, and changemaker that inspired our BUY FOR GOOD category of products. Following the devastation of Typhoon Ulysses in the Philippines in November 2020, Luisa donated her Wild Adventures cookbook, a James Beard nominated cookbook for Best Photography in 2019, and pledged the proceeds from its sale on Merkado to Philippine community-led social enterprises. This includes Mesa Ni Misis and MAD (Make a Difference) Travel.
Lifestyle and Food Photographer
Our kaibigan / friend in Filipino food, culture and community, Luisa Brimble brought to life the enormously successful Kickstarter project the WILD Adventure Cookbook - from concept and production right through to distribution.
Luisa's work has been recognised by the prestigious James Beard Foundation; and her photography for this cookbook earned her a nomination in 2019.
With Luisa's generosity, we are excited to offer a limited number of these cookbooks on Merkado with 100% of proceeds* from each sale donated to our Buy for Good fundraiser supporting Philippines typhoon recovery organisations.
WILD cookbook is a hardback coffee table cookbook that features 80+ recipes, accompanied by full-colour photographs by Luisa spanning 300+ pages.
Founder, Mesa Ni Misis
Mesa Ni Misis was founded in 2017 by Juana Yupangco, and is a non-profit organisation that promotes the health benefits of local vegetables by creating delicious, affordable recipes for the whole family.
“We aim to make dishes at PHP 250-300 for a family of four,” Juana shares. Mesa Ni Misis works with underserved communities by providing nutrition and cooking classes using affordable produce.
With lives and livelihood interrupted by Covid-19 and natural disasters, Mesa Ni Misis has refocused efforts to provide food for front liners, homes for the elderly, and locally stranded individuals, and also launched Market Ni Misis - a mobile market that provides fresh produce to barangays in lockdown, with produce sourced from farmers who could not get their goods into the city.
To date, Merkado x Luisa Brimble has donated $1000 AUD to Mesa Ni Misis, which has been used to fund the month-long grocery subsidy program for the “Nanays in the barangays” (Mothers in the neighbourhood).
Social Entrepreneur & Co-founder, MAD Travel
For avid traveler Rafael “Raf” Dionisio, his passion for exploration paved the way to a shared adventure in the form of a startup, MAD (Make a Difference) Travel.
Make a Difference Travel as a tourism platform offering tours to local destinations such as Zambales, Bataan, and Rizal. They work with marginalized communities, such as the Aetas in Yangil Village, in creating authentic experiences– from storytelling with the tribe to learning their traditional music and dances. They also incorporate long-term initiatives within the tours that help foster inclusivity and sustainability among their partner communities, such as growing farms and forests in their Zambales and Bataan programs. “This is all in the backdrop of massive deforestation in the country… and the massive exclusion of countryside communities from better education, localised racism against them, [and lack of] access to water or electricity,” said Dionisio.
But, as with nearly every business in the tourism industry, the current COVID-19 crisis saw many of MAD Travels’ projects come to a grinding halt. Faced with the responsibility of sustaining not just their team but also their partner communities, MAD Travel has had to pivot their services—all while keeping them aligned with their vision. Over the course of 2020, MAD Travel has launched a number of new programs based on the advocacies towards caring for local communities in their network. These include Feed the Farmers Today, Fund Tomorrow’s Forest, a global crowdfunding project where each purchase of a tree pays for an Aeta’s labor of planting it. There’s also MAD Market, an online delivery service that sources produce directly from farmers and communities in areas like Benguet and Davao. Their group is even offering an e-learning program called MAD Courses which offers training into topics such as sustainability and social enterprise.
To date, Merkado x Luisa Brimble has donated $1000 AUD to MAD Travel. These donated funds will be used by Raf to purchase 187 trees, which will be planted as part of the reforestation efforts in the Aeta communities of Zambales.
Cover photo from Rappler