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by Nandika Ravi

Wesley Altuna was one of the many people to be laid off from a full-time position due to the pandemic. What he didn’t expect was this experience would be life changing. He channelled his depression and emotional stress, to do what he loves best – cooking Filipino food.

“I would cook so much food that I’d have leftovers, which I’d pack and drop it off to friends all around the city,” Altuna said.

Wesley Altuna and his friend| Photo by BAWANG TO

His closest friend, who’s now a business partner, advised that he start putting up menus on social media, that would help him earn some money. After a Vlog of Altuna cooking traditional Filipino food went viral and garnered a million views, his business started booming. ‘Bawang TO’ serves home cooked Filipino meals. It started off with just 3-4 orders each day, and is now a full-fledged restaurant that caters to 30-40 people daily.

“Every time I put up a menu, it’s something that I love to eat, and I grew up eating,” Altuna told OMNI.

Here’s Paula Saraza’s take on why she needed to tell his story and the impact it made in the community.