HomeSoutheast Asian Media Studiesvol. 3 no. 1 (2021)

Nostalgia for Normalcy: Online Produsage in a Filipino Food-Related Facebook Group Amidst a Pandemic

Samuel Cabbuag



Interest groups have been flourishing on Facebook since the creation of the Facebook Groups feature. Focusing on interest groups that are into food, the author examined the Facebook group “What’s your ulam pare?,” which is composed of members who post pictures of their food and other food-related memes. Putting the lens on online produsage (Axel Bruns 2008) and using the digital ethnography method, the author observed and documented posts and comments that pertain to food nostalgia from March to May 2020, which was the peak of the Community Quarantine in Metro Manila, Philippines. Curated online posts ranged from trending food hacks to creative recipes using canned foods, and from recreated restaurant food to comments and discussions posted about new developments during the Community Quarantine in Metro Manila, Philippines. An examination of these online posts and discussions showed notions of nostalgia for normalcy among the Facebook group members. Moreover, the act of posting and participating in the discussions is seen as a way to compensate for deprivation of face-to-face interactions. More than the craving for food, findings showed that the Facebook group “What’s your ulam pare?” fostered a collective memory-making of connectedness.