A hollow, low-frequency sound or sensation from a bass drum or tympani, sometimes like a rolling bowling ball or thunder, the engine sound of tricycles in Brgy. Ajat, serves as an alarm clock for Cesar Diaz Jr.

At 5:00c’clock in the morning he fills his pot with water places it on fire enough for him to have his coffee. He then picks-up his knife and chopping board as he starts slicing his ingredients. Meat, vegetables, and other spices are enough for him to cook Igado, Dinakdakan, Karahay, Laoya and Papaitan these are Ilocano foods which are loved dearly by Iguiguenos.

In front of his house, he arranges his bamboo sticks and covers it with tarp sufficient to build a canteen-like structure and at 10:00 o’clock in the morning people starts coming in, ready to fill their stomach with Cesar’s cooking.


Cesar Diaz, Jr. is a married man who resides in Iguig, Cagayan, he has a daughter named “Potpot” whom he loved dearly. Prior to the occurrence of pandemic Cesar and his family lived in Navotas City, they once owned a pharmacy which served as their bread and butter. Ironically, when pandemic hit the country, their pharmacy’s operations was adversely affected prompting them to close it.

During the period of lockdown, Cesar and his family depended on his parents and assistance coming from the government to provide for their daily basic needs. The family endured their situation for moths until Cesar decided to relocate and return to the province for permanent resettlement through the help of Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program.

The BP2 program is implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field under the Kapit-bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) Kaunlaran at Kapangyarihan sa Barangay (KKB) it is geared towards addressing Metro Manila’s congested urban areas by encouraging people, especially informal settlers to return to their home provinces and assist them in this transition with support and incentives on transportation, family, livelihood, housing, subsistence and education, among others.

Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.”

Armed with his talent in cooking and his desire to provide for his family, Cesar opened a small canteen which he named after his daughter Potpot. The Potpot’s food hub is a small canteen owned by Cesar in Brgy. Ajat, Iguig, Cagayan. It offers unli rice promo which makes it distinct from any other canteens in the municipality. His canteen is strategically located near the parking space intended for tricycle drivers hence, his main customer.

Through the grants he received from BP2P, the bamboos and tarps which he builds from scratch on a daily basis is now a concreted canteen with walls and roof sufficient to accommodate people even during rainy seasons.

Despite the closure of their family owned Pharmacy, Cesar held onto his hope and trusted in his pots which created scrumptious meals for the Iguiguenos, indeed, with perseverance, determination and a little help from the government, Cesar was able to transition properly into his hometown.

  As of today, Cesar is hopeful that his efforts will eventually fill-in Potpot’s Pot in the future.###written by Kayle Angelie Palattao