Recipes for Rest
and Resurrection

by shaina evero isles fedelin agbayani

 "Sleep" by  Emilio Venegas Jr.  |  ISSUE ONE

"Sleep" by Emilio Venegas Jr. ISSUE ONE



she comes to me in the aroma of taro leaves infused in coconut milk
sacredly seasoned with
the heat of chili and ginger
the pungency of onion and garlic
and the savoury of small fish
dried by the sun & salted by the ocean

she thus returns me
to myself

– – – –

to the sea

*my ancestresses were birthed in an archipelago of more than 7,100 islands bordered into nation
through colonial & capitalist processes, through resurgence and resilience.
I don't know how to swim
*rain cycles remind me of (re)creation: the communion of water & earth & ether & fire evolving into clouds, inevitably surrendering to & reuniting with ocean, only to rise again, holy spirits elevating in invisible droplets... cycles of leaving, purification, return  and renewal
*We are raindrops cycling through legacies of our ancestresses in the process of becoming ancestresses ourselves
*i hope to be a worthy ancestress, but sometimes I struggle to get through the tides

to the sea

*as a diasporic being, i  often feel most at home  in movement and breath
 *in december 2014, i flied to thiruvananthapuram, to seek ayurvedic treatment for a     “chronic” illness i was dealing with for three years that was no longer chronic after 28 days.     My medicine reflected my dominant “dosha”, or mind-body-spirit type. I am learning I am     very,     very vata- of the air
*when i started realizing my own broom-flying-sorcery, i began to remember stories of my great-    grandfather         levitating moving plates without touching them, giving my    lola an anting anting to making her invisible   from Japanese soldiers during WWII

to the sun

*my aunt gifted me with the nickname sunshine
*when I was younger I would wear an umbrella to hide from her UV rays while dreaming of the     social capital that might warm my cold body if only I had snow-white skin and icy blue eyes
*i now find myself continually falling in love with, humbled by, the beautiful glory of womxn      like myself with brown skins,  with hues of the  soils that give us life

to the soil

*sacred oasis of immune-strengthening bacteria. you allow me to connect to the rich depths of knowledge and energies the earth have been brilliantly surviving, thriving, adapting, renewing herself through for millions of years. bacteria I've been told to Purell away through the sterilization-industrial complex...
*my dad who has worked as a cleaner for different periods of his life in Canada would tell us to     wash our hands three times when we got home
*hey did you know white people are selling soil-based-probiotics for more than $50 a bottle?

– – – –

she returns me to myself
to the sea,  air,  sun, soil
she returns me to –  she is - the divine 

reminding me I can find home in my own body
as I slowly savour
on the 29th floor of my aunt's apartment
sitting atop a freshly-built mall
surrounded by the committed traffic  
of Quezon City 

as she heats on the stove
my nose becomes a playground of fragrant foreplay
stimulating my  tongue to release
so discerningly ready with the spirits of digestive enzymes
that allow me to become myself
through the gifts of earth that grace my mouth, via kamay (obviously with washed hands)

saliva with a discernment so deep, deep, deep. 
a discernment           for     what is nourishing
for how to
prepare my body
summon my organs       stomach to release her acids      colon to prepare her bacteria
to  digest, connect with the glories of earth 

discernment deepened by ages
of ancestresses
being nourished by
fusions of
coconuts pressed diligently by hand
to release her milk
taro leaves grown and picked
then dried
under the sun
rays serenading
a synergetic, slow dance of photosynthesis
beckoning nutrients to come out and play 

she has been prepared
with the patience and urgency
of bodies
in need of nourishment
and bodies that know
so deeply
that nourishment
takes time

oh, how laing becomes
more deeply nourishing
more deeply delicious
with patience
with time 

a type of temporality I so easily forget
while surrounded by the hasty-yet-sluggish clock of Manila traffic
made slow
by the infrastructure of a megacity shocked, stuffed, congested by, unprepared for
the rapidity
of mass of migration
from vast, desolate, fertile,  barren
rural fields
where by
picking wild lagundi, infusing her in water through fire, and drinking her with gratitude
pulling luya from earth and rubbing her on chests and necks with prayerful diligence
we can so easily un-congest the throat and lungs that traffic congests 

ms. makiling tells me in a dream that
we can clear the traffic through picking wild luya & lagundi
even as farming  seems to become a practise with
a pace
only for the poor, or those wealthy enough to reclaim it

a pace I remember is necessary, vital, nourishing
while eating slow-cooked, coconut-milk-immersed leaves of       a crop that has decided to
deeply root itself into the earth which, after being in the ground for so long
how long? tkaronto born city gal don't know anything about growing cycles. perhaps my lola knows
as i ask     she and i, we are growing roots so so deep

deep like my body's discernment
that honouring the time
for communion  
between taro leaves, coconut, sun, soil, water, air, salt, fish, ginger, garlic, ciling labuyo
was, is, willbe nourishing and necessary
for ancestresses, present selves, future selves, earth body, my body 

we are ancestresses, present selves, future selves, earth, body

as my tongue merges with hers
i thank my body for receiving her graces
i thank the earth for sharing her body with me
and my ancestresses for their work in cultivating, nourishing, making present the land creation stories
to every ingredient that blesses this laing            I am past and
future merging as I continue their legacy. we are not here because they failed.
If I am here, they have succeeded.

Writer's Bio:

shaina evero isles fedelin agbayani is a queer filipinx fermentation fairy, kitchen witch, and singer of moon karaoke grateful to be based in Tkaronto, with roots strewn between Batangas, Quezon, Ilocos Sur & Romblon. She is a seeder of rootcare (, rebodies (, & pagsibol (