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They say you are what you eat. The food you consume or the lack thereof, defines you as a person. In some cases, it can determine your fate. In a nation where people toil to defy hunger, putting food on the table is a daily struggle. Hand-to-mouth existence is still a reality for millions of Filipinos.

In the municipality of Tarangnan , Eastern Samar, considered as having the highest malnutrition rate in Eastern Visayas , constant hunger and malnutrition reigns in the most vulnerable families. Barangay Mancares, a coastal community in Tarangnan, is home to Mercy Matilla. She lives with her husband Sonny and their six children. Thin and underweight, they are all malnourished.

Despite the couple's combined efforts as a crab hunter and a laundrywoman, the family income is never enough to feed every member of the family. On some days, they only subsist on thirty pesos, enough to buy them one kilo of rice, nothing more. Once in a while, the family is unable to eat at all, surviving only on root crops and hot water.

Thus, Mercy's children go to school hungry, always skipping recess and coming home to a lunch of rice and salt. At times, they cut classes, unable to bear the pangs of hunger. Her four year old son Brian says, he dreams of becoming a fisherman one day so he can catch a big fish to eat.

As I-Witness celebrates its 12th anniversary, Sandra Aguinaldo goes back to the fundamentals of documentary filmmaking. In her 72- hour immersion, she will join Mercy's family's constant hunt for one of man's most basic needs—food.

Sandra Aguinaldo immerses herself into the lives of the hungry on I-Witness: Sa Piling ng Wala documentaries.