“Manga Pastillas… I want Manga Pastillas of Virgie’s !”…A group of ladies were standing at the showroom looking for Pastillas de Manga, made by Virgies…I was very happy hearing their conversation about their favorite delicacies and its maker. To my mind most of ANP’s food producers had already made a brand for themselves.
Virgie’s started as a hobby in 1974. With PhP 3,000 initial capital, Virgie Chua Started her baking business using her old gas range. Her father, Leoncio Ong, encouraged her to sell her products at New Island Grocery along Araneta Street, the biggest and most popular grocery store of its time. Her homemade recipe Banana Cake and Pastillas de Manga was an instant hit.
With no formal training in food business, Virgie Chua availed of the government services like National Cottage Industry Development Authority (NACIDA); Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) whose assistance ranged from product development, technical trainings and managerial seminars, local study and selling missions and DTI-approved trade fairs. DTI’s Product Development and Design Center helped Virgie’s develop a family look label for its product lines. It also assisted her to participate on regular National Trade Fair (NTF) and International Food Exposition (IFEX) in Manila where she met opportunities. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) assisted her on food shelf life and nutritional value analysis for her products.
She also joins Bacolod Negros Occidental Baker’s Association (BACNOBA) and one of the founding member of the Association of Negros Producers (ANP). The Association of Negros producers (ANP) proved to be a catalyst for her business by exposing her to workshop seminars, trade fair and selling missions in Metro Manila. Slowly, she started to create a name for herself in Bacolod and Manila markets.
From a humble store of less than 9 square meter in size, Virgies now has a three storey building. It houses her showroom store at ground level with 2 commercial spaces for lease, and the second and third storey dedicated for her workshop/production area. Its products are also available in others places like Manila, Cebu, General Santos, Iloilo and in Bacolod City its products are also available at the Negros Showroom of the Association of Negros producers.
Virgie’s Products will also be available at the 26th Negros Trade Fair on September 28-October 2, 2011 at Rockwell Tent Makati City.