Lots of changes in the life of a 60-year-old ‘longganisa’By Desiree Caluza |Inquirer Northern Luzon
BAGUIO CITY—This city’s longganisa (native sausage) is traditionally small, but it is big in history.
And one business establishment that has lived up to its name as the maker of the city’s well-loved, bite-sized breakfast fare is the Enriquez Baguio Longganisa, a family-run enterprise that started in a meat stall in the city market about 60 years ago.
The Enriquez Baguio Longganisa traces its history to the ’40s when Batangas-based couple Timoteo and Maria Dipasupil migrated to Baguio to establish a meat business.
The couple then established the Dipasupil Meat Store, a retail and wholesale outlet that sold pork and beef in the city. After World War II, the couple introduced other meat products that included longganisa.
Lily Enriquez Cruz, grandchild of the Dipasupil couple and one of the present owners of the Enriquez Baguio Longganisa, says her grandparents learned their longganisa recipe from a family friend in Baguio.
The couple perfected the recipes for the de recado (with garlic) and hamonado (sweet) varieties that became bestsellers among locals and tourists, who would buy them as their pasalubong (gifts).
“Longganisa is part of our heritage. It’s a traditional Filipino food. Filipinos look for it anywhere they go. It always takes the right ingredients to come up with the perfect taste,” Cruz says.
She says she and her siblings learned making longganisa from their mother, Asuncion Dipasupil Enriquez, who continued the business. Aside from native sausages, the family also produced chicharon (pork crackling), tocino, beef tapa and pork lard.
Cruz says their longganisa, which sells for P40 a dozen, was patronized even by celebrities. She mentions actor Nestor de Villa, bowler Paeng Nepumoceno and the late House Speaker Ramon Mitra Jr. as among their customers.
Ray Enriquez, Cruz’s brother and a co-owner of the Enriquez Baguio Longganisa, says their store has attracted loyal clients since the ’50s because the recipe for their top product has been perfected through kitchen tests.
Enriquez, 52, says he learned making longganisa when he was 19 years old. The recipe was passed on to him by his mother and he continued making and selling longganisa when their mother died in 1985.
“I have always been hands on… Of course, the family maintains our secret recipe,” he says.
In 2000, the family decided to change the business name to Enriquez Meat Store, to establish their longganisa’s identity while continuing the tradition of their elders’ Dipasupil Meat Store.
The store produces 60 kilograms of longganisa a day and supplies sausages to several hotels, inns and cafes in the city like the Hotel Elizabeth, Ridgewood Hotel, Hebrews Cafe, Baden Powell Inn, Ferionni Pension House, Everything Nice, Golden Pine Hotel, Iggy’s Inn and Pines View Hotel. It also supplies longganisa to the San Pablo Seminary.
Cruz says the period between the ’50s and ’70s was the peak of their longganisa business. She says the business has survived despite the competition from several meat shops in the city.
“Our longganisa stands out because we have always produced a quality product. We have established a name in the local market,” she says.
In 2009, the family-run business tried to expand by venturing into home-cooked meals that featured its longganisa. Their participation in Panagbenga’s (Baguio Flower Festival’s) Session Road in Bloom that year helped introduce the Enriquez brand of longganisa to residents and tourists alike.
Cruz says they have improved the recipe for their longganisa because they also wanted to cater to the health-conscious. “We reduced the fat in the longganisa because a lot of people are health conscious. But of course, the fat still has to be there. Longganisa is not longganisa without the fat,” she says.