First Class

Doctors, students get busy in the kitchen

/ 05:10 AM August 09, 2020

Lorina Cabaluna is spending time in quarantine recreating her mother’s bagoong (fermented shrimp paste) on days she is not saving lives as an anesthesiologist and pain management doctor at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Global City and Manila Doctors Hospital.

She goes to her Tagaytay home and personally makes each bottle of bagoong just as her mom would make it. She is now selling this to friends.


This is not only gourmet-approved but also doctor-recommended. Contact 0975 -7179461.

Josephine Lu, a rheumatologist, started baking while in quarantine. She now makes sourdough ube pandesal, cheese rolls and banana bread.


Her husband, Henry Lu, a pain doctor at Makati Medical Center and St. Luke’s Global, recommends these for treatment against mental anguish because, he says, these are the food embodiment of tender loving care. (Someone will get a lot of love—or cheese rolls—tonight)

But he really loves the texture of the sourdough ube pandesal with the fresh ube halaya filling.

If you have tried making sourdough, you know this is not an easy task and requires patience. My friends even give their starters names.

And if you have ever made ube halaya from scratch the old school way, you know that the process seems simple enough but really requires tender loving care and a lot of patience and strength. To order, call 0917-3209279.

Student entrepreneurs

Meanwhile, the wonder trio of Victoria Unlayao, Camille (Camy) Cruz and Carmel Liana (Cali) Cruz, created “happytizers,” dips that bring the happy to your appetizers. They specialize in baked artichoke dip and cheese pimiento dip.

What’s exceptional about this trio is that they are still in school. Victoria is only 17 while her cousins Camy and Cali (who are sisters) are 16 and 10, respectively. Victoria is in Grade 12, Camy is in Grade 11, while Cali is only in Grade 5.


Instead of just making TikTok videos or playing video games, they started a food business.

“Ninang (Caron Vargas Cruz, Camille and Cali’s mom) was sharing some recipes. She always makes the baked artichoke dip during special occasions so we wanted to learn it. We loved the process of making it and we loved the outcome so we decided to sell it,” explains Victoria.The cheese pimiento dip, meanwhile, is a recipe of their grandmother, Ching Vargas.

The three have learned to become keen businesswomen in the process.

Victoria, from initially wanting to pursue a degree in psychology for college, learned she is inclined to do “something in the field of business.” Camille, who is also an exceptionally talented painter, has developed excellent packaging and branding skills. While Cali, who also paints, discovered that she thoroughly enjoys baking.

“It’s been really fun since I get to work with my cousins and we have our own specialties,” Victoria shares. “We love everything we do which is why we want to continue this together.”

Props to their mothers, Vanessa Vargas Unlayao and Veronica Vargas Cruz— executives at San Miguel Corp. and Nestle Corp., respectively—who have made building a business a fun, educational and inspiring experience for their kids.

“Through this project, the girls have learned the value of serving customers the right way, spending money wisely and making people happy,” Vanessa, Victoria’s mom, says proudly.

“It’s really good to see the girls sort through the operational requirements of setting up a business, from procurement to packaging to quality assurance to customer service to deliveries and balancing their books. It’s quite inspiring, exciting and nakaka-proud talaga (It makes me proud),” Veronica adds.So for those of you who have spent the past five months just watching K-dramas, it’s not yet too late to make your quarantine time a bit more productive.

It looks like we will be here a little longer than we thought anyway, might as well make the most out of it.  To order, call 0977-8494808 or 0917-7950814.

More from the author at margauxsalcedo.com. Follow @margauxsalcedo on Instagram.

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