By KC Santos
JIMENEZ, MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL – Ching De Los Santos-Abata wants to honor her roots through a business that specializes in homemade treats that are a staple of family gatherings.
“In any culture especially in the Philippines, we are taught to honor and respect our elders. I highlight through this business my respect for my lola (grandmother) and the many things a small town such as Jimenez can offer,” Ching shares.
Ching is the proprietor of Lola Luz’ Best Goodies Lutong Bahay Products through which she sells homemade traditional fish-based condiments. If you’re originally from Visayas or Mindanao, you should be well aware that the uyap (sautéed shrimp paste) and ginamos (salted fish) are omnipresent in local gatherings.
Uyap is basically the local version of the commercial shrimp paste, which is usually cooked with pork bits and chili. This is interchangeably called ginamos, its Visayan counterpart, which may differ in color but have the same putrid scent some people find repulsive.
“Even I wasn’t sold to it instantaneously. In fact I tasted the uyap accidentally because it looked like imported corned beef. I think it helped that I got to taste it first before my reservations could kick in,” Ching says.
Partnering with a friend who is an expert cook, she started selling the uyap and ginamos. However, you have to be a fan of chili to enjoy the uyap and ginamos, which are made extra spicy in Jimenez town.
All three flavors of her uyap (Extra Hot, Sweet, and Pork) come in different levels of spice. Ching recognizes that this was not for everybody but underscored its importance especially to the people of Mindanao and Visayas.
“Of course I want to target every niche I can sell it to but I want my fellow Filipinos both in spoken language and taste in food to get the most from the products,” she says.
Both her uyap and ginamos are perfect appetizers, especially for fried dishes. Ginamos serves as a perfect salty dip for a sweet snack of saging saba. Just squeeze lime on either one of these products and your meals will become more palatable and more satisfying.
Lola Luz’ Best Goodies Lutong Bahay Products uyap and ginamos may be more expensive because the products do not have preservative or extenders. Since these are extremely salty, Ching advises to use them with moderation for every meal.
In trade fairs, the uyap and ginamos are sold from P60 to P75. These are also sold in sachets for P15 each. Other home-ade specialties Ching sells include the Atsarang Sibujing (or pickled native onions) (P60) and Lengua de Gato (P300),
Uyap and ginamos aren’t the “pride” products of Misamis but Ching says she aims to make use of whatever small marketing strategy to help promote her beloved town.
To make her vision for Jimenez a reality, she maintains a certain level of quality with the raw ingredients, the cooking process, and the overall appeal of her products.
“I am honoring my lola while she’s still here to see everything fall into place the same way I am trying to promote Jimenez while it’s people are still in the process of making it more viable a place to visit and invest in,” she says.
Get more information about Lola Luz’ Best Goodies Lutong Bahay Products
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