Thursday, August 25, 2016

El Ideal: The Silay Food Institution by Maria Sigrid Dugeno-Lo


For almost a century today, El Ideal of Silay City, Negros Occidental has been serving iconic baked products and snack items to locals and tourists. Their place has been declared a national heritage site while their food might as well be considered heritage eats in this part of the country.

For Silaynons, El Ideal is synonymous to a landmark, a heritage site, a restaurant, childhood memories, delicious snacks, and meals…comfort food. They had been there in the exact same spot at 118 Rizal St., Brgy. 3, Silay City for close to a hundred years already, with the façade of the old house as the face of the modern El Ideal.


 El Ideal started with the family’s patriarch, Cesar Locsin, in the 1920s. Even while the First World War was rife, he baked breads for local consumers. The legacy of baking was passed on to his children, with his youngest daughter Alice working on paving the foundations of the El Ideal that we know today.


Alice’s daughter, Ma. Teresa “Tess” Villanueva Sanchez continued her mother’s work and through the years has added new products, redesigned the logo, revamped the place, and spruced up the pasalubong corner with their products as well as other local brands. At present she manages their business with her son Mark Henriko.

Among their original products were specialty cookies like bañadas, kinamunsil, masapodrida, lubid-lubid, biscocho de caña, and biscochoprinsipe. They have added so much more, including piaya, tarts, barquillos, and other cookies, among which is the very popular “Angel Cookies.” But Tess says it’s really hard to say which one among their many products is the bestseller because through the years, people have different memories and lovely experiences of El Ideal’s different products. Clients have different tastes and of course, favorites.

El Ideal with the ANP 
Tess was one of the founding members of the Association of Negros Producers (ANP). She is very happy to have been a part of the association because the group greatly helped a lot in the exposure of the El Ideal brand to people outside of Silay, or even Bacolod for that matter, through the Negros Trade Fairs that were held in Manila for the last 30 years.

Through its various trainings and seminars, Tess said that the ANP has taught them how to maintain the quality of their products, how to market them effectively, and to become more confident in their brand. “We are certainly proud of our products,” she says.

At present, Tess at 62 tells that she really has no plans of expanding anymore. She is quite content with their store and their booth at the Robinsons Place Bacolod (north wing), as well as the orders that keep coming in. But she is also open to any possibility, with her son Mark on the helm.


The opening of the Bacolod-Silay Airport has opened new frontiers for El Ideal. In the early part of the century, El Ideal was a favorite stop of sugar planters who would buy snacks on the way to the farm in the morning and on their way back home in the afternoon. It was a favorite jaunt of locals who wanted home-cooked snacks and refreshments. Now, their clientele has expanded to tourists who want their brand of pasalubong items as well as those who want snacks or meals on the way to the airport. Truly, El Ideal has become a by-word in the province for quality food products and they have already made an institution for themselves.

El Ideal is located at 118 Rizal St., Brgy. 3, Silay City. They are open daily, from 6:30am to 6:30pm.







31st Negros Trade Fair "One Sweet Spot"
September 14-16, 2016, 
Glorietta Mall, Makati











About the Author

Jessel Munoz

Author & Editor

The Negros Trade Fair is the longest running provincial trade fair in the Philippines held annually in Metro Manila since 1985.

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