Thursday, August 25, 2016

Virgie's Homemade Products

Here is one very good example of how a hobby became a booming business.  Virgie Chua started baking for friends and family and soon her culinary talent became more evident when those who have tasted her goods would ask if she could sell them some.  And she did to the delight of her eager customers that just grew and grew in number.   In 1974, she finally put up a store to fill the request of customers to have immediate access to her delicious pastries and cakes the most popular of which are the pastillas de manga or mango tarts, and sans rival, respectively.

The store of Virgie’s Homemade Products has prospered through the decades starting from being a small space in the Chuas’ rented house.   The wooden rented house had long been bought by the hardworking renters themselves and converted into a homey glass-wrapped store that is now a favorite of visitors to Sugar Country Negros Occidental.  The mango tarts and wedding cakes had long been joined by caramel tarts, cheese tarts and macapuno tarts and other products that make up the 37 items the kitchen churns out every day.  

A visit to the kitchen will show an orderly, airy, hygienic workplace where quality control is practiced - each piece of food item that leaves the oven undergoes meticulous inspection.  The nimble fingers of the workers mix, knead, weigh, cook, bake, wrap and pack thousands of goodies each day just so we may have our tarts   and eat them, too.    Virgie’s bakers make about 2,600 caramel tarts by hand per day, but they make more of the mango tarts, their number one selling item.  So, just imagine that volume of goodies that assure those with a sweet tooth that happy days are here to stay.  
Virgie’s Homemade Products’ success comes not only from tickling the palates of its adoring fans.  A systematic, even, scientific, approach to handling its business is the key ingredient in going strong after over four decades.  As an Association of Negros Producers member, Virgie attended seminars where she learned the rudiments of pricing, costing, and marketing her products with the help of the Department of Science and Technology, and the Department of Trade and Industry.  Joining trade fairs also honed her nose to what can bring the most satisfaction to her prospective buyers.  This not only keeps her on her toes where quality is concerned but also encourages her to come up with new products.  
Virgie’s Treasures and Camias Twirls are proud winners of the prestigious Bulawan Award.  Both are geared for the select market niche and make appropriate gifts for even jaded palates.  There seems to be something for everyone.  From the familiar piaya, barquillos, barquiron, polvoron, galletas and napoleones to the crisp, layered and dainty argellanas that can heighten one’s coffee experience, to the diabetic-friendly Cheese Twist that’s sugar-free and made from a delightful combination of parmesan and cayenne pepper.  

Innovation is important in business and Virgie’s Homemade Products gives us more than we ask for.  


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

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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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