There’s more to talk about Cuenca, Batangas other than its local bake shops. Recently, Cuenca Institute celebrated its 75th Founding Anniversary, acknowledging and paying tribute to outstanding alumni who have made their marks in the world and succeeded in what they were meant to do. One of whom is Lucito ‘Chito’ Chavez, Founder and General Manager of Tinapayan Festival.
Chavez garnered the highest award for all of his help in building and establishing the town of Cuenca, Batangas as the Home of the Bakers. Part of Class 1974, Chavez along with his good friend Arch. Nelson Chavez has worked closely together to bring pride and joy to the town.
“It’s not about what you gain from succeeding but from the lessons you learn as you go along the way. Being a Cuencano has helped shape me into the man I am now. I look back at all the formative years, and I know that I have learned so much during my high school years to catapult me into doing my part as a Filipino citizen, Cuencano, and Batangueno,” shares Chavez.
During his speech in Cuenca Institute’s 75th Founding Anniversary, he shares how he has put into practice what he has learned in school. “Wala akong kodigo ngayon. Hindi ako nagbaon ng kodigo dahil bawal sa Cuenca Institute. Mag-aral kayo, kagaya ng disiplina ng mga guro dito,” shares Chavez. (I don’t have crib sheets for my speech today. Because crib sheets are forbidden at Cuenca Institute. That’s how the teachers here disciplined me so you should follow in their teachings.)
Cuenca Institute and its Contribution
For all the years of its existence, Cuenca Institute has produced great minds with students graduating with honors, pursuing great careers, and placing the school on the map of the Philippines. Graduates of Cuenca Institute became great professionals; some have become deans, doctors, town and city mayors, and successful business owners here and abroad.
Chito Chavez and Arch. Nelson Cuevas are some of those outstanding graduates. They have become pioneering advocates for local bread who pushed for the improvement and recognition of local bakers in the country. Part of this campaign was paving the way for agricultural crops to be utilized in local baking. Led by Arch. Cuevas, the incorporation of agricultural products led to the innovation of pandesal made from kamote, carrots, squash, ube, and so much more. This has then led to empowering the Department of Science and Technology as they now develop and use agricultural crops in their nutribun program.
“Si Arch. Nelson Cuevas ang unang gumawa ng pandesal na may kamote, pandesal na may kalabasa, carrot, at ngayon ay proyekto na ng Department of Science and Technology sa kanilang nutribun na project,” emphasizes Chavez. (Arch. Nelson Cuevas was the first to create pandesal that incorporated sweet potatoes, squash, and carrots, which now inspires the nutribun project of the Department of Science and Technology.)
Encouraging the Community to Lift Local Bakery Industry
For over four decades, Chavez has longed for and pushed to lift the local bakery industry one step at a time. Together with partners in the private and public sectors, he has worked closely with the key players to help the livelihoods of many bakers, farmers, and store owners in the process. “There’s still a lot for us to do to bring back the glory of pandesal making in the country. If years back, 40% of flour was used by the bakery industry to create the ever-beloved pandesal, today, only a mere 19% of flour production is used to create our national bread,” he shares.
This is one of the plights of many in the local bakery industry due to several economic circumstances but Chavez encourages more concerned citizens, especially those from Cuenca to take their part in helping solve the problem in the bakery industry and uplift the livelihood that once was the bread and butter of the town.
Chito Chavez is just one of the many Cuenca Institute graduates who look back at the past and ensure that their learnings and journey shape what they become. But for his goal of building a strong local bakery industry, it is essential that customers also work together by supporting local bakeries, and choosing healthy options such as products with agricultural crops incorporated in them.
To learn more about Cuenca Institute, visit their Facebook page. To discover Tinapayan Festival’s new products, offerings, and latest announcements, follow them on Facebook or Instagram.