Sunday, January 27, 2008

Simply Enjoy Pampanga

Opening in mid-November: Butchie’s Recipes of La Moderna, Pampanga will offer bestsellers of the bakery as well as heirloom recipes of the Narcisos’ extended families and friends complemented by carefully handpicked food and non-food items from Pampanga – in Metro Manila.

Angelo Narciso Songco, one of Apong Ambo’s 16 grandchildren, reminisces “Our family and friends know how our dear lolo loved to throw parties. Every occasion, whether a birthday, housewarming, town fiesta, anniversary was an opportunity to celebrate with family and friends. The food was overflowing but was only secondary to the enjoyment of the family when entertaining loved ones.

However, for visitors in any of these gatherings, the menu was always something to look forward to, knowing fully well that the Narciso family doesn’t scrimp on ingredients and doesn’t do shortcuts in cooking. “Simple yet flavourful” is how Angelo remembers the cuisine of the Narciso family.

Corazon “Butchie” Narciso Lagman, the manager of La Moderna since the early 1980s and whom the restaurant cum bakery-store is named after shares: “Our Calitiran is comprised of only a handful of ingredients but it’s the long process of stewing the meat that gives it the very fork-tender quality and richness and depth of flavours”.

This was the foundation for Butchie’s Recipes of La Moderna, Pampanga.

Heirlooms from the Narciso recipe archives include:

· Okoy: shredded fresh vegetables battered and fried with fresh shrimp
· Lumpiang sariwa – a savoury crepe filled with sauteed fresh vegetables and sweet garlicky sauce with peanuts
· Bulanglang na bangus - A variation of the sour soup dish with milk fish made slightly sweet and savoury with guava.
· Chicken tropicale - Buttery chicken dish with garlic, corn and celery topped with creamy mashed potatoes
· Calitiran, a tender beef stew with mushrooms
· Adobong alimango – sautéed freshwater crabs with crab fat sauce

These home-cooked savoury dishes will be the mainstays of the restaurant and will be complemented daily with other vegetable, meat, poultry, seafood dishes. Desserts, of course, cannot be discounted as these is what inspired the creation of Butchie’s Recipes.

All baked products from lowly pan de sal to the indulgent sans rival are all baked in a traditional pugon oven which a lot of people attest impart a unique flavour to the product.

Pugon-baked treasures from the Capampangan kitchen

· Masa Podrida – Filipino version of shortbread biscuits – excellent with coffee or tea
· Sampaguita – melt-in-your-mouth creamy flower shaped cookies named after the national flower of the Philippines
· Empanaditas – our famous and acclaimed yema-cashew filled pastry and one of Susan Calo-Medina’s favourites
· Mamon Tostado – toasted sweet butter cake slices
· San Nicolas – cookies introduced by the Augustinian friars during the Spanish period – an artisan recipe made from fresh coconut milk and imprinted with the image of St. Nicolas de Tolentino – the patron saint of children
· Turrones de Casoy – crunchy nougats introduced by the Dominicans during the Spanish period made from cashew, honey and egg whites wrapped in paper-like edible oblea
Gorgoryas – traditional recipe of bite-sized dayap-glazed (Philippine lime) fried bread fritters
· Petit Fortunes – tiny cups of rich, moist cashew cake bites. A must try!
· Sans Rival – layers of flourless cashew meringue and butter cream topped with more ground and slivered cashews

· Sylvanna – light and creamy cashew pastry with butter cream filling coated with rich butter cake crumbs
· Inipit - Sponge cake generously filled with a rich flan-like custard.
· Taisan rolls - La Moderna's newest best seller: buttery taisan handrolled and filled with a rich flan-like custard. Model, TV host and dessert-lover Issa Litton describes it like a “Pinoy creme brulee”

Freshly baked bread and pastries are available on special request: ensaymada, mamon, taisan, inipit, garlic bread, brownies, butterscotch bars, chocolate cake, carrot cake, banana cake, and yummies (moist cashew cake with cashew topping).

Lastly, living up to its vision to be a hub of the best that Pampanga has to offer, Butchie’s Recipes has carefully hand selected and invited select individuals who are known for their quality products and passion about what they do. These include Capampangan literature and multimedia materials, Pinatubo ash ceramics and unique one-of-a-kind artworks and cooking implements by renowned Capampangan artists.

Butchie’s Recipes is open daily from 7am to 9pm located on the ground floor of the Health Cube Building, 226 Wilson Street, San Juan, Metro Manila. For more information and orders, please call Dr. Anne Narciso Lagman-Chua on T: (63 2) 385 0387 or email Visit our blog and for more information and a background of the history of La Moderna, Pampanga.

Butchie’s Partners

Butchie’s Recipes of La Moderna, Pampanga is a collaboration among four of Pablo Narciso or Apong Ambo’s 16 grandchildren: Corazon “Butchie” Narciso-Lagman’s three daughters Aileen, Anne Lagman-Chua, M.D. and Aimee and eldest daughter Linda Narciso Songco’s youngest son Angelo.

Like their grandparents, they have dedicated much time, effort and resources in realising their dream. Angelo’s in charge of sales and marketing; Aileen on top of financials; Anne looks after the place as operations manager and Aimee spearheads research and development. All bring forth their experience in their respective fields in the corporate world and have imparted this in the inception of Butchie’s Recipes.

Also, to live up to its vision of being a hub of the best that Pampanga has to offer, we’ve carefully hand selected and invited select individuals who are known for their quality products and passion about what they do. Angelo enthuses: “The outpouring of support from our partners has greatly encouraged us. We hope that others will join us and work on our collective strengths and bring the best of our province to more people”.

Among the support-partners of Butchie’s Recipes include:
· Robbie Tantingco of the Center for Capampangan Studies – literature: books, journals, magazines, multimedia: music CDs and DVDs, small home décor: small replicas of saints and accessories. Tel (63 45) 888 8691 extn 331, 312, 131. Fax: (63 45) 888 2514. Email:, Website:
· Claude Tayag of Bale Dutung Enterprises – Claude 9 signature sauces, cooking implements and one-of-a-kind art pieces. Telefax: (63 45) 888 5163. Email
· Jenny Wallum of Entrepreneurs Volunteers Assistance Charity Foundation (EVACF) – hand-made Pinatubo ash ceramics: vases, trays, bowls, tea sets, pumice stones, and many more. Tel (63 2) 816 0132. Email: Website:

“We envision Butchie’s to be a one-stop-shop for those who want to buy and learn about anything Capampangan. We’ll intend to post information about what’s going on in the province in a notice board in the store and link our website to events happening in Pampanga as well”, Angelo concludes.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Butchie’s Recipes of La Moderna, Pampanga from the onset places value in contributing to society through its corporate social responsibility initiatives.

La Moderna, Pampanga – the “parent” of Butchie’s Recipes – has been in Guagua for more than 60 years and in Sta Rita for much longer (records traces its history back to the early 1900s). Its employees have dedicated their lives in working for Apong Ambo and in turn have been rewarded with stable work in the bakery enabling them to alleviate their families out of poverty, especially during the dark years after Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption in the early 90s.

On a lighter note, apart from parents and children, brothers and sisters, quite a number of our employees have met their spouses in the bakery. They’ve put their children through school from their work in La Moderna. Some of the bakery staff’s children are working abroad or in big companies and institutions in Manila.

A testament to that is Mang Pabling, who has been happily working in the bakery turning out pan de sal and other breads for the past 48 years! Ate Let has been making turrones de casoy for 45 years and has very little white hair on her head – a sign that she’s perfectly happy where she is. We have employees who have been with the bakery for 10+, 20+, 40+ years. Mang Pabling has been with us the longest. Truly, the bakery’s workers are its most prized assets.

Butchie’s Recipes concessionaires also have their own noteworthy CSR initiatives.

The Centre for Kampampangan Studies operates a museum in the Holy Angel University and publishes books, journals and magazines to sustain interest in the study of Kapampangan culture, history, and contemporary society.

Entrepreneurs Volunteers Assistance Charity Foundation (EVACF) produces world-class ceramics from Mount Pinatubo ash. Proceeds of which go to assistance in EVACFs many core beneficiaries. These ceramics are ideal for home use, décor and even as corporate giveaways. Jenny Wallum who leads the foundation with much heart and soul aptly describes their products “Corporate gifts that keep on giving”. EVACF has been around for 17 years and is committed to continue community service and development for the indigenous people on a purely voluntary basis without salaried staff.

Angelo Narciso Songco having worked with various charities in his personal and professional capacities says “I hope to share the benefits of this endeavour to the less fortunate of Pampanga”.

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