Vargas: Savor Negrense heritage foods-A A +A
By Mark Vargas
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
BAILON Foods has been in existence for nearly 26 years. It has been known to make the tastiest piaya in the world. Its unique and distinctive crunchy dough is neither flaky nor powdery and its inside is lightly coated with naturally sweet muscovado.
Four years ago, the Negros Occidental provincial government under Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. ordered 5,000 pieces of Bailon Foods piaya to be served as giveaways for the official coffee time during the Japan Association of Travel Agencies Convention in Tokyo Big Sight Convention Center in Tokyo, Japan.
Panaad Park and Stadium manager Ian de Ramos was one of the delegates and he was the one who called up Bailon Foods Restaurant to place the order.
Bailon Foods also produces fresh lumpia, chicken meat-filled empanada, vegetable-rich panara, and meaty siopao.
Native delicacies like budbud, cassava cake, alupi, suman, suman latik are also available. Spanish-inspired valenciana is also a favorite.
Bailon Foods began as Varmont, with Concepcion “Lola Conching” Unson Montelibano, who was married to Vicente Bailon. Lola Conching handed down the treasured recipes to her daughters Remedios Javellana and Lourdes Tanpinco and to her only son Roberto (Bobby) who is married to my aunt, Esperanza “Nena” Vargas.
Varmont opened in 1968 as a partnership among Mama Nena, and my aunts Isabelita Vargas-Medina and Amelia Montelibano who is married to my uncle, Rene Vargas.
It was then located at the Plaza Mart, fronting the Bacolod Public Plaza and steps away from grand dame, the Sea Breeze Hotel.
Varmont closed but was later re-opened as Bailon Foods. It was re-located in a non-descript shop downtown at the corner of San Sebastian and San Juan Streets. Nevertheless, it is still offering the same tasty treats as Varmont did.
I currently manage Bailon Foods with the help of Miss Nelia Tuiza.
In the late 70s, Mama Nena had the foresight to expand the business to Manila, entrusting the startup and management of the business to Miss Fely Besus (Nanay Miss) and she still masterfully runs the business until today.
Located in 1115 Rodriquez Avenue, Bangkal, Makati, its customers range from families and business, to celebrities, to Philippines business tycoons, to the Philippine Congress and Senate and Malacañang, from the time of former president Ferdinand Marcos up to our present head of state, President Benigno Aquino III.
Bailon Foods is stretching its leg by offering its scrumptious snacks at Negros Showroom, Pendy’s, Lopue’s East, Bacolod Chicken House, Limman’s Building, and SM City Bacolod.
Just recently, we had a pictorial for the business ad campaigns. Focusing on the tagline ”Savor the delicious tastes of Negrense Heritage” the ad features a happy family having snacks with Bailon Foods and it passes from the old generation to the present one with MWAH Models Bacolod Enrique Victor Tumonong, Snookii Thiel and Terrance Joseph Guarra.
The location of the photoshoot was at the beautiful bungalow of Randy and Adrienne Farmer. The photographer was Jay Amarante, one of Bacolod’s best and owner of Icon Photography. The makeup was done by young designer Chino Christophers of the Bacolod Circle of Young Designers.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 14, 2014.