Vjandep Pastels Pasalubong – The Ultimate Pastel Variants That You Need To Try

Love Vjandep Pastel? Well, who doesn’t? Ever since this yummy delicacy was introduced in 1990, it immediately became Northern Mindanao’s signature pasalubong. So if you are visiting your friends or relatives in Manila or anywhere in the Philippines, don’t forget to bring with you a box of Vjandep Pastel. They’ll be delighted to enjoy the delicious and flavorful pastels.

Made from the freshest ingredients, each pastel bun is guaranteed to be soft, fluffy, and interestingly sweet. And guess what! Did you know that there is actually a plethora of filling variants that you can try? From Vjandep’s classic yema filling to the squash-malunggay pastel, here are the top 10 pastel varieties that you definitely need to try:


Pineapple Yema Pastel

From the classic yema filling that we always loved, Vjandep has come up with this amazing variant. In case you don’t know, Northern Mindanao (specifically Bukidnon) is famous for their sweet pineapples, so it only makes sense that Vjandep should also add pineapple tidbits on one of its products.


Ube Yema Pastel

To those who love ube so much, good news for you, guys! Vjandep also has a special ube yema pastel for you. Enjoy the experience of delicious ube filling in your soft and fluffy pastel bun. Yum!


Cheese Yema Pastel

For those who are avid cheese lovers, fret not! They have also prepared something special for you. The cheesiest pastel you can ever find is only from Vjandep!


Mango Yema Pastel

Of course, the Philippines is also famous for having the sweetest mangoes. So, why not also make a pastel with mango yema filling, right? Tropical dessert from a beautiful tropical island—what’s not to like?


Langka Yema Pastel

Want to try a one-of-a-kind pastel? Then go for Vjandep’s langka yema pastel. Langka or jackfruit is one of the tropical fruits that can only be found in Asia. This fruit is abundant in the Philippines and is known for its distinct aroma. It’s juicy, and it’s an ideal filling for our pastel.


Squash-Malunggay Yema Pastel

A variant of our pastel that is perfectly made for health-conscious eaters. The filling of this variant is made from two of the healthiest veggies, which means that you get to enjoy sweet pastels with added nutrients coming from the squash and malunggay. It’s definitely a unique combo for a unique pastel experience.


Chocolate Yema Pastel

Of course, Vjandep also has something for all chocolate lovers out there. Make sure to try their chocolate yema pastel. It can definitely satisfy your burning craving for chocolate!


Durian Yema Pastel

Do you know someone who is always craving durian? Here’s something that you can give him/her. Every durian-flavored pastel from Vjandep is made from fresh durian fruits. It’s basically eating durian fruit in a different form! How awesome is that?


Peanut Butter Pastel

It is no secret that peanut butter is one of the most famous spreads for sandwiches. Imagine its sticky and rich flavor in a pastel. That’s totally delicious, right? It’s the perfect pastel to eat during coffee breaks.

Bavarian Yema Pastel

And last, but definitely not the least, is the Bavarian yema pastel variant. For those who are head over heels with food filled with Bavarian cream, then make sure to add this pastel variant in your list now. This pastel is sweet, flavorful, and everything that you’ve imagined about the Bavarian cream.

Other pastel variants to try: Special Yema Pastel, Blueberry Yema Pastel, Strawberry Yema Pastel, Macapuno Yema Pastel, Mocha Yema Pastel, Raspberry Yema Pastel, Squash Yema Pastel, and Green Apple Yema Pastel. Vjandep also has an Assorted Yema Pastel box where you can try different pastel flavors in one box.

Where to Purchase Vjandep Pastels Pasalubong?

If you are excited to try these amazing pastel variants that we have listed above, then check out the nearest pasalubong centers or major grocery stores in your area. Here in Mindanao, you can purchase your favorite pastel box in these following outlets and stores:


– Savemore – SM City

– Savemore – Agora

– Rustan’s

– Centrio Mall

– Robinsons Supermarket

– Gaisano Mall CDO

– Gaisano Carmen

– Laguindingan Airport Pasalubong Shops

Visit also our CDO branches at:

– Tiano St., CDOC

– Zone 2, Bulua, National Highway

– Agora, CDOC

– Passengers Terminal Complex, Port Area, CDOC


– Gaisano Mall Iligan


– Gaisano Mall Malaybalay


Savemore – SM City Davao

– Gaisano Mall Davao

– SM Supermarket – Lanai Premier

– NCCC Mall

– Francisco Bangoy International Airport (Domestic Pre-Departure Area Pasalubong Shops)


– KCC Mall

camiguin island

Top 5 Amazing Reasons to Visit Camiguin This Summer

Make Camiguin Island Your Top Pick for an Awesome Family Summer Vacation

Are you looking for a fun and exciting summer getaway? Maybe spend some quality time with your family and a few of your closest friends?

camiguin island

Summer is here once again and it’s time to dust off the old aqua shoes, ready that GoPro camera, and reserve a few gigabytes of storage space on your camera phone. Let’s create new memories and enjoy the beauty Mother Nature has to offer.

Summer is the time when people from all over the country—not to mention the eager foreigners arriving in droves—flock to the many popular tourist destinations the Philippines has to offer. One of the well-liked summer destinations that people just can’t get enough of is the beautiful island of Camiguin.

camiguin island2

Why is Camiguin preferred by many international and local tourists? Why should you visit the island this summer?

Five Awesome Reasons Why Camiguin Should Be Your Summer Getaway for This Year

  1. The Breathtaking Volcanoes

There is a reason why Camiguin is referred to as the Island Born of Fire. Camiguin owes its existence to its volcanic origins. Its seven volcanoes are among the most popular tourist attractions in the island: Mt. Guinsiliban, Mt. Hibok-Hibok, Mt. Mambajao, Mt. Timpoong, Mt. Tres Marias, Mt. Uhay, and Mt. Vulcan. Of the seven volcanoes, Mt. Hibok-Hibok is the only one believed to be the most recently active.

Many tourists enjoy trekking around these locations and taking in the beauty and wonder these majestic volcanoes and the grand vistas have to offer.


  1. The Two Beautiful Islands of Camiguin (White Island and Mantigue Island)


The Philippines is sprinkled with a myriad of beautiful white sand beaches with crystal clear blue waters, and Camiguin is not without its share of these natural aquatic wonders. Camiguin has two island beaches: Mantigue Island and White Island, although the latter is technically a sandbar that changes its shape and size in relation to the tides.


Mantigue Island is located about 14 kilometers south of Mambajao, the town capital of Camiguin. White Island, on the other hand, can be accessed from Agoho, just a short five kilometers west of Mambajao.


  1. Ardent and Tangub Hot Springs


We have the volcanoes to thank for the abundance of natural hot springs in Camiguin. And among them are two popular tourist destinations that you should definitely include in your itinerary; Ardent Hot Springs in Catarman and Tangub Hot Spring, which is located just a short distance from another popular tourist attraction, the Sunken Cemetery.


Ardent Hot Springs is located at the foot of Mt. Hibok-Hibok, and is comprised of bubbling mineral pools and wisps of steam rising above the running waters. It’s a great place to recharge and rejuvenate your body after a day of exploration.


Tangub Hot Spring, on the other hand, is great for scuba diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. This is the perfect spot for exploring the underwater wildlife and the Sunken Cemetery.


  1. The Amazing Waterfalls


The Island of Camiguin has two breathtaking waterfalls worth visiting; Katibawasan Falls and Tuasan Falls.


Katibawasan Falls is located just five kilometers southeast of Mambajao. It has a height of around 250 feet. A dip in the pool will rejuvenate any traveler looking for a nice refreshing swim, especially during the hot days of summer. This is why Katibawasan Falls is a popular destination for both the locals and visitors of the island.


Tuasan Falls, on the other hand, is situated about 6 kilometers northeast of Catarman. Access to the waterfalls has become fairly easy due to the recent development in the area. It’s the perfect place if you’re looking to spend some quality time with family and friends.


  1. The Famous Pasalubong Pastry


You might be asking yourself, since when has pastry become reason enough to visit any location, or an island for that matter?


Let me ask you this, didn’t you ever want to go to Hershey, Pennsylvania and visit the headquarters of one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world? It’s only the home of Hershey’s Chocolate World, right?


Well, Camiguin is the home of one of the most popular and widely recommended pasalubong (souvenir) in the country, the VjANDEP pastel. Pastel is a pastry with sweet custard filling that, many agree, is more delicious than any western chocolate bar.


If there’s anything you should bring home from your amazing trip, VjANDEP pasalubong in Camiguin should definitely be it.



Five Ways to Eat Your VjANDEP Pastel

Amazing Ways to Enjoy This Delicious Mouthwatering Treat

Before anything else, let’s get something straight. There is no right or wrong way to eat pastel. You can enjoy it however and whenever you want. What we’re trying to explore here are the different ways we can enjoy and appreciate this delicious pastry.

What is pastel?

From the outside, a pastel looks like your typical bun. There’s really nothing special about it, just like your run-of-the-mill pandesal, which is a very popular partner for coffee among Filipinos. BUT if you look closely, you will see that a VjANDEP pastel has very soft texture, almost pillow-like. Press the bun lightly at the top and it returns to its previous shape, like some kind of memory foam. It’s starting to sound really tempting, I know.

But there’s more.

When you slice the bun open, the real magic begins. Suddenly, it’s no longer as boring as you initially thought. Its core has a creamy custard filling that will make you want to dip a finger in and start licking it like a kid.

But besides the finger-licking goodness, how do you enjoy your pastel? Here are five different ways to eat pastel by VjANDEP:

Five Amazing Ways to Enjoy VjANDEP’s Tasty Treat

Pastel with a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee.

Yes. For those of you who enjoy pandesal with a cup of coffee, here’s an update for you; the pandesal just got dethroned by the pastel as the best partner for coffee.

For the longest time, Filipinos have always enjoyed hot pandesal paired with coffee for breakfast or late afternoon snack. But the pastel offers something different and equally good. And the best part about the pastel is you can eat it cold from the fridge or hot off the microwave. Coffee has never been this enjoyable.

  1. Pastel with hot/cold coco.

So you’re not a coffee drinker. No worries. VjANDEP’s pastel is also a perfect match for coco. Hot or cold, however you take it, this treat is an absolute joy. And here’s something you might like: try dunking the pastel in your coco. It’s really good. Oreo does not hold the rights for dunking, so feel free to do it whenever you like.

  1. Pastel with hot champorado.

Oh yes! The champorado is another popular Filipino specialty commonly prepared for breakfast or as an afternoon meal. It is a chocolate rice porridge that is usually enjoyed with hot bread, hardboiled egg, or sometimes dried fish; danggit specifically (salted, sun-dried rabbitfish).

But here’s a tasty alternative for you:

The pastel is also a delicious option to eat with the champorado. The sweetness of the filling, as well as the softness of the bun, complements the flavor and texture of the porridge perfectly.

  1. Pastel with your choice of pasta.

Okay, this might be uncharted territory for most people. However, it’s no secret that the majority of Filipinos like their spaghetti sweet and creamy, unlike the authentic Italian flavor, which is more sour than sweet.

With that being said, the pastel is a great alternative to bread when eating spaghetti, carbonara, lasagna, or any other pasta dish. Don’t criticize it before you try it. The best thing about food is that you’re free to experiment, try different combinations, and eat it however you want it. So just give it a go. Try your pastel with a plate of pasta. Who knows? You might actually enjoy it!

  1. Pastel with your imagination.

You see, when it comes to finding ways to enjoy a delicious treat like VjANDEP’s pastel, you’re only limited by your imagination. There are a million and one ways to eat a pastel, but what is most important is you’re enjoying it with your family and friends.

This pastry is one of the most popular pasalubongs in the country, especially when visiting Cagayan de Oro or the beautiful island of Camiguin. And there’s a reason why it’s so popular, in addition of course to its delicious sweet taste—you can enjoy it anywhere, anytime, and with whomever.

Oh. And you can enjoy VjANDEP’s pastel in a variety of flavors as well, including cheese, mango, ube (purple yam), blueberry, langka (jackfruit), macapuno, durian, strawberry, chocolate, mocha, Bavarian, green apple, peanut butter, and raspberry. And if you want something vegetarian, there’s also malunggay and squash flavors.

vjandep logo

VjANDEP Pastel of Camiguin Celebrates Its 27th Anniversary

Looking back to the history of this famous local brand, it’s hard to believe that VjANDEP pastel has been putting smiles on our faces every time a relative brings home a couple of boxes of these delicious sweet treats for almost three decades now.

For 27 years, VjANDEP Pastel of Camiguin has been satisfying our sweet tooth, giving us a lot of fond memories, and filling up the carry-ons of travelling Camiguingnons and Kagay-anons to bring home to their eager relatives and friends.

This is truly an amazing feat, celebrating 27 years of perfecting the creation of these delicious pastries of world-class quality.

The History of VjANDEP

Twenty seven years ago, a Camiguingnon named Eleanor Popera Jose introduced pastel to unsuspecting consumers by commercializing the product on January 8, 1990. With an initial capital of only P120.00, (what was left of her husband’s Christmas bonus), Eleanor quickly gained back the capital and even doubled it in the ensuing days and months.

Pronounced with a silent “j”, the name VjANDEP is actually a combination of the initials of Eleanor’s and her husband’s names. It stands for Virgilio Jose and Eleanor Popera, VJ AND EP.

When asked, Eleanor, or Ella, admitted that making and selling pastel was initially a mere hobby for her. It gave her something to do and satisfied her passion for cooking and baking. It wasn’t until she saw great potential in the product that she decided to take it more seriously. To this day, VjANDEP Pastel of Camiguin is still one of the best exclusive products of Region 10.

Although VjANDEP pastel is essentially a product of Camiguin, its biggest distribution center and market is its neighbor to the south, Cagayan de Oro City. The City of Golden Friendship is only a few hours away by ferry and by bus. So it makes complete sense for the city to serve as the main market and distribution center for the product.

From then on, travelers from all over the country visiting either Camiguin or CDO will always seek out VjANDEP pastel to bring home to family and friends.


27 Years Later . . .


After almost three decades, VjANDEP Pastel of Camiguin is still as strong as ever. It has been copied many times, but no one can successfully replicate its succulent sweetness, the tenderness of its bun, and overall quality of the product.


Now, VjANDEP is celebrating its 27th year anniversary, as well as the 1st year anniversary of its three new sub-brands in Camiguin:


  • Samuel by VjANDEP – A restaurant serving authentic Filipino dishes that both locals and tourists can enjoy. The restaurant offers a homey feel with every dish prepared homemade style. And it doesn’t hurt that the prices are very affordable.


  • Ba’ay by VjANDEP – A hostel and B&B that caters to all kinds of tourists visiting the island of Camiguin, from vacationing families to backpackers. It is located at the heart of Mambajao, the capital town of Camiguin, with easy access to most of the tourist attractions of the island.


  • Gasa by VjANDEP – A pasalubong shop where you can find all sorts of island souvenirs and food products, from printed shirts, caps, handmade artworks and decorative items, as well as everyone’s favorite pasalubong, the pastel.


As part of VjANDEP’s expansion efforts, Gasa by VjANDEP will be implemented as a rebranding for all their souvenir shops and pasalubong centers located in Cagayan de Oro City, as well as any branch they may put up in the near future.


The VjANDEP brand, today, doesn’t just produce pastel. They also produce a wide range of baked goodies, from bread creations to flavorful loaves and special cakes for every occasion.


Some of their popular products outside of the pastel include:



  • Mongo Bread
  • Cheezy Desal Bread
  • Biscocho Bread
  • Puto Bread
  • Egg Desal Bread



  • Ham and Cheese
  • Ube Macapuno
  • Choco Mongo
  • Potato Bread Loaf
  • Pineapple Raisin


Cakes and Pastries

  • Custard Cake
  • Upside Down Cake
  • Bibingka
  • Banana Cake
  • Binangkal
  • Cheezy Bingka


These are just a few of the many delectable products made by VjANDEP. Based on this brand’s history, it’s easy to see how a little bit of passion, cooperation, and effort can go a long way in starting a family business. From a mere P120.00 capital, VjANDEP is now one of the most easily recognizable brands in Mindanao and the Visayas regions, and maybe even in Luzon.


Shop for VjANDEP Pastel and Other Pasalubong Items Conveniently at ShopLocal

In a place like Cagayan de Oro, food is never a problem.

From full meals to snacks to pasalubong items, you’ll be sure to find delicious treats all over the city. But what if you want to savor some of these goodies but don’t have the time or inclination to go to the physical stores that sell them? Is there a more convenient way to grab hold of them?

Yes, there is!

The Online Solution

It seems like everything can be found online these days, right? Well, the solution to your dilemma may just be found online as well. Visit www.shoplocal.ph, and you’ll likely find most, if not all, of the delicious food items you want to buy in and around CDO.

Planning a trip and want to buy some pasalubong for family and friends? This online shop has such favorites as VjANDEP Pastel, Cheese Sticks, Peanut Kisses, and other products that you’ll likely find at the VjANDEP pasalubong center. Now you won’t have to brave traffic to enjoy their tasty treats!

Vjandep pasalubongShopLocal also has other pasalubong items like tarts, chicharon, toasted peanuts, pastillas de leche, and muron. And if you simply want to grab food items to munch on while traveling or perhaps while having a movie marathon at home with the barkada, you may avail of such things as assorted candied fruits, yema de leche, dark chocolates, and sylvannas.

And that’s not all they have to offer! You can also shop for biscotti to snack on, peanut butter to go with your favorite bread, unique coffee blends to get your day off to a great start, sukang pinachada (perhaps to give your favorite chicharon and extra kick?), coco-honey (a super healthy treat), beef jerky, pork jerky, and coconut dip.

When you visit ShopLocal, it’s really like shopping at a local grocer’s or pasalubong shop, the difference being that you haven’t left the comfort of your home at all and are simply tapping away on your computer. And after making a purchase, you just have to wait for their delivery partner, LBC, to bring the goods to your doorstep.

The products mentioned here are just a few of what you’ll find on the site. Why, they even have ref magnets and a few natural supplements for sale!

Indeed, it has become so much easier for us to shop for a wide variety of items—even food! Now shopping doesn’t have to be a tiring experience anymore. With online shops like ShopLocal, we can patronize local goods and products without ever stepping out of our front doors.

Gift the people dear to you with a box of pastel this Christmas!

VjANDEP Pastel – Creative Gift-wrapping Ideas for Your Favorite Treat

There are times when we want so much to give Christmas presents to everyone we love, but we just don’t know what to give each of them. At times like this, often the best thing to do is give away a universal favorite treat.

Gift the people dear to you with a box of pastel this Christmas!

Gift the people dear to you with a box of pastel this Christmas!

So this Christmas, if you’re running out of ideas as regards what gifts to give your loved ones, why not give away a food item you know they’ll love? You could, for example, give them VjANDEP pastel for Christmas. You know this is a favorite treat among Filipinos and they can enjoy it during Noche Buena, on Christmas morning, or even for Media Noche.

Now, how do you package your favorite pastel such that it looks festive enough to give away as Christmas presents? Here are a few suggestions:

Just Wrap It Up!

The simplest way to make your box of pastel more festive is, of course, to wrap it in Christmas wrapping. You may tie a bow around it and then add a greeting card for good measure. All done! But then, if you want to give your gift a more personal touch or be a little more creative, you surely wouldn’t go this route, would you?

Image result for cans gift wrapRecycle Some Cans!

Do you have some coffee cans just lying around, taking up space? Well, then, put them to good use! Make sure they’re clean, and then wrap them in decorative paper. Place your pastel buns in them, tie a bow around the can, and add a card. Voila! You not only have a delicious present for your loved ones, but you also have it creatively wrapped.

Black Boxes and Japanese Paper

A plain black box can be the epitome of elegance. And when you decorate it with Japanese paper as an accent, it can be truly classy. Personalize it by adding a touch of something you know the recipient will love—a stamp or sticker depicting a favorite character, a favorite flower, a favorite symbol—and your gift is sure to be appreciated, no matter how simple it is.

Glass Jarspastel-in-jar

Have you noticed how jars have become all the rage these days? Cakes and drinks are now served in Mason jars of all sizes and colors. Some people have also started placing their collection of shells, buttons, and whatnots into jars of all kinds. Why not take inspiration from these people and package your pastel in jars?

Choose jars with tight lids to make sure the sweet buns are kept fresh. With the buns inside and the lid in place, wrap the jar in an attractive tea towel or napkin, cinch it with a bow in holiday colors, and then decorate with small Christmas ornaments. Ta-dah! Your pretty Christmas present is ready.


Have you ever heard of Japanese cloths that are traditionally used not only to carry bento boxes in, but also to wrap gift items with? These are called Furoshiki, and they are also used as book bags and to wrap picnic supplies in.

Now, you don’t have to go hunting for these Japanese cloths just to have creatively-wrapped pastel for your loved ones this Christmas. You can use a simple dishtowel, wrapping it around your box of pastel Furoshiki-style. The good news is that there are a lot of instructions and guides on how to use Furoshiki on the Internet. You may even jazz up the gift further by accenting it with such things as wooden spoons, twigs, or leaves, plus a hand-made greeting card crafted out of recycled paper.

Brown Paper Bags


Brown paper bags are boring, right? Well, not necessarily. In fact, they can be the perfect packaging for your Christmas present! If you know what to do with it, of course.

Arrange your pastel inside the paper bag, fold the top edge of the paper bag two or three times to seal the opening, and then punch two holes through the folded portion. Get a piece of thin brown rope, insert the edges into the holes, and tie it into a bow.

You may adorn this simple package with small Christmas decorations like poinsettias, tiny Christmas balls, or autumn leaves. It also looks best with a simple, handmade greeting card tied with the same brown rope that forms the bow.

Your Christmas present may be simple, but it doesn’t have to look like it wasn’t carefully thought of and lovingly prepared. You may not have been the one who baked the pastel, but your effort in presenting it creatively will surely be appreciated. Happy holidays!

trick or treat

Trick-or-Treating Ideas and Helpful Suggestions for Your 2016 Halloween Gathering

Filipinos grab any excuse to take a break and have fun.

Well, here’s good news for you: The government has long declared October 31st and November 1st as Special Non-working Holidays! Yes, indeed, we have a long weekend to look forward to by the end of this month. Time to start packing for that quick weekend getaway!

Wherever you’re off to on Halloween weekend, if you have family and friends in that area, one thing you definitely shouldn’t forget is pasalubong. And because it’s Halloween, you might as well bring treats your friends can add to their children’s trick-or-treat goodie bags or share among themselves on your Halloween get-together.

Offer Uncommon Halloween Treats for Trick-or-Treaters

Trick-or-treating has become quite a popular activity among Filipino kids in recent years. And although it mostly happens in malls and large department stores, there are already a few subdivisions and villages where children go trick-or-treating within the neighborhood.

If the family and friends you plan to visit live in such neighborhoods, you might want to help them out by including Halloween sweets in your pasalubong that they can give to trick-or-treating kids. Not sure what treats to buy? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Peanut KissesPeanut kisses

    Kids will be sure to love the nutty taste of this sweet treat; it can be the perfect break from all the chocolate they’re likely to get. And while it isn’t really a Northern Mindanao delicacy (it comes from Bohol), you can easily find packs of it in your favorite pasalubong center in Cagayan de Oro or Camiguin—VjANDEP.

  2. Chocolate Crinklescrinkles

    Children love chocolates, so you certainly can’t do without them. But instead of chocolate candy, you and your friends could give away chocolate-flavored pastries. It’s still chocolate, but it’s healthier and a lot more filling.

  3. Cheese SticksCheese Sticks

    This may not be chocolate, but it’s just as sweet. And because it’s a pastry, it is also more filling than candy. Trick-or-treating children will be sure to appreciate this treat when they start feeling hungry after all that walking around.

These trick-or-treating ideas should help ensure that you and your friends won’t have to deal with some disappointed and angry youngsters at your doorstep on Halloween.

Have a Blast with Halloween Sweets from Northern Mindanao

What if you just want to bring pasalubong that you can enjoy with family and friends at an intimate Halloween gathering? What if trick-or-treating isn’t really a thing where you’re going? What sweet treats should you bring then?

Here are our suggestions:

  1. VjANDEP PastelYema pastel

    Since we’re talking about pasalubong, you can expect these soft buns to be included in our list. They’re just fun to share with your loved ones no matter what the occasion is. They’re even fun to share on ordinary days! And we’re pretty sure that if you bring lots of pasalubong and this isn’t one of them, your family and friends will ask you why there’s no pastel. So it’s definitely a good idea to put it on top of your list.

  2. Toasted Biscuittoasted biscuits

    You don’t have to go anywhere else for your pasalubong shopping spree; VjANDEP has so much more than pastel to offer. One of the treats you may want to consider for your Halloween gathering with family and friends is their toasted biscuit. Yes, it’s a pretty simple and unassuming pastry, but that’s the beauty of it! You can make some colored frosting and paint monster faces on the biscuits for a truly Halloween appeal. Their circular shape makes them very easy to draw designs on.

  3. Stick Breadstick bread

    This is another simple (almost boring, in fact) pastry you are likely to find at VjANDEP. Why do we recommend it? What could you possibly do with it to make it an ideal treat for a Halloween gathering?

    Prepare some red cake decorating gel (you can make your own or buy tubes of it from cake decorating shops). Cut each bread stick in half. Decorate the tip with the gel to form a fingernail, and then cover the part where you cut the bread in red gel as well. You now have bloody fingers to serve with your cocktails!

These are just some of the treats you can bring with you on your Halloween getaway and ideas on how to enjoy them with your family and friends. But you know what’s even more important than remembering to bring pasalubong on your vacation?

What’s important is for you to go out there, relax, unwind, and have fun!

The CFPA: Fulfilling a Passion and Leaving a Legacy

When people visit the island of Camiguin, they usually go there to experience the relaxing, laid-back ambience and enjoy the beauty of nature. They also go there to personally witness the popular tourist spots and revel in the wonderfully warm waters of the island’s hot springs or their pristine beaches. But your Camiguin trip will never be complete without sampling their delicacies.

Camiguin is popular not only for their sweet lanzones, but also for a variety of food products that perfectly reflect their history and culture. And when we talk about food products from Camiguin, perhaps the most well-known are the soft buns called pastel. VjANDEP pastel, in particular, is a favorite pasalubong item among Filipinos who have set foot on the Island Born of Fire.

Passion and Legacy

vjandep logo

The story of how VjANDEP came to be is an inspiring one. With a capital of just PHP 120, Eleanor Popera Jose and her husband Virgilio turned a home business into one of the country’s most well-known brands. Armed with their passion to grow their pastel business, the couple did not just settle for baking the soft buns and then selling them as is. They found ways to improve their product, their processes, their technology, their packaging, and their marketing strategy.

Among the things that really helped propel VjANDEP forward were the interventions they received from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). They received technology intervention through the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) and packaging innovation training through the DOST’s Industrial Technology development Institute-Packaging Research and Development Center of the Philippines (ITDI-PRDCP). They also underwent shelf life analysis at the DOST-10 Accelerated Shelf Life Evaluation Laboratory.

The fact that they were able to achieve success through considerable assistance from the DOST gave birth to another passion in the hearts of the Jose couple—the passion to leave a pay-it-forward legacy. Just as they received the necessary help to move their enterprise forward, they want to help small food businesses in Camiguin grow by getting the necessary training and seminars from qualified government agencies and NGOs.

The Camiguin Food Products Association

The VjANDEP management’s desire to help small food businesses in Camiguin led to the creation of the Camiguin Food Products Association (CFPA). An initiative of Eleanor herself, this association aims to get in touch with various government agencies and NGOs so they can partner up to facilitate training programs and seminars that will help the island’s food businesses move forward the way VjANDEP did in the past. If there are existing government programs such as the ones led by the DOST, then the CFPA will do its best to get its member businesses to participate in such programs.

The association also aims to help market the products of member businesses. VjANDEP being the head of the association, it is expected that the products of member organizations will be showcased in their pasalubong center—Gasa. These products will also be sold in VjANDEP stores in Cagayan de Oro and by their distributors in Manila. This is how much the Jose couple believes in the quality of the food products that come from their humble island. And this is how committed they are to building a pay-it-forward legacy.

Gasa by Vjandep

The creation of the CFPA isn’t just aimed at giving the local food industry of Camiguin a much-needed boost; it is also aimed at boosting the island’s tourism industry. Right now, most tourists still associate Camiguin with no other food than lanzones and pastel. In a few years, with the CFPA going full-blast with their plans for the food and tourism industries, it is expected that domestic and international tourists alike will come to know more about Camiguin’s delicacies and cuisine.

Tablea, coconut sugar, turrones de mani, lanzones vinegar, and piniato—these are just some of the delicacies you should try when you come to the island of Camiguin. Any of them will be sure to satisfy your taste buds without burning a hole through your pocket because they’re not only flavorful, but also highly affordable. And with the help of VjANDEP and the CFPA, more people will soon come to know and love these Camiguin food products.

Don’t wait too long to get a taste of Camiguin’s myriad gastronomic delights. Plan your trip to the small but amazingly beautiful island now and be prepared for the experience of a lifetime. This is one place where all five senses will surely be satisfied, most especially your sense of taste. Have a feast and enjoy!


The Magic of Lutong Bahay

Have you noticed how, even when we travel, we tend to look for home-cooked meals? There is just something about lutong bahay that makes it extra special, even when it is cooked by someone else and we’re eating it in someone else’s home or at a restaurant. No matter how expensive and sosyal the common hotel and/or restaurant fare is, it will never compare to home-cooked dishes.

Even food and health experts advise that people should eat home-cooked meals more often. Even if we cannot cook our own food all the time, it is recommended that we choose home-cooked meals significantly more than we eat fast food or hotel fare. Why? What is it about home-cooked food that makes it so special? Read on to find out.

The Advantage of Lutong Bahay

There are several reasons why many people prefer home-cooked meals, even when they’re away from home. Here are some of the best reasons why lutong bahay calls out to us:

  1. It makes us feel closer to home.

Somehow, the aroma of dishes you grew up with cooking (even in someone else’s kitchen) just makes you feel closer to home, even when you’re half a world away. When you’re missing your loved ones, a good home-cooked meal somehow makes you feel in touch with them, especially when you get lucky and chance upon someone cooking your favorite dish just the way your Nanay does.

2. It reminds us of the values taught at home.

Growing up, perhaps many of the values you developed were taught at the dinner table, during discussions about school, work, and life in general. Dinnertime is usually the only time members of the family are all gathered together, which is why parents make it a point to discuss important issues, particularly values, at the dinner table. When we’re grown and live quite a distance from where we grew up, sharing home-cooked meals with friends and/or co-workers can bring back those good times when we had those dinner conversations with our loved ones.

3. It is ultimately more satisfying.

Even the simplest home-cooked dish is a lot more satisfying than fast food or expensive restaurant fare. Remember the last time you ate a home-cooked meal? How satisfied were you compare to the last time you ate at a restaurant or fast food joint, spending roughly the same amount of money? No contest; lutong bahay wins, right?

Other than these three, there are several reasons why you should eat lutong bahay more often. As mentioned earlier, eating home-cooked meals more often is recommended by food and health experts. Here’s why:

1. Reduced Sugar and Processed Foods Consumption

A study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health showed that people who regularly ate home-cooked meals consumed much less sugar than those who rarely ate home-cooked meals. People who are used to eating home-cooked meals were also found to be less likely to choose processed foods, even when they eat out. This can result in much higher energy levels as well as improved mental health.

2. Generally Longer Life

The mental health benefits of eating home-cooked meals are considerably increased when you eat with other people. That is because a communal meal can make a person feel happier, and that happiness can continue even hours after the meal was consumed. When one is happy, he is less burdened by the daily stresses brought about by work and other factors. Add to this the fact that you are consuming less sugar and fats when you eat lutong bahay, and you can understand why people who regularly eat home-cooked meals generally live longer than those who don’t.

3. Reduced Carbon Footprint

When you choose fresh ingredients over processed meals, you are choosing to reduce packaging waste. When you choose to buy ingredients from local farmers, you are choosing to reduce transportation just to get food on your table. When you choose to buy organic, you choose to lessen the need for harmful chemicals in the farming industry. When these little things add up, the positive impact on the environment not only benefits the environment itself, but also you, your family, and the world in general.

Adobo, sinigang, pinakbet, kare-kare—whatever your favorite lutong bahay dish is, it certainly pays to enjoy it more often than burgers and fries. Yes, there are times when we cannot avoid eating fast food and restaurant fare, but we should make it a point to limit those instances and stick to good ‘ole home cooking as much as we can. That’s why when we travel, many of us cannot resist restaurants that offer hearty fares, like Samuel by VjANDEP in Camiguin.

Higalaay Festival – Celebrating with VjANDEP

Higala – a Cebuano word that means “friend.”

higalaay parade

It is only fitting that the fiesta celebration of a place known as the City of Golden Friendship is called Higalaay Festival. This annual festival is composed of a wide array of activities held at various locations all over the city, and the activities are meant not only to celebrate the feast of Saint Augustine—the city’s patron—but also to celebrate friendship, talent, and the bounty of the area.

A Month-Long Affair

Kagay-anons aren’t the kind of people who are content with a token celebration done in a single day. We love to party and have fun with family, friends, and guests from other parts of the country and/or the world. This is why, despite the fact that the city fiesta is officially on the 28th of August, the Higalaay Festival is celebrated throughout the entire month, with exciting activities scheduled each week.

During the Higalaay Festival, there are one-day activities as well as activities that span several days. There are also week-long and even month-long events that form part of the grand celebration. The events are so diverse—concerts, culinary shows, agri-fairs, fashion events, sporting activities, etc.—that regardless of what kinds of activities you enjoy, you’ll be sure to find at least one event you’ll love to be part of, even just as a spectator.

If you’ve been too busy to join any of the fiesta activities and events, don’t worry, because it isn’t too late to do so. You can still catch up and have fun with your fellow Kagay-anons and their guests. For Higalaay 2016, these are the events and activities lined up:

August 1 to 31

–      Higalaay Garden Show at Duaw Kagay-an Park

–      Higalaay Agri Fair at Gaston Park

August 4 to 6     

–      Mindanao Fashion Summit at Rotunda, Limketkai Center

August 13           

–      Miss Cagayan de Oro 2016 Coronation Night at the Atrium, Limketkai Center

August 17 to 19

–      Kumbira at the Atrium, Limketkai Center

August 19 to 28

–      Kahimunan Regional Trade Fair at Entrance 3, SM City

August 20           

–      Kagay-an Festival Marathon at Centrio Mall (Start and Finish)

–      Cagayan de Oro Carnival Parade from Luna-Velez to Divisoria

August 20 to 21

–      Cowboy Festival – The Annual CDO Horse Show at P.N. Roa Property, Upper Carmen

August 23 to 29

–      Higalaay City-wide Sale at All Malls in the city

August 27           

–      Higalas Parade of Floats and Icons from Rodelsa Circle to Limketkai Center

–       Bisperas Fireworks Display at Duaw Kagay-an Park

August 28           

–      Religious Procession from Fernandez Street to St. Augustine Cathedral

–      Kagay-an Pyro Musical Festival at SM City Grounds

–      Fluvial Procession from Macajalar Bay to Duaw Kagay-an Park

So, you see, there are still plenty of events and activities you can take part in. Take a little break from work and enjoy yourself at any of the above-mentioned festivities. And if you’re not from Cagayan de Oro, it isn’t too late to come for a quick visit. Enjoy good food at the Agri Fair and Kahimunan Trade Fair, shop at any of our malls, marvel at the colorful parades, and bear witness to amazing fireworks displays. Oh, and don’t forget to relive your best childhood memories and scream your lungs out at the fiesta carnival rides located at the Limketkai grounds.

All-Time Favorites at the Festival

Through the years, there have been local businesses that have always been part of the festivities during the Higalaay Festival. Whether as a sponsor, as a participant in competitions, or simply a business that offers their products on display during the various festival events, these companies have always been supportive of the Higalaay Festival.

One of these businesses that have always celebrated with Cagayan de Oro, although they trace their origins back to Camiguin, is VjANDEP, home to the country’s favorite pastel. When you visit any of the food festivals that form part of the CDO fiesta celebration, you are bound to find a display of VjANDEP’s goodies; naturally, their famous pastel will always be on prominent display.

vjandep cdo

Even if you don’t find VjANDEP’s pastel and other delicious treats at any of the events and activities during the Higalaay Festival, it’s easy enough to buy your favorite VjANDEP products. Just visit their store at the Market City (Agora Bus Terminal), in Tiano Street, or along Bulua Highway. Surely, no visit to Cagayan de Oro will ever be complete without enjoying VjANDEP’s baked treats. Happy fiesta! Have fun!