Gardenia Expands Operations in Mindanao, Inaugurates Bread Plant

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photo from google

Bread market leader Gardenia Bakeries officially opens its new most advanced, fully-automated bread manufacturing facility in Mindanao to serve the increasing demand for Gardenia products in the south.

The new plant will have a capacity of producing 130,000 loaves and buns a day which will be distributed with an increased fleet of trucks all over the region. It is also expected to generate hundreds of employment and contribute to the economic growth in the region.

Gardenia president Jun Umali said the new plant and expanded operations in Mindanao will now give consumers fresher bakery products and continual stock availability and accessibility. “We are now bringing Gardenia breads closer to our consumers with the opening of our newest plant. With our current distribution capabilities, Gardenia is available in Davao, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Surigao and Zamboanga del Norte, Butuan and Kidapawan but we will intensify our market penetration and saturation to widen our network, and eventually, reach every corner of Mindanao,” Umali asserted.


Fully Automated Bread Plant

The 2.5-hectare world class Gardenia plant, located in PHIVIDEC Industrial Estate, Misamis Oriental, adjacent to Cagayan de Oro City, is now the most advanced bread manufacturing plant in Mindanao.

“This completely new breadline features robotics and the latest innovations in modern baking. All major equipment are sourced from the best and reliable bakery equipment suppliers in Germany, the Netherlands, United States, Malaysia and Japan,” Umali shared. He added that the integration of these machineries and equipment into one unit is the company’s expertise learned from Gardenia’s operations in Asia-Pacific, thus enabling them to develop a proprietary manufacturing process unique to Gardenia Philippines.

Umali also shared that the plant is designed to allow consumers to witness and experience the modern baking process through a catwalk plant tour especially for consumers from Mindanao.


Quality Bread Offerings

“To ensure the high quality, freshness and great taste of Gardenia products, we use flour made from US wheat, milled to Gardenia’s high-quality specifications, milk from Australia or USA, and other imported premium ingredients,” Umali assures.

Wide variety of Gardenia products will be produced in the Mindanao bread facility, including white breads, health bread selections, flavored loaf offerings and buns or pandesal. Gardenia’s affordable loaf brand, Neubake, is also offered.


Strategic Facility Location

Umali explained that choosing a site adjacent to Cagayan de Oro as the location of the P1-billion investment is a strategic move. “Our new plant is purposefully located not only for Mindanao commercial operations. This will also serve as support to our Cebu plant or Visayas market. We can also dispatch breads easily to other areas when the need arrives, especially in the event of major calamities or natural disasters in those areas,” he explained.

“Moreover, the plant’s proximity to the ports of Cagayan de Oro, the gateway to Mindanao, ensures the availability and accessibility of ingredients,” Umali added.


Continued Growth and Leadership

Umali emphasized that the construction of the Mindanao plant is a continuation of the company’s goal to reach more of its consumers.

“With Gardenia in Mindanao, world-class quality bread products that will satisfy your appetites as well as feed your hearts will be at your fingertips. Our products will come to you fresh, delicious and healthy as we take Gardenia and breadmaking to the next level,” Umali concludes.


Northern Mindanao Food Fest Bigger than Ever on 5th Run

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8 March 2019 – Half a decade ago, the first Big Bite Food Festival in Northern Mindanao uncovered an exciting food culture in the region. Founded by Centrio Ayala Mall, it has become mall management’s great pride and joy to discover new and innovative food entrepreneurs and enthusiasts comprising an incredibly dynamic local food industry.

The first Big Bite Food Festival was held in Marquee mall in Pampanga, a regional food haven in the North. Further down south in 2014, Mindanao followed suit with Cagayan de Oro’s then brand new Centrio Ayala mall offering itself as venue. Both festivals form part of Ayala mall’s institutionalized support for local food business and concepts.

Big Bite features the obvious massive-sized food items as festival highlight. Past years have revealed the giant halo-halo, the region’s largest maja blanca, enormous ham sliders, a colossal pineapple crumble and an oversized bowl of salad among a host of other interesting savory flavors and dessert delights in gigantic portions. In addition to such titanic highlights, Centrio gives an award to the year’s best food discovery, as judged by the country’s food industry leaders and celebrities. 

This year, gracing the festivities is the Philippines’ Idol sa Kusina, Chef Boy Logro. The Chef Master of GMA network is joined by young television host and former VJ, Joyce Pring to oversee stimulating culinary competitions and other cooking events throughout the 4-day fiesta. Celebrity Chef JP Anglo, host of CNN’s Hungry with Chef JP will be the festival’s Special Guest; completing the set are some of the country’s top food bloggers including The Pickiest Eater in the World, Ritchie Zamora. 

Big Bite regulars have come to expect fresh food concepts interspersed with all-time favorites from homegrown restaurants in the local food scene. What’s more, they are treated to excellent music featuring the best of local artists, and gastronomic sets in visually exhilarating scenes and instagrammable nooks and crannies which best showcase the epicurean pleasures the festival has to offer.

The Big Bite Northern Mindanao Food Festival runs from Thursday till Sunday, March 14-17, 2019.  

A Brief History of TAPOK

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The idea of gathering Kagay-anons living abroad was a seed planted by the late Roy C. Gaane, founder and president of Kagayanon International (KI). 
Roy was instrumental in drawing up a list of Kagay-anons who had migrated to the United States by keeping track of new arrivals, ultimately connecting everyone via his KI Newsletter.It was through said newsletter that homesick Kagay-anons heard fresh news about recent happenings back home and learned about recent arrivals. 
Remember that all this took place before the age of computers, emails and Facebook. Everything had to be done manually through a typewriter and painstakingly sent out by snail mail.
One thing led to another setting off the first big gathering of Kagay-anons in Chicago in 1982.  This reunion of sorts evolved through the years and is now popularly referred to as TAPOK. This biggest gathering of town mates from the old hometown is now on its 17th event, covering a span of 36 years from its initial inception.
TAPOK through the Years
1982    Chicago                     1996   San Francisco       2007    Las Vegas         2017   San Francisco
1984    Los Angeles                1998   Las Vegas             2009     New Jersey    
1986    Toronto                        2001    Houston              2011    Los Angeles       
1988    Seattle                          2003    San Diego            2013    Toron to
1992    New York                    2005 Honolulu                 2015     Vancouver

The last TAPOK held on August 4 to 6, 2017 was hosted by the Kagay-anons of Northern California, headed by President Peter Garcia, 20 long years since it played host way back in 1996.
What is it about TAPOK that generates so much interest and excitement?
It is during TAPOK where you will encounter childhood friends and neighbors, classmates and cousins and make new friends. It is akin to being “home” because for 3 full days, you will be in the company of people who are like family since you all share a common town, common friends and similar childhood experiences and memories. That is TAPOK’s magnetic and enduring allure.
Every single TAPOK has been unique, successful and special in its own way. The forthcoming one to be hosted by the Cagayan de Oro – Misamis Oriental Association of New York on July 26 – 28, 2019 promises to be no different in that it will be just as much fun, memorable and exciting as all the previous ones.
But, it will be slightly different because this time, there will be not just Cagayanons but also Misamisnons, that is people coming from the different towns comprising Misamis Oriental.
However, the hosts are reminded about the raison d’ĂȘtre for which TAPOK was set up. Roy’s original intent should be honored and maintained - this social gathering is meant for people from our City and Province, not for inhabitants coming from other islands. The goal is not numbers but to establish the same camaraderie present in all previous TAPOKs.

By Wendy Ramos-Garcia