When Aurelio Pantoja put up his little neighborhood panaderia in Batangas back in the 1950s, it was almost as if it was on a whim. "It all actually started with my lolo," says Panaderia Pantoja President Anthony Pantoja. "He started it with my grandmother. When they got married, they were given a house, and at the back of the property was a small pugon. That's when they thought of establishing a bakery, really."
Panaderia Pantoja still makes traditional biscuits such as Paborita and Jacobina.
They've been making Jacobina since they opened 60 years ago
Originally set at a small corner in the city of Tanauan, Panaderia Pantoja, once run solely from the back of an ancestral home, is now a growing empire with 11 branches in Batangas and Laguna, as well as several franchises in Metro Manila. The bakery, which originally focused on traditional Filipino breads and biscuits such as the timeless pan de sal; flaky, round paborita biscuits; and square, crisp jacobina made of paper-thin sheets of dough, now offers a variety of new treats such as sans rival and yema cake for the younger crowd.
It was never initially meant to grow this big, according to Anthony. "My dad was satisfied with the backyard bakery, a mom-and-pop sort of place," he explains. "But when he passed it on to me and my brother, with our access to new technology and new information, we added systems, especially on the business side and slowly but surely, we grew."
While the business continued to expand, Panaderia Pantoja never lost sight of its origin as a local corner bakery. The main store continues to cater to the locals of Tanauan, offering breakfast to the early morning Mass goers at 4:30 a.m., and providing merienda and the occasional pasalubong to employees who rush by in the afternoon after a long dayâs work. Even the bakery's staff share a similar sense of community, with almost three generations of families having worked behind the panaderia's counter.
"The key to our success is the passion that we put into our work," says Anthony. "We have to be passionate about everything that we do. That's where the quality of the bread comes in.
"We're passionate about excellence and we're passionate about our community," he adds. Looking at the growing neighborhood around Panaderia Pantoja, it should come as no surprise that quality and family always come first.
This Article was published in the October 2015 issue of Yummy magazine.
This story originally appeared on Yummy.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors.