By: John Maico Hernandez and Mhark Ellgine Libao

The worn-out brick oven and the P50,000.00 working capital are slices of Panaderia Pantoja’s tasteful anecdote that truly satisfies everybody’s taste buds. The transition from traditional to mechanize baking was a leap forward for the firm that never doubted market competition because of its established identity being the largest bakery chain business in Batangas province and moving forward towards CALABARZON and greater Manila area.

The Story behind Pantoja’s sweet success…

From a worn-out brick oven found in an inherited house at Barangay IV, Tanauan City, Batangas in 1950, the couple Aurelio and Celinda Pantoja got interested of venturing to bakery business. From Php 50, 000 worth of capital, Aurelio Pantoja reformed the oven and hired few bakers from neighboring towns to perform the baking process. During that time, there was no advent of technology such as mechanical equipment like mixers, rounders, dough rollers and slicers. Everything was made and processed by hand. Aurelio Pantoja performed multiple jobs and functioned as the purchaser, delivery man and production manager while Celinda Pantoja handled the day-to-day operations of the bakery. That moment, only two bakeries, Panaderia Pantoja and Almeda Bakery, exist in Tanauan. “Word of mouth” has been the only strong promotion of the firm to market their products which at that time limited only to pandesal, jacobina, paborita, and few other old-time favorite tooth-friendly breads.

The couple has six (6) children and their eldest son Arturo had the solidest interest in pursuing their business. Arturo, after obtaining a degree in Business Administration from the University of the East, took over the business in 1970 and started mechanizing the operations and hired more people. By that time, new bakeries have emerged in town. Since identity is already established, Panaderia Pantoja had never doubted the market competition because of its name and loyal customers. Panaderia Pantoja has become one of the largest bakery chain businesses in the province of Batangas with franchisees, dealers and company-owned branches in different towns in Batangas, Cavite, Laguna and the Greater Manila Area. Panaderia Pantoja has also entered the international market by exporting some of the products from the Sortidos (biscuits) line through a consolidator.

The DOST engagement…

In 2012, Panaderia Pantoja was awarded with their first DOST SETUP project for upgrading their production facility. DOST interventions provided to them were the following: acquired equipment to increase production capacity and compliance to GMP and HACCP through SETUP; nutritional and shelf-Life Analysis of jacobina (SETUP) and biscocho product; manpower training on GMP, 5s and HACCP; conduct of Energy Audit; and consultancy (MPEX) and technical advisory services on production process and plant lay-out and facilities. Over-all impact of the project is 33% increase in the production and sales. Seeing other needs for improvements and upgrades due to increasing market demand, Panaderia Pantoja applied again for DOST assistance through TAPI Venture Financing in upgrading their sortidos production line. Through TNA, they identified the need for acquisition of 2 bagger spiral mixer and senior dough roller. MOA signing of the project for TAPI VF was conducted last December 2015 and equipment acquisition was conducted in the first quarter of 2016. The outputs of the projects as of December 2015 include 181.2 % increase in production volume from 14,400 bags to 40,488 bags annually, 0% reject from total production. DOST IV-A has also conducted GMP and HACCP Training and also provided the firm with plant lay-out for their production. At present, the firm has just passed and received their GMP certification.

Recognition and Awards:
• Parade of Lights participant
• Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries membership
• SETUP Adoptor Completer

Ethical Responsibility:
• Use of e-tricycle delivery vehicles
• Use of biodegradable packaging bags
• Firm production’s wastes segregation

Social Responsibility:
• Partnership with DepED for acceptance of interns from Tanauan School of Fisheries Senior High School
• Scholarship for Panaderia Pantoja employees
• Feeding program conducted in public schools in Tanauan City
• Sponsorship of paborita products in the conduct of Handwashing Training for DayCare pupils in Batangas City in partnership with BatStateU and DOST Batangas
• Reselling of other SMEs products through use of Panaderia Pantoja brand