Despite the Feb. 6 fire that razed to the ground Quezon City’s pioneer and award-winning 79-year-old Kamuning Bakery Café and caused losses, owner Wilson Lee Flores, his staff and bakers remained l optimistic.
On Tuesday, Oct. 16, Flores is inviting he public is invited to the annual “World Pandesal Day” starting at 11 a.m. at the ruins of the bakery along Judge Jimenez Street corner K-1st Street, Barangay Kamuning, Quezon City.
Some 70,000 pan de saland other foods will be given away to the guests. Quezon City Vice-Mayor Joy Belmontewill lead Kamuning Bakery’s will be among the guests of honor during the celebration.
On Oct. 28 at 8 a.m., there will be a medical, dental and optical mission at Kamuning Bakery Café in cooperation with Chinese General Hospital led by its CEO Dr. James G. Dy. The public is invited and can have free consultation with the doctors during the mission.
These Oct. 16 and Oct. 28 events are the last two events to be held here, before Kamuning Bakery Café’s ruins are totally demolished, except for two surviving pugon brick ovens that will be retained for heritage preservation during its reconstruction.
With hashtag #WorldPandesalDay, this is a unique socio-civic and cultural endeavor to highlight the importance of the Philippines’ humble yet popular pan de sal, to underscore the importance of all people helping solve the age-old problem of hunger.
Wilson Lee Flores said an inspiration for World Pandesal Day is the Bible story of a poor boy who gave five loaves of bread and two fishes, which faith in God multiplied to feed thousands.
On Oct. 12 at Quezon City’s anniversary celebration at Crowne Plaza Galleria Hotel, the city government led by Mayor Herbert Bautistagave Wilson Lee Flores the “Manuel L. Quezon Gawad Parangal Award”.
President Rodrigo R. Dutertesaid, “My warmest greetings to the Kamuning Bakery Café as it celebrates World Pandesal Day. Food plays an integral part in our people’s identity as it reflects our culture and history which have been shaped by various influences of the past. This milestone does not only celebrate the ingenuity of our bakers and their unyielding passion for bread, but also empowers local community bakeries as they preserve and pass down traditional cooking methods.”
President Duterte added, “The recent fire which burned down the pioneer 79-year-old Kamuning Bakery Café only highlighted your resilience in the face of adversity and compassion to help those in need. May every bite of the pan de salnourish our citizens and fuel them every morning as they work towards realizing their dreams and aspirations.”
Duterte also said, “This administration looks forward to working closely with you in solving the problem of hunger that is rooted in poverty and social inequality. Together, let us work towards achieving our goal of a brighter, more prosperous and sustainably progressive nation. I wish you a fruitful and meaningful celebration.”
Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyosaid, “Warmest congratulations to Wilson Lee Flores, staunch advocate of cultural preservation and owner of Kamuning Bakery Café. In the 79 years of its operation, Kamuning Bakery had established a name for itself as baker of one of the most delicious, traditionally baked pan de salin the country. Wilson Flores’ acquisition of the bakery added to the popularity of this Filipino bread through his promotion of the vanishing traditional baking methods, his World Pandesal Day initiative and his Pandesal Forum which has gathered media people, artists, thinkers and government leaders as well as ordinary folks in his bakery to talk about national and international issues or simply to shoot the breeze while enjoying freshly-baked pandesal.
“I am glad that Kamuning Bakery Café has resumed its operation as the maker of artisanal breads and an affordable venue for relaxed discussions. It offers food both for the body and the mind. Wilson’s concept of putting together his advocacies of traditionally baked pan de saland stimulating dialogues in a cozy venue, as well as his distribution of pandesal are commendable in their promotion of truly Filipino traditions of sharing and quiet conversations over pandesal and a hot drink. Tangkilikin natin ang sariling atin! A happy World Pandesal Day to everyone and the best of luck to Wilson and his Kamuning Bakery Café!”
Kamuning Bakery Cafe also hosts the tertulia-inspired and non-partisan “Pandesal Forum” for newsmakers and leaders to dialogue with media and intellectuals over meals of pandesal with other foods and coffee brewed from Benguet province arabica beans.
Kamuning Bakery Café owner Flores said. “In this liberal and informal Pandesal Forum, which is part of this company’s unique CSR or corporate social responsibility, discussions focus on socio-economic, gut or “pandesal” issues affecting the people, and other topics. The pan de sal is unique to the Philippines, loved by the masses, middle-class and by all, it symbolizes people’s simple happiness and wish for liberation from hunger.”
Ever since the new owner took over and revived Kamuning Bakery Café, it has championed diverse socio-civic, cultural, arts and other causes including the donation of four public school buildings. The first public school was donated to the historic seaside town of Balangiga in Eastern Samar.