“World Pandesal Day” was celebrated on Oct. 16 at Kamuning Bakery Café in Quezon City with civic projects led by Quezon City Vice-Mayor Joy Belmonte, Philippine Chinese Charitable Association President Dr. James G. Dy (3rd from left), Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) Vice-President William Castro (6th from left), PNP Superintendent Luisito Bolivar & Kamuning Bakery Café owner Wilson Lee Flores (7th from left). Chinese General Hospital officials Peter Ngo & Jameson Dy on extreme left. Photo shows special guests holding a giant pugon-baked pandesal. (Photo by Joey Viduya)
Typhoon Karen on October 16 didn’t stop the country’s second celebration of “World Pandesal Day” at the 77-year-old, artisanal Kamuning Bakery Café at 43 Judge Jimenez St. corner K-1st Street, Quezon City led by political, business and civic leaders. Leading the ceremonies to give away over 50,000 pugon-baked pandesal breads and conducting a comprehensive free medical, dental and optical mission for over 1,000 urban poor families were Quezon City Vice-Mayor Joy Belmonte, Philippine Chinese Charitable Association President Dr. James G. Dy, Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) Vice-President William Castro, PNP Superintendent Luisito Bolivar and Kamuning Bakery Café owner Wilson Lee Flores. (Click picture below to enlarge)
The first ever “World Pandesal Day” was launched on October 16, 2015 by Kamuning Bakery Café with special guests Senator Sonny Angara, GMA Network, Inc. Chairman Atty. Felipe Gozon and actor Dingdong Dantes who was then commissioner of the National Youth Commission.
Why “World Pandesal Day”? KBC’s Wilson Lee Flores said: “The pandesal is the historic and unique national bread of the Philippines, it is bread eaten by the masses, middle-class and by all. The pandesal is a basic necessity of the people, like rice. The humble pandesal bread represents the people’s simple wish for liberation from hunger. Hot freshly pugon-baked pandesal also represents happiness. In celebrating ‘World Pandesal Day’, we at Kamuning Bakery Café hope to give honor to this humble yet great Filipino bread, and to remind all about the goal of eradicating poverty, social injustices and the age-old problem of hunger.”
Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada, Ilocos Norte Congresswoman Imelda Romualdez Marcos, GMA Network, Inc. CEO Atty. Felipe Gozon, and others expressed support for the holding of the second “World Pandesal Day” this year with special messages. October 16 is globally marked every year as “World Bread Day”, but celebrated since 2015 as “World Pandesal Day” by Kamuning Bakery Cafe.
During the first “World Pandesal Day” in 2015, Kamuning Bakery Café owner and writer Wilson Lee Flores noticed that many of the urban poor recipients of free breads were asking for medicines or vitamins, some even approached him asking for medical or dental care assistance. He decided that the next civic project of KBC’s “World Pandesal Day” should incorporate free medical, dental and optical care services. He partnered with the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) led by President Angel Ngu, the Philippine Chinese Charitable Association and the 139-year-old Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center led by philanthropist Dr. James G. Dy to undertake this major joint civic project which benefitted numerous less privileged families.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said: “My warmest greetings to the artisans, staff and operators of the celebrated Kamuning Bakery Café as they observe World Bread Day through their own adaptation known as the World Pandesal Day.”
Estrada continued: “This occasion is a fitting tribute to our humble and favorite Filipino breakfast staple which is a nourishing fixture in our dining tables as families start their day or as friends congregate in between breaks.”
“I commend the Kamuning Bakery Café and Wilson Lee Flores for expanding the relevance of the event by tackling the issue of widespread hunger. It is an issue that we are familiar with and currently addressing in the City of Manila through daily provision of free and nutritious breakfast set of vitamin-fortified bread and milk to thousands of malnourished elementary schoolchildren. In its initial implementation, we have seen how previously severely wasted students became healthy and active kids.”
Estrada added: “Further, I laud the historic cafe for honoring our local heritage by preserving traditional cooking methods, supporting local produce, and providing a venue for intelligent discussion of social issues. In this age of modernity and constant progression, it is encouraging to know that businesses can successfully thrive by remaining true to their roots.”
Ilocos Norte Congresswoman Imelda Romualdez Marcos said: “My warmest greetings to the Kamuning Bakery Café, for taking this initiative of honoring our well-loved pan de sal by celebrating the World Pandesal Day, concurrent with the global celebration of the World Bread Day.”
Congresswoman Marcos continued: “The humble bread of the Filipinos now takes the center stage as we honor its value, and the symbol it represents in every family. The pan de sal surely gives everyone a special memory of breakfasts and snack times shared with our loved ones. Like the pandesal that transcends every strata of our society, may we all be inspired to break social barriers and be advocates for poverty-alleviation. Congratulations and more power to you!”
GMA Network Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Atty. Felipe Gozon said: “Congratulations on Kamuning Bakery Café’s celebration of the ‘World Pandesal Day’ which coincides with the global celebration of the ‘World Bread Day’. It is only fitting that a recognized institution in traditional Filipino-inspired bread making would honor such an iconic recipe which has been part of our culture for many years. The pandesal is the only bread that transcends social classes in our country. The Filipino household will never be the same without the pandesal. I am also one with you in helping our underprivileged countrymen through your own simple way. Your modest act of generosity can create a rippling effect.”
Backgrounder—“World Pandesal Day” was started on October 16, 2015 by Kamuning Bakery Cafe owner & writer Wilson Lee Flores at this historic bakery cafe at 43 Judge Jimenez Street corner K-1st Street, Kamuning, Quezon City, the Philippines which coincided with the annual “World Bread Day”. Wheat foods do make up 20 percent of the world’s calories, according to the United Nations. Special guests in 2015 were led by Senator Sonny Angara, GMA Network, Inc. CEO Atty. Felipe Gozon and actor Dingdong Dantes then of the National Youth Commission (photo by Enie Reyes).
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Actor and then National Youth Commission official Dingdong Dantes graced the Oct. 16, 2015 launching of the “World Pandesal Day” at Kamuning Bakery Cafe in Quezon City. (Photo by Nilo Odiaman)