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article imageBakery creates 'Noynoy Bread' in honor of Philippine president Special

By Romeo Marquez     Jul 19, 2011 in Food
San Diego - Philippine President Noynoy Aquino is the latest celebrity to be honored with a special bread by a Filipino creative baker in San Diego, California.
After the smashing success of her celebrity breads, there's no stopping this hardworking Filipino entrepreneur from creating another.
This time it's a special bun or dinner roll - pandesal as Filipinos call them - labeled "Noynoy Pandesal" after Philippine President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, nicknamed Noynoy or P-Noy by his supporters, who was elected in June last year.
It's no coincidence that the Original Richard's Bakery in San Diego, California, which has one of the biggest Filipino communities in the United States, is known widely as the "bakeshop of presidents, champions and celebrities" for in its stock of merchandise, there's extraordinary bread for each one of them.
"It began with President Barack Obama," explains Ms. Wilma Fernandez Ventura, owner and creative genius behind all her distinguished creations, in a phone interview.
Mr. Obama's election in 2008 was a watershed in US history. In her San Diego Filipino community, there seemed to be not much appreciation for the fact that Mr. Obama is a person of color and that his triumph may be construed as a huge breakthrough for all people of color like Filipinos.
"In that context I thought of celebrating him and immortalizing his achievement with a bread. So I created the "Obama Pandesal,' a hamburger-bun shaped bread made from wheat and stuffed with stewed (adobo) chicken, green peas, carrots, raisin and cream cheese," Ms. Ventura says.
On the same day Mr. Obama took office on January 20, 2009, the Obama Pandesal was officially launched at the Original Richard's Bakery with a commemorative program attended by high-ranking officials. (I covered it for several online publications and for my San Diego newspaper).
Posters about Obama Pandesal adorned the facade of the Original Richard s Bakery in San Diego  Calif...
Posters about Obama Pandesal adorned the facade of the Original Richard's Bakery in San Diego, California.
The mayor of the City of National City, Mr. Ron Morrison, cut the ribbon that unveiled the new bread. Also in attendance were the city's vice mayor, Frank Parra; Cesar Solis, the first assistant chief of police of America's Finest; and other guests.
The Obama Pandesal instantly became a hit in both the mainstream and Filipino communities, and made Ms. Ventura's two-decades-old bakeshop even more famous, though her intent was to honor the US President.
"The Obama Pandesal reflects your belief and admiration with President Obama," wrote North Carolina-based journalist Pasckie Pascua. "You have the right to exercise that admiration. Some write songs, dedicate a movie, put up a statue - you make a pandesal. A novelty and it's cool".
Now President Noynoy Aquino, simply P-Noy to all, is joining the presidential rack at the Original Richard's Bakery, with his namesake bread Noynoy Pandesal occupying a place of prominence like the Obama Pandesal.
A new bread called Noynoy Pandesal is being introduced in the Filipino community of San Diego by cel...
A new bread called Noynoy Pandesal is being introduced in the Filipino community of San Diego by celebrity baker Wilma Fernandez Ventura.
The Noynoy Pandesal is the same size as the regular pandesal except that it looks yellowy with the addition of artificial color to simulate the president's favorite color, yellow, which was also the trademark color of his deceased mother, former President Corazon Aquino.
"The ingredients make it special," according to the 46-year-old Ms. Ventura who herself formulates the mix. Nearly 30 years of experience in bread-making has made her an expert. That expertise goes into the making of the now-familiar celebrity breads, a niche her bakeshop now solely occupies.
Customers wear a smile coming into the bakery. That's because the names of the different breads ring familiar. For example, the Brazo de Pacquiao and the Siete Coronas de Pacquiao are specialty breads named after Philippine boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.
The brazo is for his formidable arms, a male counterpart to the brazo de Mercedes; the siete coronas (seven crowns) for the seven boxing titles he currently holds. And then there's a healthy, non-alcoholic drink from Philippine fruits quite appropriately named Pacquiao Punch, a take from the champ's knockout jabs that have floored his ring opponents.
Cory Aquino, the housewife turned president after the removal of dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, is likewise celebrated. Ms. Ventura made sure her memory lingers with special rice cakes (or bibingka) in artificially-colored yellow, yellow being the revolutionary color in ousting Marcos.
Then there's another tribute to a fine Philippine actress, Patricia Javier, who transitioned from entertainment to domestic bliss and marked the occasion by a change to her real name, Genesis.
Ms. Ventura immortalized the milestone by creating Genesis Loaf, a hugely successful bread that tastes like a muffin.
Asked how the Noynoy Pandesal is faring so far a week after its soft launch, Ms. Ventura says: "People gobble it up crazy. I can say it's a testament to his popularity as president".
There's already a variation of that pandesal - the "Noynoy Ham & Cheese Bread" - even before the formal launch sometime this year.
More about PNoy Aquino, Philippine president, Richard's bakery, Philippines, Bread
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