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article imageFilipino Couple in Toronto Shares Gifts of Joy and Abundance Special

By Romeo Marquez     Dec 18, 2011 in Lifestyle
Toronto - A Filipino couple shares the fruits of their hard work with the community during a Christmas party on Saturday night in Scarborough, Ontario, one of the well-attended events celebrating the holidays.
As Christmas approaches, the pioneer Filipino bakery in the Greater Toronto Area set out to share joy and abundance with employees, their families and friends in one of the biggest community celebrations of the Yuletide season.
The whole shebang was in keeping with both religious and family traditions, a kind of thanksgiving where one dispenses gifts or favors to the less privileged, particularly from those who made good by dint of sacrifice and back-breaking toil.
By tradition too, Christmas is the most-observed holiday among Catholic Filipinos, covering the period from Dec. 24 to January 6. However, in most areas in the Philippines and in Toronto, the start of dawn masses on Dec. 16 already signifies Christmas. Commercially, September heralds the holiday season.
At Saturday's event, Flor Vendiola and Mel Galeon, co-owners of the popular FV Foods, played Santa Claus, bringing cheers and happiness to their 100 employees and their respective families, and inviting friends and the community to partake of their food in an evening of fun and entertainment in Scarborough.
Guests line up for food  a combination of Filipino and Chinese dishes  at Saturday s night Christmas...
Guests line up for food, a combination of Filipino and Chinese dishes, at Saturday's night Christmas party hosted by the owners of FV Foods.
The couple was just showing appreciation to the staff who, like them, continue to work hard in the last 10 years to make FV Foods the biggest success story by Filipinos in Ontario province.
From breadmakers and distributors in a small kitchen, the couple, who goes by their first names Flor and Mel, have parlayed the mom and pop business into a distinctive, highly-visible symbol of what sacrifice and perseverance can do.
They would not say how good their business is but FV Foods has now added restaurants in its five branches in Scarborough, Mississauga, Bathurst-Wilson, St. Clair and Steeles. Ten years is relatively a short time to achieve the feat of branching out, but FV Foods has done it.
"We have a bakery in the beginning," says Flor, a medical technologist by profession, during an interview on Saturday. "We used to share a 300-square foot kitchen, then moved to a thousand square feet, then to 2,000 and then we acquired the 7,000 square feet right now".
A family gathers around the table for the meal.
A family gathers around the table for the meal.
The kitchen progression speaks of growth and stability, and parallels the expanding Filipino community which now counts with an estimated 250,000 population.
"Actually, Mel started cooking in the garage of a relative, then moved to an apartment where we began making Filipino delicacies. There's a lot of hard work," Flor relates.
At that time, she said, there was no bakery to speak of, so they supplied Filipino stores and restaurants in Toronto with bakery products made from their home. Her sisters helped in the packaging.
"From there it grew big and bigger, with branches in Montreal, Niagara Falls, Windsor and Winnipeg," Flor says.
Without so much boasting as stating a fact, Flor says what everybody in the community already knows: "We're number 1".
Some members of the local media pose for this souvenir photo with FV Food owners Flor and Mel.
Some members of the local media pose for this souvenir photo with FV Food owners Flor and Mel.
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