WorldPandesalDay was celebrated October 16 as a civic and cultural event by 82-year-old Kamuning Bakery Café with special guests education advocate Senator Sherwin Gatchalian(who welcomed vaccinations of teen-agers and porospects of opening face-to-face classes for schools), culture advocate Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, urban renewal & food security advocate Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, Regal Films fiunder Mother Lily Y. Monteverde(who welcomed opening of theaters and reopening of economy as good news for the hard-hit Philippine movie industry) and consumer rights advocate Atty. Neri Colmenares (who called for science-guided anti-pandemic policies). All of them paid tribute to the Philippines’ unique Pandesal bread, honored bakers nationwide and called for socio-economic reforms to solve poverty and hunger. Oct. 16 is also UN’s World Food Day.
Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte supports this cultural and civic project, saying: “My warmest greetings to Kamuning Bakery Café as you celebrate World Pandesal Day. This event highlights the role of the humble bread, pandesal, not only in the daily Filipino breakfast, but also close family ties over meals. May this occasion also underscore the staple’s importance in our efforts to end hunger and malnutrition in the country. I thanks the people behind this 82-year-old bakery for preserving the time-honored tradition of baking bread while, at the same time, being altruistic and charitable towards the underprivileged, especially during this pandemic. It gives me confidence to have you as our consistent and reliable partner in building a healthier and more productive Philippines for all Filipinos. May you have a meaningful celebration of bread and life.Mabuhay kayong lahat!”
Instead of its annual tradition of giving 70,000 free pandesal and other foods the whole day to the urban poor plus free medical/dental/optical missions, due to Alert Level 4 now, owner Wilson Lee Flores said donations of breads shall be delivered to orphanages, diverse children’s shelters and urban poor communities. World Pandesal Day seeks to honor the humble yet great Filipino bread pandesal, also to highlight the need to address global hunger and poverty.
Messages of support for the annual #WorldPandesal Day came from various leaders led by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, Vice-President Leni Robredo (guest of honor at 2018 World Pandesal Day) lauded the charities and public schools donations of Kamuning Bakery Café, Senator Bong Go, Senator Grace Poe, Senator Sonny Angara, Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte, GMA Network, Inc. Chairman & CEO Atty. Felipe L. Gozon(who was guest of honor at 2019 World Pandesal Day to lead the giving of free breads and other foods to the urban poor) and Regal Entertainment founder Mother Lily Y. Monteverde. Actor Dingdong Dantes had also grace World Pandesal Day and helped to distribute free breads and foods. Among Kamuning Bakery Café’s partners in this annual philanthropic and cultural project include Philippine Foremost Milling, San Miguel Mills, Mondelez, Pagcor, Mega Sardines and Caltex Iba Malhacan Road in Meycauayan Exit.
Despite the economic crisis, Kamuning Bakery Café has also donated new public school buildings to Barangay Dinalaoan Elementary School in Calasiao, Pangasinan in cooperation with Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII); it also donated public school buildings to other economically-disadvantaged rural regions, like to Sta. Rosa Elementary School in historic seaside Balangiga town, Eastern Samar province and to Villa Bacolor Elementary School in Tarlac, Tarlac province. On June 5, 2020, Kamuning Bakery Café also donated P500,000 to help Taal Volcano victims in Batangas through Hinabang Foundation led by First Lady Honeylet Avanceña and in the presence of Batangas Governor Hermilando“Dodo” Mandanas.
Kamuning Bakery Café also sponsors unique cultural projects such as the annual World Poetry Day celebration every March 21, the non-partisan “Pandesal Forum” where leaders and newsmakers dialogue with media and intellectuals, poetry readings, book launchings, art exhibits and the March 7, 2020 poetry & music night fundraising event for medical needs of award-winning poet Jose “Pete” F. Lacaba which was attended by national artists Dr. BienvenidoLumbera and Bencab, many top musicians Noel Cabangon, Cookie Chua, Hazel Faith, etc.
GMA Network, Inc. Chairman and CEO Atty. Felipe L. Gozon said in his message: “I first stepped into the doors of Kamuning Bakery Café a long time ago upon the invitation of my friend, Wilson Lee Flores. The smell of freshly baked pan de sal and brewed coffee evoke warm memories of home. The bakery and I share something special. The bakery and I are both the same age! If only the walls and ovens of the bakery could talk—imagine the stories they would tell. Today, we celebrate two important occasions—the World Pandesal Day and the anniversary of the Philippines’ home of delicious, artisanal bread—the Kamuning Bakery Café. Congratulations Wilson and team for shining the spotlight on our country’s humble yet popular bread and for celebrating by sharing your blessings with others.”
Atty. Gozon added: “From its humble beginnings in 1939, Kamuning Bakery Café has grown and its legacy of serving traditional, no-preservatives, proudly Filipino style bread remains. It is also home to diverse leaders, intellectuals, writers and celebrities. Even after it was burned to the ground last year, it remains undaunted and full of hope. It could have chosen the easy way out, but it did not. Like the pan de sal, it has remained resilient and constant—serving the same delicious bread over the past 82 years. Yan and Serbisyong Totoo.”
Atty. Gozon also said: “It is people like Wilson and the master bakers of KamuningBakery that nourish Philippine history. We share in your dream of bringing out the best in every Filipino through world-class artisanal baking. Under your inspired leadership and mastery of craft, you have preserved culinary heritage today and for the generations to come. I wish Kamuning Bakery Café more success in the years ahead. Again, our warmest congratulations!”