You may know about their sumptuous Choco Moist Cake or their equally melt-in-your-mouth Ube Moist Cake, which you may have indulged in during your quarantine cravings.
You might also know them for their cakes that were so popular during Mother’s Day in May 2020, authorities had to interfere with the long lines to their main store at BM Road, Barangay San Manuel.
But you may not know that behind the delicious cakes of Puerto Food Delicacies (PFD), husband and wife duo Rod and Cath Macabe struggled to find their niche as young entrepreneurs. After a few ventures that failed to take off, the couple discovered that a special recipe by Rod’s mother Genita would be the key to their famous themed cakes.
Rod, 32, is a former corporate worker who is now a full-time dad and businessman. Cath, also 32, has always been a full-time mom to their two children. She also divests her time and energy to church work. While PFD now has 12 full-time staff, the company began with just the couple, Genita, and their child’s nanny.
The couple had always dreamed of becoming entrepreneurs so they could enjoy the finer things in life and not be forever dependent on a company. They went through various ventures, but none were able to last long enough.
“Nagsimula muna kami sa ready-to-wear, boarding house, at may sari-sari store pa kami. Si Rod, nagtitinda pa ng mani sa kanyang mga katrabaho,” said Cath.
After mulling over their choices, they found that Genita’s own business of selling Choco Moist Cakes could be one of their new ventures.
“Na-realize namin na ‘yong paggawa dati ni Nanay, ‘yong ginagawa niya para paaralin siya [Rod], puwede namin ‘yon gawin. Kasi ang tao food talaga ang kailangan,” said Cath. “Sa una, hand mixer, maliit na oven lang muna ang gamit namin. ‘Yong yaya ng anak naming na panganay, tinuruan naming kung paano mag-bake. Noong nagkaroon may pangalawang baby na kami, kumuha kami ng isa pang yaya. ‘Yong isa ang naging baker, habang ang isa naman na-train para maging decorator.”
The Macabes first utilized their network by word-of-mouth marketing. In 2017, PFD acquired its business permit. They first introduced themselves to the world at a bazaar at the NCCC Mall.
“Nag-memory nga sa Facebook ko ang bazaar, kung saan nakabenta kami ng 58 tubs ng Choco Moist Cake,” said Cath, showing a photo memory of their first tub.
The global pandemic and online selling
After their newfound popularity from the NCCC Mall Bazaar, the Macabes received requests from customers to put up a store that was easily accessible.
“May nag-request eight months after [noong bazaar] na magkaroon kami ng sariling puwesto. Sabi nila kasi, sadyain kapag sa bahay namin,” said Rod. “Eventually, nagkaroon kami ng branch sa Tiniguiban, malapit lang sa PSU (Palawan State University).”
However, after putting up their Tiniguiban branch, the country went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 crisis. Without the usual customer base of students, the couple had to shut down their newly opened branch.
But as they say, when one door closed, another one opened.
“Nag-decide kami na ipasara muna ang Tiniguiban branch. Bawal na kasi lumabas noon tapos walang students. So nag-online muna kami, delivery muna. Noong nag-online kami at nagsimulang mag-advertise, dumoble bigla ang sales. Nag-close nga kami ng shop, pero nagdagdag kami ng tricycle para sa delivery,” said Cath.
“Noong Mother’s Day, hindi namin ine-expect na magkakaroon ng mahabang pila dito sa bahay namin. Ang daming naka-park na sasakyan, hanggang sa may mga pulis na dumating, kailangan na raw ng social distancing,” said Rod.
The pandemic also gave time for the couple to expand their cake selections. They began venturing into themed and customized cakes.
“May isa kaming customer na nagsabi sa amin, kami raw ang unang nag-o-offer ng themed Choco Moist Cakes. Wala pa raw nakakagawa noon dito,” added Rod.
What’s next for Puerto Food Delicacies
The Macabes may have achieved quite a lot through their hard work and determination to succeed. For those who are wondering, Rod and Cath want to take PFD to new heights by becoming a pasalubong center when the tourism industry returns. They currently sell their cakes from their home and through their new branch in Rizal Avenue.
“Malaki ang kinailangan naming i-give up noong una. Noong naging Born Again Christian kami, tinanggal naming ang alak at sigarilyo sa sari-sari store. Malaki ang nawalang revenue sa amin, pero lumaki naman ang kinita naming sa PFD,” said Rod.
“Huwag dapat matakot sa failure. Kami immune na sa failure. Marami na kaming sinubukang negosyo, at nalugi rin kami. Pero we just took these as life lessons. Ang advice lang namin, kapag magsisimula ng negosyo, huwag lakihan masyado ang puhunan. Dapat ‘yong kaya mo lang,” he added with a smile.
Puerto Food Delicacies can be reached through the following:
RIZAL Branch – 048-716-2734
BM Branch – 048-433-0923 0917-7760-110-Globe
0949-8866-607 – Smart