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Jun 09th
Home Columns San Diego Happenings The "Obama Pan De Sal" Creator Does It Again with 3 Pacquiao-bread Varieties
The "Obama Pan De Sal" Creator Does It Again with 3 Pacquiao-bread Varieties PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - San Diego Happenings
Tuesday, 08 December 2009 12:09

The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Tuesday, December 8, 2009 

A fter all the hoopla has slowly died down and Manny Pacquiao and his family have settled into some relative quiet back in the Philippines, a popular Filipino baker springs another set of her creative products, this time, three variations of bread to commemorate the milestones of the boxing champion. Nowhere else can one find such new appetizing fare as Brazo de Pacquiao, Siete Coronas de Pacquiao and Pan de Pacquiao, among others, than in San Diego, home to one of the biggest Filipino communities in America. The day after the boxing bout in Las Vegas last month, the Pacquiao breads were launched and people are lining up to gobble them. With Pacquiao facing off Floyd Mayweather in March 2010 a real possibility now, baker Wilma Fernandez Ventura is again thinking of ways to celebrate.



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Pacquiao's Latest Win Spawns New Breed of Bread in One of the Largest Filipino Communities in America







The author is a member, Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) and the Asian-American Journalists Association (AAJA)



S AN DIEGO – As Manny Pacquiao was winding down in his bout with Miguel Cotto that eventually gave him his seventh boxing title last month, Filipino baker Wilma Fernandez Ventura was hurrying to go back to her bakery, never mind that it was already late in the evening and she's pretty much exhausted from the long work hours earlier in the day.


She was watching on cable TV with friends and saw how Pacquiao pummeled Cotto with his powerful punches through their 12-round fight.


In less than 10 hours after the event, a tired but inspired Ms. Ventura whipped up at least three new bread creations she named after the boxing hero – the latest in a string of what she calls "creative baking" that began in January with the now popular Obama Pan de Sal.


In many ways, Wilma Ventura's concept of creative baking has popularized a host of Filipino breads to the mainstream community. Pan de sal (which literally means bread of salt) for example, used to be a generic dinner roll in groceries and supermarkets known mostly to Filipinos.


This is the second time I'm honoring Manny Pacquiao. I created a drink for him, the healthy fresh fruit beverage called ‘Pacquiao Punch,’ after he knocked out Ricky Hatton. – Wilma  Ventura


W hen Ventura created an improved variation so as to expand her market beyond the Filipino community and out there in San Diego's diverse neighborhoods, using whole wheat for the health conscious, and called it "Obama Pan de Sal", the bread took a following of its own.


"I had sleepless nights thinking how my humble person could mark important events like the election of Mr. Obama, the first Black president, and recently, the unprecedented victory of Manny Pacquiao, through the only way I knew -- baking special bread and naming each new creation after them," Ms. Ventura explained in an interview.


For her, Pacquiao was a big challenge. The boxer carries seven titles to his name, a feat none in the boxing world has accomplished. 


His arms are strong and his fists deliver the knockout punches. Overall, the champ is a true personification of an underdog -- unpretentious, a true believer in the Almighty, not a show off.


"One bread to honor him sounds insufficient, specially that he has lifted Filipinos to unprecedented heights," Ms. Ventura said.


That's when she decided to create three special breads, namely, the Brazo de Pacquiao, Siete Coronas de Pacquiao and the plain Pan de Pacquiao.


The foot-long Brazo de Pacquiao, says Ms. Ventura, is intended as her bakery's masculine equivalent of the famous brazo de Mercedes, and is filled with specially-formulated cream cheese. It's made from high gluten flour and looks similar to French bread.


Those are now part of the daily fare at Ventura's own The Original Richard's Bakery, a midsized bakeshop which has earned a reputation outside the Filipino community as an innovative trend-setter in the bakery business.


"This is the second time I'm honoring Manny Pacquiao. I created a drink for him, the healthy fresh fruit beverage called Pacquiao Punch, right when he knocked down Ricky Hatton early this year," said Ms. Ventura.


By its appearance, the Brazo de Pacquiao looks like a French bread, except that the dough is soft, similar to pan de sal. "In a sense, it tries to replicate the strong and powerful arms of Manny," explains Wilma Ventura.


The Siete Coronas de Pacquiao appears like pretzels shaped like a number 7 which, according to Ventura, recognizes the seven boxing titles that Manny now holds after winning against Cotto. This bread has cheese pimiento in it. The Pan de Pacquiao is plain bread and has the look of an oversized burger bun.


In the almost four weeks since Pacquiao took his seventh boxing title from Cotto, the three kinds of bread that carry his name have become conversation pieces at Ventura's bakery in the City of National City where Filipinos comprised 20 percent of the population.


The Pacquiao breads found easy acceptance from even among non-Filipinos, which, Ms. Ventura says, is a testament to the popularity of Manny Pacquiao.


That is, of course, one of the two major reasons. The other is that the Pacquiao breads have that distinctive taste that pleases the palate. At an affordable price too.


Customers from as far as Connecticut, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Florida, Las Vegas, Dublin (Ireland) and Toronto (Canada) are among those who consistently placed orders for their own consumption and as a gift to their relatives and close friends, Ventura said.


The Original Richard's Bakery is located at 3400 E. Eighth St., Suite 114, National City, CA. 91950 and can be reached at 619.472.1530 or at # # #


PHILIPPINE VILLAGE VOICE - Redefining Community News
BREAKING NEWS -  Business Feature

Volume 3, Issue No. 28 / News Without Fear or Favor /

. . . . . A community service of San Diego's Philippine Village Voice ( or at 619.265.0611) for the information and better understanding of the public. . . . . .



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Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 December 2009 12:14
Comments (1)
1 Tuesday, 08 December 2009 12:23
Dear Romy:

Thank you for your latest article. We, in the staff box, and many of our readers, missed your articles and column during your sabbatical.

RE: Pacquiao Bread. Let us hope our fellow columnist, Jesse Jose, who is Manny Pacquiao’s number-one critic in the United States, does not come up with his own bread variety. Perhaps Ka Jesse will bake the “Pan de Lecheng Pakyaw.” LOL.

Lolo Bobby M. Reyes

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