By Rey Anthony Chiu | 12:06 PM July 30, 2022
Like a mother hen, she clucks and chucks every now and then, hopping from one table to another, masterfully pecking some orts left by diners and wiping them in a rag which she hands to another waiter.
The tall lady in black polo shirt, reddish grey apron and slacks was unusually hovering from one table to another, taking orders here, bussing and clearing tables and even setting up more folding tables at the back of the booth.
The place was slowly filling with diners, and the counter has a long line of diners ordering their meals, while she, with a tray of orders, expertly weaves through the tables to the far end where a family eagerly awaits for their night’s fill of native chicken (NC) pugaran and chicken chicken tinola.
A salivating whiff of the smell of sautéed garlic and spices assaults ones senses, the sizzle of something fried is downed by the friendly din of the crowd and the occasional woof of the speakers blaring at the stage a hundred meters away, never dampens her bouncy character.
And to think, she is not just your run-of-the-mill waiter or table clearing crew. In her high school, she was a natural leader and friends gravitated towards her ‘contagiously happy’ disposition, one she has successfully kept until now.
Now, Haidee Libot-Tayag, along with her husband Angelito owns the Macsa Corner Catering Services and Associates (MCSA), one of the busiest booths in the food park.
Macsa, she said is a tree and names her sitio in Candumayao, Catigbian town, and because they offer catering services, considering her associates in the business name was another of her masterful strokes.
Looking at the sheer number of diners in front of the booth, MCSA is one of the promising stalls at the Sandugo Festival grounds at the old Tagbilaran airport.
Banking on their specialty traditionally cooked native chicken Pugaran, and scoopfuls of vegetables in every menu displayed in covered clay jars, the couple with their brood of servers, came with only a slight idea on how they would fare with the big names in high end resorts and restaurants spreading their delectable world-class banquest just a few meters from them.
“Actually, me and my husband are hoteliers, we decided, especially during the pandemic, we started opening up a restaurant because my husband worked before at a cruise liner as a chef and me as a bar tender,” she shared, occasionally fixing her face mask, while behind her, a flurry of activities happened as her crew served the night diners.
Oned in the idea of offering local food, so our main dishes are more on local and native foods, specializing in native chicken, she shared.
The taste of MCSA’s NC pugaran, as every Boholano in the older generation would attest, is a journey back into the weeded trail of the past when grandmothers cooked with less fancy, a pouring of suka-tuba, few cloves of crushed garlic but generous on the black pepper, and salt. Plenty but sating for the seasalt loving palate.
What is more, since native chicken is best with organically grown spices and condiments, MCSA sources them out from the local market, Catigbian being popularly known as the vegetable capital of the lowlands in Bohol. And they assure that they follow the traditional preparations [of the dishes] and how it is done.
In fact, they do not just get into the native and organic traditional food, they also follow it through with healthy drinks.
As for our after meal drinks, we use fresh fruits, and now when there is a need for us to take in vitamin C, we offer lemoncito with cucumber, that is the most refreshing drink we can offer aside from the fruit shakes, which of course are pure and we do not use powdered preparations.
Left on their own, MCSA, with Angelito and Haidee started to make people come, the regulars brought in more and then they realized, they are serving a huge number of patrons, threatening their supply.
The problem was even more magnified after the storm.
“We coordinated with the LGU and the mayor, asking if they could encourage the people to supply us with their native chicken,” she narrated, glinting at the occasional wave of lights from the activity stage.
MCSA Corner aims to help the community, not just enrich our-self with profits, but also assist small businesses like us.
Nalipay mi kay naa nay klaro nga mokompra sa among mga manok, di parehas sa una nga hangyoon lang og barato, mapugos lang pod mig baligya kay alkanse na man sa patuktok, shares a backyard free-range native chicken raiser from Haguilanan, in Catigbian.
Makapalit na pod mig bugas kay regular man sila mangompra, she added.
When the people understood, native chicken and their supply has never been as secure, she said, modestly hiding here excitement with the way things turned for them at the Sandugo Food Fusion.
She and her husband with a service crew of 10, joined the 2022 Sandugo Festival Food Fusion Nights, an annual food fusion which brings the best food and chefs from all of Bohol’s finest restaurants to the festival grounds for a few days of night food market.
They were invited, but then a friend introduced them too, so they applied and were in the list, and since opening day, streams of people, some in big groups order their whole Native Chicken Pugaran.
Actually, for Bohol Economic Development and Investment Promotions Office had Maria Fe Dominese, MCSA is just one of the 17 food stalls that responded to the Bohol Association of Hotels, Resorts and Restaurants call for the Food Fusion.
Opened since July 22, in five nights of display and service, the BAHRR organized food fusion has grossed P652, 445.
The Food Fusion Nights is one of the initiatives which the Provincial Government is offering to food business entrepreneurs who have been affected by the pandemic and are therefore given the opportunity to sell as the Sandugo Festival grounds, BIDEPO said.
The Food Fusion Nights, now on its 7th year, aims to bring people to a hub where they can taste the best offerings of hotels, resorts and restaurants in Bohol without having to go to the resorts in Panglao or famous city restaurants and spend much.
This is for the Boholanos and our commitment to facilitate the rapid recovery and build back Bohol better as a tourism and investment destination, and hand-hold out small investors to be able to stand strong amidst the adversities, according to Bohol Governor Erico Aristotle Aumentado.
With MCSA are food concessionaires with Kew Hotel, Modala Beach Resort, Ocean Suites Boutique Hotel, Astoria Bohol, Panda Tea Garden Suites, Pepperoni’s Pizza, Celene’s Racket Food, Coco Craze, House of Lechon, Jzaki Enterprises, MCSA Corner Restaurant, Pearl Teepee, ROJO Panglao, Sweetniest88, Wing It! and Balamban Liempo.
Meanwhile, MCSA’s story of being a newbie in Bohol’s food industry, is in fact of the same storyline of most small and medium entrepreneurs. MCSA however, opted to rise above the circumstances, making use of every help they can get while helping other rise like they do.
MCSA, like a mother hen, secures her brood of servers, waiters, food suppliers including native chicken growers, vegetable farmers and traders safely tucked in, pandemic or otherwise.
Besides, when one has a good and promising pugaran in her corner, one expects more eggs in the future. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)