Our company’s history started when, in 1941, Jose Lontoc of Taal, Batangas, married Leonor Rodriguez of Montalban, Rizal (daughter of Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez who served as Senate President of the Philippines in 1952-1953 and in 1953-1963). The couple was given a piece of land in Leonor’s hometown and it was then that they thought to engage in hog-raising to produce pork meat for public markets.
They coined the name for their enterprise by getting the initials of their surnames, “L” and “R,” and turning it into a word, thus ELAR was born. It was only natural for them to try to roast some pigs for the family, as it was, and still is, a Filipino tradition to have lechon at special family celebrations. It turned out so well that later, relatives and friends clamored for more. By word of mouth, the popularity of the lechon by ELAR spread and the demand from customers had to be met.
Through the years, Jose and Leonor perfected the roasting of the lechon aided by their love of cooking. They discovered that the best lechon is produced by a combination of having the appropriate breed of pig, the proper feeding and caring for the pig, the method of slaughtering and dressing, and most importantly, the roasting. Jose, an engineer by profession, developed a mechanized system of roasting which turns the pig over the charcoal at a specified speed (depending on the size of the pig) to assure even cooking and avoid over- and under cooking. So in 1972, they formalized Elar’s Lechon which promised the best-tasting lechon to its growing customer base.
As Elar Lechon grew, Jose and Leonor’s daughter, Melinda Lontoc Zalamea, joined the family business and helped run the daily operations of the farm and Elar’s Lechon. It wasn’t long before Melinda’s sons, Manjo and Manric, also joined the business started by their Lolo and Lola, and learned the ins and outs of the piggery and the lechon business.
With the death of Leonor in 1997, and also of Jose and Melinda in 2000, Manjo and Manric ventured out on their own in 2001 to continue their grandparents’ and their mother’s legacy. They formed ElarZlechon to carry on the tradition of providing customers the best-tasting lechon.
Today, ElarZlechon remains committed in providing the same quality, if not better, as the original Elar’s (see our Testimonials page). Together with Manric’s wife, Michelle and a loyal staff, ElarZlechon still roasts their pigs at the very same facility that their Lolo built more than 30 years ago, using the same mechanized method that he developed.
Though they do not raise their own pigs for lechon anymore, ElarZlechon only sources from the best pigs-for-lechon suppliers from around Luzon.