The story behind PAMBANSANG LECHON”s (ELARZ) grand plan to build a national lechon brand and eradicate poverty.
Our company’s history started 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.
Jose and Leonor Lontoc (c. 1960)
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 passion for cooking. They discovered that the best lechon was 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 Lechon which promised the best-tasting lechon to its growing customer base.
Jose and Leonor wanted to have a male child but instead had 5 female children. Among her children Melinda was the one who got married first and had two male children, Manjo and Manric. Jose and Leonor’s yearning for a male child was answered while the other four daughters got married and lived and worked separately from their parents.
As Elar’s Lechon grew, Manjo and Manric, who practically lived with Jose and Leonor most of their lives, learned the ins and outs of the piggery and the lechon business. Both grandchildren loved animals and went with their grandparents every weekend on their piggery farm. Over the years that the Elar brand was getting popular and with the supply of the piggery not sufficient enough, they started buying pigs from other provinces to meet the increasing demand. The Elar brand got bigger and bigger and they were buying pigs from several provinces. Manric realized that the pigs that come from the provinces (Native) quality for lechon was better than the commercial pigs that they produced. Furthermore, the quality of Native pigs were not the same because there was no standardization. And perhaps the most glaring of all was that a lot of middle men were taking advantage of the farmers.
THE NEW GENERATION
Leonor passed away in 1997, while Jose and Melinda in the year 2000 and because the estate was not fixed, 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.
In the quest to greatly improve his lechon product, Manric believes that the supply of the raw material which is the native pig, should be addressed. If you can have the best supply you can address 50% of what is needed to produce the best lechon. The other 50% would be comprised of the marination, the roasting process and the system.
In his study over the years, Manric realized that the native pig industry in the Philippines was being neglected. The backyard farmers raising their pigs have no scientific studies to rely on that is why the Philippine native pig is a “chopsuey” or mixed breed (halo halo breed). The Philippine Native pig is either black or black with a white belly. Varieties include Ilocos and Jalajala. The Berkjala, Diani, Kaman, Koronadal and Libtong breeds were all developed from this breed. It is now thought to be extinct.
Reference: Professor Liwayway H. Acero, Philippines Manson, I.L. 1966. A World Dictionary of Livestock Breeds, Types and Varieties. Fourth Edition. C.A.B International. 273 pp.
We also realized that a lot of traders take advantage of the farmers and buy their pigs at a low price and sell them at a high price so it was decided to introduce a program called Pambansang Baboy Project to address these issues.
PAMBANSANG BABOY PROJECT (PBP)
Manric, having compared the commercial and the native pig industry since 1980’s, realized that the Philippine native pigs and the traditional pigs raised by backyard farmers’ quality for lechon is better than the commercial breeds. And even though the brand has its own substantially sized piggery, the company still buys 80% of its supply from traders from the provinces. Because of the supply needs, Manric thus created the PBP program.
PBP is a Social Enterprise that is committed to the cause of “Alleviating Poverty” by making a livelihood program out of the contract breeding and growing programs for farmers in producing the BEST BREED for lechon. Please watch the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr1zrmlMtgg.
Manric would like to acknowledge Senator Bam Aquino, Gawad Kalinga Founder Tony Meloto, GK Boy Montelibano, GK Luis Oquinena, Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Gil De Los Reyes and DAR ARISP Beh Afable for the continuing support of PBP. In the video link the statement of Sen. Kiko Pangilinan “that agriculture is not sustainable and the average age of a farmer is 59 years old because in 1 and ½ hectare of land of Palay production (staple food of the Filipino) the income of a farmer is Php23,000.00 per year and no one wants to be a farmer because of that”. Because of consolidated efforts of the supporters of PBP, and in spite of the birth pains, we estimate that in 1 and ½ hectare of land a farmer can earn Php400,000.00 to Php800,000.00 by producing the Best Breed for Lechon (Pambansang Breeds).
Manric says he is very happy that the Government and some private groups in the year 2015 are finally realizing the value of the Native Pigs that are grown locally because of its potential. Please watch the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFiK2dUxGmI.
FIRST WORLD PHILIPPINES
Considering that the National food of the Filipino is Lechon, Manric realized that FIRST WORLD PHILIPPINES is possible if Filipinos will only think of solutions to accomplish the goal. In the case of PAMBANSANG LECHON, Manric believes that having more than 110 Million Filipinos in the Philippines, to be able to reach FIRST WORLD PHILIPPINES, all is needed is for every Filipino to buy lechon for his birthday ONLY which is once a year. To give an idea on how much sales the program can do (as an example 100,000,000 (Filipinos) x Php7,500.00 (ave. price of one lechon) = 750 Billion Pesos Gross Sales Per Year. PBP will make a lot of farmers earn as much or even more than the executives in the country.
So if one product can make this kind of an impact to our Country it can be an example to other Filipinos to make similar programs to achieve FIRST WORLD PHILIPPINES.
CELEBRATIONS MADE HEALTY
The pigs that our PBP farmers grow are fed with mainly forages that are grown naturally. We produce pigs that have 30% less cholesterol as compared to commercial pigs.
SAVE THE PLANET
Another issue that the program wants to address is Climate Change. Animal farming is the biggest contributor to climate change through the methane animals release from their manure. To address this issue the inclusion of a Biogas Digester is the solution. The second advantage is if the methane is contained it can produce free fuel for the farmer.
We can say that the development of the Best Breed for lechon started with the PAMBANSANG LECHON (ELARZ) brand and we will continue with the development side by side with the Government to create livelihood for thousands of farmers.
Furthermore, Manric aims to have the lechon reach the overseas Filipinos through the slogan “Ipaabot ang Pambansang Pagkain ng Pilipino Kahit saan sa Mundo” thus making the national food of the Filipino “Lechon” available to all Filipinos all over the world. (For more information Vision & Mission page on www.elarzlechon.com).
The business model of elarZ brand is deemed successful since we are one of the leaders in the industry. We have been supplying the following establishments since 2004 up to present: Manila Hotel, Sofitel Hotel, Shangri-la Makati Hotel, Shanri-la Edsa Hotel, Traders Hotel, San Miguel, Shoe Mart SMSLA, Solaire Hotel and the new partners are City State Tower Hotel, City of Dreams, Club Balai Isabel Resort and much more. (For more information BALITA or NEWS page on www.elarzlechon.com).
Manric has created a program called Provincial Master Franchise Program which aims to provide excellent lechon to all Filipinos. Please take note that investing in the FIRST WORLD PHILIPPINES program you will not just help the Philippines inch closer in becoming a First World Country, you will also have a lucrative and profitable business as well.
Manric invites you to Invest in FIRST WORLD PHILIPPINES for our country, CELEBRATIONS MADE HEALTHY for our health, SAVE THE PLANET for the benefit of our children and for PROFIT for your hard earned money.