BAGUIO boy Robert Roy has made a niche with gourmet vinegar, making its way into our tables carrying a distinct taste and flavour and proving, small ideas become big.
It was in 2009 when Roy was in the call center industry and started to bring salsa, to pair with snacks and food when completing his shift. The mix became a hit with co - workers which prompted him to start with the food business.
The success of the homemade salsa however was short-lived with problems on availability of the main ingredient such as tomatoes especially when ‘twin typhoons’ hit the city spiking cost to P200 per kilo.
“Naging masyado na mahal ang kamatis noon, kaya tinigil ko na, tsaka ang shelf life ng salsa is only 4 months and it’s not that mainstream,” added Roy.
Roy then thought of shifting to vinegar.
“It was my first time to try vinegar, it was an experiment,” added Roy.
“Suka Watwat” has become a hit for locals with Roy finding himself directing the flow of a fully operational livelihood needing his full attention.
With the business booming, Roy established Dadi Roi Enterprises after he left his call center job in 2009 going full time in his home-grown business.
The love to make side dishes and snacks was innate for Roy, which started his entrepreneurial journey, now being one of the most successful home-grown small businesses in the region.
The first set of experimental vinegar was promptly given to friends as gifts, hoping to get feedback on how to improve the brew.
Roy said the name “Suka Watwat” came after deep thought of an apt name for the tasty creation which has become a favorite pair for everyday meals. The vibe of the Cordilleras came to mind with the iconic highland celebrations where the entire community takes part of the feast.
“Watwat is a well known indigenous practice of upland peoples in sharing life’s bounties to everyone who partakes in the community local tradition of celebration, the Cañao. This is how suka watwat is branded to mirror this gracious and hospitable symbolism of sharing blessings,” added Roy.
Initially, each bottle was sold at P35 but it had very rough packaging and was done in their own kitchen.
Roy’s home kitchen in Scout Barrio slowly became too small forcing him to make an extended production area employing a small group to help in the family business.
Today, the packaging of Roy’s vinegar has been polished and is now sold at P50 pesos.
The gourmet vinegar is described to be “concocted in the highlands of the Cordilleras with the infusion of extraordinary ingredients to bring out the fruity sweetness, mild spiciness and sourness which is unique to the product.”
Dadi Roi Enterprises also sells special rice vinegar, "Wagas" which in our local tagalog vernacular means perfect, vinaigrettes, chili paste called “the bomb” and barbeque dips.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 28, 2017.
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