A DAY after my baking workshop in the Durian City of Davao in the southern part of the Philippines, it was time to embark on a journey to the northern part of the Philippines, the quaint and charming city of Lucena.

After our arrival in Manila last July 18, we, together with Mr. John Alexander Uy, manager of Zeelandia Philippines and Mr. Felix Oracoy, Sales Representative we decided to give ourselves a break by spending the night in Manila. We went our ways after I was picked up at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. I was looking forward to that because I also get to visit my relatives on my father's side whom I haven't seen for years and spend some quality time with them even for just a day.

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Early Monday morning, we were on our way to the Southern part of Luzon using SLEX (South Luzon Expressway). It was a smooth drive passing through Alaminos and parts of Laguna. It was almost 12 noon when we got to Lucena City. So we had our lunch at Max Restaurant located along the highway before reaching the city proper. One thing I really liked in their menu is their sizzling tofu. We had the usual fried chicken meal and added kare-kare and sinigang. A delicious and hearty meal after the long drive!

I was so enthralled and captivated by the old houses and huge acacia trees along the highway. A lot of the residences are remarkably in excellent condition. I wish I could have stopped and check out those old 'mansions' but we were on a time-scheduled trip. Shucks!

I didn't get to see Lucena in general because I have to start baking (for the display pieces during the seminar) upon our arrival. But I can see and feel that the place is still laid back, however with modern amenities. The hotel we stayed used to be an old house as I observe because the floors are made of hard wood and very shiny at that! It was quite huge. I don't know but I had an eerie and strange feeling of the place. Guess because it was an old edifice, or am I just sensitive?

Anyway, the following day was spent again baking and doing finishing touches to the cakes and pastries. We were very much welcomed by the owners of Daily Bread Bakeshop, Dean (who also happens to be a dentist-turned-baker) and Grace Tio. We used their facilities and equipment for both, during baking and the live seminar itself.

Finally, on the 21st, we had our baking workshop and seminar at the very popular and trendy ZYMURGY Cafe Lounge in the afternoon. We had creatively displayed all the baked products on one side of the venue where the participants can take pictures during the event. One by one the eager bakers and bakers-wannabe started to fill in the place.

The seminar started with the Asian bread recipe and its variations using Zeelandia's quality bakery ingredients like Super Soft Bread Improver. Pies and pastries using Paletta fruit fillings, RAP and VLA custard fillings were highlighted. Premix and the different flavoured glazes made the Donuts irresistibly and visually delightful! Simple cake decorating was also done using their very versatile and easy to use whipped cream powder, Bio Bianca.

After every demonstration of a product, the participants get to taste and try it. Some are lucky because they get to bring home with them the finished products on display. Heavy snacks composed of pasta, breaded fish fillet, garlic stick breads and tortillas were also served, buffet style. Needless to say, everyone get to bring home new ideas and the latest trends in breads, cakes, and pastry-making.

Again, I would like to personally thank Dean and Grace for the use of their bakery area for all our pre baking activities and the use of their equipment, specially the mixers and the heavy oven that was transported to the venue. To the owner, Olive Hererra and her equally helpful staff of Zymurgy Cafe Lounge for all the assistance, and special mention goes to Mr. Wallen, for keeping my camera which i accidentally left in the cafe the night before.

We have to leave by 8 a.m. the following day because I have a plane to catch going back to the city of golden friendship. And on our way back, I just could not resist buying some pasalubong for my family which included their very famous Laguna Buko Pie, Cassava Cake and some native kakanin. Though it was an exhausting and strenuous trip, it was definitely worth all the time I spent in that picturesque and appealing city with the mixture of old & new blending harmoniously with each other.

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