Cuenca Institute, during its 75th founding Anniversary, acknowledged and paid tribute to outstanding alumni who have made their marks in the world and succeeded in what they were meant to do. One of the awardees is Lucito “Chito” Chavez, founder and general manager of Tinapayan Festival.
Chavez garnered the highest award for his help in building and establishing the town of Cuenca, Batangas as the Home of the Bakers. A member of Class 1974, Chavez and his good friend Nelson Chavez have worked closely together to bring pride and joy to the town.
“It’s not about what you gain from succeeding but from the lessons you learn as you go along the way. Being a Cuencano has helped shape me into the man I am now. I look back at all the formative years, and I know that I have learned so much during my high school years to catapult me into doing my part as a Filipino citizen, Cuencano, and Batangueno,” said Chavez.
In his acceptance speech, he shared how he has put into practice what he has learned in school.
“Wala akong kodigo ngayon. Hindi ako nagbaon ng kodigo dahil bawal sa Cuenca Institute. Mag-aral kayo, kagaya ng disiplina ng mga guro dito,” he said.
Over the years, Cuenca Institute has produced great minds, with students graduating with honors, pursuing great careers, and placing the school on the map of the Philippines.
Chavez andCuevas are some of those outstanding graduates. They have become pioneering advocates for local bread who pushed for the improvement and recognition of local bakers in the country. Part of this campaign was paving the way for agricultural crops to be utilized in local baking. Led by Cuevas, the incorporation of agricultural products led to the innovation of pan de sal made from kamote, carrots, squash, and ube, among others. This has then led to empowering the Department of Science and Technology as it now develops and uses agricultural crops in its nutribun program.
“Si Arch. Nelson Cuevas ang unang gumawa ng pan de sal na may kamote, pan de sal na may kalabasa, carrot, at ngayon ay proyekto na ng Department of Science and Technology sa kanilang nutribun na project,” Chavez said.
For over four decades, Chavez has sought to lift the local bakery industry one step at a time. Together with partners in the private and public sectors, he has worked closely with the key players to help the livelihoods of many bakers, farmers, and store owners in the process.
“There’s still a lot for us to do to bring back the glory of pan de sal making in the country. If years back, 40 percent of flour was used by the bakery industry to create the ever-beloved pan de sal, today, only a mere 19 percent of flour production is used to create our national bread,” he said.
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