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Inventor of La Paz batchoy expands after 71 years

Nonoy Guillergan, son of the inventor of La Paz batchoy, shares his thoughts.

MANILA, Philippines - For 71 years, Filipinos have come to love Deco’s original La Paz batchoy, taking time to travel to the district of La Paz in Iloilo City just to savour this Ilonggo specialty.

Now, Deco’s is finally expanding in many parts of the country, thanks to franchising.

Through a partnership with Mang Inasal, another success story from Iloilo, Deco’s is bringing its batchoy to key cities of the country.

Joel Adrias, vice president for operations of Deco’s, said the company has recently put up five stores in Iloilo, all with modern facilities that aim to give diners a cozy atmosphere as they enjoy the taste of the original batchoy.

“We also put up a branch in Bacolod and Manila and recently in Boracay,” he said. The first two branches opened last year while the Boracay branch opened before Valentine’s Day this year.

The first Manila branch is at Alphaland Southgate, the building at the corner of Edsa and Pasong Tamo, right next to the northbound portion of the Magallanes interchange.

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Another branch is set to open in Harrison Plaza in March and at least four are now being designed as more and more Filipinos have already expressed interest in getting a Deco’s franchise.

Indeed, Filipino entrepreneurs are looking for a business venture with the staying power similar to that of Deco’s.

The history of Deco’s batchoy dates back to the years before the second world war. It was Federico Guillergan, a butcher from the La Paz public market, who invented the dish. He experimented with different ingredients until he caught the taste that he had been searching for.

His eldest son and namesake, fondly called as Nonoy, now 70 years old, remembers that the first batchoy his father made and sold was only soup with meat.

“It was only later on that he added meke (noodles) to give in to the request from his Chinese customers,” the junior Guillergan revealed.

The first batchoy was served in two sizes – small and large – and cost 10 and 20 centavos, respectively.

The modern day batchoy, meanwhile, has gone through several modifications already. Aside from the added noodles, which can be meke, sotanghon or bihon, the meat toppings are also varied and include pork meat, beef, chicken, and pork liver. It’s topped with chicharon (pork skin) which remains crispy even after being submerged in the steaming soup. Fresh egg is also an option. And yes, lots of fried garlic are often added to give the batchoy its distinct aroma. 

Yet though an extra large bowl of Deco’s batchoy is big enough to be shared and comes with unlimited soup, garlic and chicharon, it remains very affordable – the reason why people keep coming back.

“Batchoy is so filling that you won’t feel hungry even after five hours,” said Guillergan.

Adrias said a franchise of Deco’s, just like Mang Inasal’s, normally hits ROI (return on investment) in a year or two. Unlike Mang Inasal, however, a Deco’s franchise costs much less - only P1.2 million.

For those interested in investing in a Deco’s franchise, please call Meryl Aniñon at 0922-855-2111 or 0917-8006364 or visit www.decoslapazbatchoy.com

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