CEBU, Philippines - When Margarita “Princess” Domingo Frasco was born on November 19, 1979, she was destined for great things she is the great granddaughter of matriarch Margarita “Na Titay” Frasco of Titay’s Liloan Rosquillos and Delicacies, Inc. She carries her great grandmother’s name. Thirty-one years after her birth, she fulfills her destiny by taking the helm of the family business.
“I already knew that this was going to happen. I knew that someday I have to do this. But to tell you the truth, I was scared. It is easier to start a new business than to run a business that has been there for a hundred years,” said Princess, who is also fondly called “Titay Daku” (her cousin Aljew’s 2-year-old daughter, who is also named Margarita, is called “Titay Gamay”).
Princess, the eldest daughter of Panphil “Dodong Daku” Frasco, grew up in the US. Although her family would always visit the country and her brother Duke is the mayor of Liloan, it was only last May that she came home to the Philippines, to Cebu and to Liloan particularly, that she knew she was going to stay for good to take care of Titay’s.
“I did not prepare for the job of handling Titay’s. Although I knew that one day I will have to take care of the business, I was still so young then and wanted to have fun. I realized that I had to grow up when my father passed away. Then I hit 30 and I realized I had to stop playing games and step up and learn the business,” said Princess.
Just six months after she took over as head of Titay’s, Princess has already learned to love her job and is thankful that there are workers who are willing to teach her the ropes. She admits that she has no background in the food and bakery industry but said that her background in retail and customer service can really help her run the business. “There’s a lot of stuff that I have to learn. I have to know these things because you can’t implement something if you do not know the works,” she said.
Princess believes that she is the type of boss who wants to know what’s going on, that’s why she makes it a point to learn everything there is to know about the business. While she knows how to prepare the mixes of the different Titay’s products (only family members are allowed to do the mixing and for now, it’s only Princess and her cousin Aljew who does this), Princess wants to know more about baking. “I know how to mix. I know how to make the different products. But I want to know the purpose of each ingredient,” she emphasized, adding that mixing is something that she considers therapeutic.
And the workers at Titay’s are very happy with the way Princess is handling her job. Teresita “Pinky” Casag, a baker, said they appreciate the fact that whenever there are concerns to solve, Princess is always around.
Aside from learning the ins and outs of the food and baking industry, Princess also wants to take the business to an international level. She said she was so proud when she saw Titay’s products in the States. “The name is already so big it just needs to be distributed,” she said.
But taking it international does not mean Americanizing the business or opening it up for franchising, she pointed out. Princess said that although she grew up in the US, she considers herself a traditionalist and wants to keep the business the way it is. “I like to keep it the way my great grandmother and grandmother left the business to us. When you franchise, it’s like you don’t own the business anymore. I’m afraid of that. Maluoy ko nila ni mama, sa ilang kahago. Dali ra ang kwarta kung mag-franchise but I’m so contented with what I have,” she said.
When you do not see Princess at Titay’s, since she lives there, too, she is either playing golf, at the gym or is enjoying a cup of coffee at Starbucks. She said she tries to go to the city everyday to take her mind off work. “I usually sit at Starbucks for one to two hours then come back to Liloan and start my day at work. That’s the advantage of being the owner, you do not have specific work time,” she said with a smile, at the same time admitting that she loves to work at night because she can concentrate. “But I make it a point to visit the production area everyday.”
One of the lessons that Princess has learned with her new responsibilities at Titay’s is that “when you love your job, you never work a single day.”
Titay Daku has truly grown up, and, until the next Titay (in this case Titay Gamay) is ready, she is in charge. (THE FREEMAN)