Food and Leisure

Lucban, Quezon resto giant Buddy's shares secrets to keeping business going

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
Lucban, Quezon resto giant Buddy's shares secrets to keeping business going
The Veluz family behind Buddy's and several of the restaurant's dishes
Philstar.com / Kristofer Purnell

MANILA, Philippines — Buddy's, a restaurant chain that hails from Quezon Province, recently celebrated its 37th anniversary, a feat that the Veluz family never thought they would accomplish.

Salvador Veluz, whose nickname the restaurant takes its name from, initially put up a burger house in his hometown of Lucban back in 1985 and had no idea that it would become the popular franchise it is now.

If not for its unique take on Filipino food, Buddy's is best known for its interiors inspired by Quezon's Pahiyas Festival, a celebration of bountiful harvest that commemorates the feast of St. Isidore the Laborer on May 15.

What started with dishes like lumpiang ubod and spaghetti, Buddy's now spans branches across the country, but has the distinction of using supplies and crew mainly from Quezon Province, where even some employes have been around for 30 years.

Salvador's wife Nova recounted the early years of her husband building up a restaurant from his own house, and when she entered the picture in 1991 after they were married, she came to a realization why "Buddy's" survived the years.

"Wala kaming na-feel na frustrations, siguro na-enjoy namin ginagawa namin... at nagdadasal [kami]. If you have the heart... at makakatulong ka sa kapwa mo, siguro tatagal ka sa negosyo," Nova said at the 37th anniversary party recently held in their Eastwood branch.

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For Salvador, who also goes by Zaldy, the secret to keeping a business alive comes naturally to him as the ingredients he thinks of using whenever he creates a dish — it's love.

"Love ng negosyo, love ng co-partner. Business ito eh, eh partner kami," Zaldy explained.

Nova joked that if without love and constant fighting that would lead to a separation, the restaurant's name might have been "Nobody's" rather than "Buddy's."

"Naisip namin gumawa ng mabuti para sa kapwa at sa [Buddy's] team namin, at love — lots of love," Nova added.

From a menu of 70 Filipino dishes, the couple cherish their Pancit Lucban and Lucban Longganisa the most because they truly stand out and remind them of the fiestas they celebrate back home.

The couple also teased an even bigger celebration for their 40th anniversary, possibly even holding it in Lucban during the Pahiyas Festival.

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