My City, My SM celebrates Kapampangan creativity and entrepreneurship

(The Philippine Star) - September 30, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The recent My City, My SM launch at SM City San Fernando paid tribute to Pampanga’s rich cultural traditions, artistry, and vibrant spirit of entrepreneurship. 

Two Kapampangan families known not only for their business acumen, but also for their ground breaking concepts – Maritel Nievera and sons Ian and Adji Tiongson of the Cabalen Group; and Louie, Loo, and Dulzzi Gutierrez of Silverworks and Ocampo’s Fine Jewelry were honored during the event.

“I Really Left My Heart in San Fernando” also highlighted the close community ties SM has forged with its host province. Kapampangans gave SM a warm — and rather phenomenal — welcome when SM City Pampanga opened in 2000, and SM City Clark in 2006. Just last July, SM opened a third mall, SM City San Fernando in the downtown section of the city’s historic Heritage District, also to record crowds.

Maritel Nievera has brought cuisine from different towns of Pampanga as well as treasured family recipes to many Filipinos through her Cabalen restaurant group. Now in its 25th year, the Cabalen group has grown to include concept restaurants like Oody’s, which serves Thai food; Mangan, another Kapampangan resto; Ebun, which serves traditional cuisine; Soi, a Thai restaurant; and Cerveseria, which is known for its Spanish food. Maritel’s sons Ian, who is vice president, and Adji, who is the company chef are now actively involved in the business, which has many outlets in SM malls.

Louie, Loo, and Dulzzi Gutierrez are third-generation jewelers. Their grandfather, Santiago Lagman Ocampo, was a traveling jewelry salesman during pre war days. In the early 1950s, he opened a pawnshop and jewelry store that became the famous Ocampo’s in Guagua.

The generation of their parents, architect Victor and Amada Ocampo-Gutierrez, set up the stores. Today, the siblings have expanded the business to reach out to a whole new generation by pioneering trendy silver jewelry through their Silverworks stores, as well as the KKK chain of restaurants and the Prado Farms in Lubao.

The San Fernando Heritage District, which was highlighted during the event, brought guests back in time with inspirations from ancestral homes in this historic area where the new SM mall is located. These included the entrance arch inspired by the Santos-Hizon ancestral home; as well as showcase replicas of the living room of the Lazatin mansion, and interiors of the Blue House in Prado Farms.

Guests, including San Fernando City Mayor Oscar Rodriguez, Councilor Jaime Lazatin, senior tourism officer Ching Panglinan, and Derick Hizon and wife Dalsa, enjoyed the program, which included performances by the Philippine Opera Company. SM officials led by vice president for marketing Millie Dizon and SM City San Fernando assistant mall manager Engr. Junias Eusebio welcomed them.

After the program, guests had a sampling of cocktail versions of Kapampangan specialties — Sisig in Patty Shells, Ciabatta Bread with Smoked Longganisa, Cheesy Wrapped Lumpia, and Turon Fondue.

Now in its third year, My City, My SM is a tourism-oriented campaign that features the many cities in the Philippines were SM malls and stores are located. So far, the My City, My SM road show has visited 25 cities in the Philippines, with prominent personalities in each area as tour guides.

The launch at SM City San Fernando is the second for 2012 after Wow Olongapo featuring Philippine Red Cross chairman Richard Gordon and beauty queen Darlene Carbungco-Isip earlier during the year.

It is also the third time My City, My SM has made a stop in Pampanga, an encore for the province that welcomed SM with open arms. The first, “I Left My Heart in San Fernando,” which was launched in SM City Pampanga in December 2009 featured internationally acclaimed director Brillante Mendoza and Mutya ng Kapampangan 2006 Nicolette Henson. The second, Up, Up, and Away at Clark in February 2010 had Angeles University Foundation’s Dr. Emmanuel Y. Angeles and celebrity chef Claude Tayag celebrating the best of the city.

My City, My SM is a joint project of SM and the Department of Tourism with support from the Philippine Star.

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