Kurobuta pork produced locally

THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee - The Philippine Star
Kurobuta pork produced locally
Esguerra Farms owner Herminio Esguerra with his black pigs.

The renowned Kurobuta pork of Japan is now locally produced in the Philippines.

Kurobuta is a Japanese term that means “black pig” and used to designate only purebred Berkshire pigs raised according to a regimented farming method Esguerra Farms adheres to.

Esguerra Farms in Lipa, Batangas, is the home to purebred Berkshire pigs raised locally on a sprawling farm, allowing them to roam freely with fresh air and lots of sunlight.

Herminio Esguerra is the farm’s proprietor and is also a horse owner and breeder. Esguerra Farms was founded in 2000 and started as a family rest house and horse ranch. The property today is a fully developed and thriving farm complex that produces fresh fruits and vegetables as well.

Esguerra Farm’s barns are specifically designed to provide for the needs of the pigs at different life stages — from pregnancy to birth and weaning to nursery to growing and finishing until they are ready for harvest. These barns are interconnected to ensure stress-free transfer of the pigs from one barn to the next. Only a few pigs inhabit each barn, providing them more than enough space to move about without crowding and stress.

They keep the environment stress-free to produce a higher pH level (measurement of acidity) in meats, since a higher pH allows for maximum marbling in the meat to make it more tender and juicy. This also allows retention of its natural flavor and a redder, healthier color in the meat.


The pigs here are grown hormone- and antibiotic-free, unlike in commercial piggeries where pigs are injected with growth hormones to speed up harvest time and antibiotics to avoid any infections or diseases. They feed their pigs fermented and chemical-free plant-based feed that provides nourishment specific to the pigs’ growth stage.

Esguerra Kurobuta products come in three forms: prime cuts, household cuts, and processed foods. Prime cuts include the Tomahawk, coppa steak, filet mignon, pork chop, porchetta, sukiyaki, and baby back ribs. Household cuts include cubes, ribs, ground pork, knuckles, and liver. Processed food includes sausages, hams, and bacon smoked and cured with herbs and spices.

They also have a special cochinillo: just a month from birth, suckling pigs are fed mostly milk and harvested immediately after they are weaned, then roasted for hours using a special oven that regulates even cooking and crisping.

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Esguerra Kurobuta is available at the Ground Floor of Herma Building, 94 Scout Rallos, Diliman, Quezon City, Esguerra Farms in Lipa, Batangas, Rare Food online, The Market Place, Grabmart, and Real Foods supermarkets. Visit https://www.facebook.com/esguerrakurobuta.

The joy of Sarge Lacuesta

Joy is award-winning Filipino author and my friend, Angelo “Sarge” Lacuesta’s newest book, published by Penguin Random House Southeast Asia.

The novel is the story of Ariston Letrero, a renaissance man: audio producer, insurance salesman, musician, composer, part-time fast-food mascot and philanderer who quickly and quietly abandons his wife and son at the peak of his career, for a new life in America with his lover Odette.

Years later, he sends an email to his son, Lucas, an advertising man who has been brought up on super robot cartoons, Catholic school truisms, a diet of fast food and loneliness, and who has reconnected with his childhood sweetheart Dedes, who has made a post-annulment life for herself in America.

Sarge Lacuesta holding his new novel, Joy.

In the 30 years between is a story that sings songs and anthems of identity, relations, loneliness, and loss, and how they figure in the lives of contemporary Filipinos who are not scattered across space and time, but who are also connected and separated at the same time.

Joy is a story of joy — lived forward, backward, sideways, and upside down, in lives and loves that are fragmented, separated, gathered, made virtual, and made real.

* * *

Copies are now available for preorder at https://www.facebook.com/GoodIntentionsBooks. They will also be available at your favorite bookstores.

Follow me on Instagram @pepperteehankee.



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