A DIFFERENT kind of lechon (roast suckling pig)—slow-cooked on charcoal for two hours after being marinated in secret herbs and spices; and served, not with the usual liver sauce, but with homemade vinegar—is catching the imagination—and whetting the appetite—of Christmas revelers after it was learned that the lechon reputedly contains less fat and that the enterprise making this very tasty food item uses only native pigs.
Credit for this new kind of lechon goes to Jotle and Luisa Viray, who accidentally discovered it during a business trip to Diplahan, a quiet town in Zamboanga Sibugay province, a year ago. What the couple did was to persuade the lechon-making family they met in that municipality to share their cooking secrets with them so that Manila may taste what’s now called the Diplahan lechon. In return, the couple would share part of their profits with the town.
The Virays are actually employing a new kind of marketing—connecting meaningfully with their customers—that is different from what came to be known as “interventional marketing”. In educating their customers about the finer points of the Diplahan lechon—how it is cooked and why it is crispy-brown, and why the sauce for it is homemade vinegar—the Virays need not press their future clients to buy. The fact that they are offering less fatty lechon makes for a subtle pitch.
Jotle, a big bike enthusiast who spearheaded a group that first went to Tacloban City, Leyte province, in the aftermath of Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan), and later donated several fishing boats to the affected families there, oversees preparations for the Diplahan lechon. He said it took a while, but, so far, the enterprise has been so successful that buyers can get their orders after a day’s notice. The Diplahan lechon is in Barangay Masinag, Antipolo City. For details, call 0917-8268017 or 0917-8268010.
Protecting electricity consumers
IT is high time the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) institutionalized the so-called secondary price cap in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) starting next year, especially after it was predicted that there would be power outages, beginning in March. As of now, the secondary price cap, which effectively moderates the greed of the power-generation companies (gencos) by ensuring that the generation charge does not go out of whack, like what happened last year, when electricity rates went up to P62 per kilowatt-hour.
As of now, the secondary price cap—which reins in the clearing price for the generation charge, even when there are power outages, at P8.186—is just being extended every time the expiry date approaches. First set in May, the expiry date was later extended to August, and then for another 120 days, until the end of the year. So far, the measure put in place is supported by the Manila Electric Co., while the gencos are against the proposal, saying it is unconstitutional, among others.
But, as the Supreme Court proved when it struck down the huge spike in energy prices when the WESM pricing went out of whack more than a year ago, the gencos and their grumbling do not stand a chance against blindfolded Lady Justice. And the ERC mandate for the secondary price cap set for this summer is the right step toward protecting electricity consumers.
What is given is that spot-market prices spike whenever there is any outage in the power plants. Simulations by the Department of Energy show that the Luzon grid can have an average of up to 1,000 megawatts (MW) of capacity on forced outage, with actual experience showing that we can have as much as 2,000 MW. All these are on top of plants that are under scheduled or maintenance shutdown, such as those fed by Malampaya.
That means the ERC should now institutionalize the secondary price cap. After all, gencos are allowed to charge additional costs they incur that are beyond the price cap set. So why should they continue to complain?
LA publisher honored
LOS Angeles-based publisher and real-estate investor Oscar L. Jornacion was conferred an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree by the Polytechnic University of the Philippines on Friday. Jornacion founded his publishing empire 32 years ago under the banner of the First Tri- Media Group of Companies, which include Philippine newspaper publications in Los Angeles and San Diego, the first Philippine radio station in California, and Philippine-American expositions and conventions.
Later, Jornacion, a classmate and close friend of billionaire Dr. Andrew L. Tan of Megaworld Corp., ventured into real-estate investments. He currently owns and manages two large commercial buildings in Los Angeles: the Philippine Village Center and the Tri-Media Building, both of which house numerous Philippine businesses and are regular venues for various Philippine events and celebrations. His real-estate businesses include holdings in 12 states.
A certified public accountant in the Philippines and the United States, Jornacion has been the recipient of numerous awards and commendations from various organizations and government agencies in both countries.
Image credits: Benjo Laygo