Virgie’s – A Sweet Taste of Home

A veritable institution, Virgie’s has been the go-to place to buy pasalubong and local delicacies for almost 50 years. Like many of Virgie’s contemporaries that are still in business, the company started small. Virgie’s was founded by Virgie Chua as a hobby. Virgie loved to cook and bake, she started with making cakes and pastries for friends and from there she started taking orders.

She remembers what really made her change from enthusiastic hobbyist to an entrepreneur. Virgie’s most popular pastry is the mango tart, and this is true even back then. One of her customers suggested that she pre-make the tarts instead of taking orders. From then on, Virgie Chua became Virgie’s Homemade Products, and she never looked back.

Negros is known for pastries and pretty soon, anyone leaving Bacolod made a short stop at Virgie’s to stock up on mango tarts, barquillos, dulce gatas, galletas, and many other delicacies that could not yet be found anywhere else. They bought them either to share or to keep, like hidden treasures to be rationed until they could come back and refill their stock.

Caramel Tarts

Virgie’s reputation made it the pasalubong center in the 70’s and 80’s. It was one of a few pasalubong centers until others realized something Virgie had known for a long time: that there is a demand for Negrense products. Yet, after almost five decades, Virgie’s stands out as the favorite shop, especially among those who really want the authentic Negros flavors. Aside from Virgie’s strict quality control of her own products, she was also kind enough to allow others to sell their products in her shop. She did not limit herself to selling what she produced, she had the modesty, and keen business sense to give space to other budding enterprises so they can have access to her customer base. Virgie knew that in the long run, this will spread awareness of the capabilities of Negros bakers and cooks.


Virgie may be generous but she is also a discerning businesswoman. She made sure any product she sold satisfied a standard level of quality. Virgie listened to her customers, engaged with them, and learned what they liked and didn’t like. She then stocked her shelves with not only what they were looking for, but the best that she could find.

Having been in the business for almost half a century, Virgie has established a business model that has remained unchallenged. Virgie’s only started getting into social media and making use of the Internet because of the pandemic. The store never needed to before then. Virgie, however, understood the importance of customer engagement to keep her store relevant, and since they could not come into her store, she reached out to them. Due to the lockdowns, Virgie’s has joined the 21st century and now accepts online orders and uses social media to stay in touch with regulars.

Notwithstanding being an institution, Virgie’s is still a mom-and-pop store at heart, where employees are treated like extended family. Virgie’s honored the quarantine rules and sent workers home, but they were not let go. Even with the drop in demand, the company kept everyone employed and absorbed the losses. They knew the lockdown isn’t going to be forever. They were thinking ahead, they knew the value of their workers’ training and skills and how difficult it would be to replace them.


As one of the earliest members of the Association of Negros Producers (ANP), Virgie’s is proudly taking part of the ANP’s Negros Trade Fair that, for the first time in its 35-year existence, now expands to selling online from May 29 to June 30, 2021. This is not just a response to the lockdowns, but an acknowledgement of how society will be conducting business in the future. The Negros Trade Fair will also be physically hosted in Bacolod City at the ANP’s new HQ called “The Hub”. Virgie’s is keen to be a part of this endeavor.

Virgie Chua is proud that Virgie’s has helped her raise the quality of life of her family and brought so much joy to her customers. She has continued to succeed because she celebrates and shares the past but is willing to embrace the future.

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Text by Jubal Gallaga

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