While many food service outfits follow the pattern of putting up a restaurant that would subsequently give rise to catering business, the birth of Republic of Cavite Restaurant took place in reverse pattern. Town’s Delight The Caterer was founded in 1974 by Cecilia “Mama Cel” del Rosario Pacumio who was a well-loved culinary matriarch of Tanza, Cavite. From a humble local restaurant, Town’s Delight flourished into one of the major players in the country’s food catering industry, and by the turn of the century the catering outfit has grown significantly as a respectable catering services company esteemed for its gastronomy and its trend-setting events styling capabilities
It was around that time that Town’s Delight was approaching its enterprise midlife, and the owners were intensely engrossed with the idea of giving back something to the community in gratitude for its vigorous and enduring patronage and support, thus far. Under the leadership of the second-generation entrepreneur, Andrew Pacumio who took over as President, Town’s Delight hatched the idea of putting up a restaurant as a natural offshoot of its 27 years of intensive catering services experience.
But more than a mere physical showcase of culinary masterpieces, Republic of Cavite Restaurant was conceived out of a patriotic desire to put up a culinary and historical landmark that the Caviteños would take pride in. It was thus designed to be a place where local foodies and visiting guests can discover, relish and be proud of the original Caviteño cuisines that draw inspirations from significant, historic events, and are intended to pay homage to key historical personages of major contributions in shaping the province and the nation as a whole.
On June 12, 2002, coinciding with the commemoration of the declaration of Philippine independence, the Republic of Cavite Restaurant located in Trece Martires City was inaugurated in a simple blessing rite and thanksgiving reception, and was officially declared open for business. Inspired by the historic Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite, Architect Ritchie Corcuera rendered what many regard as an architectural magnum opus featuring a dignified watchtower designed in close resemblance to the historical landmark in Kawit, and is intended specifically to honor Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, the President of the Philippine Revolution. More than just an attempt at architectural imitation, the Republic of Cavite Restaurant stands as a living testimony to the Caviteños’ high spirits marked by zealous passion and hard work. At the same time, it is a towering tribute to the nobility and significance of Caviteño heritage and culture.
1. Historical value – Beyond architectural resemblance, the Republic of Cavite Restaurant shares something else in common with the revered Aguinaldo Shrine: Both are regarded as landmarks in the historical map of Cavite. In the local tourism map published by the Cavite provincial government recently, Republic of Cavite Restaurant has been tagged as the only restaurant landmark in Trece Martires City. Far from being an incidental reference point, the Republic of Cavite Restaurant carries significant historical value due to its unique features alluding to various historical places and events in Cavite. Dr. Emmanuel Calairo, a respected Caviteno educator and historian, has been instrumental in embellishing the Restaurant with historic references which make a casual dine-in visit a discovery of gastronomic delights and a celebration of historical insights, rolled in one.
The al fresco dining area on the ground floor is called Plaza de Armasin honor of the thirteen martyrs of Cavite whose execution took place at a public area by that name in Cavite City. The events hall on the second floor that hosts varied celebratory occasions is known as Bulwagang Cuenca in reference to the Cuenca residence in Bacoor, Cavite where Aguinaldo held office after the declaration of independence in 1898. The smaller hall on the third floor is named Sala del Gobernador in honor of the entire lineup of governors that led the province since the revolution up to the present. Displayed at the main dining hall are pictures of historical places and events in various parts of Cavite, giving diners a quick virtual, historical tour. History enthusiasts also find haven in the Republic of Cavite as it features rare local history books on display in various spots of the Restaurant. All in all, these historical features make every dine-in visit to Republic of Cavite Restaurant a delightful reminiscence of our history and a celebration of our rich local heritage.
2. Culinary value – Every food item and its recipe tells a story that is rooted in a particular socio-cultural context. While the historically themed features of the edifice lend uniqueness to the place, the ultimate differentiator of Republic of Cavite lies in its delectable lineup of varied cuisines that convey stories of local ingenuity and creativity espoused by local culinary practitioners who gave a respectable distinction to the Caviteño taste. Among them was Mama Cel who passionately innovated on local recipes, thus, producing a rich legacy of delectable masterpieces that continue to soothe the discriminating taste of local and visiting food enthusiasts today. Delightful creations such as Pastel de Lengua, Chicken Cecilia, Lihim ni Lola and Paborito ni Aguinaldo exemplify the innovative spirit that is faithful to the bedrock foundations of Caviteño hospitality and industriousness. In addition, it has lent a creative twist to popular indigenous foodstuff such as the Pansit Estacion, a traditional dish which remains a highly sought-after delicacy today. Such culinary artistry has been featured and recognized in 2015 and 2016 at the Madrid Fusions Manila – a prestigious international food festival held in Metro Manila featuring Hispanic culinary influences in various countries around the world. But aside from the captivating stories of hard work, passion and artistry that go with every scrumptious offering of Republic of Cavite, it is equally important to note that its recipes are made distinct by the local food ingredients that go into every dish, whether it’s the locally grown herbs such as basil, thyme or tarragon, the shitake mushrooms, meats from locally grown chickens, swine and cattle, or the local coffee varieties. The ultimate culinary value of our gastronomy arising from the rich local heritage is made even more priceless by the healthful quality of the local food ingredients that are produced by the community of local farmers and entrepreneurs who contribute to the vibrancy of local business and trade.
3. Tourism and hospitality value – Given the prominent stature that Republic of Cavite has gained over the years, it has become a culinary and learning destination for numerous groups of students going on educational tours. While the majority of these students are from Cavite-based educational hubs, a growing number of students from Metro Manila schools have been curiously trooping to the Republic of Cavite to savor, learn and appreciate the pride of Cavite. Other than the academic institutions, various local and national personages of illustrious social and political standing find Republic of Cavite a fitting treat and a soothing respite as they come for meetings, conferences or social gatherings. Local public officials, executives and political leaders also find an oasis at our place as they come for meetings or simply to take a break from the monotony of daily grind. Corporate and civic organizations in need of a decent place for their meetings find our facilities refreshingly suitable and conducive to their respective agenda.
Even well-known celebrities and media personalities find the same welcoming, homey feel at the Republic of Cavite given the ambience and service quality that ooze with warmth and a sense of attachment. This, of course, did not escape the wide lens of various national TV networks as they keep coming back whether to shoot segments of their popular ‘telenovelas’ or feature our rare, local recipes and the unique experiences offered by the place.
Given the prominent reputation of Republic of Cavite, the local tourism board took notice of the place and has since extended an offer to the President and owner to take a more active part in local tourism programs. Consequently, Andrew Pacumio is currently serving a second term as President of the Cavite Provincial Tourism Board, Inc. The meetings and other activities of the tourism board held at Republic of Cavite only serve to amplify further the tourism and hospitality value of the place.
Nestled at the heart of Trece Martires City as the ‘seat of power’ for both the city and provincial governments, the Republic of Cavite Restaurant is prominently situated at the center of the city and the province of Cavite. As the city center is the hub of social and commercial activities, Republic of Cavite is privileged to have found itself at the social and business crossroads as it is located between the two major entities of local government – the Provincial Government of Cavite and the Trece Martires City Hall. Right next to the City Hall is the St. Jude parish church, and directly across from the Republic of Cavite is Waltermart. In the last 5 years, many business establishments have come to existence in the vicinity, and a number of government agencies such as BIR and NSO have also been established in the area.
The piece of land on which Republic of Cavite stands was acquired in 1992 during which the conditions of the location were entirely different. Except for the presence of a few landmarks such as the Provincial Capitol, there was practically no remarkable development in this former grassland. But the owners must have had an outstanding foresight for choosing this spot since the area eventually served as the site of city hall which necessitated an access road on its side. Knowing the potential long-term advantage of such local road, the Pacumio family initiated to donate a portion of its property to the local government to give way to the realization of the proposed development. The completion of such road, now popularly known as City Hall Road, paved the way for the gentrification and rapid development of the site as evidenced by the emergence of the Republic of Cavite Restaurant, Waltermart Trece Matires and a host of other new businesses such as mini-boutiques, beauty salons and wellness establishments. This commercial trend attracted greater traffic which paved the way for a more expanded market for Republic of Cavite and the other business establishments in the area. Needless to say, the value of the property in the vicinity has tremendously and irreversibly increased in the last 5 years.
ROC and the competitive landscape
The growth of the city center as a commercial hub is like the metaphorical double-edged sword that stimulated the market for the Restaurant on the one hand, but it also brought in major competitive challenges. The advent of SM Trece Martires is seen as the latest challenge to face many local businesses including Republic of Cavite. The associated entry of major restaurant brands such as Gilligan’s, Cabalen, Razon’s and the fastfood chains such as McDonald’s and KFC has changed the business terrain altogether. It is interesting to note, however, that while a good number of local restaurants have either disappeared or diminished, the Republic of Cavite Restaurant remains a vibrant brand in this part of town as it continues to receive clients from the local and neighboring areas who seek to experience the themed gastronomic journey offered by the Restaurant.
This alone is a solid affirmation of the established brand and the existing business model at work which keeps Republic of Cavite a force to reckon with on the local food business front. As a preferential option, it continues to support the local suppliers who in turn promote the Restaurant in their own ways. For one, we remain a strong promoter and endorser of the Amadeo coffee blend and the Aguinaldo special blend – two of the special blends coming out of the locally grown coffee varieties. We are also promoting a local dairy processing cooperative – the Gentri Dairy Processing Plant – as yet another initiative to promote the Caviteño local brands in honor of the valor, courage and dignity of the men and women of the historic past that brought Cavite to where it is today. By tackling the competition, we find new avenues for increasing collaboration and co-creation with local, like-minded entrepreneurs.
Having endured various competitive challenges in the last 15 years of its journey, Republic of Cavite Restaurant stands valiantly before a new horizon, ready to face the new realities and fresh promises that it will bring.
Republic of Cavite Restaurant’s recipes were especially made to promote proudly Caviteño cuisines.Though our menu has a variety of other Filipino recipes, we made sure to showcase our very own versions of it. And to make your dining more special, we have made recipes that would make you realize the richness of our own local heritage. That’s why we bring the stories behind some of it.
Lihim ni Lola
Want to know the secret of this intriguing delicacy? With more than 12 years of making patrons in love with its taste, this delight with a secret created a bang. And yes, it was made even Republic of Cavite restaurant was established.
According to Town’s Delight The Caterer’s executive chef, Ms. Connie Pacumio, who was also the apprentice of Ms. Cecilia Pacumio, founder of the company, they thought of something to bring a new flavor to their patrons. At first, they made a suman recipe but they find it very common. So, they settled in balinghoy as basis to this new idea. creating an innovation of more appetizing look, they colored it ube, though it has no ube at all, they also added more coconut milk to make it more creamy. They also removed the idea of sealing it in banana leaf to really make it new in the eyes of people. After tasting it, it still did not satisfied them, so they again thought of a taste that reverses the sweetness and added salted egg, which is famous in the town of Tanza, where the kitchen was that time. It is suggested to consume it within the day, but it can still be good for consumption after two days.
This delicacy still was innovated through the years and made it finer in texture and strategically molded for a yummy taste. It needs three hours of cooking—but still, that is not the secret this food refers in its name. The secret this dish denotes is the awesome surprise after you take the first bite. It has a delightful filling that would surely be loved, as the people who tasted it experienced. And if you are asking who the “Lola” in the name is, she is no other than the inventor herself, Ms. Cecilia, who is also a loving grandmother to her grandchildren.
Lihim ni Aguinaldo
Aside from the delightful recipe of Lihim ni Lola, which captured the attention of our patrons, we also discovered another secret, and this time, it is the secret of the very first president of the Republic of the Philippines—Emilio Aguinaldo, who is a famous icon in the province. Aguinaldo was fond of eating chico from their backyard. And since chico has a sweet and distinct taste, we made a dessert that would greatly complement to it.
With another famous recipe from Kawit, Cavite—Sumang Latik, our restaurant placed different Filipino ingredients like mango and pinipig plus a scoop of ice-cream to really make a mouthwatering signature dish.
This dessert really presented an awesome experience to our patrons that give variation to our usual sweet options. Its taste has a burst of flavorsome goodness—all ingredients complement each other. There is no way that anyone would not appreciate this Cavite-made recipe.
Paborito ni Aguinaldo
Did you know that the favorite food of Emilio Aguinaldo is turon? And Republic of Cavite Restaurant offers a recipe that will not just give you a historical knowledge, but also make you indulge with the great taste of it.
And since we want to bring a new taste of turon to our beloved patrons, we put another Filipino delight suman, instead of the usual plantain. We also added special ingredients like langka, kamote and other yummy and palatable components to give another story to the dish. Covered in lumpia wrapper, this food will look familiar but will surely give you a different flavor.
This dish would surely give you a different approach to your turon expectations—but what we assure is the great experience you will have with this dish.
And to make certain of their quality as served, it is being pre-ordered before dining at the restaurant.
Republic of Cavite looks almost like the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit with red roofs symbolizing the province’s resistance (to the
colonizers). It also has a watch tower and stately balcony with the Philippines flag and two cannons installed at the center (of the balcony).
The ground floor houses Plaza de Armas, another historical place in Cavite where the province’s 12 martyrs were executed.
The three “meeting rooms” dubbed Silid Mapagtiis (a political party in Gen. Trias) , Silid Magdiwang (in Noveleta), Silid Magdalo (in Kawit-Gen. Aguinaldo’s party) are likewise found here—perfect venues for small gatherings.
Bulwagang Cuenca, named after the ancestral Cuenca House in Bacoor, Cavite where Gen. Aguinaldo once held office, is situated on the second floor. This hall is ideal for big events such as
weddings and venues and can accommodate a maximum of 100 (seated) guests.
Sala De Gobernador (Seat of Supremacy) meanwhile is located at the attic. This is patterned after Gen. Aguinaldo’s livng room or sala where private meetings were held.
However, on a normal day, this room serves as Towns Delight’s showroom complete with table settings, floral arrangements, cakes and other wedding decorations.
On the other hand, those looking for an outdoor venue can rent out Republic of Cavite’s spacious garden, which according to Pacumio is a popular venue for weddings and debuts. This lush garden can accommodate a maximum of 300 guests.