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Cultural Potpourri | Ethel T. Conlu’s Confections with Affection

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“I was so exhausted since May 11 due to the massive orders of cakes to celebrate Mother’s Day! This was the worst and yet, the best experience ever na dinaig pa ang December sa sobrang dami ng orders na di na kinaya ng powers namin. We decided to stop accepting orders placed through Food Panda and GrabFood sa sobrang dami ng incoming calls. We truly apologize to those who weren’t able to place their orders,” confessed Davao’s mompreneur of a baker, Ethel Rosemarie T. Conlu.

When it comes to the local confectionery scene, there’s one motherly person Davaoenos can always rely on for baking delightful cakes and making what seems difficult easily possible. After all, Ethel Conlu has become the respected “Our Lady of Cakes.”

“Every Filipino celebration is never complete without a cake. We love enjoying cakes on special occasions. Whether it’s a simple one layer cake or a more complicated, several tiered cake with frosting, a cake is definitely one of the things that will make your day a lot more special. I look at every piece of cake I make as a challenge, really. I accept customized cakes for weddings and birthday celebrations. Wedding cakes are particularly challenging to do especially when faced with a client’s demand for the best intricate cake but given a limited budget to work on. Since the government has discouraged the holding of social gatherings, we are now focusing on online orders for which there is a high demand in this time of the COVID 19 pandemic,” she’d readily tell you.

I had my first taste of Ethel Conlu’s carrot cake with pineapple and walnuts through the courtesy of Waterfront Insular Hotel’s Sales & Marketing Manager Jennifer Ricardo-Romero. Every bite of the Ethel Conlu carrot cake truly reminded me of the best homemade carrot cake I used to get from my dearly departed cousin/aunt, Celine Dacudao-Garcia. Another good friend, Becky Laurel, so convinced me, “Ethel Conlu is a family friend who owns and manages the Conlu Pastry Shop. I get my pastries from her for both personal consumption and as gifts for people dear to me during special occasions and celebrations. Ethel comes highly recommended both in product reliability and good service.”

“I started warming up with baking at the age of 18 years. I got hooked into baking as a hobby which I love doing. Honestly, I am more interested in baking confections rather than cooking foodstuffs. I started with baking brownies,” Ethel confided as she continued, “To be better at it, I studied three Alternative Learning System courses which were Basic Baking, Advanced Baking and Bread & Pastry Production. Not only that, I also attend several workshops, seminars and suppliers’ product demonstrations regularly to keep myself updated.”

Being a practical person, Ethel took up a Bachelor of Science major in Marketing course and worked as administrative officer upon graduation. “After that, I supervised ma’m Becky Laurel’s jewelry shop for 12 years before I finally decided to start my own business. I think we first met in the jewelry store at the Gaisano Mall,” she reminded me. Ethel started her small business catering to orders from relatives and friends. As the demand for her delightful goodies started growing, she opened her first Conlu Bread and Pastry Shop in her family residence in November, 2013. “I am truly grateful to my family, relatives and friends who keep ordering and making my business prosper right from the start.”

“I believe that aside from meeting the demands of repeat orders from my regular patrons, being able to supply Conlu cakes and pastries to popular coffee shops in Davao City; and being readily available to Food Panda and GrabFood services are accomplishments a mompreneur like me could truly wish for. In this type of food business, you face a lot of stiff competition. The dynamism in the food business in Davao is one thing I am excited about. The City has become the Center of the Culinary Arts in Mindanao and as such, there are a lot of young pastry chefs and mompreneurs like myself who keep our ovens working.”

“In this business of producing confections, it is important to put into consideration financial preparedness, efficient manpower, and the steady supply of baking ingredients. The confectionery business requires a considerable amount of investment as ingredients and machinery are needed which are expensive. Good and reliable manpower is important as well because as the demand for your products grows, your production output should also increase. And to be good in the business, you should be able to meet the market demands. You need an efficient manpower for baking, packaging and doing delivery service. It is crucial that you should have a ready supply of the necessary baking ingredients. Hoard them if you must as most stores run out of supplies that sell fast.”

Ethel Conlu’s top three best sellers include the Ultimate Moist Chocolate Cake, Red Velvet Cake and the Carrot Cake with Pineapple and Walnuts. Having tasted these three delightful Conlu cakes, it is easy to see why mompreneur Ethel Conlu is a favorite among the plethora of home bakers in Davao. Conlu cakes are expertly made with the layers consistent; and everything from filling to the icing or frosting are done very well. The Conly cakes taste so good for the simple reason that Ethel Conlu doesn’t scrimp on her good quality ingredients in creating sweet and good looking cakes for her clients to enjoy.

In these trying times we are in, please support our very own Davao-made products like Conlu cakes and pastries. Please call numbers 0933-518-5673/0917-502-4537 for orders. Thank you, Ethel Rosemarie T. Conlu. How truly sweet it is to be loved by you.

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