Chitang's Torta

In the past, a small bakery was only good where it was located. Today, going digital is breaking that mold.

The story of Chitang’s Torta, a household name in the town of Argao, is one of the many success stories.

The late Anecita “Chitang” Camello started it in the 1980s, being the first to commercialize the family tradition of torta-making. But Chitang died in 2007 at the age of 70, and so her son Irvin, an electronics and communications (ECE) engineer, decided to continue her legacy.

It was an informal enterprise when it started, recalled Irvin, who was one of the graduates of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Cebu’s five-week E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Mentoring Program on Tuesday. The people of Argao, according to Irvin, have been making torta for many years, usually a week before the town’s fiesta, which is celebrated every 28th of September. But over the years, torta became the town’s delicacy, popular among locals and balikbayans.

To formalize the business, Irvin decided to register it with DTI and obtain a business permit from the local government of Argao in 2007. More than the legal documents, he improved the food’s packaging and created a logo for Chitang’s to separate itself from the rest of Argao’s torta makers. He also crafted Chitang’s tagline” “magkabahaw, magkalami.”

Irvin maintains a bakery beside his house in Argao, where locals and passersby grab their favorite bread, torta, and other pastries. Sometimes, he joins trade fairs to boost sales, including the Sinulog Fiesta Fair currently held at the SM City Cebu. On regular days, he sells about 200 torta pies per day, or about 6,000 pieces a month. One piece is sold at P45. It was only recently when sales have been more pronounced with the help of digital marketing. “Our sales have increased. We adopted e-commerce where I did some postings. I was overwhelmed with the response. We ran short in our production,” said Irvin. Gross sales of Chitang’s Torta in December 2015 was P140,000. This grew to P180,000 in December 2016, when Irvin started using Chitang’s website and Facebook to promote and sell torta.

In December last year, Irvin said he received P30,000 worth of torta from online orders, with reservations from customers as far as Canada and California in the US. The torta entrepreneur said he is grateful for the opportunity to learn the concept of digital marketing and how powerful it is to gain customers. DTI’s E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Mentoring Program under the guidance of digital marketer Janette Toral aims to help entrepreneurs scale up their enterprises by keeping up with the trends such as the Internet and other web-based technologies.

The e-commerce mentorship program adopts a hands-on methodology where selected participants are guided through the various steps of setting up an e-commerce presence. The first batch included Irvin and 15 other local entrepreneurs from various sectors. Irvin also joined the first batch of the Kapatid Mentor Me program of the local trade agency where he was mentored by business owners from the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Through these two mentorship programs, Chitang’s Torta is up for more business opportunities. Irvin said they hope to have a display inside large supermarkets within the year, while boosting their digital presence. (source: SunStar Cebu)