Years back when letters were the only form of communication, a man would write to his sweetheart. Not too long ago, his child found these letters addressed to “The Little Giant”. He explained that the Little Giant was small in stature but had big dreams. The Little Giant’s dream was to make delicacies and to start a family. The sweetheart, turned wife, now mother of the curious child resides in the Little Giant’s Corner famous of her kakanin.

Irma-Acuña and Ana Acuña

In 1990s, Irma Acuña would cook native delicacies as gifts and earn on the side from this hobby. She was a natural born business person and she always had high standards especially in the kitchen and food.

She settled in Cebu in 1986 with her family and being a Tagalog, she wanted to bring the taste of Luzon to the Visayas.

Since she wanted to spend time with her kids while earning, she made it a home-based income-generating project. She used to call her aunt, who taught her to cook the kakanins, and eventually developed her own recipe.

At first, she introduced her kakanin products to the Bisayas as gifts during occasions until word got out and friends of friends started ordering from her; but in August 2016, the sweets turned bitter with the diagnosis of stage 3A breast cancer.

While Irma was ill, orders kept coming. However, being the Little Giant that she is, she decided to teach her daughter, Ana, the kitchen magic. In the hospital bed, she would write letters, prayers and recipes on a notebook and handed them to her.

Realizing her mother’s dreams while she was battling the disease, Ana Clarisa Acuña, decided to register the business and bannered it after the pet name in the letters. She applied the recipes and instilled her mother’s kitchen etiquette.

Assorted Kakanin Basket
Assorted Kakanin Basket

“Her demand for cleanliness, a trait she insisted anyone working in the kitchen to follow. Every pan and utensils must be wiped dry and clean during the preparation. This was carried out until today.”

Ana attended the DTI’s Kapatid Mentor Me Program in 2019 to better the business. This allowed them to open doors and reach more customers.

Their products found its way to dining tables in Christmas and New Years as a traditional “Noche Buena” preparation or sign of good luck for the year to come. The sweet and sticky delicacy is believed to symbolize bond of stronger family ties and harmony of couples, thus also a perfect gift for gatherings and wedding occasions.

During the pandemic, the mother and daughter tandem have applied several takeaways from the DTI program to include supply and value chain and digital marketing. The kakanin business has continued to fascinate online customers and buyers with their famous 15” basket of assorted products consisted of baked bico, cassava, cuchinta, sapin-sapin, pichi-pichi and palitaw.

Interested buyers may reach them via their Facebook page: Little Giant’s Corner and Instagram: @littlegiantscorner. For more information on local products and produce proudly made from Cebu, visit DTI Cebu Facebook page.♦

Date of Release: 15 December 2020