SAN DIEGO (Apr. 30) - The enterprising Filipino baker who re-created the whole concept of pan de sal (Philippine national bread) and named it after US President Obama is doing it again.
This time, Wilma Fernandez Ventura has concocted a fruit beverage she calls Pacquiao Punch to honor Filipino boxing giant Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao.
Ventura, owner and manager of the popular The Original Richard's Bakery in the City of National City, is packaging the beverage as a health drink.
She combines fresh Philippine-grown fruits like mango, pineapple, banana, avocado, strawberry, and also peach and other berries sourced in the US, into an energy-boosting juice. To make it a complete booster, she adds yogurt. The whole mixture is then named Pacquiao Punch.
Ventura is not quite a boxing aficionado though Manny Pacquiao impressed her a lot. She has searched far and wide about him and thought that as much as he is popular and revered in the world of sports, there is nothing like a health drink to celebrate him.
It was then that she hit the idea of creating the Pacquiao Punch and timed its official announcement on the eve of Pacquiao's fight with Ricky Hatton on Saturday, May 2 in Las Vegas.
"The name is a double-entendre, a play of words," says Ventura in an interview with the Philippine Village Voice.
"We all know that Pacquiao has a very powerful punch. And Filipinos generally love to drink punch though mine (the Pacquiao Punch) is non-alcoholic," she explains.
Ventura said that she experimented with a number of fruits imported from the Philippines, mixing one with another, until she found the right combination that's both pleasing and acceptable to non-Filipinos.
She also conducted a taste test among customers of her bakery to determine which formulation suits their taste. After countless experimentations and growing expenses, she settled for that brew that's now marketed as Pacquiao Punch.
Ventura, now 43 years old, recalled that when she was growing up in San Carlos City in Pangasinan, she was into many kinds of sports activities, something she inherited from her parents Domingo Ventura (deceased) and Alegria Fernandez
"I was quite tomboyish," she said. "I love playing sports that tested my physical capabilities and one of them was boxing," she adds.
The Pacquiao Punch is available at 20 oz. cups for $3.75 at The Original Richard's Bakery, 3400 East Eighth St., National City, California 91950.