They call Tess Evangelista, perhaps in her mid-50s, the Longganisa Queen at the AANI Weekend Market at the ARCA South in Taguig City. This is within the property of Ayala Land that used to be part of the FTI.
Why Longganisa Queen? Because she specializes in selling Longganisa from various parts of the Philippines. She identified the favorite lopngganisa sought by consumers and made sure to get her supplies conveniently.
And so every weekend, a supplier from Vigan City sends through the bus 100 dozens of Vigan longganisa with a retail value of P10,000. From Lucban, Quezon, a supplier sends her 160 dozens of Lucban longganisa worth P16,000. From Batac City in the North, a supplier sends her 5 kilos of the Batac version of longganisa which is said to have a strong garlic flavor.
Tess also carries the most famous longganisa from Pangasinan, her own province, which is the Alaminos longganisa. This comes in round longganisas that have very a distinct taste. While we were talking to Tess, the last of 40 dozen longanisas was bought by a regular buyer from Alaminos.
Her biggest supply of longganisa comes from Calumpit, Bulacan consisting of 80 kilos that retail at P280 per kilo. The smallest longganisa that she carries comes from Cebu which Visayan customers patronize.
Aside from longganisas, Tess sells “Tapang Usa.” Her supplier from Nueva Vizcaya usually sends her 10 kilos every weekend which retails at P540 per kilo. Another special product is Dagupan boneless bangus that sells for P100 per three pieces. Her suppliers trust her so much so that they just send their longganisa without any advance payment. After all, Tess remits her payment regularly through the bank the next banking day.
Tess has been selling her special merchandise at the AANI Weekend Market for 18 years now. And she is very proud that her income has supported the college education of her three children who are all engineers now. Charles Brian is an electronics engineer who is now with the Department of Public Works and Highwaqys. Her daughter Cyra is a chemical engineer who now works at the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Her youngest, Cyrus, was among the top 8 in the recent board exams for electrical engineers.
The AANI Weekend Market, by the way, has been doing agricultural technology transfer and developing weekend markets for small scale entrepreneurs. At the weekend market at Arca South, there are about 260 stallholders selling their merchandise every Saturday and Sunday.