Brands come and go. With luck or marketing smarts, some brands have luckily stood the test of time.
Today, when we go to the grocery or sari-sari store, we refer to toothpaste as Colgate and coffee as Nescafe. The same goes for some of our most well-loved Filipino brands. We enjoy drinking at parties with Ginebra San Miguel, drizzle our favorite summer merienda, halo-halo, with Alaska evaporated milk, and prepare adobo with Datu Puti vinegar and soy sauce.
We know them by name since we encounter them every day. But do you know where exactly they came from? Here are five Filipino brands and the facts surrounding their origin.
Famous Filipino Brands and Their History
Contrary to what people believe, Datu Puti is not based on a legendary Filipino Chief.
The Reyes family, the family who founded the famous condiments brand, said that the history of their brand name has nothing to do with a Bornean Datu.
Datu Puti is a mash-up of their mother’s surname which is Datu and the Filipino translation of white, the primary color of the palm vinegar.
National Book Store
NBS Founder Nanay Coring first worked for a bookstore which was owned by her brother and sister-in-law. It was located on the ground floor of Panciteria Nacional in Escolta, the place where the name of the popular bookstore allegedly got its name.
However, Nanay Coring revealed during an interview with Philippine Star that the name of the 71-year old retail giant, is from an unlikely source. It was inspired by a brand of a cash register because it sounded like a good name.
Ginebra San Miguel
As the logo says, Ginebra San Miguel’s name came from St. Michael. However, unknown to many people, the iconic painting showing an angel triumphing over the devil has an interesting story behind it.
When he was 25, Filipino painter Fernando Amorsolo was commissioned by the company to create the famous logo. After being impressed by his work, Don Enrique Zobel offered him an opportunity to study at the famous Academia de San Fernando in Madrid, Spain together with a stipend or monthly allowance that he and his family can spend.
The Ginebra San Miguel logo gave way for Fernando Amorsolo to further his education. After his entrance exam’s evaluation, the Academia de San Fernando informed him that he will be accepted by the university: but not as a student! As a professor!
Max’s Restaurant was named after Maximo Gimenez, a Stanford University alumni who befriended American soldiers during the World War II.
Since there was a military camp close to his residence, Maximo welcomed American soldiers and made them his drinking buddies. When they looked for something to eat, Maximo’s niece named Ruby Trota made a chicken recipe that started it all.
This recipe gave way to a full-blown business. The business was first referred to as “Max’s Bar.” It was supposed to be named after Maximo but the soldiers had a hard time pronouncing it so they preferred the shorter version.
When it first started its manufacturing in 1972, Alaska was not popular with the iconic boy on its label.
There were several stories surrounding the origin of the cute boy with blonde hair. Some believe that it was inspired by an Alaskan boy while there are others who believe that it was Michael Uytengsu, the son of late AMC Chairman Wilfred Uytengsu.
However, the company clarified that the boy on the label is an artist’s rendition. The boy on the logo is a fictional character.