Born in Las Piñas, Philippines, Raquel grew up in Vancouver maintaining strong cultural ties with her birthplace. She and her family return to the Philippines regularly but in 2017, she was particularly struck by the sharp contrast between the country's gorgeous landscape and never-ending family celebrations with the growing abundance of processed foods that came in the name of modernization.
Over the decades, Raquel noticed a considerable decline in the quality of food - home-grown and home-cooked meals were replaced by deep-fried takeaways and sugary drinks. Convenience came at the cost of health, a trend that Raquel saw with greater intensity with each trip. The country and its people that she loves so deeply was, in her mind, evolving so quickly that traditional practices weren't able to keep up with the desire to modernize.
Even the way coconut oil is processed today has changed drastically, with machines replacing skilled hands, presses replacing time.
Bukobaba is Raquel's vision of bridging her two worlds: bringing Philippine essentials such as coconut oil, prepared in traditional methods going back centuries in the Philippines, to Canada where educated consumers recognize artisanal, small-batch products that support local farmers and producers in native lands.