Cebu’s leading pork firm eyes city slaughterhouse

(From left) Virginia Farms Inc. (VFI) sales manager Conchita Lapuz, president Rolando E. Tambago, and marketing and customer solutions manager Kathleen Chiu. (Photos by Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By Emme Rose Santiagudo

Until now, the city slaughterhouse remains unclassified and has yet to secure certification standards from the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS).

The standards will ensure the quality and safety of meat processed in the slaughterhouse and sold to consumers.

Virginia Farms Inc., the biggest integrated “farm-to-pork” swine business in Central Visayas on Wednesday expressed interest to invest in the city slaughterhouse and help it achieve a double AA classification from NMIS.

This was confirmed by Virginia Farms president Rolando Tambago during the press conference for the opening of the two branches of Pork Shop, Virginia Farms Inc.’s retail arm, on Wednesday.

Virginia Farm Inc. through its retail arm The Pork Shop opened its branches in the Iloilo Terminal Market or “Super” and in La Paz district beside the public market on Wednesday. (Emme Rose Santiagudo photo)

“I have had talks with manager of Iloilo Terminal Market and NMIS. Yung slaughterhouse natin, it cannot even serve outside of Iloilo City. We are willing to invest and we can improve it with our expertise,” he said.

According to Tambago, the system of the city abattoir is very traditional and needs further improvement.

Yung sa construction and improvement it will take a year. Yung slaughterhouse very traditional kasi yung baboy dun pa nilalagay sa may tiles. That’s an old system,” he said.

Tambago said they are now looking at the possibility of renting out the property through a long-term lease instead of the usual Public-Private Partnership (PPP) practice.

“Most probably PPP but the more shortcut is the rental, we will rent out the property or long-term lease because kapag PPP madaming criteria mas maganda yung rental, we will invest and it will be managed by Virginia Farms,” he said.

Recently, Mayor Jerry Treñas announced that the city slaughterhouse, including the solid waste management, city public markets and the mass transport are part of the big-ticket projects eyed by the city government under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme.



Virginia Farm Inc. through its retail arm The Pork Shop opened its branches in the Iloilo Terminal Market or “Super” and in La Paz district beside the public market on Wednesday.

It is the first expansion of the company outside of Cebu.

The Pork Shop, which first opened in 2008, is currently the market leader in Cebu with 43 branches already operating mostly in Metro Cebu area.

With modern and state-of-the-art facilities, Tambago said they hope to replicate their success in Cebu, guided by the same principle of providing only guaranteed quality pork for the household in Iloilo City, Panay island and the rest of Visayas and Mindanao.

“Our objective is to give our Ilonggo consumers with the same quality to Cebuano consumers, that is why we are introducing, modern, clean, and sustainable farming. We’re planning to introduce ten branches here,” he said.

Aside from growing their business in Iloilo, Tambago said they will also help the small farmers especially the backyard raisers in Iloilo through its subsidiary Virgiania Farmers Solutions (VFS).

“After establishing our meat retail arm, we will be partnering with locals, local producers, small and big farmers. We will help them and introduce modern techniques in farming,” he said.

Tambago said they chose to expand their business in Iloilo due to the city’s growing economy and the region being one of the biggest backyard producers in the whole country.

“Iloilo maganda yung economy, may consumption. As the retail arm of Virginia, merong consumers dito. We are a 52-year-old business and we want business here in Iloilo na mas sustainable and helping the community and the economy,” he said.

 The hog industry in the region is valued at P7.69 billion with a total hog population of 1,250,681 heads as of 2019.

Out of this number, 1,109,815 heads (89%) accounted for backyard hog population while 140, 866 heads for commercial, based on data from the Regional Veterinary Quarantine Office.


As of now, The Pork Shop will source its pork supply from the 360-hectare farm property of Virginia Farms Inc. located in Asturias, Cebu.

But in the long run, Tambago said they will have to source their pork supply here in Iloilo. Hence, there is really a need to develop the city slaughterhouse in order to secure NMIS standards.

The Iloilo City or the whole Panay Island, malaki yung growth economy but the basic need to serve the best quality of pork is wala. So how can we achieve the vision of the city to become the third best city in the country, if we cannot ensure yung quality of pork na pinapakain natin sa bisita sa hotel,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, Tambago said they plan to have a courtesy call with the mayor by February to propose their plans to invest in the city abattoir.

Pinag-aaralan pa namin with the NMIS paano yung regulations, relationship, and dynamics. Pagbalik ko sa February maybe I can have courtesy call with the mayor.  Our objective is not only for us to gain profit but to also help the city achieve its vision,” he said.