Like Lolo, Like Apo

A story of how a simple family recipe gets passed down from generation to generation.

Heritage or “pamana” is valued anywhere in the world. It reflects your family’s culture, values and traditions inherited and passed down from generation to generation. It is part of what makes you “you”.

For Angelo Paolo “Cho” Lukban, the most precious pamana he inherited from his lolo is the Christmas Ham with Lukban’s Secret Sauce. You can tell from its name that it’s a staple Christmas dish in the Lukban household but they actually serve it in numerous other special occasions.

Cho got the recipe from his father, Alejandro, who also got it from his father, Cayetano. Lolo Cayetano originally experimented on the dish after noticing how fond his family is of Chinese ham. It was already loved by his kids but what made it a family favorite was the secret sauce concocted.

How to Prepare the Ham:

  1. Marinade the ham with salt, pepper, brown sugar and Sprite
  2. Bake the ham according to your desired texture.
  3. Remove the ham from oven, spread a thin coating of brown sugar on top.
  4. Bake ham again until sugar melts into the ham
  5. Serve hot

How to prepare the sauce:

  1. Gather all the ham’s drippings in a bowl.
  2. Mix with pineapple juice and pineapple tidbits.
  3. Add mustard and corn starch. Add only until desired consistency is achieved

“I remember that as a kid, I really did enjoy the taste of lolo’s secret sauce. Back then, my brothers and I would spread the leftover sauce over bread and eat it. It’s delicious! It was like pineapple jam with a twist,” recalls Cho. It is always a good idea to #Wellnesize your dishes. To #Wellnesize is to make small steps to wellness, like what Lolo Cayetano did by adding pineapple in the sauce.

Being Lolo Cayetano’s eldest child, Daddy Alejandro got the privilege of learning how to prepare the sauce from the maker himself. “Dad never really taught us how to cook it before. My role was just to buy the ingredients, watch him prepare it and taste the finished product. Now, it’s our turn to actually prepare it during Christmas. My kuya and I are trying our best,” says Cho.

Growing up watching his father and grandfather do magic in the kitchen might be the reason why Cho has learned to love cooking. At 27, Cho is now a proud co-owner of a food park in Fairview.

Despite being all grown-up and having food businesses, Cho still thinks he’s got a long way to go before mastering the family recipe. “No one does the special sauce like my dad and nothing would probably beat the original version made by my lolo. I just hope that someday, I get to master the Lukban Secret Sauce, too.”