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Philippines - Federico Borromeo

Profile of the Bailli of Manila

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, the 19th century French writer, politician, and renowned epicure and gastronome, famously wrote in his iconic 1825 work, The Physiology of Taste. They are the words by which Federico Borromeo lives. When asked what his profession is, he answers simply, “I am a farmer.”

In addition to his agricultural businesses, his Chaîne activities and his philanthropies, Freddie (as he is known to his friends) Borromeo is also an active sportsman. A noted polo player in his own right, he was President of the Manila Polo Club in the 1990s.

With a passion and zest for life that are manifested most notably through his role as Bailli of Manila, Freddie is one of the Bailliage’s staunchest proponents of the appreciation of fine food. However he says, “I think it is not just food which is my passion. My real passion is promoting la culture de la table.” What better way than to ensure that the raw material – the vegetables at least – are the freshest and best that can be supplied?

‘Sustainable’, ‘healthy’, and ‘happy living’ are bywords of Freddie’s vocabulary. Supplying fresh produce under the Agri Gold label, he confided that vegetable growing is much more profitable than rice as vegetables have a much shorter gestation. Although they require more attention, the extra effort is compensated many times over.

But it is not only profit that drives Freddie Borromeo.

Under the overall direction of Bailli Délégué Michel Lhuillier, Bailli Borromeo in Manila and Bailli Amparito Lhuillier in Cebu have developed feeding programmes for under-privileged children. In the Manila area it takes the form of a Supplemental Feeding Program providing a daily glass of milk and a hot meal. In Cebu, about 150 street children benefit from regular meals throughout the year. Good works which are even more important since Typhoon Haiyan struck the region.

Marie Jones, Managing Editor     (with thanks to Lifestyle Asia Magazine)