Filipinos continue to mourn the passing of pastry chef and entrepreneur Ruby Nicole “Colette” dela Cruz, who died last Sunday, Sept. 12, due to COVID-19.
In an interview with PhilSTAR L!fe, Colette’s son Stefano Ortiz expressed his heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has shared their fondest memories about the classic merienda. “It warms my heart hearing these personal stories about Colette’s Buko Pie,” he began.
“Losing my mom has been painful and difficult, but knowing that she left her mark on people through what she loved most—food and baking—brings joyful spirits in this otherwise painful period,” he said.
“It shows me that she lives on through her name and her buko pie. It also motivates me to make her spirit live on and ensure that we and continue providing her buko pie to the people,” continued Stefano.
Next to missing his mom, whom he described as his “source of guidance, comfort, and unconditional love,” he will also miss her delectable creations that brought him, his family, and other people so much delight.
“I will miss her food—all the pastries and the different things she experimented with in Hiraya Bakery and at home,” said the 25-year-old. “But most of all, I will miss having a mom.”
Writer Tonyo Cruz first broke the story on Twitter yesterday.
“Na-ICU si Colette at na-intubate last week. Lumaban siya hanggang naging ok para ilipat sa regular hospital room. Kagabi, nagulat kami na pumanaw na siya,” Cruz said. “Wala na ngayong nanay ang anak niya, at naulila sa mahal na anak ang magulang niya, at malungkot ang maraming tao. Kami din.”
Remember Colette's Buko Pie? Yung maraming outlets sa Laguna? Pinangalan yun ng entrepreneur sa anak nya na nag-FoodTech sa UPLB. Naging editor namin sa Perspective si Colette, at siyempre kaibigan. Nag-abroad. Bumalik sa Pilipinas.
Namatay si Colette sa COVID19 kagabi. pic.twitter.com/PIPZFcB23y— Tonyo Cruz (@tonyocruz) September 13, 2021
Colette—who co-owned Hiraya Bakery with her ex-colleague Likha Babay—was the inspiration behind the name of the well-loved buko pie brand founded by her father, Laguna councilor Plaridel dela Cruz. It has come a long way since its launch in 1989, having been a go-to dessert and pasalubong for many.
Colette’s Buko Pie has created fond memories with Pinoys in its own ways. Local foodies have expressed their grief over her demise on social media, declaring their love for her and the iconic offering.
A netizen said that Colette’s has remained as one of his top five dessert recommendations to his foreign friends.
Ms. Colette's Buko/Coconut pie is such a banger whenever I have foreign friend who wants to try desserts in Philippines buko pie is on the top 5 bcs its so good that I can eat 3 boxes of buko pie it no joke :(— Rem (@Juminsfiancee) September 13, 2021
Another one shared how she was named after the afternoon snack by her parents. “Having it for the first time was a great memory,” she recalled.
A Twitter user said it was the food brand that sparked her love for buko pie.
Another one said the famous pasalubong is “a legacy that all of us will remember.” It’s been part of his road trips with his nearest and dearest, with whom he bonds during out-of-town travels.
The same goes for another netizen, whose trips wouldn’t be complete without Colette’s Buko Pie in hand.
Photographs courtesy of Stefano Ortiz