Meet the couple behind Pampanga's famous buko pandan salad


Posted at Feb 23 2014 09:07 AM | Updated as of Oct 06 2016 04:11 PM

MANILA – What started as a P2,000 food business for couple Fernando and Nelly Co, Nathaniel’s is now a million-peso company with 10 branches in Pampanga and Metro Manila.

Nathaniel's. Photo from My Puhunan Facebook page.

The humble beginnings of Nathaniel’s can be traced back to the couple’s garage in San Fernando, Pampanga, where they sold siopao and siomai.

Fernando also sold these products to gasoline stations in Pampanga.

But business took off when they introduced the frozen buko pandan salad, a mixture of coconut and pandan-flavored jelly in rich coconut cream.

Nelly, who used to work as a cashier at a supermarket, said they were at first hesitant to take financial risks, which is why they chose to open their first store at an odd location to save money.

“Natatakot ako mag-puhunan kasi baka hindi mag-click ‘yung business kaya ginamit namin, container van,” she said on “My Puhunan.”

But all their fears went away after the first day of business.

“First day ng opening, natatakot ako, dasal ako ng dasal sabi ko ‘Lord sana magpadala ka ng angel doon para maghila ng mga customers. Noong first day namin, naka-P12,000 o P15,000 kami, sabi naman buti hindi tayo na-zero,” said Nelly.

Nelly Co of Nathaniel's. Photo from My Puhunan Facebook page.

Nathaniel’s now produces 500 boxes of frozen buko pandan salad daily and offers a full menu in its restaurants.

Starting with a small business idea, the Cos strived to make their brand bigger through the help of prayers and skills.

“My faith in God, nagdasal ako, sabi ko gusto ko magkaroon ng negosyo, talagang kailangan ikaw mismo ay marunong ka,” Nelly said.