FAMILY-owned Leelin Bakery and Café launched on Wednesday, November 15 their VIP Rewards Sweepstakes for the upcoming 2017-2018 year at their Cerritos, California branch.
Present at the launch were members of the Leelin family, representatives of the Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) and Philippine Airlines (PAL), and special guests like the Filipino-American Basco brothers, Fil-Am director Francis dela Torre, and former professional wrestler Brittany Fetkin.
“Since 2008, we’ve been so blessed that we’ve been partners with the Department of Tourism,” said Michael Leelin, the company’s chief financial officer and the third-generation Leelin behind the successful business.
“Our partnership with the tourism department was born out of our ardent desire and firm commitment to promote the Filipino culture and heritage through Filipino cuisine,” he added.
Through the Philippine Department of Tourism in Los Angeles (PDOT-LA), Leelin Bakery and Café has been able to send grand raffle winning VIP members to the Philippines for free to embark on culinary tours and enjoy authentic Filipino food, all while experiencing true Filipino culture and heritage.
“I can tell you from firsthand experience, it really is just more fun in the Philippines,” said Leelin who recently visited the Philippines.
“I’ve been to Hawaii, I’ve been to the Caribbean, I’ve been to Tahiti, but no place beats the islands of the Philippines,” he added.
PDOT-LA tourism director Richmond Jimenez shared the encouraging outlook of tourism in the Philippines.
“We’re actually faced with exciting times for Philippine tourism right now as our tourist arrivals continue to grow,” shared Jimenez.
“For the past eight months of this year, we’ve already received four million visitors coming into the Philippines and we look forward to seeing more visitors come as the holiday season comes in,” he added.
To ensure a bona fide Filipino culinary experience, Jimenez shared that the upcoming trip to be won by the lucky winner will be tested by talented Filipino American chefs based in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.
At the launch, attendees filled up on some of the bakery and café’s most popular dishes. The menu featured their vegetarian mixed pancit, lumpiang shanghai, sisig na bangus, and their crispy dinuguan which included crispy lechon.
“This year, we decided to be fearless by serving you something that showcases authentic Filipino soul food,” said Leelin on the choice to serve dinuguan. “At Leelins, we believe people will come to us simply because we serve the best Filipino food — Authentic Filipino food that stays true to our roots.”
For dessert, attendees got a slice of their decadent ube pie along with a scoop of their ube ice cream topped with Rice Crispies.
Cerritos City Council member and frequent customer of Leelin Bakery and Café, Frank Yokoyama, shared a few personal remarks on the business.
“We are so blessed here in Cerritos to have such a wonderful business as Leelin Bakery and Café,” said Yokoyama.
“Leelin Bakery and Café brings in tens of thousands of visitors to Cerritos every year. I might even be underestimating,” he added.
Yokoyama also so happened to be one of the previous lucky VIP Loyalty Reward raffle winners in which he won Leelin Bakery and Café meals for a year.
“I was so lucky to win Leelin Bakery and Café for a year, I was so sad when the year ended,” said Yokoyama.
Other featured guests of the launch event were Fil-Ams Dion, Darion, and Dante Basco — collectively known as the Basco Brothers — writer-director-cinematographer Francis dela Torre, and Japanese-American retired professional wrestler and current OAKDate App CEO Brittany Fetkin.
To become a free VIP Rewards member, one just has to visit any of the six branches located throughout LA County and sign up with any of the associates. Each dollar spent is equivalent to one point which can be accumulated to redeem gift certificates and other prizes. Members also get a $5 certificate to spend anytime during their birthday month. To participate in the sweepstakes, such as the grand raffle sponsored by PDOT and PAL, each VIP customer that comes into any of the locations receives a sweepstake ticket for free regardless of purchase.