Just like many successful entrepreneurs, Celso Visleno, owner of VJ Batangas Lomi House, came from humble beginnings. A veteran taxi driver, Visleno wanted to have an alternative source of income that would draw customers to his business.
As a Batangueño, he knew that Filipinos look forward to a hot and filling meal after a tiring day at work. This inspired him to launch a business featuring the Batangas lomi, a tried-and-true Batangueño classic. But instead of competing with numerous eateries and restaurants offering lomi in Batangas, Vilseno decided to put up his brand outside his home province.
The first branch of VJ Batangas Lomi Hose, which was named after his youngest son Victor Jay, was opened in Canlubang, Laguna in 2000.
Being located far from numerous competitors wasn’t enough to keep the business afloat. To make his products stand out, Visleno used an old family recipe handed down by his uncle. Unlike usual Batangas lomi recipes, his uncle’s used a different set of ingredients which gave it an edge. Instead of putting meatballs, kikiam and ground pork or beef in the lomi, VJ Batangas’ lomi contained full chunks of pork, giving the dish a meatier flavor.
Because of this simple alteration in the recipe, VJ Batangas Lomi House became an instant hit.
With the success of his business, Visleno thought of ways to expand his business and help his family at the same time. Fortunately, he was able to convince many family members to leave their regular jobs to grow and expand the business. One of his brothers, Edwin, even gave up his middle management position to standardize the recipes, legalize the business, and take the lead in developing the business for franchising.
Currently, the family business has 18 branches throughout Laguna. They also partnered with Francorp to expand nationwide and internationally in the future.
Interestingly, the successful family business of the Vislenos seems to promote a sense of unity and togetherness among families. In fact, the business became a witness to many family bonding moments in the restaurant.
“May nakita ako na regular customer, nung estudyante siya, dito siya nakain. Nung nagka-girlfriend siya, dito din sila kumakain. Hanggang sa grumaduate siya, nagkatrabaho, dito sila kumakain nung mga katrabaho niya. Hanggang sa nagkaanak na siya, dito na rin niya dinadala,” Edwin told ABS-CBN News.