• NOVA VELUZ AND HER LUCENA

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    When foodies visit Lucena, Buddy’s Restaurant is one of their favorite stops.  Best known for its homegrown specialties, it has received citations as the Top Pancit Restaurant from prestigious organizations, including the Lucban Municipal Recognition Award and the Philippine Marketing Excellence Award, both in 2005.

    Nova Veluz, who established Buddy’s together with her husband Salvador, has brought a modern dynamism to traditional southern Tagalog cuisine with her chain of restaurants located in her home province of Quezon and in Metro Manila, including one at SM City Lucena.

    Named an Outstanding Entrepreneur by the Land Bank in 2007, Nova is active in civic and cultural activities in her hometown. Best known for its Pasayahan Festival and for the colorful Pahiyas Festival in the neighboring town of Lucban, Lucena is a place of happy, fun-loving people. And it is with her Quezonian warmth and joie de vivre that Nova takes us around her Lucena, her SM.

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    Nova waits for the sunset by the beach at the seaside town of Talaw-Talaw in Lucena.

    Lucena is a haven for tourists with many breathtaking natural attractions to discover.  Those who love the sea may take a boat ride to the beautiful island of Talao-Talao, where the late Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces shot their epic Perlas ng Silangan movie.”

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    The province of Quezon was named after Manuel L. Quezon, the first President of the Philippine Commonwealth, and there are many places in Lucena that will interest the history lover.  Here, we can find remnants of the old house where he delivered a speech when he visited the town, and a monument in his honor at Perez Park.”

    The Manuel L. Quezon Monument at the Perez Park in Lucena City is a tribute to the First President of the Philippine Commonwealth, who is also known as the Ama ng Wikang Pilipino.  Near the monument is a Map Boulder at one of the park’s sunken gardens, which has stones representing the 39 municipalities and 2 cities of Quezon.  Remnants of the house where President Quezon delivered a speech are also another historical attraction.

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    Faith continues to be strong in Quezon, and apart from the many historic churches in the province, one can go up the blessed path up to the Risen Christ in Kamay ni Jesus.”

    The Kamay ni Jesus (Hands of Jesus) Healing Church is located on the slopes of Mount Banahaw in Lucban, Quezon.  Those who seek physical and spiritual solace travel to the church where Fr. Joey Faller, the well-known healing priest, celebrates healing Masses. Kamay ni Jesus also includes a hill with more than 290 steps with     life size figures depicting the 14 Stations of the Cross.  When you reach the top, you will find a 50 foot statue of Jesus Christ built in 2004.

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    What makes Lucena most endearing?  I would say it’s the people – they welcome you with smiles, open the way for friendship with their laughter, and make you feel at home with their hospitality.”

    Nova with her family:  husband Salvador “Buddy” Veluz and children Miguel Salvador, Vincent Julian, Claudia Ysabelle, and Nathalie Sophia.

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    We have some of the happiest of festivals in Quezon.  Lucena has its Pasayahan Festival, which has a lot of pageantry and street dancing, and Lucban has the famous Pahiyas Festival, which is best known for kiping, a brightly colored leaf shaped wafer used to decorate homes is an art form by itself.”

    Kiping, a brightly colored leaf shaped wafer made of rice paste is considered an integral part of the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon.  Mature leaves from kabal, kape, talisay, kakaw, antipolo, and banana trees are used as molds for kiping,    together with rice paste and food coloring.  During the Pahiyas Festival, houses are decorated with kipings of different shapes and sizes; as well as fruits, vegetables,    grains, papier mache, and palm hats.

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    “ Lucena is a city food lovers and enthusiasts.  I am happy that we have made more people known about southern Tagalog cuisine through our restaurant.  Pancit Lucban has become popular in areas where we have a restaurant, while the culture of eating Pancit Habhab is a must for tourists to experience.”

    Nova and her husband Buddy at the SM City Lucena branch of their restaurant. Pancit Habhab is a local delicacy of sautéed noodles mixed with chopped pork, shrimps, and vegetables.  To truly enjoy the noodles, the pancit is placed on a rectangular banana leaf and it is traditionally eaten without any utensils.

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    When SM City Lucena was not yet built, we would travel all the way to Manila to visit any SM mall to shop. Now it’s so convenient that we have an SM mall in our city.  SM is so complete, you can find anything you need there.”

    SM City Lucena has brought SM’s one-stop shopping, leisure, and entertainment excitement to Quezon province.

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    “When I visit SM in Lucena, my purpose is to shop. As always, my first stop would be the supermarket.  I also always make sure that my kitchen has all the necessary stuff, so the SM Home Department is a favorite of mine. “

    Nova and Buddy at the Homeworld section of the SM Department Store in Lucena.