You Can Help This Food Shop's Ill Employee Out by Ordering These Flaky Empanadas

Casa Luisa Donation drive for Alvin Abay
PHOTO BY Instagram/casa_luisa ILLUSTRATION Warren Espejo

( San Pedro, Laguna-based shop Casa Luisa is known for their artisanal, Filipino-inspired eats—including ready-to-cook and ready-to-heat meals and swoon-worthy empanadas. You can thank their employee Alvin Abay for his hard work churning out their signature products since starting out as kitchen steward for owner Jen Slagle's restaurant concepts (including Banh Mi Kitchen, Fowlbread, and Flower Boy) in 2017. Sadly, Abay recently suffered a stroke, leaving him in critical condition with an aneurysm. With this, Casa Luisa donating proceeds for orders from May 22, as well as June 5, 12, and 19, to help pay for his medical expenses.

Casa Luisa Employee Alvin Abay
PHOTO BY Instagram/casa_luisa

Alvin Abay's Story

"Alvin has stood by us through the years [since he started with us] in 2017," Casa Luisa writes in an Instagram post. "During this time, he has quietly worked and learned, taking on all new challenges given to him. He became a skilled cook and baker, working with us on the opening of numerous restaurant concepts. Since the launch of Casa Luisa [in 2020], he has once again risen to the challenge, becoming a mainstay in our kitchen producing our empanadas."

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"When he got his stroke, it was on a Saturday [May 22], and it was right after we finished our Saturday delivery," shares Slagle in an exchange with "He was able to finish that day... from baking to dispatching. He had his last box picked up at 5:30 [p.m.], and the customer even remembered him." Right after that, however, as Slagle's driver came by to check on him, Abay collapsed. He was rushed to Makati Medical Center, and 50% of their proceeds that day went to his ER expenses.

Abay has since been transferred to Quirino Medical Center, where he has gotten emergency brain surgery and regained consciousness. Though in a more stable condition now, he remains in the ICU fighting for his life, and Abay's family still needs to pay for the said operation—as well as for the upcoming physical and cognitive therapy he needs.


What You Can Order to Help

You can't go wrong Casa Luisa's empanadas with their flaky, buttery crusts that are made from scratch, and one-of-a-kind fillings. Some flavors are available freshly baked and ready to eat, others are available frozen for baking, and some are available both ways.

Casa Luisa empanadas
Check out that golden-brown and buttery crust!
PHOTO BY Instagram/casa_luisa

If it's a savory bite you crave, go for the Spinach and Feta with Bacon Lardons (P525/box of three, baked or frozen), which gives you the earthiness of spinach and tang of feta with lardons for smokiness. Meanwhile, the Pizza alla Diavolo (P525/box of three, baked or frozen) has a pizza-pocket like combo of pepperoni and a rich pomodoro sauce of extra-virgin olive oil, Roma tomatoes, onions, carrots and pumpkin puree, garlic, basil, and mozzarella. A one-of-a-kind choice is the Beef Rendang (P1,080/box of six frozen), which are filled with slow-cooked beef brisket in a house-made rendang paste and comes with house made sambal and pickled cucumbers.

Casa Luisa Spinach and Feta with Bacon Lardons
The Spinach and Feta with Bacon Lardons will make you want to eat your greens. 
PHOTO BY Instagram/casa_luisa

Don't miss their sweet empanadas, either. There's the apple-pie like Apple Custard (P525/box of three baked) with stewed apples in cinnamon with vanilla bean pastry cream, and the intriguing Mango-Sampaguita and White Cheese Empanadas (P580/box of three baked) with ripe mangoes simmered in a house-made mango-sampaguita jam, plus sweet whipped cream cheese.

Casa Luisa Mango-Sampaguita and White Cheese Empanadas
Fruity and floral flavors come together in the Mango-Sampaguita and White Cheese. 
PHOTO BY Instagram/casa_luisa

For busy days when you still want a fresh and hot meal, it's worth stocking up on Casa Luisa's frozen meals, which include the Beef Brisket Caldereta (P360/320 grams) that's slow-cooked in a liver-paté and ground-peanut sauce, and the House Crispy Sisig (P375/500 grams). You can also start your day on a tasty note with their frozen breakfast meats, like the House Tapa (P360/500 grams) or cured thinly sliced beef in natural spices and papaya, and Natural Pork Tocino (P325/500 grams) or pork cured in pineapple, muscovado sugar, and red beetroot.

Casa Luisa Beef Brisket Caldereta
Keep their ready-to-heat Beef Brisket Caldereta in your freezer for busy days.
PHOTO BY Instagram/casa_luisa
Casa Luisa Natural Pork Tocino
Their take on tocino is naturally reddish thanks to beetroot!
PHOTO BY Instagram/casa_luisa

How to Order

Ready to help? You can place your orders by filling out this online form. You then have the option to pick it up from their Legazpi Village, Makati or San Pedro, Laguna outposts, or have them handle the delivery for a P200 flat-rate fee. Alternatively, you can also send direct donations to Abay's sister Marichu Abay Mendoza through BPI (002880118456), GCash (0919-009-4618), or Paypal.


For orders, fill out Casa Luisa's order form. You can also view the details for direct donations. For more information, check out Casa Luisa's Instagram page.

UPDATE (May 31, 6:51 p.m.): Casa Luisa has reached out to clarify that the final date is June 19 and not June 17 as was originally communicated. The article has been updated to reflect that development.

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