Showcasing MSMEs: Luto ni Dencio – From Lake to Plate, Bringing Spanish Flair to Ayungin Fish

UP ISSI’s GABAy program transforms Luto ni Dencio thru innovation and improvement

In the heart of San Pablo City, known for its seven lakes, a unique innovation is ready to make its waves. 

Mr. Dennis Enriquez of the Aquainnovative has crafted Luto ni Dencio, a product that takes the beloved ayungin or silver perch fish and transforms it into a delectable Spanish-style delicacy, all neatly bottled and packaged for our convenience.

The ayungin, or Leiopotherapon plumbeus, a freshwater species is admired for its delicate, rich flavor. Renowned as Jose Rizal’s favorite, this silver-scaled fish is originally found in Laguna de Bay. Today, fresh ayungin is a rare find, often commanding prices as high as Php600 per kilo. Traditionally, it’s either cooked in vinegar to make paksiw or dried as daing na ayungin. However, Dennis has reimagined it in a new, exciting way that promises new flavors. 

The inspiration for Luto ni Dencio struck Dennis on a holiday dedicated to Jose Rizal. Fascinated by the popularity of Spanish-style fish dishes like galunggong or round scad and bangus or milkfish, he decided to experiment with ayungin. The first batch, shared with family and friends, received glowing reviews. Encouraged, Dennis launched Luto ni Dencio on 19 June 2023, offering two tantalizing flavors: original and spicy. Each 200-gram bottle is priced at just Php120.00, making this accessible to many. 

Starting and growing, Luto ni Dencio was not without its challenges. Dennis faced significant financial constraints and the difficulties of managing everything alone. His participation in the different programs such as the DOST-PCAARRD-Laguna State Polytechnic University (LSPU) Agri-Aqua Technology Business Incubator (ATBI) and the UP ISSI GABAy Program was transformative. The program has provided him critical mentoring, valuable networking opportunities, and essential guidance on product development and marketing. Dennis also has been able to showcase his products at local expositions and fairs like the Anilag Festival in Laguna, able to gather vital customer feedback and expand his market reach.

Embracing innovation, Dennis improved his product’s shelf life to over six (6) months, thanks to insights gained from food safety and handling seminars. Also through the UP ISSI’s GABAy program, he was linked for collaborations with the UP College of Fine Arts – Department of Visual Communication to enhance his product’s branding and packaging. 

Looking ahead, Dennis aims to further improve Luto ni Dencio’s quality, safety, and nutritional value. His short-term goal is to establish sustainable marketing channels and secure more sources of ayungin. In the long term, he envisions diversifying his product line to include value-added tilapia products, addressing the low market prices of tilapia in Luzon.

From his journey, Dennis has learned the importance of leveraging support from various programs and being open to continuous learning. He advises other small entrepreneurs, “huwag mahiya na makita ang kakulangan ng iyong mga produkto bagkus gamitin ito para lalo mo pa ito ma-improve.” (Do not be ashamed of your product’s shortcomings; use them to improve further). With passion, innovation, and his commitment to quality improvement, Dennis Enriquez’s Luto ni Dencio is poised to make a lasting impact in the food industry. To savor the delectable Spanish Style Ayungin, visit their Facebook page– Spanish Style Ayungin @ and place your orders today through his contact number 0998-883-6531or his email at 

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