Christian is the eldest of three brothers who run the most extended Filipino family-owned business in San Gabriel Valley, “CHAASTE Family market,” Established in 1987 in the beautiful city of roses. CHAASTE family market has a straightforward mission: to keep the Filipino culture alive through food and service.
For over three decades, this down-to-earth family has been serving the city of Pasadena with their traditional Filipino favorite dishes such as the BBQ, Lumpia (egg roll), Pancit, and, of course, their famous MaMa SaNs Turon.
Their aspiration is to bring nostalgia to Filipinos and non-Filipinos of the homeland. They hope to one day be a constant landmark for generations to come where people from all Walks of life can celebrate, assemble, and keep culture alive.
Address: 296 N Allen Ave, Pasadena, CA 91106
Phone #: (626) 796-1527
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A little background on the Filipinos first. The Spanish colonized the Phillipines as a country for over 400 years.
They brought their culture and customs to the Filipinas, such as Catharism and names. This is the reason for some confusion in makes, according to Christian, the owner of the CHAASTE Family Market.
CHAASTE is an acronym for the family’s name and has somewhat of a religious spin. CHAASTE stands for Christian, Aberha, Art, Susan, Estaban.
The store has been in the middle of Pasadena for 34 years. Christian says it is “the only taste of the Philippines in Pasadena.”
Though Christian was born in America, he, without questioning it, only represented the Filipinos until his Caucasian friends challenged it. This challenge changed Christians’ minds and became a store model to keep all cultures alive.
Christian said his friends said his store reminded them of old New York and the Italian families that ran stores together. They kept t close, and Christian agrees they keep their store very tight. Christian said that Filipinos are very family-oriented.
When Christian families moved here and were considering where to open a store, they were advised by a family friend to go elsewhere.
However, Christian’s family was one of the first in Pasadena. This was because of Christian’s family history with World War 2.
His Grandfather received a purple heart and a visa to come to America, and eventually, the whole family followed the patriarch. Christian’s Grandfather was a scout for the US Army. He was a farmer who knew the land in the Philippines.
He decided to help the Americans, and he advised them to save their lives in a land they were unfamiliar with. America was grateful for the service and granted him a visa.
Christians’ Grandfather settled in Delana and then moved to Pasadena, where he made friends who were also Filipino.
After High School, Christian started to attend college at California State University, Northridge. However, during his second year, family events guided Christian to study in the Philippines with his mother.
He had an easy transition because a large amount of English is used in academics and business. Christian graduated from the University of Baguio with a degree in communications.
While walking in the Philippines, he was approached and asked to interview for a dating show. He lost, but it was a well-liked show and became very popular. Christian made a lot of connections through this program.
About a year later, a producer asked him to be on another show called “Star-Struck.” The new show became a smash hit, furthering his connections in the industry and making new friends who still hold multiple statuses.
After being a candidate on “Star-Struck,” he became a host on several shows. At one point, Christian became a bit of a celebrity.
A show Christian hosted roughly translated to English was called “Service To The People.”
In this program, Christian would visit different islands in the Philippines. There are thousands of Islands there. He spoke out against the show’s producers and told them he didn’t think they should be doing propaganda. Christian hasn’t been back since.
In 2007, Christian returned to America to finish his master’s degree in film; then, in 2010, he went back to work in the Philippines in the industry he had connections with. Christian found it hard because his boisterous reputation followed him and made getting work difficult.
Because he did have friends, though, he was given a job through connections, but they still didn’t work out because it didn’t feel like he was working to his potential.
Christian went to a church with his friend on a Sunday in the Philippines in 2012. He felt he had received a personal message from a priest to return to his family.
Christian’s mom thought she was done with the store and would close it, but Christian had just returned and wanted to take over the business. He knew he couldn’t do it alone, so he recruited his brothers to help him.
It was hard to convince his younger brother, who worked in I.T. He liked office work as their father used to, but in the end, he convinced his younger brother Gabriel to join the store’s efforts.
They had to make many things happen there to make it profitable again. They just had their 31st anniversary.
Christian brought a Rosary with him. It’s unique to him because he has a strong connection to religion. It also symbolizes his faith, his mother’s faith, the store, and how they are bound by faith to their business.
Christian also believes it has a lot of supernatural power and that he yields his life to God.
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