Inventing, Sustaining, and Evolving a Filipino Food Icon, According to Maritel Nievera, President & CEO of Cabalen Group

From the introduction of Kapampangan specialty cuisine to the buffet concept to the launching of international brands, Maritel Nievera, President & CEO of Cabalen Group, retraces her entrepreneurial journey.

Cabalen holds a special place in the lives of Filipinos. It is a place where families gather and celebrate over abundant food, served buffet-style, with specialty dishes that come from Pampanga, the culinary heart of the Philippines. For this reason, Cabalen the restaurant has spread across the country with its ubiquitous presence in malls. And as it has grown over the decades, the restaurant has evolved into a group of companies that not only brings Cabalen to the world but also brings global restaurant brands to the Philippines. Behind this beloved restaurant is a singular entrepreneur: Maritel Nievera, Founder, President and CEO of Cabalen Group of Companies.

The Business Manual visited Maritel at the Glorietta branch of Cabalen and sat down with her to talk about her remarkable success as an entrepreneur. Today, Cabalen restaurants can be found virtually anywhere in the Philippines, all over Metro Manila as well as in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, with 41 branches (and counting). With its incredible staying power for over more than 30 years, the company Maritel built has also expanded beyond Cabalen restaurants. In tune with an ever-changing market, the Cabalen Group of Companies has evolved to give Filipinos a taste of the world.