For the love of Food


Vilnius, Lithuania

Meet Celina, a Filipino food enthusiast whose passion for cooking and baking led her to a remarkable opportunity in Lithuania.

Who would have thought that Celina Tamayo-Varanavicius, a graduate of BS Biology at UP Baguio, would be an entrepreneur in Lithuania someday?

From Muscat, Oman, where she worked as a medical program executive for almost a decade, she met and fell in love with her now-husband Andrius. Despite her busy schedule, her passion for food through cooking and baking continuously knocks on her heart. She loved playing with recipes, baking cakes and cupcakes, and then sharing them with friends and family. At this point, her love for food is becoming stronger than ever.

In her pursuit to find her real passion, which is food, she found Ubeness, Buco Pandaness, and Langkaness. It was in 2022 that she started using them in her recipes. Celina’s enthusiasm for these essences is unmistakable.


“I have tried other brands too, but nothing compares to these three essences when it comes to flavor and color. What great products they are! I am a loyal customer forever!”

She is not just good at baking; she is also superb at the celebrated Filipino main courses. Both Lithuanian and Filipino patrons have raved about her crispy pork and mango salad, which often results in numerous repeat orders. On the Filipino side, puto and puto pao have become sought-after favorites. Lithuanian clients, on the other hand, have developed a fondness for her cupcakeslengua de gato in different flavors, and cakes. Eventually, she thought about making her hobby official when she realized that few Lithuanians and other nationalities in the region were familiar with Filipino food and delicacies. Inspired by this new knowledge, she decided to establish her business, Merienda in Lithuania in May 2023.

Last September, she was invited to be a part of an exhibit at the Lithuanian National Museum—House of Histories. The reception of her displayed products is very overwhelming, as she has gained more attention for Filipino cuisine. It was a job well done and an opportunity she embraced wholeheartedly. At the event, she showcased souvenirs, Filipino snacks, chips, candies, buco pandan, and her signature product, lengua de gato, available in different Pinoy flavors—vanilla, coffee, chocolate, mango, buco pandan, and UBE (purple yam). Her migrant story is also featured in Our Migration Storya global collection of success stories. These gave her more motivation to continuously promote and make Filipino foods for all cultures to enjoy. Maybe there are a handful of Filipinos in Lithuania at the moment, but there are millions of cultures open to experiencing the burst of taste of the beloved Filipino cuisine.

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Tip! Our flavorings are highly concentrated, enjoy more by shaking them before use and storing them at normal room temperature. (Do not store in a refrigerator nor in a cold place. )

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