Colette Dela Cruz, the namesake of the famous Buko Pie from Laguna died on September 12, 2021.
Ruby Nicole Dela Cruz (46), who goes by the nickname Colette, succumbed to COVID-19 on Sunday night. Manila Bulletin columnist Tonyo Cruz shared the unfortunate news of her passing on Twitter, which shocked and saddened friends, family, and patrons of the famous Buko Pie. Her father named the business after her, and it’s become one of the most acclaimed pasalubong shops.
In Memory of Colette
“Remember Colette’s Buko Pie? Yung maraming outlets sa Laguna? Pinangalan yun ng entrepreneur sa anak nya na nag-Food Tech sa UPLB. Naging editor namin sa Perspective si Colette, at siyempre kaibigan. Nag-abroad. Bumalik sa Pilipinas,” he wrote in the tweet. The columnist expresses his condolences to the family.
Stefano Lean, Colette’s oldest son, confirms to Rappler that his mother was confined in the hospital for three weeks. He recounts his last conversation with her and how she didn’t lose hope and fought her hardest. “Sabi niya, lalaban siya. Kasi marami pa siyang gusting gawin sa buhay. Gusto ko actually siyang bantayan. Pero ayaw niya. She had her caregiver,” he said.
Colette was just a student at the University of the Philippines in Los Banos (UPLB) when her father, Plaridel Dela Cruz, started the Buko Pie business. It was founded in the early 1990s in Laguna and has since branched out to several locations. She helped with the family business and took on other roles before leaving for the United States to take her postgraduate studies in gastronomy. In 2016, she returned to the Philippines for good and co-founded Hiraya Bakery.
More than being a namesake of the Buko Pie, Colette will be remembered for her passion for learning, life, and as a loving daughter, mother, friend, and colleague. Many are mourning her passing and will remember the impact their products have made on them.