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Whatever Happened to Serg’s Chocolates?

May 18, 2019

In an ideal world, having a good product with a loyal following should be enough to keep a company afloat. However, that rarely happens in the real world, especially once other market forces come into play. Sometimes, the confluence of disparate factors contribute towards the death of companies that one might assume were too big, too entrenched in the market, to completely fail. Serg’s Chocolates, one of the leading causes of kids’ cavities in the nineties, is one such example.

Most people can’t tell you when Serg’s first arrived to occupy their local supermarkets, candy stores, and canteens. Then, as suddenly as they had appeared, the brand vanished from shelves around the latter part of the nineties. No Senti Sabado or throwback thursday hashtag passes without at least one mention of the chocolate bar, but no one really knows what really happened to the company. There are rumors of Serg’s merging with, or being bought out, by bigger candy companies, but dig deep enough, past the lists and forum posts wondering about Serg’s Chocolates, and one can find traces of Serg’s true fate.

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Serg’s was named after the founder Anton Goquilay’s son, Sergio.

Serg’s Chocolate was originally conceived in 1954 by Anton Goquilay as Serg’s Products Inc, which produced Serg’s Candy Bars as their flagship. Serg’s was named after Goquilay’s son, Sergio. Almost as soon as they launched their brand in the fifties, they became that era’s darlings. Their candy bars were an instant best seller, able to go head-to-head with the international variants being sold in the country then. It stayed strong for the next two decades after its inception. In the eighties, however, things started to take a turn for the worse.

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At the height of unrest of the Marcos Administration, the Goquiolay family migrated to the United States. In the transition from the Marcos to the Aquino Administration, the company was absorbed by the government as part of the Asset Privatization program. Serg’s disappeared from store shelves all over the country.

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In the intervening years that followerd the Goquiolay family’s migration, the young boy that the company was named after grew up. After a stint as a professor teaching marketing in a US university, he found the courage to return to the Philippines in the early nineties and start over. His first move was to take back control of his family’s company.

Sergio Goquiolay flew back to Manila to reclaim his family’s company, succeeding in putting Serg’s Chocolates back in the spotlight.

With the reins of Serg’s Products Inc. back in his hands, Sergio Goquiolay gave the company a much-needed rebranding and started making chocolates again. In almost no time at all, Serg’s found their way back on store shelves and inside Filipinos hearts. Even amidst tough competition from multinational companies, Serg’s clawed its way back into relevance. By the mid-nineties, the company was geared to expand its operations and ready to start exporting to other neighboring Asian countries.

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The 1997 Asian Crisis plunged Serg’s into debt, despite consistently strong sales.

Unfortunately, all of Serg’s grand plans crashed and burned when the 1997 Asian Crisis hit the Philippines. The company had taken on loans in dollars to finance their expansion, and suffered massive loses from the Peso devaluation of the time. Sales were still good, but not nearly enough to pay back their loans. That, coupled with some labor disputes inside their factory, plunged the company deeper into debt.

With their numbers in the red, the company decided to cut their losses. In 2001, Serg’s Products Inc. filed for bankruptcy. That same year, Sergio Goquiolay passed away.

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Sources close to the family say that they are exploring ways to revive Serg’s again, and have started assessing the feasibility of starting the factory once again, especially for this day and age. Whether anything will ultimately happen, only time will tell. Still, Serg’s presence in the childhood memories of so many of us is undeniable. More than any chocolate or candy bar they ever manufactured, that perhaps may be Serg’s greatest legacy.

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All pictures and promotional material were reposted with permission from the  Serg’s Chocolates official Facebook page.

Mia Marci Mia Marci

Mia Marci likes sampling street food, even if she doesn't know what's in it. She's gotten sick to her stomach on occasion because of this hazardous curiosity, but even the strictest of doctors couldn't stop her. Mia also writes about video games, travel, and girly issues for other publications. She also teaches English and Creative Writing. In the little spare time she has left, she catches up on film and TV shows, while cuddling up to her dog and cat.

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47 comments in this post SHOW

47 responses to “Whatever Happened to Serg’s Chocolates?”

  1. Kars Pangan Sarmiento says:

    sakto pang-TBT! 🙂 gives a nostalgic vibe..
    every trip to the groceries with mama/papa was never without any Serg’s chocolate.. lalo na nung nagkaroon sa tindahan, haha! mas napadalas ang pagnguya ng moonbits, yung tingi-tingi..
    I’m not sure though if kids these days would still appreciate the simpleness of these treats given the many options that are available to them (us) now..

  2. Patrick Henry de Dios says:

    I miss Serg’s and this article explains why the company went bankrupt and gone from store shelves.

    I’d support them again if ever the family revives the company and the beloved Serg’s chocolate.

  3. AnKamiL says:

    Thanks Mia and pepper.ph! Finally, alam ko na ang nangyari sa isa sa mga paborito kong Pinoy chocolates. At dahil dito, naisip kong mag suggest ng ilang future topics na pwede ninyong i-tackle in the future like Curly Tops vs Flat Tops and sino ang nakaimbento ng chocnut (first memory ko dito is yung chocnut na ang pabalat e mga robots na parang pang Transformers ang dating tapos may parang pa-contest pa doon sa wrapper pero lagi namang Try Again).

  4. Harold Casapao says:

    Very informative. Nice! Have forgotten Serg’s for a while.

  5. Eugene Zaragoza says:

    I remember seeing the warehouse along ortigas (if I am not mistaken) and all rotten and forgotten., but somehow after reading this I felt like I was able to taste the serg chocolate bar. this was one of my fave chocolates back in gradeschool and would waste all my allowance to buy a chocolate bar.

  6. Geh says:

    Serg’s, Ikaw pa rin. 😀

  7. Volts Sanchez says:

    How very #TBT of you, Mia. And, yes, I do miss Serg’s. Quality + good price = favorite

    • Mia Marci says:

      I have no say as to when these articles get posted, that credit goes to Lars and Mikka. :)) Thanks always for reading, Volts!

      • pepperph says:

        I shall now pretend I scheduled this on thursday totally on purpose (when it was actually just a happy coincidence.)

      • Lars Roxas says:

        I shall now pretend I scheduled this on thursday totally on purpose (when it was actually just a happy coincidence.)

  8. secretwalangclue says:

    naalala ko yung Moonbits na kinukupit ko sa tinadahan malapit sa amin hehe

  9. Jon says:

    I remember Serg’s fondly as a kid, especially Serg’s Egg Chocolate, Milk Chocolate Bar and The Peanut Bar. And then suddenly, its all gone. Goya is still aroun s but it doen’t taste the same anymore, probably because of the new international recipe. Ricoa’s Curly tops and Choc-Nut are the only surviving chocolate flavors that remind me of my childhood years. Sayang. Anybody here remember Senorita Lemon Drops?

  10. popazrael says:

    na bankrupt pala..sayang.. kaya pala nag sarado din nung 2011 yung serg cafe sa may tabi ng megamall and shangri la… panalo pa naman yung serg hot choco dun 🙁

    throwback: nagiipon pa ko ng PHP5 nung elementary days sa UST para makabili ako ng serg choco for lunch, kasi yung baon ko na PHP10 eh pambili ng sticker for age of dinosaurs ng panini sticker book hahahaha.

  11. gel says:

    Thanks Mia for this story, I too have always been wondering what happened to my childhood chocolate brand…now I know…

  12. Argel Tiburcio says:

    Malapit pa naman sa amin yung factory nila, ngayon warehouse/logistics company na ang nasa pwesto. Thanks for sharing!

  13. marimusing says:

    SO that’s what happened. I also wish you could tell us what happened to our favorite Coney Island ice cream. I still dream about Mandarin Orange Royale flavor. I keep bugging Donuts Kronuts about the flavor….

  14. Verbena says:

    I feel so sad after reading this. This chocolate brings back the memories of my childhood days.:(
    Almost everyday nadadaanan ko yung factory nito and wondering what happened. Now I know.
    Thanks for this article.

  15. Jojit says:

    Moonbits favorite yan 🙂

  16. Yael Esperat says:

    There was once a Serg’s Cafe located at the stalls outside the Edsa Shangri-La Mall (where BPI and Dunkin Donuts were located) in the mid-2000s. I used to work for a small business magazine and interviewed the cafe’s manager back then. They served beverages and sweets made from Serg’s chocolate. I remember the cafe was opened by a member of the Goquiolay family; we tried to connect with him during the interview but failed to so we didn’t get to talk to him.

  17. blingerie says:

    I love Sergs Milk Chocolate bars and their crunch bars too. Until now, whenever I go to the groceries’ chocolate section I still try to look for Sergs hoping by some miracle its back. Hope they could open back again even if its just a small chocolate store in some key cities in the Philippines.

  18. jaymz says:

    moonlighted here in ’99-2K as an Engineering Support Group. thank you for sharing!

  19. alex says:

    used to be a supplier at Serg’s .When he died his thai daughter tried all means to pay us,unfortunately funds were scarce and many banks foreclosed their properties.

  20. Jesus Lasquite says:

    wow, so that’s what happen to my favorite chocolate when i was young…..

    many thanks to mia…. god bless and hope that serg choco will come back 🙂

  21. Bernie Honrade says:

    I used to buy the moon bits sa kanto ng recto at avenida .. baker’s fair. mas gusto ko ang moon bits kaysa nips kasi di siya masyadong matamis … nyarap

  22. Mia, your article brought back a lot of warm memories and filled in the gaps on whatever happened to Serg’s. How sad that the owner died in the same year that the company field for bankruptcy. I used to buy Serg’s when I was in high school and college in the 60s. It did stood up to its US competition. I hope Serg’s is

  23. Artsy8 says:

    Thanks Mia for this interesting article. It was a bittersweet trip down the memory lane.

  24. carol says:

    I always wondered what happened to Serg’s Milk Chocolate. The last time I had it was when may age was a single digit, my mom had a whole box stashed in our ref. I didn’t know it came back in the 90’s.
    Serg’s has that melty, particular taste, not found in any other chocolate bars of today, even the imported ones. Just like Klim, powdered milk, too bad, its also off the market.It has that particular taste that I still look for.

  25. Chan Hui says:

    Thanks for the wonderful article.. I missed the Serg’s Football chocolates that was boxed in an antique-like packaging.

  26. Beng Macasaet Ibarra says:

    Mom and her brother used to work here. Memories all came back and i am thankful that someone sill remember. Will surely share this with her later.

  27. […] after Serg’s story got published, a few more friends asked me to find out what happened to Big Bob’s. In remembering the […]

  28. Tintin Formentos says:

    Thank you for the great article. Memories came rushing back..the taste, the smell… everything!

  29. Annavie Ilusorio says:

    thank you for this article…i was really looking for this chocolates because it was my fave. and it really brings back memories from my childhood. i was really wondering what happened to the maker of serge factory.

  30. Che cole says:

    Love Serg’s chocolates so much! I do hope they will come back in the market!! Im gonna buy loads every week.

  31. Thompson Victoriano King says:

    Naiyak naman ako sa sinapit na kapalaran ng paborito kong tsokolate. I
    miss the scent of my favorite chocolate product since childhood” sergs
    chocolate.” Every time I pass by their factory along Ortigas Ave.
    Extension in Cainta, inaabangan ko na ang amoy ng tsokolate ng Sergs. Ngayon tuwing dadan ako doon puro usok na ang nalalanghap ko.The factory’s been torn down and a newly built logistics warehouse is the new tenant of the land. Hayyy, some good things truly never last.
    .

  32. magiting says:

    I remember ,when i was in grade 5 in 1955 i always pass on cordillera street where the factory is,,,the price is 15 centavos only….

  33. sej ferrer says:

    I still remember the days when we normally visit their factory in Cainta, Rizal. My demise uncle (Family name ”Yenko”) used to be the Manager and Pioneer in Serg’s back in the 70’s – surprised to see his photo above on the right last – Naaalala ko pa habang ”dumadakot’ ako ng fresh ”m & m” coming from the makina, while one to sawa naman sa favorite kong milk chocolate. How I miss those days!!! Thank you sa writer of this article for bringing back the memories!!!

  34. Baby Salvacion says:

    We live near Serg’s in Cainta, 50 yards away. We are inside the RL Soler Plastics compound. Year 1962-1966. My mom and dad always have Serg’s chocolate as pasalubong. Myself and my siblings always tell that the 4-storey bldg was very very tall. The tallest in the place where we live…surrounded by rice fields..then suddenly there it was, the Serg’s factory… I felt emotional reading the story of what has happened to my favorite and childhood chocolate……

  35. ruby rose balatero-dumlao says:

    do we still have serge’s? love this chocolate!

  36. rrm1018 says:

    Thank you for this article. So bittersweet. As we all get older there are still particular things from our childhood that will forever be embedded in our memory.Believe it or not once in a while i still buy those products that were part of my childhood…Senorita lemon drops,nips,Jack & Jill classic potato chips,Clover chips. Anybody remember Jack & Jill Munchees? It was soo good!! And oh if only Magnolia could revive Chocovim I will definitely drink it again and again.

  37. Rosalinda Misa Moncay says:

    IIm in the early 40’s no but still hinahanap hanap ko pa rin ang serg’s

  38. Belle says:

    My father worked for the company for more than ten years as a factory worker. Every Christmas the company gave them a big box containing various Serg’s products. My classmates were happy as I have shared with them those candies and chocolate. I remember one summer, they allowed children of employees to work there for a summer job. Almost all employees only had good things to say about the owner and his children are all good and kind-hearted people. The family even bought a resort in Batangas were they held company outings. My father retired in 1999, I remember he was worried the company could not pay their retirement pay, but fortunately he received money for his years of service

    I’m sad that Serg’s is gone now.

  39. Sony says:

    Did Serg’s Have a factory in Marikina?

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