Why PhilamFood is Now Filstop

For another version of this apologue, in Tagalog, click here.

Why PhilamFood is Now Filstop: A Morality Play

In May 2009, Erwin Santos had his best friend Paul Borges write a one-star review on the Yelp page of East West Market, a grocery store owned by Derrick Arcilla, whose family also owns the wholesale company Phil-Am Trading.

Fast forward to 2015, when Phil-Am Trading files a million-dollar lawsuit against Philam Food, the store owned by Erwin Santos.

By May 2016, with the federal judge in possession of solid evidence that Phil Am Trading had good cause to file the lawsuit, a settlement was reached in which Philam Food is given the chance to escape further liability for its illegal actions — on the condition that it give up the name PhilamFood for its business.

It was finalized in July 2016.

Six years… Cause & effect. And that is why Philam Food is now known as Filstop.

A moral story to tell Filipino American children for years to come.


Clifton, New Jersey; Bloomfield, New Jersey; Essex County

Cast of characters:

Paul Borges — writes Yelp reviews when not watching upskirt videos
Erwin Santos – Mr. “Yes, I’m Philam, and I do wholesale.”
Sheila Marie Lagura – the Tammy Wynette of the story

Derrick Arcilla – graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in economics; does NOT cheat on his wife; owns a wholesale trading company that is the target of envious lesser beings

The plot and conflict:

Erwin Santos, owner of the small Phil-Am Food grocery store, is very envious of Derrick Arcilla’s magical ability to put together grammatical sentences. He plots the downfall of the Arcilla family, targeting their properties like the East West Market and the Phil-Am Trading company.

He is abetted by spurious reviews written by Sheila Marie Lagura and Paul Borges. At trade shows, he shows up at meetings meant for Phil-Am wholesale. When contacted by retail stores about wholesale opportunities, he willfully brushes aside the fact that there’s a pre-existing legal arrangement that forbids him from engaging in wholesale services under the Phil-Am name.


Derrick Arcilla uses his intelligence to turn the tables on Erwin Santos, who is now legally compelled to change the name of his store from Philam Food to Filstop.

Moral lessons:

Children, study hard in school so that when you grow up, you have a grasp of the basic legal precepts undergirding society and business.

Don’t renege on agreements. Renege once, but not twice. Renege twice, but not thrice.

Hire a lawyer who cares enough to have the correct url of your website in the letter he sends to the magistrate judge.

To avoid getting herpes sores on your mouth, stay away from anything oral… like oral license.

Don’t break federal labor laws.

Don’t violate federal and state health codes.

Don’t raise rats inside a grocery store. Mickey mice are okay; Chihuahua-sized rats are not.

For the grownups wanting the actual facts and details that inspired this parable, read this. https://filamfood.org/lawsuit-phil-am-trading-vs-phil-am-food-merchandising/

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