My Observations: Ben’s Halo-Halo in BF Homes

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Laguna’s creamiest halo-halo is now in BF Homes!

For the newcomers reading this, Aguirre Avenue, the major road inside BF Homes subdivision in Parañaque City, is well known for being a major commercial stretch where people can find lots of restaurants, stores, coffee shops and the like.

Recently along the same road, the BF Homes branch of Ben’s Halo-Halo Ice Cream opened within the area of Phase 3 in the subdivision. It is located between Shakey’s and Starbucks Coffee at the same side. Just steps away from it, also from the same side, is Mini-Stop convenience store.

Already, Ben’s Halo-Halo has been attracting a lot of customers and their best-selling product is, unsurprisingly, their signature halo-halo. In recent times, actor Mark Anthony Fernandez (Miracle in Cell No. 7), had been visiting the BF Homes branch to take home halo-halo not once but many times already. Out of curiosity, I decided to pay a visit and find out how good or tasty their top dessert is.

For P90, I was served with their signature Ben’s Halo-Halo in a tall glass. It came with a mix of corn, ube (purple yam), macapuno, saba, white beans, milk and leche flan.

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This is the Ben’s Halo-Halo.
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At the top of Ben’s Halo-Halo.

After carefully mixing the ingredients, I took my first serving of it. The result? It tasted really good! Then I mixed it more and took another serving to find out if the resulting taste would be better or not. It still tasted good.

The halo-halo was so good and creamy, for me, there was no need to add sweetener or milk. A dessert served like this with such a good taste is a winner already for me. Of course, anyone else who wants to have their halo-halo be added with more sugar or milk will have to ask the people behind the counter. I don’t know yet if they would charge extra.

After enjoying my dessert, I decided to look further on their menu. Apart from the Ben’s Halo-Halo, they also serve Spicy Winter Halo-Halo and Salty Summer Halo-Halo. Other classic desserts include Mais Con Yelo and Macapuno Con Yelo.

They also serve rice meals (which I will try some day) like adobo, tocino, longganisa, braised beef and chicken barbeque to name some. They also have pasta and sandwiches.

As I learned during my time there, Ben’s Halo-Halo Ice Cream originally started in the city of San Pablo in the province of Laguna. It was founded by Ben Pasco who worked as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Italy for over a decade. During his years there, he got to work as a cook in a restaurant. After making some careful observations, becoming an entrepreneur entered his mind and he decided to go home to start a new business of his own.

More on their BF Homes branch, more people have been dining there. To say the least, it is a blessing for the BF Homes community that Ben’s Halo-Halo opened within the Phase 3 area.

I highly recommend the Ben’s Halo-Halo for those who crave for something cool and sweet (don’t forget to watch your blood sugar level).

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Visit their BF Homes branch now along 287 Aguirre Avenue and don’t forget to visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/bensbfhomes/


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.

Spotlight on BF HomeSarap, The Village Home-Cooked Food Directory

Spotlight on BF HomeSarap, The Village Home-Cooked Food Directory

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Do you love home-cooked food? Do you love BF Homes, the very large residential-commercial community that occupies portions of Muntinlupa, Parañaque and Las Piñas? Do you love grouping together on Facebook forming a very lively online community?

If you love all three, then you cannot go wrong with the BF HomeSarap Facebook group!

BF HomeSarap is not just any food-oriented, regional group on the social network. It is one of the fastest growing FB groups that highlights home cooking, good tastes, small enterprise and the BF Homes community members (plus friends).

BF HomeSarap’s growth in terms of membership is truly amazing. The FB group only started on April 2019 and from zero members it attracted to more than eight thousand (8,000+) members as of this writing! By comparison, there are other BF Homes-related (plus Barangay BF Homes-related) FB groups that lasted for years and still their respective memberships were exceeded by BF HomeSarap.

The FB group has described itself to be the resource for delicious home-cooked food (and drinks) right inside the village. As big businesses are prohibited, BF HomeSarap allows foodie sellers to post their specialties by showing pictures of the products, the name of the food or drink, prices and how they are being sold. What is notable about the group is that the people who make food at home are granted valuable opportunities to reach out to other members who might be interested to buy from them. In a business sense, the small food enterprises are able to make themselves known and gain chances to grow not only with selling products but also attracting new customers and establishing new business relationships.

And then something significant happened on December 7 and 8, 2019 – selected BF HomeSarap members came out in full force as sellers in the first-ever BF HomeSarap Community Food Fair and Bazaar which was held at the open-air basketball court and at the nearby covered stretch  inside BF NorthWest, Parañaque City. That community event, which was organized by village governor-at-large Lorea Miren in cooperation with the BF NorthWest Homeowners Association and supported by PARA APP, was a big success as it attracted between 250 to 300 visitors (including Parañaque City Councilors Jackie Bustamante-Mendoza and Wahoo Sotto) and almost all the vendors sold out! Apart from that, a strong spirit of community interaction, business and socializing took place.

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A look at just one section where the first-ever BF HomeSarap Community Food Fair was held inside BF NorthWest. This one was taken at a covered facility near the open-air basketball court (where the other vendors were present and selling too).

With all of these mentioned, you must be wondering: Who started BF HomeSarap in the first place? Why was it established? How did it happen? Where will BF HomeSarap head to now that its presence online and within the real environment inside BF Homes has been felt?

For all of you, my readers and food enthusiasts, I am happy to present to you my interview with BF HomeSarap founder and food stylist Ditas Antenor.

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To begin with, Ditas Antenor worked in the corporate world as an advertising executive and worked with her employer’s big-time clients. After more than a decade managing multinational accounts in various multinational ad agencies, she moved on to the production side and there she became a food stylist. She even spent time in the United States to learn about food styling (for print and broadcast).

“I decided back then to take up food styling because I made plans regarding my career ahead of time,” Antenor recalled. “I really planned ahead. I could quit my nine-to-five job and engage in freelancing. So what would be a good, lucrative freelance job that I know I could be good at? That was food styling which is rare (in the Philippines.)”

Back then, food stylists in the Philippines were rare. Antenor became the fifth among the already established food stylists at the time. She eventually got hired by some clients and established herself nicely. Raised as an Alabang Girl, she and her children currently live in the Las Pinas City part of BF Homes subdivision.

BF HomeSarap’s origin and tremendous growth within Facebook

So how did BF HomeSarap started as a group within Facebook? It all started with a trigger on the part of its founder Ditas Antenor.

“There was a trigger. It was related to me and my kids moving into BF Homes subdivision coming from Alabang. Our house here in BF has been around for a very long time,” Antenor said. “My kids grew up with my cooking. Although they enjoy commercial foods like pizza or burgers that can be ordered, they can only eat those sometimes and ultimately they still love home-cooked food.”

Being the highly focused planner she has always been, Antenor had prepared menus for their family up to a few months ahead. She does the home cooking and, from time to time, her children cook adding variety. The love for home cooking, good food and relationships all connected with the beginning of BF HomeSarap.

“Then one day, I said to myself ‘maybe I should form a group’. I’m not an original member of the BF Homes community but still this is our home, even if I still maintain and occasionally stay in our Alabang house” Antenor recalled. “After doing an initial search for food-related FB groups that were related to BF Homes, I formed an FB group for BF by BF focused on home-cooked food.”

Along the way, the founder recalled her efforts on forming a name for the FB group that is unique and would strongly resonate with food enthusiasts and BF Homes residents and stakeholders. The result, clearly, was BF HomeSarap which was a clever combination of the name of the subdivision as well as the Tagalog word “Sarap” (English: Delicious).

“The name BF HomeSarap was formed out of my intention to include the local community’s name while reflecting people’s enjoyment of good home-cooked food. It had to be catchy and relevant at the same time. After searching for possible combinations of words, I came up with ‘sarap’ to partner with BF Homes,” she stated.

BF HomeSarap was created on April 2019 by Antenor reflecting her interest of good, home-cooked food her children would enjoy while establishing ties with the many members of the BF Homes community who share her interest.

The result? The membership of BF HomeSarap on Facebook went from zero to over eight thousand as of this writing. The members were a big mix of food enthusiasts as well as home-based cooks who are quietly selling food or drinks through their respective small-sized businesses. Already several small-time food sellers posted food or beverages for sale complete with contact numbers, prices, ways on how to avail of ordered items and the like. BF HomeSarap excludes the bigger, commercial food sellers giving more space and priority to the small ones. Along the way, there were a lot of buyers who had been searching for tasty home-cooked food. The result is BF HomeSarap establishing itself as a very lively online community whose members are united by home-cooked food and delicacies.

Of course, not just anyone could join the BF HomeSarap FB group. With the help of a few friends (who lived in BF Homes for a long time) and her daughter, Antenor and her co-administrators carefully review the many pending applications of FB users who wanted to join in as well as the many private messages sent.

“The membership of BF HomeSarap just kept on growing fast. Along the way, we made sure it would not become just another buy-and-sell type of Facebook group. I really wanted it to be an online community about good, home-cooked food and BF Homes which will be engaged with good quality content from time to time. I really want community engagement,” she said.

To engage the BF HomeSarap group members, Antenor researched online about the latest food trends, what kind of food people like lately, cooking tips, recipes and the like. The result was her releasing unique content in the form of articles, short videos, special greetings and customized images that get posted in the group occasionally. This approach of hers helped keep BF HomeSarap interesting and engaging, and prevented it from becoming stale or getting too flooded with sales-related posts.

For the future, Antenor stated that she is still striving to come up with ideas to make life better for the sellers and buyers of the group. She is exploring how to establish a dedicated delivery system that will carry BF HomeSarap’s name and cater to the clients’ needs. She and her team are also looking for other enclaves around BF Homes that could possibly host the next edition of the BF HomeSarap Community Food Fair this year.

With almost 9,000 members counted (and growing) and continued daily engagement, BF HomeSarap is undoubtedly the premier FB group focused on home-cooked food with the people of BF Homes in mind. Even FB users from the rest of South Metro Manila noticed the group.

“BF Homes is very unique,” Antenor said in relation to the group’s phenomenal growth and influence.

The group is not even a year old, and already it achieved a lot of milestones even spawning three related groups: Merville HomeSarap, Antipolo HomeSarap and MetroEast HomeSarap.

Ditas Antenor’s Message to the Readers

“When I cook, I continue to engage the community. There is, indeed, a wealth of home-cooked food in this community. You just need to look for it. You just need to know who cooked it. Also, level up your food in terms of nutrition and quality. If you want good food for your family, aim for home-cooked. It can be cheaper and yet it can be prepared with the same love and care for the family.”


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.

Note: Article cover photo contains images from the book “SULÓ: Where Taste Was Style”, written by author/founder Erlinda Panlilio, published in 2015 by Anvil Publishing.

My Observations: Union Jack Tavern’s Apple Crumble

Previously I discussed the Sticky Toffee Pudding dessert of Union Jack Tavern on a visit. I had that dessert because they ran out of Apple Crumble. During my last visit, Apple Crumble was finally available for me to enjoy.

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Apple Crumble with vanilla ice cream on top!

To put things in perspective, I availed of UJT’s Sunday lunch buffet many times over the past five years and often Apple Crumble is served as the dessert. Ordering it from the menu results a large serving with a choice of one large scoop of vanilla ice cream on top or custard. Apple Crumble ala cart costs over P200.

How was it? With vanilla ice cream served with it, Apple Crumble really tastes very, very delicious! For me vanilla ice cream combined with the apple portions and other sweet ingredients result something very delightful to my taste bud. Also there is that nice feeling in my mouth in which the ice cream mixed with the somewhat warm apple crumble created together.

Of course, there were a few times I tried Apple Crumble with custard (somewhat warm) and it is also delightful. Slightly different but still very yummy.

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With the ice cream reduced as well as the apple crumble, you can see what’s inside. Really yummy goodness!

What can I say? Apple Crumble of Union Jack Tavern, whether served with ice cream or custard, is a winner for me and I highly recommend you try it! The serving is large by the way and you will get your money’s worth!

If you are visiting Alabang in Muntinlupa City, I highly recommend you visit Union Jack Tavern which is located at the lower ground floor of the Expanded Area of Festival Mall. Physically their place is located by the “river” (across Landmark Alabang) and near them is Mesa restaurant.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article to be engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco.

 

 

My Observations: Union Jack Tavern’s Sticky Toffee Pudding

During my recent afternoon visit at Union Jack Tavern at Festival Mall in Alabang, I ordered an Apple Crumble of theirs which is a favorite dessert of mine. However they could not serve it because they ran out of Apple Crumble that day (Sunday) which was served during their Sunday lunch buffet as the dessert.

Then I glanced over their menu to check what other desserts were listed. Out of curiosity, I decided to order their Sticky Toffee Pudding. Around fifteen minutes later, it was served to me by their waitress. I took time out to take a close look at it before consuming it.

Sticky Toffee Pudding is composed of a moist sponge cake, vanilla ice cream and chopped dates which were covered with toffee sauce.

After taking a few pics of it, I decided to take my first scoop of the dessert with the spoon carefully getting a portion of both the cake and ice cream together. The result – a great taste with a satisfying feeling in my mouth! It was really tasty and in terms of sweetness, it felt rich yet not excessive to my taste buds. Anyone who loves toffee or chocolate-like food should try this!

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Union Jack Tavern’s Sticky Toffee Pudding. This one cost me P233.50 which includes the 10% service charge. Truly it was worth the price!

Having enjoyed the first bite, I gradually consumed it as I want to enjoy it to the best I could. In between bites, I drank water.

Ultimately, UJT’s Sticky Toffee Pudding is a GREAT dessert to have and it truly is worth its high price (listed at P215 on the menu as of this writing). I felt that the unavailability of Apple Crumble was a blessing in disguise. Had that other dessert been available, I may not have tried Sticky Toffee Pudding.

If you are visiting Alabang in Muntinlupa City, I highly recommend you visit Union Jack Tavern which is located at the lower ground floor of the Expanded Area of Festival Mall. Physically their place is located by the “river” (across Landmark Alabang) and near them is Mesa restaurant.

 

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This is the exterior of Union Jack Tavern at Festival Mall in Alabang. A great place to visit for drinks, meals and fun!

Origin of Sticky Toffee Pudding

While the origin of Sticky Toffee Pudding remains debated, it is likely that the delicacy was created by Francis Coulson at the Sharrow Bay Hotel in Cumbria sometime during the 1970s. Although the exact date of creation is unknown, Coulson reportedly admitted that the recipe might not have been purely his own and that he was inspired by a “sweet woman in Lancashire”. Believe it or not, each member of the staff at Sharrow Bay Hotel signed a secrecy agreement not to reveal the recipe that is kept in the vaults of the place. To this day people are arguing that the the pudding originated in the Lake District or in Aberdeenshire or Scotland (because the Scots love sugar).


Thank you for reading. If you find this article to be engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco.