Cebu’s Cold Sweet Treats

The Freeman - - LIFESTYLE - By John Ken­drick Ceciban,

While the Christmas sea­son comes in the cold of De­cem­ber, it’s in­ter­est­ing to note that the crav­ing for a cold treat does not re­ally go away among Filipinos. It’s in­ter­est­ing be­cause as the coun­try is in the trop­i­cal hemi­sphere the change of sea­sons would have been more pro­nounced. Which means that at the first blow of the cold De­cem­ber breeze, the crav­ing for gus­ta­tory de­lights would have sup­pos­edly shifted from cold to hot.

But, no, the pop­u­lar pen­chant for cold re­fresh­ments in the coun­try seems to defy the nat­u­ral ten­dency. For in­stance, why is fruit salad even more preva­lent in the Christmas fare? Peo­ple can­not seem to con­tain their crav­ing for the cold fruity sweet such that long be­fore Christmas they’re al­ready en­joy­ing a closely sim­i­lar treat – the halu-halo.

In Cebu, in fact, the halu-halo has given birth to a small com­mu­nity in­dus­try. Just a short jeep­ney ride from the city’s down­town, there’s this “taste of heaven” that’s been draw­ing reg­u­lar pa­trons. Katipunan Street, in Barangay La­ban­gon, is a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for halu-halo lovers (which es­sen­tially mean every­body).

It’s easy to reach La­ban­gon from any point in the city. The place is a true haven for the fam­ished. Right after fill­ing the stom­ach with the fa­mous “Siomai sa Tisa,” in Sito Tisa, one may drop by any of the well-known halu-halo places along nearby Katipunan Street. There are at least four to choose from: Hans, Mon­bis, Sol’s, or Mel­ton’s.


If look­ing for a unique halo-halo ex­pe­ri­ence, one may not look any far­ther. The halu-halo ex­pe­ri­ence at Hans is unique – the cus­tomer picks his or her own in­gre­di­ents! One may choose six from the 11 in­gre­di­ents offered, in­clud­ing leche flan, nata de coco, sago, gu­la­man, corn­flakes, langka, and ube. The spe­cial ice used melts in the mouth, and one can feel the play of creami­ness and sweet­ness in the mouth. The place is open from 3 to 11 p.m. daily.


What im­me­di­ately im­presses the taste buds with Mon­bis halu-halo is the fine ice, be­fore one would even sense the corn chips, ba­nana slices, and co­conut strips. The shaved ice it­self is spe­cial, some­thing for the mouth to rel­ish as it sort of tick­les the taste buds. Only one fla­vor and one serv­ing size are offered, spar­ing

USJR In­tern the cus­tomer from the trou­ble of mak­ing a choice. Mon­bis is open from 6 p.m. to 12 mid­night daily.


Among the four halu-halo places in the area, Sol’s ar­guably has the best-tast­ing house-blended ice. Sol’s must have re­ally made it into the hearts of many Ce­buanos as it has al­ready a num­ber of branches all over the city. Start­ing out in Tisa in 2016, Sol’s halu-halo quickly cap­tured the pa­tron­age of its first cus­tomers with its sim­ple yet de­light­ful for­mula. A fu­sion of fla­vors from choice in­gre­di­ents bursts in the mouth, a taste that’s quite mem­o­rable.


Whether it’s the “spe­cial” or “su­per spe­cial” ver­sion, Mel­ton’s halu-halo does one thing – it makes one want for more. As the pi­o­neer in the halu-halo busi­ness district, Mel­ton’s has per­fected the for­mula that make pa­trons come back over and over again, over the years. Its halu-halo is sim­ple yet fes­tive in the mouth as the in­gre­di­ents com­bine: gu­la­man, sago, var­i­ous fruits and sweet­ened beans.

If a cold sweet treat is char­ac­ter­is­tic of Christmas, then it’s Christmas all the time at Mel­ton’s!

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