by Rey P. Beltran | www.foodfindsasia.com
Few people remember that Rizal Park was once named Luneta, the default go-to place for families, friends, and of course, lovers. It’s also a place where you don’t have to think how much money you’ve got as long as you have company.
Luneta being a popular public park and highly accessible to all, was a watering hole for people from all walks of life. And when there are people gathering, strolling around the park, will food be far away? Home to snack kiosks offering the usual fare of hotdogs and hamburgers, spaghetti, and soft drinks, Luneta is also a place for more than a handful of ambulant vendors selling cotton candy, peanuts, popcorn and… ice cream.
Yep, there’s a Luneta Ice Cream and it’s a delightful treat for all Filipinos leaving in some parts of Europe, specifically, The Netherlands. The fun-sounding names Luneta Ice Cream has for its flavors will make you long for the Philippines as they sound soooo Pinoy! Sample these frozen delights:
Buco Pandan- Buco Panday
Mango- Go Mango Go!
Rocky Road- Rocky Streets
Ube Macapuno- Oh Baby Macapuno
Pink Guava- Mamink-mink
Maja Blanca – Coco Corny
Calamansi – Nagmamaasim
These flavors are available in 140 cc, 500 cc, 1 liter and 2.5 liters.
But enough of the ice cream and let’s go to the geniuses behind Luneta Ice Cream: the husband-and-wife tandem of Rhea Topacio and Dennis Rogacion. The author had the opportunity to touch base with Rhea and learned gallons of info worth sharing to you who are wondering who’s behind Luneta Ice Cream.
FFA: How long have you been in the business?
Rhea: With the ice cream business, we officially started February 14, 2015, after a couple of months of studying our own recipe. Our company, Dea Enterprise, started with chocolates (deachocolates.com) five years ago then ventured on designer cupcakes (taartini.nl).
FFA: How did you start the business?
Rhea: It was an accidental effort. We just wanted to export ice cream machines supposedly to the Philippines, but after trying out the machine, we decided to make ice creams here (The Netherlands) with Filipino flavors instead.
FFA: If you’re not in this business, what might have you been doing instead?
Rhea: Most probably, my husband will continue working and I will continue with my freelance jobs (balikbayan box agent, advertising manager (thefilipinoexpatmagazine), graphic designer, marketing) while pushing our cupcakes and chocolates business, and making new products to offer. We love making new products, our creativity and passion are utilized.
FFA: Why didn’t you pursue that other possibility?
Rhea: Getting a job here currently is quite difficult, taking into consideration the status of the economy. My husband lost his job recently and so have other people in the work force. The competition to get a job is quite high. We have our own company that we can maximize to earn enough for our monthly household expenses, so we might as well try pursuing it. We have been present already for quite some time, so we thought maybe it is high time to change gears to a manageable capacity. Our idea gained more push from the fact that my husband has been here in The Netherlands for more than two decades, and I’ve been here for five years. There are certain Filipino foods that we miss that are not available here. Filipino ice cream is one of the most hard-to-find foods here.
We know that our fellow Filipinos here do miss it, too. So instead of importing it which would entail more cost for them, we decided to make it ourselves.
To be concluded…
Luneta Ice Cream is distributed in The Netherlands. Visit www.lunetaicecream.com, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, like them on facebook: lunetaicecream, and follow them on instagram: lunetaicecream