AUGUST 28, 2019

The big mix

BY CHINO L. CRUZ
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHANNE THELMO

At the vibrant Yelo Yelo, a beloved Pinoy treat finally gets its time in the sun.

You can’t go to Yelo Yelo without talking about color.

It almost appears to have a near preternatural obsession with it. Their little corner spot in UP Town Center is a veritable cascade of color, bright as a sunny summer day and clear as can be.

Yelo Yelo is located at the courtyard of UP Town Center.

It is the sort of place where you will hear yourself wondering aloud whether or not you’d seen a wall quite as yellow, or a palm just as green.

One could argue that leaning into color (because nothing is quite as Filipino as our love of color) was an obvious choice, but Yelo Yelo doesn’t seem to be bothered with being too novel.

The dessert nook makes Pinoy desserts palatable for the younger set.

In fact, the real joy of Yelo Yelo can be found in their earnest, shameless affection for something tried and true, a thing as brilliant as it is almost glaringly garish: halo-halo.

Established by The Roku Restaurant group, Yelo Yelo is a café dedicated to bringing the quintessentially Pinoy summer treat to a much younger, more discerning market.

“What we wanted it to be was the first halo-halo specialty shop,” says marketing head Anne Hizon. “Filipino desserts also tend to be marketed to older people like titas.

“We wanted something for the younger generation. We already have milk tea and Korean bingsu so we wanted to create something new and more Filipino.”

A new spin on turon, filled with banana-langka and topped with Davao chocolate and pinipig

It’s this focus on the young diner that pushes Yelo Yelo to create flavors and ideas in the spirit of fun.

Here, ube ice cream and leche flan—wonderful as they are—aren’t the only things sitting atop feathery piles of finely shaved ice.

Here you will find yourself faced with sticky nuggets of suman, dripping with muscovado caramel strewn next to a marvelous mound of mango—ripe as can be and sunny yellow as they are sweet.

Yelo Yelo’s Mangga’t Suman.

You will dive into a chilly mess of dense butterscotch, chewy sago pearls and shreds of sharp cheddar cheese, while the fellow next to you marvels at the heap of deep, dark chocolate brownies scattered with popcorn and smothered with fudge.

Yelo Yelo’s Choco Pop

Yes, you will find the classic here too (the one topped with ube ice cream and leche flan) and, unsurprisingly enough, it might just be the most gorgeous — and most delicious — thing on their menu, neon colors and all.

At a place as riotous and bright as halo-halo­ itself, how could it not be?

Yelo Yelo can be found at the courtyard of UP Town Center, Quezon City.

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