Ready for Puto Bumbong Ice Cream?

Maja Blanca ice cream, inspired by the "tibok-tibok" style of sorbetes from PampangaMaja Blanca ice cream, inspired by the "tibok-tibok" style of sorbetes from Pampanga

Kapampangans might just be the luckiest regional group in the Philippines. Not only are they renowned for their culinary prowess, but they also have a luxury called tibok-tibok. Literally "heartbeat" in the Kapampangan dialect, the word aptly describes the cooking process of this ethereal sweet. Two milks, carabao and coconut, are stirred long and lovingly over a gentle heat along with sugar and maybe the zest of a citrus fruit. Tibok-tibok describes how the cook can tell when this most delicate of coconut milk puddings is done; the bubbles just barely break the surface, reminiscent perhaps of a pulsing heart. Certainly, the heart will flutter with just a bite of tibok-tibok.

One of Manila's talented and more popular artisan ice cream makers, Ian Carandang of Sebastian's Ice Cream, has translated the tibok-tibok into an ice cream. Liters of hand-pressed coconut milk are melded with sugar and the magic of his imagination to produce an ice cream flavor that's both a sensual pleasure in itself and a paean to Filipino flavors. That it's dairy-free and vegan-friendly too can only be a plus. This particular flavor possesses a curse-inducing creaminess mainly due to the duo of milks it's made from. "This is truly a labor of love," Ian explains. "The coconut cream is hand squeezed and it takes liters of milk to make just one gallon."

Ian is a 30-something, modern-day sorbetero. His life's mission is to make better, bigger ice cream for Filipinos.  His life's work was spurred on by a seemingly innocent purchase of a pint of Ben & Jerry's at Duty Free Philippines in the early 2000s. Blown away by the names, the flavors, and the sheer sense of fun that the ice cream was imbued with, it continues to serve as his inspiration with fanciful flavors crammed with a belly-busting medley of mix-ins: "Cookie Dough", "Mango Sansrival", "Macadamia White", and "Up All Night" (an aggressive mocha). This is a man having fun with his food — er, ice cream. He's large and loud, a man with verve and a creativity set on fire. He talks animatedly, passionately, with lots of hand movements. When you meet him, it's easy to understand why the concept of "fun" in food is so vital to him.

His tibok-tibok ice cream is Ian endeavoring away from the traditional custard bases into vegan-friendly and dairy-free ice cream, a pushing of the envelope, if you will.  "I'm still trying, tweaking," he says. "It's something as yet completely unformed."  Creative impulse was discovered in Filipino kakanin desserts, specifically "Tibok-Tibok" and another flavor, "Puto Bumbong." Ian describes the process as "on its own it's like kanin (rice), it's a base. There's not much flavor there so that was the challenge, it was like mixing rice and potatoes." But tinkering and tenacity led him to a technique that allowed him to get the rice to retain its creaminess even when frozen. This discovery has injected inspired creation in Ian, rousing him to expand his repertoire.

Ian is still experimenting but for now, that tibok-tibok ice cream has an incomparably lush texture, its flavor a proclamation of coconut love. Just a spoonful and one is held captive by coconut. Swells of coconut flavor swirl and sway, smoothness wending down the throat. The ice cream is topped with latik, burnished bits of oily residue, the reward for constantly stirring coconut cream in a hot pan. Teeth bump into bits of it, nubbins of smokiness, commas of saltiness that seem to say, "Hold on tight, it only gets better from here."

From the Yahoo! Editors: What kakanin do you think would make an awesome ice cream flavor?

For more on Tibok-tibok ice cream,  visit Sebastian's Fanpage on Facebook.

Sebastian's Ice Cream Store Locations:

Alabang Town Center Mall
Cinema Area
(917)  405 7678

Podium Mall,
4th floor, near escalator
ADB Avenue, Ortigas
(927) 453 7426

The Block, SM North Edsa
3rd floor, near Cinema Ticket booth
Quezon City
(927) 290 1633

Trinoma Mall
3rd floor, center atrium
Quezon City
(915) 232 4253

COLD COMFORT Ice Cream Parlor

SM Mall of Asia
New Entertainment Mall, 2nd Floor
(near IMAX exit)
(915) 489 5753

Lori Baltazar is the whiz behind the popular food blog, Dessert Comes First.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl
    Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has found the Japanese Navy’s biggest warship at the bottom of the sea in the Philippines, 70 years after US forces sank it. Allen posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday of the World War II battleship Musashi’s rusty bow, which bore the Japanese empire’s Chrysanthemum seal. The American billionaire, who has also pursued space exploration, said his luxury yacht and exploration ship, the M/Y Octopus, found the Musashi one kilometer (1.6 miles) deep on the …

  • Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile
    Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago believes granting Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile house arrest, while former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remains under hospital detention, will violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution. “That’s already a violation of the equal protection of the law,” she said. …

  • 8 of 10 cities most at risk from natural disasters located in Phl – study
    8 of 10 cities most at risk from natural disasters located in Phl – study

    Eight of 10 world cities most exposed to natural hazards are in the Philippines and more than half of the 100 cities most exposed to earthquakes, storms and other disasters are in four Asian nations, according to a research. The study, published on Wednesday by risk analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft, analyzed the threat posed by storms, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, volcanoes and landslides in more than 1,300 cities. The study found that the 10 cities most at risk are Port Vila in …

  • US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea
    US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was recovering from surgery Thursday after having his face and arm slashed by a knife-wielding activist in an attack applauded by North Korean state media. The United States condemned the "act of violence" which saw the ambassador rushed to hospital where his condition was described as stable after two-and-a-half hours of surgery that included 80 stitches to a deep gash on his right cheek. During the assault, Kim screamed a slogan in favour of …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • New Moro rebel group emerges
    New Moro rebel group emerges

    A radical Muslim cleric trained in the Middle East and considered one of the leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has broken away from the terror group to form his own band of jihadists who are now reportedly providing sanctuary to bomb expert Basit Usman and at least five foreign militants, the military said yesterday. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla, citing reports from the field, said the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) was …

  • Ohio mom, boyfriend guilty; child emailed teacher for help

    PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — A woman and her boyfriend pleaded guilty to raping her young children and were sentenced to prison on Wednesday, a year after one of her daughters emailed a teacher for help and said she and her siblings were being chained to their beds, deprived of food and sexually assaulted. …

  • UNA hits PNP selection process
    UNA hits PNP selection process

    The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) hit yesterday the apparent machinations in the selection of the new Philippine National Police (PNP) chief. Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, UNA interim president, said the administration and the ruling Liberal Party (LP) are perpetuating the bata-bata or patronage system in the selection process of the police chief. “They will start this by maneuvering the appointment of Gen. Garbo as PNP chief,” said Tiangco, referring to one of the top contenders for PNP …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options