#QuarantitaTreats: Pinoy and proud bubble tea drinks from Boba Unibers

Rain or shine, it’s always a good time for a boba tea.

These delish concoctions can give us a much-needed sugar boost to get us going, or refresh us after a hot or grueling day.

Boba (“bubble”) gets its name from the chewy pearls made of tapioca soaked in sugar syrup that look like dark bubbles which add texture to your drink.

Boba teas originated from Taiwan in the 1980s when the smaller pearls were used for milk teas. An enterprising shop owner then decided to use larger pearls in a bid to make his offerings stand out.

Boba teas then made their way across the globe and soon established a foothold in the Philippines with new shops offering all sorts of bubble tea variants opening every month.

The newest of these boba tea shops is Boba Unibers, managed by twenty-seven-year-old Jacques Michael Buenviaje together with his partner, twenty-six-year-old Katrina Mikaela Laygo.

Boba Unibers

Both were working in a five-star hotel in BGC when the pandemic struck the metro. They decided to leave their hotel jobs and forge new paths for themselves, which, luckily for us boba tea lovers, includes launching Boba Unibers.

As you can discern from their business’ moniker, #PinoyPride infuses their business and product concept.

By incorporating local flavors and ingredients to their boba tea offerings, they bring milk tea fans like us fresh ways to enjoy our favorite drink while tapping into our sense of nostalgia (plus they also help local farmers by sourcing their coffee beans and muscovado from them).

Being good to the environment is also high on their list of priorities. Not only do they eschew the use of single-use plastics, they also made use of reusable glass jars and edible straws (made with rice and tapioca) which scored major points with my environmentally-aware daughter, #ExhibitA.

Now let’s talk about Boba Unibers’ drinks, shall we?

Wintermelon (Php75). Made with BU’s special tea blend, caramel-y wintermelon syrup, milk, house syrup and boba. #ExhibitA reserved this boba as soon as she saw it.

Boba Unibers

Taro (Php75). Made with BU’s special tea blend, taro, milk, house syrup and boba. A creamy masterpiece of a drink! (And cutely light purple too!)

Boba Unibers

Champorado (Php85). Made with BU’s special tea blend, tablea rice milk, house syrup, powdered milk and boba. Who would have thought that our favorite chocolatey breakfast item would taste so good in boba tea form? My son #ExhibitB snatched this up as soon as I was done taking photos.

Boba Unibers

Pandan Yema (Php85). Made with BU’s special tea blend, milk, pandan yema syrup and boba. A mix of the mild taste of pandan and the milky salted caramel-like taste of yema made for a candy-like sweet drink.

Boba Unibers

Salted Pistachio (Php110). Made with pistachio syrup, caramel sauce, caramel syrup, Kievit and Lipton Tea. This milky and slightly nutty drink will satisfy pistachio lovers.

Boba Unibers

Cold Brew Milk Tea (Php85). Made with BU’s special tea blend, milk, cold brew coffee and boba. This woke me right up from my mid-afternoon stupor.

Boba Unibers

These are just a sampling of the many possibili-teas that Boba Unibers has launched into the milk tea stratosphere, with more flavors to come as Jacques and Katrina continue to experiment with new flavors and ingredients.

Boba Unibers

So #quarantitas (or #quaranTEAtas?), let’s help these young entrepreneurs raise our flag and bring the spotlight to the unique flavors we Pinoys love by supporting Boba Unibers.

Boba Unibers

To order, call +63 906 3485071 or message Boba Uniberse on Facebook or Instagram. Cashless payments via GCash, Metrobank and BDO, as well as cash on delivery, are accepted. The jars of milk tea can be delivered from Cainta to Rizal and Metro Manila areas via GrabExpress, Lalamove, Mr. Speedy, Angkas and Joyride (to be shouldered by the buyer).

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Holiday kakigori flavors at Shari Shari, BGC

Given that we’re in a tropical country, we shouldn’t have to wonder why ice-based desserts have so much appeal.

Even now, having entered the supposedly “brrrr” month of December, we can still find the metro’s heat and humidity quite oppressive.

Yes, icy desserts are definitely the way to go, and luckily, all kinds of these frozen treats are readily available in the metro.

The kakigori, for example, is fairly new to Pinoy foodies. This shaved ice dessert originated from Japan and has been around since the 11th century when blocks of ice saved during the stockpiled during the winter months are shaved to a snow-like consistency and served with sweet syrup to the aristocrats during the summer months.

Today, icy treats are a lot more accessible to us year-round, thanks to technology (yey for refrigeration!).

And with specialty shops like Shari Shari, we Pinoys get to have a taste of authentic kakigori.

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

This dessert shop was founded in Hong Kong but soon found its way to the Philippines. It opened its first shop in Serendra, BGC where it serves bowls of its signature shaved ice desserts. Using special ice custom-made from different kinds of water, shaved with a special machine imported from Japan and flavored with syrups made fresh everyday has allowed Shari Shari to offer kakigori with the look, taste and texture consistent with those in Japan.

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

And you would be amazed at the sheer variety of flavors possible with the kakigori: from fruity versions like strawberry, melon, mango and banana; classic dessert flavors like chocolate; to more exotic variants like Coffee Tiramisu, Earl Grey Milk Tea and Matcha Cream. There’s something for almost every sweet craving at Shari Shari.

Plus, be sure to check out Shari Shari special holiday flavors available beginning December 1:

Pistachio Raspberry topped with whipped cream and a candy Santa. This combines the nutty taste of pistachios with the sweet and fruity tartness of raspberries.

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Choco Hazelnut topped with whipped cream and a chocolate gingerbread man. Dessert lovers would really go for its combination of nutty and cocoa flavors.

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Shari Shari, BGC

Every spoonful is a burst of icy sweetness in my mouth, a great way to relax and cool down, warm weather or not!

And what a sweet and cool (or icy!) way to get in the holiday spirit!

Shari Shari Kakigori House is located at Ground Floor, Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

Shari Shari Kakigori House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: I visited Shari Shari during its mini blogger get-together where the holiday kakigoris were served for free to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my reviews of other dessert shops in the metro:

Frozen treats at Fiorgelato, Sta Lucia East

Just when we Easterners thought gelato treats are way above our budget or inaccessible to us, a Fiorgelato scooping station sets up shop right in our turf.

Fiorgelato, Sta Lucia East

Fiorgelato, Sta Lucia East

Fiorgelato, Sta Lucia East

Gelato is a type of frozen dessert that originated in Italy. Made with a base of milk, gelato uses a lot less cream than ice cream, resulting in a denser and creamier dessert.

Fiorgelato produces several gelato flavors that make use of the finest ingredients such as chocolates, fresh fruits and imported Italian flavorings.

Together with my fellow foodies from #WeLoveToEatPH and #SaanSaPH, I visited the newly opened Fiorgelato scooping station at Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall.

The store stocks gelato variants that include: pistachio, pragola (strawberry), salted caramel, choco nut fudge, biscotti (cookies ‘n cream), ube (yam), menta (mint) and fior de panna (vanilla).

These flavors are mixed and matched, topped with goodies and made into yummy gelato-based treats, which, thanks to an ongoing rainy season promo, are currently available at discounted rates.

Fiorgelato, Sant Lucia East

Fiorgelato, Sta Lucia East

Check them out:

Regular Cup (Php60 from Php70).

Fiorgelato, Sta Lucia East

Banana Split (Php110 from Php120).

Fiorgelato, Sta Lucia East

Fiorgelato, Sta Lucia East

Fiorgelato, Sta Lucia East

Ice Cream Blend (Php110 from Php140).

Fiorgelato, Sta Lucia East

And the soon-to-be-launched Revel Bar ala Mode (no price yet).

Fiorgelato, Sta Lucia East

Fiorgelato, Sta Lucia East

Fiorgelato, Sta Lucia East

Just imagine what other gelato treats await us! Personally, I would really love it if Fiorgelato adds chocolate chips and chopped nuts among its toppings.

Many thanks to Oliver and the staff of Fiorgelato Sta. Lucia for having us!

Fiorgelato, Sta Lucia East

Fiorgelato, Sant Lucia East

This Fiorgelato kiosk is located at Second Floor, Building 3 (in front of the department store), Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall, Felix Avenue corner Marcos Highway, San Isidro, Cainta.

Other kiosks are located at:

  • Medical City, Ugong, Pasig
  • Rustan’s Makati, Glorietta Complex, Makati
  • Ayala Malls Circuit, Olympia, Makati
  • Salcedo Village, Makati
  • Sampaloc, Manila
  • Fairview, Quezon City
  • Robinsons Place Manila, Ermita, Manila
  • Fisher Mall Malabon, Longos, Malabon City

Fiorgelato Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with my fellow foodies, I attended a foodie meetup held here. Food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other dessert shops in the metro:

Gelato Treat at Morelli’s, Powerplant Mall

We Pinoys love sweets, and with a tropical climate such as ours, we won’t say no to frozen treats even in December.

While ice cream is more prevalent, gelato desserts are also growing in popularity in the country.

Gelato is a frozen dessert which originated in Italy. It has a much creamier and silkier texture than ice cream, given its increased use of milk rather than cream compared to ice cream. Gelato also does not make use of eggs, unlike ice cream, and is usually served using a small spade instead of a scoop.

That’s what I treated my family to over the holidays. After Christmas lunch at nearby Fireside by Kettle in Rockwell, we headed straight to Morelli’s Gelato for dessert. (Thanks to Jen of SandUnderMyFeet.com for sharing her GCs!)

The Morelli’s gelato brand started in Scotland in 1907 when father-and-son Giuseppe and Mario started selling the ice cream prevalent in their native Italy. The brand expanded to UK in 1932, and then went on to establish its presence in other countries, where its gelato offerings are made fresh everyday using natural ingredients.

My kids, mother-in-law and I enjoyed our scoops of truffle, chocolate, pistachio and vanilla gelato which served as a great cap to our Christmas lunch.

Morelli’s Rockwell

Morelli’s Rockwell

Morelli’s Rockwell

This Morelli’s Gelato branch is located at Second Floor, Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati City. Another branch is located at Level 3, East Wing, Shangri-La Plaza, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City.

Morelli's Gelato Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other dessert places: