Growing up in the Visayas in the ‘70s, we would go to the beach or to each other’s homes and horse around for hours on end in gleeful abandon, happy to be free of the usual constraints of say, sleeping early for school the next day, when summer comes around.
And always, the high point, during those balmy cloudless days was when the cacophony of our roughhousing outdoors would take a pause when a tray or two of snacks—hot dogs, grilled sandwiches sliced in triangles and stuffed with assorted fillings along with mais-con-hielo, or halo-halo, or simply just a can of our favorite ice cream flavor would be brought out to the yard.
Summers then were also made delightful by a pack of kids—siblings, cousins, and friends—brought to the market in Iloilo’s La Paz district for hot bowls of batchoy—never mind that temperatures are at a sweltering high—or to a favorite refreshment parlor—Cozy Nook, where we would devour pizzas, sweet Pinoy spaghetti along with crispy fried chicken and a banana split and soda to cap off the meal.
Most of our childhood haunts are gone, replaced now by capacious air-conditioned malls where entire families can go to escape the heat of summer. These days, we take comfort in knowing that most of what we filled our kiddie tummies can still be had, along with so many other new options offered by a plethora of dining establishments set in one space, under a single roof.
It’s heartwarming to see kids’ faces light up as they slurp through a Dilly Bar or a double fudge chocolate chip Blizzard at Dairy Queen. Or a tykes’ grinning face smeared with sauce from eating churros doused in a small paper cup of Churreria La Lola’s dense chocolate dip.
At Krispy Kreme, we and our little ‘uns take delight in doughnuts which aren’t just glazed, but also custard-filled, coated in strawberry cream or choco ice, with sprinkles or come in special flavors, like Nutella with crushed almonds and New York Cheese Cake.
Thin waffles stuffed with banana and peanut butter, or blueberries, and even ham and cream cheese made to order at Famous Belgian Waffles always satisfy.
Kids, young adults and grown people can all find something they like in The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s extensive menu: coffee and tea, blended or not, iced or hot, breakfast fare, gourmet sandwiches, soups and crisp salads, and cakes and pastries.
All these are light repasts, quite apropos for the warm season, which we look forward to as we relive our childhood in our kids romping in a mall. And it’s the same break from our own child’s play we remember when we gather everyone at a table, content at seeing each taking pleasure in his or her own individual sweet, toothsome indulgence.