Sweets unlimited at the hit launch of ‘Best Desserts 4’ | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

‘BEST DESSERTS 4 ’ SMX Convention Center at SM Aura Premier teemswith dessert lovers sampling pies, cakes, cookies, crepes, ice cream and chocolate during Monday’s launch of “Best Desserts 4” by Inquirer Lifestyle writer Vangie Baga-Reyes.—LEO M. SABANGAN II
‘BEST DESSERTS 4 ’ SMX Convention Center at SM Aura Premier teemswith dessert lovers sampling pies, cakes, cookies, crepes, ice cream and chocolate during Monday’s launch of “Best Desserts 4” by Inquirer Lifestyle writer Vangie Baga-Reyes.—LEO M. SABANGAN II


Inquirer Lifestyle and SM Aura Premier once again put the spotlight on sweets in this year’s banner event, Best Desserts, held to launch “Best Desserts 4,” the newest title in Vangie Baga-Reyes’ best-selling series.

“This is by far the most extensive and longest list of our best desserts. Our list grows every year because of our innovative bakers,” said Baga-Reyes.

Inquirer Lifestyle editor Thelma Sioson San Juan conceptualized the “Best Desserts” list four years ago.

“I noticed the very obvious resurgence of irresistible homemade desserts,” San Juan said. “Many, mostly women, were beginning to concoct cakes, brownies and the like in their homes. People were talking about the cakes of Baby Yulo, for instance. And before you knew it, each dessert maker was already doing it full-time and having a thriving business.”


Flagship event

The listings, which originally appeared on the pages of Lifestyle, spawned the “Best Desserts” series of books, which then led to the birth of the “Best Desserts” events.

San Juan said, “At one lunch, I told Millie (Dizon, of SM) what Vangie had told me that the dessert makers we listed were willing to bring their samples, but we had no venue. Millie offered SM Aura, which was newly opened then. We held it there and were overwhelmed by the huge turnout. As early as then we realized we had a banner event in our hands.”

The bakers included in the book are honored at the event. As host Tessa Prieto-Valdes put it at the Book 4 launch, “You guys are the best of the best.”

SMX Convention Center was transformed into a haven for dessert lovers where rows and rows of the country’s best pastry chefs, hotels, restaurant owners and bakers handed out samples of their sweetest, most decadent creations. There were pies and cakes, cookies and crepes, ice cream, chocolate and more. Some of the chefs had traveled all the way from Antipolo, Pampanga and Cebu to be at the event.

“All these people—purveyors, dessert lovers—coming together to celebrate dessert… It’s such a rare event,” said Miko Aspiras, an award-winning chef whose two desserts, Basque Burnt Cheesecake and 17-Layer Chocolate Cake, are featured in the book.

Inquirer president and CEO Sandy Prieto-Romualdez was there to congratulate the bakers and welcome the massive crowd. “Everything you have here today are worth the calories,” she said. “That’s what I told my friends, too, when I invited them.”


“Best Desserts” emcee Tessa Prieto-Valdes, SMSVP for marketing/communications Millie Dizon, and Inquirer president and CEO Sandy Prieto-Romualdez


Great energy

There was great energy at the launch, with people trying as many desserts as they could and cheering for the bakers onstage. It felt like a big, sugary party.

Gay Vazquez, whose Mud Pie and Canonigo are featured in the book, said, “Everyone is here, my friends, my cousins, all my relatives are here. Some of them went on leave just to come here.”

The crowd was a sea of dessert lovers. Chefs and bakers mingled with fans of their creations. There were people of all ages, including a lot of kids. Clearly, this country’s love for dessert knows no bounds.

“You guys are proof that Filipinos aren’t just great musicians and singers but chefs and bakers, too,” Prieto-Valdes said.

“As a dessert lover, I usually refer to Inquirer Lifestyle’s ‘Best Desserts’ list in search of the best cake, cookies, etc. Guess what, this year, we made it to their list! What an honor!” wrote The Blue Toque’s Mary Anne Ramos, whose Belgian Melt-In-Your-Mouth Chocolate Cake is in the book.

Dedet de la Fuente of Pepita’s Kitchen is a Best Desserts regular. She said, “I have clients sending me e-mails from abroad saying they heard about me through the book. It reaches so many people. Whenever I bring my degustacion and my lechon abroad, I always bring one or two of my desserts and I tell them that they’re included in the ‘Best Desserts’ lists of the Inquirer.”


Kathrine Marie Paguntalan (Marie Bakery and Café), Dorothy MJ Ferreria, Ginny Roces de Guzman (TildeHand Craft Café), Froi Cruz (Cioccolo Bistro), Miko Aspiras (Le Petit Soufflé and Workshop), Gigi Rodriguez-Gaerlan (Gigi Gaerlan Homemade Desserts), Geraldine Diaz and Rezalyn Perez (Dean & Deluca), Emilio Esguerra (Mom and Tina’s Bakery and Café), Arie Cuerva Kidder (Cuerva
Bakeshop), PDI president and CEO Sandy Prieto-Romualdez and Super editor Pam Pastor

Huge hit

Dedet’s Biko Langka with Biko Tutong is in “Best Desserts 4.” Her booth was once again a huge hit, with people lining up not just for her desserts but also her famous truffle lechon. “The people are so excited. They want my lechon, my dessert and they love my setup, which I really appreciate,” she said.

Holiday Inn & Suites’ setup included not just its “Best Desserts” Ube Cheesecake and Crepe Samurai, but also its new Lemon Rosemary Cake and a spread of pralines.

“When you bite into it, it’s what the Philippines is all about. That’s what we tell our guests and they agree,” said Bess Howe about the hotel’s Crepe Samurai.

For the bakers, the event is a chance to share not just their creations but also the secrets behind them.

“It’s a family recipe,” Arc and Vine Café’s Angela Zamora said about Ooey Gooey, their featured dessert.

“We bake our leche flan for six hours,” said Yvette Hipolito of Joconde Cakes and Pastries. Their Chocolate Decadence Cake is also on the list.

Hipolito said she enjoys the “Best Desserts” events because “we get to meet a lot of people. And we get to see our former students who are also now part of the list.”

Added Cafe Nenzo’s Ann Regoso-Abacan, a dietitian-baker whose Low-Calorie Banana Langka Cheesecake is featured in the book: “I enjoyed the event a lot. There was a flood of very good desserts and I was happy to see my idols in baking.”

The event was open to the public and people paid just P100 to get in. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to Gota De Leche, a foundation that provides nutritional and medical needs to marginalized children and breastfeeding mothers.

“This is the second year that we have been the beneficiary of ‘Best Desserts.’ Kumain po kayong mabuti at isipin niyo na habang kumakain kayo ay nakakatulong din kayo,” Amaryllis Torres, the foundation’s newly elected president, told the crowd.

“It’s great to see the development and progress of the dessert scene. Everyone’s super competitive and we all benefit from that. People are really stepping it up,” Aspiras said.

Dizon, SM’s senior vice president for marketing and communications, also expressed elation at the turnout. “Thank you to Inquirer Lifestyle for partnering with us… This event gets bigger and bigger each year. It’s wonderful to see this new generation of bakers emerging.”


BessHowe and Michael Sison (Holiday Inn & SuitesMakati), Jackie Ang Po (Fleur de Lys), Portia Dee Baluyut (RusticMornings by Isabelo), PatriciaOca Uy (Purple Spatula), Amador Mendoza and Ariadnne Alsol (Bellevue Manila), Angela Zamora (Arc & Vine Café), Anna Marie Ureta Rodrigo (Dessert Plate), Ana Beatrice Trinidad (Cravings Group of Companies) and Rina Silayan Go (Nic’s Gourmet)


Beatrix and Kimberly Atienza (Bellefleur), Mary Anne Ramos (The Blue Toque), Darmo Guevarra (Marco PoloOrtigas Manila), Paula Enierga (Dulcelin Gourmet), Maricel and husband GJ Jimenez (Banapple), Bea Melendres (Flour Jar), Edmalynne Remillano (Edma Bakes), Christine Baldos (Classic Confections), and Gay Vazquez
“Best Desserts” author Vangie Baga-Reyes; Millie Dizon, SM SVP for marketing and communications; Bettina Carlos and daughter Gummy (Baked Bites by ABC); Margarette Pascual and Patricia Monica Ang (The Pink Butter); Angela Villoria Tolentino (Cinq Dessert Boutique); Yvette Hipolito (Joconde Cakes); Lee Matthew Ramas and Jing Arina (Plantation Bay Resort and Spa Cebu); Merlinda Junio (Makati Diamond Residences); Rosario Dinglasan (for daughter Michelle Dinglasan-Tomacruz’s Cookery Gourmet Catering); Sandie and Enzo Squillantini (Romulo Café); Felinio Afable (MarriottHotel Manila), Tessa Prieto-Valdes and PDI mascot Guyito


Nicole Uy and mom Diana Ang Uy (What’s Cookin’ Kitchenette), Olive Isidro Cruz (Katey Q’s Cakes), Cay Cuasay (Cupcake Lab), Rommel Gabriel and Jann Delgado (New World Makati Hotel), Grace Tiongson (for Maritel Nievera’s Soi Restaurant), Karen Young (Karen’s Kitchen), Agapita Mercado and son Greggie (Aging’s Food Delight), Kris Alcantara Mendoza (Cipriano) and Joseph de Roxas (Brown Baker Manila)


Mellie Ablaza (for daughter CzarinaAblaza-Syquia),Mary Jane Domingo and Eng Yew Khor (China Blue by Jereme Leung, Conrad Manila), Edylyn Gamboa-Liu (Fog City Creamery), Michael de Jesus (Nobu, City of Dreams), Jason Go (Manila Creamery) and Kyra Relampagos-Dy (Arts of Pie)


Kristine Basilio (Truffles by K), Joyce Buan (Over the Moon Pastries), Dulce Magat-Gibb (À Table), Judy Lao (JuD’s Fruitcakes and Pastries), Pia de Luna- Mercado (What’s For Dessert?), Mats Loo and Yoli Naluz (Kos Greek Ouzeri), Kendrick Tan (Fundador Café), Jun Arizala (BRU Coffee Bar, Conrad Manila) and Erika Pereña (C.O.P. Pill Sweets and Pastries)


Remedios “Ditas” Sevilla (for Pixie Sevilla and Aina Sevilla’s La Brazzoria de Lasevil), Fran Syquia-Villaroman, Oliver F. Isidro (Ollie’s Kitchen), Grace Bautista Hao (Get’sHome of Patisserie), Dr. Rosana Reyes (Snack Box.Ph), Judah Liu and granddaughters (Costa Brava), Enzo Abacan and Ann Abacan (CaféNenzo), Jamie Lao (Paleovore), and Jaq and Jertie Abergas (Jertie’s Kitchen)


Rossana Hwang (Pink Mixer Bakeshop), Yolanda Tiongson (Makati Shangri-La Manila), Gina Arceo (Marco Polo Plaza Cebu), Jay Sotto (for Valerie Sotto of Valerie’s Kitchen), Lilian Serna (Cakes by Lis), Dr. Jun Bormate (Café Juanita), PearlM. de Guzman (Baby Pat Breads and Pastries), Margot Sanchez Pablo (Casa Abuela) and Nicole Acorda (Le Delice Private Catering)


Toto Gonzalez (Pasteleria Mallorca), Gina Villanueva (Gina Vi), Arlette Aranas (Cara Bella), Bess Howe and Michael Sison (Holiday Inn & Suites Makati), Cory Roxas Untalan (Cru Kitchen), Bong Jun Choi (Crystal Dragon, City of Dreams), Eli Calbay (Astoria Plaza Hotel), Dedet de la Fuente (Pepita’s Kitchen) and Hoon Sung (Red Ginger, City of Dreams)
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