Cebu coolers

Where to have iced desserts in Cebu

It’s the height of summer and the heat and humidity is just so oppressive you wish you’re off to some airconditioned hotel room. No, not the beach. Or cooling off with a nice bowl of halo-halo with lots of toppings and a double scoop of ice cream.

Thirty years ago here in Cebu, me and my sister together with my mother, we used to look forward to having halo-halo and hot egg sandwiches at White Clouds along Colon St. But that is long gone. Over the years, there have been other ice cream parlors which have come and gone.

Today, not only are there national fastfood chains like Chowking and Razon’s offering these iced desserts but the local food scene is flourishing. These homegrown and local (Cebu and Davao based) ice cream, halo-halo and dessert parlors (well, except for one, check below and see why it’s included) will surely sate that cool craving!

Ice Castle's halo halo is comfort food

Ice Castle’s halo halo is comfort food

Ice Castle Halo-halo and Ice Cream House

Ice Castle! This is definitely very familiar with many Cebuanos!

I usually visit the Raintree Mall branch in Ramos St. whenever I’m in Cebu and I feel like having some cool desserts, usually during hot afternoons. I like the variety of ingredients that goes into one serving of their special halo-halo with one or two scoops ice cream. It’s quite colorful too.

They also have parfaits, shakes, banana splits and sundaes and offer meals and sandwiches too. Summer months and those in mall branches can get crowded, although consistency might be a problem as I happened to dine at their Parkmall branch and find the halo-halo mushy.

Four branches:

Raintree Mall
F. Ramos St.,
Cebu City, Cebu
+63 32 253 5447

Level 3
Ayala Center Cebu
Cebu Business Park
Cebu City, Cebu
+63 32 415 8060

Lower Ground
SM City Cebu
North Reclamation Area
Mabolo Proper, Cebu City, Cebu
+63 32 232 0694

ALF 2 – 19
Parkmall
Ouano Avenue
Cebu City, Cebu
+63 32 236 9131

One of Butterbean Desserts and Cafe's Snowy Dessert

One of Butterbean Desserts and Cafe’s Snowy Dessert

Butterbean Desserts and Cafe

Butterbean is not exactly a new comer as they started, and still have the small kiosk at Ayala Center that usually offers cookies. The stand alone branch offers much more but not the typical halo-halo place. Instead, they have what they call snow desserts, well shaved ice topped with a scoop of ice cream and added with different ingredients, depending on the type.

Their most popular product is the ice cream bar that you can jazz up like adding different kinds of sugary sprinkles, dips, and chocolate sauces. There are also meals and pasta to sandwiches and various cakes and pastries.

READ MORE: How to beat the summer heat in Butterbean

Everest's homemade ice cream, left and halo-halo, right

Everest’s homemade ice cream, left and halo-halo, right

Evereset Ice Cream Haus

This was suggested by my cousin Rex and newly opened at the South Coast Center in Talisay City. Everest is known for its ‘dirty’ ice cream and they do have lots of interesting flavors of which I really love the durian and blueberry. The halo-halo is just okay and not very sweet. Do try the meat roll as it’s really good too.

South Coast Center
Linao, Talisay City, Cebu
+63 32 2730534 / +63 32 5116787 / +63 922 8416451
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Everest-ice-cream-haus/627841830605088?fref=ts

Frozen's red velvet ice cream cake and exotic durian

Frozen’s red velvet ice cream cake and exotic durian

Frozen's Chocolate Supreme Whopper

Frozen’s Chocolate Supreme Whopper good for a crowd

Frozen Snack Bar

Opened by a group of friends from Davao City, Frozen’s various offerings range from parfaits to ice blended coffee based drinks, shakes to halo-halo, to gigantic versions they call whoppers. No, not the Burger King kind but still iced desserts enough to feed a crowd. Although I find their menu offering so much items like sandwiches, fried chicken, pasta, and a whole lot, I do love their ice cream cakes, especially the red velvet.

I tried their exotic durian which is good with lots of real fruit (pureed) and not overly sweet. The space is quite small although there’s a smaller space at the second floor. Those familiar with Ice Giants, another Davao City import might see similarities in the products offered.

Century Plaza Complex
Juana Osmena St.,
Cebu City
+63 943 6135919/+63 32 2540107
https://www.facebook.com/FrozenSnackbar

Ice Giant's Berry Best

Ice Giant’s Berry Best

Ice Giants Desserts and Snacks

I first got a taste of their Durian Delight when I visited Davao City a year ago and it was really good. Better than the one from Frozen. But when I did visit the The Strip branch, I ordered their Berry Best which they said is one of their best seller. Was disappointed however because of the mushy taste of the strawberry but the finely shaved ice was something.

One of their popular items is the Giant Concoction which is a humongous three kilo killer dessert good for 8-10 people! During a hot afternoon, you might have to wait for a free table or dine outside as there are just so many people.

The Strip
Osmeña Boulevard
6000 Cebu City
+63 928 7249631

City Time’s Square
Mandaue City

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ice-Giants-Desserts-and-Snacks/262194505852

Melton's Halo Halo has colored slices of bananas

Melton’s Halo Halo has colored slices of bananas

Melton’s Halo Halo

I knew about Melton’s through word of mouth and people usually refer to it as that halo-halo place in Pardo. Problem is, there are actually two, the other is Araw-Araw Halo Halo and just several meters apart at the same street. Although many point out that this is the original. The first time I had one, I got curious about the red ingredient and the lady told me its colored banana. The ice is shaved fine.

The two competitors in Pardo are both al fresco but well ventilated.

52 I Tabora St
Poblacion Pardo
Cebu City
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Meltons-halo-halo/118528681514556?fref=ts

Araw-araw Halo Halo in Pardo

Araw-araw Halo Halo in Pardo

Araw-araw Halo Halo

Some prefer Melton’s while others prefer Araw-araw’s, a direct competitor. There’s almost nothing different except perhaps Araw-araw’s doesn’t have the colored banana. But still good and budget friendly with the ice finely shaved. Cheap pizza and sandwiches also available.

44 – I. Tabora St.
Poblacion, Pardo
Cebu City
+63 32 5142733
https://twitter.com/ArawHaloHalo
https://www.facebook.com/ArawArawHaloHalo

Chop Chop Food Centre's iced kacang

Chop Chop Food Centre’s iced kacang

Left, iced milo; right, chendol (mung bean and coconut milk pandan dessert drink)

Chop Chop Food Centre

Although this is not an exclusive dessert bar as this is a Singapore hawker style restaurant that serves good Singaporean food, the ice kacang deserves special mention. Unlike the typical halo-halo, it’s sweetened mung bean, sweet corn and grass jelly snow cone in rose pandan syrup.

The ice kacang (or kachang) is a good alternative if you want to cool off other than having what you usually find in Cebu. The chendol is also a must try.

READ MORE: Finally, Singapore hawker style food in Cebu! And its really good!

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.