From Luneta (ice cream)…with Love

2015 July

by Rey P. Beltran |

Few people remember that Rizal Park was once named Luneta, the default go-to place for families, friends, and of course, lovers. It’s also a place where you don’t have to think how much money you’ve got as long as you have company.

Luneta being a popular public park and highly accessible to all, was a watering hole for people from all walks of life. And when there are people gathering, strolling around the park, will food be far away? Home to snack kiosks offering the usual fare of hotdogs and hamburgers, spaghetti, and soft drinks, Luneta is also a place for more than a handful of ambulant vendors selling cotton candy, peanuts, popcorn and… ice cream.

Yep, there’s a Luneta Ice Cream and it’s a delightful treat for all Filipinos leaving in some parts of Europe, specifically, The Netherlands. The fun-sounding names Luneta Ice Cream has for its flavors will make you long for the Philippines as they sound soooo Pinoy! Sample these frozen delights:

Buco Pandan- Buco Panday
Halo-halo- Haler-Haler
Mango- Go Mango Go!
Rocky Road- Rocky Streets
Ube Macapuno- Oh Baby Macapuno
Pink Guava- Mamink-mink
Maja Blanca – Coco Corny
Calamansi – Nagmamaasim

These flavors are available in 140 cc, 500 cc, 1 liter and 2.5 liters.

But enough of the ice cream and let’s go to the geniuses behind Luneta Ice Cream: the husband-and-wife tandem of Rhea Topacio and Dennis Rogacion. The author had the opportunity to touch base with Rhea and learned gallons of info worth sharing to you who are wondering who’s behind Luneta Ice Cream.

FFA: How long have you been in the business?

Rhea: With the ice cream business, we officially started February14, 2015, after a couple of months of studying our own recipe. Our company, Dea Enterprise, started with chocolates ( five years ago then ventured on designer cupcakes (

FFA: How did you start the business?

Rhea: It was an accidental effort. We just wanted to ex port ice cream machines supposedly to the Philippines, but after trying out the machine, we decided to make ice creams here (The Netherlands) with Filipino flavors instead.

FFA: If you’re not in this business, what might have you been doing instead?

Rhea: Most probably, my husband will continue working and I will continue with my freelance jobs (balikbayan box agent, advertising manager (thefilipinoexpatmagazine), graphic designer, marketing) while pushing our cupcakes and chocolates business, and making new products to offer. We love making new products, our creativity and passion are utilized.

FFA: Why didn’t you pursue that other possibility?

Rhea: Getting a job here currently is quite difficult, taking into consideration the status of the economy. My husband lost his job recently and so have other people in the work force. The competition to get a job is quite high. We have our own company that we can maximize to earn enough for our monthly household expenses, so we might as well try pursuing it. We have been present already for quite some time, so we thought maybe it is high time to change gears to a manageable capacity. Our idea gained more push from the fact that my husband has been here in The Netherlands for more than two decades, and I’ve been here for five years. There are certain Filipino foods that we miss that are not available here. Filipino ice cream is one of the most hard-to-find foods here.

We know that our fellow Filipinos here do miss it, too. So instead of importing it which would entail more cost for them, we decided to make it ourselves.

FFA: Do you serve your ice cream at home, to family and friends? What do they say?

Rhea: Of course we do. Our immediate families and close friends are our product testers and, yes, they like them very much. They have their own favorites. They are our support group in selling, events, and promotion, as well. The name (Luneta) was the idea of our friend Walter Labajo, and the logo was designed by another friend from Singapore, Allan Osido. I’d say, Luneta Ice Cream is a product of love and support by our families and friends all over the world.

FFA: What’s your special ice cream?

Rhea: Our best seller is ube macapuno and buco pandan. For non-Filipinos, they love halo-halo and Philippine mango. Chocolate lovers love our rocky road, of course. Recent favorite is the pink guava. But we take pride that our ice creams are all special. We made them ourselves from our own tiny kitchen.

FFA: What’s your favorite local ice cream? How about foreign ice cream?

Rhea: Personally, the old Selecta super chocolate. After that, dirty ice cream. No favorite foreign ice cream. My husband, on the other hand, loves Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge.

FFA: Any plans of further expanding?

Rhea: Yes, of course, slowly but surely. We are focusing now in saturating The Netherlands market. It’s a matter of supply and demand balance.

FFA: Where do you get your ice cream or dessert fix? What’s your recommended place for a good dessert place?

Rhea: Well, we do make a lot of sweets, and a lot of our friends make a lot of pastries as well, so having a favorite place to eat dessert is not on our list.

FFA: Thus far, what’s the most valuable lesson you can impart to our readers?

Rhea: Love and passion in what you do. Maintain, and eventually develop, your unique selling proposition. Have a realizable vision. Empathize with your customers—bring them happiness, not just a product. Plan with a balanced, idealistic but realistic mind. Think outside the box. Deliver beyond what is expected. Life lessons talaga ito, ever since.

Fast Break Questions

  1. Artificial sweeteners or white sugar? White.
  2. Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate.
  3. Magnolia or Selecta? Selecta
  4. Coffee or Juice? Coffee
  5. If you are an ice cream, what flavor are you? Why? Luneta Ice Cream Rocky Road. Real chocolate, not powder. With lots of adventure while having it.

That’s it, folks! We here at Food Finds Asia had a fun time with Luneta Ice Cream’s Rhea Topacio-Rogacion. Now, if we can only get that ice cream here in the Philippines!

Luneta Ice Cream is distributed in The Netherlands. Visit, , like them in facebook: lunetaicecream, and follow them on instagram: lunetaicecream


From Luneta (Ice Cream)… with Love, Part 1

From Luneta (Ice Cream)… with Love, Part 2


Luneta Ice Cream: The Sweet Taste of Home

2015 May


For many Filipinos, Rizal Park is not only a historical park located in the heart of Manila. Commonly known as Luneta, Rizal Park has become an integral part of the Filipino society through the years, almost synonymous to family days and weekends out.

Summers spent in Luneta conjure up images of sweltering heat made bearable by the cool breeze from the Manila Bay, of colourful balloons in different shapes and sizes sold by vendors along the Rizal monument, Sunday picnics at the Japanese garden, children gathered around the cart of Mamang Sorbetero waiting for their crispy cone of sorbetes and ice cream on a bun, or eating barbecue and hotdogs from the stalls along the Quirino Grand Stand while watching the sunset of Manila Bay.

The memories of summers in the Philippines inspired the couple Dennis Rogacion and Rhea Topacio of Dea Chocolates to come up with a line of artisanal ice cream they lovingly named after Luneta. With flavours such as ube macapuno, halo-halo, mango and buko pandan, Luneta ice cream not only whets your appetite but also reminds of the beautiful time of growing up in the Philippines.

“We want to offer everyone, Filipinos and Europeans alike, the kind of food that makes someone feel good. Our products give you that cozy feeling, whether you are having a bad day or enjoying a good time. For our Filipino customers, it gives them a sense of being home, a reminder of how home tastes like,” says Rogacion.




Luneta Ice Cream support LSE Netherlands 2015

2015 March

“Our business model focuses on professionalizing home-based businesses. We are committed to encouraging micro and small entrepreneurs to do business the way global brands do. We provide apt marketing support, promos and quality products to our retailers. We hope that Filipinos abroad will do the same in their choice of passion.”

Luneta Home-made Ice Cream is a product of Dea Enterprise VOF, the same company behind Dea Chocolates and Taartini Designer Cupcakes. It’s a small company showing other Filipinos that when it comes to business, you can start small, and you can start now. “If you combine your passion and goals together, every effort you put into it is worth it,” attest Rhea Topacio and Dennis Rogacion, the dynamic duo behind Luneta Home-made Ice-cream.

“We make all our quality products from our home. Made by us, in our own home,” shares Rhea. “We realized that like a lot of Filipinos abroad, we can’t go home to the Philippines a lot, so why not make the ice cream we miss here instead. The initial flavors are made according to the tastes we grew up with and continue to long for. The ice cream base are all natural (without artificial extenders, stabilizers and emulsifiers).”

“Wow, I missed this,'” is a typical reaction to tasting Luneta ice-cream. “It makes our hearts melt,” admits Rhea. “Knowing that our products bring joy in every scoop, memories of their good old days, smiles that show they feel like they are back home, inspires us a lot to make more flavors for everyone to love. We are also aiming to bring the same feeling to a bigger and more diverse market in the future.”