Juan Stories: Sorbetero

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How hard is it to paint a smile on someone’s face?

It takes almost the whole day and about two kilometers of walk for Bonifacio Valderrama, more commonly known as “Boning” to his frequent customers. He is a sorbetero, an ice cream vendor, from Pasay who frequents the areas of Pasay Road and Pasong Tamo Extension in Makati to sell his delectable sorbetes.

Mas madali magbenta kasi pag benta, pwede ka magpahinga. Dito, p’wede ka magpahinga pero male-late ka. Dapat 10:30 nakaalis ka na. Tapos maghapon na ‘yon [It’s easier to sell because you can rest while selling. You can take a rest [while making ice cream], but you will be late. You should leave at 10:30, and then it will be until the afternoon already].”

Kuya Boning wakes up at 3 AM to buy fresh ingredients to flavor up his ice cream every day. After going to the market, he lines up at the ice cream factory for his turn in making the ice cream that he is going to sell for the day. From boiling the cassava to turn it to a matling, then boiling the pandan, to mixing it with the condensed milk and sugar, to churning, freezing, adding flavors, and then freezing again, the whole process takes about three hours only. But more than the time, it takes lots of effort to mix it. Like they say, the early bird gets the worm, and the early sorbetero finishes his work early. For 23 years, Kuya Boning has followed this routine with only the weekends as his rest.

Even though selling is easier, it isn’t always problem-free. Pakikisama is one of the things he learned in his years as a sorbetero. Before his routes at Makati, he used to sell along Malibay, Pasay. Sometimes, loiterers ask him to drink with them; he refuses because he still has work to do.  Some though, don’t take a ‘no’ that easily, so he takes a shot and offers them free ice cream. That way he promotes good will to everyone.

Pangmatagalan (for a long term) is how he describes his work. He is able to send all his children to school with what he gets from his sales. “Kakayanin mo kahit hindi na kaya ng katawan mo. Halimbawa ‘yung anak mo hindi kaya pakainin. S’yempre mag-iisip-isip ako wala naman tayong ibang pagkakakitaan, basta kaya mabuhay ang isang pamilya [You will work hard even when you are already tired. For example, you can’t feed your family. So, I thought of how I could earn money to raise a family.].”

Marami kang makilala, kaya nawawala ‘yung pagod ko [You will meet a lot of people and it makes me forget that I’m tired],” he said.

He has met a lot of different people from his walks. Some of them are already his regular customers. According to them, Kuya Boning’s ice cream is really the best. It has real flavors as he uses real fruits in his recipe. His generosity is also one of the reasons people buy from him often. Some even invite him to their offices’ Christmas parties and to other occasions.

And for this coming Christmas season, Kuya Boning has a very simple wish: “magkasama-sama kaming mga anak ko tsaka makapamasyal…maglalakad-lakad, magkukwentuhan [go somewhere with my family…just to walk around and talk about things].”

This kind-hearted man only hopes to bring joy to his family and to other people and he works hard for it every day. So the next time you buy something from a street peddler, don’t forget to smile and say thank you. It’s worth more than what you pay them.

Let’s help Kuya Boning with his dreams to put a smile in everyone’s faces, catch him at his usual spots: near EastWest Bank along Pasong Tamo Extension from 12 NN to 3 PM and in front of Dacon Building from 3 PM to 5 PM, and get a taste of that sweet and tasty ice cream. You may also extend a hand by inviting him in your Christmas parties, call him at 0919-854-0311 or 0997-928-5767.

Researchers: Dianara Angeles & Raezel Peñalosa
Videographer/ Editor: Shayne Castro

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