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    Posted April 28, 2008 by
    Manila, Philippines
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    More expensive to eat

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    Street price of Manila's ice cream remains at a cool Php10 a cone


    Since the very first ice cream parlor in the Philippines, Clark's Cafe, opened and created a commotion in Manila's Plaza Moraga way back in 1899, many locally-produced ice cream flavors, as well as imported American and European concoctions, manage to continually dazzle and entice local consumers into such sweet indulgence.


    However, despite all these wonderful selections, what stands out to be the most popular to this day, is the pushcart-peddled "dirty ice cream." 


    Not as creamy as compared to its costly counterparts, but its light texture with flavors derived from local fruits, legumes and nuts remain to be a favorite by the Filipino masses.


    The "dirty ice cream" started to be commonly called as such not because it is actually dirty. 


    Legend has it that many years ago a major local ice cream producer wanted to dominate the local ice cream market.  One of the things it did was to launch a smear campaign against this popular homemade ice cream by pointing out its process as unsanitary.


    Ironically, although the misnomer "dirty ice cream" stuck to the locals' consciousness and has eventually become this product's generic name, it remains to be a best-seller, especially during the hot and humid summer months.


    Nevertheless, what I find astonishing is that the price of "dirty ice cream" remains at a cool ten pesos per cone despite the recent price increase of many basic consumer goods and foodstuffs, including the ingredients necessary for making ice cream. 


    I was curious how the sorbeteros (ice cream peddlers) are able to keep selling them at its usual price. So the other day, as I enjoyed a cone of this homemade "dirty ice cream," I posed my query to a sorbetero, Danilo Demin (first photo).


    Demin hailed from the province of Iloilo and worked in construction since migrating to Manila. However, with age catching up on him, two years ago he decided to switch to a less strenuous line of work -- as a peddler of "dirty ice cream" in the streets of Manila's Malate district.


    Every working day, Demin wakes up at a little past midnight to head on over to the public market to buy the ingredients of the ice cream flavors that he will make and sell that day.


    However, the sugar, milk, cones and ice he must purchase from the ice cream factory where he is alloted the space that he needs to making the ice cream himself. The pushcart that he uses for peddling is rented from the same factory at 30 pesos a day. 


    Certainly, the ice cream factory's prices that Demin has to pay for such items are much higher than those found at the public market, but the steep markup is how the factory generally makes its money.


    Demin's daily capital amounts to about Php1,600. However, on a good day, he could pocket a net profit of up to a thousand pesos. He claims that during the dry and hot summer season, he averages about Php20,000 a month income.


    All this without having to raise his selling price; doing so might only discourage his regular customers from continuing to buy his ice cream.  Hence, one can only imagine how much more money Demin used to take home before the widespread price increases.


    A taxi driver, Cris Ilagan, on his afternoon break and enjoying a cone of dirty ice cream as he listened to our conversation, couldn't help but chime in, "You make out better than us taxi drivers!"


    Be that as it may, we'll leave Cris' story for another day. For now, please enjoy the other photos from my "dirty ice cream sorbetero collection."


    Have a cool day everyone!

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