Thursday, April 19, 2012

Halo- halo De Iloko - More Than Just Your "Halo- halo"...

One of the most memorable places that I frequently visit years back is this one cool place called “Halo- halo De Iloko”. It was located at the heart of the town of San Fernando, La Union a few walks away from St. William’s Cathedral. I can still remember its ambiance the first time I visited way back in 2005, when it was barely a year old. It was a small place but I enjoyed my stay with my co- clinical instructor friends, the interior design was exotic as compared to other restaurants in the city, very original and cozy and the halo- halo had a distinct taste that I wanted to visit the place as often as I could just to have a taste of it.  

Old location of Halo- halo De Iloko
Years have passed since then, and now, I got another chance to visit the place. They are now at their new location at 12 Zandueta St. San Fernando, La Union - which is still at the heart of the city a few walks from St. William’s Cathedral. The interior design was way better than what was once, it has more than just an exotic effect; it has a more homey touch. The temperature soared high that day, so I decided to order their halo- halo. I was excited, and I ordered just the original and regular halo- halo since I knew from the start how good it tasted. The friendly waitress asked me if I would add up some ice cream, and I said no. Laughing out loud inside, I knew I would feel very satisfied with the halo- halo they call “regular” at their menu list… yet it is so “special” in my mind… lol!

By the way, this day was also very special for me and my husband since I have asked for a scheduled interview with any of the “Halo- halo De Iloko” admin staff and I was so lucky enough to be given the chance for it.Well... I felt lucky when they said "yes" but I felt so blessed the time I was informed by miss Chrisme (one of the restaurant's personnel) that I will be given the chance to interview Mr. Xavier B. Mercado! Yes- the same Xavier Mercado who manage and owns the place! Isn't that lovely?! He was just like any other gentleman who wore clean jeans and t- shirt, a very down to earth person... yet we all know that he had so much to brag about. Why not? This young gentleman who is able to maintain a happy and healthy family with a very lovely wife and adorable two kids is also able to manage one (if not the best) of the best performing establishments in Region 1. A graduate of A. B Mass Communications major in Journalism and Broadcasting from the University of Cordilleras, who also finished his Master of Arts in Mass Communications. He had the chance to be employed by ABS- CBN as he took up some units in Teaching and who once dreamed of interviewing popular people from the entertainment and business industries.

Sir Xavier said, the "Halo- halo De Iloko" had humble beginnings. His dad and mom were so nervous as he decided to put up a business since their family line did not have any experience putting up a business of their own. He said that only his late grand mom was engaged in business who was into selling "banig", vegetables and eventually tobaccos. He used to accompany his grandma at the public market to sell her goods until he had to stay in Baguio City to study. As he opened up his business, he had to make out of what he had, so he decided to borrow old furniture from his parents and some money from his friends. Way back in 2004, they only opened from 3pm to 7pm and earned Php1, 999 per day! Hey, that's good earning heh! =)
New location of Halo- halo De Iloko at 12 Zandueta St., San Fernando City La union

As of the moment, we all know that "Halo- halo De Iloko" is doing great. All recipes on its menu list is a product of the owner and his family's love for food. They serve all original menus that was taste tested by his loving wife and other family members who are all food lovers. The "OKOY TIKYOSKO" is derived from the original name of a Filipino delicacy which is made of squash, carrots, malunggay, shrimp and sprouted monggo but with a twist of an all original home made longganisa especially prepared by sir Xavier's mom that is why "tikyo" which is the nickname of sir Xavier is added to the recipe's name. All longganisa and longganisa tidbits are home made by sir Xavier's mom and all recipes are originally formulated by him and his loving wife. Oh, I just love their "EMPAREDADOS" which also has longganisa tidbits filling... and of course I could never stop dreaming of their "regular" halo- halo.

"Okoy Tikyosko" served with "Sumayet Vinegar" ( Image courtesy of sir Xavier B. Mercado)

I love their "Emparedados"

Their regular Halo- halo is so distinctively different, I don't need an ice cream to satisfy my taste buds!
The interior design of this place was conceptualized, planned and implemented by sir Xavier, it is of the ethnic kind, full of antiques with some images of his own family. Their new venue is formerly their family house. This place does not only offer those all original menus, but also the comfort of being at home, where in you can savor the goodness of his family's companionship and the hospitable ambiance provided by his personnel.

Sir Xavier B. Mercado showing us the 2nd floor of Halo- halo De Iloko (Balay Mercado)

 Miss Chrisme with some paintings for the Artshow which started last March 20, 2012 and will culminate on April 22, 2012
Yours truly with Miss Chrisme.
With Sir Xavier B. Mercado, owner and manager of Halo- halo De Iloko
The college graduate who once dreamed of interviewing popular people of all walks of industries is now the owner of La Union's best, which is now visited by well known personalities and people who are looked up to from politicians to celebrities and businessmen. Sir Xavier Mercado is now the one being interviewed by the mass media. 

Last April 18, 2012 (oh, that was yesterday... lol!) marked their 8th. year of serving their all authentic and original menus, with the loving sparks of their own family's hospitality. One thing I noticed that is really authentic which I only had the chance to enjoy at Halo- halo De Iloko is their very "family- like" way of mingling with their various clients. They are able to treat everyone who walks in their place they call "Balay" like a member of their family. And yes! I would love to call it my "Balay" too! Happy 8 years of being our second home, HALO- HALO DE ILOKO! We wish you hundred more years to spend with food lovers like us! And hey, I love food even more especially if it comes from Halo- halo De Iloko! Magpasarap na po tayo at La Union's FINEST! Cheers! 
Hey! I can't help but share this "KALAMIAS JUICE" - a combination of Kamias and Kalamnsi juice, served with pure honey from Bacnotan La Union and "Pulitipot" (caramelized sugar from pure sugar cane). This was served to us during our visit at Halo- halo De Iloko. The "KALAMIAS JUICE" WILL BE INTRODUCED TO THEIR CLIENTS SOME TIME IN MAY 2012. Don't forget to try it as soon as it is available, take my word for it, it is very delicious and really refreshing! Aside from that, you get all of nature's natural benefits of honey and Vitamin C!
I will be releasing even more updates on HALO- HALO DE ILOKO'S 8TH. ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION during the day, so watch for it. Mapan tayo apo, pumasyar idiay Balay Mercado! (Let us visit the home of the Mercados!)

(Image courtesy of Sir Xavier B. Mercado)

Visit HALO- HALO DE ILOKO now at 12 Zandueta St, San Fernando City La union or call them at (072) 700- 2030/ +63919- 388- 3145/ +63917- 852- 7919. 

Special thanks to SIR XAVIER MERCADO and to his personnel, especially to Miss Chrisme for the warm welcome. Happy Anniversary, HALO- HALO DE ILOKO!

*Copyright by Jen Magante, 2012 ( All images are credited to Jen Magante unless credited otherwise)