Women of Negros Island were always known to handle the finances of the family. When difficult times arrive, they are at the vanguard – creating and inspiring others to follow them through crisis after crisis. Now, with the Covid19 pandemic, they’re rolling up their sleeves again and leading with new and innovative businesses.
Fast forward to visionary extraordinaire Mitzi Gamboa Tongoy, who comes up with her Bacolod Q-Sina Eats Facebook page that got my curiosity and made me sample loads of delicious products that were available online. I’ve come up with my favourite list and will share with you those that I approve 100 percent…sort of a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval!
Today, I am featuring a Manileña that has made Negros Island her home. Antoinette Begre Lacson still cuts a glamorous image (she was on my Philippine Tatler list) although she has devoted all her time on life at her husband’s (Jet Lacson) farm.
Fully embracing the hacienda lifestyle, she started by starting the Happy Horse Farms Equestrian Center. Once she got the whiff of the horsey set, she plunged wholeheartedly into making her ranch complete by bringing in dairy cows and producing freshly bottled milk.
I was amazed when I saw her ice cream products on Facebook and was immediately enamored after my initial taste of her premium strawberry ice cream. On my first spoonful, I could taste the really fresh strawberries and remembered how Mamá made me love this Baguio staple by splashing milk on it and just crushing them mildly so one could still chew on the chunks. What made her strawberry ice cream a different experience was the emphasis on the fresh strawberry taste and not on the sugar.
Added to my favorite list is her sellout rum and raisin flavor ice cream. With golden raisins soaked in Negrense top global hit Don Papa Rum added to French custard base, it brings Paris to my table everyday!
Maayo Farms has gone a long way from just producing rich and really creamy fresh milk and yet produces just enough to fill up on demand. Quality stays consistent with milk from happy, pastured cows that are left to graze on organic grass and no hormones or antibiotics are used. Fresh milk is now delivered in two time slots weekly and memories of my first taste of real fresh milk in London fill my senses when I notice those curds sticking up my tongue whenever I drink Maayo Farms’ milk. Coming in at dawn from those wild London disco days, we would open up milk bottles laid on doorsteps and just lap up the cream that topped the fresh milk. Even that no longer exists in today’s London scene.
Antoinette has slowly but surely expanded her dairy products to rich, unctuous Greek yoghurt that goes best with fresh native honey, Bundt cakes that come in rum butter or lemon limoncello flavors. Check out Maayo Farms on Facebook and revel in these authentic made-in-Negros Island dairy products to die for.
My prayer: A woman giving birth has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born, she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:21-22, NIV*