Keep cool and carry on: 5 local ice-cream brands to enjoy in Metro Manila

Steph Arnaldo
Keep cool and carry on: 5 local ice-cream brands to enjoy in Metro Manila
Can't take the heat? Enjoy any of these 5 locally-owned artisanal ice cream brands and their new summer flavors! Which one's your fave?

Is the heat making you scream for ice cream? 

Literally and figuratively, don’t sweat it – because some of the best local artisanal ice cream brands are giving it their all this summer, and we’re totally here for all the fun, fresh flavors this season.

Old-time faves and relatively new contenders such as Papa Diddi’s, Merry Moo, Ambassador’s Vegan Ice Cream (yup, vegan!), Sebastian’s, and Carmen’s Best have geared up for the sweltering heat, offering brand-new and well-loved flavors fit for a variety of sweet tooths and tastebuds. 

Which one are you looking forward to try? 

Papa Diddi’s

The country’s resident neighborhood sorbetero is back! 

Beating the heat with new summer flavors is Papa Diddi’s, the artisanal, hand-crafted ice cream maker helmed by chief sorbetero Paul Perez.

FAMILY-OWNED. The late Papa Diddi's son Paul Perez now owns the brand's chief sorbetero title. Photo courtesy of Papa Diddi's

Best known for their Filipino-inspired flavors, Papa Diddi’s recreates authentic Pinoy sorbetes in every pint and is proudly 100% local, using only native ingredients and ethically-sourced carabao milk from local farmers. 

A few flavor examples are their bestselling Roasted Forbidden Rice (an ode to the crunchy, burnt tutong), Davao Meets Bicol (featuring rich Davao cacao and Bicol sili), Mango Ginger, and their Tres Leches. 

But what’s in store for the summer? Papa Diddi’s new flavor line was inspired by the beautiful Philippine provinces Paul’s family traveled to over the summer, paying homage to the home-grown ingredients of each one.

You’ll diddi-fintely love ’em!

Roselle’s Embrace

Photo courtesy of Papa Diddi's

Grown in Negros, the roselle, a delicate hibiscus flower, is mostly used for tea, but this time, was used by Paul to make a sweet and slightly fragrant ice cream treat, with a kick of savory thanks to its classic queso ice cream base and real cheddar cheese bits.

Squash Blooms

Photo courtesy of Papa Diddi's

Squash-flavored ice cream? Don’t panic! The local gulay staple kalabasa shines in this dessert, making it a wild card worth trying. Squash’s naturally sweet, creamy flesh is roasted until moist, accentuated with cinammon, and tastes just like a warm, comforting hug.


Photo courtesy of Papa Diddi's

Of course, what’s summer without some mango? A tropical favorite, this sweet, refreshing fruit befriends the equally yummy guava to create a sweet-tart ice cream fusion that both ice cream and fruit lovers will love.

Roasted Strawberry with Tarragon

Photo courtesy of Papa Diddi's

Exclusive to Papa Diddi’s subscribers, this pays tribute to Baguio’s pride and joy – their strawberries. Each berry is roasted to sweet perfection, while the tarragon herbs add a fresh, light finish after every scoop.

Customers can order via pint or dine-in scoop. Dine-in customers can enjoy their ice cream paired with Papa Diddi’s special in-house treats, like their rice krispies cones, bowls, oatmeal or choco chip cookies.

Merry Moo

Local artisanal ice creamery Merry Moo has been churning out fresh, premium ice cream for 8 years now, and thankfully, shows no signs of stopping just yet. 


Much to the udder delight of mall strollers and grocery shoppers, Merry Moo offers ice cream that is smooth and creamy in texture, with fun, interesting flavors that are sourced from natural ingredients.

PHYSICAL STORE. Sundays by Merry Moo can be found in The Podium's food court. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Fresh as can be, Merry Moo’s ice cream is homemade in small batches by chief ice cream officer Kelvin Ngo, and uses only non-Ultra Heat Treated dairy, which is sourced directly from free-range Laguna cows, giving the milk and cream their pure flavor.

Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

What are their moo-st try flavors for the summer?


Photo courtesy of Merry Moo

Banana pudding fans and banana bread lovers will go bananas over Merry Moo’s new Bananarama flavor, which tastes very similar to their favorite sweet treat.

Vanilla ice cream is hand-mixed with oven-roasted Cavendish bananas, banana bread, and chocolate chip cookies. 

Spanish Bread

Photo courtesy of Merry Moo

The soft and sweet Spanish bread has snuck out of the bakery and is now bathing in yummy vanilla Merry Moo ice cream, making this a chewy ice cream delight.

Not only are there bite-sized chunks of spanish bread mixed into the ice cream, but its milk is also infused with the pastry prior to mixing, giving its smooth, authentic taste. 


Photo courtesy of Merry Moo

Donut underestimate this flavor! Served with real doughnuts and colorful sprinkles, this ice cream flavor is a playful delight both for the eyes and the tastebuds.

Ambassador’s Ice Cream

Did anyone say “vegan ice cream?” Not yet? You’re about to.


The “healthy” ice cream movement has only just vegan, and Ambassador’s Ice Cream is helping to pioneer the cause.

STORES. Ambassador's Ice Cream can be found in Rustans Makati and SM Megamall. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Their artisanal ice cream flavors are plant-based (no eggs, dairy, cream, and butter) and lactose-free, ingeniously using only coconut milk, cashew milk, pili nut milk, and vegan peanut butter, and is sweetened by diabetic-friendly coco sugar. Their toppings are also all vegan!

Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Mango Biscoff

Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Awarded 2nd runner-up by PETA Philippines as “Manila’s best vegan dessert,” Mango Biscoff’s coconut milk-based ice cream is made with real mangoes and topped with Biscoff cookies for that distinct Speculoos crunch and taste.

Blueberry Cheesecake

Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

This magical “no-cheese cheesecake” impresses even non-vegans, thanks to its cashew nut milk ice cream base, made with natural blueberries and vegan graham cracker bits. 

Tsokolate Tablea

Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Chocoholics, brace yourselves – this tablea treat is so rich, you won’t believe it’s guilt-free. 

Cashew nut milk and roasted fresh cacao nibs make this ice cream taste just like a comforting cup of warm tablea, freshly-made and then frozen to creamy perfection.

Sebastian’s Ice Cream

Since 2005, Sebastian’s Ice Cream has been key in pioneering the crazy-creative world of local ice cream.

For more than a decade, the artisanal king of reinvention continues to surprise fans with unique ice cream flavors in fresh, new forms, especially during the summer time.

Mangga + Bagoong

Photo courtesy of Sebastian's Ice Cream

A wild card flavor some might flinch at but others may salivate for, Sebastian’s tart Mangga + Bagoong flavor is basically sour green mango sorbet with warm, salty bagoong on top. Weird? Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!

Summer fruitsicles

Photo courtesy of Sebastian's Ice Cream

On-the-go frozen sorbet? Sorb-yay! Made with real fruit, cane sugar, and filtered water, Sebastian’s Sorbet Bars are not only healthy and refreshing – they’re also dairy-free and vegan-friendly.

Photo courtesy of Sebastian's Ice Cream

Other fruity flavors include mango, strawberry, mango passionfruit, mixed berry hibiscus, baked apple pie, and peach mango pie. 

Sweet Corn Chilly Burger

An ice cream burger? Why not.

Photo courtesy of Sebastian's Ice Cream

The Sweet Corn Chilly Burger features sweet corn ice cream, sandwiched by two homemade corn cookies. 

Carmen’s Best

Photo courtesy of Carmen's Best

We also want to thank Carmen (or rather, her father) for being one of the best, as some local ice cream fans would say.

Since 2009, award-winning Carmen’s Best has been delivering premium quality ice cream, using only farm-fresh Holly’s Milk and the freshest ingredients to produce complex, well-loved flavors.

CAFE. The new Carmen's Best ice cream parlor can be found in Powerplant Mall. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Aside from Cereal Milk, Butter Pecan, Brazilian Coffee, Salted Caramel, and many more, what else are Carmen’s best among the rest?

Malted Milk

Photo courtesy of Carmen's Best

Although Malted Milk isn’t a new flavor, this pint remains among the top 4 bestsellers, especially during the summer. It features a creamy vanilla base mixed with Horlicks and Maltesers chocolate balls, giving it its crunchy, chocolatey charm.

Titas of Manila sundae

Photo courtesy of Carmen's Best

No, this sundae isn’t just exclusive to the titas of manila – but it sure is a favorite of theirs to share! 

Available at Carmen’s Best cafe in Powerplant Mall, this best-selling sundae stars homemade cheese ice cream, topped with orange caramel sauce, dried figs, almond brittle, and whipped cream. 

Birthday Cake

What better way to celebrate a special occasion than with a birthday cake? 

Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Carmen’s take on the party staple incorporates colorful sprinkles to the ice cream’s pastry-like taste, making it a kid-friendly treat, birthday or no birthday. – Rappler.com 

Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.