food businesses

Artista by day, baker by night: How Bea Binene juggles her two passions every day

Steph Arnaldo

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Artista by day, baker by night: How Bea Binene juggles her two passions every day

BEA BAKES. Viva Artist Bea Binene helms her own baking business.

Photos courtesy of Bea Binene

How does she do it? Filipina actress Bea Binene shares how she took up Culinary Studies to fulfill her dream of owning her own baking business.

MANILA, Philippines – “I don’t want to sugarcoat it, but it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. It’s challenging. You’ll sometimes feel like you wanna give up. There comes a point where you’ll struggle.”

Working a full-time job is already challenging, but managing your own side business alongside it is another story. Filipina actress Bea Binene is no stranger to juggling hustles and working around-the-clock. Aside from being in show business, Bea is also the owner and chief baker of home-based bakery Bea Bakes. Acting and modeling during the day, and baking at night – this is Bea’s life right now, and as tough and tiring as it is, she swears she wouldn’t change a thing.

From the studio to the kitchen

Bea started in showbiz at six years old in 2004, joining GMA7’s reality competition series Starstruck Kids where she landed in the Final 6. Through the years, she’s modeled for endorsements and print ads, hosted, and acted in various TV series. The Viva Artist’s latest project is an upcoming 2023 adaptation of The Rain in España.

Despite being immersed in showbiz, there was always a desire at the back of Bea’s mind “to have something of her own,” she told Rappler. “I grew up in a very business-minded family. My mom had her own business when she was just 18 years old, so I thought that maybe having my own was always a possibility.”

The idea was planted when a friend of Bea’s from LA would send her home-baked cookies and crinkles to enjoy. But when her friend graduated, she became too busy to do so, so she just gave Bea her recipe and encouraged her to just bake them herself. This was when Bea started baking.

CHEF-IN-TRAINING. Photo courtesy of Bea Binene

“At first, I would only bake them for me and my family whenever we’d crave. I’d also bring some to work as baon, and share them on social media. Friends and supporters started encouraging me to start selling the pastries, and that’s when Bea Bakes was born,” Bea said. She began joining bazaars and selling online, and curated a menu filled with other favorite sweet treats she’d crave for often, like cookies, Nutella crinkles, chocolate cake, and coffee buns.

Eventually, Bea wanted to take her passion for baking to the next level. In 2019, she went back to school to study Professional Culinary and Pastry Arts at the Center for Asian Culinary Studies under Chef Gene Gonzalez. “I decided to take culinary, because I like to study and I love to learn new things. I’ve always been fascinated about food, so pursuing culinary was really worth it. I would love to explore more of it,” Bea said.  


“Joining culinary school taught me so much. Not just the kitchen skills, but literally about life as well. Sabi ko nga, hindi ko kakayanin yun pagod and hirap if hindi ko gusto yun ginagawa ko,” Bea said. (I told myself, I wouldn’t be able to handle the difficulty and fatigue if I didn’t like what I was doing).

Artists by day, baker by night

A day in the life of Bea Binene starts in the early morning, after a night of answering queries on Instagram, tallying orders, and taking inventory. “My day gets busy every dispatch dates since we bake all the pastries on the day of dispatch,” she said. She wakes up early to make the dough for the coffee buns, and while the dough is resting, she bakes the cookies and crinkles. Depending on the number of orders, she begins to book the couriers around 2 or 3 pm.

“We make the cookie dough and the crinkle batter before the dispatch day because for me, it’s better if they’re chilled/rested for some time before baking. I write the order slips, shipping info, and print and cut labels ahead of time too,” Bea said.

A lot of love and attention go into every Bea Bakes pastry (and no preservatives), and I can attest to the quality of Bea’s Coffee Buns, which are fluffy, soft, slightly toasted on the outside, and light and chewy on the inside. This is a personal favorite, as the taste of real coffee is balanced with the buttery filling inside. It’s neither oily nor salty nor too sweet, and Bea said that she worked hard to perfect the bread to coffee topping ratio. Bea Bakes’ coffee buns cost P425 for 8 pieces.

Bea Bakes’ most indulgent offering is the crowd-favorite Tin Can Chocolate Cake (P550), a 6″ tin can of all types of Belgian chocolate. It’s rich, sweet, but hardly nakakaumay, considering that there are five layers of chocolatey goodness and different textures – moist and soft chocolate sponge cake, chocolate pudding, silky chocolate ganache, and a crisp chocolate disc that is meant to be cracked open, dusted with cocoa powder. It’s a chocoholic’s dream! Bea Bakes also offers chewy Nutella Crinkles in boxes of 12 for P450, and Chocolate Chip Cookies at P475 a dozen.

However, deliciousness comes at a price. Bea says that having a food business is more challenging than selling non-food items, as there are so many things to consider: spoilage, shelf life, how to keep them fresh, packaging, shipping, and cost of ingredients, especially since prices of the ingredients are always fluctuating.

PROFESSIONAL BAKER. Photo courtesy of Bea Binene

“Of course, there are also the challenges that come from my work. We don’t have fixed schedules and set work hours,” Bea added, highlighting the unpredictability of the showbiz world. “Maybe this is why Bea Bakes has been operating on and off since I started it in 2015,” she admitted.

“But one of the best things about it is when my customers really appreciate the products. When I have repeat customers, it makes me really happy when they tell us that they love the pastries,” Bea said. Some customers aren’t even aware that she makes them, which makes her “extra kilig, kasi walang bias.” To Bea, customer feedback is gold, and the fulfillment that she gets from her work and culinary are different.

Sa pag-aartista, I’m blessed that I’m able to influence a lot of people, I get to travel, meet lots of people, and be able to go to different places. The support from supporters – whether online or when they go to mall shows – is super fulfilling talaga,” Bea said.

CHEF AT WORK. Photo courtesy of Bea Binene

“Sa culinary naman, pag tinuturo sa amin how to make a dish or a food component. When I eat out and somehow know how to make it. Simple things like pag sinabi ng customer that they loved your food after long hours spent in the kitchen. When people call me ‘chef.’ Those simple things already make me feel kilig and fulfilled. It makes all the challenges worth it.”

Looking forward

As full as Bea’s plate is right now, the entrepreneur still wishes for more work opportunities while she continues Bea Bakes’ operations. Since Bea Bakes only ships to Metro Manila as of now, she is currently exploring options on how to ship to provincial areas.

NEWFOUND PASSION FOR CULINARY. Photo courtesy of Bea Binene

“Our products don’t have preservatives, so when my customers receive their orders, hopefully they’ll be able to taste the pastries in the best state. It’s hard to maintain freshness, so that’s what I’m researching these days,” she said. Bea is also working on having a bigger space and better equipment, so they could accommodate more orders and hopefully supply to distributors or coffee shops.

Reflecting on her personal journey, Bea wanted to remind young and aspiring entrepreneurs to first love what they do, above anything else.

CHEF BEA BINENE. Photo courtesy of Bea Binene

Pag gusto mo yun ginagawa mo, kahit mahirap, kakayanin mo pa din kasi gusto mo eh (If you like what you’re doing, even though it’s hard, you’ll still push on because you want to),” Bea said. Yes, it’s hard, but it should still be rewarding at the end of the day, especially when people start recognizing and appreciating your hard work. “You should also support and believe in your business, kasi pano susuportahan ng iba yun negosyo mo kung ikaw mismo hindi naniniwala diba? (because how will others support your business if you yourself don’t believe in it),” Bea said.

Other nuggets of wisdom from Bea? “Don’t stop learning and always adapt. Be open to comments and suggestions of others, because everyone has different opinions, and growth comes from staying open. Be a team player. Be grateful, both to your customers and to your team as well. And of course, always love what you do. Be patient, it’s worth it.” –

Bea Bakes is located in San Juan City. To place your orders, you can leave a message on Instagram.

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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.