The big tale of little Quiapo

Carla Bianca V. Ravanes

Carla Bianca V. Ravanes

THERE’S a back to story to every person who is a part of our lives—where we met, how long we’ve known each other, what are the things we like doing together. While some stories tend to be generic, there are a few which are quirky and always a joy to share.

One particular story I enjoy telling is how I met one of my oldest friends, Miggy Bartolome Caleon.

Miggy and I met in 2002 through a common friend, Daisy Castelar, when he was a freshman in De La Salle Santiago Zobel School and I was a sophomore in another school.

It was the age of “texting” so it was only natural that the “in thing’ then was to text a kid from another school. That period was also way before Friendster or MySpace, meaning to say, Miggy and I became friends without knowing how each other looked like.

And would you believe that we managed to stay in touch without personally meeting each other up until now? We only finally “met in person” this year, unknowingly at that, when we bumped into each other in the same gym.

A few weeks ago, Miggy and I finally got the chance to catch up on our “adult lives.” I found out that Miggy, who is part of the Strategic Marketing group of Solaire Resort and Casino, decided to leave their family business to make a name for himself.

And that’s one big decision because Miggy’s family owns the famed Little Quiapo, one of the most liked Filipino restaurants in the metropolis today.

He recalls the story of how his maternal grandfather started the business: “The business started in 1949, my lolo was originally an ice cream vendor. He was going to hospitals to sell his homemade ice cream and when he was able to save enough money, he set up a branch in UP Diliman.”

As a quick trivia, Little Quiapo never had a branch in Quiapo and was in fact originally named Rendezvous. It was changed to Little Quiapo as a reference to how busy the restaurant was just like the famed Quiapo in Manila.

Branches in highly populated areas soon opened and that was the beginning of the success the very Pinoy restaurant famous for their pancit and halo-halo.

The chain of restaurants is now managed by Miggy’s parents and his mom’s siblings. And Miggy, a graduate of Business Management from the Ateneo De Manila University, chose to forge his own path in the hotel industry.

“For most people with family businesses, they tend to rely on the business) but growing up we’ve always been exposed to being responsible. Working outside gives us a better understanding of how to deal with customers, and how to run business from another perspective,” he explained.

Nonetheless, Miggy still attributes his hardworking ways to the training and grooming of his parents. He had to work during the summer for allowances beginning with small tasks for the business until they were given bigger responsibilities as they grew older. He even attended culinary school in Ramon Magsaysay Institute to gain better knowledge of how the kitchen works which helped him as he began handling the catering side of the business two years ago. Lately, Miggy and his two younger siblings have also added the needed vibe to attract the younger set.

For Miggy, taking over is inevitable but for him, being ready for it by gaining experience is just as vital. In a world where the entitled easily get their way, it’s refreshing to see people like Miggy who truly work hard and don’t simply take what they were born for. It’s people like him who truly make all the difference.

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Visit or follow her on Instagram @carlabiancaravanes.


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  1. Indeed, your friend’s story is one of a kind that needs to be repeated over and over. It does not only inspire, it models for others in blazing a new path. The thing unique about your friend is that as you said, he does not feel entitled unlike many born into family of privilege. Easily a person of a weaker spine would just slide into what others have built for them. This is what I mean by family of privilege. He refused to give in to this impulse. I have been privy to the negative effects of entitlement and it is not only unhealthy but worse. It is not a pretty sight. The flip side of entitlement is people who feel the world owes them something simply because they are poor and feel victimized. In a dramatic fashion they argue they did not choose to be born. Therefore, they let themselves in a free fall. Their pattern of behavior is destructive not only to themselves but others who are within their sphere of influence. They are like typhoon that wrecks havoc on its path. This mind-set called entitlement is one that has kept many people in a rut and some dove into a downward spiral simply because they feel justified acting on whatever instinctive urge they have. Admittedly, your friend has a leg up but it does not diminish the fact that he is of a different breed from most people I know. He dared to be different. The other lesson I draw from your story is one of being your own man or woman. Although it can take different manifestations, I would say, owning a business tops my list of being your own person. To depend on others for your livelihood feels too limiting and sometimes enslaving. Story like this keeps my dream alive. To many young people now, to say that Little Quiapo started with your friend’s lolo selling ice cream in a cart would be met with disbelief. But he did it. I think this is another example of the saying that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a singe step. One of these days I will take that first step. Thank you for the story.

    • Carla Bianca V. Ravanes on

      Hi Danilo! :) Thank you for your kind words, it brings me great joy when I share stories that inspire. I believe God has great plans for you and He is willing to make your dreams come true. Wishing you nothing but the best and thank you again for reading :)