My personal recollection of this place was my habit of looking at it whenever we go to Cubao and pass by this landmark. Growing up with fondness for ice cream and the old Magnolia (who can forget their ice cream and bottled Chocolait?) it was unfortunate that I didn’t get to set foot in the place throughout my childhood. My only satisfaction back then was to get a good view of what I considered a piece of heaven to, at the very least, satisfy a desire that I could not attain at that time.
Some though were lucky to get to eat or spend a party in this place back then. During the 1980’s, it was considered a haven of sorts for kids and adults who happen to love ice cream. And it’s not just the ice cream that people go there for. The food, I heard, was good as well. Back then, there was an outdoor mini-playground that as a kid made me want to get off the jeepney so I can play there.
As time and lifestyles went by, I kinda forgot the Ice Cream House. At the same time, Magnolia was undergoing changes on its own. The old Magnolia (1.0) was eventually sold by its owner San Miguel Corp. to Nestle in the 1990,s and the place became known eventually as the Nestle Ice Cream Creamery. San Miguel eventually reintroduced Magnolia (2.0) in the 2000’s after the expiry of a non-compete clause San Miguel and Nestle agreed to following the sale of Magnolia. A new Magnolia Ice Cream house was opened recently, called Banana Fudge Ice Cream House. It’s smaller and is located just right across the Nestle Cremery AKA the old Magnolia Ice Cream house. Coincidence? Methinks not. Sadly also, the new Magnolia Ice Cream house somehow lacks the old spirit of the old Magnolia Ice Cream House which by itself is an icon of its own right.
But going back to the old Magnolia/Nestle Ice Cream House, I was able to visit it a few times to sadly see it in a gloomy state with only a handful of patrons eating there. It may be with the time I went to the place, but the fact that this place seems to be forgotten save a few has been a sad development the place was suffering in recent years. While the ice cream they served still tastes good, the changing landscape (in a figurative and literal sense) left a bitter taste in the mouth.
Early this year, I was saddened and surprised to see the Magnolia/Nestle Ice Cream House close down for good as only an empty space remains of what was once a lively landmark. Those old memories have now melted away to give way to commercial developments of Robinson’s Land (to which the land where the Ice Cream House stood was sold to by Nestle) and Vista Land. (which is developing the neighboring land where a Pepsi plant once stood) At least Robinson’s still recognizes the legacy of the place by naming their project there as the Magnolia Residences and Town Place. Though their interpretation of Magnolia may be more of the flower rather than the ice cream, due to business restraints.
I have no idea if Nestle has or is planning to open another ice cream house; nevertheless the feeling will not be the same as it once was back in the old Ice Cream House.
At the same time, Robinson’s Land promises to “make new memories” with its touted Magnolia Town Place with four condo towers and a Robinson’s mall that’s going to be built. We’ll just have to see how this will turn up. Hopefully it would be a unique development that would at least do justice to the legacy of the old Magnolia Ice Cream House. Otherwise it will just be another commercial development that offers nothing new and will just cause greater traffic in this part of the city.
Though I hardly got the chance to make a more lasting memory of the place, the Magnolia Ice Cream House will always hold a special spot for this urban roaming heart. Moving forward, I will be keeping tabs with what’s going to be in store for this place, hoping at least that Robinson’s Land give some justice to the legacy of this place as they promised.
© The Urban Roamer