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The Pinoy-Made Ice Cream that Pope Francis Loved

When Philippine Airlines asked Paco Magsaysay to supply them with 280 packs of single-serve Carmen’s Best ice cream in January 2015, he simply obliged. After all, the airline is no stranger to him as he has been supplying the business with ice cream for years now. He prepared 140 single serves of malted milk flavor and 140 of brown butter almond brittle. As a freebie, he even added 20 packs of pistachio ice cream, rounding up the order to 300 packs.

Little did Paco know, his ice cream would be brought onboard the plane that would fly Pope Francis back to Rome after his papal visit in the Philippines. His Holiness actually tasted, in fact, finished two servings of his ice cream! “ [I was floored with] Just the idea of the Pope touching the cup of ice cream and eating it!” Magsaysay told Inquirer.

Necessity as the Mother of Invention

The story of Carmen’s Best started in 2007 when Paco’s father, Senator Jun Magsaysay, and his friends bought a farm in Bay, Laguna. Their initial intention was to use the farm to sell 100% fresh milk. However, after they encountered difficulties in making their milk last as long as the other commercial brands, Jun started to ask for his son’s help. “So my dad said, ‘Paco, can you help me sell the milk or do something with it?’” Paco tells in his website.

In October 2009, Paco registered the company Carmen’s Best Dairy Products, with the name “Carmen” actually belonging to Magsaysay’s daughter. Starting off with milk products like pastillas and cheese, Paco only had the idea to sell their milk as ice cream a year after they registered the business. “It was only about a year after when I realized the potential of creating the product that I truly love. I remember how during all my travels growing up, there’s one thing that I always have to try – ice cream,” says Paco.

The Pinoy-Made Ice Cream that Pope Francis Loved - image Paco-Magsaysay-1024x680 on
Paco Magsasay, owner of Carmen’s Best (Photo from

Quality Over Profit

The Magsaysays claim to take their ice cream business seriously. This is partly because of the fact that their brand is named after Paco’s daughter. “The fact that it is Carmen’s name I will never shortchange the quality of the ice cream because it’s the name of my daughter. I will not cut back on ingredient to save or to earn even for a bit of money because that means I am not being true to Carmen,” Paco says.

To make sure that the quality of their products are in best shape, Paco says they start from the source of their milk – the cows. In their farm, Paco makes sure that the cows are well taken care of. “We create a peaceful environment where the cows listen to classical music. This makes them relax more and be ‘happy,’ which also improves the quality of the milk they produce,” says Paco.

Carmen’s Best also include and empower women in their team when it comes to taking care of the cows. “[It is] because we believe that the empathy is there. They would best understand how difficult the milk extraction process is, so they are gentler to the cows,” Paco says.

No wonder why Pope Francis loved their ice cream!



Text by Aizel Dolom.

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