Francisco "Paco" Magsaysay is a down-to-earth, amiable family man , dedicated to his children and his craft. Behind Paco’s easy, outgoing demeanor is a visionary brimming with novel ideas and boundless enthusiasm. This primemover and dynamic creator of Carmen's Best ice cream never ceases to amaze the people around him with his penchant for excellence and superior quality. Paco is the proud dad of Jaime, Carmen and Mikey; plus two wonderful shih tzus, Duchess & Petunia.
Paco Magsaysay takes us back to Carmen's Best Ice Cream's humble beginnings.
The story of Carmen’s Best started in 2007 when my father, Jun Magsaysay, together with his friends, bought a farm in Bay, Laguna.
When they started the dairy farm, they had in mind to offer 100% fresh milk. This means that the milk is pasteurized at the right temperature for fresh milk pasteurization, which is 76.5 degrees. Whereas, most milk available in the market is prepared differently to prolong shelf-life.
At first, we had trouble selling the milk because it doesn’t last as long as the other commercial brands. So my dad said, “Paco, can you help me sell the milk or do something with it?”
And as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. In October 2009, we registered the company Carmen’s Best Dairy Products, not knowing yet that we will be making ice cream. We started playing with flavored milk, cheese, pastillas, and other possible products you can make with milk, but something felt amiss.
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.
I lived most of my growing years in the US, so I got exposed to a variety of flavors, and perhaps very Western ones, which later on became a strong influence in the flavors we make.
My travels inspired a lot of the flavors that we offer, such as the Hokey Pokey I tried in New Zealand. The Spanish Turon in Spain, which is an almond ice cream. Every flavor has a story. And as I travel throughout all the parts of the world, I get to eat more ice cream, and try different flavors. I think I’m able to successfully put that it in the menu of Carmen’s best.
We first made three flavors, which are: chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. Then we later experimented with the more complex ones: Salted Caramel, Brazilian Coffee, Butter Pecan and Malted Milk, which remain to be our bestsellers until now. But even then, we made it a point to use only best ingredients when we create the flavors. We never make shortcuts. And each one of them are made with a distinct character and inspiration.
Just thinking of those flavors I ate during my travels, I remember the happiness I felt when I was eating it for the first time. And that’s exactly the feeling I had when I tasted our very own, Carmen’s Best. That’s when I knew that we’re up to something special. Something that I would be proud to share with my two sons, my daughter Carmen, and to the families of everyone who choose our product.
Carmen was born in 1997, she’s the name of the brand, Carmen’s Best. 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.
Another brand name would have made a sense of detachment. You can do whatever it is you want but not in this one. When it is your only daughter's name there is a different attachment to it. It is more personal.
IT’S A MATTER OF TASTE
When we choose our ingredients, we always have the best taste in mind. We don’t believe in short-changing the product for the sake of profit.
How we choose our ingredients is based on taste and not on profit margin. Given a choice among four options, we wouldn’t take the cheapest, we will take the best flavor.
Each ice cream is made from the bottom up. All our ice creams are made differently. Some will have more eggs than others, some will have more sugar, more nuts. It’s very different and unique.
OUR MILK IS NEVER SPOILED, BUT OUR COWS ARE
We take the business of ice cream-making seriously. And we believe that the best result can only be attained by making the best measures as well. In terms of getting the best ingredient, we place great importance on the main component of our product, which is fresh milk.
In our farm, we make sure that the cows are well taken care of and we empower the women in our team to be more proactive in taking care of our cows 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.
We also 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.
All these, so we can ensure that Carmen’s Best is made with the best milk possible.
THE SCIENCE OF MILK PROCESSING
In our farm in Bay, Laguna, we get to control the feed, we control the breed, and we control how we take care of the cows. Because of that, we have 80% of our product covered in terms of the milk.
There are many ways to process fresh milk. One way is called UHT, which stands for Ultra High temperature. It is a way of pasteurizing milk in 135 degrees Celsius. In doing so, you take out a lot of vitamins and the taste of the fresh milk. This is also why you get to store it in shelves without refrigerating. This extends shelf-life of the product, which is better for commercial brands.
The second one is the ESL, which stands for ‘Extended Shelf Life’ milk where the pasteurization is 135-120 Celsius. The milk lasts shorter than that of UHT but still longer than Fresh Milk Pasteurization.
At Carmen’s Best, we pasteurize our milk at 72.5 degrees Celsius, or High Temperature, Short Time, which is the temperature for fresh milk processing. We are the only company in the country that has a fresh milk pasteurizing plant, and does it at 72.5 Celsius. You’ll notice it in the taste of our milk and our ice cream. The quality of the milk all in all. The shelf life is not as long but the nutrition and the quality is so much better.
Having consistency from the cream to the air in the ice cream, we believe that our craft is not just an art but a science where all the elements play out to reveal the taste and combine the flavor of each ingredient.
THE ULTIMATE SEAL OF APPROVAL FOR PACO
I feel like the ice cream is a big part of me. From the color, the flavor, the ingredients, the logo, the packaging. That’s why I get really touched when people say that they made their children try it, their moms, their dads.
Imagine, they make their children eat it. And for you to make your kids eat the ice cream, that's a lot of trust. you just don't feed your kids anything. I believe that it has to pass a certain standard before you give it to your kids. I think that’s a very special achievement.
It shows that Carmen’s Best has truly become part of a lot of people’s lives. As you hear them talk about it, they have a big smile on their face. It’s so fulfilling to be doing what we’re doing. Even though I’m tired and I remember how people feel about our ice cream, it makes me want to work harder. To give the best to our customers.