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On the hunt for Manila’s best milk tea chain

Pamela Cortez



Over the past few months, milk tea has become even more sought-after in Manila than it previously was. I can’t recall what exactly triggered this new wave, but lines at tea shops, both local and international, have gotten longer and longer. I have always been a fan of the drink (I mean who isn’t? It’s hard to dislike), but now I have had an insane fixation on finding the “best” one.

YIFANG’S Brown Sugar Pearl Latte.

After constant trips, I decided that not one place had a superior cup; instead they had different experiences. There are other delicious places like Happy Lemon, Ten Ren and Chatime, but I have not made enough frequent visits lately to write about them here.

Instead, here’s a rundown of some I’ve recently visited, and what you should order.


LOCAL shop Serenitea is known among customers because of its sinkers.

Macao Imperial Tea: Best Tea and Cheese Cream

The import only landed on our shores in 2017, but has quickly become one of the most popular chains in the city even though there are only seven outlets to its name.

Its popularity mostly stems from the fact that it has some of the most unique drinks around – it has chestnut cream alongside the usual cream cheese foam, interesting soda options and things like Walnut Black Sesame Fresh Milk and funky Ejiao Red Dates Milk.

COCO’S Passion Fruit Tea Burst.

What’s best here is its Cheesecake and Pearl Milk Tea, which has an abundance of cream in the milk tea, swirling it in so there’s just as much cheese as there is milk tea.

I also love how concentrated the tea flavor is in their cup — all the toasty, roasted notes of tea are present and never overpowered by sweetness.

Its pearls, however, are disastrous, so if those are what you look forward to in a drink, this place is not for you.

A few digestibles:

Jollibee has announced that it is bringing in Panda Express to Manila. What other food franchises are likely to head over soon?

Today is the last day of the much-lauded Negros Fair. Head over to Glorietta to support local entrepreneurs and stay for lunch. Don’t miss out on Enting’s famous kinilaw; the shrimp one, in particular, is delicious.

In an attempt to make this column generally more about lifestyle, I’ll slowly introduce travel, beauty and other tidbits for you to digest. If there’s anything you’d like to see, my email is over at

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