A SIP OF HEALTHY. Thomasians enjoy their servings of tea drinks, which are said to give a new “fix” to their busy lifestyle. Photo by I. A. MartinezGONE ARE the days when the young would make a face when someone asks, “Tea, anyone?”

With some stops at the UST Carpark and Dapitan Street, Thomasians have welcomed tea drinks served in new ways—cold, blended, and brewed- which served as cheaper and healthier alternatives to other brewed treats.

Brewing happiness

The introduction of tea drinks to the Philippine market began with a vision of giving healthy drinks a different face, like that of James Young’s. The franchiser of Happy Fanshu, brought a new taste in the Philippines, which originated from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. “Fanshu” refers to kamote or sweet potato.

Growing up in Tondo, Manila where he spent his early years in business, Young had always wanted to explore new ways to quench the thirst of today’s generation. He made this dream a reality by bringing the known Chinese tea drink franchise to the country, opening its first and main branch at the Far Eastern University in November 2009. Four months later, he introduced the treat to UST.

“Doctors were our first loyal customers because I think they understood the health benefits they could get from drinking tea,” Young said.

Among the bestsellers is the Japan tea, which, according to Young, tastes like roasted milk. Ingredients like pearl sago, coco, coffee, and grass jelly, complement the taste of the tea drinks. Happy Fanshu also offers green tea, Oolong or red tea, wintermelon tea, and fruit milk tea.

Sharing Young’s vision is the owner of the flavorsome Bubbatealicious, Gilbert Jim, who introduced the bubble tea, a specialty from Taiwan, with a different twist.

Surfacing Metro Manila's flood plan

Bubble tea or Pearl Milk tea, is a sweet-flavored drink with a tea base, mixed with fruit or milk and small tapioca balls or pearls called, “boba.” The bubbles on top, from which the tea gained its name, is made as a finishing touch. Bubbatealicious offers a variety of flavors from Royal Milk tea to fruit tea collections, all brewed from high-quality leaves.

Tea Zone also began with an experiment on tea-based drinks. Its owner, Maricel Uy, thought of putting together the idea of tea-drinking as an art form by using a blender for iced drinks. The franchise first opened in Monumento, and later spread its refreshing offers to four other places, including UST.

The store offers a combination of traditional naichi and milk tea, and the new flavors of black forest and cookies and cream, with sago and nata crystals to make them more enjoyable to drink.

Wonder drug

Jim said that aside from the tea’s revitalizing vibe, it also provides health benefits that enable the young to perform well in school.

“A tea drink boosts your energy and makes you alert. It is also a memory-booster with just the right amount of caffeine,” he said.

But according to Zenaida Velasco, a nutritionist and dietician from the College of Education, there is still no concrete evidence that tea is a memory-enhancer.

“Though its content, caffeine, provides mental alertness, it does not necessarily help in retaining information,” she said.

She added that tea also contains tannins and catechins, which are anti-oxidants. Another component of it is vitamin C, which gives caffeine a stress-reducing effect.

Pagkamulat sa iba't ibang mukha ng mundo

Tea, the nature’s “wonder drug” and the second most-widely consumed beverage in the world, is assumed to be the reason for the so-called Chinese or Japanese long life. It is prepared from leaves, leaf buds and tender stalks of different varieties of camellia sinensis, a plant species used to produce Chinese tea. The tea contains high levels of anti-oxidants which take on organic molecules responsible for aging and tissue damage in the body.

According to a United States News & World Report, flavonoids found in tea are bone builders. Regular tea drinkers were found to have higher bone mineral densities and calcium which strengthens bones.

Findings of a recent study conducted by the Strong Cancer Prevention Center in New York City, both green and black tea kept healthy cells from turning malignant after being exposed to cancer-causing compounds. Drinking black tea may also lower the risk of heart disease because it prevents blood from clumping and forming clots.

Velasco added that green tea is “the best tea” because it undergoes minimal processing, unlike red and black tea, which still go through fermentation.

New taste of goodness

Now that tea is served in different, more creative ways, Thomasians find themselves enjoying a regular serving of this kind of drink.

For students like Reny Rose Sabado and Rona Mapaye, having a dose of their preferred drinks helps them face the stresses brought by academic obligations and other duties.

“It tastes good and it boosts up my energy in a middle of stressful day,” Mapaye, a Pharmacy junior, said.

Sabado, a Biology sophomore, added that drinking tea gives her a feeling of refreshment and relaxation.

Folk Catholicism: Through the lens, starkly

Seeing that students face busy schedules and loads of requirements, the Bubbatealicious owner advised them to “invest in their health.”

“If you want to spend your money, spend it wisely—spend it on healthy drinks,” Jim said.


  1. Prof ko si Ma’am Velasco! Tama ang mga sinabi n’ya. 🙂

    Endorse ko lang ang Cranberry-Oolong tea at Taiwan Coffee ng Happy Fanshu. The best talaga!

    Sayang ang Simple Life. Anyway, mas mura naman sa Fanshu. 🙂

  2. We all know Simple Life is damn popular among tea drink fanatics and the Varsitarian simply could not miss out on this. But there is a grave reason why the said franchise was not featured. It’s a failure on their part, not on the paper 🙂

  3. Though it has been months that this article has been featured, we at Tea Zone are all grateful for the effort you put in this writings. And amongst all, to the students of UST who made Tea Zone a brand name recognize by youngsters and young at heart 🙂
    Once again, Many many many thanks!

  4. I was wondering if there is information about buying into a franchise? I think milk tea, especially with the pearls will become a great hit there in the Philippines!

  5. I love happy fanshu! Will post a review on their shop and drinks too real soon, found your blog by searching for happy fanshu actually

    its one of the cheaper but better tasting milk teas!


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.