Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Floating Malabon resto afloat for more than a decade

text and photos by ROSETTE S. ADEL
University of Santo Tomas Journalism program

MALABON CITY—A FISHING pond here has become the 12-year-old beehive of a floating restaurant here in this flood-prone city. 
Now, 12-year-old Balsa sa Niugan added a relaxing place for coffee lovers out there.

This floating restaurant and fishing garden in M. Aquino Street, the first in the city, just opened its coffee shop. Its capacity is 300-strong.

Balsa sa Niugan was established on July 18, 1998 under the ownership of a family-owned corporation, the Centennial Raft and Allied Services Inc..

Asked about the name ‘Balsa sa Niugan’, Manager Loreta Geronimo said that it was her husband, Santy, who had thought of it. Most of the facilities they have were made of rafts which are literally called ‘Balsa’ meaning floating raft made from bamboos that is why they used the name ‘Balsa sa Niugan’. 

Mr. Geronimo was also the one who conceptualized the design of Balsa sa Niugan—to cover the dining area, extension area, The Balsa area, Kubo area, Pavilion area, fishing area, and the “Kapihan sa Balsa,” which was opened last June 20 (Father’s Day). 
“Each area was gradually added as extensions for our facilities,” Mrs. Geronimo said.

The said areas may be used for events like weddings, baptismal, seminars, reunions, birthday parties and conferences as well as occasional reservations.
“Balsa sa Niugan caters to people from all walks of life, from classes A to C,” says Mrs. Geronimo. 

The restaurant’s menu consists of Filipino dishes, seafoods, sizzlings, Japanese and Chinese foods, and cocktail drinks which are being served daily on their operating hours from noon till midnight. “Kapihan sa Balsa” serves brewed coffee, cakes, and pastries.

Dining afloat in a fishpond with a cool relaxing ambiance of our open-air place makes us distinct, says Mrs. Geronimo.

Having been in the industry for 12 years now, Balsa sa Niugan has established its niche in the food retail industry in Malabon. 

However, like any other business in Malabon, the location itself is a drawback. Mrs. Geronimo said that because Malabon City is a flood-prone area, whenever there is flood or typhoon, they cannot operate. 

Its owners refuse to disclose how much the restaurant earns annually.

As for the community, Barangay Kagawad Rizalito De Guzman said that he sees no problem with the establishment of Balsa sa Niugan.

“Since the establishment is being featured on television and newspapers, our Barangay (Brgy. Niugan) is also being promoted in the process.” Johanne Bautista a resident of Brgy. Flores, Malabon City said that the concept of Balsa sa Niugan being a floating restaurant “is a good one”. She said that because of this people from other places visit Malabon to experience dining in Balsa, therefore it promotes local tourism benefitting the flood-prone city.

“Balsa sa Niugan a good place for sightseeing, although one thing I find negative about it is that there are lots of mosquitoes during night time because the water is stagnant,” says Marion Karenina Sagun, a resident of Brgy. Tinajeros.

But with simple rafts serving as the restaurant’s humble beginnings, the little pond where Balsa sa Niugan started has become a sea of livelihood for the Geronimo family and the city.

Rosette Adel, a third year Journalism student of UST, submitted this story for her Newspaper Practice and Management class.

Author's note: *I am just reposting my article from our Newspaper Practice and Management class. It was also posted in Pinoy Community Newswire 
-September 13, 2010. This was a site organized by our then Asst.Prof. Jeremaiah Opiniano. This article was also published in: The Philippine Business and News Forum
-November 10, 2010. However they already removed it when they updated their website.*

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