Indeed it has been a long and winding road for cousins Rosemarie Balan Uzon (Buding to family and friends) and Cinderella “Cindy” Waban Uy to get to where they are right now.
Buding is the youngest of three children of the late Jessie and Tata Balan. Kizzay is her elder sister and JJ is the only son.
Cindy is the daughter of Ching Waban and wife of Jude Uy who are all Kagay-anons.
From the City of Cagayan de Oro , Philippines to New York City in the USA definitely was not an easy one. With hope, perseverance, determination and prayers, the 3-in-1 business establishment, Blue Bean Café , Matcha Tea in Heaven and Bubble Waffle Ice Cream Shop opened its doors on July 16 , 2021 to a predominantly American neighborhood in Smithtown, Long Island which is an hour drive from Manhattan. NY State Senator Mario Mattera was their VIP guest during the grand opening.
The Blue Bean Café is managed by Felix Torres with Jennifer Rubio. Felix worked with various coffee establishments not only in Long Island and New York City, but also in other parts of the USA. Jennifer is an expert in blending coffee , she used to work as a barista at the famous Starbucks .
Buding who is bubbly just like her Mom, revealed that they got all the concepts after their travels together to Japan, Taiwan , Hongkong and finally, New York. Another Kagay-anon, Tasha Roa, also did their interiors.
For instance, their Matcha powdered green tea is imported from its birthplace in Uji, Kyoto, Japan. Cindy went to Uzi for a hands-on study of the original mixing of the organic matcha tea powder with fresh fruits of your choice.
Cindy’s own specialty is her pork siomai dumplings. They plan to also serve some Filipino dishes soon like longanisa, for the Filipinos who live around the area and of course. to introduce it to the Long Islanders.
They may have had their ups and downs as it took them a year to finish the construction due to the coronavirus pandemic but the past few months have been amazing . People in the community embraced them and are crazy about their coffee and matcha tea, while the young kids love their bubble waffle ice cream!
“Daghan na Kagay-anon ga-stop by and supporting us and so proud of us,” Buding said. “The Filipino Community has been supportive. NY State Senator Mario Mattera has been to our store a couple of times. We have been featured on Long Island’s largest newspaper, Newsday.”
Even in the midst of their budding success, the entrepreneurs remain grounded and have not forgotten to give back to their province mates back home.
Buding, Kisay and JJ’s charity Born to Serve, has been feeding more than 700 families, with over 3,000 people of Opol (Misamis Oriental). For their latest feeding program, they again served the people of Opol on December 8, during the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“This is our 13th year for our food drive. Cindy and her family is one of the biggest benefactors since day 1. All Kagayan-anons here in the US and Philippines have been generous to our charity during the last 13 years,” Buding shared.
Buding and Cindy are thankful and grateful . Tata must be so proud looking down from Heaven. Congratulations Buding and Cindy, you’ve come a long way!