3 Generations of Women Brought Bantayan Island’s Hidden Gem to Mainland Cebu

3 Generations of Women Brought Bantayan Island’s Hidden Gem to Mainland Cebu

Behind Cebu's latest dining destination is three generations of women. Get to know Mama Ida, Froggy, and Camille, and how they brought Kermit's from Bantayan Island to Cebu City.

Last July 1, 2023, Kermit’s Bantayan opened its doors in the bustling Bonifacio District. Melt-in-your-mouth classic Brazo de Mercedes, tempting Blackbeard Burgers, and the smoothest oat milk coffees—all waiting to dance on your taste buds.

As you step inside the store, you will notice that Kermit’s is more than just a cake shop. They are bringing a slice of island nostalgia through aesthetics such as the neon sign that depicts beach life and the St. Peter and Paul Church. Those hanging pendant lamps hovering over the counter look as cozy as nests, a whimsical tribute to the egg basket of Cebu.

But there is a family history of why Kermit’s is Kermit’s. Let us take you on a sweet journey through three generations of culinary wonder!

Small skips to big jumps

Froggy, Mama Ida, and Camille

The baking tradition in the family started when the grand matriarch, Mama Ida, started whipping up baked delights after her college days. She would go around the neighborhood, peddling her baked goodies door-to-door–a true recipe for local community history honoring the significance of culinary traditions.

Before the Kermit craze, there was Froggy. Camille’s mom, Froggy (also known as Carmel in real life), jumped into the baking business under Mama Ida’s watchful eye. She turned handwritten recipes into culinary masterpieces, making taste buds dance.

Three generations of female power weaving time-honored recipes handed down from the grand matriarch, Mama Ida to Froggy, and finally passed down to Froggy’s daughter, Camille Lopez-Bonifacio.

Froggy’s Giant Leap to Kermit’s

In February 2000, Froggy’s Snack Bar graced Bantayan Island with its presence. Managed by Froggy, the eldest among the Yap-Escario siblings. The snack bar was born out of their love for food, and making family heirloom recipes written down in a worn-out notebook she inherited from Mama Ida.

Froggy was not just a random moniker plucked out of thin air but it was an affectionate family endearment of Camille’s mother, Carmel. It was one of those tongue-in-cheek family inside jokes that are shared over coffee and cakes on the patio on warm sunny afternoons on Bantayan Island.

Fast forward to today, Froggy’s is now Kermit’s Cafe—a tribute to the beloved Muppet character, Kermit the Frog. From endearing nicknames to a household sensation, Kermit’s has woven its flavors into the hearts of locals and tourists alike.

Scoping the Bigger Pond

Jump ahead 23 years, Kermit’s made its leap to Mainland Cebu, and it wasn’t a hop-skip decision. Camille, the culinary mastermind behind Kermit’s magic, looked beyond the flour and sugar. She pondered, planned, and prepared, ensuring the sweet success would stand the test of time.

Kermit’s isn’t just about yummy cakes; it is also about understanding its audience. Camille’s a pro in identifying their market, refining skills to create a menu that hits all the high notes. Innovative flavors are on the horizon, promising to make taste buds tango with delight.

Frog Princess is Now a Queen

The queen of this cake empire, Camille, carries the torch of tradition. During the pandemic, Camille and her hubby saw an opportunity to bring Kermit’s Bantayan to Mainland Cebu. They went online and their business became a huge hit winning hearts and full stomachs with each click. The demand soared, leading to the birth of a brick-and-mortar haven.

Camille’s dream has no room for failure. She can’t see herself doing anything aside from running Kermit’s. It has been her one and only dream to build and run her own business. She can still vividly remember the moment she sketched out her dream seven years ago: her vision of having a thriving workspace, a bustling store, and a mobile truck. True enough, her small skips became giant leaps, as her dreams are now coming true.

Behind every successful woman is a supportive spouse. Camille rules her cakedom as a business maven, supermom, and loving wife. Thanks to her killer time management skills and prioritizing tasks, she got that down to an art.

When challenges loom, Mama Ida’s sage advice rings true: “Find peace, find solutions.” The grand matriarch would often tell Camille:

Don’t overstress yourself. Take a break and find peace. If you find yourself struggling and things are getting difficult, come home.

Solving problems, building relationships with her customers, and meeting extraordinary souls are Camille’s favorite things in running her business. She shared that growing up with a family of foodies led her to bake her first masterpiece, the delectable salted caramel cake which is currently on the menu.

Kermit’s Bantayan bestsellers will slowly make their way to Cebu which was served on their own family table during special occasions. These dishes evoke warmth and taste of home that are personal recipes of Mama Ida and Froggy making Kermit’s synonymous with culinary traditions, time-honored recipes, and family gatherings.

Kermit’s is proof that life’s little quirks and endearments can take you on a delicious sweet journey.

Kermit’s is located in Bonifacio District-Faustina Center, and is currently open Mondays from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m., Tuesdays to Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Fridays to Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Like their Facebook for more details.