Kuya Soya and Master T, your resident taho vendors
We know it’s healthy, cheap, and delicious, but aside from that, there are other reasons why the campus’ taho is really special. It’s Kuya Ignacio from West Campus and Kuya Richard from East Campus who make their taho business a chance to be as extra as they can.
As we always see them at their usual spots at MTH Court and JFH Kubo, we’re here to get to know more about our friendly and enthusiastic resident soya guys and how they’ve been doing in the taho business.
Kuya Ignacio: your “malamig o mainit” soya buddy
Known for selling taho and soya milk with free sago and extra arnibal, Ignacio Cantos Jr. or Kuya Soya as what students call him, has been in the University for the past seven years. He started selling taho in every campus bazaar since the Lasallian Community Development Center (LCDC) offered him an application in Materials Reproduction Office (MRO) to be a regular vendor. Since then, DLSU-D has been his second home as he stays in campus every school day from 8AM to 5PM in front of MTH Court.
Having been in the campus for years, Kuya Ignacio undeniably has many experiences to count. For him, he enjoys selling taho to the students—and the best part of it is how most of them eventually become his tropa. He also recounted his unforgettable moment on his second year of being a regular vendor when a student accidentally bumped into his container and all the taho spilled out. Though it might feel grimacing, Kuya Ignacio positively noted, “OK lang kasi nag-usap naman kami. Ang naging usapan naman namin kung magkano ‘yong puhunan sa panindang ‘yon, binalik niya sa akin.”
He personally knows that the students have already become a big part of his life. Not just because they are his customers but also because of the inspiration he receives—whether it be from the warm hellos or the new ideas they share to help him with sales.
“Ang mga bata gusto kasi nila ng matamis at may sago,” he said. The concept of selling soya milk came from the students who frequently asked him before, “Kuya, bakit hindi ka rin magtinda ng soya milk?” So since then, he initially tried bringing 10 bottles of soya milk along with his taho—until it grew to selling 50 bottles per day. With the students always asking, “Kuya mayroon bang malamig na taho [soya milk]?” It’s pretty obvious that this new gimmick captivated their taste buds, especially when served with pearls and sugar syrup.
This 40-year-old sociable man from Sta. Fe Station 1, Dasmariñas City, who we see smiling and greeting us as we pass by, is an inspiration for supporting his family needs, especially being a father of a 21-year-old fifth year Mechanical Engineering student in Technological University of the Philippines–Manila and a 19-year-old BS Psychology student in Emilio Aguinaldo College–Cavite. Though both his children are scholars, sustaining the rest of their needs is no joke. And it wouldn’t have been possible throughout the years without the help of his taho business—and some considerable creativity to tweak the tasty treat of course.
Kuya Richard: your viral flavored taho master
Like Kuya Ignacio, Richard Valderama recently went viral on social media as a taho vendor in a bazaar event inside the campus. He was a former member of Angking Galing Entrepinoy Cavite, Inc., a group of small and medium scale sellers from LCDC aiming to help local entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
Now spending most of his moments with Lasallian students for almost eight years, Kuya Richard shared his cherished experience. “May nag-interview sa akin na estudyante from CTHM, na-surprise ako kasi pagdating niya may dala siyang grocery sa bahay. Na-touch ako eh,” he told us genuinely. Another story is when he surrendered a student’s lost Blackberry phone to SWAFO with the owner still being grateful for his act of honesty until now. And the latest one is when Julian Bartolata Reyes from CSCS posted his flavored taho on Facebook that went viral. This greatly helped Master T (Master Taho, as what senior high school students call him) promote the savory delight found in our very own campus.
Meanwhile, according to him, flavored taho isn’t actually new to the community. “Matagal naman na talagang may flavored taho, mayroon pa nga dati kapag hapon dito sa Area pero ngayon lang nakilala kasi bago sa paningin nila,” Kuya Richard said. He also shared that with an initial amount of P800, he started to order this latest sensation of soya product from his supplier in Paliparan, Dasmariñas City. “Naisip ko lang kasi kahit papano kailangan ko magbago ng kaunti, try lang naman eh, wala namang mawawala kung ita-try. ‘Yong plain at may kulay, nag-try ako kung alin ang mas mabilis maubos sa kanila. Napansin kong sawa na sa puti [na taho] ang mga tao kaya nilagyan ko siya ng konting [kulay] para ma-amaze sila,” he proudly added. His set of famous taho flavors are chocolate, ube, strawberry, and buko pandan—with the flavors being offered alternately every morning and afternoon.
Master T remains grateful for his taho business, as this soy product has been his primary source of income for over 18 years now. A dedicated father to three young children aged 15, 13, and 3-months-old, he emotionally narrates, “Malaking tulong kasi naglakihan sila nang dahil sa pagtitinda ko ng taho.”
Because of the virality that his flavored taho earned from the Facebook post, he was featured in GMA’s Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho last November 26. When asked about how he feels about the fact that he’s already known not just in DLSU-D community but also nationally, he answered, “Kinakabahan ako. Gusto ko lang ng simpleng buhay,” he laughed. “Kung dito lang ako magtitinda sa loob ng campus, dito lang.”
Keeping true to his roots, now that’s our resident magtataho.