Gelli de Belen Shares How Her Sons Got Into Selling Biko in Canada

Gelli de Belen says it was her sons' idea to sell biko in Canada.

Gelli de Belen shares how her two kids thought of selling biko, a delicious kakanin, in Canada as a sideline.

The youngest child of Gelli and Ariel Rivera is Julio Alessandro, who graduated as a Dean’s lister in the course of Kinesiology at York University last July 2022. The eldest is Joaquin Andres who is currently studying to become a pilot. 

Both Julio and Joaquin are currently living in Toronto together with their grandparents (the parents of Ariel). It’s during weekends that the two have the time to accept orders for biko.

Venturing Into The Kakanin Business

Gelli says that Julio and Joaquin thought of selling biko during weekends as a “side hustle.” In an episode of Magandang Buhay that aired on September 26, Gelli says that the recipe they use is from her in-laws

Kasi itong biko na ito, recipe ng father-in-law at mother-in-law ko iyan,” Gelli shares .“That’s what they [in-laws] make pag may party kasi they used to cater, e.”

When the kids started studying in Canada, the lolo and lola taught them how to make their special family recipes. Julio was the first to know the recipes, then he realized that during parties, there are requests for them to make biko and they noticed, the biko is always one of the first ones to go when served during a get-together. 

Ang unang nakaalam [ng recipe] si Julio,” Gelli says. “’Tapos naisip-isip niya… Kasi minsan pag may party, may mga nagre-request, ‘Pagawan na ng biko si Julio tsaka si Wacky.’”


Ngayon, sabi ni Julio, ‘Ano kaya kung gawin ko itong side hustle?’ Because nag-aaral pa siya. ‘On weekends, I can do this.’ It’s like a sideline.”

gelli de belen biko

Gelli’s firstborn Joaquin preparing the latik for their biko.

Gelli and Ariel agreed to their children’s biko business idea. So they really studied and developed the recipe to become more delicious. They used their time during the pandemic to do the testing.

“So, sige gawin natin. Nag-testing-testing, ganyan-ganyan…

“Dahil nga sa pandemic ito, e. Lumabas sa pandemic, e.

“Nagkaroon talaga kami ng time na i-testing-testing.”

According to Gelli, Julio and Joaquin helped each other in making the biko. 

Gelli says, “It’s better kasi mahihirapan si Julio kung siya lang ang gagawa. Matrabaho kaya iyan. Ang daming mga prep.

Naisipan nila sila ang gagawa. O, yun na nga, doon [ipinanganak] si Lolo Ben’s Biko,” Gelli shares.

“Gumigising sila ng 5.30 a.m. pag Fridays and Saturdays kasi doon sila nagluluto ng biko, para daw after noon tapos na sila.”


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Gelli says that the kids earn dollars from selling biko. Gelli and Ariel’s kids migrated to Toronto, Canada years ago to study. She says Julio, the youngest, is 15 years old, while Joaquin, the eldest, is 17 years old. 

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.


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