THE BEE - Botanical plant shop joined by Filipino bakery in Woodstock
Rachel Ellis·July 07, 2023
People lined up in Woodstock all day long, on Saturday, June 10th, at the new Filipino bakery “Halo Halo”. They had come to buy Filipino pastries, and the traditional dessert called “halo halo” – it’s a mixture of shaved ice, coconut milk, and tropical fruits. Halo, (pronounced “hah-loh”) is a Tagalog word meaning “mix”.
Halo Halo is to be found on the floor level underneath the new Novus Apartments on Woodstock Boulevard at S.E. 50th Avenue, and is owned by Geleen Abenoja. The bakery shares an adjoined retail space with the new houseplant and design shop, “Daphne’s Botanicals”. The actual street address is 4981 S.E. Woodstock.
The new bakery was preceded, in March, by Daphne’s Botanicals, opened by Daphne Peters. There, customers enjoy a beautiful space filled with plants, and indoor plant care accessories and gifts. Peters helps people looking for plant advice and high-quality houseplants, and sells her patent-pending fully biodegradable houseplant moisture guide, “PlantDoc”, in the shop.
Both Peters and Abenoja are of Filipino descent. They became fast friends after meeting in September of 2021 at the Golden Evening Makers Market in North Portland, a monthly gathering in which local makers sell their products. After that, the two Filipina women began talking about sharing a business space.
At the bakery’s opening on June 10th, Peters and Abenoja teamed up to hold a fundraiser for Halo Halo, to close the gap in dollars needed to finish construction of the kitchen and service area for the bakery.
Peters was born in Manila in the Philippines, and was raised outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota. She moved to Portland ten years ago, and lives in Woodstock with her husband and baby son. She says of herself, “I’m a plant lover, obsessed with greenery in unexpected places. I believe plants are a reminder of life’s beauty, and inside all of us there is an inner ‘green self’, waiting to be expressed and experienced.”
For her part, Abenoja was born and raised in Renton, Washington, where her family settled after emigrating from the Philippines. She grew up baking Filipino sweets with her mother and grandmother. She is also Project Coordinator for the Portland-based nonprofit “Foundation for Philippine Progress”, which advocates for Filipino rights and culture.
Abenoja enjoys sharing her Filipino cultural knowledge with Peters, who is eager to learn, after being a little more distant from that culture when she was growing up in the American Midwest – and in return, Peters shares her entrepreneurial knowledge with Abenoja.
The “botanical bakeshop” fundraiser on June 10th was successful, and now the kitchen build-out for the bakery can be completed!