MANILA, Philippines – If you’ve ever passed by D’Mall at Station 2 in Boracay, you might remember the island’s long-time institution Jammers. As a child in the early 2000s, I vaguely remember eating at the al fresco beach diner with my relatives, ravenous for a cheeseburger and fries after a swim. From my limited memory, I remember it being a casual and convenient joint right across the sea, serving American-style grub.
Through the years, Jammers grew to be an OG staple among Boracay tourists and locals, known for its burgers, chili cheese fries, and 24/7 service. Fast forward two decades later, and Jammers – like many other Boracay favorites – became vulnerable to closing down due to Boracay’s 2018 rehabilitation closure and the COVID-19 pandemic.
When Jammers was at risk of permanent closure, a well-known restauranteur from Metro Manila took the brand under her experienced wing during the pandemic. Bianca Araneta-Elizalde, owner of health-focused organic restaurant The Wholesome Table, not only saw “potential” in the brand, but owed it to her late friend Miguel, an American who founded Jammers in 2002, to keep the brand alive. For Bianca, revamping the restaurant was her own way of paying tribute to a dear friend.
From then to now
Jammers opened in 2002 along the main beach of D’Mall, Station 2. The humble diner was shortly followed by D’Mall neighbor and popular Italian restaurant Aria, which was owned by Miguel’s friend and Bianca’s husband Juan. Miguel had lived in Boracay for many years, and was described by Bianca as a “wonderful character” who became “such a fixture on the island.”
“We would spend many good days and nights sharing stories over the years with him. Sadly, he passed away several years ago. We miss seeing him there,” Bianca told Rappler.
Missing Miguel was one of the main reasons Bianca decided to take over the brand when it was offered to her during the pandemic. “Because we had already lost Miguel, I knew that if this was purchased by someone else, we would possibly lose Jammers too,” she said.
“It was already a well-known establishment on the island so I was inspired to revive it and bring it to 2023 with a whole new look and menu that paid homage to what Miguel had started,” Bianca added. Most of her work was done – Jammers was already situated in Boracay’s best and busiest location: the beachfront of D’Mall, which is the center of activity in Boracay.
“All I needed to do was come out with a good menu, and create a nice-looking space wi