Magic Water

Binondo’s viral thirst quencher! Clear gulaman & banana essence create refreshing “magic water.” Try it at Aling Bebe’s corner or make your own! ☀️ Beat the heat with Binondo’s viral “magic water”! This refreshing drink hides a secret – it’s clear gulaman! Aling Bebe’s been making it for over 40 years, spreading smiles & thirst-quenching goodness. #SupportLocal #BinondoLove #PalamigQueen 

Binondo, the oldest Chinatown in the world, isn’t just famous for its delectable dim sum and historical charm. It’s also home to Aling Bebe’s “magic water,” a surprisingly simple yet viral drink that has captured the hearts (and taste buds) of Filipinos.

For over 40 years, Aling Bebe has stood at her corner, hawking this icy beverage. It looks like plain water, but a sip reveals a refreshing secret: clear gulaman (gelatin) and a hint of banana essence, creating a subtle sago gulaman experience. But the magic goes beyond the ingredients.

This drink became an online sensation for its affordability (P5 or P10!), nostalgia factor, and the inspiring story behind Aling Bebe. She started with nothing, built a life through hard work and dedication, and continues to bring joy with her simple creation.

I, living far from the Philippines, couldn’t resist the FOMO! Using YouTube videos and Tikim TV’s insights, I recreated Aling Bebe’s magic. Banana essence definitely did the trick, transforming basic gulaman into a cool, nostalgic treat.

On a hot summer day, Filipinos crave sweet, refreshing drinks. From halo-halo to saging con yelo, these street vendor staples are woven into our summer memories. Aling Bebe’s “magic water” adds another layer to this tradition, a testament to the magic of simplicity, hard work, and a touch of sweetness.

So, the next time you’re in Binondo, skip the fancy cafes and experience the real magic – Aling Bebe’s “magic water.” And if you’re far away, try my recipe! It’s a taste of Filipino summer and Aling Bebe’s inspiring story in every sip.

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Magic Water

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Raymund
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Drink
  • Cuisine: Filipino


Binondo’s viral thirst quencher! Clear gulaman & banana essence create refreshing “magic water.” Try it at Aling Bebe’s corner or make your own!


Units Scale


Sugar Syrup

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

Clear Gulaman


  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the unflavored gelatin over the cold water and let it sit for 5 minutes until softened.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup water and 2 tbsp sugar over medium heat. Add the softened gelatin and stir until everything is completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour in a container. Refridgerate until fully set.
  3. Once set, cut gulamam into small cubes.
  4. In another small sauce pan combine sugar syrup, heat liquid over medium heat then bring it to a boil.
  5. Lower heat then continue to slow boil until sugar is fully dissolved, let it cool and set aside.
  6. In a large pitcher, combine the mineral water, sugar syrup (adjust to your liking), and banana extract.
  7. Stir in gulaman cubes, add lots of ice then serve.


4 Responses

  1. Eha Carr says:

    What a wonderful story thoroughly enjoyed! *laugh* Oh me – lots of water . . . about six – eight glasses a day . . . never ever out of the fridge . . . never ever specifically ‘mineral’ . . . sugar: do not keep any in the house . . .

  2. This sounds absolutely fascinating, Raymund! I imagine it is somewhat viscous with the agar agar , which would make it very different than a glass of water.

  3. Michelle says:

    What a fun and refreshing treat to have during the summer!

  4. What an interesting recipe! I’m not sure I’ve seen banana extract, but I bet they have it on Amazon. This sounds delicious for those really hot summer days!

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