Wind, rain and icy temperatures failed to keep people away from the Toronto opening of Jollibee, a favorite of devoted Filipino fans around the world.
Some of them even camped outside for 17 hours to get a taste of the foods offered of by the fast-food chain as soon as the door opened.
“Since I was a child, I loved Jollibee,” said Evelene Isanan, who lined up with friends on Easter Sunday morning at the Scarborough location.
There’s another opening planned for Mississauga. Winnipeg is the other place in Canada where you can find Jollibee restaurants with two branches there.
“It’s like our family’s — no, actually, like the whole Philippines — it’s our national restaurant,” Isanan said. “It’s a group thing, and a family thing, of course.”
Friends Mark Koh and Patrick Doc lined up at 3 p.m. on Saturday, way in advance of the Sunday 7 a.m. opening.
“He called me up and said: ‘Let’s line up. We got to get the first bucket,’” said Koh. “I packed up everything and we went here,” he laughed.
Koh grew up in the Philippines, moving to Canada at age 12. It had been a decade or more since he’d tasted Jollibee.
The pair said the overnight wait was a price worth paying. “We’re going to taste it together like best friends,” Koh said.
Jollibee has some 1,000 restaurants in the Philippines and more than 35 in the United States.
Paul Magbujos, who lined up with his wife and some other family members, compared Jollibee’s arrival in Toronto to a “festivity.”
“It’s very big in the Philippines. And opening this in Toronto, it’s a huge thing,” he said.