When Vanz Bonaobra isn’t making music, he’s making magic in the kitchen!
Vanz Bonaobra, the owner of Corndog Atbp, is a singer-songwriter currently signed under PolyEast Records. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at him. He carries himself simply and prefers Pinoy casual dress.
Most of all, despite being an Awit Award winner, he still goes busking. But he’s also got another love: food.
Music had always been part of Vanz’s life, even with congenital ear issues. The disability didn’t stop him. If anything, it made him even more passionate about sounds and wordplay. By the time he reached high school, he joined a battle of the bands competition. He didn’t win, but he learned a lot. In 2016, he pursued music full-time. He became part of two collectives: one called LAYA Manila, the other Alab at Sinag Pilipinas.
Eventually, he wrote what would be his first single: “Ruta” (or ‘route’ in English).
Over time, aside from busking and songwriting, he tried his hand at production. All the hard work paid off: in 2019, he became a part of FILSCAP Songwriters’ Night Select. In 2020 and 2021, he won Awit Awards!
But what Vanz considers his biggest prize is his wife, Mahika Ebora-Bonaobra. She’s also an artist: a poet, to be exact. By 2021, amidst the madness of the pandemic, they finally tied the knot.
Together, the lovebirds took Vanz’s other love, food, and put up Corndog Atbp.
What Corndog Atbp has to offer
“I’m kind of conservative when it comes to business. I wanted to ensure I came out with a good product and had some kind of niche in the market,” Vanz told me in Tagalog.
That’s how Corndog Atbp. was born. It’s a conscious choice to keep the menu budget-friendly; the corndog alone is a mere PHP20. They also offer mandu and drinks like “Tony Spark” (a fizzy red drink with a lemony zest) and banana milkshakes. Caffeine fiend? Pick from their iced coffee or Spanish latte!
“It’s been a success so far, it’s been the neighborhood’s happy place. We’re getting great feedback from customers. Mahika thought of the tagline ‘your happy place.’ We’ve been striving to live up to it.”
Talking about his wife makes Vanz light up like a firecracker. “My wife finished BS Office Administration, so she’s helped on the business end. I have some pastry and basic culinary experience under my belt. So it worked out,” he grins. “The store is part of our love story. It came before our marriage!”
Vanz hopes to put up a full-on snack bar along Commonwealth Avenue. He wants it to be a daytime safe space for students and a performance venue come nightfall.
Corndog Atbp has a warm environment
Asked if he’s now focusing on corndogs instead of music, Vanz shakes his head. “It’s all about balance! I’m part of an upcoming Buskers Fest this September 10.”
At that point, he excuses himself from our interview—he’s manning the store today. A little girl with a P20 bill orders a corndog for her even smaller brother. They call him Kuya Vanz and grin as he approaches. That’s the real magic of Corndog Atbp. The humility and hard work of its Awit Award-winning owner create a warm environment.
CorndogAtbp. is located at 89 Ilang-Ilang St., Feria, Commonwealth, Quezon City. Contact them via their official Facebook page to arrange for pick-up via courier. Meanwhile, check out Vanz on Facebook and Spotify.
Featured Image Daniella Sison