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Remembering Fat Fingers and Whammos: What Ever Happened to Big Bob’s?

August 24, 2019

As a “batang nineties” kid, I remember school baon treats were usually wafers, cream-filled crackers, and maybe a few chocolate chip cookies. There was no S&R then; imported snacks were brought in through the kindness of a visiting relative from abroad, a trip to the few years-old Duty Free Philippines, or the rare special treat from the counters of Rustan’s Supermarket.

The good stuff were chocolate bars like Serg’s, Chips Ahoy, and snack cakes, specifically locally-made Big Bob’s Snack Cakes. We would come to know them “twinkies” when Sky Cable finally plugged into more households to give us more access to U.S. sitcoms and other such shows. They came in two variations, Fat Fingers, which was a golden sponge cake with cream filling and Whammo’s, a chocolate sponge cake with chocolate filling. For me, when snack time hit, they were my gold in the Philippines. Cue choirs of angels and cinematic light shining through as seven-year-old me snapped open my bright blue Captain Planet lunchbox and found a snack cake next to my Planeteer thermos. These cakes were individually sealed, giving it that possessive air of, “Mine!” and kept takaw-tingin classmates from asking to trade or taste.

Whatever Happened to Big Bobs3

Cut to a number of years later, in my early twenties in the year 2010. I was watching a gun-slinging Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg barrel their way through zombie-ravaged America. Harrelson was in search of twinkies. I started to crave, and crave badly. Decades had passed, but it had just dawned on me, “What the hell happened to Big Bob’s Snack Cakes?”

I had very little to go on in the search for the fate of the brand. They were no longer on the grocery shelves, I realized. There was nothing on Google, just more nostalgia and even more people my age and older wondering about what happened to it. I thought that it had sold the brand to become the Quake Cakes available in groceries and stores. While Quake Cakes tasted nothing like the snack I remembered, I settled for that conclusion.

Whatever Happened to Big Bobs2

Weeks after Serg’s story got published, a few more friends asked me to find out what happened to Big Bob’s. In remembering the product, a few more memories trickled in, and suddenly remembered that my Mom had worked on the Big Bob’s Snack Cakes account while in advertising a long time back. I had this vague idea that they were close to, if not the same proprietors as Coney Island Ice Cream. The same group went on to found Go Nuts Donuts in 2001.

A bit of clicking around on the Go Nuts Donuts site and I found the concrete lead that I needed. In the About Page, they were the same owners, under the company name of Filia Foods Inc. which listed Whammo’s as one of its products. A few phone calls and an e-mail later, Go Nuts Donuts GM, Macy Bibat confirmed:

Whatever Happened to Big Bobs1

“In April of 2004, the principals behind Filia Foods decided to concentrate all their efforts on expanding and improving Go Nuts Donuts. Go Nuts Donuts at that time was ripe for expansion after having just opened the branch in The Fort Strip Mall in December of 2003. Both companies, Filia Foods and Doughnut People, Inc share the same principals.”

As this article was being conceptualized, I had hoped to find some shred of its original product shots and packaging. But even that, Bibat admitted, was long lost in the archives. At some point, out of incredulous curiosity, she had to ask, “It’s a dead brand, so why the interest?”

I gave her a more direct answer, that there are kids like me who just had to know what happened.

But what I really wanted to say was that I needed something to hope for in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

Do you have any fond memories with Big Bob’s? Do you miss Whammos? Feed your nostalgia by commenting below!

Mia Marci Mia Marci

Mia Marci likes sampling street food, even if she doesn't know what's in it. She's gotten sick to her stomach on occasion because of this hazardous curiosity, but even the strictest of doctors couldn't stop her. Mia also writes about video games, travel, and girly issues for other publications. She also teaches English and Creative Writing. In the little spare time she has left, she catches up on film and TV shows, while cuddling up to her dog and cat.

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30 responses to “Remembering Fat Fingers and Whammos: What Ever Happened to Big Bob’s?”

  1. Aivi says:

    Thanks for this article, Mia! I’ve always wondered what happened to Big Bob’s cakes. I heard they sold the Whammos recipe to Gardenia (who now makes Twiggies).

  2. GirlGoneTrading says:

    Whammo’s was so incredibly good, and im sure many kids found it the same way, Sad they killed a brand that was part of so many childhoods. I would have still bought it until now.

  3. April says:

    Please tell them to bring back Whammo’s!!!!!!!! 🙁

  4. Cars Pascual says:

    I can’t believe I now know the name to it. I’ve literally been wondering for years! Felt like I lost a part of my childhood or something haha!

    Whammos!!!

  5. Woadic Marauder says:

    I remember their ads before for Whammo’s yung may kamukha si Whoopi Goldberg saying “wha is a wha is a piece of cake”:)

  6. shark_ga says:

    Disappointing that you gave them a weak answer as to why there’s still interest in these brands. We just had to know what happened? Maybe. But much much more than that we are still interested because, basically, they were really delicious. And it’s quite sure many of that generation’s kids would like to relive the memories they had with those snacks and at the same time make new ones, especially those who now have kids of their own.

    • Gawgaw says:

      Haha. I utterly agree. Same sentiments here. No wonder the article was somehow cut short and bitin.

      • Mia Marci says:

        Point taken…but from my end, seeing as its been nearly 10 years since Big Bob’s closed, it didn’t seem necessary to have a long drawn out question. It really was a matter of curiosity, from myself and the people who requested for this article to happen.

        Even from way back then and evidenced by how people remember their products to his day, I was under the impression that they had a firm hold on the snack cake market. Based on the chat I had with Ms. Bibat, it was clear that closing Big Bob’s and Filia Foods was a very deliberate decision, not because it was doing poorly per se but because they had bigger things in store for fledgling Go Nuts Donuts at the time. It’s not as dramatic, but that’s really what it is.

    • Volts Sanchez says:

      I don’t think that being curious is a weak answer, any more than “because we want you to bring it back OMG” is a strong answer.

  7. Whammo’s > Go Nuts!!!

    (Also off topic but: Cream-o. Bakit hindi ka na covered in chocolate!)

  8. secretwalangclue says:

    could you please ask Nestle why there are no Alpine White anymore?!?!

  9. hehehe says:

    Does anyone still remember kean’s (or was it dean’s) candy products of the 90’s? I remember those were one of the higher class local candies- but nothing beats Benson’s eclairs. Those things were the bomb!

  10. Volts Sanchez says:

    Whammo’s. That’s what we call thick, dark batok. Look for one the next time you’re in an elevator.

  11. Volts Sanchez says:

    Big Bobs. The Bigger the Bobs, the better.

  12. Nadine says:

    I love Whammo’s – recess snack : )

  13. miko says:

    i fl exactly the same i miss whamos and gold finger i can still remember how it taste like…theres a 3rd kind the cupcake lokking one i liked that too

  14. Benzyne says:

    I love them Whammos and Whammos Caramel (a fond memory of which is having to beg my mom for one after I had a tooth extraction, and the dentist was way too strict, that I was so afraid). Anyway, I also miss their cousin Zingies, the brown cupcake with white filling inside… ooh, nostalgia…

  15. Mike says:

    whammos product is still alive 🙂 It is true. Still displayed in one of your favorite store like 7 eleven, puregold, savemore, rustans, S&R and many more.. . but in different name & flavor. Yellow cake twiggies of gardenia phils. If you want to know the story behind, lets talk. Sincerely yours.

  16. James says:

    Hello, Mia! Nice article. I have a good news for you, Whammo’s is back!!! We just found it being sold exclusively by 711. I posted a picture in my facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/jameztres

  17. yes says:

    GUYS WHAMMOS IS BACK BTW I SAW ONE AT 711 IT’S MANUFACTURED BY AMARELA INC

  18. Josef Mari Olaybal says:

    Nabalik na Whammo’s, pero hindi ang Fat-Fingers. 🙁

  19. Mae Villanueva says:

    I came across this site while chumming on my Whammo’s. I had to check if it is really locally made as the package suggested. I hope you’re enjoying your own Whammo’s now since they started distributing the product again in 7-eleven stores. 🙂 And yes to good childhood memories because of this snack. We’ll be reliving them every single time. 🙂

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