Monday, December 28, 2009

Cafe Antonio ELBI's Best of 2009

I thought it would be fun to list down the best (and the worst) moments that we had this year. Thanks to Time Magazine for the inspiration.


1.ABS-CBN, Bandila Shooting with Sherwin Felicidario (November)
- Even though we didn't get the chance to see ourselves and the cafe on the tube, we all had a wonderful time while Sherwin of CDC was being interviewed for the "Boto Mo I-Patrol Mo" segment. I picked this as the best moment because it all got us hyped even though the segment wasn't about the cafe. Talk about hype-hangover! The TV crew even filmed us for a few "filler" scenes. Well that was a 2009 moment we would certainly remember!

2. First Year Anniversary 15K Gross Sales (April)
- This was the first time we opened at lunchtime and we had two shifts for the day. The crowd was amazing and we were all overwhelmed and thankful for how our customers supported us on the celebration of our first year.

3. Code Red Magazine Review (April)
- I got a text message from my friend, Zadl Suministrado, telling me that his friend read about the cafe in a magazine. The article was written by Myke Celis, and he did a very good review of our cafe. What's amazing is we don't even know him. Thank you sir!

4. Addition of Barista, Ramhil Malabanan (March)
- Kuya Ramhil is certainly a blessing to our crew. A hard-worker, this guy has improved a lot since we first started training. He was part of my first batch of baristas that I formally trained.

5. World Food Expo (August)
- I went there with my baristas, Neil Rebua and Kuya Ramhil, and our friend Al Labadan II. We came to the event to observe other baristas at work and to watch the Barista Competition. That was our crew's first exposure in a food industry-related event.

6. Facebook Boom! (June-July)
- We only had 7 friends on Facebook before. The in-thing back then was Multiply. Thanks to Facebook for the strong network of friends and fans that we made along the way!

7. Rural Walwal (December)
- Thanks to this event, we reconnected with our fellow alumni. The cafe made a good rallying point for all the Rural people. We're glad that we could band together and give our retiring teachers the recognition they deserve!

8. Go Negosyo: Sigaw ng Kabataan Youth Convention/Blog Entry Printed on Major Newspapers
- This was a victory for this blogsite. It was the first cafe blog entry to be ever printed on a newspaper (Joey Concepcion's column on the Philippine Star). A line from the blog was even used by Go Negosyo in their ads in the Philippine Star and the Philippine Daily Inquirer. An accomplishment indeed!

9. Young Entrepreneurs' Convention at UP Diliman (UP Circle of Entrepreneurs)
- I was invited by my friend, Mark Race, to speak at this event. Deo Cajano, Dan Sta. Romana, and my Pop came along and watched as I spoke to a very young audience about the joys and challenges of being a young entrepreneur.

10. Cafe Staff Zambales Road Trip
- Pure fun. We all had a great time as we drove along the city of Olangapo not knowing what to do. But we did spend the afternoon at the beach. Thanks to Jeg's supreme knowledge of the place.

* Jabez's Singapore Barista Training Part 2 (March)
* Jabez's Dumaguete Meeting at the Main Branch (October)
* SLEX & Starbucks adventures with crew and friends
* The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Mall Tour with crew and friends (March)


1. The Orange Multicab (a real blessing indeed!)
2. Paper Cups from Primatech Paper Solutions
3. Frappe Glasses from Cafe Antonio, Dumaguete
4. Ozaki Woofer of Woofer Speakers (JBL Speakers also)
5. Steaming Thermometer from Starbucks

Deceased: Bodum 12oz French Press (you did well, my friend)

1. Leaking Ceiling (January)
2. Multicab Accident at Tayuman (July)
3. Typhoons Ondoy (September) and Santi (October)

Best Drink of the Year - WHITE MOCHA FROTHICCINO
Best Non Coffee-Based Drink of the Year - BLUE CRUSH
Best FoM of the Year - S'MORES FROTHICCINO

Most Played Song of the Year - Trouble is a Friend by Lenka (when iPod is shuffled)

That's it! Hope you enjoyed our Best of 2009 list. You all have been a part of this! Let's make a better one next year! Happy New Year and God Bless You All!

Monday, December 21, 2009

See You Next Decade!

We had a great 2009, see you on January 4, 2010! We will be closed on January 9 (Saturday) for the Ne-yo concert.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We Owe Our Mentors A Million

For the past few days, my friends and I have been busy promoting a fund-raising activity for our alma mater, the UP Rural High School.

Yesterday, we went to Rural to shoot videos of our teachers to help promote the event. We thought it would simply be a "shoot-and-run" thing but we were held back by the things we found out as we sat down and talked with our few remaining teachers who stayed at Rural.

Our beloved teachers are retiring. And one of them is sick and badly needs help. It comes to a point where one feels compelled to do something special for these people who (we really have to admit) have built and honed us in our four years of transitioning from our days as little kids in elementary to our bad-ass ways in college.

We have given so much attention to our batch and to our school, and usually forget the teachers who really are the foundation of the school. They haven't been given enough kudos, we have to admit. Usually, we really feel good about ourselves, be proud of our school, and make fun of our teachers. But who are we without these people? They're the ones who have pushed us, pressured us, agitated us, inspired us, and challenged us to be the best students that we can be.

While we were talking with Ma'am Sofia Palacpac, I saw her carrying a book about writing and I don't know why that moment struck me so much. I thought, "all those years...they spent their lives teaching bratty kids like us...all those years...ang tiyaga talaga." I actually felt bad about myself. It reminded me of a situation when parents invested so much time and money for their children's education and when the kids have learned so much they become mayabang, independent, and mostly forgetting about what their parents did for them. Well, parents are somehow just like our teachers because they have spent their lives teaching us. As for teachers, they spend their lives teaching different kids.

I hugged my teachers after shooting the videos, it was the least I could do at that moment. I haven't got the chance to do that when I was in high school. But now, I know we could do more.
Let's honor our teachers on December 19, especially those who are retiring, Ma'am Dimaandal, Ma'am Palacpac, and Ma'am Uri.

After all, having taught Ruralites for most of their lives is truly a heroic feat.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Blog Celebrates 10,000 Views

Teachers' Day Update


* Jomar just finished his Teachers' Day duty just a few minutes ago. He was wrapping things up and waiting his last table before I went to Koinonia to blog. Well, he had a decent 2 hours, not as spectacular as last year, but still good.


* This year's Teachers' Day superstar was Mahalia Serrano aka Majals. She was scheduled for this Friday and not last Friday. But she told me she already told her students to come. That mistake turned out to be a good thing for us since that day gave us 10,000 bucks gross sales. That was just awesome. I was tired as hell! But the opportunity to serve and make drinks for 95 paying customers is simply unbeatable. We would like to thank everybody who came last week.


Blog Celebrates 10,000 Views


* Last week, our blog site reached 10,000 page views. So 10K was our lucky number last week. I couldn't believe that people actually read our blog. Thanks to all our readers. I hope you guys get something out of our blog. If you're far away, we're always here to update you about what's going on in the cafe and in our beloved town of ELBI.


Promo Cards


* We have two new promo cards. First, we have our Loyalty Card. Last year we also had a similar promo. But that one gave you a Loyalty Mug which some of you are still using. This time you get a uniquely-shaped card (the shape of a Frothiccino, which is a hassle to cut out) that will give you a free 16 ounce tumbler and one espresso-based drink if you complete 20 signatures. The promo's until February 2010, so you'll have lots of time to complete it.


* The second card is the Maximum Tambay Card. Now this card is for our hardcore customers. I recommend that mega-barkadas and orgs would use this. For every group order of 1000 pesos you get 1 signature. You need 20 signatures to get 100 pesos off on every group order worth 500 pesos after completing the card. It's okay, you have a year to complete it and use it. The card's valid until December 2010.


* You can avail of these cards at the counter.


Rural Walwal


* Calling all Ruralites (lahat ng batches)! We will be having an after-party on December 19 (8 PM, Saturday) at Java Avenue. The event is called Rural Walwal: An Exclusive UPRHS Alumni Mega Party. Tickets are available starting tomorrow (Dec. 8) at Cafe Antonio. Tickets are sold for only 250 pesos each (inclusive of raffle ticket, food & drinks, and entrance fee) this week. Next week, tickets will be available for 300 pesos each. So better buy a ticket as early as possible. See you all there! Please contact Deo Cajano for more details: 0916-5758034 or visit

Monday, November 30, 2009

Loyalty Cards & Teachers' Day II

* Tomorrow's the first day of December and we have some treats for you for the last 3 weeks of the year.

* Like last year, we will be giving away LOYALTY CARDS. Remember our Ako'ng Cafe Antonio Loyalty Mug (Wednesday, November 19, 2008)? This time we will be giving away a free tumbler and a free drink when you complete 20 signatures on the card. The promo will run from December 1, 2009 to February 28, 2010. So you'll have lots of time to complete it.

* Some of our Loyalty Mug holders brought home their mugs but most of the mugs are still kept in the cafe where they can use it for their hot drinks (click the link below to see pictures of our Loyalty Mug holders):

Cafe Antonio Loyalty Mug Holders

* Next week (December 7 to 13), we will have another Teachers' Day run. Last year featured Aldo Lim of CDC, Jomar Rabajante and Therese Medina of CAS, and Butch Bataller of CEAT. This year, new faculty member , Mahalia Adelina Corazon Serrano of CAS will join some of the Teachers' Day Alumni. So please come when your teacher invites you. Sila na bahala sa incentives nyo! hehe.

* We're hoping that you guys would join us at the cafe this December! Let's all have a great time and end the year at CAnton. God bless!

Latest CAnton Commercials:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Best Served Piping Hot!

* I had a near perfect week last week. It's just one of those moments in my young life where everything seems to be going in the right direction. It's not really headed that way, but the feeling of it was there and I cannot help but relish it.

* The cafe was very busy last week. The UP Socius had their orientation last Wednesday (or was it Tuesday?) and Neil had a great time preparing pasta for them. And the rest of the week from that point on was just great! It's like hoisting 3 point shots from half-court and you couldn't miss! Thank you everyone for helping us last week. We reeeaally needed the help!

* My sister, Joyce, gave birth to a baby girl last Saturday, her name is Julia. Now I have a niece! I'm really excited to see her. And now we have two babies in the family, the other one is Jethro, my sister Grace's baby boy.

* Hmm, I've used so many exclamation marks already.

* Anyway, we had this high school batch party over the weekend and everyone just had a blast. Retz, Joyceann, and I were late because we still had to close the cafe at 1 am. Right now my friends and I are still hung over about the event and as of this blog we're still talking about the party and how everybody had a good time and all that stuff. People are posting pictures on Facebook like crazy! Ah Facebook, what a wonderful creation. If only we had Facebook back in high school...

* But of course, reminiscing from memory is more fun because we don't get the facts straight and we can add and skim out bad memories without the aid of visual evidence. Yeah, so it's still more fun before. Right now we're just adapting to how people have fun. Nothing really ever changes. Fun never dies, it just transforms. Hehe, just watched Transformers 2 again last night.

* Happy birthday Padeys! Just wanted to put that in.

* My thoughts on the batch outing? First of all we were late, now that's a good start. The resort kicks ass, especially the free videoke, that was golden. The food was plenty, good job on that. I was able to grab 2 bottles of softdrinks, the maja blanca, and a bag of Clover Chips Ham and Cheese Flavor (which I consumed last night while watching My Sister's Keeper and Definitely, Maybe. Yes, I watched three films last night).

* My batchmates and I weren't as rowdy compared to our previous escapades, I guess most of us have mellowed down because of age or what, develop some kind of responsibility, have jobs to attend to, and all that stuff, many factors really. College was mindless enjoyment of college-ness and freedom from high school. And graduation was freedom from college. While work is not exactly freedom from anything. It's just a formless, bounding concept that dictates the direction of our lives.

* With that I can conclude that every chance to escape a routine is a good time.

* Oh yes, the cafe. Sometimes I forget that this is the cafe's blog and not mine. But since I don't have a personal blog I treat this page as my own. So happy reading.

* We're alternating Benguet Arabica coffee with our House Blend coffee starting this week. We want to show our customers that drinking coffee is not just drinking coffee. Coffee has many many many varieties, blends, species, and methods of brewing. If you pay close attention, you'll know the obvious differences between the Benguet Arabica and the House Blend.

* The Benguet Arabica has less caffeine, has a kinda grassy-earthy smell, and a smooth finish. Very clean. Very light. While our House Blend really packs a punch and cuts through the masking of milk and ice to make our Frothiccinos taste like coffee. Some of you guys might miss the kick and the muscle of the half-Robusta House Blend, but sometimes you have to try and experience an entirely different coffee. We've put up a sign on our sliding door which coffee is brewing for the day. It says: "Now Brewing: HOUSE BLEND" and on the flip side, "Now Brewing: BENGUET ARABICA". Check it every now and then so you'll know what you'll be getting. It's all part of our coffee education project.

* I'll be having a tooth pulled out tomorrow. I'm still not sure if the dentist's gonna pull it out, hopefully not. But I'm kinda curious about the pain... hmm...

* Okay! Lotta ideas drilling my mind right now... it's like a bee stinging my brain constantly. This is something I love about my job at the cafe as the manager, I always have to come up with something new, but I'll never know when the big idea's gonna hit me.

* We try everyday to do our best at the cafe. You can taste the caffeine in this entry.

Monday, November 16, 2009

One Big Holiday

* "So what are you looking forward to this week?", my father asked the cafe crew as we ended our weekly Bible Study. I answered, "Well, the Pacquiao-Cotto fight's over, that was last week's highly anticipated event, maybe our high school batch outing this weekend is what we're looking forward to." These are, of course, non-cafe related stuff, but when you work at a cafe everyday, simple pleasures like watching a DVD is something to look forward to. Spending a day with your high school batchmates (most of them we see everyday) is another thing, and it can also be considered a highlight, but the experience is far more superior than watching a DVD.

* Two weekends of watching horror/suspense/thriller flicks was quite a handful, most of us still have hangover, reacting to bumps and creaks like little girls. But that was quite enjoyable. Like decorating the cafe until 4 AM and until 2 AM the following day. That was also a treat.

* We spent the whole afternoon talking about the Pacquiao-Cotto fight, prior to this article. We just saw Pacquiao on the cover of TIME and that gave me goosebumps. Imagine what a boxing match can do. If he lost, we would be depressed for a week or maybe a month. It's been a while since we've seen Manny lose. And we didn't know how to respond to a fallen hero. Well some of our friends don't like Pacman, yes, you can get angry at him for some reasons, but as a boxer, you should be very proud of him. He's the best in his generation, he's a Filipino, be proud and give him credit.

* We're selling Gift Certificates at the cafe this Christmas season. It says "valid until Dec. 31, 2009" but we will extend the promo period until January because we will be closed for two weeks on December starting December 23. My sister thought of the idea and Julius designed it for us. The GCs are good and cheap gift ideas if you want to treat your friends at CAnton this season.

* We had a good week last week, thanks to Gelo Arboleda's birthday bash. Plus we had a bunch of people come in. Wow, you guys still love us, hehe, we missed Showtime Fridays, the couple past of Fridays weren't that "show-timey".

* I've gotta go, my bandmate Eric's at the cafe right now and I want him to hear the songs I've wrote for our band, The Bookshelf Cassette. See you around!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Moving Pictures

* I just erased two sentences prior to this. These past few days I've been thinking for the next big thing for the cafe and myself. We've certainly done a lot during our first year and this year we're just trying our best to live up to the hype that we've created. We just cannot help but compare last year and this year. But every year has its own story and every season has a different plot with a bunch of new characters. This week I'd just like to tell you about our YouTube channel and our videos.

* I was watching our YouTube channel ( last night and I was amazed at the number of elaborate videos we just made. The "Shaken" video was spontaneously rehearsed during the closing hours of the cafe while the "White Strawberry" ad was insanely choreographed, involved the participation of a bunch of random people, and was shot in UPLB and UP Diliman. The "New Year" ad introduced The Weepies and their song "I Gotta Have You" to our circle of customers and the "Cafe Antonio Jingle" was heard for the first time in public.

* I kinda missed making videos for the cafe. It's just one of the things we have that makes us sorta different from other cafes--using cheaply done videos to market coffee. I really don't have knowledge in video editing. All I use is Windows Movie Maker, Paint, Joyce's digicam, my stick people drawings, some stop-motion, a thousand songs, and a degree in Sociology. Making videos is just one of the things that I love to do and suddenly stopped doing. Maybe because I'm watching too many DVDs. But I use it as an excuse to gather some inspiration.

* But last night I was able to make a very simple video (that took 4 hours to complete) about our FoMs, paper cups, and Christmas. I felt I was getting rusty and I wanted to make a video to revitalize both myself and our channel on YouTube.

* Nothing really special about the video, maybe I was just inspired when I was watching Sesame Street with my sister and nephew. Listening to Emmy the Great (from Bessy) and re-reading 3 back issues of Paste was just enough to push me to make another innocent, kindergarten-level video inspired by last January's "New Year Ad".

* Well I hope you guys enjoy the video. By the way, we now have Benguet Arabica Beans you can buy for 500 pesos per bag. It makes for a good gift this Christmas for your loved ones who love coffee. And yes, welcome back students! A horde of Ruralites just invaded the cafe before I came to Koinonia to blog. I believe that was Lara Lopez and her crew, hehe, welcome back!

* Enjoy the rest of the week, God bless!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fall 7 Times, Stand Up 8

The Bookshelf Cassette (L-R: Jabez, Bessy, Eric)

* Remember in my past blogs when I was writing about being safe in the arms of routine and all that stuff? Well, we were certainly rocked when Typhoon Santi hit Elbi. Ondoy was also a big hassle. But what made Santi more memorable was it showered my room--the command center of Cafe Antonio-Los Banos. All the magic happens there, that's my laboratory, my music studio, my art studio, and my history museum. That's when I found out how vulnerable I was and how dependent I was on my stuff.

* I tried to stay cool and composed, I didn't get mad but I was certainly panicking deep inside. Good thing, aside from being a control and neat freak, ironically, I also like nomadic adventures and Bohemian values, weird. It's like switching between two modes.

* Last night I was surfing the net at Infobucks because Koinonia was closed. For two days we spent the night at my sister's house at the IRRI Staff housing. I had three bags, one for clothes, one for gadgets, and my usual backpack of notebooks, books, and mobile phone chargers. I had pillows, a blanket, and Bishan the White Tiger in my MultiCab. I was relishing the moment, I remember the days when I was a kid when we would experience horrendous floods at Jordanville in Quezon City. Our life was a life of cleaning up stuff, packing things in to boxes and moving from house to house. My family has moved a total of 21 times, I was there in 3 or 4.

* Maybe I just got fed up with all the running and cleaning. And I never thought my stuff would get wet again. I said to myself that what happened to us was just okay and it's a good thing that nobody got hurt. It's also a good thing that the cafe didn't get wet inside.

* This week we're facing a lot of cleanup, especially for my part because I have a lot of stuff packed in my room. The MultiCab also needs to take a bath. That's life, it gets messed up, we clean it up, make the best out of it and then get ready for the next big thing. Too much good will make you miss the bad and vice versa.

* Cafe NEWS! Our 100% Benguet Arabica Beans are now available in 500 gram bags for 500 pesos. That's double the amount of our House Blend beans. We decided to be the first shop here in Elbi to sell 100% Arabica beans. And it's from Benguet, we thought it would be a good way to support local coffee.

* FoMs! The Christmas Season offers 3 FoMs every year. The Choco Chip and the Smores Frothiccino. If you're having trouble deciding which one to pick you can always try the combination of the two, the all-time favorite OVERLOAD! It's soooo insane, it can be served in a bowl! Try one now!

* I just came back from Dumaguete last Wednesday, you can check out our pictures at our Facebook page. See how the branch in Visayas is doing. That's all for this week, thanks for supporting us!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Of Paper Cups and Music

* I slept at around 7pm last night and woke at 12 noon today. I felt so terrible so I fixed myself a mug of instant coffee and a pack of Nesvita to perk me up. Feeling much better, I took a bath and pressed another mug of real coffee this time while listening to my friend Eric's playlist. Then I felt really good. And that is how I started my Monday.

* Last night, my band, The Bookshelf Cassette, practiced about 7 to 8 songs for our gig with Meliora on Wednesday (9 pm at CAnton). I was so happy with what we did that I only ate once the whole day and got sick right after my bandmates, Bessy Espina and Eric Soliven, left the apartment. But I'm ok now. If you feel awful, just drink coffee, it will keep the physical and mental blues away. Become a fan on Facebook! Just type "The Bookshelf Cassette" and you can hear some of our covers.

* Tomorrow, our paper cups from Primatech Paper Solutions will be arriving! Hopefully, you guys, our customers, will be experiencing for the first time, a CAnton Frothiccino in a 16 ounce paper cup. That will surely be be a momentous event.

* Switching to paper cups is our way of contributing help to the environmental and waste disposal concerns of our beloved town of Los Banos. If you have noticed we have bought new trash cans with proper labels indicating where you should throw your biodegradable and non-biodegradable trash. Although paper cups are more eco-friendly than plastic cups, a 16 ounce cup is still a 16 ounce cup. It's still trash. And we would like to lessen the use of solid waste in our cafe. So here's what we've thought of:

When you buy a Cafe Antonio Tumbler (available in 16 oz orange and/or white w/ or w/o handle designs; you can purchase it at the cafe or on and bring it to the cafe to order a FROTHICCINO, your NEXT order of ANY FROTHICCINO (except FoMs) will only be 75 pesos.

1.) You come to the cafe with your tumbler then you order a Choco-Macadamia Frothiccino for its regular price of 120 pesos (your drink should be put in your tumbler).

2.) The next time you come to the cafe and you order the same drink or, let's say, a Rocky Road Frothiccino (Php 110), it will only be 75 pesos.

3.) Then if you bring your tumbler to the cafe every time and ask the barista to put your drink in the tumbler, you'll be able to get a 75-peso Frothiccino every other day.

Here's a more visual example. Let's say you start on a Monday with a Choco-Macadamia Froth,

MONDAY - ChocoMac Froth (Php 120)
TUESDAY - ChocoMac Froth (Php 75)
WEDNESDAY - Black Forest (Php 90)
THURSDAY - ChocoMac Froth (Php 75)
FRIDAY - Mocha Froth (Php 75)
SATURDAY - Caramel Cream (Php 75)

* And that's what you can do with your tumbler. We hope that this would help in lessening our trash. Tumblers are made-to-order, so better reserve one now at the cafe. And you'll get the tumbler the next day. You can return it if it has defects and we will replace it for free.

* Okay, so we hope this would be a brand new start for all of us! We would be glad to here your comments and suggestions.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Beauty in Breakdown


* We're pleased to announce that our FoM for October, the Brownie Fudge Frothiccino (BFF) was ordered TWENTY-SIX (26) times last week! I think that was already the total number of last month's FoM orders! Very good, very good. If you haven't tried this drink yet, better order now, don't wait for October to end.


* For coffee-lovers and for those dependent on brewed coffee, we have a new product for you coming this November. Starting next month, 100% Benguet Arabica Coffee Beans will be available in 500 gram bags. You can also buy a cup of pressed coffee at our cafe.

* So what are Arabica beans? Basically, Arabica is the species of coffee grown in high altitude areas like Benguet. It is a very high maintenance crop unlike its lowland counterpart, the Robusta. Arabica coffee has a smoother and more delicate flavor, has less caffeine, and is mostly used in specialty coffee shops featuring Arabicas from different parts of the world.

* You can try a sample of our Benguet Arabica beans at the cafe for free this month, just ask me (Jabez) to brew you a cup and we'll talk more about the intricacies and subtleties of coffee.

* We just bought a 12 oz French Press for our cafe. Now using a coffee press is the best way to brew coarse to medium ground coffee. Use this method instead of using a home drip coffeemaker, and I promise you your coffee will taste better and not bitter.

* For more tips and tricks about coffee, you can visit my "dead" coffee blog at or by clicking the blog title. It's a blog where I used to put my coffee insights while I was training to be a barista and before the cafe started. I stopped writing for that blog when I started the cafe's blog. It's kinda difficult for me to write two blogs.


* We didn't attend the parade since we had work during that time but we would like to thank everybody, especially the alumni, for supporting us on that day. Our sales just went "boom" that night, and we were all dead-tired at the end of the day. Our blender was also dead-tired and it literally went "boom". It stopped functioning after our friend, Eric, ordered a custom, Red Ribbon-inspired, White Forest Frothiccino. Thankfully, it was the last order. What a way to end the week! To take things positively, it was a way of saying that the cafe outdid itself last week, Friday was definitely Showtime and Saturday was crazier than Showtime, imagine that!

* Thank you everyone, we hope to get our blender fixed, right now we're using two newly bought blenders, we hope it would last this time. This week should be as amazing! We would like to thank our graphic artist, Jeg, for designing our "Mumunti Man, UP Naman" tarpaulin. He did it on very short notice (he didn't sleep). Thanks also to Aldo, Candy, and Sherwin for helping us conceptualize the witty statement for the tarp. It really got a lot of buzz on Facebook.

* See you this week everyone! Mabuhay ang Los Banos at ang UPLB!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

CAnton Runs on Tropa-wer!

* Oh my, it's been days since I've gone online. I didn't get the chance to update you guys about this month's Flavor of the Month, the very popular Brownie Fudge Frothiccino (BFF) or the Ultimate Fattening Frothiccino, as I personally like to call it. Yes, it's back, after a year! It was so highly anticipated, it was ordered 8 times on its first day last Thursday and 8 times again in one hour the next day! For our new customers, the BFF is like a drink and a dessert in a 16-oz cup. It has two kinds of chocolate pastries (baked by Yummings Pastry Shop) literally crammed in a chocolate and Irish cream-based Frothiccino. It's really a treat for those who love brownies and chocolate. You get all of these delicious goodness for only 130 pesos.

* Have you noticed our Shirts Avenue display at the back of the bookshelf? Well, for those of you who ordered UP shirts at the cafe, your shirts will be a bit delayed. Shirts Avenue's printing press is in Marikina and it has temporarily stopped operations due to Typhoon Ondoy. We will just inform you about further developments. You can still reserve shirts at the cafe.

* Last week was a crazy week for us. Everybody was prepared for another typhoon and customer turnout was a little unpredictable. Typhoon Pepeng got a lot of hype, so Showtime Friday last week wasn't exactly the showtime we were expecting. Thursday night attracted more people and also Saturday, maybe it's a way of celebrating Pepeng's no-show in Elbi. Thankfully, Pepeng didn't become the kind of typhoon we were expecting. We're definitely not ready for another blow just yet.

* Again, we would like to thank our customers for a successful run last week, in spite of the calamities and the odds that defy us, it's always comforting for us to see that the CAnton faithful is always there to support us. Remember last Tuesday night? That was really something else, we had people waiting outside because the cafe was so full we ran out of tables. And last Saturday, even though the air-conditioning had gone bonkers, droves of people still went in. Is this encouragement or pressure? Or both?

* If the band, Meliora, has Tro-fans on Facebook (tropa who are fans), CAnton runs on Tropa-wer, where friends of friends of friends just support each other. I'm really looking forward to this week. We'll be buying new trashcans, the kind where you can segregate the plastics, paper, and biodegradable stuff. And I'll be the barista again tomorrow (Monday) because Neil has to finish a number of requirements before the semester ends.

* Well, I hope we all end the semester just right, with no hang-ups whatsoever. And I hope you guys would celebrate good times at CAnton when all these first sem drama ends, just like last year!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Fair Share of the Good and the Bad

* I'll be starting this week's blog entry with Vonda Shepard's Baby Don't You Break My Heart Slow in the background. Not that it means anything, it just happens that it's the next song on my shuffled playlist.

* The things that happened last week, it's kinda funny how things played out. It's an emotional roller coaster, really. Last, last week ("Fire's Hot, We Need More Fuel!"), I was sorta down maybe because I was in the process of brainstorming stuff for the cafe. I like brainstorming, but it really sucks the energy out of you. So what I did was put my plans into action all in one Sunday evening. That was draining but I was fulfilled.

* Last Monday, a day after pulling the strings and making the world go round (as I would like to call it) from my room/office, a barrage of things just happened all at once.

* Stressed and hassled from managing repairs early in the morning at the cafe, I posted on Facebook: What good will this Monday bring us? And I got my answer almost immediately. After Bible study, my sister Joyce and I had a financial update meeting. While we were talking, our 2 TESDA OJTers arrived from Batangas for their first day of training. I told them to sit tight as I was wrapping up my meeting with my sister. When I finally got to them for their orientation, our Shirts Avenue suppliers arrived to set up their space at the cafe. By the way, Shirts Avenue ( is a Multiply site owned and managed by people from UP Diliman. They sell UP shirts online. Our friends from the UPLB Navigators decided to sell Shirts Avenue merchandise at CAnton so that UP students from Elbi can buy their UP shirts. Going back to the story, I told the shirts people to wait because I was still orienting the trainees. After a few seconds, Kuya Rodel from arrived with our new tumblers. I told him that I'll attend to him right after I attend to the shirts people. After a few minutes, the crew from the Kabataan News Network arrived asking me if they could setup their equipment! What's funny was I completely forgot about our interview! So I was not really ready to face the camera and all. In addition to that, a group of customers arrived at the cafe. It was crazy. But everything went great.

* Prior to that, we just got new curtains installed. So it's a good debut for the curtains, well at least for the cream curtains from our house that my mom brought from San Pablo. We used it for a couple of hours. Later in the evening, Jenni brought the curtains we asked her and her mom to make. I didn't expect that they'll make it that fast!

* In just one night, the cafe was full of new stuff. We had the curtains, the Shirts Avenue display, and the new tumblers from Koinonia (order one today at We were all happy about the way things turned out. Who would have thought that so much change would happen not just in a day, but in a moment. A moment definitely changes a lot of things.

* The next day, that was a Tuesday, I went to San Pablo for my work with my Pop. While I was posting pictures of the new developments at the cafe on Facebook, Dan wrote on our wall asking if I've seen my name and a quote from my blog on the newspaper. I told him not yet. He called then told me my name was on the Philippine Daily Inquirer's Go Negosyo full-page ad sponsored by Belo Medical Group (Sept. 21, 2009). Then Jenni called and told me that my blog entry ("Fire's Hot, We Need More Fuel!") appeared on Joey Concepcion's column in the Philippine Star last, last Thursday (Sept. 17, 2009). We didn't even get the chance to see it! Everything went nuts that day, I was sweating and getting all excited. My blog entry was also posted in and, officially making it the most popular blog entry I've ever written on this blog site. Then last Friday (Sept. 25, 2009), while Retz was reading the Philippine Star, he saw another Go Negosyo ad, this time sponsored by Condura, again, with my name and a quote from my blog! Woah...

* Well, we had our share of good things. But of course, when good things happen, bad things also happen. Like last Saturday's typhoon Ondoy. We opened at 7 PM that day because our apartment was flooded and we had to clean our home. It's a good thing that the cafe's ceiling didn't leak. We had a handful of memorable experiences when the cafe's ceiling leaked.

* That day, I thought that it would officially be our first day without a sale. The outside looked bleak. I slept on the couch while our friend Gelo Arboleda, typed an outline for his English subject. My fear didn't come true, thankfully. Our loyal customers are really loyal. Kahit may bagyo, pumupunta parin! I can't believe it! Haha!

* It's a new week and a new hope for all of us. We'll be praying for those who have been affected by the typhoon, I hope we'll all be able to recover. For those who remained safe, be very thankful.

* We're very thankful for this week, it's been a unique experience for all of us. It gives variety and brings spice (like a dash of Cayenne pepper to a bowl of Pasta Bolognese) to our lives. Be it good or bad, everything happens for a reason. Have a fruitful and productive week ahead, God bless!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

WE SATiSFi W/ NO WiFi: What it Means

* After 4 packs of Cream-O Deluxe sandwich cookies, and an episode of Gossip Girl, I've decided to write this week's blog entry on a Sunday evening. I'll be waking up early tomorrow because I have to be at the cafe to attend to some repairs and installations.

* WE SATiSFi WITH NO WiFi. You may have read this statement on our door or on some t-shirts that we sold on Multiply ( and at the cafe. But what does this exactly mean? I have blogged about our "WiFi-Free" establishment months ago, way, way, way back. But Facebook wasn't popular yet during that time. And this is a good opportunity for everybody to know.

* We didn't have WiFi from the very beginning. The lack of an Internet connection is a feature that we are proud to have... "the lack of" is what we have and normally the lack of something shouldn't be called a feature at all. The presence of absence, as I like to call it. When asked, "Ano yung meron kayo, na wala yung iba?", we would answer, "Mas maganda sana kung ang tanong ay anong wala kami na meron yung iba?"

*WE SATiSFi WITH NO WiFi is sort of a subtle campaign we started to encourage both fellow entrepreneurs and customers.


* For entrepreneurs first. Obviously, we're not the first establishment to have no WiFi. Only a handful have WiFi in their establishments. The message that we want to preach is that it is not a disadvantage to not have WiFi. Actually it gives entreps an opportunity to focus more on their products and their customers. Rather than their customers focusing on what they need to do hence the emergence of the rise of the "tambay" customers. It's such a refreshing feeling to have knowing that people come for you and your products and not simply for the bonus features that you offer. And when the time comes that we all REEEEALLY do need WiFi and it becomes a necessity like cable TV and Ascorbic Acid, do not fret, someday, somehow, the whole of ELBI if not the whole world will be a Free WiFi zone. So let's just bank on that! Haha, rakenrol!

* For customers... Most of us have an Internet connection at home. We spend maybe 40% or more of our day surfing the net outside of our homes in a computer shop, on our mobile phones, or with our laptops and Globe Tattoos. For a change of vista, or quite frankly, for a change of pace in our life of strained eyes, isn't it cool to experience the world where we were born for just a few hours and be humans rather than just profiles photos and headshots? At CAnton, we let everybody get wild in a game of Uno, we allow them to roll on the floor while playing Pictionary, we permit everyone to be kids and read Pugad Baboy, and we enjoy seeing groups of people talk the night away. Ahh... it's a good reminder of who we used to be.

* Yes, CAnton is 100% dependent on online promotions in our social networking sites. Our websites are an extension of our physical cafe. You don't come to the cafe to visit our websites or read our blogs. That's just wrong. Our sites serve as your Cafe Antonio when you're not physically in Cafe Antonio. When you're there, you become part of what we post on our sites, you actually become part of a story.

*So as everyone can see, we don't discourage the use of the Internet because we also use it for work. Let us use WE SATiSFi WITH NO WiFi as a campaign to encourage both businesses, lifestyles, and Filipino values. So join us, and let's try to do our very best even without a WiFi connection!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fire's Hot, We Need More Fuel!

* Opportunities. Choices. Decisions. I was pondering the meaning of those 3 words last week while I was at the cafe. And I found out that all three relate to the concept of our future, individual and collective. The opportunities we grab may start our future and mark the beginning of something good...or bad. But of course, we always have the choice to either grab that opportunity or not. The choice to whether grab it or not, needs some big time decision-making.

* When my friend Jenni and I went to the SM Mall of Asia last Friday to attend the Go Negosyo Sigaw ng Kabataan event, we were looking forward to get a lot of inspiration from the speakers (we heard talks from Joey Concepcion, Sen. Manny Villar, Sec. Peter Favila, Veejay Floresca, Chris Tiu, Sen. Chiz Escudero, Myla Villanueva, Gov. L Ray Villafuerte, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, Francis Kong, Butch Jimenez, Henry Tenedero, Sec. Arthur Yap, Dean Pax Lapid, Joy Abaquin, and Maoi Arroyo). And yes, we did get inspiration. But not just inspiration, as a young entrepreneur myself, I got a lot of encouragement and affirmation.

* The speakers mentioned about starting young, staying in the country and being your own boss, taking risks, utilizing what we have and not being hindered by finances, being creative and innovative, and all that. I was really glad that the high school and college students who attended the event were getting this much positivity and encouragement from not just "old business people" but from people who are in their 20s and 30s. Not really "a generation away".

* The entrepreneurial spirit - not everyone has this. But for the people who do have this and have yet to find this, you all know what your heart wants you to do. It sure is risky and involves a lot of ground-up hard work and a lot of heart, courage, and determination.

* And not just courage from failure, but the courage to tell everyone what you want to do. A good example of this kind of courage is The Zohan, from the film, You Don't Mess with the Zohan. He's a counter-terrorist but wants to be a hairdresser and stylist. That's a bit extreme, but I do believe that many many people have a similar problem. Most of the time, the problem is "what would people think about me?" rather than "what do I really want to do in my life?" Because we all know what we want to do waaaay deep in our hearts. But we are afraid because others may think it's a waste of time or "sayang ang pinag-aralan mo". Can anyone relate?

* I'm really happy that my life was fashioned to be a good example of what I'm saying. I'm a sociology graduate, and I was good at what I'm doing: field research, writing, and reporting. I could have made a career out of that. But deep inside my heart, I wanted to serve people food and drinks and make coffee. If I had strict parents, they could have me imprisoned the moment that I tell them that. But thankfully, I do not have those kind of parents. That's why it was easy for me to do what I wanted. My parents had faith and trusted in us. They knew what we were capable of in our fields of interest. Because that's where our hearts are.

* For our parent readers, I'm asking you that you give your children a chance to be who they want to be. It may be a cliche already, but it is the way to go in this day and age because we are so capable of so many different things. Like it or not, it's the youth who makes the world go round today.

* The Go Negosyo program is very very good. Empowering the youth about entrepreneurship is definitely a good thing. But the youth have parents, and it's these people who make their world go forward. I hope that we can also empower parents to support their children in their endeavors. Because if we're talking about heart and desire, we (the youth) already have enough. What we need now is support. Especially from our parents. God bless everyone!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sophomore Slump or A New Perspective?

* This week's gonna be slightly different for us. A little busy, I think. But anyway, I really can't forecast which week's going to be busy, routine, or laid back. Working at a cafe or any food service establishment brings surprises every time. As for today, I don't have work in San Pablo so I'll be filling in for Neil's barista duties. He said he has a field trip that he just can't miss. Good luck with that. But it's a good thing that he told me ahead of time.

* I really don't like being on duty on late notice. That's because for me, being a barista for a day needs a lot of psyching up before game time. Right now, although I'm a bit queasy from watching Gossip Girl all day yesterday (then realizing halfway that I've already watched Season 2 before, badtrip!), I can say that I'm pretty psyched up. I was up very early today, turned on the radio for my daily dose of Good Times at Magic, sipped Nesvita and coffee (mixed!), took a bath, made do lists and sub-do lists, then drove off to do, I mean, PERFORM errands. I like that PERFORM errands, haha! Blogging is an errand, a weekly Monday errand. Along with laundry, picking up groceries at Joyce's place, plus other stuff I do to make me look busy.

* I was forced to eat pancakes at McDonald's this morning. I needed the extra energy. It's part of the psyching up thing.

* Back to the main topic, we're busy this week because...

* I have this interview at 4 pm with a student. She's (are you a she?) doing a study about coffee shops in Elbi. Well, that's been a hot topic lately. Hehe. Suddenly everybody loves coffee; are we the new coffee capital?! Who knows, who knows...

* Then we have this OJT person who will be hanging out with us for a while. She'll be starting today. Just trying to help her out for her TESDA exam. Glad we can help. We hope your experience with us will be fruitful! Add us up on Facebook (

* Then on Friday, I'll be the one gone for the day so Neil will be taking over Showtime Friday this week. It's been quite some time now since Neil's taken over a Friday. I'll be attending this Go Negosyo event at the SM Mall of Asia. They've got a bunch of free seminars that looks interesting. It's an all-day event and I'm very excited. My friend Jenni Sumagui will be accompanying me to the event. Al Labadan was supposed to go with me but backed out, so sayang dude. Joyce has work so she can't come too. I hope we can get fresh insights from the event... yeah, certainly we will.

* Gigs... I'm still waiting for the go-signal from Meliora. I was asking them if they can do an acoustic gig at the cafe. And my band, actually it's just me and Bessy collectively known as The Bookshelf Cassette (because I used to store my cassette tape collection on a bookshelf), haven't practiced yet. Hey if you guys out there have any original material and/or play indie covers you can do a gig at the cafe. But no, we can't pay you, you'll be playing just for the heck of playing and letting others hear your stuff. The message: YOU HAVE A VENUE.

* Cafe news. Got a lot of customers last week, around 400 plus paying customers, we only count those who order food and/or drinks. So that's a lot for our cafe. Thanks to all of you! We really want to be the best in what we do. You've probably read my barista speeches on my blog, and you probably know by now that making coffee for us is rocket science. I'm glad that I've passed on the obsession for clean filter baskets to my baristas. We pull shots until we get it right. We don't care about the wasted coffee (apologies to our bosses in Dumaguete), it's not actually wasted, it's disposed because it's being tested for quality.

* I'm really happy that our espresso orders are picking up, take note, espresso only, who orders that right? It's really the heart of everything good. Bitter to some, but sometimes bitter is better. Thank you!!!

* Ahhh... the pressure to do good, and do even better the next time, it's the formula for breakdown. Are we having a sophomore slump? Uh, I don't think so. It's a new year, a new album, a different project, a new perspective (haha, PATD!). We'll see, it's hard to live up to the hype sometimes. Especially when you've gone full-throttle on your first year.

* I'm amazed that despite the obvious changes at the cafe, we still get new customers and maintain old ones. Special shout out to the Sherwin-Aldo-Candy trio, they've been with us since day one. Sometimes I think Sherwin is my boss, haha!

* So please pray for us and continue to support us. We're very happy that our hometown's here for us because we love Elbi right back.

Monday, August 31, 2009

I Tried to Do Handstands for You

* Well here we are once again, doing our respective jobs and stuck in the routine of life. Well most of you are on vacation right now but some of us aren't bound by national holidays. But routine is not that all bad. These moments of complacency, assurance of what would happen during the day, and repetitiveness are sometimes necessary, if not essential, in our lives. These lull moments will pass, then something insane will happen, be it a positive or negative form of insanity. Something totally unexpected or something anticipated and well-prepared for. We must bask in these moments and rest ourselves and find comfort in the arms of routine.

* One thing I realized after college is that students are among one of the luckiest people around. Why? Because they live in a routine. A life that is scheduled, planned out, and laid out for them. You know that this subject is on this time, you know when your midterms are, you can prepare yourself for a long weekend and stuff. Things like that. Although there are some elements of unpredictability, like a pop quiz or a typhoon, or an unplanned failed exam, you have to admit that the life of a student is structured in the structurest way of a structure!

* When you wake up after your graduation you'll realize that you are no longer bound by some school's requirements. Unless you found work early and you have to go to the office at once. In my case, I didn't have work for a year. I did the classic PMA (pahinga muna anak) way after grad. Typical soul-searching and stuff. I strongly recommend that to anyone who is reading this that would be grauating this year. Unless your parents are pressuring you or you want to earn money immediately. But being a bum really detoxifies your inner-being. haha! Yeah it does. It gives you time to think of what you really want to do and totally prepare for it.

* And now here I am, after two years, still in a routine, but it's a routine that I made for myself. No one's asking me to blog or maintain several social networking accounts. Our bosses in Dumaguete didn't tell me to do that (yes, this is a full-time labor of love). But I want to. At least the pressure comes from myself. I'm writing this blog because I want aspiring young entreps to know what goes on in the heart and mind of a 23-year old full-time cafe owner in a little town called Los Banos. Yeah, these are just random thoughts indeed.

* A friend of mine saw our new paper cups and told me, "now you're like Starbucks!" Uh, yeah, somehow. I wasn't really offended, I don't want to be a hypocrite, our crew hangs out at Starbucks when we can, but from the start of the business we didn't really want to be like Starbucks. Maybe in terms of brand recognition in the Los Banos (UPLB) and Dumaguete (Silliman) areas, yes we do want to be known for our good coffee. But in terms of the overall image, we decided to stray away from the quiet-couch-WiFi crowd. Instead, we welcomed the noise from a thousand youths and played genres from techno to RnB to metal (right now we're alternating indie singer-songwriters and post-grunge playlists).

* I have something planned out for the cafe this year. As you have noticed we have mellowed down on the posters, videos, promos and stuff. But no, we did not slack off. We're just coming up with something different, something new. I won't tell you what it is yet, I don't want to spoil it! It's still in the drawing board. The question will always be (at least for me), "What does it take to be different? What will set us apart?" Oh, I'm loving the dynamism of this job. After a few years I hope we can get good at this.

* I view my life like that of a musician or a novelist. You spend a lot of time under -the -radar, reflecting on what to do, what to write, what new material to create and all that stuff. People won't hear from you and they'll think you're dead. And then you come out of nowhere and come up with a mega project that's totally cool. Yeah, that's the kind of life I like.

* Like what my friend Aaron Zara told me last night, "I like your life, it's like everyday's an adventure." Yes it is, and thanks for reminding me cause sometimes I tend to lose sight of it. God bless everybody!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weeds was Entitled Weeds Not Just Because of the Weed

Photo: Our new 12 oz paper cups, yeah!

[Soundtrack: Final Straw - Snow Patrol]

I was about to start this week's blog entry with the word "last" but noticed that I started a bunch of my blog entries with the words "last week". And that's why I started with this notice. Can I use the word "last" now? I think I will...

Last year, we devoted much of our time doing PR work online, making ads (posters and videos), and the works. This year I thought that we'll concentrate more on training our baristas and strengthening ties with our newfound industry friends. More on the technical side this year. I think we've done enough work introducing ourselves to the world (for now) last year. We're happy that as of this entry we already have 1014 friends on Facebook. We may not know them all (some of them I just added on Suggested Friends, some of them invited us) but I'm glad that you guys are part of what's going on in our lives as baristas and young entrepreneurs.

I was deleting emails from our inbox last night and I was surprised to see that we actually receive fan mail! Wow, I can't believe I've been ignoring those because all I see are the words Facebook and Multiply in our inbox. To those people who've been mailing us, thanks for the encouraging words! I hope the advice I'd given you would help you in your own future endeavors. We're not industry experts but we're glad to share our experiences with you. Here's one email:

Subject: Inspired By You
From: Niña Luigi Chua-Cabardo

Hi Joyce and Jabez,

I stumbled upon your cafe in Entrepreneur magazine and I have been thinking about your endeavor ever since. It has truly inspired me to take action on a long-time dream, which is to put up my own cafe. And you guys are so young, too! Congratulations on your success! If you have any tips on how to get started on this (which do I do first?!), please do let me know!

Hope to visit Los Baños one of these days so I can try your concoctions ;) Thanks and more blessings to you!

Inspiring people to actually pursue their dream gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Whenever I feel I haven't done anything significant, here are some things that really gets me going and also inspire me to do better. I actually already made a sorta template reply for people asking for advice on setting up their own shop. Just a list of some things that I learned from Phil and Cedric Ho at Highlander Coffee Academy and other people I've talked to.

One thing I've learned from those guys is that you don't have to monopolize the industry. It's great that there are many small shops coexisting in one place. It offers variety, hosts different types of people, and also puts less pressure on you to actually accommodate everyone on the planet.

I've been really really busy last week. I have this 8am to 2pm secretarial job for my father at TOPIC Phils. every Monday to Wednesday. I think it's been three weeks now. I drive to San Pablo then back to Los Banos in the afternoon to setup the cafe at 3pm. We open at 4pm then I hangout for awhile then go home to prepare for another day. I still work at the cafe during Thursdays to Saturdays. Oh the things people do to get by.

Last Saturday morning was really very tiring. We were supposed to pickup the paper cups at Cubao at 9am. But then we were bitten by the "lakas trippings" bug. We decided that we take Ramhil home to Tanauan, Batangas after work then head straight to Cubao. We brought our former barista Bessy along too.

So after work we went straight to Tanauan and had "dinner" at Jollibee. Then went to Cubao. Realizing that our meet-up place was still closed, we went to Ortigas to look for a place to chill. We were looking for a Starbucks but unfortunately we got lost. The place really looks different without the light of day. We stopped at a Chowking but there was no CR. So we went to McDo instead, had our pancakes and coffee and stayed their until 7 to 7:30am. Talking about life and all that comedy-drama stuff.

We went back to Cubao at the Navigators building. I toured Manong and Bessy around and then we fell asleep on the couch. Thanks to Noynoy for accommodating us! Then the Primatech people came, did the transaction, and then we're off again. The traffic was horribly amazing, it was freakin' hot inside the multicab, with all the boxes containing the 5000 paper cups inside it. It was hell on earth, the multicab's fans were blowing out demons with pitchforks on our faces. The Creedence Clearwater Revival album I was listening to repeated 3 times and we were still in the same place! We got home at 12:30pm. Then Manong and I overslept, we woke up at 3pm instead of the usual 2pm. We were late. But when we got to the cafe, I decided to take my time and just chill, not worry about anything or panic. I opened the cafe alone at 4pm, customers went in but it was all cool. Iba lang talaga pag laseng sa puyat.

[Soundtrack: Futures - Jimmy Eat World]

After closing that day we went straight to Tagaytay to have bulalo on Dan's birthday. Happy 22nd bday dude! Then we stopped at Petron, SLEX on the way home to have breakfast and coffee. As expected, I woke up at 5pm the next day. I finished season 1 of Weeds. Actually the series inspired me to write today. I don't know why but the inspiration that a comedy-drama series can give me is often unparalleled. Props to My Boys season 1 for inspiring me for our first year at the cafe. Trust me, I learned a lot of things from that series.

Am I stressed? I don't think so, doing nothing stresses me more. I think we will all have cancer in the future anyway. So do what you have to do right now. Very bad advice for those who want to save money. Don't listen to me for financial advice. I don't like money and math.

AND as for this week, we hope that a lot of you would be taking out our hot coffee. The coffee cups really look good (see the picture above). Nice work by the Primatech people (not the Heroes Primatech people, ok? hehe).

Well thanks for reading these things that's been going on in my head. A lot of people won't care but some people just have to do this. They just have to blog. It feels really good.

Okay, I'll see you all at the cafe. I have some errands to do. Earlier this morning I hung out with my tito Ed Cvelich, a long-time family friend. We talked about a lot of stuff and had coffee at the cafe. Yeah, I opened it for him (because Ate Mila was cleaning anyway). He bought a t-shirt and I gave him a bag of beans to take home to the States. Hope you read this Tito Ed!

God bless us all!

May caffeine be the only drug you take.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Search for the Ultimate Soundtrip Experience

I remember our first set of speakers when we opened the cafe last year. It was a pair of desktop speakers with a left side mini-component speaker I salvaged from my room during my college days semi-plugged in to the desktop PC's headphone thingy, socket-plug-chorva. Ano ba tawag dun?! Anyway, it was the same set of speakers that I used in my room back in college. When the cafe was still under construction, I would come at night when the workers have gone home then test my speakers at the site. I told myself, "ayos na soundtrip to, ok naman pale e."

Then of course, taste and preference evolve over time. When our former cook, Dan, arrived he let us use his grandpa speakers with a mini subwoofer. It was a little better than mine. Dan argued that mine lacked the bass that his set can offer. I can't argue with that because it's true. So we used that pair for a long, wait, loooooong time.

But during the course of the year, I finally got irritated when one of the speakers lost its sound and the jack connecting the speakers to the laptop got busted. I got an iPod Nano for Christmas and the speakers kept on draining it before the day ended. We needed a solution, fast. I can't work without music.

When I went to Singapore for my barista training the following year, I purchased a JBL On Stage Micro Portable for my iPod and the cafe. I was wandering around this electronics shop and docked my iPod on every speaker I saw. The On Stage really blew me away, it was really small but the sound was very very good, it was excellent, in fact. When I got back, the VERY FIRST thing I did was showoff my speaker and test it at the cafe. I played L-O-V-E by Nat King Cole. Wow, it was so swabe pare!

I kept on raving about the JBL speaker, telling everyone that it's so good and it even chargers your iPod, and all that stuff. Salesman talk. But as usual, it came to a point that groovin' with the On Stage got old. I even got sad when the cafe noise drowns out the music.

Music is my life, you can read it at our high school yearbook. It's a personal truth. I'm not a gamer, I'm not athletic (at least not anymore), I don't drink, I don't go out much, I don't even watch TV anymore. But what I do aside from making coffee is listen to music, read music mags, write and record songs, and play my instruments. That's what I do in my room. I'm always in search for the ultimate soundtrip experience.

Okay so we bought this Ozaki Woofer of Woofers set at ATC yesterday. But there's a good story behind that purchase. Please allow me to blog about it (haha!). So here it goes...

I was on my way to Lady Gaga's concert, and I was trying out my SkullCandy Hesh on Lady Gaga's album, The Fame, on the way to Araneta. I like the way it drowns out the noise then you hear absolutely nothing from the outside world. When we got to the concert, I already had an excess amount of Gaga and I remembered the Walkman days when I used to listen to music album by album. It was during those days that you form a strong bond with an artist and an album. Anyway, it was a perfect jam. I thought that since we have a cafe, I have the perfect venue for people to listen to music and I hope that they too would have a good jam the way I did.

On the way home, Joyce played this really kick-ass playlist on her iTouch. I was reeeally, enthralled (wow, first time I used that word on this blog) by the sequence and selection of songs that includes Tonic classics, Dishwalla, Swirl 360, a new OLP song, 90s post-grunge classics, early 2000 alternative hits, and the works. I have to admit that I had a perfect soundtrip on the way home. Na-high ako (ask Bessy how that feels). Then I thought, "Ang ganda sana magpatugtog ng mga ganyan kung maganda ang mga speakers sa cafe, yung hindi nalulunod yung music, tamang chillax lang, waaah pano kaya..."

Then last week, Manong, Jeg, Bessy, and I hanged out at our "happy place", the Starbucks at Petron, SLEX. As I listened to their soft music playing from their superior Bose speakers, I told the guys, "Tingnan nyo, ang sarap makining ng music pag ganito e! Kahit gano na karami ang tao, rinig mo parin yung tumutugtog!"

Of course, I didn't have the money to buy the superior power of a Bose, so I had to settle my soul for something else. I remembered we saw this 6-piece Edifier speaker set at ATC when we watched GI JOE. I told Retz that we had to buy that, we just HAD TO. I really can't stand seeing my little JBL speaker huffing and puffing from the corner trying its best to sing the music that I like.

When we finally got the chance to come back to ATC I went straight to the speaker section and told the "kuya" stationed over there to test the speakers. Then we found out that that kind of speaker doesn't work with an iPod or a laptop. It needed a desktop PC and a kick-ass sound card to make it all work. Shattered dreams.

But the kind "kuya" showed us their other speakers. All in all we tested 5 sets. It was very crucial, I think we spent about an hour listening to the quality of the speakers. We tried different genres of songs on each. Then when the choices went down to the final two, the 2-piece Edifier speaker and the Ozaki Woofer of Woofers, I had to play and test a single song on the two sets to judge the sound quality. I decided that whichever played the BEST version of Crack the Shutters by Snow Patrol would get the final nod. Hands down, the Ozaki won. Plus the "treble" feature beat out the FM radio feature of the Edifier.

It didn't matter how hot it was inside the multicab and how tired and wasted we were from watching Hellboy 2 and Resident Evil: Regeneration prior to our trip to ATC, we went straight to the cafe to test the speakers. Retz and I spent an eternity looking for a connector that would extend the speakers' cables so we could place it on strategic areas. We didn't find any that day. But thanks to Julius and the Eusebio Electronics Shop, we got a pair today. Thank you!

Retz went all OC on trying to find the perfect angles for the speakers. The final test was a good Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas. And yeah, it was groovin'! Finally.

Well I never thought telling a story about buying a set of speakers would be this long. But that's how it went.

As you can see, Cafe Antonio is not just a story about coffee, it's also a story about the experiences of the people inside it and how everything falls into place. And now you know how those speakers got pumping at Canton.

One last thing, ang galeng mo pare kung natapos mo tong basahin! haha! God bless! Thanks for the support!


* Blueberry muffins and Apple Cinnamon muffins are available again at the cafe. Now only 15 pesos.