Sunday, April 26, 2009

Endings and Beginnings

The year 2007, it seems very recent but it really isn't. A baby born on that year is already 2 years old, probably his/her parents have gone a long way since then. Two years ago, an iPod Touch was not yet a site to see and so was the PSP. And two years ago we have just graduated from college and was welcomed to the beginning of "bum-hood." The point is a lot of things have changed over the past two years.

Last October 2007 (it's not exactly two years ago but its still in 2007) we were in Dumaguete training for Cafe Antonio. And during that time, Nica, Joyce, and I met someone who would become our mother for the two months we were there. Her name was Rene Pinero, wife of Atty. Rolly Pinero and mother of our Cafe Antonio bosses, Edison, Rayvin, Rochris, and their little sister, Reicha. She was a bundle of joy, always game, always cracking jokes, and very cool to be with. She was very optimistic about life and was an inspiration to the three of us while we were out there trying discover ourselves.

I was browsing our photos in Dumaguete before writing this and I came across the folder named Tita Rene's Bday. It was the day we held a surprise birthday party for her at Cafe Antonio - Dumaguete. My favorite part was when Tito Rolly prayed before dinner together with family and close friends, and the the three of us were there. After dinner there was some dancing while a jazz band played. Then I shamed myself with some freestyle rap. Those were the good ol' days indeed.

Tita Rene passed away last week, April 18, four days after our 1st year anniversary. She has struggled with ovarian cancer. People come and go, that's what we say, but it's hard to say it especially if it involves people we love. But we should not worry because she's with the Lord now and He knows what's best for her and for us. And as for us back here, all we need to do is to remain strong and move on with life. The memories will always remain and sometimes it might hurt, but if Tita Rene was still here, she wouldn't want us to wallow in pain. May you rest in peace and we thank you for everything you've done. It's been an honor to have known you in this life. As for the Pinero family, the LB family would like to say our condolences. Be strong in the Lord and praise Him always, no matter what.

On a lighter note, we would like to say congratulations to our very talented baker, Marisse Bonita for finally graduating from BS Civil Engineering at UPLB! May this achievement open new opportunities for you. We are all very proud of you! And thanks for the amazing grad party at your house!



The online store will officially open on May 2009, so for all you Cafe Antonio fans out there, start visiting our site at Some customers have already bought merchandise at the cafe last week, you could also purchase stuff this week, just ask for a reservation by texting me (Jabez - 09173406945).


To all our customers who have graduated, congratulations to all of you! To our loyal Ruralite customers, we will still see you, welcome to college! Although some of you won't be studying in UPLB, just make sure you'd still visit us. Our cafe mainstays, Kalegs and Ria, we will miss you very much! Late nights will be different without you guys!


For next month, the Canton gang just had this crazy idea of hosting a sort-of-Bingo night, but instead of Bingo, we will use the word Gwapo (in honor of our famous barista, Neil). Details will follow. Exciting to, ayoko muna i-spoil!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cafe Antonio Store is Now Accepting Reservations

Reserve Cafe Antonio shirts and mugs now! Visit

Online store officially opens on May 2009

Special thanks to: Azzul Grapika Graphic Studio (

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Blue Crush is Finally Here!!!

After waiting for almost a year, the very popular Blue Crush from Cafe Antonio - Dumaguete, is finally here! It's not a Canton urban legend anymore, it's true, you can order it now for only 50 pesos.

The heat was very intense yesterday, I got so irritated and fed up and told myself that it's time. It's time for the Blue Crush to rescue us from the summer sun. So Kuya Ramhil and I went to the cafe early and started experimenting like crazy. After several tries, the Blue Crush, the ever elusive Blue Crush can now be served.

Find out what it's about and order it TODAY!

The CHOCO TOFFEE NUT Frothiccino is still available for the month of April for only 150 pesos. Complete your toffee high

Also Available: Choco Toffee ala Mode (Php 35) - a choco toffee brownie bar with a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with caramel and chocolate sauce! Goes great with April's FoM (Php 150).

For bulk orders visit:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cafe Antonio ELBI - Season 1 Finale

April 7, 2009, 3:30 pm – Our barista, Neil, and I finished early preparing the café for the day’s operations. Summer has just begun and the Holy Week is fast approaching; we didn’t expect much people that day. But the Canton faithful is a different bunch—two groups of people have already lined up outside the closed café. This was funny because we thought only movie theaters and malls get lines minutes before they open.

April 9, 2009, 12:00 am – The café was quiet and dimly lit. It was emo day—the roll-up on one side couldn’t be opened leaving the café looking like a half open-half closed establishment. Things were slow at the final hour of the week. Neil, Bessy, and Retz were all asleep; I watched Little Miss Sunshine, the laptop mounted on the counter, from the lounge area; while Canton Knights of the Tiny Black Round Table led by Sir Sherwin talked about gadgets and gizmos in the couch area. Everybody had their own space in a small place. And then almost instantly, even though people have their own spaces, one utterance can be heard in the entire café leading to discussion and interaction.

These two moments last week really caught my attention. The first one is unusual because we didn’t text these kids to come minutes before the opening so they won’t be late. And its summer, shouldn’t you be home? That kind of support is what a friend gives to a friend. The second one is striking because the café flashed a moment of a family living room. We’ve been to cozy places before but that moment was way beyond cozy. It’s the feeling of safety and support only a family can give.

Café Antonio is a public place but it gives the feeling that the Los Banos community is a family. Lives interconnected and stories intertwined. I think that’s ELBI defined.

We opened the café a year ago believing that we’ll survive the year with a little help from our friends. And it’s true, it was very true. Our friends also had friends and they had friends, and so on. We’ve met a lot of new people during the course of the year. And a lot of them became our friends. To show support they even give us food for supper. We can always count on these people even in our “darkest” of hours.

In return for their kindness and support, we give them the best service and the best products that we can possibly offer. Right now our baristas are undergoing a rigorous two-month training program so they too will share the same passion that Café Antonio has for coffee. Unseen to the public eye, we have changed a lot of our methods of preparing coffee, and maintaining good quality espresso. The “Every Drink That’s From the Heart is a Work of Art” mantra has kept our baristas keen on every detail on the process of coffee-making. And Café Antonio merchandise will be available at the Café Antonio Store ( on May 2009 to the Luzon and Visayas markets. These are the two things that we’re focusing on right now. We know we have a limited budget and limited personnel but we need to make something happen to cater to the needs of those who believe in what we do.

Our first year anniversary is on Tuesday, April 14. And I am overwhelmed. A year has passed and so many things have happened. It’s like Season 1 of a TV series. People have come and gone, cast members changed, new characters introduced, the set rearranged, and the pace very fast, each day/episode independent but somehow threads the whole season, etc. It’s all amazing. Maybe this is what sets Café Antonio apart, everybody takes part in the story-telling and story-making, not just the staff.

Café Antonio – Los Banos, it’s definitely an ELBI success story, where people who love ELBI support the people who grew up in ELBI and made it their home.

THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE (in no particular order; stream of consciousness typing):

Flores Family * Tita Roucelle and the Bonita Household * UPLB DevCom Faculty * Sherwin, Aldo, and Candy * DevComSoc * UP Entrepreneurs’ Club * Kyle Noel * Eric & Ise * BLD-YM * UPRHS Batch ’97 * UPRHS Batch ’99 (our batchmates!) * UPRHS Batch ’05 * Friendster Friends * Multiply Contacts * Facebook People * Cindy Escobin and Entrepreneur Magazine * Nina Calleja and the Philippine Daily Inquirer * Myke Celis and Code Red Magazine * The Ruralite * Mark, Millie, and Melo * Ruralites * UPRHS Alumni * Gelo and his Merry Men * Caramel Cream Girl and her friends * Elbi Pie * El Laberinto * Overhaul * Espaleklek * Meloria * UP Jammers Club * Budik of Ethereal * Sta. Romana Family * Kuya Erol * Boy Requiron * Noel Carigma * Tita Cora, Ate Mila, and Ning’s Thai * Pats and Friends * Kuya Rodel, Drew, and Ely of * ChemSoc * Joyce, Jodi, and Humphrey * BS Nutrition Students * UPLB Navigators * UPLB SocioSoc * Dr. Eusebio and Family * Azzul Grapika * Starbucks – SLEX * Burger King – Halang * Jerico’s Bakery * Panaderia Pantoja * Agua Vida * Bert Tagalog and Papu’s Siomai * Jimmy Botengan and Friends * Baldo, Cel, Keisha, and Mishka * Chris Belison * Kimy and Friends * Nica and Pia * Choral Ensemble * Yummings * Bank of the Philippine Islands * Dana’s * Noria * Ferds’ Isaw * UP ADS * Gene and Glo Veruasa * Tonio and Ella * Marc and Cathee * University of Perpetual Help – Calamba * Sir Fercival and STI-Calamba * PhySci Faculty * BioSci Faculty * Humanities Faculty * SocSci Faculty * Mon Bayani * Jed Stubborn * Eusebio Family * MSMSI Class ’99 * Osio Family and Brent-IRRI Faculty * Fellizar Family * Choco-Macadamia Frothiccino-loving Korean Students * Mocha Froth Girl—Eve * Sir Eppie * Kuya Soc and Friends * CEM Faculty * UPJES * Eric and Kalegs * Al Labadan III * UP Thespian Circle * The Parliament * All the groups and individuals who interviewed us for their classes and requirements * UP Circle of Entrepreneurs (Diliman) * UBE * CEAT Faculty * Churchmates at COCD * Navs Alumni * Ate Hazel Gahum* Jomar Rabajante * Butch Bataller and Friends* Lian * Watts, Brandon, and Friends * Jeg delos Reyes and Friends * Padeys Cajano * Tracy Quila * Dan Sta. Romana * Ate Vivian * Nica Arganosa and Family * Loyalty Mug Holders * Donnah and Circle K International * Noel Sta. Maria * Mark, Oochie, and Astra Zeneca * Zadl and Can * GeneSoc * Majals and Ate Bay * Ate Jing * Kuya Al and Ate Ina * Ate Mila and Ate Melody * Eldon Mananghaya and Friends * Annogrove * Lugaw AV * Karl and Faye * Edu and Marisse * Jay and Manell * JD and Yane * Jek * Jeck Vargas * Mickey * Joy and Daphne * Kapatid ni Gunyar and her friend * Nicdao * Ronilo Flores * Ria Opulencia and Friends * Rev and Emcy * Cesar Paita and girlfriend * our investors * Pastor Chito and Friends * the Café Antonio – Dumaguete family * if I forgot to include your name I’m sorry, it’s either I don’t know your name or I completely forgot, so just put your name here _____________ * and of course, our Lord Jesus Christ—without Him none of this would be possible! The grace of God has kept us alive!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cafe Antonio - LB Featured in Code Red Magazine

Code Red Magazine
Excerpt from the article Travel Brews: In Search of the Perfect Pinoy Cup of Coffee
by Myke Celis

Cafe Antonio in Los Banos, Laguna
"If you like walking around the academic oval of UP Diliman, then you'd love the peaceful surroundings of UP Los Banos. Once, I chanced upon Cafe Antonio, a cute little coffee shop near UPLB. Believe me when I tell you that they serve really good coffee. I personally liked the Red Velvet Frothiccino, which reminds me of a better version of Starbucks' Raspberry Mocha. Plus what I like about Cafe Antonio is the crowd--makes me feel like a college student all over again. When you're into people-watching like me, this is definitely the place for you to hang out. Oh, and the lush greenery of Los Banos is also something you wouldn't want to miss."

Flavor of the Month for April: Choco Toffee Nut Frothiccino
Finally, a toffee-flavored drink from Cafe Antonio! I created this drink yesterday together with trainee barista, Ramhil. We tried many recipes and after about 5 tries we finally made one that suited our taste. The FoM reminded us a lot of double dutch ice cream. Like all FoMs, this one has something special in it. For the toppings we put crushed nuts soaked in English Toffee on top of the whipped cream then drizzled it with chocolate and caramel sauce. Yummings ( will make a pastry inspired by this FoM and we will make a drink-pastry combo that you can order.

First Year Anniversary
Our first year anniversary is on April 14, Tuesday, 11 am to 2 am. Come on designated times to avail of our free items (see posters for details, available at

Cafe Antonio Online Store
The Cafe Antonio Online Store ( is now under construction and will formally open on May 2009. We are still designing and producing shirts, mugs, and other merchandise. As of today, the online store is selling House Blend coffee beans (250 pesos/250 grams) available for Los Banos residents only. You can now place your orders at the site.

We will be closed on April 9 to 11.