#CafeAntonioLB

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 (www.shirtsavenue.multiply.com) 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 Koinonia.com 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 www.cafeantoniostore.multiply.com). 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 Philstar.com and GoNegosyo.net, 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 (http://cafeantoniostore.multiply.com) 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.

* DISCLAIMER: WiFi IS NOT BAD, IT IS OUR FRIEND. WE ALSO USE WiFi IN OUR PERSONAL LIVES.

* 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 (www.facebook.com/cafeantonioelbi).

* 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.