Sunday, April 25, 2010

Twelve Days Makes Two Weeks in CAnton Time

* We have two weeks to go before we move to the new site. We know a lot of you are excited but a little sad because the place already has sentimental value for a lot of us. Anyway, my sister, Grace, thought of an excellent moving-out activity before we start packing our bags. On Monday (April 26), we will hang a huge tarpaulin showing the cafe's interior. We would like every CAnton customer to sign his/her name and leave a personal message on the tarp. You have until May 8 to sign. After that, we will hang the tarp in the new site. It will serve as a reminder of the good 'ol days in the old site. We want you guys to be part of our history so please come before you run out of space to sign your name!

* On April 30, NHK (a major TV network in Japan), will be coming to the cafe and start filming their show about the life of a barista, featuring us! They will be filming for 10 days. Please come to the cafe on April 30 until May 8 and be part of this very rare opportunity!

* UPLB Zoom Out will be showing indie films at the cafe on these dates: April 27 to 29 and May 3 to 6. Please come, admission is free!

* We're planning a closing party on May 8. Please come! We will be having amazing promos and handing out special giveaways. Let's make the last day of Cafe Antonio at the old site extremely special! 

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Best Kept Secrets are the Ones Worth Sharing

* I'll be writing off the top of my head right now. The past two weeks have been really both hectic and awesome for us. A lot of CRAZY things happened. Amazing twists, turn of events, tight situations, bonus gifts, name 'em. Sometimes I think God allows things to happen, especially the crazy ones, so that we can practice and apply the tools, gifts, and skills that He has equipped and blessed us with in real-world situations. 

* You see, you can be talented and smart or gifted but never really have the chance to use 'em "mad skillz". Sometimes you don't have to choose what you do, most of the time you get forced into doing something and find out in the process who you are or who you're going to be. It's the "getting forced into" situations that are really worth relishing. You didn't know you had it in you all along!

* I think I have matured in a week. The responsibility that I have right now overwhelms me. I did things that I was afraid to do before. I used my brain to the extent that I'm already using Algebra (my least favorite subject) to solve our problems. I didn't know I could do that. 

* I got disappointed, stumped, depressed because I didn't know what to do anymore. My family told me that if I already did all that I can do, I should give God room to do His part. As always, and I never learn (as always), God did what He always does in the tightest of situations. He gave us the answer to our problems and even added bonus gifts! Wow, if you know me personally, I should say, welcome to the story of my life. I've been there many, many times.

* The product of God's grace is the new site in LB Square (pictured above). The bonus gifts are a potential TV show about our barista life to be aired internationally and a kick-ass business prospect offered by a major corporation. We also had a successful 2nd year anniversary celebration last Wednesday. All the happenings prior to the anniversary seems very fitting. It's not just a celebration of 2 years of cafe work, but a celebration of togetherness and a celebration of all the things that happened that made us into who and what we are right now. God truly makes things work together for good.

* May the continuing story of Cafe Antonio - Los Banos be a living testimony of God's love, grace, and goodness to us.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Blog Contest Grand Champion

Cafe Antonio - Los Banos
by Candy Villar

People search for that one place that one can escape to. In movies, it seems very easy to find. Just look for a coffee shop and you have that one place. In Los Baños, coffee shops sprang in the past year. One label can have up to three shops. Business must really be good. With the existing competition, businesses come up with different strategies ranging from 24-hour operations, shop expansion, to providing Internet connection.

Among all the Los Baños coffee shops, there’s this particular shop that changed the reason I go to these types of shops.

I usually visited coffee shops for the obvious reason – caffeine. Coffee was a necessity especially whenever I was in between exams struggling to stay awake and cram concepts into my almost (if not already) numb brain. I was not a frequent visitor in these types of shops then. Coffee was quite pricey for a student (for me, at least). They were reserved for special days – exams, presentations, field trips, and the likes.

This past year, I found myself going to this shop for quality coffee – among others. Cafe Antonio Los Baños offers great coffee – and even better company. This is one place where you’ll never feel out-of-place even if you come alone (Yeah, we all have an idea of that feeling – having coffee alone?). The baristas will draw you out of your lone state.

What endears me to this place is that I do not feel like a customer – more like a pal, friend, buddy, tropa, or whatever you may want to call it warmly welcomed for a visit. Its customers may have had different reasons for their initial visit – group meetings, business meetings, a place to pass time, et cetera. They, however, became regulars because of the sense of belongingness, informal coffee 101 lessons, and of course, – quality coffee that Cafe Antonio offers. Where else can you experience Barako Nights, a round of Kapeng Barako on the house?

Plus, one gets to meet people with whom they have something in common with – the appreciation for comfort, coffee, and good company.

Cafe Antonio Los Baños is the place to go to for great coffee – and even better company.

(Just in case you were wondering, I was not paid to write this  There’s no need to.)

Blog Contest 1st Runner Up

by Raisa Pantaleon

I can still remember the first time I stepped into that café. I’d heard of it a few times, but it wasn’t until a friend took me there when we were looking to sober up that I’d actually seen the place. It wasn’t big. It wasn’t flashy. No, it’s no Starbucks. But from the outside, with the soft yellow paint, the dim, cozy lights and the simple sign that read Café Antonio, I could tell there was something about it that explained the busy crowd. True enoughit was even better inside.

In my mind, coffee shops are designed for laid back nights or busy mornings, and I usually don’t like it when they are otherwise. But the café was different. After the initial step in, I remember my friend acknowledging almost everyone in the place. I think this was that something I was looking for. When someone was inside the café, I noticed how they never failed to greet everyone else. Café Antonio had its own community inside, quite like an open one, wherein you would never feel like you don’t belong. Another thing I noticed was that the café had no WiFi. We satisfi with no WiFi, says a sticker by the entrance. That was a point for me. Why? Come on, how many times have you seen a group at a coffee shop without the people talking to each other because they’re too busy with their laptops? Instead of free wireless internet, the crew had a library of some of the most entertaining books I had ever read. They had Pictionary and board games to offer, too. No wonder it was like a community in there. It was a free for all, with the crew enjoying with their customers. This, I believe, was interaction at its finest.

I recall asking my friend to do the honors of ordering for me. She had been there before and I was sure she knew what was perfect for first-timers like me. My first drink at the café was their Hazelnut Latte. To be honest, I was really impressed. See, I always told my sister that the most common establishments I’d seen in Los Baños were apartments, bars and coffee shops. And I know I reached a phase wherein I could not get enough of caffeine. I tried almost every coffee shop and the most frustrating thing about it is that other people don’t recognize the importance of quality anymore. It’s like they go a little beyond the line that makes them a coffee shop and then that’s it. You know, masabing coffee shop sila. I remember going into one near my place – which, by the way, has about three branches in this town already – because it looked like a successful establishment. Well, you know how they say first impressions don’t last. Imagine my frustration when I got sugar with coffee. I’m not kidding. That’s how it tasted. I could even see the granules at the bottom. Fail. That’s why I was impressed with CAnton’s coffee. You could practically taste their passion and see the effort they put into their drinks. I mean, have you seen their Flavor of the Months? Talk about creative.

It’s been over a year since that first visit to Café Antonio. I’ve tried several more drinks since then. Personally, I’ve been quite attached to a certain one that when I step into the café, I know I have to have it. But I can guarantee you that everything I’ve tasted so far is excellent. You can even shut your eyes and point to anything in the menu and still end up with something good. True story. Coffee has grown into me since I learned that there was finally a café in this town that deserved to be called such. And the best part about it is that everything there is good value for your money.

Great quality + generous servings + affordable prices = Café Antonio Los Baños

So here’s a shout out to the stressed and/or haggard students of UPLB who spend weeks at a time away from their family: If you’re looking for a place to unwind, if you’re looking for great coffee and great company, if you’re looking for home in the heart of Los Baños, then visit the CAnton community, where they give love in every cup. 

Blog Contest 2nd Runner Up

"Lady Luck"
by Veronica Sapasap

"We were the words that washed from the sand,
I still prayed we wouldn’t give it up
We were the wings of a hummingbird,
But I grew tired as I would wait for lady luck…"

Maria Taylor’s single," Lady Luck", was playing on the background that Tuesday. Café Antonio has always triggered that certain feel on me- of lazy afternoons as light and as laidback as non-mainstream music. I remembered how my friends and I will put up the tables together and create a large circle occupying almost half of the café. That day was clearance day for us graduating students and it only means that we will have much lesser chances to meet at our favorite coffee shop. Sadly, it was also the day I sent my farewell to a special someone.

Nevertheless, I still consider myself lucky that day. It’s not because I have found Lady Luck or good fortune but it’s because I have learned to accept things as they are. I was lucky because I had two semesters wherein my friends and I shared the same tables, played a variety of games, and poured stories over glasses of cold coffee. I was lucky because I had a year wherein I have learned to share my life with someone. At the end of the day, what remains are the good memories and we begin to move on from that point. We move on from college to med/grad school or from school to work, carrying with us the good memories that we often associate with certain things or establishments like Café Antonio.

When I entered the university four years ago, coffee shops are not very prominent with the students. The sudden bloom of coffee shops around UPLB may be seen in different perspectives. It may be accounted with increasing consumerism due to the influx of students paying one thousand pesos per unit. Social stratification now comes in. How can one avoid thinking this way if he enters a coffee shop and see expensive slippers for sale, or students preoccupied with their laptops (quite expensive, of course) and busy with these arbitrary friendships formed on social networking sites?

Coffee is a part of our Filipino culture. Aside from providing a nice place where people can just basically hang-out without distractions from the internet, Café Antonio is a brewing place for the coffee culture and even intellectual discourse. The needs of a consumer may be commercialized, but the love we have developed for places, friends, or a special someone can never be. Café Antonio is going on for two years now and though we can never be on the same ground forever, we can always consider ourselves lucky. Cheers!

"And you'll meet a friend along the way
You can't wait for each new day
It doesn't always work the way you planned it
I like it better this way."

Monday, April 12, 2010

Happy 2nd Anniversary CAnton ELBI!


Come celebrate our 2nd year anniversary with us on Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lots of prizes to be given away at these times:
11 am, 1pm, 4pm, 9 pm, 1am

9:00 PM - Announcement of blog contest winners; awarding of prizes
Grand Prize: Php 2222.00
1st Runner Up: Orange Tumbler
2nd Runner Up: Coffee Crumble Frothiccino (FoM)

9:30 PM - Messages from the CAnton Staff
9:45 PM - Announcement of New Location

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Celebrate Two Years of CAnton Goodness on April 14!

* This would be our last anniversary celebration in this place so please come and bring your family and friends! 

* Blog contest winner will be announced on anniversary day, 9 pm at the cafe. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Now, Let's Make Every Moment Count

* She and Him Vol. 2 is playing in the background as I am writing this blog entry. Thank you Eric Soliven for the album, Zooey Deschanel is my inspiration.

* The blogs have been erratic these past two weeks. Last week, I posted the blog on a quiet Wednesday evening. This week, this blog will be posted on a Friday, on a Good Friday to be specific. I usually post my blogs on Monday nights, to start the week right.

* Our 2nd year anniversary is fast approaching, April 14 is just around the bend. Really now, two years have already gone by? Time sure flies when you're having fun.

* May 14 will be Cafe Antonio ELBI's LAST DAY of operations on where we're currently situated. 

* Our 2-year contract is expiring on April 14 (we were able to negotiate a 1 month extension just to put things in to order) and our renewal and second floor project will not be able to push through due to impossible financial demands from our landlady. I wouldn't go into details here but just to give you a rough picture, she's asking us for 2-year advance for a 5-year contract which costs around almost half a million bucks. Unbelievable.

* We received the news last Monday, March 22. Three days after that, I got a text message saying that our friend, Erol Baltazar just passed away. He's the one handling our permits and legal documents. We went to his wake and visited his wife, Tita Gina, the following day. May you rest in peace Kuya Erol, thank you for the two years you spent helping us build our business. To Tita Gina and their daughter, stay strong and always remember God's goodness.

* I always picture myself getting old and gray with the cafe still standing and serving people. It's nice to have a place like that. You'll know that someday that place will be rich with history and will always be filled with good memories. But things change, like everything else in this world. It's sad but it's no reason to give up. The only sad thing here is that we're leaving a physical place where a lot of amazing things took place. 

* For those who want to join our blog contest, you can write about your best memories at the cafe and how it influenced your life, stuff like that. We will be announcing the winner on April 14. The cash prize is still Php 2222.00. Given our current "surprise" situation, the blog contest became very fitting.

* Cafe Antonio is our life, we wouldn't give up that easily. We love our jobs this much because it changed and developed a lot of things in us. We also owe our customers a lot. Over the course of two years we've met a lot of people and some of them became our closest friends. 

*  We haven't found a new place yet. So just keep praying for us. 

* If you have friends and family who haven't been to the cafe yet, bring them along and show them what the place is all about. And I hope that people will see that Cafe Antonio isn't just another establishment serving coffee.

* Cafe Antonio - Dumaguete will be visiting us on Monday, April 5, it will be their first time. So we're inviting you guys to come and "riprizint" and show what ELBI is all about!

* Thank you so much Los Banos! God bless!