* A good long sleep. That's what I needed to get back in the zone and let the sediments sink back to the bottom of the Pinakurat bottle. The final week was quite a ride. We were in front of the camera for 10 long days, filming for the Japanese TV documentary, Asian Smile, to be aired on the international cable channel, NHK. We enjoyed our time with the TV crew because we met new friends in Aki (director), Toshi (cameraman), Kumiko (Phil. correspondent), and Lisa (translator)--who, to our surprise, is the wife of our family friend, Erik Liongoren.
* I finally experienced what it is like to be filmed for a documentary. Watching Nat Geo and Discovery Channel will never be the same again. Shooting a single scene takes so much effort for both us and the crew. We had to wake up early, stay up late, act out scenes, go to Manila, do funny things in public, etc. Well, you can say it was both a glamorous experience and a very stressful one indeed.
* So how did these guys find out about us? Aki, the director, stumbled upon my name on the Internet when he was searching for a Filipino barista. He needed to make a story about local baristas and their dream to work overseas. His storyline, however, changed when he found out that I was not only a local barista but also an entrepreneur who wanted to remain in the Philippines. Plus, that I had an interesting cast of family and friends to support my endeavor. Zadl, who is a nurse with dreams of going abroad, was even included as a side story in the plot.
* The first thought that came to my mind, or in our minds rather, was that this will be a great opportunity for the cafe to showcase itself to the world. It's like going out with a bang, since we would be moving to a new location. But as the filming went on, day after day, my mentality and attitude just changed. Lisa, knowing that I was getting tired, texted me and thanked me for being patient with all the demands of the shoot. I told her that I wanted Aki to be successful with his story, so it was all okay. I was able to keep my composure each shoot knowing in my heart that we were doing this no longer for the sake of the cafe, but for this young director who also wants to be successful in his own right and deliver a good story he will be proud of back home.
* From there, I remembered what the cafe was really for and why it was altogether special. It's a stage, a platform, where people with different dreams, different talents and skills, and different life stories, can express and showcase themselves as they are. The cafe gives people (not just the employees) opportunities. I was too tired to be in tears but when I saw our friend, TJ very happy after finishing a music video featuring the band, Yield Avenue, as a gift and tribute to the cafe, as he premiered the video on the last day of the cafe, I couldn't help but be proud of him and see him getting praises for what he did. And for the band, Yield Avenue, I was very happy for them because their song, Hanggang Dulo, got the TV crew interested and the song will be played in the documentary.
* I tried to look back and review the past week and the last two years. It's been really all about this...just giving everybody an opportunity to find their passion in life. I remember when I was interviewed last Monday, they asked me how I got into the barista thing. I told them that when I was in college, I used to spend a lot of money buying ingredients for coffee and sandwiches then I'll just give them away as gifts to my friends. Seeing their faces very happy was enough payment for me. Fast forward to 2010, I still get that same kind of satisfaction. FYI, my weekly college allowance is still the same as my weekly salary at the cafe. I have this unique, God-given passion to enjoy seeing other people become successful because of the little things that I can do for them. And I'm glad that we have this cafe to do just that...to help people find their passion, give them a shot in life, and see them become successful in the future. This sense of fulfillment I get from serving others far outweighs the weak financial side of the bargain.
* I couldn't have thought of that reflection if it weren't for the interview with NHK. It's starting to make sense now and becoming a natural beat of my heart. I hope that God will always give me and the crew, the strength we need to pass on this spirit to the younger generation. God really did a lot of work to put my life back on track.
* Okay, I just needed to share that to everybody. I would like to thank our Japanese friends for being patient with us and I hope they enjoyed their trip here in the Philippines. And to all the people who supported the cafe on the last day, we really did make a scene...people lined up from the counter to the sidewalk! Thank you so much!
* Updates! The new site is quickly taking shape -- thanks to Ate Marisse and his Merry Men, they do work pretty fast! They expect the cafe to be finished on Wednesday. The CAnton gang dismembered the old cafe last Tuesday, that was quite sad. But we were too tired to get emotional.
* There is no exact date yet when we'll open but we will be having dry-runs. We will inform you via Twitter when those dry-runs would be. Next week, we hope to start some intense barista training for the new employees. We will be having a day shift and night shift at LB Square, so expect some changes and new faces. As for the menu, we will be expanding our food menu by adding a mean snack line.
* Thanks for taking the time reading this. We hope to see you soon! Watching too much TV is bad for me, by the way, I don't like Casey James. I was disappointed with the results prior to this blog.
* God bless everybody!