Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ha-hardcore: Cramming Simple Joys in Life's Most Difficult Spaces

* Over the past few weeks the word, ha-hardcore, has been used with much frequency. "Ha-hardcore ba tayo?" "Parang gusto ko humardcore ngayon." "Ang hardcore naman tol." "Ka-hardcore-an." These are some of the phrases that I've heard, all of them I hear from my friends at the cafe. When we say we want to do something hardcore, it basically means that we want to do something fun...after work...after a long day's work. But most of the time, to put it frankly, it's eating a Monster Meal Deal at Shakey's and going home in the morning.

* It amazes me that, nowadays, to have fun is already hardcore. Maybe because fun is becoming an expensive commodity or an elusive dream. And yet there is a surplus of fun in the world. But there aren't too many people who are willing to avail it without hesitation. Maybe it has become a last priority or a final destination (ugh, that phrase reminds me of something else). Maybe it has become a finish line rather than a stop over. In my personal opinion, I think having fun should be more like the latter. Every now and then everybody needs to go to Tagaytay in the wee hours of the morning, wear a hoodie, and eat ice cream in the sidewalk outside of the local 7-11. We should take things in stride and make time to free one's self from the ubiquity of constant demands and structured commands. When all else fails, Have a Kit-Kat.

* Okay, so much for this week's reflection! January's almost over, how time flies, sometimes you hate it because you're becoming older sometimes you like it because you want this day to be over. But before anything else, I would like to invite you guys to our Beatles Tribute Night this Saturday, January 29. Check out the details by clicking this link:

* I would like to thank DevCom students, Gelo Arboleda and Dana Dayrit, for inviting me over at the DZLB studio for a couple of UStream appearances. Yesterday we tackled the concept of Sacrifice and this afternoon we talked about the cafe as a gimik place. It's my first time there, I hope you guys get a good grade, you both did well!

* Special shout out to our staff and friends who made the Beatles Preview Night possible last Saturday. It was faaaar out and waaay hardcore. I'm always thankful for these moments we spend together when we get the chance to be our own crazy selves. Let's get ready for January 29.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Earning Your Stripes Before Jumping for the Shot

* I apologize for the blog-less week last week. Of course my reason is, as always...all together now...we've been busy. As much as I want to write and update our readers about what the cafe is up to everyday to keep things fresh and current, I simply cannot due to lack of resources. But then again, it isn't indie rock to have all the resources at your fingertips. Sometimes it's cool to be lacking. Sometimes it's cool to say, "Wala na kong pera toool!

* Last January 8 we went to Tambayan 101.9 at the ABS-CBN compound with Yield Avenue. It's their second time to be invited at the program, Break Mo To, but this one is special because they're the first band to be invited to play in 2011. Aside from the band, Eri and Kukay were there to accompany their respective boyfriends, Khitz and Noe. Manong was in his usual manong form to drive us to QC. And Zadl and I were in our Yield Avenue band shirts covering the occasion. Not to be left out, the CAnton Gang brought an actual radio (radyo! radyo!) to the cafe and huddled together to listen to Yield Avenue perform like proud brothers and sisters. It was a good experience for us. It was actually my first time to be inside a radio station booth. We ended the night with Mang Inasal, a fast food chain that we might not go back to anytime soon. Maybe 2 months. And yes, there were 9 of us inside the multicab, complete with 2 guitars, a bass guitar, and a cajon. Imagine...imagine all the people crammed inside the multicab. It's a "bonding" van.

* After a few days we were on the road again for the gig at Alphaland Southgate Mall, again, with Yield Avenue, sans Jhomel the drummer. That was January 12. It's our second time to accompany them at Alphaland. The first time we went there we were with LIME. They were also supposed to play in this gig but due to some unfortunate circumstances, they weren't able to go with us. I invited Juniper Face the Corner and Gabes Torres to play with Yield Avenue but they weren't also available also. So that's why Yield Avenue was the only band to perform that night. Guess what we had for dinner, yes, Mang Inasal. It was free, so go inasal! Thanks again to Rane Javier, the organizer of the gigs at Alphaland for giving us another opportunity to showcase LB-based talent. Thanks also to our friends, Nestle and Mako, we've been tighter since the first gig. I miss you guys already. I almost forgot, before we went to Alphaland, we had a cafe managers' meeting at Rizal, Laguna in the morning. I just wanted to throw that in. Thanks to my Pop for facilitating us in developing our company philosophy and core values.

* After 3 days, January 15, the CAnton crew dedicated all their remaining energy to our friend, Gabes Torres' debut album launch. It was the first album launch for Cafe Antonio Sessions and we certainly enjoyed preparing everything for the event. It kinda reminded us of our high school days when we put all our effort in designing and conceptualizing our stage plays. It was a smooth, smooth, smooth gig. Everything went according to plan.   Well, not exactly but that doesn't matter. Even the rain cooperated, it started pouring right just after the gig. We're all so proud of Gabes and the success she's having in her music career at such a young age. We'll always be there to support you. And I'm especially proud of Jeg, Julius, Dan, and the CAnton Gang for all the logistics, the planning, coordination, and support to make everything possible. Personally, the gig opened a lot of fresh new ideas for me.

* This is work for us, it's fun but it's still work. When you're having fun with your work, you won't feel like you're working. I'm very glad I'm involved in a group or a company like this wherein everything is just an outpour of ideas, passion, and creativity. But aside from this, what you see at the cafe or what I write in our blogs, we also do a lot of boring, hassle adult work. To be able to handle this boring, hassle adult work, one must have the right mindset and must be in the right position and time before doing anything else. Acting silly and being fun-loving needs to have a solid foundation too, if not we would just all be bums. What I've learned from being a student remains true, "do your homework, then watch TV the rest of the night." 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Top 10 Most Memorable Moments of 2010

I made a list again! I was looking at 2009's list ( and I thought it would be fun to do this every year. And because I can't go to the cafe today and I have nothing else to do, I made a 2010 list...with pictures! Recycled ones though, from the old blogs. Get some ice cream and enjoy! I'll start at number 10. The rankings are personal and subjective folks, no quantitative stuff here!

10. Cafe Antonio Sessions on the Road: The Magallanes Gig (December)
- Thanks to the trio of Rane, Nestle and Mako, the Sessions peeps landed their first mall gig! It was a nice roadtrip/soundtrip for the boys from Yield Avenue, L-I-M-and E, and the roadies leaving them hungry for more out-of-town gigs. And just like magic (thanks to the Magical Hi-Ace), everybody got closer after that gig. Istarbuck!

9. Cafe Antonio Sessions XIII: Yuletide Concert and Christmas Party (December)
- Don't forget the gingerbread man-making contest and the exchange gift! This was our first Christmas party at the cafe and the first time we actually spent a fortune for an exchange gift! It was all the more memorable thanks to the hyperactive presence of our cafe friends, Segatron, LIME, and Yield Avenue.

8. Pinoy Barista Jam 1/Involvement with Pinoy Barista (August)
- Pinoy Barista changed our lives! Meeting Mam Vanessa, Sir Jerry, and the rest of the gang inspired us to work harder and love our profession all the more. It also made going to food expos and competitions seem more like a reunion for the members. Woooh!!!

7. Last Week at the Old Site/NHK's Asian Smile Documentary/Hanggang Dulo by Yield Avenue Tribute Video (May)
- We all miss the old site! Memories still fill my heart as I pass by that empty, old, yellow box. It all began there, that place provided shelter (literally!) for those who are yearning for a home in Elbi. Good thing the old site memories were immortalized in Yield Avenue and TJ's music video, Hanggang Dulo. And of course, probably the funniest and weirdest happening last year, Aki's documentary about the cafe! That documentary gave the cafe international exposure as it was shown in NHK BS-1 and NHK World. It also gave the cafe international ties, thanks to our Japanese friends, Aki, Lisa, Kumiko.and Mr. Camera Man!

6. Formation of Cafe Antonio Sessions (July)
- What began as a concept in Eric, Jabez, and Jeg's wild imaginations, became a circle of gifted musicians, diehard fans, and new friends called Cafe Antonio Sessions. The 13 gigs we did last year were both exhilarating and life-changing for the staff and our friends.

5. Staff Outing at Bato Resort, San Pablo City (May)
- This was a time of scorching heat in ELBI, that's why we decided to cool off and take a break from the issues surrounding the cafe at that time. It was a good time for us to regroup and think about our last days at the old site and prepare for the challenges that LB Square has in store for us.

4. Sigaw Music Video Shoot at Tagaytay (December)
- Out-of-town trips and vacations always inspire us. Thanks to Khitz of Yield Avenue for involving us in his band's music video. It gave us an opportunity to bond with our new and old friends, all of which are part of the big, happy family of the CAnton Gang. Thanks to Julius for letting us stay in their magnificent Tagaytay resthouse!

3. Philippine Barista Cup and Grand Barista Cup Elims (August)
- These two national barista competitions we participated in last year definitely took us to the next level of preparing coffee. Many thanks to our coach and friend, Lanz, for teaching us the tricks of the trade and for giving us valuable insights and motivation. We also met a lot of our new barista friends in these two competitions. SMX Convention Center will never be the same again!

2. Ralph Raymond "Mon" Bayani's Stint as Barista/Cashier (June to September)
- We're thankful for each day we spent working with Mon at the cafe. He's one of our assets and is famous for his unique coffee art designs, good looks, and checkered shorts. We're glad that you'e part of our family, brother! You made 2010 special for us all. Have fun with your band at Sessions!

1. The Move to  LB Square (June)
- No contest. This is definitely the most memorable moment of 2010. It changed the complexion of the game. Ever since we moved here, our circle just got bigger. New staff, longer operating hours, new hassle-rich challenges, new neighbors, new friends, etc. Undoubtedly an interesting cast of characters for CAnton's 3rd season. If not for the new site, there will be no Barista Jams and Cafe Antonio Sessions. In spite of the troubles and headaches the new site gave us, in the end it was all worth it.

Other Notable Moments

- Halloween Costume Party
- Intensive 1-Week Training for New Staff
- Judging stint at BAFBEX, La Salle, Lipa
- Interview at Bialetti Foofs
- Philippine Barista Cup Orientation at PBCA, Greenhills
- Grand Barista Cup Orientation/Practice/Semis/Finals
- Barista Jams 2 and 3
- Cafe Antonio Sessions II to XII

Last year was great, but let's make this year better! Let's go 2011!