Friday, February 25, 2011

My Life is Preventing Me From Changing My Lifestyle

* All these hardcore joyrides, work-related pressures, random life issues, and 39-Peso meatballs these past two months have finally taken a toll on my body. As most of you have read on my Facebook status yesterday, I climbed out of bed like a fat, drunk slob at 4 in the afternoon. That's very uncharacteristic for a workaholic like me. At that time, I couldn't resist the lure of my bed and my evaporative fan that was blowing high-speed artificial, nature-like breezes. It came to a point when I finally realized that I am getting old...relatively old. I'm turning 25 for crying out loud. I can still imagine myself staring at the oldness of 25 year olds when I was 18. 

* Each and everyone of us has the desire to change. Be it in diet, outlook, fashion sense, or whatever. Right now, I have this recurring desire to change my diet. I say "recurring" because every year I sacrifice something from my usual lineup of worldly intakes. In 2007, I gave up beer and anything that has alcohol. In 2008, I gave up Coke. In 2009, I gave up Sprite, rootbeer, and every softdrink there is. This year, I drink only water and juice and I have lessened my intake of sandwich cookies. Sandwich cookies for me before was like a daily pack of cigarettes. And to add to the mix of health and diet-related stuff, I have successfully incorporated morning dumbbell workouts to strengthen my healing right wrist and my still-healthy left wrist. But what's outrageous this year is my dependence on fast food chains. Oh convenience, why do we seek and desire convenience?! Especially in preparing food? I remember a few years ago, I used to cook my own food and practice my skills in the kitchen. The fast food diet is killing me man!

* Like everything else that involves change, food preference and healthy living will take time. But I hope not too much time, before I know it I'll be suffering from some disease. I just want to ask the surrounding culture to be supportive of our desire to change. Any healthy food shops out there that are both cheap and convenient? 

* I was reading a Healthy Options magazine this afternoon and read about taking naps. It was 1 PM and I told my crew that we should close for an hour and take a quick nap to rejuvenate us. It's funny, closing down in the middle of the day, but it worked.  We work at a coffee shop and we stay up late and wake up early. I guess some jobs simply  require and expect more of our natural abilities to survive. The bottom line is, whew, let's just make the best out of our current situations. Us yuppies are always pressed on all sides, a pack of Mr. Chips to nibble is enough for us to last the day. Anything beyond that would require a herculean effort. But maybe that's what we need...the effort of Hercules. 

* Hey hey! Checkout new Cafe Antonio merchandise at; also add us up on Facebook, just type: Cafe Antonio Merchandise. So we will have more reason to riprizint! Thanks!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Of Balikbayans and Random Drama: Tales from a Fast Food Tambay

* For the first time in my adult life, I went to Metro Manila yesterday with absolutely no cash in my wallet. That's because I completely forgot to get my cafe allowance before leaving. Although we brought the SoliVan to accompany our balikbayan friend, Chim, back to Makati, the feeling of not having cash rivals the feeling of not being able to apply deodorant at the start of the day. I told my friends at the cafe that I would open this week's late Friday blog with that story. So what follows can be completely unrelated or if not, please find a reason for coherence.

* I started this blog 3 years ago...I'll be back, it's getting too cold here at the computer shop, I have to get my jacket at the cafe...okay, I started this blog 3 years ago to regularly update our friends about what's happening at the cafe. It used to be a daily blog but in some days nothing important or significant would really happen so I decided after a while that I'll just maintain a weekly blog. Little did I know that my blogs would be a significant part of the lives of the people who aren't in Los Banos to visit the cafe. Like our friends in other countries like Makati or Canada. Elbi peeps aren't really the blog readers here, maybe because we hang out all the time and they're already fed up with my rhymes and that reading my blog would be redundant. Well that's just my opinion.

* I've got 5 balikbayan friends who visited the cafe during the past few months or weeks, whatever. There's my batchmate Chester from Singapore; former Cafe Antonio LB manager, Nica also from Singapore; our friend Ise, also from Singapore?! Hmm, I should have grouped them in one sentence...moving on...; there's Fidel, my bandmate, from Taiwan, and then there's Chim from Canada. During their visits, I realized the convenience you get from maintaining and writing blogs because all of them are very much updated about what's happening back here in Elbi. So it saves daylight kwentuhan time and it makes room for other kwentuhan. I hope you guys read this, I'll tag you on Facebook: I would sincerely like to thank you guys for the amazing time you spent with us here. Fidel, our jam reminded us of our carefree days 8 years ago, and it's been a pleasure to play with you again. Even though we're not in the same band, you and I will always be bandmates. And to Chim, thanks for spoiling us, haha! Hopefully when we're 30 (nooo!) it will be our time to spoil you! It seems like we've grown closer as friends when you moved to Canada. Speaking of people going away to other places, our friend Brandon is also going back to Alaska for a few years. We will miss you sir.

* I have this habit writing long blogs but I'll keep this short. I'm tempted to write more but I'll just save it for a rainy day, or a chilly day. Jollibee, McDo, BK, and Shakey, thanks for the love, support, sustenance, and guidance. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Every Barista Today is a Pioneer

* There's more to being a barista than working behind the bar and preparing and serving good coffee. Our goal at the cafe is to make the barista a legitimate profession, a profession in which you can be proud to tell your parents that you have chosen to lead the life of a barista. Although because of mainstream culture and still-dominant beliefs, success is still measured by financial standards. When this is factored in, a profession loses its appeal to gain parental approval. This is where passion comes in. Passion cancels out almost every concern, most especially financial concerns. It's where you have to choose between what you love and what you need. I've been receiving the same weekly salary for almost 3 years now. The total of which is just the monthly salary of other jobs. And yet I still believe that I have the best job in the world.

* I hold on to the belief that someday baristas in our country will someday gain as much respect just like any other profession you went to college for. "Barista ka lang" should be replaced by "Wow, barista ka!For all you baristas out there, let's make this our vision for our beloved profession.

* At the cafe, we train and encourage all our baristas to participate in national competitions. The dedication and work involved in preparing for these events transforms a person from being a food server to a legitimate and proud representative of a craft, a skill, and a profession. 

* Last Saturday, we held our first ever Intra-Branch Barista Competition at the cafe. It was also the first barista competition in Los Banos. Only a handful of guests arrived to watch the competition but all five contestants gave their best to put on a show!

* Junior Barista, Ian Soliven, became the first champion of our Barista Competition. He and 2nd place winner, Junior Barista, Joyceann April Damian will represent Cafe Antonio Coffee Corporation at the Philippine Barista Cup this year together with our Senior Barista, Neil Rebua (participant of PBC '10 and GBC '10). We are all very proud of them as we saw the effort they put in preparing for the competition. We would also like to congratulate Junior Baristas. Jegar delos Reys, Francis "Khitz" Contemplacion, and Margret Bonita for putting up a good fight and giving it their all.

* What we do is relatively new. The skills and knowledge we possess regarding the science and art of preparing coffee is still unchartered territory for most people. All the struggles and challenges we face in uplifting our profession makes everything exciting because we'll never really know what great things are in store for us in the future.

* If you're a passionate barista, join our community of Filipino baristas on Facebook. Search: Pinoy Barista

Thursday, February 3, 2011

We Live in Two Worlds That Intersect at an LB Square

* The three epic gigs we had last month generated a musical high in me. Actually, it sparked a flame of inspiration in all of us at the cafe. That's because we discovered that we enjoyed preparing a good show for Cafe Antonio Sessions. Read about my Saturday realizations and revelations at our Cafe Antonio Sessions Webzine at 

* We're music fans and musicians at heart but we're baristas by profession. We should not forget that and that's why this week, our focus suddenly shifted to our first coffee industry-related activity on a Saturday. Finally! Puro kayo tugtog e, haha! We've been training our five new baristas this week for our first ever Intra-Branch Barista Competition on Saturday, February 5. Since Monday, we've undergone intensive barista training complete with shouting, shadowboxing, party music-ing, equipment shopping, product testing, and video reviewing. As a member of the organization, Pinoy Barista, we want to uphold our profession by sharpening our skills and exploiting our creativity, forcing our brains to come up with new flavor combinations and pushing our physical capabilities to the limit by preparing espressos and cappuccinos with speed and accuracy. 

* I'm proud of our baristas because I'm seeing that they're giving their 100 percent for Saturday. They've spent a lot of money for their equipment and ingredients and they've also given much time for research and practice. All of this makes me miss the barista competitions we participated in last year. It's like a concert or an epic gig for coffee geeks, it's very heart-pounding and exciting!

* The participating baristas on Saturday are: Francis "Khitz" Contemplacion, Ian Soliven, Jegar delos Reyes, Margret Bonita, and Joyceann Damian. 

* You can watch the contest on Saturday at 10 am. Photographers are welcome! It's not everyday that you see a barista competition in Los Banos! For most of us, the coffee barista scene is a fairly new concept. It's like the indie rock version of Iron Chef.

* I would like to say thanks to all the people who helped make The Beatles Tribute Night a rocking success last Saturday! It was overwhelming indeed! Visit our YouTube Channel ( for the videos of all the performances. View awesome gig photos at our Facebook page, Cafe Antonio Sessions, or our Webzine ( Thanks for supporting the Los Banos Indie Music Scene!