Whenever I visit a new location, I always make it a point to try the local cafes before I go for the commercial ones when I yearn for coffee. It’s always interesting to see the local culture and flavor in small and homegrown cafes. I used to shift back and forth to Manggahan in Pasig since I rented a place there before. And just in the neighborhood, right across the street where I stay, is Bantai Coffee. A cozy little cafe at the 2nd floor of a building is filled with charm, nostalgia and good coffee.
It was hidden in plain sight. The “Gubat” signage is even so inconspicuous I passed by it twice and didn’t easily notice. Little did I know, that ensconced behind the bamboo walls and door, there’s a little al fresco dining restaurant inside. Gubat QC does feel like being inside a forest (gubat is a tagalog word which means forest) with its lush environment surrounding the wooden tables and benches of the dining area. Everything feels organic. From the food, the banana leaves as plate and even the way people eat – kamayan style (with bare hands).
I had an impromptu ride to Antipolo one fine Friday morning. Weather was ideal for a ride – cool with passing clouds. Being in Pasig, Antipolo was quite accessible. The plan was to ride up to Hinulugang Taktak and Antipolo Church and have brunch along the way back. Agos Cafe was noticeable on my way up passing by Hollywood Terraces along Sumulong highway. I thought it would be nice to have coffee and snack here on my way down.
Riding up to the mountains of Mabitac, Laguna is no walk in the park. Elevation rises up to at least 370 meters above sea level. And unless you’re riding a motorized vehicle along this winding Manila East road, the climb here can easily take your breath away. Not just because of the scenery, but literally. It takes effort and can take much from you. I’m glad halfway through this mountain road, the rustic white walls of Fluff Koppi Cafe drew my attention. Its Scandinavian-inspired meets Filipino bahay kubo’s cogon roofing seemed to stick out from all the surrounding greens. It’s interesting enough for a stop and much needed nourishment.
Being a coffee lover and cafe enthusiast, it’s funny how Brewed Specialty Coffee in Pasig has gone under my radar for months since it opened. It’s a short three kilometer bike ride from our house. It’s located in a commercial center along C. Raymundo where I frequently bike. It took a fellow coffee aficionado’s recommendation to check this place out. And glad I did as it’s a wonderful cafe to add to Pasig’s burgeoning coffee scene.
Coffee connoisseurs can tell if a coffee is of good quality by the taste in its pure black state. I don’t consider myself an expert but having enjoyed coffee for some time, I have an appreciation for good coffee. I may not be intricate and meticulous in fully noticing the nuances and notes in a coffee but I think I can tell if one is of good quality or not to my personal taste. Resonate Coffee in Marikina Heights got me testing my palette once again in delving into the rich pure flavors of coffee.