I don’t know if I should be happy or sad whenever payday comes. I am one of those people who already knew where their money would be before it even arrives. I get the money then it would come flying out the window. I pay for the electricity, the phone bill, my brother’s college tuition and allowance, credit card, etc. etc. By the time I get to pay all these things, I would be left with only one maybe 2,000 in my wallet; enough to get me through the next pay day. I’m a government employee, on a contractual basis, and I only earn a measly PHP 8,500 (USD 181.02) per month. Sucks eh? Yeah well, welcome to my world.
Sometimes I spare some money to treat myself. Usually, I go to coffee shops (oftentimes Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, or Kape Manila) to enjoy one cup of hot latte or my favorite caramel frappe. Hey, I think deserve it after working my ass off for a month. I owe that to myself.
As soon as I received my salary this month (August) I immediately set out a plan to visit a café. This time, I wanted something that I’ve never tried before, preferably one with a unique ambiance. So I pulled out my laptop and launched a café hunt in Makati area. Moments later I found this website, Arabica of Old Manila, which introduced me to this coffee shop and restaurant called, Old Manila Coffee House.
The only song that I associate with singer Timmy Cruz was the one she popularized in the 80s, “Boy.” You know the one with the all too famous lines,
“I love you boy, if you only knew, naiinis na ako sayo, sobrang manhid ka at di mo napapansin…”
I’ve seen her in a few movies, particularly the ones with Herbert Bautista. Years go by people would hear about her now and then, then poof she’s gone again. I never really cared, I hardly know her. Besides, when I was young I wasn’t really a fan of hers but of Lea Salonga. So when a good friend of mine, Ana, told me to come with her during the album launch of Timmy Cruz last Saturday (August 28, 2010), my first question to her was,
“Timmy Cruz? She’s got an album? She’s still alive?”
Finding a seat at Starbucks reminds me of my time in high school when you have to literally hover over any of the occupied tables at our school canteen, hoping that the person sitting in there would finally leave. Most if not all Starbucks branches are always crowded. It stopped being your typical coffee shop when most students turned it into their personal library. And when they go there they stay for hours, unmindful of the other customers who are hoping to have their turn on those seats.
As much as I love going to Starbucks I’m no longer too happy subjecting myself to the seemingly “battle for the table.” But I love coffee and there are moments that I want to be alone with my thoughts; both could be achieved in a café. The solution is to look for other options which I happily did when I found this little coffee shop along Pandacan. It occupies a small space below the Residencias de Manila, a condominium across Caritas Manila. What I love about it is the privacy that most coffee shops are lacking. It has a few tables, a little coffee bar, WIFI capability, and budget friendly food and drinks.
I visited the place several times now, each time trying a new drink. They offer hot coffee, cold coffee, and frizzino (the term they use for frap). They call the sizes of their drinks Kyut (tall) Tangkad (grande), and Damulag (venti), which I find real cute. The prices of their drinks are also way affordable compared to other coffee shops. For example, you can have Espresso for as low ₱35, a hot cup of Cappuccino for ₱65, Iced Latte for ₱75, or Mocha Frap for only ₱95.
They also have smoothies with four different flavors: strawberry, dalandan, mixed berry and mango, which you can enjoy for only ₱68. Kape Manila also included rice meals in their menu: tocino meal, corned and beef meal, sausage meal, and longganisa meal, each one for only ₱49.
My personal pick among the drinks is the choc-nut flavored frap that I found to be pretty amazing; well not as good as Starbucks coffee but passable. I also love their baked spaghetti with garlic bread (PHP 59), one of the best that I’ve ever tasted and the sausage meal, which goes with an egg and rice or garlic bread. Oh yeah I gotta rave about the sausage, they may come in small pieces but man, they tasted really good.
I get totally satisfied every time I visit Kape Manila. There, I get my caffeine fix without hurting my budget, as well as the peace and quiet that I so crave after a busy day.
Note: This Kape Manila branch (Pandancan) closed down sometime in 2011. The NAIA 3 terminal branch is still open.