I haven’t been a fan of coffee since 2013. The last time I was an avid drinker was when I was back in Manila where I would frequent an art cafe together with my friend, Rob. We would talk about so many things, from story concepts to mundane jokes to relationship troubles. But as the years progressed and the constant move from one country to another took its toll, my insomnia started, and coffee was the last thing I wanted to touch. However, I still loved looking for coffee shops that offered respite to my often anxious state. They provided me a quiet and safe space where I could stay tucked and hidden in a corner people-watching, or staring off into space as the day went on. Something particularly nostalgic about staying in coffee shops is during that transition from summer to rainy months when the rain would often fall even during a sunny day. In Filipino folklore when such weather occurs, it means somewhere in the world a Tikbalang couple (mythical creature that is half horse, half human) were being wed. I’m not sure why such myth exists but my theory is because such a day always feels magical, as if the dimensions to other worlds blurred and crossed over. It seems fitting for something surreal to happen. This collection of curated spaces is a nod to that particular feeling of surrealism and nostalgia.
- Coffee & Protein
Located in the north of the Metro, Coffee & Protein is a quiet corner cafe nestled on top of the 3rd floor of The Rock Lifestyle Hub in Holy Spirit Drive. It distinguishes itself from other coffeeshops as a healthpub with their offering of protein-rich coffee and food options. However Coffee & Protein is also a very cozy place for a solitary quiet time or a meet-up with your peers. Most of the traffic comes from the neighboring gym and these customers prefer to do pick-ups and take-homes. Coffee and Protein’s interiors are a balance of bare gray concrete walls, wooden tables and steel chairs. The industrial look is softened by warm yellow lights, greenery, and the small space it occupies.
- National Art Museum
The National Art Museum houses Antonio Luna’s famously celebrated artwork, The Spolarium. The first time I saw the Spolarium, I was 18 years old on a field trip with my Art Studies class. It was the first time I had ever seen a painting of gigantic proportions. And because the museum used to prohibit photographs of the artwork, nobody knew what to expect. I stared at the painting with my mouth wide open for a very long time. That kind of shock value may not be the same for those visiting the museum these days. The Spolarium has been featured in many an instagram post and in Antoinette Jadaone’s tearjerking Alone/Together movie. Still, it is worth visiting our very own National Art Museum. It does not have to be the Spolarium, I’m sure you will find an artwork that will leave you breathless.
- Koi wa No Ameagari No You Ni
Everybody has gone through the pain of losing something we love. Tachibana is sure of herself when she’s running, however she feels lost and empty during a period of recovery from her injury. She finds solace working in a cafe and nursing a crush on her much older manager who showed her an act of kindness on the day she needed it the most. Kondou, though in his mid-40s goes through similar pains with the loss of his youth and his dreams of being a writer. They form an awkward friendship. I specially enjoyed the visuals and the mood of this animation. Viewers may find this uncomfortable considering the two protagonists age gap but romance isn’t the theme of this series although there are suggestive tones. It is more an exploration of the phases people find themselves in their lives and how they deal with it. I would say that Tachibana’s attraction to her manager is because of how she projects security and stability in him while Kondou envies Tachibana’s youth.