coffee cookies fine art respite

On People

Our space has always been about the people more than anything; because coffee, cookies, and cakes are made to be consumed; and then people get to have a “respite.” Our social media feed will never be “curated;” because the people who come in and pass by, are not (or we just don’t know how to make it “look good,” help?); plus, we almost never post our customers because privacy–again “respite.”

From the grumpy man outside, who keeps hating our customers, in turn driving them away (what’s wrong with you?); to the laundry guy, our nice neighbor; the pensive lady, who supplies our soap (respite’s one rule, always wash your hands until there’s no more skin); the tall caretaker, who is all smiles and kind to us; the two delivery men, “yung mukhang adik” (they’re actually nice people); and the nosy ladies, who keeps blocking our stairway making sure nobody comes in (we just let them be); all is well.

And for those who do come in… “Ate I’m not going to buy anything. I don’t have money.” (Okay high school students, you are excused; have a seat, here’s water, free tea–not always like this though). The regular tambays, we call them “patrons,” they get discounts for no reason (yes, sometimes they buy lots of things naman). Our kind neighbors upstairs, who shared their space with us, then buys everything we have (cheers!).

Our loyal customers, from our previous location (thank you, for literally just passing by to say “hello”). Meridian–school–kids, who would talk about how they understand the world works (we miss you). Parents, who bugs their grown up “child” everyday (come on, “leave those kids alone”). Random unpaid “starving artist,” who got curious with our shop (we have delicious water, sometimes free coffee–we really need sponsors).

“Freelancers,” who would rant about the “corporate” world, but have never worked for one (we will rant with you). Seminarians, who quotes the best scholars, just to show you they “read good stuff” (we like reading too). Evangelicals, Born Agains, and the like, who tries to convert you because that is what they live for (we listen). Beach bums, who got lost in the city (some of the “nicest” people we met). “Lost souls” (aren’t we all?). And finally… Paying customers, who make up a fraction of our crowd (we hope, you are many).

This is who we are, respite–a community.

respite coffee cookie people team

Our Team

One was into coffee brewing; another studied pastry art, trained two to help out. Found a space for rent; hired a staff, then some interns, and part-timers. Met hundreds of friends, customers–turned friends, passersby… Not enough.

Sylvette wanted to serve good coffee, source out beans, bring out its flavors through proper brewing. Then, she was exploring spirituality; now, its coffee.

Jessica found pleasure on satisfied palates, if they are not, it drives her to make–used to be nice dresses, but these days–good recipes to bake.

Brewed, baked, and sold online. At bazaars, met people, artists, friends…good friends, became customers; then more baked goods, thus more hands.

Lita values tradition, while Mary admires innovation, their dynamics in cooking is unparalleled; now, they are also skilled bakers.

A space, along Mother Ignacia, number 72, looked promising. Gathered enough resources, and courage…leased it, renovated.

Diana just passed her board exam as interior designer; her first project, with great patience–working with her two sisters–she pulled through, and did well.

Marlon was working as a construction helper; hired him as maintenance guy, assistant, etc.; best of all he is resourceful.

Soft opening, everybody came; soon, road construction…obstruction, almost nobody came for a long time. Learning, and still learning; not ready to leave–held on too long.

Mj and Pat came first, they were determined. Clinton, Kerwin, and Lennard did not need the job, but always reliable. Dre is highly efficient. Julius was attentive. Christian, Kurt, and Ryan were enthusiastic.

Fleeting, now, we are heading to a better space…finally a respite.

respite coffee cookies people table art light

Soft Opening

October 28, 2015. Served some coffee and baked goods; the best plant box along Mother Ignacia, and a nice wall art… Then, road workers.

As our operations gets developed, interns helped and adapted well. Part-timers came at night, because it was (a bit) scary outside due to limited lights–dark street; it felt safer with them.

Friends and customers gave us some words of encouragement; lots of gifts–food, artworks, etc.; and regular supply of (free) Vietnam coffee beans.

On December 3, our official opening and “blessing” day, we invited close friends; then shared our journey into becoming “respite.” Each day we met new customers, they wanted more stuff; we expanded our menu, and hosted baking workshops for all ages.

Red Velvet Cupcakes, Dark Choco Chunk Cookies, and Panna Cottas were our regular’s choice. Served some coffee from Mount Apo which pleased our customers; then our (“secret recipe”) Hot Chocolate was a crowd favorite.

The flowering plants made our days brighter. Rolly Boga, Gekorr, and Goro kept us company; some paintings and zines entertained us. After joining two Local Loca bazaars and one 10a Alabama fair… They started digging.

We were inaccessible, and worried.