Coffee and Saints Training Cafe Re-Opens
When in Manila, there are several cafes and quaint eateries that number by the hundreds. One might have the typical coffee and pastry combo, curled up with a book or with a bunch of people, engaged in hushed conversation. In the next table, there could be a student prepping for the next killer exam. Baristas and waiters greet you a warm hello as they serve you your blended drink. Relaxing music envelopes the place with a soothing aura.
Each cafe may have a distinct style and look, but one thing similar that rings true for most of these restaurants is the calm and relaxed ambiance felt by their patrons and customers. One restaurant that truly differs from these cookie-cutter cafes is one that is not only a profit-generating business, but also a livelihood project. Situated at the Makati Don Bosco campus and just next to its parish church, is the aptly named Coffee and Saints Cafe.
This humble little eatery is the project of Chevron Philippines and the Don Bosco Pugad Center. With the vision to empower poor and needy migrant youth to become productive agents of change in their communities, Coffee and Saints Cafe helps their beneficiaries reach the foundation’s goal to empower these young men to soar high. Chevron Philippines also donated funds to help build and renovate the cafe and shared their expertise in marketing to help promote awareness to increase their customer reach.
Coffee and Saints Cafe trains their young beneficiaries and aspiring food and beverage personnel with skills necessary for food preparation, food business and restaurant operations, thus expanding their employable skills. Attending to customers not only improves their service skills, but also does wonders for their self-esteem, social proficiency and instilment of the Pugad’s Salesian values.
I asked some of the guys who work at Coffee and Saints Cafe and they say that working there has truly been a wonderful training ground for them, not just in terms of employability, but also for their personal growth.
Since the cafe re-opened in 2012, 40 migrant youths have undergone training at Coffee and Saints and a hefty 38 of these alum are now fully employed in some very prestigious food companies and groups. These trainees undergo a 3-month training at the cafe, supervised by a senior trainer or core leader. After their training, they can go on to become scholars pursuing formal college education.
Erwin Mortel, from Romblon, a graduate of Philippine Women’s University and one of the trainee graduates of the Pugad Center is now working at the Intercontinental Hotel. Another notable graduate is Rolando Velasquez who graduated from the Maya Culinary School after being trained at Coffee and Saints. He is now employed at the Alta Vista Hotel in Tagaytay City. Another Coffee and Saints alumnus of note is Alvino Cavalleda who is now working abroad in Bahrain.
The new and improved Coffee and Saints Cafe has a fully furnished upper level and an improved menu. The newly constructed upper deck can accommodate 25 people, dining and hanging out al fresco. In total, the restaurant doubles the capacity to 50 people, both for the main dining area and the upper deck area.