This Charming Filipino-Themed Cafe Started Out as a Modest Coffee Cart

Many overseas workers had to suddenly come back to the Philippines in recent years because of the pandemic, causing lots of heartbreak and discouragement. But in the midst of these disheartening stories, there are many who pushed through and emerged with inspiring outcomes.

Lourish Bonete shares her personal story as an OFW who had to leave her career in hospitality because of the global health crisis. She spent almost a decade in some of the biggest hotels in Singapore, working as a trained and certified barista. Bonete takes pride in being trained in international coffee-making standards.

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Photo from Barista Manileña

After being retrenched, she shares that she felt lost and had no idea how to restart her life in the Philippines. Lourish then decided to follow her childhood dream of opening a cafe.

With her savings, Lourish opened up a modest coffee cart in front of her house. With all of her training and background in being a barista, she takes pride in brewing coffee properly.

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Photo from Barista Manileña

Barista Manileña was well-received by the neighborhood. So, after just a year of operating from a makeshift coffee cart, Barista Manileña became a charming roadside cafe in Manila City.

We love the beautifully designed cafe front! It’s definitely easy to spot this cafe even from far away. With a couple of seats designated right in front of the store window, you can either take your coffee to-go or enjoy your coffee right there.

(RELATED: 12 Charming Roadside Cafes to Visit Around Metro Manila)

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Photo from Barista Manileña

“The hurdle that we faced in establishing our brand was to introduce the proper coffee/espresso taste to Filipinos,” shares Lourish. “Filipinos are so used to sweet 3-in-1 or instant coffee that when they taste real espresso-based coffee, they find it too strong. However, with the growing coffee culture and awareness about properly brewed coffee, slowly, our customers are now more aware of how real coffee should taste like.”

Barista Manileña is proud to serve coffee made with the highest (international) standards. Their brand promise is that they “brew coffee properly.”

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Photo from Barista Manileña

They also use only local coffee beans to promote and support Filipino coffee farmers.

Barista Manileña’s menu includes hot and cold coffee and ready-to-drink bottled coffee drinks.

It’s inspiring to see how a modest coffee cart has turned into a must-visit coffee spot in Tondo, Manila that’s worth visiting for a taste of world-class and high-quality coffee drinks.

Visit Barista Manileña at 1244 Wagas St. Tondo, Manila City.

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