The COVID19 pandemic caused a number of businesses to close down as an after effect to strict community quarantines. On the other hand, it also paved the way for creative enterprises to be born where old ideas are given a fresh take. The coffee business is one of the enterprises that grew together with the increased interest in biking and the need for people to take a breather from the restrictions. In celebration of International Coffee Day, I went around popular coffee shops in a destination that made merged coffee and sights, making it a hit among metro residents.
The province of Rizal sits on the eastern borders of Manila. With the Sierra Madre ranges on its side, the rugged mountain terrains of the province is a favorite destination for local travelers, bikers, day trippers, or those who simply want a quick escape from the city. It offers a whole range of activities for any kind of traveler - from a chill brunch with a view in Antipolo to the mountain explorations of Tanay. With the province attracting of hundreds of guests weekly, it was not a surprise that coffee spots started popping up in the area and, more importantly, getting a lot of attention on social media.
Kaulayaw Cafe (Sumulong Highway, Antipolo)
Kaulayaw Cafe is the challenger of this cluster since it sits right beside a soon-to-open international coffee brand. Established in 2019, it prides itself to being a homegrown brand that supports local coffee farmers. It’s name is a Filipino word that means intimate companion that embodies the intimate vibe of the place best enjoyed by friends, family, and couples, and the intimate love for coffee.
The cafe sits on the famous ridge along Sumulong Highway that offers a breathtaking view of Metro Manila. The strip has long been popular and has been a fave spot to watch the metro’s city-lights. Kaulayaw has three floors and all floors have a good view of the city. Each floor has a designated view deck so you don’t have to worry about getting ahead of everyone for the “perfect” cafe spot.
They have a wide selection of coffee drinks, beverages, and meals. I got pork BBQ and an iced caramel macchiato. I enjoyed the meal and the coffee while enjoying the view of the city. I mean who would not enjoy having late lunch with a beautiful view.
Overall, Kaulayaw Cafe is great spot to unwind to break away from the stress. You get a good mix of good coffee, good food, and a great view. You would probably find me working or reading a book in the cafe if I live close to the area. Be forewarned, though, that it is a popular spot in Antipolo and getting a table may take some time, especially on a weekend.
Getting there: You can take the LRT 2 to Masinag and take public transport to Antipolo. Ask the driver to drop you off at Kaulayaw Coffee.
Playlist Cafe (Grand Heights Subd., Antipolo)
Tucked in a secluded corner of a subdivision in Antipolo, Playlist Cafe was born on the year of the pandemic. It is interesting that it has managed to keep itself on the ground despite the business and quarantine situations. It was one of the cafes that hit the mark of the public when the economy started to open after ECQ was lifted.
Playlist Cafe sits on a more secluded spot along the hillsides of Antipolo. The three-level cafe offers an overlooking view of the metro matched by the greens of the untouched hills of the city. The view of the city though is not as striking as that of Kaulayaw and Cafe Augusta. It does get an extra star for having a more relaxed ambiance compared to the other cafes in the area.
If you have plans of exploring the city, Playlist is the best way to start your day. They have an all-day breakfast menu and good coffee to with it. The food, the view, and the relaxed ambiance starts your day slowly with a kick of caffeine. The third level of the cafe is a view deck where you get to peek at the metro and enjoy the view of airplanes on its final approach of Runway 24 of NAIA.
Playlist Cafe is ideal for those looking for a chill spot where you get to enjoy a cup of coffee and a meal whether you are alone, with family, or with friends. The place is void of the usual chatter which makes it good for the talks that go with a round of coffee. The cafe, though, caps on their guest’s stay in the same way that your spotify playlist has a start and finish. I guess this would allow more people to be accommodated. I just wish that a little consideration be given during the down time of the cafe where there are no guests waiting to come in.
Getting there: You can take a public utility vehicle to Antipolo simbahan where you need to transfer to another PUV for Ortigas Extension, Cainta, or Tikling. Ask the driver to drop you off at the Provincial Capitol. Once you are at the Provincial Capitol, walk to the Clean Fuel Gas Station along the Sumulong Memorial Circle. You can them take a trike stationed at the gas station to Playlist Cafe.
Cafe Augusta (Grand Heights Road, Antipolo)
Cafe Augusta is THE breezy coffee cafe in Antipolo. Established in 2016, Cafe Augusta is my preferred coffee stop from this coffee run. I guess it stood out out for me for its perfect mix of accessibility, vibe, food, and metro view. The laidback and relaxing ambiance made me stay longer than usual.
Located atop a hill along Grand Heights Road, Cafe Augusta is a Greek-inspired cafe that offers an amazing view of the metro’s skyline facing the Makati - Laguna de Bay area. Its location and how the cafe was designed allows the breeze from the Sierra Madre ranges to flow freely through the compound which “cools” down the place even at the hottest time of the day. It was like enjoying the sunny weather while sitting on a patio at home and sipping an ice cold drink.
I was not able to try out their meals and coffee since my visit to the cafe was between breakfast and lunch. But I was able to try out their Blue Ocean Cooler, sansrival, and nachos which was perfect for the hot weather. The food selection was perfect as I enjoyed the relaxing ambiance of Cafe Augusta. I guess, the place is good for evening get-togethers.
Cafe Augusta was a perfect spot to slow down on a weekend in Antipolo. It is an easy escape that made me feel like I was at a cafe by the beach because of the breeze. If they played beach-themed music, it would have completed the vibe.
Getting there: From the Playlist Cafe, take a trike to Cafe Augusta.
Coffee Rush (Eastridge, Binangonan)
This is another coffee spot in Rizal that took day trippers, riders, and the general public by storm. It was in 2019 that Coffee Rush was established and has a number of cafes under its portfolio but the branch in Binangonan is taking social media by storm for fusing coffee and an overlooking view into one photogenic spot. Among the cafes that I visited for this coffee run, Coffee Rush Binangonan is, no doubt, the most instagrammable.
Similar to Playlist Cafe, Coffee Rush Binangonan is tucked inside the posh village of Eastridge. The cafe sits along a ridge that overlooks the metro and the Angono-Taytay area. Its dining area is al fresco and arranged around its a central garden area giving the place a homey feel. It was designed and landscaped to allow guests to be creative with their shots with the hope that it will end up on social media feeds.
Coffee Rush has all-day breakfast and main entrees in its menu. They also have a variety of coffee and non-coffee based drinks to match up with their meals. One thing that caught my attention was that their service is fast. The vibe is more upbeat but you also get the usual influx of socmed users moving around for pictures.
Coffee Rush appeals to the younger audience probably because of its socmed appeal. This is a coffee spot where you can enjoy coffee, the view, and countless photogenic spots at your disposal. My take though is having a table or picnic umbrellas along its outdoor dining areas would be appreciated by its guests. You also need to make sure that you bring a fan and a lot of patience especially on weekends where you can expect the rush and longer waiting hours to enter the outdoor cafe.
Getting there: From the Rizal Provincial Capitol, take a PUV to Cainta and asked to be dropped off at McDonald’s Tikling. Cross the walkbridge to other side and take a PUV for Binangonan and ask the driver to drop you off at SM Angono. Once in SM Angono, cross the highway to the waiting shed across SM Angono. That is the pick up point of the Coffee Rush shuttle. You can check their FB page for the shuttle schedules.
Kape-hingahan (Harmony Homes, Angono)
Kape-hingahan is not your usual kind of coffee spot. It is a rustic and no-fuzz outdoor coffee hangout whose main draw is its panoramic view of the Ortigas skyline. Its usual patrons are cyclist and riders who traverse through the area and Kape-hingahan is a rest spot where they get to rest and relax before they continue on with their planned travel itinerary.
Located in one of the highest points of Harmony Homes in Angono, Kape-hingahan is an outdoor cafe that offers the bare necessities - your preferred beverage, a snack to go with it, and a wide space where you can find your own spot. Its biggest pull is it panoramic view of the Laguna de Bay and the Ortigas skyline. You get to enjoy the breeze because of the open space but they do not have any shaded area to protect you from the sun especially at high noon.
The coffee spot has a limited menu to offer. Unfortunately, I was not able to sample any of their coffee drinks because they have a cut-off at 11am and resumes operations at 3pm. I reckon that riders drop by in the morning and locals come in the afternoon to enjoy an unadulterated view of the sun setting behind the cityscape.
Getting there: From SM Angono, you can take a jeep for Tikling or Cainta and ask the driver to drop you off at the Shell Station. You can hire a trike to bring you to Kape-hingahan. Make an arrangement with tricycle driver to either wait or return for you since there are limited tricycles in the area.
Cafe in the Sky (Muzon, Angono)
I first came across Cafe in the Sky on social media and the post gave an impression that it was a hit, most especially among riders who ply the route on this side of Rizal. It was another spot that offered a panoramic overlooking view of the metro and was said to be a perfect rest spot for those who are looking for a quick break. It piqued my curiosity that I included it on my list of coffee spots to check out.
Located on one of the highest points of a village in Angono, Cafe in the Sky is one coffee spot that got hyped on social media. It is not exactly a coffee spot for coffee lovers but more of a resting spot for cyclist, riders, and locals. It is actually just one of the makeshift stalls in the area that offer meals and snacks for those visiting the place. The place does offer a panoramic view of the metro and Laguna de Bay but don’t expect it to be as good as the views of the cafes mentioned above.
They have a limited menu list that includes the usual silog and snack meals. Their flavored iced coffee list are the ready-made powder drinks that we have in the market. What stands out though is how friendly the manangs are. The space has limited seatings but their are other stores in the area.
Similar to Kape-hingahan, Cafe in the Sky is a no-frills coffee shop. It is a good spot to rest after a long bike ride where you can enjoy a no-frills drink while enjoying the view. It has its own rustic appeal that may caters to a no-frill-no-thrill kind of person.
Getting there: Ask your driver from Kape-hingahan to drop you off at Cafe in the Sky. Both rest stops are in the same area.
Typica Coffee (Rodriguez Ave., Taytay)
Typica Coffee merges two concepts in one coffee stop - coffee-on-the-go and a neighborhood store. Reading through its story, the coffee shop was originally a sari-sari store that was converted into a coffee cafe. Its good coffee, cool exteriors, and concept caught the attention of the public.
The shop is not exactly the kind where you find yourself cozily warming up on its chic interiors. In fact, you cozy up by the road side. Think of its vibe as that of a sari-sari store with tambays only this time the exteriors are chic and the tambays are chic coffee lovers. Like what I said, Typica managed to fuse two concepts in one amazing business idea that is a hit.
The cafe’s menu has a selection of pasta, pastries, and coffee and the place has a small area for those who want to “dine in”. The space though can only accommodate a small number of diners. Their food selection and coffee are good that you won’t mind bringing home another batch to enjoy.
Typica Coffee’s unique styling, concept, and good coffee make it stand out despite having deviated from the usual coffee shop set-up. It is a minimalist in its truest sense that majority of its guests do come and go. It may have not the usual set-up or the amazing view but it has managed to keep conversations going over a cup of perfectly made coffee.
Getting there: From the Shell Gas Station in Angono, take a PUV for Cainta. Ask the driver to drop you off at Tropical. Take a trike on the side of Tropical Hut Hamburger Restaurant to Typica Coffee.
POST TRAVEL NOTES
I am a coffee drinker and my day doesn’t start without having a cup of coffee. It is a day starter for me and a perk me up drink when work starts getting a bit messy. I prefer it hot when the day starts and cold when its midday. The beverage is a good companion when I am reading a book alone and makes conversations easier when I am with my family and friends.
Interestingly, coffee shops and stations have been on a steady increase the past year. The popular cafe brands are getting challenged by local stores that offers something different, be it in terms of concepts and/or cafe locations. In a sense, it has become an attraction in an attraction. It has created its own attention by fusing good coffee with a good view and a good conversation.
Getting there: You can take the LRT 2 train to the last station (Antipolo). From there you can take a jeep or FX to Antipolo. Alternatively, you can take a jeep or FX in Cubao, Robinsons Galleria, or Shaw to Antipolo or Angono.
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.