Thursday, August 14, 2008

Batanes • A serving of pungent garlic & Honesty Cafe

During my previous trip to Batanes, the Honesty Store was being renovated. During my most recent trip, stopping by here before visiting the beautiful church of Ivana and prior to catching the sunset at San Vicente, I was delighted to see that the Honesty Cafe is already in place, with a karaoke in the corner to boot. Our Seair team lingered while drinking our fill of cold soda and perusing the merchandise like the native garlic i featured above.

This iconic store which is oft-written in travel stories reflects the Ivatan's inherent honesty. For nowhere else in the country have I heard of an unmanned store thriving on the honesty of its customers - there is no one manning the store, one gets the stuff he/she wants and leave the payment on a box. With no one to provide change, one has to drop in the exact amount, otherwise, he/she leaves a tip to the grateful owners.T his has been a source of fascination to cityfolks like me as the idea wouldn't even see the light of day here in manila (pardon my pessimism on this matter) where such a store would likely be looted right down to its building materials the very day it opens. Which brings me to a question nagging in my head: does this reflect our moral state? I'm no sociologist or moralist so I'm leaving it up to you, my readers, to come up with your own conclusion.

While Batanes may not have any cafe that approximates even a tenth of the stylishness or pomp of a Starbucks outlet, it has a cafe that serves an important fare. come to think of it, I still have to taste the coffee of this cafe but I'm already sold on its most treasured, most wanted and rare commodity: good, old-fashioned honesty.

11 comments:

rina said...

in chavayan, sabtang, we ate at an "honesty buko shed" - chop your own buko, stuff your money in a coke 1.5 bottle hanging in the corner. our guide was kind enough to do the chopping for us :)

of course, pwede rin namang nag-siesta lang muna yung tumatao sa tindahan kaya naging "honesty" store muna siya - but still amazing, right?

lagal[og] said...

if it's catching on, i'll be happy to see so many honesty stores, rina.

if it catches on in manila, so much the better kahit na long shot :-)

the donG said...

i am really intrigued with this store. never seen an honesty shop before. do we have one within metro manila?

what's funny is it already have a videoke! maybe by the time i'll visit this place, there'll be some console games. hehehe... i wish!

Ferdz said...

It seems business is doing good. Dati kasi parang sari-sari store lang sya. Now with matching karaoke with round tables and chairs pa.

Bumirit ka ba ng ilang kanta while there? hehe.

lagal[og] said...

wulfriend! onga eh, i saw it noon parang sari-sari store lang. naku, i was too pooped out to even muster a song when i was there :-) next time, i will

freeze said...

I hope Batanes will be off my wish list by next year. I'll definitely drop by at the honesty cafe, that's an experience you'd never find the bustling city. :D

lagal[og] said...

dom, i doubt if there'll ever be one here in manila.

freeze, i hope you'll be able to go to batanes and see what i've been writing and blogging about :-)

The Islander said...

so this is how the honesty store looks like.

kidding... i want to try cheating in that honesty store. hehe.

the idea is amazing.. it could actually make somebody ponder about being honest just for once. the idea is great.

lagal[og] said...

jp, i don't know about cheating at honesty cafe :-) it's almost sacrilegious akin to tainting a way of life. yeah, it made me ponder on why there aren't a lot of honesty stores. makes you think, 'no?

Allan Barredo said...

naku bai di tatagal ng isang minuto ang honesty store dito sa manila.

does this reflect our moral state? hell yes!

lagal[og] said...

naku bai, sinabi mo pa. it's a sad reality. but on the other hand, it's nice to still see places like batanes where people can still practice this virtue of honesty so blatantly :-)

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