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.


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