The driving force behind cult coffee hub in Makati’s Poblacion opens up her travel kit
1. Backpack: “I don’t pack light and I carry my laptop around with me. Anything I need to access right away — like my phone, passport or wallet — I keep in a little sling bag. Everything else goes into the backpack.”
2. Coffee: “I usually bring my own coffee, as well as a drip or an Aeropress. And I bring extra bags of coffee as gifts for friends.”
3. Scarf: “It gets cold on planes, and I don’t like the static of the provided blankets, so this ends up being an invaluable travel accessory.”
4. Tissues: “I’m a sneezy girl – I never leave home without them.”
5. Balm: “This Spa in a Can is mainly for headaches, but it also helps neutralize unwelcome odors.”
6. Pen: “Necessary for forms and for listing down my daily outfits when I travel.”
7. Camera: “Because camera photos are still different from the ones that you take on your phone.”
8. Two phones: “I have them with me all the time. The second phone holds a local SIM when I travel.”
9. Compact lint roller: “Because I have cats and somehow everything I wear has their… ethically sourced fur!”
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Business talk with Ros
How did you get into the café business?
Ros: More than five years ago I came up with the idea to create a space in the capital of Manila, where people could gather and that would also function as an event space — my idea was to open it up to people of different communities. The result was Commune — our communal tables encourage people to sit and connect.
Is it the venue you dreamt it up to be?
Ros: Sort of! It’s become an incubator for hip businesses that have come to establish themselves properly in the Poblacion area, in Makati city. We’ve also been at the forefront of promoting local coffee.
Tell us something we should know about Commune.
Ros: We support fair trade and sustainability. We source directly from coffee farmers, and we invest in training locals in the proper ways of coffee cupping. This year, we also began producing our own in-house roasts.
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Ros’ favorite local coffee destinations
- Sagada, Mountain Province: “Benguet is a no-brainer but go a bit further to Sagada to enjoy the liquid gold in cooler climes.”
- Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao: “While there to train the farmers, I discovered that the area was fertile with a number of aromatic coffee varieties.”
- Malaybalay, Bukidnon: “I visit on some Sundays to appreciate the Benedictine monks’ (of the Monastery of the Transfiguration) blend.”
This article first appeared in the January 2019 issue of Smile magazine.