Around Town: Hello MunchkinsHello Munchkins: the first play café in the Philippines is located in Quezon City
Imagine you’re home alone with your toddler. She’s contentedly playing on her spot on the floor with a few toys. Everything’s fine, except that you’re feeling cooped up at home. You just want to pop down to the nearest Starbucks, but couldn't leave your toddler behind and you don’t want her to have nothing to do if you take her either.
Well, then, better run to Hello Munchkins in Quezon City, just a corner away from Banawe Street. Hello Munchkins is what their owners call a “play café”.
“You don't want to be an irresponsible mom who goes out with a child who's uncomfortable, who's not having fun,” says Vanezza Ho-Asuncion, co-owner of the play café. “Here, we have toys. We have closets. We have a rocking chair. We have everything a parent needs. It’s a parent’s dream place.” And, not to forget, they have coffee.
In essence, it’s a space which has both a café and a play area in one. It’s relatively new, having opened just last June by Vanneza, a former preschool teacher in Taiwan and a mother to one-year old Asti, and Anneli Hilario-Sy, a newly-married businesswoman with a love for children.
The whole café is a 3-story structure, and at the first floor is where the main action happens. This area is divided into two by a low bookshelf stuffed with educational board games and toys: on one side is the café with seats and tables, and on the other the play area, covered with a play mat and toys within kids' easy reach.
“We're creating a place where parents, as well as their children, can relax and meet new people,” says Vanezza.
Converted from a residential home, the café is inconspicuous on the outside with just a banner hanging out front. The gate is painted with rainbow-colored accents though.
Enter the premises and the first thing you'll notice is a big wooden bus. It’s playful and unique – the owners had it built for the café – with plastic knobs and buttons, a steering wheel and a few toys tucked in. Inside, the café’s walls are decorated with scenes in pastel colors. It’s one of the things we like about the café -- it feels exactly like it was built for parents and kids.
Being the first play café in the Philippines already makes Hello Munchkins an interesting place to visit but here’s where it gets even better. It’s also a place for community building: a place for parents to meet other parents, and a safe area for kids to start socializing.
They offer classes, workshops and other events for parents and their children. On the second and third floors, they hold yoga classes, art classes, storytime and even classes for babies where they sing songs and teach routines like packing up and washing hands.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Parents and kids can drop by the play café anytime but Vanezza recommends calling first and asking if they have activities lined up, just in case you’d be interested to join. Memberships are offered at the play café, which gives members special discounts for the classes and a few other exclusive privileges, like the ability to earn free play hours at the play area for every P500 spent at the café.
Saturdays are reserved for special events, like the adult art class they offer, special get-togethers for the members, or even private functions like birthday parties. “We have little party celebrations. Last time, it was a toddler’s birthday, I baked mini cupcakes and decorated the place a bit for everybody,” says Vanezza.
The Saturday before that they had Animal Day. They brought in wooden horses and sheep, and Anneli brought her cat and hamsters for the children to meet. On another weekend they assigned as Space Day, the bus was transformed into a rocket ship and the rooms' lights were turned off so the Christmas lights they put up would seem like the stars at night.
Hello Munchkins is a café, a play area and a place for mini-events rolled into one. But what the play café really is, is a community spot, much like a modern, enclosed version of a park. Neighbors and friends drop by from time to time with their children. The adults chat, the children play and now they get to take classes together too. Spend enough time at the café, go to enough classes and you and your child might make a few friends.
Rates and prices for the play area and classes can be found in the slideshow. Check out the Hello Munchkins Facebook page for their full schedule of and events.
Hello Munchkins is located at 219-6 Biak na Bato cor. Makaturing St., Quezon City. For inquiries, call them at 0917-528-9163
Take a virtual tour of The Bunny Baker Cafe and Cake Studio by clicking "View slideshow"!
Photos by Majoy Siason
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