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  • Waiter To Cafe Owner: Meet The Couple Behind The 'Viral' Cafe In Pangasinan

    “Parang hindi ako sapat na waiter ako,” shares Mawi, the owner of the cafe in the middle of a ricefield.
    by Ana Gonzales .
Waiter To Cafe Owner: Meet The Couple Behind The 'Viral' Cafe In Pangasinan
PHOTO BY COURTESY OF MAWI RILLORTA JR.
  • When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, no one thought it would last as long as it did. Two years in and it doesn’t seem like the virus would be going away any time soon.

    The uncertainty of it all has led a lot of people to experience what experts call “COVID Fatigue.” So it’s no surprise that a lot are looking for ways to get away.

    The coffee shop ag.KAPI.ta on Daang Kalikasan Road, Pangasinan not only offers customers a chance to escape, but a safe way to reconnect with nature.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF SUMMIT OG
    PHOTO COURTESY OF SUMMIT OG
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    Right in the middle of rice fields and surrounded by lush greens,  ag.KAPI.ta boasts of fresh air and space that's big enough to accommodate customers without compromising safety.

    “Naisip namin, ngayong pandemic, problema ngayon is mental kasi nasa bahay tayo, stressed sa trabaho, stressed dahil walang nakikitang bago,” ag.KAPI.ta owners Mawi Rillorta Jr. and Zelle Verzosa Bendito told Summit OG.

    The husband and wife said the concept for their cafe was inspired by the minimalist coffee shops in Japan that are often located outdoors.

    Coffee lovers talaga kami,” Zelle explained. “Kapag nagta-travel kami sa ibang bansa, ang unang hinahanap namin ‘yung mga coffee shops na on trend.”

    PHOTO COURTESY OF MAWI RILLORTA JR.
    PHOTO COURTESY OF MAWI RILLORTA JR.
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    PHOTO COURTESY OF MAWI RILLORTA JR.

    “Parang hindi ako sapat na waiter ako.”

    Before they started their quaint coffee shop in the middle of a rice field, Mawi worked aboard ships. He also waited tables at Sofitel’s Spiral Buffet. “Parang hindi ako sapat na waiter ako,” he said. So he started trying his hand in making coffee.

    PHOTO COURTESY OF MAWI RILLORTA JR.
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    PHOTO COURTESY OF SUMMIT OG
    PHOTO COURTESY OF SUMMIT OG

    “Kunyari may order ng cappuccino, ako ang gumagawa. Kahit hindi ko kaya, sabi ko, ‘Someday, magkakaroon ako ng sarili kong coffee machine and coffee shop,” he shared. 

    They started with a P150,000 budget. “Kulang po pala ‘yon,” Zelle said. “‘Yun ‘yung hardest part,” she admitted.

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    But they pushed through because they have always dreamed of putting up their own cafe.

    “Hindi namin ine-expect na magbo-boom siya,” Zelle said. In fact, they thought it would be a simple coffee shop.

    “Makaisip kayo ng isang negosyo, na sa tingin ninyo buong puso ‘yung pagmamahal ninyo doon sa negosyo na ‘yon, gawin niyo,” Mawi said. “Paano mo nga ba malalaman kung hindi mo susubukan?” 

    Have you tried putting up your own business during the pandemic? How was it? Share your experience in the comment section.

    Watch their full Summit OG interview below.

    Watch more OG videos here.

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