For a period of time between my first and third year of being in College, I considered Starbucks as my go-to place, spending most afternoons in any of the Ayala branches while waiting for my uncle/mom to fetch me. It was there that I picked up the habit of answering newspaper crossword puzzles and working best away from my house. And it was because of the nasty effect their coffee products had on my stomach that I developed the preference for tea.
At around March this year, a couple of my friends found a rad coffee shop near one of my alma maters, and after a couple of visits, I got so attached to the place that I abandoned my Full Leaf Earl Grey with Hazelnut (Grande) days for refillable Iced Americano or Iced Kape Pilipino both with a shot of Milk and Syrup. As of this article, I have spent approximately 7 months frequenting Barako Haus, and my regrets are nonexistent!
Coffee shops have always been my thing. And my transition from a global superpower (in the caffeine industry context) to a local rising star is still something that baffles people who know me but have never been to Barako.
In the weeks that I have repeatedly thought of sitting down and writing this post, I managed to come up with a list of reasons why I stay at Barako Haus. It’s a working list, and I doubt that I’ll run out of nice things to say about the place anytime soon, so this should be enough for now.
- The coffee is delicious
- …and it doesn’t make my stomach rebel against me
- The Chorizo Marinara pasta is my stomach’s wet dream but my wallet’s nightmare
- …especially since I can choose from ‘not spicy’ to ‘spicy’ to ‘extra spicy’ to ‘TOO MUCH CAPSAICIN spicy’
- …then they give me a glass of water when my “There’s no such thing as too spicy” mantra fails
- The sandwiches are satisfying enough without being too expensive
- Their service water doesn’t taste weird
- The toilets smell nice
- …and I am a firm believer that once you repeatedly throw your stomach inside out for four straight hours (because of a stomach bug that made me unable to appreciate the first time Barako served rice meals) in a comfortable comfort room that doesn’t smell rank, you create a connection with it
- The SunStar crossword puzzles turn any rotten day better
- The baristas are warm and friendly
- …and hilarious
- Their playlist is my kind of music (80% of the time)
- …and they play WRock in the mornings.
- They support the local literary industry by selling:
- The Nomads Quarterly
- Wanang by Bathalad
- Bomba Press publications
- Other Bisaya works
- It’s perfect for watercolouring (or drawing, reading, writing)
- Redemptorist Church is a relaxed 10-minute walk away
- So is National Bookstore
- The streets aren’t that scary at night
- Mango Ave., Jones Ave., and Escario St. are easily accessible on foot
- I get SO MANY academic things done
- The overall local/barako/native vibe appeals to my Bisaya core
- …so of course, the more I visit Barako, the more it feels like home.
I have come to realize that each barista has a different way of making my Spicy Chorizo Marinara.
- The “Nino” is an 8 on the spiciness meter with extra pepper and cheese;
- the “Michael” is a 9 with extra cheese, and if you forget this rating and tell him to make it really spicy, then that’s when you’ll know what TOO MUCH CAPSAICIN spicy tastes like; and
- the “Neri” is a 2. He takes great pains not to overdo the spiciness of the dish, so if you want it as spicy as the “Nino”, tell him to add a lot of chili.
Aside from coffee, pasta, and sandwiches, Barako Haus also has rice meals and native delicacies like biko, cassava cake, bibingka, and adobo pandesal. They had fruit cupcakes and cheese/ube ensaymadas a couple of weeks back – the Durian cupcake was a gastronomic delight – but it’s been some time since I last saw both pastries.
I’d tell people not to go just so I’d have the place empty and relatively quiet, but I’m arse-over-tits with Barako Haus, so y’all check out this place and use these hashtags for your Instagram pictures: #barakohaus #barakohauscebu.
Check out this article if you want to know more about the type of coffee they sell, as I’m not up for Civet coffee, and I’m fine with my regular Iced Americano/Kape Filipino.
Barako Haus is in Juana Osmeña St. cor Ma. Cristina St., Capitol Site, Cebu City, or if you’re better at remembering landmarks, it’s right before Baseline and across Premiere Citi Suites.