(SPOT.ph) It’s not a novel sentiment—the people who live in Metro Manila tend to love and hate it in equal measure. And the things we hate about it tend to be universal: the terrible traffic is a cop-out answer by now, a knee-jerk reaction that always sits in the forefront of your mind. How could it not when it’s everywhere and it only seems to get worse every month? The grime, and how it seems to put a gray cast over everything, might be another. But then there are the bright spots: the theater scene and its mix of thought-provoking local shows and larger-than-life international productions, the fact that there are art fairs being held in parking garages and malls. Or just the idea of being able to meet up with friends for dinner at a good hole-in-the-wall after a long day at work.
“I miss the vibrancy and diversity of the Metro Manila scene—not just in food but in all sorts of persuasions,” says Nowie Potenciano, proprietor of The Sunny Side Group. “All sorts of niche passions are finding homes in Manila, from specialty coffee to stickers cons, from craft cocktails to vinyl. I hope that when we recover from this, Manila retains that energy.”
Lots of local coffee spots have popped up in the last few years, in some cases standing comfortably side by side with big chains and fueling many urban dwellers’ workdays. A few of them, like Commune in Poblacion, regularly play host to arts and crafts workshops that have fostered many of Manila’s makers.
And since the Metro doesn’t lack for places where you can get a good cup of joe, there’s always a place for getting things done. “I try to spend at least one day a week working from coffee shops. I found that a change of scenery does wonders for productivity. Now that we're all stuck at home, it's hard to map out ‘sacred’ spaces around the house to split up work, leisure, and rest. I always feel like I'm both working all the time and not working enough,” says freelance writer Nikki Francisco.