Monday, January 2, 2017

Monday, January 02, 2017
Matcha Green Tea Latte


Malls are starting to take over the business landscape of most key cities in the provinces. Albay is no exception. As a result of this development, neighborhood shops just became more appealing to tourists like me. I've always adored the non-mainstream scene anyway and my revisit of Tabaco City a couple of months ago gave me the chance to experience exactly that. I was able to stay at a special interest boutique hotel and see seasoned blacksmiths in action at their forge. For my recent tour of this side of Bicol, I made sure that I also spent a few hours inside a neighborhood cafe where interiors looked unique and the food showed hints of local inspiration. While booked at the newly-opened Facade By Hotel Fina, I found it cozy to wind down at the relatively new Bona's Cafe after a full day of island-hopping.

Homegrown In Bicol

Located at the city proper of Tabaco, Bona's Cafe is lodged at the second floor of the same structure where the backpackers' favorite JJ MidCity Inn is. The area may be highly urbanized but there isn't any decent coffee shop that has managed to get my attention since I last visited it in 2015. With numerous travelers finding themselves on layover in the city for Catanduanes, the presence of the cafe is quite ideal.

The interiors of Bona's Cafe
Blueberry Cheesecake
Available meeting rooms for rent
Its owners take pride in the cafe as being one of the first coffee shops in the city to bring the authentic art of brewing espresso. Customers can expect freshly brewed coffee and authentically made espresso using only the industry-standard, state-of-the-art equipment. Most patrons love its custom-made latte. What's more, the menu options are known to be quite affordable compared to mall-based stores in nearby Legazpi City.

Pinangat Pizza
Pinangat-Flavored Pizza and Matcha Green Tea Latte

Hanging out with an Albay-resident friend who happens to love the cafe's pizza, I was compelled to order one pizza flavor to pair with my order of Matcha Green Tea Latte (Php85). My pizza order had to be the cafe's Bicol-inspired special that's loaded with flavors of pinangat or laing. After all, it is the province's banner dish that's normally a combo of gabi leaves, ginger, dried fish, pork, shrimp paste and crushed siling labuyo cooked in coconut milk. Take that same flavor, top it all over a dough, then add salted egg and you have Bona's Cafe's local pizza flavor, a savory goo courtesy of the Mayon Volcano and something that complements the city landscape.

"My pizza order had to be the cafe's Bicol-inspired special that's loaded with flavors of pinangat..."

Pork Sisig Pasta
I loved the pizza flavor for tasting local even if the snack is of Italian origin. Having incorporated homegrown flavors in something so foreign, the cafe has succeeded in making my vacation more meaningful. Tasting one is something that I recommend tourists should try.

"To keep the Filipino food trip momentum going, my friend's suggestion was the Pork Sisig Pasta..."

Pork Sisig Pasta and Cookies 'N' Cream Frappe

Since I also ordered a cold drink -- a Cookies 'N' Cream Frappe (Php90), I had to have pasta as well. To keep the Filipino food trip momentum going, my friend's suggestion was the Pork Sisig Pasta, the cafe's delicious ode to the culinary gem of Angeles City.

Blueberry Cheesecake As Sweet Finish

To end our late afternoon snack, we ordered a slice of the cafe's Blueberry Cheesecake which definitely tasted homemade for being dense and creamy at the same time. It's a sweet slice of heaven in Tabaco and most residents who order boxes of it on special occasions will agree.

Cookies 'N' Cream Frappe

Intimate Meeting Rooms For Rent

The cafe also has office-type function rooms that can accommodate small groups of people. The corporate-looking rooms are equipped with sophisticated tables and comfy office chairs for those want to have intimate meetings with easy access to food and drinks. Residents who have frequent meetups that need a venue can very well find the meeting rooms to be suitable.

The next time you're in Albay, take the effort to make a detour from Legazpi City and head to Tabaco City for a relaxing snack of different coffee flavors and more. You won't regret taking a chance on a homegrown favorite like Bona's Cafe.

Bona's Cafe

Official Facebook fan page of Bona's Cafe

Address: Herrera Street, Quinale, Tabaco City, Albay, Philippines
Operating Hours: 10:00am - 10:00pm
Phone: (052) 487-4158

Curious to know what else to do in Albay?
Check out my blog post about what to eat in Albay.


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