In My Own Words - Ron Centeno

a collection of thoughts and my own words

Your Ad Here

Too Good to be True?

Written by Ron Centeno

Imagine you are an owner of a coffee shop without hiring a cashier to ring the bills of your customers. In other words, when a coffee drinker gets inside your coffee shop, he makes his own coffee, leaves his payment in a box near the thermos, and steps out when done. Too good to be true? Absolutely not!

In the article, “CafĂ© with No Cashier, No Bill for Real”, by Fe Zamora, (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 08 February 2009), the author describes a coffee shop, which is aptly called Honesty Coffee Shop, that run the course of its business without a barista to accept payment or give change.

The author notes that “on the wall is a price list of items for sale-including coffee-and beside it a box and a sign, “Please pay here.” Also found in that coffee shop is a fridge with bottled drinks and souvenir items such as T-shirts.

Where else, however, such coffee shop be found but in Ivana, Batanes.
Geographically, Batanes lies at the northernmost tip of the Philippines, where the Pacific Ocean merges with the South China Sea. It is composed of three islands: Batan which contains the capital town of Basco, Sabtang and Itbayat.

As opposed to anywhere else in the Philippines, and perhaps to the most parts of the world, the municipality of Ivana, “locked doors are not part of our tradition. If they don’t pay, it’s not done purposely”, said, Elena Gabilo, a 73-year old retired school teacher and owner of Honesty Coffee Shop.

Understandably, with only a total population of 16,467 (2002 census) distributed within the entire province, and in the case of Ivana, with 1,300 residents (current census), one can imagine that everyone knows everyone.

The town boasts six policemen to secure peace and order. If my mathematics serves me right, for each policeman, he would be assigned to watch-over more than two hundred residents while on duty. Under such circumstance, Mayor Ramon Elizondo claims of a zero crime rate, except, “drunkenness and unruly behavior under the influence of gin.” When caught, the “burachos” are detained for six hours or until sober. “That’s the only time the jail gets used”, added the mayor.

Ironically, it is safe to assume that most of these residents do not hold academic degrees given the nature of the town as a fishing village as opposed to Ayala Alabang Village (ever heard of the Alabang Boys?), to say the least.

Imagine again that the entire world is Ivana, Batanes. I’m sure Starbucks and Coffee Beans will have every reason to stay in business.

7 Your Thoughts/Comments Here::

Desert Aquaforce said...

It is indeed too good to be true!

This just proves that the value of honesty is not rare yet after all! And it's so inspiring to find that (unexpectedly) in a sleepy fishing village and not in the halls of power in Macanang, Senate House or at Congress.

This one's for an inspirational blog!

tacK said...

Hello! Interesting blog u got here.. I like reading your posts.. Thanks for always dropping by my blog.. Tc & God bless!

pchi said...


I want to be there for real and see it personally

I've always been fascinated by Batanes... what a beauty to behold!

I therefore think that education does not make one civilized. as you've noted, many people of this province might not be educated but people are honest. educated people on the other hand, like MArcos (on your other blog) use their abilities for their gain


shakes head

Alain Theriault said...

I actually think that's a great idea. Some people will leave less and some will leave more. But if the average is close to the price, then it's worth it because you don't have to pay a cashier.

^_edSie_^ said...

I've heard of this before and I've always wanted to visit this honesty coffee shop. Maybe I will learn something from the experience. Well, it's just a thought...

Makoy said...

hi ron! nice new cap. arbor :)

Elyong said...

What about tourists? The people can be honest because they know everybody...

What if i have a larger bill? Where will i get my change? hehe..

For a coffee shop, there's not much of a risk here... try a electronic gadget store.. :)

Post a Comment