Marymil M. Cabrera / Writer
Amper Campaña / Photographer
LINING the street of Tres Borces are residences, a play school and a condominium. But also, it is where one can find a hidden gem strategically nestled. Here is an unassuming but exquisite home cafe that has everything one needs, from all-day breakfast, coffee and dessert, to one’s daily essentials, basic home and kitchen needs.
M+S Cafe—named after the owners Marvin Albert and Sheryl Mariñas’ daughter Makhena Sofia—is bursting with handmade details: A hand lettered chalkboard menu, customized wood shelves and plant boxes made from recycled wood planks, handwritten calligraphy wall decors, recycled plant vases, and more. All these contribute to a homey ambiance which exudes warmth, just how the owners want it to be like.
What was supposed to be an all day-breakfast cafe inspired by the couple’s love for breakfast meals, and a place to welcome their clients from their main design and build office M+S Studio Co. located at the back of the cafe, became part of a sustainable business and livelihood loop the couple wanted to create as their legacy.
Besides serving food and drinks, the quaint cafe has also a mini convenience store that offers basic home needs like kitchen condiments, home cleaning essentials, personal care items and the like, due to their neighbors’ requests.
As environmental advocates, Marvin and Sheryl highlight alternatives to regularly used basic items: bamboo straws, natural fiber dish sponges, natural bath loofah, menstrual cups and reusable pantyliners and menstrual pads, shampoo bars, eco-friendly hand and body wash and fabric freshener, to name a few, and changed its takeout practices.
“We believe it’s time for us to wake up to the implications that our choices and actions have caused the environment these past decades. The organic wastes from the cafe are transferred to our farm called Alhibé to compost the wastes and turn them into plant fertilizers. Our next step is to create and source the products we sell directly from our farm with the help of local farmers.” said Sheryl.
As for Sheryl and Marvin, the cafe doesn’t merely have their personal touches as owners, but it is also place of collaboration, teamwork and a workplace their staff consider as their second home.
When asked what makes their cafe unique aside from the mini convenience store, “all cafes can serve and offer the same items and meals as we do, but not everyone can feel at home in it,” replied Sheryl.