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Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Chillage

OWNER Beatriz Amanda Borja likes to put it as “a fusion place where you eat, play and shop.” Her intention is clear: “We’re trying to combine all the happy elements in one place.” True enough, who wouldn’t find joy doing all those things?

Before it became fully operational last year on Dec. 17, Chillage used to be a vacant space where Bea and her friends would have some drinks and graffiti sessions “just to chill out.” Then an idea hit her: “Why don’t we make it an establishment? Why don’t we make it open to the public so people can have another spot?”

The goal has been “to give people an alternative destination to shop” such that “while the boyfriend eats, the girlfriend goes around” worry free. And as the location is a bit of a drive—at the ground floor of Adnama Bldg., along the North Reclamation Area in Mandaue City—Bea thought: “They might as well have lots of things to do.”

At first glance, the shop may give a rather intimidating impression. Nonetheless, a smartly cropped façade should only be an indication of more wonders inside.


The Chillage
BEGINNING. Where the café delights start. (Photo by Alex Badayos of Sun.Star Cebu)

Beyond the glass door is an exquisite interior that seems to fine-tune where it tries to complement a section. There is a wide-ranging souvenir items area, where locally produced goods are proudly displayed; a cozy café, serving excellent snacks and refreshments such as pasta, shakes; and a fun room, where boys and girls are free to express themselves however they want, though safely.

The chic aura of Chillage is the fruit of meticulously paying attention to details. It started out with mood boards until, eventually, naturalist became the tree on the logo while minimalist became the concrete and the color black. Bea shared, “I tried to integrate the whole theme in every way I can.”

Another detail worth mentioning is the modish set of comfort rooms, the female of which features a snug sofa. Now, that makes it is easy to blame the lovely piece of furniture whenever girls tend to stay extra longer inside.

Through Chillage, being a one-stop shop that champions Cebuano crafts, Bea likes to share how she likes to set out “a little bit of a change in shopping paradigm and the outlook that if it’s local it should be cheap.” Yes, quality over quantity is the end in mind, though that does not solely account for what sets this place apart from many others.

“It is a new concept,” starts Nicole Ring, marketing head of Chillage. She means the curious rule that the place upholds: no alcoholic drink is served. Well, before anyone cries foul, the management welcomes negotiating wines for special occasions.

“Not that we’re against drinking, but we just try to give people a place to talk because, right now, there are limited places where people can actually hear each other with the loud music on,” explained Bea. In support to that, Nicole adds, “Our motive is to get high on life. You don’t need alcohol to get all those creative ideas, you don’t need influences to go out and party.”

Bea has always had the teenagers in mind when she came up with such a bold move. She wanted to provide an option where it makes it unnecessary to “gravitate towards the negative things in life” so she is offering a place to “literally just chill out.”

With Chillage being a rather innovative idea for a hangout, both Bea and Nicole realize how it can be a challenge to get people to try the place out. Be that the case, Bea is firm in saying, “I don’t believe it can’t happen. Even if the market is small, it’s there and it can grow.”
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