Honesty Store. At first, it sounds strange to me. But when I saw it on TV, heard it on radio and read it on newspapers, it fired up my soul to pursue my life long dream of going to Batanes and search for that wonderful place.
And when I finally made it to this heavenly place, I made sure that visiting the "legendary" Honesty Store will be part of the itinerary! So right after my journey to Sabtang Island, we went to Radiwan, Ivana where the said store was located. And finally, I found the Honesty Store!
The Honesty Store / Coffee Shop is owned by Ms. Elena Gabilo. The difference of this store with the rest of the sari-sari stores in the Philippines is that the customers can buy from the store without the storekeeper / owner. The customer just needs to serve himself, either prepare his own coffee, buy goods and put his money in a box. In fact, he can even make a change himself. He just needs to write down on a notebook what he bought from the store.
This concept was started a few years ago. Before, fishermen would knock the door of her house / coffee shop to ask her for an early morning breakfast before they go to the sea. And since Ms. Elena believes in the honesty of her kababayan (fellow townsmen), she thought of opening the store and letting the fishermen serve themselves while they leave their payment in a jar so that she won't be disturbed while she's sleeping And since Ivatans are known to be honest people, (in fact, our guide even said they have almost zero crime rate!) she decided to come up with the idea of Honesty Coffee Shop, which eventually became a store as well (and which was accepted by the locals and praised by everyone)!
Now, aside from coffee, customers can buy pasalubong, softdrinks, snack foods, etc. One just have to look at the board where the prices are listed.
The store is simple and it doesn't have much to sell but only the basic things that the fishermen and some travelers need. But while the store may be plain and small, it houses more valuable things. It keeps Ivatans valuable traits such as honesty, it reminds us that there's a chance in man's goodness, it brings pride among us Filipinos, and it stirs happiness with everyone for realizing that such laudable thing actually exists.
And that for me is my 32nd treasure find. :) So when you go up there in Batanes, please make sure that you'll pass by the Honesty Cafe because what you'll get is surely more than than the sip of a relaxing coffee but a joy of life. :)
|foydi with Nanay Elena|