Honesty Cafe in Batanes
Honesty Cafe aka Honesty Coffee Shop is a one of a kind store located in Ivana, Batanes. This coffee shop was originally named Honesty Cafe in 1998 while some local residents call it Honesty Store.
Despite various names, Do you know what makes this Ivatan sari-sari store interesting? No one looks after the merchandise so each customer is pretty much free to move inside the store.
Everyone is expected to be honest, the store owners trust the people enough to allow them to list the products they bought along with its corresponding price and then leave the payment in a dropbox. You can find an interesting sign on the wall that says “This store is too small for dishonest people,”.
It is a typical Pinoy Sari-Sari Store and Coffee Shop combined. Once you enter the shop, you can sit, relax, and have some coffee. Each item has a price tag while some item prices are listed on the wall. The Majority of tourists intentionally drops excessive payment to show their support to the owner.
On the right corner, you can find different kinds of snacks, candies, cold bottled water, and soft drinks. If you looking for souvenir items, they also sell replicas of vacul, keychains, and Batanes souvenir T-shirts here.
The store is owned by Elena Gabilo, a 73-year old former public school teacher at the Ivana Elementary School. She opened the store in 1995 after her retirement. When the port of Radiwan closed and operations was transferred to San Vicente port, the store sales went down.
Since then, she decided to concentrate on farming and helping her husband with their cane vinegar production. She opted to continue the sari-sari store operation but because her presence was needed on the farm, she left the store unattended.
Just like a normal Sari-Sari store in most of the unpopulated areas in the Philippines, the store opens from 6am and closed as early as 6pm. The store owner decided not to sell high priced items due to anticipation of having dishonest customers but they still believe that people are generally honest.
I wish to see this slogan inside their store “God knows Hudas not Pay”! LOL:)
How to get to Honesty Coffee Shop
From Basco Town Proper, you can hire a tricycle and ask the driver to bring to you Honesty Coffee Shop. You can also rent a motorbike or a Japanese bike, just ask your hotel about bike rentals.