Saturday, November 7, 2009

Laguna café also brews artists

By Karen Lapitan
Inquirer Southern Luzon
First Posted 18:52:00 11/07/2009

Filed Under: Restaurants & catering, Entrepreneurship

PAETE, LAGUNA, Philippines—Using the remains of demolished homes and buildings from nearby towns, a dentist here has put up a coffee shop, aimed to develop and promote local artistry.

Art aficionado Dr. Noli Valdecantos, 47, opened Kape Kesada on December 26, 2004 after attending a series of art exhibitions in Metro Manila that made him realize that Paete artists also deserve wider opportunities.

Located along J.V. Quesada street in Paete town, Kape Kesada is also known to brew local artists other than aromatic concoctions.

Asked on how he managed to combine his love for science and the arts, he said “when you are born in Paete, you are born an artist.”

He said his interest in art started when he was still a kid, mainly due to the artistic environment where he grew up, realizing that there’s no conflict when combining science and art.

No blueprint

The structure of Kape Kesada is in itself a work of art from accumulated old materials. From the walls to the lavatory, the coffee shop used recycled materials Valdecantos got from nearby towns and provinces.

“[Kape Kesada] is like a puzzle. No plan was formally made on how the structure should look like. I just gathered some useful recycled materials from demolished structures,” said Valdecantos, who spent almost two years in completing the whole structure.

The stone bricks of Kape Kesada were from an old church, the windows’ capiz parts were given by some Paete residents, while the wood he used were from demolished homes in Pila town and the provinces of Rizal and Quezon.

Haven for artists

Kape Kesada paved the way toward many opportunities for many home-grown artists.

The Paete Artists Guild was established along the process that supports local artists who want their talent to be exposed. Visual artists and singers primarily make up this group.

According to Valdecantos, Kape Kesada serves as the official venue for the artists’ exhibits and acoustic nights.

“After being given exposure here, we also help them through our contacts to have a more sustainable career,” he added.

As Kape Kesada serves as an exhibit area for Paete artists, customers can view and decide what to buy while sipping their cups of coffee. Art works of featured artists are also sold here.

“Most exhibitions in Manila are plainly viewing of paintings and other art works, but we offer more by allowing customers to feel more relaxed while drinking coffee,” Valdecantos claimed.

The coffee shop and art gallery offers a rustic and relaxing ambiance that has attracted many coffee and art lovers not only from Laguna but also from the metropolis as well.

Ambassadors of Spain and France are just two of the high profile personalities enticed by this coffee shop-art gallery.

Valdecantos thinks that local artistry must be preserved and promoted as this is what Paete is known for. “Paete artists have this huge potential, but they just don’t know how to get enough exposure,” while encouraging more young artists to develop their artistic sides.

“This is the pathway for artistic thought and its works,” he added, while emphasizing how proud he is to be from Paete.

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