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The Coffee Shop In The Middle Of A Rice Field In Pangasinan Got A Christmas Upgrade

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, no one thought it would last as long as it did. But with almost two years in, it doesn't seem like the virus would be going away any time soon. The uncertainty of it all has led a lot of people to experience what experts call "COVID Fatigue." It's really no surprise that a lot are looking for ways to ~get away~.

The coffee shop ag.KAPI.ta along Daang Kalikasan Road, Pangasinan not only offers customers a chance to escape, but a safe way to reconnect with nature. It's right in the middle of rice fields, surrounded by lush greens. The air is fresh and the space is big enough to accommodate customers without compromising safety. The staff also discourages visitors to come in groups to prevent any chances of the virus spreading.

 ag.KAPI.ta coffee shop in Pangasinan
COURTESY OF ag.KAPI.ta

"Naisip namin, ngayong pandemic, problema ngayon is [mental health] kasi nasa bahay tayo—stressed sa trabaho, [at] stressed dahil walang nakikitang bago," ag.KAPI.ta owners Mawi Rillorta Jr. and Zelle Verzosa Bendito told Summit OG. The husband and wife said the concept for their cafe was inspired by the minimalist coffee shops in Japan that are often located outdoors. "Coffee lovers talaga kami," Zelle explained. "Kapag nagta-travel kami sa ibang bansa, ang unang hinahanap namin yung mga coffee shops na on trend."

Before they started their quaint coffee shop in the middle of a rice field, Mawi worked aboard ships. He also waited tables at Sofitel’s Spiral Buffet. "Parang hindi ako sapat na waiter ako," he said. So he started trying his hand in making coffee. "Kunyari may order ng cappuccino, ako ang gumagawa. Kahit hindi ko kaya, sabi ko, 'Someday, magkakaroon ako ng sarili kong coffee machine and coffee shop,'" he shared.

 ag.KAPI.ta coffee shop in Pangasinan - owners
COURTESY OF ag.KAPI.ta

They started with a P150,000 budget. "Kulang po pala 'yon. 'Yon yung hardest part," she admitted. But they pushed through because they have always dreamed of putting up their own cafe. "Hindi namin ine-expect na magbo-boom siya," Zelle said. In fact, they thought it would be a simple coffee shop. "[Kapag] makaisip kayo ng isang negosyo, na sa tingin ninyo buong puso yung pagmamahal ninyo roon sa negosyo na 'yon, gawin niyo. Paano mo nga ba malalaman kung hindi mo susubukan?,"Mawi advised.

 ag.KAPI.ta coffee shop in Pangasinan
COURTESY OF ag.KAPI.ta
 ag.KAPI.ta coffee shop in Pangasinan
COURTESY OF ag.KAPI.ta

Have you tried putting up your own business during the pandemic? How was it? Share your experience with us in the comments! 

Watch the Summit OG interview featuring the coffee shop below:

Watch more Summit OG videos here.

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