Viaje Del Sol Series: Kinabuhayan Cafe

It was already 4PM and I was bent in going to the famed Kinabuhayan Cafe in Dolores, Quezon. Being already in Tiaong, we went back to the diversion road and turned right when we saw the sign leading to Dolores. The distance from there is about 9 km, so it took us around 20 minutes. Once you hit a gas station, just go straight up till you hit the Dejarme St. Turn left there and the cafe is to your right.

Kinabuhayan Cafe is also a hidden treasure much like Ugu Bigyan's place. It had no signs. You just had to know how to get there. We actually got lost since the road signs where not clear. I had to call Jay Herrera, the owner, to ask for directions. When we called, he said reservations were required, and since it was another ambush visit, he wouldn't be able to accommodate us well. But we just wanted to see the place and that was it. It was getting late anyway. So he agreed and we finally touched base.

Kinabuhayan Cafe is the most rustic destination we have been to so far in the Viaje. It looked like an oasis for artists and the like. There was a garden where huts served as beds and chill out areas. There was also a tree house, that was sitting this time on top of a tree. There were animals such as dogs, roosters, cats, and a cute pig named Onion.

Jay welcomed us and immediately took us as his late afternoon guests. He served us some coffee and struck us with conversations. He told us he just had a party for a friend for the past two days, so it had been hell in the place till now. He shared us some stories on how the place came to be and what he envisions it to become in the future. He also mentioned about his Kubli Springs Nature Reserve, near the slopes of Banahaw, just 15 minutes by drive away. It was a shame that we came in late. It seemed there were so many more to discover.

What turned out to be a quick visit became our longest stay in the tour. We passed the time sharing more stories, playing the guitar, browsing through his guestbook and other paraphernalia and admiring the person that is Jay himself. Jay Herrera was an interesting character, full of energy and quirky comments. We mentioned that he was known for his food, and when asked about his specialty, he said he didn't have any. Everything he cooks is just special. That made me want to stay for dinner so badly, as he invited us, but we were shy enough to stay since it was an ambush visit. We just promised Jay that we would be back with more troops and a reservation for lunch or dinner at Kubli Springs. Now that is something to look forward to.

All in all, Kinabuhayan Cafe is a place you don't see often these days. It was full of character and had a rustic appeal that made you just want to let go of all your problems and enjoy a good cup of barako coffee. And if you're lucky, a grand feast prepared by Jay himself.

Kinabuhayan Cafe Bed and Breakfast
Jay Herrera - 09173680054


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