Sunday, May 15, 2016


Looking for a restaurant somewhere in south? Where art, music, and good food collide. These restaurants double up as coffee shops by day and a dining hub by night which offers a wide array of local and international inspired menu.

The upstart yet promising Buku-Buku Kafe, owned by mother-daughter-son creative trio – Lyn Santiago who heads the operations, Jessica Santiago who handles digital marketing, and Nicholas Santiago who spearheads all marketing efforts. The café is relatively new but has been gaining a lot of attention from locals, weekenders who frequent the south, artists and even style bloggers who enjoy this Instagram-worthy place, with each corner offering a unique character.  Buku-Buku Kafe also serves as an avenue for upcoming artists and musicians to get more visibility and tap a distinct market sector without the need to spend so much on promotions. “I think our partnership with young local artists and indie musicians works both ways. They’re pretty much in line with our brand vision; selling art pieces and having live performances from indie bands add up to the unique flavor of our café”, says Nicholas Santiago. “One of our key missions is to bring together a like-minded community and help boost the art and music scene here in the south”, Santiago adds 

Sparking the creativity Buku-Buku is a Bahasa term for ‘many, many books’. The idea of putting up a concept café that offers a full dining experience came about when founders Jessica traveled to the US where she chanced upon small street coffee shops with very artsy vibes to them. She saw how the spaces allowed artists to do poetry reading and live sessions with bands. “Traveling to different parts of Asia, Europe, and America exposed us to the scene these small ‘underground coffee shops’ are part of”, said Jessica Santiago, Digital Marketing Manager.

More than just a dining spot, Buku-Buku Kafe serves as a ‘book reading space’ which bookworms will definitely enjoy. They also have Komiks and zines which the owners have been collecting for years – one thing that’s not usually common in most mainstream bookstores. Apart from that, they also sell prints, postcards, notebooks, and other unique finds.

Love for comfort food is the one thing that the owners enjoy the most. Whenever they travel, food
tasting is on their priority list. Across their travels, they’ve explored different dining gems in Malaysia and Europe, the founders decided to add a well-curated full dining menu to their café. If you’re a meat lover, indulge with their Beef Brisket Tapa – a full plated dish of slow-cooked beef served with garlic rice, fried egg, roasted tomatoes with added pickled onions and corn salsa. Another best seller in the house is their Romi Lamen which is a creative twist resulting in something that looks like ramen but tastes like upgraded lomi. This dish is definitely something you wouldn’t want to miss. Served with pork broth, roasted pork, pork liver, soft-boiled egg, shitake nori, chicharon, and Kimchi. Apart from their staple coffee drinks, they also serve different selections of cocktail drinks which is perfect for a chill night with friends, accompanied by live music.

Buku-Buku Kafe is located at the ground floor of Promenade Wing, The District in Imus Cavite. Check out Buku-Buku Kafe on Facebook ( and on Instagram (@buku.bukukafe) for more information

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