There is a new hangout place in town, one that will make artists and creative geniuses very pleased. Because Cebu has limited venues for artists to meet, fine arts graduate Rachel Arandilla, with the help of her dad and his close friend, opened Sprockets Café in April 2012.
Located in J Block Building along Apitong Street corner Escario Street, Sprockets Café is a homey shop selling various coffee and milk tea concoctions, meals and desserts. With an initial investment of Php1.5 million, the shop was visualized “to become a creative hub for artists, photographers, writers, imaginative young people, innovative young professionals and entrepreneurs, a third venue to chill and unwind.” The colorful walls and indie music in the air will certainly stimulate one’s creative juices. The place used to be a Japanese restaurant and was redesigned to become what the owner calls an “alternative café.”
Apart from allowing artists, writers, photographers, and other creative individuals to relax, hang out, and discuss, the shop has a unique space called the “Sprock-outs.” This particular spot allows patrons to post advertisements, photos and announcements for upcoming concerts, exhibits, and other events free of charge. This is Arandilla’s way of supporting up-and-coming artists who need all the exposure they can get.
Being a photography enthusiast, specifically lomography, Arandilla has incorporated photography elements into the coffee shop. For one, it is the only café that sells cameras and films. In one part of the place is a wall filled with photos that she and her friends from a film photography group called Analog Cebu have taken. It also has comfortable couches with camera-themed throw pillows.
Cebu has quite a number of coffee shops, but no other establishment offers delectable food and drinks plus lomo cameras and films. The inspiration for this unique theme was a fusion of the owner’s interests in food, coffee and lomography. Her frequent trips to lomo shops abroad, where she spent hours viewing films, pictures and toy cameras, strengthened her vision. Because of the rise of digital cameras, there aren’t enough camera stores that sell lomography equipment here in Cebu. She wanted inexpensive lomography gear to be readily available to those who share her interest.
Sprockets boasts of American-style bistro menu, which was developed by Chef Andrew Manila and Adam Pilapil, who both studied at the International Culinary Arts Academy in Cebu. The categories of their yummy food offerings have fun camera names. The Polariod Pasta and Pizza menu consists of Spaghetti with Meatballs for Php150, Fettupasta in Pesto Cream for Php130, Garfield’s Lasagna for Php190, Seafood Marinara for Php210, Chili con Carne Pizza for Php230, and Pizza Overload for Php250. The Holga Appetizers include Cheesy Quesadilla for Php120, Veggie Quesadilla for Php90, Caesar’s Salad for Php150, and Asian Salad for Php170. The Main Event food choices are the Philly Cheesesteak for Php130, Moby Fish and Fries for Php115, Buffalo Wings for Php210, Keanu Ribs for Php345, Beef Tenderloin Steak for Php350, and Pan-fried Salmon for Php285.
After a hearty meal, choose from their Diana Desserts comprising of Blueberry and Strawberry Cheesecake for Chocolate Terrine with Shortbread, Creme Brulee, Deep-fried Cookie, and Molten Chocolate Lava. Brewed coffee costs Php50, while prices for frapuccino start at Php100 and milk tea at Php80.
Among the hot lomo cameras they sell are the Fujifilm Instax Mini Panda Camera, Blackbird TLR, Golden Half, and Superheadz Camera. You can pair your lomo cams with attractive accessories. They also sell Lace straps and Les Ailes straps, as well as Instax leather shoulder bags. What more can you ask for?
The young Arandilla, who opened the shop at the age of 21, aims to expand their business through franchise. Their long-term goal is to open branches in different malls and other busy areas. In fact, a second outlet is set to open this year. This means that there will be more venues for meetings among artists, and that lomography equipment will be more accessible.
If you wish to flaunt your general knowledge and trivia interest skills, visit Sprocket Café on a Monday as it hosts the Cebu Trivia Night on that day. Invite your friends and have a competitive night in a very stimulating place. The game typically starts at 9 p.m.
Whether you want to meet with your artist friends, relax by yourself over milk tea, or want to buy your own lomo camera, pay a visit to Sprockets Café. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, you may call (032) 234-3304 or check out facebook.com/sprocketscafe.