Café on two wheels: Working student sells coffee on a bike

Published April 20, 2021, 7:16 PM

by Minka Klaudia Tiangco

A few weeks ago, 23-year-old Mark Anthony Patrimonio was talking with his friends when he shared that he wanted to open a mobile café. 

(Photo from Mark Anthony Patrimonio)

It was his dream to open a café, but for this business, he wanted to start small. So, he combined this dream with his love for biking and decided to sell cheap coffee on his own bike.

Then, without him asking for it, his friends started chipping in for his capital.
AJ Arbilon, Vince Farro, Charlene Au Marin, Haydee Olivar, Honney Dagonto, and Keith Zehcnas, who all shared his passion for biking, each contributed until Patrimonio had P5,000 to buy some materials for his mobile café.

“Naramdaman ko suporta ng mga kasama ko, handa sila sumuporta (I felt my friends’ support, they were always ready to support me),” he said in a phone interview with the Manila Bulletin on Tuesday (April 20).

Patrimonio named his café Manila Cyclist Café. He thought it was only apt that he named it after the Manila Cyclist Community where he met his friends half a year ago.

On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and on weekends, he parks his bike near the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros or near the Senate building in Pasay City to sell coffee.

He sets up wooden planks on top of his bike where he balances the ingredients and materials needed. 

His products include black tea, caffe americano, french press, hot chocolate, hot chocolate with milk, caffe latte, cappucino, coffee mocha, macchiato, 100 percent arabica coffee, and 100 percent barako coffee. 

These cost from P25 to P65 only. Patrimonio said it was important for him to sell his coffee for less than P100 so people from all walks of life can get a taste.

Patrimonio’s love for coffee stemmed from working as a barista in some cafés in Intramuros three years ago.

“Kailangan po talaga nagti-tiyaga ka, kasi buhat-buhat mo ‘yung thermos tsaka ‘yung mga ibang gamit. Napakahirap talaga ng pagbebenta, pero para po sa akin, nage-enjoy ako (You have to be persistent, because you have to carry the thermos and other materials. Selling is very hard, but for me, I enjoy it),” he said. 

“‘Di ko siya nakikitang business, nakikita ko talaga siya na passion ko talaga (I don’t see it as a business, I really see it as my passion),” he added. 

When he is not peddling his products, he is attending classes at the Philippine College of Criminology as a Grade 11 student.

He said working while studying gives him the opportunity to push himself to earn and learn at the same time. 

Although he has only been working on his café for around two weeks, he has gained a steady stream of customers. Patrimonio said he has been earning up to P4,000 per day.

But his friends, who supported him financially so he could start his business, refused to take a share of his earnings. 

“Overflowing ‘yung support nila (Their support is overflowing),” he said.

“Sabi nila ‘sayo ‘yan, i-keep mo ‘yan, ikaw bahala mag-save… sabihin mo king anong balak mo, susuportahan ka namin’ (They said ‘that’s yours, keep it, it’s up to you to save it… tell us what you are planning and we will support you’).”

The working student said he is planning to buy a second bike and expand his menu to cater to a bigger set of customers. 

And maybe, in the near future, open his dream café with his friends who have been with him since his humble beginnings.

(Photos from Mark Anthony Patrimonio)