Quench your thirst with this Black Gulaman Americano on your next visit to Intramuros

Papakape brings its special sago’t gulaman-coffee fusion to Fort Santiago

A trip to Intramuros in Manila City is like learning history in class—only a lot more fun. One can see the beauty and learn stories from the ancient architecture and rubble inside the Walled City. And among the top spots to visit there is Fort Santiago. This time of the year, strolling around the area can be pretty tough due to the summer heat. But if it gets kind of unbearable, there is a special drink you can try to quench your thirst.

Black Gulaman Americano

Introducing the Black Gulaman Americano, a cup that merges Filipinos’ love for coffee and the classic sago’t gulaman palamig. Crafted by Papakape, the drink was first introduced in Intramuros when the café joined Manila Coffee Festival in 2022 held at Fort Santiago. What goes into the mix are coffee and soft jellies, and instead of using tapioca pearls, the café incorporated basil seeds for an added chewy experience. Soon enough, it became a mainstay in Intramuros as Papakape opened its second store in Fort Santiago earlier this year.

Like many food businesses that started during the thick of the pandemic, Papakape was first a passion project. Owner Manu Reyes and his dad build a humble coffee shop in their garage, spotlighting the food and drinks they serve in their household. As word about their cafe spread, it became one of the go-to spots in their neighborhood in Palanan, Makati City.

"We never really imagined it to be huge," Manu tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. "So we never pushed for anything. We never tried to do marketing. We never tried to introduce ourselves to the public. We’re just fortunate that some people found us and it went around as a word of mouth."

The two stores offer different menus to customers. At its Palanan store, they can have a taste of their small breakfast plates and sourdough pandesal, which go well with signature drinks like the Hot Gingerccino, Fruity Iced Salabat, and Choco Mochaluya. The Fort Santiago store, on the other hand, features delectable baked goods and Filipino delicacies like Kesong Puti Pretzel and Red Bean Suman sa Lihiya, which are perfect partners to the Black Gulaman Americano and the Condensada Evaporada, the cafe's take on the Cafe con Leche. The menu of both stores changes from time to time, offering new experiences for diners to try every time they visit.

Condendada evaporada; Iced Americano and Kesong Puti Pretzel

One of the key elements that make its Fort Santiago store a must-visit is its alfresco dining setup. Caffeine addicts can enjoy their brewed drinks at ease during any time of the day thanks to the mango and tamarind trees shading the area. Just imagine, having a Filipino version of high tea in one of the historic landmarks of the city. What better way to cap off your Fort Santiago adventure than having a slow afternoon with a good cup of coffee at Papakape?

"The first coffee beans that entered the Philippines were through the Galleon trade, through the walls of Intramuros," Manu says. "It is nice to know that we are adding to that narrative of coffee culture."

A lot more are in the pipeline for Papakape's Fort Santiago space, from cultural partnerships to showcasing young Filipino talents, apart from the other culinary and drink creations they're about to release. "I’m a creative myself. I am open to all these collaborative works. But one thing is for sure, what I want to present in Intramuros is the Filipino today," Manu says. "You will not find you’re cliché Spanish-Filipino vibe. I’m not going to give you that. Our baristas are not in baro’t saya. The names of our menu items will not hearken Jose Rizal, Gomburza, or the characters of 'El Filibusterismo' and 'Noli Me Tangere.' It will just present what Filipinos today are in a beautiful background of ancient or century-old history."

Papakape is located at Aljibe Dela Fuerza in Fort Santiago. To know more about its offerings, visit @papakape on Instagram.

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