Friday, November 5, 2010
Honesty Coffee Shop is a one of a kind store located in Ivana, Batanes. What makes this Ivatan store interesting? No one looks after the merchandise so each customer is pretty much free to move inside the store. Everyone is expected to be honest, the store owners trust the people enough to allow them to list the products they bought along with its corresponding price and then leave the payment in a drop box. You can find an interesting sign on the wall that says “This store is too small for dishonest people,”.
It is a typical Pinoy Sari-Sari store and Coffee Shop combined. Once you enter the shop, you can sit, relax and have some coffee. Each item has a price tag while some item prices are listed on the wall. The Majority of tourists intentionally drops excessive payment to show their support the owner.
The store is owned by Elena Gabilo, a 73-year old former public school teacher at the Ivana Elementary School. She opened the store in 1995 after her retirement. When the port of Radiwan closed and operations were transferred to San Vicente port, the store sales went down. Since then, she decided to concentrate on farming and helping her husband with their cane vinegar production. She opted to continue the sari-sari store operation but because her presence was needed on the farm she left the store unattended.
Just like a normal Sari-Sari (assorted) stores in most of the unpopulated areas, the store opens from 6am and closed as early as 6pm.