Pinch | Presidential Cafe in Iligan City
Mayor Duterte, soon to be honored as the 16th President of the Philippines loves native chicken adobo & dried fish. But I wonder if he has a sweet tooth too because in Iligan City, a small town café named Pinch is all-out with its sugary goodies should His Excellency walks in.
Pinch : Sugar & Spice is also dotingly called Duterte Café.
Barely 4 months since it opened, Pinch has already become the darling chill-out spot especially among young Iliganons. Well, what’s not to like in this café when it’s pretty, affordable & serves your saccharinic desires?
Pinch had already earned its own patrons but one bold artwork pumped everything to a scale that owners Reydel & Tin Fajardo did not ever expect to happen.
During the national election season, Tin painted the face of Mayor Duterte on the glass panel of the café as their artistic expression of choice. On other windowpanes are the text of Panatang Makabayan and images of clinched fists with a caption “the people united will never be defeated”.
Instantly, that one simple glass art made viral rounds on the internet with massive reposts, regrams, retweets & repins, especially among the strong Dutertards.
While most business owners are afraid to publicly show their customers their side of politics, Pinch was outrageous to share their political affection. “It may or not be good for a small business like ours but we would like to step out from that long-held fear”, says Reydel. “This is the change we would like to begin.”
I am Iliganon but I have been based in Manila for a long time. Occasionally, I come home for quick visits and my latest one last May 9 was to vote. But I also took time to catch up with old-time friends over delicious cupcakes at Pinch. Shhh….it’s guilt-free because I’ve confessed it to my diabetologist!
Reydel and Tin have been my friends since high school at MSU-IIT. Although I have lost touch with Tin when she went abroad to work, I would always remember her as the finest artist we had in our time. Reydel, Tin’s best half, has always been the guy whose epigrammatic banters from social issues to conspiracy theories will leave you dumbfounded. He was a salesman, a skater boy & a failed rock star before he finally accepted his fate as a baker.
Well, baking has always been in him being the family behind Faj, a homegrown pastry favorite. Bringing this experience & combined with Tin’s passion for art, they started to create hand-painted & sculpted cakes.
Moving it from a home-based business into a small store last January, Pinch quickly became a hit among students. With its instagrammable package, its 4-table café soon had to deal with long queues.
This enterprising couple describes Pinch as simple. No avant-garde cookery. No haute-pastry names. No frills. No nonsense. Just your comfort snacks made well & served with good vibes.
I hope Mayor Duterte isn’t diabetic because these simple sugars are actually the most complex and devilishly sweet treats in town.
There’s really nothing fancy about their menu. In fact, they only have one small board that offers you nothing more than what your fingers can count.
If you’re tired of those complex coffee concoctions, then Pinch might just delight you with a simple pressed or Vietnamese dripped cup, that’s all it! Is it tea you’re looking for? Go for their refreshing turmeric tea blended with chips of bignay bark, well known for its health benefits.
In a city where hipster & themed cafes are rare, Pinch is truly a standout. It is done in shabby chic style with doodled tables & seats. Washed in white, its clean & simple lines make it an ideal space to chill-out.
What was once a dull windowpane is now a landmark in Iligan where supporters of Mayor Duterte would stop by & take photos.
But more than it being the most popular glass window in the city now, it also tells a story that businesses can openly embrace their politics without alienating its customers, let alone that art can truly spark a movement of change.
Whether you call it Pinch or Duterte Café, one thing’s for sure, an adorable spot awaits the President Mayor in Iligan City. And if he insists on his favorite dried fish, they’re ready with “bulad” flakes pasta.