Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Biking camaraderie

I only recently came upon this article on our morning biking ritual on the Visayan Daily Star, written by my editor and bike buddy Alex Pal:

It was Dean Sinco, a graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle where Starbucks originated, who baptized the name of our "painitan" by the Valencia market, which we discovered by chance several years earlier. We stopped by one food stall one early morning looking for coffee, and they just referred us to this Villegas stall in the old part of the market. Apparently, these stalls in Valencia are into niche marketing. When we found this "Starbucks", we found that it served nothing but "painit" all day long--just like those "breakfast all day" joints --and that started our periodic pilgrimage to this site.

But Dominique Cimafranca, our resident IT expert, has a different interpretation of the name. "It should be "Starbuck" because the coffee costs only one buck." Well, actually, if we Filipinos refer to the peso as "buck", the bland coffee there costs seven bucks a glass (yes, a glass!). But because many of our biking buddies -- Mike Feeney, Dale, Cobbie -- are Americans, or -- in the case of Ruem Gregorio and Dean -- Pinoys who grew up in America, a buck is appreciated for its American value--51 pesos. And that's how much we usually pay for all our coffees combined.

Credit where credit is due: the "Starbuck" term originally came from IBM Philippines, where we had vending machines that sold coffee for only a buck.