As a bona fide Antipolo resident, I have already explored almost all of the establishments or hidden gems this city-at-the-slopes-of-the-Sierra-Madre-Mountain-Range has to offer.
From the quaint and magnificent Vieux Chalet, the nature-filled Burrow Café, heritage institution like Pinto Art Museum, to the culinary offerings of Romeo’s Spice and Stake, Marison’s, The Bistro at Le Blanc Hotel, Crescent Moon Café, Mang Vic’s Bulaluhan, and Tipulo among others, my suburb hometown boasts a unique set of choices for all kinds of foodies and revelers.
Through the years, restaurants and cafes in the city have been steadily growing and thriving but then the pandemic happens. Some restaurants we know and love were left with no choice but to temporarily halt operations, others have closed their doors for good. In fact, even the most awaited opening of the Starbucks branch along Sumulong Highway aptly called The Ridge which boasts a full scenic view of the Metro Manila skyline has been stalled by the pandemic.
I actually thought this year is grim for the food and recreation scene in Antipolo and elsewhere. But to my surprise, a silver-lining shines through that offers to break the monotony of our secluded daily lives under this new normal with the opening of the two newest hidden gems of Antipolo, Tipulo Bread and Griffins Hub Co-working Space; both nestled inside the lush, secured and chic compound of First Pacific Leadership Academy (FPLA) along Sumulong Highway.
The First Pacific Leadership Academy
Since 1999, the First Pacific Leadership Academy (FPLA) has been a premier training and development center located in Antipolo. It offers leadership programs and world class facilities and amenities. Numerous trainings, seminars, team-building and leadership workshops have been held in this establishment.
FPLA also boasts the iconic Tipulo, a Filipino-themed open-air restaurant conducive for socially-distanced family lunch or dine out. It also offers Sunday buffet!
With the on-going Covid-19 pandemic, FPLA has been transitioning under a new normal. And one of their strategies is to diversify their business offerings and services by opening Tipulo Bread and Griffins Hub, a co-working space.
Tipulo Bread, your newest neighborhood bakery
Actually, the First Pacific Leadership Academy is just less than a kilometer away from our village, thus, I was excited when I learned that they have opened Tipulo Bread, a bakery located just below the Tipulo restaurant inside the compound.
Tipulo Bread offers wide variety of bread and pastries. They have baguette, chicken and pork floss, brioche, coffee bun, white toasts, focaccia, donuts, loaf cakes, ensaymada, caramel bars, muffins, cookies, and pandesals.
Last Friday, I visited the bakery with my mom and sister. Since we are a family who loves bread, we order quite a few of their breads and pastries.
I was able to try their chocolate muffins, donuts, plain pandesal and ube-cheese pandesal.
My sister said that she loved the chocolate muffin since it was not too sweet. I also like it especially its crumbly texture on the outside but soft and moist inside.
As for their pandesal, my sister also loves their ube-cheese pandesal because the flavor tastes natural without that artificial ube flavoring that is prevalent in ube-cheese pandesal you can buy everywhere today. My mom, however, loves the plain pandesal, and I wholeheartedly agree with her, because, oh well, mother knows best right?
What I love about their pandesal is that it stays fresh and fluffy—it does not plump— even a day after you bought it. And when you re-heat it in the oven toaster, the pandesal tastes like as if it is freshly baked!
But what I like most about their pandesal is that although it is plain, its taste has hints of cheese! It does not taste sweet but the natural saltiness of cheese comes out of it! In short it has a milky, salty and cheesy taste.
The pandesal costs only 11 pesos per piece so it is very affordable!
We also tried their donuts, and my sister and I love it because its sweetness is just right and the bread is fresh. It is not oily although this is fried, and the familiar flavor of nutmeg is just subtle.
If you are like me who is looking for alternative place to review or study aside from your home, Tipulo Bread allows you to stay inside the bakery or in one of their outdoor tables, but of course with strict social distancing and hygiene protocols.
But if you are really looking for an alternative place to stay, review or work, the best place for you is the Griffins Hub co-working space, which is just several meters away from Tipulo restaurant and Tipulo Bread.
Griffins Hub, a co-working space for students and professionals working from home
Perhaps the best thing that happens in Antipolo as of late is the opening of a new and legitimate co-working space that will serve the needs of professionals such as teachers working from home, entrepreneurs and financial advisors who need to hustle, and most especially, students and reviewees such as myself who need a new place to study!
I particularly need a place like Griffins Hub because, crazy as it may sound, law school conditioned me to be productive inside a coffee shop. I needed the smell of freshly ground coffee for concentration, the sight of people doing all sorts of things inside the coffeeshop, and even that small community and rapport you have built with your friendly barristas and regular guests.
Of course staying in a coffee shop is out of the question because of this pandemic, but with a co-working space like Griffins Hub which has huge space (two floors to be exact), state-of-the-art modern facilities, not to mention, overflowing coffee, students like me can have another space to review and relax.
Talking about relaxation, the First Pacific Leadeership Academy also has luscious greeneries and open space suitable for a quick flaneur especially when you need to take a rest after working for several hours on a task or reviewing several pages of your books.
Griffins Hub also has multiple meeting rooms.
For the price of P150 for students and teachers, and P350 for other customers, Griffins Hub gives you access to all its facilities, stable and reliable internet connection, free use of locker rooms and free-flowing coffee. Of course, strict safety and health protocols have to be observed.
My friend and I tried the facilities last Friday, and we were very satisfied. In fact, my friend was able to attend his synchronous class inside the Griffins Hub.
Their staff are also very friendly, helpful and accommodating!
I really hope that Tipulo Bread and Griffins Hub will continue to thrive especially under this challenging time!
*This article is not sponsored.