by - May 20, 2016

An emerging destination where art, music, and good food collide. Ahhhh! Finally! My kind of place near home. For people living in the south like me, especially Cavite, we cannot deny how traffic gets in our nerves everytime we try to escape and go to cozy cafes in the Metro. Now, traffic is not a big deal. No need to go across the Metro, there is already a place here in the South.

Japhet On The Go
Along with with the rise of the Manila indie culture, concept restaurants have been sprouting like mushrooms. These restaurants double up as coffee shops by day and a dining hub by night which offers a wide array of local and international inspired menu.

with the owner, Mrs. Lyn Santiago
Once such dining place that has been gaining attention down south is the upstart yet promising Buku-Buku Kafe, owned by mother-daughter-son creative trio – Lyn Santiago who heads the operations, Jessica Santiago who handles digital marketing, and Nicholas Santiago who spearheads all marketing efforts.

with my co-bloggers, @skinniestjean and @louisechelle
The café is relatively new but has been gaining a lot of attention from locals, weekenders who frequent the south, artists and even style bloggers who enjoy this Instagram-worthy place, with each corner offering a unique character.


Oh Flamingo Band
Buku-Buku Kafe also serves as an avenue for upcoming artists and musicians to get more visibility and tap a distinct market sector without the need to spend so much on promotions. “I think our partnership with young local artists and indie musicians works both ways. They’re pretty much in line with our brand vision; selling art pieces and having live performances from indie bands add up to the unique flavor of our café”, says Nicholas Santiago. “One of our key missions is to bring together a like-minded community and help boost the art and music scene here in the south”, Santiago adds.

Buku-Buku is a Bahasa term for ‘many, many books’. The idea of putting up a concept café that offers a full dining experience came about when founders Jessica traveled to the US where she chanced upon small street coffee shops with very artsy vibes to them. She saw how the spaces allowed artists to do poetry reading and live sessions with bands. “Traveling to different parts of Asia, Europe, and America exposed us to the scene these small ‘underground coffee shops’ are part of”, said Jessica Santiago, Digital Marketing Manager.

More than just a dining spot, Buku-Buku Kafe serves as a ‘book reading space’ which bookworms will definitely enjoy.

They also have Komiks and zines which the owners have been collecting for years – one thing that’s not usually common in most mainstream bookstores.

Apart from that, they also sell prints, postcards, notebooks, and other unique finds.

They also provide board games to kill boredom. They have snakes and ladders, scrabble and other word games.


Love for comfort food is the one thing that the owners enjoy the most. Whenever they travel, food tasting is on their priority list. Across their travels, they’ve explored different dining gems in Malaysia and Europe, the founders decided to add a well-curated full dining menu to their café.

Beef Brisket Tapa
If you’re a meat lover, indulge with their Beef Brisket Tapa – a full plated dish of slow-cooked beef served with garlic rice, fried egg, roasted tomatoes with added pickled onions and corn salsa.

Romi Lamen
Another best seller in the house is their Romi Lamen which is a creative twist resulting in something that looks like ramen but tastes like upgraded lomi. This dish is definitely something you wouldn’t want to miss. Served with pork broth, roasted pork, pork liver, soft-boiled egg, shitake nori, chicharon, and Kimchi.

Aside from these best-sellers, you can also enjoy other cusines and pastries they serve, below are some of the meals I tried. They are all yummy!

Assorted Dips
Smokey Caesar

Buk Burger
Crispy Pulled Pork
Heap O' Hotcake  
Pesto Bicolano

Pistachio Sansrival
Maha Blanca con Hielo
Hazelnut Affogato


Apart from their staple coffee drinks, they also serve different selections of cocktail drinks which is perfect for a chill night with friends, accompanied by live music.

The emergence of dining spots like Buku-Buku Kafe is a testament that the food and art scene down south is definitely picking up. Buku-Buku Kafe is located at the ground floor of Promenade Wing, The District in Imus Cavite. Check out Buku-Buku Kafe on Facebook (facebook.com/BukuBukucafe) and on Instagram (@buku.bukukafe) for more information.

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  1. mmmmmmmm all the foods looks so delicious! so mouth-watering :)) i really feel it's a nice place to chill, listen to music, play board games, so nice!

  2. So awesome that you met some bloggers I only see via Internet! That cafe sounds and looks interesting. My first try would be the lemon drink. Looks so refreshing especially this season!

  3. Wow, I like the interior design, so artistic and the foods looks so yummy

  4. Aaaaah I kindof feel bad for the books at the ceiling. I hope they're dummy books though cos sayang naman those reading material hehe. Cute cafe and nice concept. Food looks delicious!

  5. Appetizers made me full na! Everything looks deliwh to the max! And oh, the pistachio sansrival is a must! Great place plus great food!

  6. wow! the food looks heavenly! plus your photography skills are good. :) This is a nice place!

  7. Would love to visit this cafe. Books, games, and what looks like delicious food!

  8. Comfy nook for book lovers and striving artists. Do they have a branch in Quezon City? It seems that most cool resto/bar/cafe's are in the South.

  9. Hmmm something worth visiting in the south indeed! I've been hearing good things about south just wondering how far is it from the metro? Aaaah, don't judge me. hahaha But really, if I'd be able to get the chance to land in Luzon, I'll surely check it by myself to be able to answer the questions I have about the metro, the north, and the south as well.

  10. You had me at 'books.' The food looks divine as well. Will definitely visit if I'm in the area.

    – Gino of www.dropdeaddapper.com

  11. I saw blogger friends posting about this and I wish I live nearby :( hopefully when I get the chance to go South, friends will bring me here hehe. everything looks delish and they have an interesting array of books :)

    I love the name play on that Romi Lamen ;)

  12. Hi I wanna know what camera do you use? The photos are clear and great. Thank you for sharing I'm from South so I'll be looking forward for this place.

  13. Beautiful photos you have here Justine! Made me want to visit Buku-buku again! I hope to see you there some time. :) I'm glad you had a fun at their grand launch and I'm glad to have met you there too!

    ♡ Louise | Tales & Escapades

  14. Nice concept of the design and a must visit. Great photos! Thank you for sharing this.