There’s an abundance of food choices in Boracay. Which is just great, considering the expected heavy loss of calories after the endless physical activities during the day. And through the night. Visitors from the metro will immediately notice the disturbing fact that almost all, if not all, the major food chains and restaurants in the metro are now in Boracay. The reverse, however, is not true — you cannot find many of the home-grown Boracay food offerings back in the metro. Take the Calamanci Muffin of Real Coffee and Tea Cafe, for instance.
Station 2 and California Girls
The full address of Real Coffee is Station 2, 2/F Sea World, 5608 Boracay, Aklan, Philippines. No unit number; just Station 2. That means first-time visitors will have to walk the beachfront, combing the entire Station 2 when looking for Real Coffee. Really, the establishments and structures in Boracay appear to sprout so fast, local building officials probably thought it’s not worth having a better designation of address other than the existing Station 1, Station 2 and Station 3. Of course, it’s never an excuse to say that local authorities cannot cope with the fast pace of Boracay’s development — failure to cope and control the changes would lead to the downfall of Boracay. It has to be done.
Anyway, one thing going for Real Coffee is it’s location — it’s found right along the beach path. It’s not found in some alleyway. It’s not found along the main road where vehicles pack the streets; an unwelcome reminder of the crowded cities that tourists left behind. It’s found along the beach, where visitors can lazily stroll under the shade of the coconut trees, watch the beach bodies that litter the place, and absorb the sights (which is way more than the beach bodies that litter the place). Visitors walking along Station 2 is bound to encounter the Real Coffee.
We would have loved meeting the mother-daughter team that started Real Coffee in 1996. We’ve read somewhere that Lee Rosaia and her daughter were born in California, U.S. of A, now living in Boracay. We’re pretty sure these California Girls have a lot to contribute in expanding our post on the reasons why we love Boracay. No matter which way you put it, who wouldn’t love Boracay with its fine sand and sea?
The good thing about Real Coffee is the simple island spirit it exudes. Not heavy on concrete structures, unlike the gigantic concrete resorts that compete with local concrete establishments in choking Boracay. Real Coffee is predominantly made up of bamboo and wood. Anyone looking for it would immediately notice the hand-painted sign along the beach road and excitedly step up to the second floor in search of the Calamanci Muffin.
Anyone NOT looking for Real Coffee would probably think twice before going inside because Real Coffee, compared to spruced up Boracay structures like Starbucks (yes, Jose, there’s a Starbucks in Boracay), does not immediately catch one’s attention. This is a world where looks increasingly gets priority over substance (for the first impression, at least). But now that you’ve heard about the Kalamansi Muffin, of course you’ll be one of those looking for that hand-painted sign along the beach road.
The Calamanci Muffin
Before we proceed to explain why we call it “famous,” let’s first check the name. Filipinos call it kalamansi, sometimes called lemon in some southern islands. Kalamansi is a small round, green fruit, much smaller than a lemon. Some say the English equivalent is Calamondin, but we’re not sure (anyone care to confirm?) because the scientific name of calamondin is citrofortunella microcarpa (?) while kalamansi is citrus microcarpa (?). If we’re agonizing over this fact, it’s because we initially thought that calamanci, which is the spelling used in Real Coffee, is the English name of kalamansi. And since we started exploring the subject, we’re not even sure anymore if the local kalamansi should be spelled as calamansi.
We’ve said that the Calamanci Muffin is famous because, for one, our friends have asked us to try it while in Boracay and bring home some as pasalubong. Tastes good, they said. We combed Station 2 looking for Real Coffee because of this vote of confidence on the Calamanci Muffin. We also discovered that the tables at Real Coffee are blanketed with photos of famous individuals who dined here, primarily actors and actresses. We heard Anne Curtis likes the Calamanci Muffin (guess we’re not famous enough because nobody took our photo, to be included in the photo collage). And that’s the additional reason why we call it “famous.”
The Banana Muffin with Walnuts and the Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie are ok. The house blend coffee is also ok; not too strong but with rich, clean taste. Regular meals are served all day but we didn’t order any. We were there for the Calamanci Muffin.
That was the first time we tasted a Calamanci Muffin and we don’t know what to make of it. It tastes like, uhm, how should we put it, like kalamansi — just a hint of sourness. No surprise there. What’s surprising is the consistency of the muffin — very fine and soft. It has the usual grainy texture, like the fine Boracay sand rolling on the tongue, and it melts after the first bite. The full view of the beach, with the strong sunlight muted by the coconut leaves, heightens the sensation of each bite.
So, if you’re in Boracay and you’re in a hunt for food that’s not available in the city, we suggest the Calamanci Muffin of Real Coffee. And while munching on the muffin, you guys can debate whether it’s right to call it “famous”. After consolidating your opinion, come back here and tell us what you think. You might agree with us that it’s one “famous” muffiin. You might disagree. But we believe we’ll all agree that this is one more reason to love Boracay even more.