Coming back from an extended vacation, I started the year 2019 with a series of meetings, trying to catch up with the rapid developments as the country prepares for the May elections.
My friend and I agreed to meet at Café Museum, beside the Ayala Museum at the corner of Makati Avenue and De la Rosa streets.
When I got there, the place was closed. Construction work was being done. I asked the Ayala Museum security guard if Café Museum is undergoing renovation. He replied, “No. it is closed. No more.”
I’ll miss Café Museum. Aside from the food- modern Asian ( I love their palabok), I like the ambience-- quiet and cozy with just enough space in between tables for some privacy.
My VERA Files colleague also said another restaurant where we usually hold our meetings in EDSA Shangrila, Dome Café, is not longer there. In its place is Café Lyon.
I will miss those restaurants and coffee shops but I’m sure there will always be new nice places to discover.
But what has closed that will seriously affect my work habits is Netopia internet café.
My printer conked out last December so I went to Southmall only to find that there’s no more Netopia there. The mall’s information counter does not know of any internet café in the building.
Two weeks ago, I went to Netopia in Greenbelt 1 only to find it closed.
Then I read a Jan. 3 news item that a major investor in Netopia, IP E-Game Ventures Inc., disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange that it was selling its 48.38-percent stake in Digital Paradise Inc., operator of Netopia-branded internet cafes because “In the last few years, DPI’s internet business has been in a state of steady decline,” and that the “negative trends in the internet café will be hard to reverse.”
News reports said the proliferation of tablets, affordable smartphones and free Wi-Fi, the internet cafe business is no longer viable these days. People don’t have to go to the internet cafés to check their emails when they are outside their home. They can do it through their mobile phones.
For many working millennials, their smart phone is their office.
Not for me. I’m still a desk top or laptop person.
Netopia had literally taken off a huge weight off my shoulders. My job requires me to work online throughout the day. With Netopia everywhere I didn’t have to bring my laptop and still did my writing and editing in between meetings. I would just go to the nearest Netopia internet café.
Inquirer reported “At its peak around 2006, DPI operated almost 180 internet cafes in the Philippines. By the fourth quarter of 2018, the number was down to 14.”
The report further said IP E-Game Ventures Inc. noted “the increase in locations offering free Wi-Fi, the proliferation of portable gaming devices; and shift in consumer use of mobile devices as a result of an improving economy that allows more people to acquire mobile devices. Furthermore, it noted that technological innovations had increased consumer reliance on mobile devices.”
With his trend, I imagine internet cafes will go the way of many other things that were very useful before but have now become obsolete like PLDT telephone directory, pagers and beepers, cassette tape recorder, and of course the much-loved manual typewriter.
But I’m still on the lookout for a small corner in malls with desktop computers and internet service. If you know of one in Makati, let me know.
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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.