FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City - Restriction on movements due to the COVID-19 pandemic spurred innovations on morale and welfare activities of the Philippine Army.
To discourage military personnel from visiting commercial establishments which may place them at risk in contracting the coronavirus, the Army’s Operations Research Center (ORC) came up with the idea of establishing its own café where soldiers can enjoy their favorite coffee for free within the comfort of their camp.
Col. Harold Cabunoc, chief of the ORC, said he wanted to have a suitable place for small group discussions over "brilliant ideas" related to some research studies.
“We wanted to have a cozy environment that is conducive for innovative thinking and healthy discussions. This is a place for Army thinkers,” he said.
Aptly named the “Army Star Box”, the coffee shop is a two-storey box type, well-lit modular facility that can accommodate at least 10 guests at a time.
It imposes the policy of strictly following health protocols, including wearing of face mask and observing physical distancing.
The cafe’ is equipped with such coffee making machines as the Stovetop and Electric Percolators and Cold Brew Coffee Maker, and Espresso Machine.
Private First Class Junlier Rupinta and Private Joanna Camarao are among soldiers trained by a coffee-making company to operate the coffee making machines and prepare different coffee concoctions.
A distinct feature of the Army Café is its military-inspired coffee menu.
Notable are the CSAFP’s Blend, Army Chief’s Brew, and ORC Chief’s Cold Choco.
Some Army soldiers said the cafe is where they can enjoy their coffee without risking getting the coronavirus as they exchange ideas on Army operations, career development, physical fitness and even family matters.
Recently, the ORC hosted visitors to discuss collaborative projects for the benefit the Philippine Army.
Coffee is for FREE!
Cabunoc said they used the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) allocated for Focus Group Discussion (FGD) to purchase supplies needed for their cafe’.
While the cafe is exclusively for Army personnel and not for commercial purposes, only those holding small group meetings or brainstorming there, and their visitors, can avail of the free coffee.
Although, because of the pandemic, no visitors are allowed for the moment at the Army Cafe’.