In traffic-ridden Metro Manila, having a job that allows you to work at home can be heaven-sent. The availability of the internet — however slow it may be — means there’s no need to suffer through standstill traffic or inhumane commutes.
But working at home also has its drawbacks. If you live alone, it can get lonely not seeing other people in the flesh. That’s why aside from co-working spaces, coffee shops remain a great option for entrepreneurs and freelancers.
There are tons of coffee shops in Metro Manila that offer free WiFi and encourage patrons to stay and work, though not everyone has the basic requirements (things like enough outlets) to allow you to set up shop for a couple of hours.
In this list, we try to include — in no particular order — only coffee shops where patrons can attest that the internet is (relatively) stable, and a good number of power outlets are available to keep you working straight through the day.
Local Edition has plugs under each table along the wall, and according to most customers, we’ve spoken to, pretty stable internet. A lot of their espresso drinks are original creations using Philippine-grown coffee beans. The coffee shop is small, so you might have to show up early to get a good spot, but once you’re settled, the environment will keep you pretty productive the whole day.
Tip: If you’ve got a US-style, three-pronged laptop plug, be sure to bring an adapter. Most of the power outlets in the store are only two-pronged.
116 Perea St., Legaspi Village, Makati City
The atmosphere in Kuppa will put you at ease, but its cold brew’s got a kick that will keep you wired the whole day. Try not to get carried away with the cold brews though, which can be tempting if you have a lot of work to do. They’ve also got a complete menu of Italian food that’ll keep you full while you work.
Tip: Ask the staff to seat you near an outlet if you’re planning on a long enough stay.
Commercenter Bldg., 31st St. Cor. , 4th Ave., Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
Exchange Alley Coffee House
If you live in southern Metro Manila, this is a favorite place for freelancers, work-at-home folks, and students alike. Aside from the free WiFi and chill atmosphere, they take their coffee roasting very seriously. In fact, you can see how it’s done upstairs. Although this place is for the most discerning coffee lovers, especially those who feel a bit snobby about the sugary mochas and cappuccinos, the sugary stuff is available as well.
Molito Lifestyle Center, Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa City
Although this place isn’t necessarily a destination for coffee-shop dwellers per se, we’ll let you in on the secret reason it had to be on this list: It’s got some of the fastest internet speeds among all the restaurants/cafes we’ve been to. A Coconuts editor who worked from The Nest in Alabang last month did a speed test and got up to 50 mbps, which is excellent for the Philippines.
If that’s not enough to convince you, The Nest has great food, coffee, and friendly and attentive staff. We should also mention it’s on the roof deck of the Vivere Hotel, which gives you stunning views of the Makati and Bonifacio Global City skylines. You can also see across Laguna de Bay to Rizal province, and down to the provinces of Laguna and Cavite.
5102 Bridgeway Avenue, Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
“Single-origin” coffee is a term used to describe coffee sourced from one place. Why is that important? Andra Vlaicu of the Speciality Coffee Association of America says single-origin coffees are not only “usually of a higher quality,” but it’s an “acknowledgment that the coffee is from a particular farm located in a unique setting, whilst its flavor depicts its origin, possessing characteristics of that specific area where the particular coffee was grown.”
So this is, of course, the kind of coffee you’ll get at Single Origin. Single Origin has branches in Rockwell and BGC. They also have a complete breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu that runs from PHP295 (US$5.90) for a plate of pancakes to PHP995 (US$19.90) for some tasty steak and eggs. Check it out here.
18 Amorsolo Dr, Makati, 1209
Bonifacio Global City
2/F C3, Bonifacio High Street Central, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Phone: (02) 772 6259
It’s got plenty of seats, great food and coffee, and of course internet. But the best part? It’s open 24 hours a day. So if you need to work late at night, until the early morning, this is the spot for you. The food is quite affordable, too, at about PHP200 (US$4) to PHP400 (US$8) per plate. The cafe also has space for events and regularly hosts open mic nights for those who enjoy their coffee with music and poetry. Check out more on their Facebook page here.
Ecoplaza Bldg, 2305 Chino Roces Ave, Makati City
Coreon Gate Cafe is a cafe that is more about the internet and providing a productive place to work than the coffee and food itself. The cafe boasts speeds of 200 Mbps, perfect for those who are more worried about a stable connection than how their coffee beans were roasted.
They also have private offices, PCs for rent, an area for gamers, and of course, a WiFi lounge. They have branches in Malate, Makati, and in Ortigas. Check out their Facebook page for more information.
While Kapitolyo in Pasig is known for its hole-in-the-wall food joints, the coffee shops are worth checking out as well. According to Manila lifestyle website Ph.phonebooky, the internet is just as strong as its coffee, and they have plenty of power sockets. They’re located in a container food park and not visible from the street, so you might have to do some looking and asking around to find it.
16 United Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Diligence Cafe is located on Katipunan near Ateneo de Manila University, Miriam College and the University of the Philippines. Considering its location, the services as Diligence cater to the most “diligent” students who need a safe place to do their all-nighters.
The per hour rate at Diligence is PHP70 (US$1.40) per hour or PHP350 (US$7) a day, both come with unlimited coffee. If you need to take a nap, you can even borrow a pillow from a staff member and ask them to wake you up at a time of your choice. They even have shower rooms!
Check out their Facebook page for more information.
Unit 2A, 2nd Floor, Elizabeth Hall, President Carlos P. Garcia Ave, Diliman, Quezon City
Phone: (63) 927775 0502
Cerebrew in the Maginhawa food district in Quezon City is another cafe with a similar concept. A hybrid co-working space/coffee shop, Cerebrew offers hot food, unlimited coffee and shower rooms for those working on late-night projects.
According to their Facebook page, they charge an hourly rate of PHP60 (US$1.20) and a daily rate of PHP300 (US$300). They also boast of internet speeds of up to 100 Mbps, a bandwidth that is hard to find anywhere in this country.
80 Maginhawa Street, Diliman, Quezon City
Phone: (63) 9290909312
Unlike most Bo’s Coffee branches, Bo’s Primo offers a full menu as well as more coffee options than its usual cafés. They also have a long table with plenty of plugs. While this concept cafe is in the middle of a mall hallway, you’ll hardly notice the mall crowds with its wide seating and fast internet.
3rd Floor, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Shaw Boulevard Corner EDSA, Mandaluyong City
Eight Coffee Bar by UCC
Despite it being a chain, there’s no doubt that UCC has some of the best-tasting coffee in Metro Manila. Eight Coffee Bar in Makati was recommended by Coconuts Manila readers for its tasty food and coffee, internet reliability, and relaxing atmosphere. If you take a look at the ratings on Facebook, most customers say the food here is delicious. Try them out for yourself and let us know what you think.
2/F, 8 Rockwell Drive, Corner Hidalgo Drive, Rockwell, Makati City
Phone: (02) 771 2718
If you’re a regular at the hipster enclave of Poblacion, Makati, then you probably already know about Commune. If you don’t, you’re probably missing out on one of the coolest coffee shops in the metro. Aside from your typical hot and iced espresso drinks, you can also get beer, sandwiches, salads, pastas and Filipino dishes like pork and chicken adobo, tapsilog, danggit and bangus, all for between PHP250 (US$50) to PHP450 (US$9).
Oh, and they also have cool events on their second floor like open mics, improv nights and musical shows. They close at midnight, but the good thing about its location is that there are tons to do in the area afterward. Nearby is Z Hostel, Pura Vida, Alamat, Señor Pollo, El Chupacabra, Handlebar and a whole bunch of other places to meet up with friends over a cocktail or cold beer after a long day of work.
36 Polaris Street, Poblacion, Makati City
Writer’s Block – This cafe is closed.
This cafe is for, you guessed it, the writers. If you need an environment that provides a more quiet and relaxed atmosphere to write, you definitely need to come to this place. There’s not too many visual distractions, and it’s quiet enough for you to be able to get your writing projects done. Address: The Alley at Karrivin, Karrivin Plaza, 2316 Chino Roces Avenue, Magallanes, Makati City
Blocleaf is a tiny 23-square meter cafe in the Malate neighborhood in Manila. But what stands out is its minimalist and functional design. The floor-to-ceiling windows bring in great natural light. The neighborhood is known for its vibrant arts community, with several art galleries, museums, and studios nearby. And of course, Malate’s nightlife scene is as alive as ever. Aside from the espresso drinks, we suggest you try their dirty lattes.
Tip: Parking is limited, so if you do head out to this place, best to take an Uber or Grab.
1850 M. H. Del Pilar St, Malate, Manila
Mr. Park’s Bread and Cake Molito
Fresh bread, pastries, coffee, and other food is available 24 hours a day. There are branches all over Metro Manila and in Pampanga, but the branch at the Molito Lifestyle Center in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, is one of the few that has plenty of power outlets available. There’s also a lot of parking around and tons of great food to choose from in the area. If you’re in the city’s south, Mr. Park’s is certainly a good option for those late nights you need to get your work done.
Molito Lifestyle Center, Madrigal Ave, Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa, Metro Manila
The Fat Seed Cafe + Roastery
Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City is the home of some of Manila’s biggest schools, so this cafe is usually frequented by students looking for free wi-fi and great coffee. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that The Fat Seed’s interiors make it an ideal place to up one’s Instagram game: vibrantly colored murals adorn its walls, bright orange lights hang from its ceilings, and its bars and tables were crafted from solid untreated wood. Famished students are in for a treat because aside from coffee, the place also serves lip-smacking dishes such as different kinds of pasta and burgers.
Who knew that studying could this be yummy and comfy?
U.P. Town Center, Katipunan Ave., Barangay UP Campus, Quezon City
Phone: (02) 9362113
Also located on Katipunan Ave. but a little farther from its mega schools is Common Folk, whose clean, white interiors look straight out of a magazine. Hungry Quezon City residents would be glad to know that aside from offering free wi-fi, it also serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Open as early as 7:30am, Common Folk is ideal for students and professionals who want to get some work done outside their homes without missing their comforts.
79 Katipunan Avenue White Plains
Phone: (63) 967236 6660
Their Facebook page has a ton of photos of people working on their laptops, so Frank & Dean is obviously a working professional’s favorite. But they’re more than just a place to work — they serve specialty coffee that is said to be a hit among the hardworking BGC crowd. What’s more, the cafe also hosts music fests and other cool events where customers can get to meet other professionals.
Forbestown Center, Forbestown Road Corner 26th Street Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Phone: (63) 917 445 7056
Petra This cafe is closed.
Located on Makati Avenue, Petra — formerly known as Al Batra — is actually a Middle-Eastern/Mediterranean restaurant and hookah cafe open 24-hours a day. The WiFi here is fairly stable, there are plugs everywhere, and the Turkish coffee on offer is really strong, strong enough to give you a jolt of energy that’ll keep you going into the night. And aside from the fact that the food is delicious, if you’re a smoker and feel hassled every time you have to walk a long distance to a smoking area, this place is for you. The hookah area is also a designated smoking area, so you can smoke cigarettes and a hookah (also known as shisha) from right where you are. Find it: Makati Ave cor Constellation St., Poblacion, Makati
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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in November 2017, but the Coconuts crew is bringing it back from the archives since the information it contains remains relevant and useful. Rest assured, we’ve reviewed and updated it to make sure this oldie but goodie will still serve you well.