“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” —Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist and writer (1901-78)
There is something right, comforting and neighborly about a community-based food business which pushes for innovation and ingenuity. There’s newfound energy brewing at East Capitol Drive in Barangay Kapitolyo: Briggy Hall, a 100-sq m food haven for food lovers.
And it’s a food hall that promises entry into the monopolized industry, with social responsibility at the core of its business DNA, to help and support start-up entrepreneurs.
“Eat. Talk. Build” is its manifesto. Launched on Nov. 25, it’s home to food gems—Milky and Sunny, Moonleaf, Eleanor’s Kitchen, Tokwa’t Boboy, FILI (Food from Home) and Healthy Juan.
Corporate social responsibility advocate Ivanna Aguiling patterned Briggy Hall (a play of words from the abbreviated barangay) from the concept of bayanihan, where everyone in the community helps each other toward a goal.
“Our main goal is to get more people to start their own businesses,” says Aguiling, an Integrated Marketing and Communications graduate from the University of Asia and the Pacific.
“Because I don’t think minimum wage is enough to earn, the only way is to put up your own business. Filipinos are naturally entrepreneurial,” she adds.
Being true to its goal, by January, Briggy Hall will have its “Briggy Sessions,” various entrepreneurial talks to help anyone find their true business calling. It will also invite guerilla-marketing efforts to use the hall as an avenue to showcase creative products.
“Starting a business is all about guts,” Aguiling says. “You need to put yourself into what you want to do, and not wait for the perfect scenario before you jump into it. Problems are problems that come along, but problems always have solutions.”
It was a painstaking three months of setting up, going through every food bazaar in town, talking to friends and everyone on Facebook to find the right mix of food retailers for Briggy Hall. It also took Aguiling several months to find and decide on the perfect location—she was choosing between Kapitolyo, Teachers Village in UP or Saguijo in Makati.
“Those streets are very raw, and you have entrepreneurs cropping from anywhere. You don’t have one huge business guy monopolizing the community. It’s very dynamic,” she says.
In the end, she settled for Kapitolyo, home to distinct food places with a cult-like following, like Café Juanita, Charlie’s and Poco Deli.
Briggy Hall has authentic food contenders, specifically handpicked by Aguiling and her mom Lourdes, Briggy Hall’s food consultant. The mother-and-daughter tandem wants to encourage people to offer healthy food options, so the hall’s food stops are mostly organic and the menu friendly to pesco-vegetarians.
The hall serves siomai that doesn’t contain preservatives. It sells homegrown produce and certified organic food products (it hires a nutritionist to check authenticity of products) like muscovado sugar, golden egg (organic version of salted egg, colored with ginger), shade-grown coffee, and cacao (the dark chocolate with siling labuyo by Theo and Philo is a must-try). It serves pizzas like the tofu dory and Aloha Bianca (made of Spanish sardines, shrimp and mozzarella).
There are also milk teas of every kind from Moonleaf Tea shop. Try its Winter Watermelon, a crowd favorite.
Breakfast for dinner, anyone? Claim a window seat at Milky and Sunny, where it’s breakfast time seven days of the week, any time of the day (open 7 a.m.-10 p.m.). Or look to the skylight or people-watch while having a hefty serving of tapa with garlic rice and egg, or order a breakfast bowl of unlimited cereal.
With its refreshing white and robin-blue interiors, the hall allows you to linger and savor comfort foods—pancakes and freshly brewed coffee, French toast, breakfast enchilada, and bacon and ham pasta, made of fresh ingredients.
Briggy Hall is worth every minute of your lengthy commute. Here, authenticity and passion are the themes, as seen in hearty and savory culinary creations born out of love.