Balay Cafe: Your Home Away from Home

“There’s no place like home.”

When Dorothy of The Wizard of Oz wanted to go home, she only had to click the heels of her pretty sparkling red shoes and say those words, and voila! She’s home sweet home.

 Sadly, it doesn’t happen in real life. Especially to students who had to leave their home towns to venture in to big cities, like Cebu (based on Philippine standard :D), to get a university education.

But that sadness can end there.

Because Balay Cafe has just officially opened to serve students, teachers, employees, food lovers and even non-students right inside the University of San Carlos – Talamban Campus. And I was fortunate enough to be part of the event.

Balay Cafe Logo

April 8, 2016 marks the day the cafe opened its doors to serve the public with their student-budget-friendly delectable food, hot drinks, chilled frappes, desserts — yes, there’s ice cream!

Balay Cafe Menu

Slices of leche flan

Balay Cafe's home-cooked buffet

Balay Cafe

Guests where given taste of the different kinds of food that the establishment will be serving along with several mouth-watering drinks, such as frappes, hot drinks and many more.

Apart from the delectable, home-cooked gastronomical line-up Balay Cafe has in store for its patrons, it’s also designed to offer a safe and fun refuge for students who, after a long tiring day at school, need a respite. Or a place where they can study and hang-out with their friends with comfort.

From the outside, those who are unacquainted with it will think it’s just another one of those student dormitories. Once you walk in, though, you’ll be amazed at how the owners have transformed an old canteen in to one with bistro-like ambiance. While  it has retained its open-air design,  the cafe now comes with modern amenities and sophisticated light fixtures to help create that fancy feel without losing its homely vibe.

Colorful glass chandeliers

circle table with floral centerpieces

Round dining table with floral and precious stone centerpieces

large centerpiece with embellished amethyst rocks

A chat with Ms. Charo Barro, the chief financial officer of Kintar Group of Companies, the company that brought to us Balay Cafe along with two other Cebuano-themed cafes (which I hope to visit someday soon and blog about them), revealed that they opened the cafe not with just the students in mind but also for women and micro food entrepreneurs.

She wants to provide an avenue for food vendors who can’t afford to open their own restaurants, karenderyas (or eateries), or even food stalls to sell their products by way of consignment with Balay Cafe. For Ms. Barro, this kind of arrangement is her way of giving back to her community. And to make sure that diners will have a wide variety of food options to choose from.

Some photos I took during the event:

Balay Cafe event host

The effervescent event host during the opening.

Balay Cafe owner with USC-TC president

The lovely Ms. Barro with the USC school president.

Owners of Balay Cafe

Taken during the blessing of the cafe.

wine glasses and wine bottle

Charro and I

Charo and I.

The cafe is open 24/7 to cater mainly to students living in the surrounding dormitories. But outsiders can also dine at cafe. All you need to do is inform the guard where  you’re heading and leave an ID if requested.

Another reason this cafe is worth checking out is that  it can also host your events if you prefer a place that’s more intimate and private. The cafe also has a small air-conditioned room for small private events, meetings and business functions. It also has Wi-Fi connection so you can dine at chill while surfing the net.

Balay is a Cebuano term, which means house. And so with Balay Cafe, it offers not just good food and a safe environment, but it also offers an experience of home in every way possible.

For inquiries and event bookings, you can check out Balay Cafe’s facebook page. Just send them a message, and they’ll get back to you as soon as possible. If you have questions or if you want to share your experiences with Balay Cafe, let me know at the comment section below.

Dayun Kamo!
(Welcome, please come in.)



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