With more variants than any other restaurant in its category, CaB Café takes pride in being the first Ilonggo restaurant in Metro Manila that serves all your Ilonggo favorites such as napoleones, full moon cakes, sate babe, chicken inasal, special batchoy, kansi, and more.
It all started back in the 60’s when The Sicangcos opened their first ever restaurant, Bob’s. “I grew up in Bacolod city, where our main family business has been restaurants and cafes ever since. Our family owns Bob’s Restaurant (est. 1965), The Pastry Shop of Bob’s (est. 1986) and Café Bob’s (est. 2000),” Mark Magalona, Founder of CaB Café recalled.
In 2010, Mark decided to expand their business to Manila thus CaB Café was launched. “CaB actually stands for Cynthia and Bobby, the names of my parents. We wanted to expand our operations outside of Bacolod because Manila has the biggest market in the country. A lot of Bacolod people here in Manila crave familiar food from the province and we provide it to them,” he shared.
Currently, CaB Café has branches in Kapitolyo and Launchpad. Their bestsellers include cakes and pastries as well such as mango pavlova, white chocolate cheesecake, sinful fudge chocolate cake, and pandan mamon. “We brought Ilonggo dishes to Manila which aren’t very common here. We have some items which are favorites of Ilonggos from Bob’s Restaurant and they look forward to having those when they miss home. We also bake our own cakes and pastries— all original recipes which were passed on from generation to generation,” he pointed out.
With the overwhelming response of their Manila customers, CaB Café has definitely grown in the last ten years. “With competition everywhere and the number of restaurants in Kapitolyo growing every year, we had to innovate all the time. We regularly introduce new items so that we can keep up and survive. We also plan on putting up smaller cafes and stalls in the future,” he shared.
Even during the enhanced community quarantine, business has been good for them. “We had to close down both stores, but we kept our bakery running. Since not a lot of bakeries are open, we got a good amount of orders at the start and it kept growing because of social media exposure. We are thankful for everyone posting and giving us good reviews,” he added.
Innovation is essential in keeping a family business alive. Mark’s journey proves that it takes a lot of consistency, hard work, and grit to survive this type of industry. When asked what advice he can share to entrepreneurs during these difficult times, it would be, “start small, be realistic, plan well, but have a big dream! And of course, never give up. Adjust to the circumstances. It’s a tougher world now and the only way to survive is to adapt. You have to put in more effort now because of the situation, but it will all reap its rewards. Just never give up.”
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