Rant and Rave: Precious Moments Gift Shop and Restaurant

Be it a haven for collectors of well-loved porcelain figurines or simply a sanctuary for those seeking comfortable solitude, this quaint little nook hidden within the metropolis of Makati is none other than the SamBREW Cafe inside Precious Moments Gift Shop and Restaurant.

Having just been reopened after undergoing renovation,  Jojo Sonillo, president of Precious Moments Manila, emphasizes their reason for rebranding as a step towards reaching out to the millennial generation. “We’re always trying to raise the bar. We try to make sure we stay relevant and relatable,” he begins.

The ambience is warm and cozy. The first floor’s tasteful interior of lime green walls greets you instantly; bright, but not overbearing. A chalkboard “sharing wall” is present as well, where guests are welcome to doodle and write notes and reviews. While the second floor has barely seen any major changes as of yet, it is indeed operational and is an extension of the cafe, complete with a gift shop and numerous display cabinets filled to capacity with famed Precious Moments porcelain figurines.

As for the concept of this themed cafe, its backstory serves as the heart and soul of the place. A renowned brand over four decades old, Precious Moments was created by American artist Samuel Butcher. He brought the Precious Moments brand to the Philippines back in the 80s, and has been a resident ever since, even putting up a chapel and resort in Aklan. Known for his charitable works, Butcher founded the Samuel J. Butcher Foundation, whose one of many goals is to provide employment in Western Visayas.

Taking after Mr. Butcher, the #SharingPreciousMoments concept was born. Sonillo explains that implementing this concept only further emphasizes their goal of bringing people together, which in the process, also helps those in need. In line with this, their collectors’ community holds outreach programs and fundraisers every now and then, and have even been able to donate fishing boats to Leyte in the past.

In their efforts to keep up with today’s trends and culture, the SamBREW Cafe went the extra mile not only in redesigning the place, but also in revamping their menu and membership card perks. All of the items on the menu are strictly for sharing (yes, what is usually forbidden in restaurants is most welcome here) with portions so overwhelming you’re going to have to make sure you bring a hungry group of friends with you when you visit.

The most notable food item to order would definitely be the SamBurger; whether you order the classic or the premium, both portions are definitely too huge for even the hungriest person to scarf down alone. Vegan options, however, are still in the works—rest assured they’re busy cooking up unique recipes and are even planning to buy ingredients from local farmers to help their livelihood.

For the membership card, on the other hand, although the SamBREW card has an expiry date, it is transferrable and can be passed on to any person. The SamBREW Cafe will then be taking a cue from most coffee shops by also adding in rewards for when a certain number of visits is reached, and items such as the figurines would be up for grabs.

When asked about possible franchises in the future, Sonillo revealed that the most they’re planning to do at the moment is to put out a kiosk or food cart right outside the cafe itself, since everyday, given their location, they get a lot of passersby who are usually too shy to come inside, whereas mall branches, on the other hand, have not been in the talks yet.

“We ensure we stay relevant through our operation, products, and services,” Sonillo states, concluding that all of the work that they’ve done so far is for the express purpose of learning and adapting to the ever-changing interests of millennials. “We’ve realized that the best way for us to reach out to them is through social media,” he explains, hence the conceptualization of the hashtag.

From the people behind the brand to the atmosphere of the place itself, the SamBREW Café in Precious Moments Gift Shop and Restaurant simply exudes positive energy and just the right amount of charisma and tranquility perfect for a barkada hangout or study group. For Lasallians looking for a new spot to frequent, the Precious Moments Cafe indeed proves  to be a place worth checking out.

Celestine Sevilla

By Celestine Sevilla

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