Madge Cafe is easily one of my most favourite places in the entire city. As I’ve mentioned before, Madge is easily the oldest kapihan in Iloilo, having been in business for around 70 years. I know they’re called Madge Cafe, but using the word ‘cafe’ suggests an air of fanciness, which is definitely not Madge. I love that when you come here, you go back to basics - there are no frills, no whipped cream, no grossly expensive tiny cakes with silly names, no slightly burnt gourmet sandwiches from the microwave; just coffee. Good coffee.
They give you a nondescript mug, and your only choices are hot black coffee (P20), hot coffee with milk (P22) and iced coffee with milk (P30), and the coffee is their own brew.
I’ve spent several hours at Madge, with different groups of people, and each visit was memorable. I especially loved my mini reunions with high school friends that I don’t see enough of, in which we realise how much or how little we have grown up. For one, we gossiped less and actually debated about world economy and sustainable energy and whatnot.
Madge can be found in the bowels of Lapaz Public Market, and you can’t get any seedier than that. Like, seriously, if at one point a rat had shown up I wouldn’t have been surprised. Plus, you get all the general pungent smells of a market, and all its noise, too. Also, street kids abound, who won’t leave you alone until either you’ve given them money or you’ve sufficiently convinced them that you have no money to spare (which never happens).
But, honestly, all that is worth it for a cup of Madge coffee.