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Vlogger Dale Philip opens debate: is staying too long at coffee shops bad?

by Gaby Agbulos

Travel vlogger Dale Philip sparked controversy in the Philippines after one of his TikTok videos of his stay in the Philippines went viral.

In this clip, he films people sitting at a popular coffee shop in Baguio and then berates them for using the place as their personal office. He originally wanted to get a Matcha Frappucino but was unable to due to the long queue found within the restaurant.

He states: “I would hate to have a business where people just come and use it as their personal office; use your WiFi, your electricity, [and] buy, like, one coffee. I don’t understand why they let people do that, and I don’t understand why people want to do that, either.” 

He then continues to tell a story about his friend who would do the same: going to different coffee shops to work whilst calling himself a digital nomad for doing so. To this title, Philip states that he should instead be called a digital g*nad.

Philip further tells viewers that instead of going to a coffee shop they should instead just stay in their homes and do their work there instead of going to someone’s coffee shop to do so. The clip ends with him reiterating that he simply doesn’t understand the whole concept of going somewhere else to work. 

At present, Philip has over 570, 500 followers on his TikTok account and over 2.86 million on his YouTube channel. No such statement has been released from him concerning this issue, and the video is still available for viewing on his channel.

Two sides to a story

Since this clip went viral, there have been mixed responses from Filipinos thus far. 

Some do not support his opinions; one response on his video notes that the CEO of the coffee shop even encourages people to stay at their shops for long periods, whilst another states that he simply doesn’t understand it because he doesn’t live in the Philippines. 

One response to his video also explains the culture in the Philippines, wherein a lot of the time people don’t have their own spaces in their own homes, and are often forced into doing errands whenever they are home which is why they seek out other places to study or work at. 

In one response from TikToker doraexploring which, at present, has over 97, 000 likes and 12, 000 comments, she says: “You were not welcomed into this country to judge the locals for doing very normal daily tasks in cafes. It’s such a very normal thing to do considering a lot of cafe owners encourage this type of behavior.” 

She also cites cafes often having free wifi and outlets available all over the place as more evidence supporting her statement that the owners of these cafes actually do want people to stay longer, regardless of what they might be ordering. 

On the other hand, others share the same sentiments as Philip, with one person on their video saying that they personally only go to uncrowded cafes to not feel bad for taking space from people who may want to dine in. 

Another says that people only go to these cafes so they can call themselves ‘sosyal’ or yayamanin.

On Twitter, one user explains that most people who stay at these coffee shops often buy only one beverage with pastries and that if they can afford coffee and pastries, then they should invest in pocket wifi, instead.

A lack of public spaces

One other point often made by people siding with Dale is that people should go to libraries instead of staying at coffee shops to get their work done. At present, though, there are only a limited number of libraries accessible to the public, considering that the last allocation for public library constructions was in 2006.

Though it was also taken note of in the 2014 budget the Department of Education released, it was no longer followed up in later budgets.

At present, most of the 26.2 million budget given to the National Library of the Philippines has been allocated to establishing new public libraries as well as to the establishment of more barangay reading centers, but it has been noted that the number of public libraries in the country is still extremely low. 

In every situation, there are two sides to a story.  But instead of shaming people for having to go to coffee shops just to be able to work, perhaps it would be more productive to create public, accessible spaces where anyone can go to work because the fact of the matter is not everyone has conducive learning or working environments at home. 



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