Friday, May 16, 2014


In these days where personal and hidden interests are at hand to many people, it is a big question if honesty still exists in our heart.  Amidst of temptations, struggles, poverty, and ambitions in life, it becomes difficult today to become honest.  While we are surrounded by different people, lies and deception direct or indirect were inadvertently made.  Is there still honest in these days?

This has been a big question too in my mind.  Seems like our daily life is a big political arena where survival is a matter of materials standard.  Being honest alone is not enough but smart and witty too, otherwise people around you will use you.  Trust yourself only and treat everybody around you are your enemies.  But these told me wrong.  When I went to Banates, there is one store there that lectured me that honesty still lives in everyone’s heart.  The Honesty Coffee Shop in Ivana Batanes brings back us from the basic root of being honest.

Truly one of a kind, the Honesty shop is a store that literally has no vendor to look after the merchandise and attend the customers.  It is a shop that is left without clerk or closed circuit television (CCTV) to watch the customers.  Everyone can go inside and can freely move, sit, relax and have some coffee.  It is self-service, you can get all you want where all items have price tag on each.  The customers have to write the items they have bought and leave the payment in the drop box.  It is expected that everyone who entered the store are honest enough to pay their purchase exactly.  If your pay needs change, you will consider it as charity.

It all started when the sales of the store slope down due to the closure of the nearby port where most of their customers worked.  Because of this, the owner of the store had to focus on farming and help her husband in their cane vinegar production.  Although she decided to continue the operation of their store but her focus is needed on the farm, and consequently the store was left unattended.  What happened then was people can still buy on the store and just leave their pay on.  What the store only held was the honesty of their customers.  And it went on and on until such time it was heard up to the nearby towns and the rest is the story.

Honesty store in Batanes proved that honesty is still the best policy, and it proved that honesty and trust blend smoothly.  If each one will be honest, then subsequently trust will follow next and you have to be honest in order to keep that trust.  The Honesty store touches our in-born truthfulness.  When you get there, you will feel nothing but to be honest and this value will prevail in everyone’s heart.

We heard the news about the driver, janitor, and guard who returned the cash they found.  These people are worth and deserve salute for they have installed in their heart and mind that honesty is still the best policy.  For anything not yours should be given to the owner, a childhood lesson that our parents and teachers taught us.  Let us learn from the children.  If everyone has a child-like heart, sincere and honest faith will lead the world into place.

Poverty transforms people to deceit.   There are many opportunists who are taking advantage the situations.  Life in Invana Batanes is not that comfortable but they maintained their childhood lesson of being honest.  For them, what really matter is the character that became well-known not only in Batanes but also across the whole country.  And this is their legacy that they can pass from their generation to next generation.

By Alex V. Villamayor
May 16, 2014

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