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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Cafe Scientifique: Caffeine for the Cranium

{Beans are brewed in Cafe Scientifique}

Something good is brewing in Manila, and it doesn't smell like your usual coffee. If caffeine and conversations are your thing, then you should definitely try going to a Cafe Scientifique session. More like informal gatherings than school-like lectures, this movement started in cafes in UK, and are now being held in bars, restaurants, or any place outside the traditional four corners of the classroom. Intrigued by the featured topic, "Can Passion be Brewed?", I had my first taste of the forum at Kape Isla in Serendra yesterday.

I wasn't really sure what to expect when I got there, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that free coffee and snacks would be served upon registration. I've been to Kape Isla a few times before, and I've always liked their concept of featuring different coffee brands from around the Philippines. The cafe was just as cozy, albeit a little too dark for my taste. The seats were arranged ala lecture style to face the speaker.

The open forum started with Dr. Emi Liwag, a cognitive scientist, giving a short introduction on how we (people/Pinoys) perceive passion. Pretty soon, the audience were actively participating as well. Some pleasantly inquisitive (or as one commented, safe in a gray area) and some a little more passionately than others. The afternoon was spent listening to people of different personalities and professions contribute their tw0-cents worth. As Mitzi Borromeo, Cafe Scientifique's facilitator would say, "There's no such thing as a stupid question". A melting of the minds. It was interesting, enlightening, and clearly too engaging to fit into a mere 1-hour (maybe a bit more) session. Unfortunately, my question was posed too early in the program (it was to be tackled in the second part, until time eventually ran out), so it wasn't discussed as in-depth as I would've liked. Context clues were inferred from other viewpoints though. So, all good. More than enough insights to keep me awake at night. The other culprit would probably be Kape Isla's yummy and STRONG iced coffee (with a slight hint of chocolate)- just the way I like it.

Some of the passionate minds I met over coffee talk: Marge, an industrial designer who is involved in The Mind Museum. Coolness!; Eric, an architect with a secret passion. Don't worry, your secret is safe with me. But do remember us little people when you make it big; Ging, an events moderator who is passionate about teaching kids how to really, really read good (Sorry, I couldn't help injecting a little Zoolander humor... It's really, really amazing what she does though.)

Oh, and my two-centavo question: Where does passion stop and obsession begin?

Two cents, anyone?


  1. Ay, 2 cents lang. =)

    Having a passion for something contributes to that person's well-being and having several passions is healthy and can positively sometimes define who we are. On the other hand, obsession really means being too extremely pre-occupied with one thing thus causing a personality imbalance, I guess.

    The best is one shouldn't cross-over.

    You should have brought this up last Saturday ha. =)

  2. Eric, hey! =) I like what you said about passion defining who we are. (Ka-chink, ka-chink) And you're right about it having a +/- effect- sometimes it's also the exact thing that stereotypes us. haha. Thanks for this!



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