The Honesty Store in Batanes, Philippines
I have the opportunity to travel in Batanes, Philippines in June and September in 2014. Batanes is the northern most province of the country. It has 6 municipalities. The total population of the province is only 16,000 according to latest official data.
What struck me most in the said province is the honesty of their people who are called Ivatans. A proof of this trait is the Honesty Coffee Shop in the municipality of Ivana.
No one is manning the store. It is self-service. Coffee, biscuits, and souvenir items are available. You have to list the item you are purchasing and drop your payment in a box.
The owner, Ms. Elena Gabilo, is a retired teacher. She started operating the Honesty Coffee Shop in 1995 when she was still teaching in the nearby Island municipality of Sabtang. The purpose of the Coffee Shop then is to serve the travellers to and from Sabtang.
“In the original structure, you would find coffee, sugar, and hot water. There was also a stove ready for those who wanted to cook food or heat water,” the Ms. Gabilo said.
There are two signposts inside the shop which run “Lord is My Security Guard” and “This Store is Too Small for Dishonest People.”
Image Credit » Photo is mine