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Weighing in on the culture of ‘overstaying’ in coffee shops: Is it okay or not?

People deliberately staying long periods of time in coffee shops or cafes is a very common sight in the Philippines. The reason behind the prolonged stay may vary from person to person–some use coffee shops as a location to wait for other people, some find these areas a conducive place to study or do work, while some just actually do love staying for the coffee, food, and ambience.

However, is it okay to stay beyond hours after ordering and consuming your food and drink, and more importantly, is it okay to stay long periods of time with just one drink in hand?

There is a recent viral incident that comes to mind with regards to this topic. In the incident that happened in Bacolod, it was reported that a group of alleged students were made to leave a local coffee shop. The coffeehouse in question then received negative reviews, which the coffee shop presumes to come from the same kids they sent away. This ruckus grabbed the attention of Filipino social media users.

In the same vein, a Scottish vlogger, Dale Philip, went viral as well for posting a TikTok video in which he criticized the long lines and “digital nomads—no, digital gonads” who, rather than staying at home to do their work, choose to occupy the space in cafés. He stresses that he’d hate to be a business owner and have people stay in his shop for long periods like he witnessed at Starbucks.

@dalephilipvlogs Laptop Loitering Digital Nomads at Starbucks 🇵🇭 I visited SM City Mall in Baguio, Philippines. I was considering getting a Matcha Latte from Starbucks but when I saw it was full of laptop loitering digital nomads, I changed my mind. #Baguio #Philippines #Travel #TravelVlog #SoloTravel #BudgetTravel ♬ original sound – Dale Philip

However, one Facebook user offers a different viewpoint. The OP explained why coffee shops are a part of history, with renowned names in the field of philosophy, and writers that have also practiced the culture of ‘overstaying’ in the past with the same establishment.

FB post about overstaying in cafes
via Facebook

In the post, the OP mentioned, “Siguro kailangan lang talaga natin hanapin ‘yung coffee shop na akma sa hinahanap or needs natin. Marami diyan na nagke-cater sa mga students kagaya ko, sa mga titas na gusto ng leisure, o sa mga professionals na madalas nagpapa-meeting.” (Maybe we only need to find a coffee shop that is fit for what we seek or need. Some [shops] cater to students like me, some for aunties that want leisure, or some for professionals that do meetings.)

Baka rin manifestation ang issue na ’to ng kakulangan natin sa mga public places kagaya ng libraries at green parks na pwede tayong mag-breakfree saglit sa demands ng buhay,” she added. (Maybe this issue is also a manifestation of our lack of public places such as libraries and green parks where we can break free for a moment from the demands of life.)

The Philippines has undeniably become a nation that’s deep into cafe culture. We love our coffee shops here. People flock to these places not just for the coffee, that much is true. A lot of people find themselves productive in these spaces, possibly because of the atmosphere that cafes give, but more likely because these places are the next best option in the absence of public libraries and parks, albeit expensive for the common Filipino. It’s unfortunate that cafes have become sort of a “working solution” to our lack of public spaces in the country, but until we see more public parks and libraries spring within key locations in the cities, this is going to be our life for the foreseeable future. Depressing, yes. Infuriating, also yes.


Shops do need to make money to stay afloat. And they can’t make money if people hog tables to order just a drink or two, then stay for extended periods of time. It is what it is–you really need to “pay” for the comfort of your stay in coffee shops.

So in conclusion:

1) We need public spaces, and 2) coffee shops operate on give and take–if you’re staying for more than an hour, buy more from them.  /VT


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Bacolod coffee shop review-bombed for sending away non-paying customers, sparks discourse on etiquette

Daniel Padilla under fire for allegedly ‘mocking Koreans’ during the 2023 Asia Artist Awards

Filipino rapper Loonie recounts his version of ‘traumatic ordeal with police’ in latest diss track

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