Clean Beach: La Union's New Beachside Cafe

La Union has been attracting waves of tourists lately and, whether or not you enjoy a good crowd, oftentimes you just want a place where you can unwind, take a break, and have some personal time.

Enter Clean Beach Co. - a chill, beachside cafe that promises to be your new secret coffee spot in La Union. They serve good coffee, delicious food (The Kaya Toast is heaven!), in an open-air lounge you can spend hours in. They even have beach chairs you can borrow, so you can pull one up to watch the sunset, with your iced coffee in hand.

This beachside cafe was conceptualized by a group of locals and avid surfers, headed by Camille Pilar and Harold Crisostomo. In early October, this quiet, little nook opened its doors to the public with the goal of starting an eco movement within the local community to protect and preserve La Union's beaches.

Clean Beach Co - La Union Cafe (interiors)
Clean Beach Co - La Union Cafe (coffee)

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We caught up with one of Clean Beach Co.'s owners, Camille, to find out more about the cafe, their eco-friendly initiatives, and the inspiration behind it. Here are some snippets from our chat with her:

On their vision...
We wanted a 'small shop' vibe, where people can just chill and relax. We wanted to offer somewhere where they can think, and [be] a place where they can enjoy good food, coffee, and personal alone time. And talagang makakapag relax kayo by the beach.

Clean Beach Co - La Union Cafe (interiors)


On the food they serve...
Surfer food, very grab-and-go, like before or after surfing. It's easy to get. We just made food that we would prepare ourselves.

Clean Beach Co - La Union Cafe (food)

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On the ambiance...
When people are here, they get to talk, they get to relax and really have a vacation. Kasi, sometimes, we go to a place and it's too busy and it's too noisy, [so] you don't get to chill. ... We want to provide an alternative. We don't want to call it an 'introvert's hideout', but some people are calling it that. Lalo na if you want to recharge your energy, you don't have to talk to anyone. But if you want to, then make it count. So it's just a way for us to bring back the La Union that we first experienced when we first got here.

Clean Beach Co - La Union Cafe
Clean Beach Co - La Union Cafe
Clean Beach Co - La Union Cafe

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On the meaning behind the name 'Clean Beach'...
We didn't want to do business for the sake of making money. We wanted to make something that would outlast us, or something that would eventually start to make a difference somehow. Harold (Crisostomo) and I, and most of our staff members are avid surfers. ... We love surfing and we love the beach, and it's really hard to ignore the problem of plastic pollution, lalo na when you're out there. You see that nakakasira siya ng (surf) session mo or even just walking on the beach. So, nandoon yung mentality na 'yun and nandoon yung drive na 'let's use this business as a platform to carry out our own advocacy.' ... Through the coffee shop, we can implement these things on a wider scale. Let's see if somehow people will be moved. That's our ultimate goal - that people would pick up a new good habit with us.

Clean Beach Co - La Union Cafe (bamboo cups by the beach)


On their eco-friendly initiatives...
We are really adamant about not using plastic container cups. We want you to enjoy it here so 'wag ka na mag-takeout and finish your drink here. Or you can bring your own tumbler, so we're also pushing that if you bring your own tumbler or mug, we'll give you a discount of Php 10. We want to reward good habits kasi.

Another initiative is the bamboo cups and bamboo straws. If you want to take your beverage to go, you can buy or borrow [the bamboo cups]. If you buy it, it's 100pesos. If you borrow, just leave a deposit, and when you return the cup, we give it back. You can leave your room key or car keys or anything that will guarantee that you come back. Perfect nga yung setup na 'okay we're gonna drink by the beach'. So we'll lend you our bamboo cups and, in return, we'll keep your phones safe here para hindi sila mababasa. Para when you go surf or go swimming by the beach, [you use bamboo cups] instead of using plastic or paper cups, which you would likely leave behind anyway.

Clean Beach La Union (bamboo items for sale)

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Clean Beach La Union (sign)

CLEAN BEACH CO.

Address: 134 Beachfront, MacArthur Highway, San Juan, La Union
Email: cleanbeachco@gmail.com
Website: www.facebook.com/cleanbeachco




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