Madge Cafe: La Paz’s Gathering Place for Over 80 Years

Peter dela Cruz, third generation owner of Madge Cafe.

Madge Cafe, located in La Paz market, has been a community hub for over 80 years, since Vicente dela Cruz opened it in the late 30’s, naming it after his wife.

The Cafe uses pure arabica beans, which they roast themselves. The coffee is made the old-fashioned way, the same way from when the Cafe first started, using a cloth ‘sock’ to strain the brew. A wall is lined with shelves that hold personalized mugs. “Those mugs are for our regular customers. We have customers that have been with us since my father’s time. Everyday, naging routine nila to drop by here and have breakfast,” says dela Cruz’ grandson, Peter, who runs Madge Cafe with his mother, and who has managed to add his own spin to the cafe, without changing its legacy.


What better way to while away an afternoon with friends than with coffee and pastry?


“When I took over, I thought of having mugs with their names for the regulars so when they drop by, they have their own mugs. We also know how they like their drinks,” he says.

Peter also introduced iced coffee, which helped the Cafe attract the younger market. They also serve home style meals, as well as pastries that they get from a nearby bake shop.
Madge Cafe continues to be part of the community. “There’s a group that meets here every day,” Peter says. “Every time someone has a birthday, they spend it here. They’ve become a community.”

Some regulars have even become family friends. “One lawyer used to review for the bar here every day. It was a memorable time for him. He’s our lawyer now,” Peter says. “Some couples have gone on dates here, and some have even had their prenup photos taken here because this is where they met or got to know each other.”


Madge Cafe: Serving coffee before it was cool.

Madge Cafe continues to be an Iloilo institution. It recently opened its second branch in The Shops at Atria in fast developing Manduriao. “Many people ask what our secret is,” Peter says. “Actually, we don’t have a secret. Our coffee is served as is, no flavors added. It’s traditional… We’re really homegrown Iloilo.”



Yvette Natalie U. Tan is a multi-awarded author of horror fiction and the Agriculture section editor of Manila Bulletin.

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