Kendo Creative, the quaint little shop was located in the last vestige of the Old Cubao, Cubao Expo. Kendo was a coffee bar, a retail shop, an art gallery, a craft room, a workshop venue, a date spot, a coworking space, an artists’ hub, a room of requirement and a safe space. The non-automatic door, which was often left ajar anyway, was open for everyone to come in and feel at home. The small, owner-run establishment stood out from the other local shops you would find in the area, with its hexagonal tables, white washed walls and bright lighting. It can be a bit baffling if one is used to the bustling nightlife culture which is what Cubao Expo is often known for these days.
The instant you walk in, the smell of coffee would greet you, along with a friendly “Hi, what can I get for you?” from behind the bar. Whether you came for coffee and cookies, or a craft soda, or perhaps to purchase a sticker or an odd trinket, there was always a spot here for individuals who — to put it simply — just needed it.
Here we’ve seen customers become beloved friends. We’ve heard the fuzzy warm beginnings and also tearfully sad endings of love stories. Here, we’ve witnessed ideas that were sketched on scrap paper grow into full scale art projects forged in the real world. But as of September 30th, due to complications with the property’s management, it is sad to say, the shop is no longer there. The door, no longer welcoming, lights are off and the room left bare. A shop like this is not likely to be seen again soon, yet the spirit lives on through the community Kendo Creative has built in the 45 months they’ve held ground in Cubao. Some may try to replicate it, and we do hope they achieve it. The world is in need of more safe spaces.