Taft Avenue is always buzzing with activity during the school week. Living nearby in one of the condos close to one’s university puts students in the midst of all these goings-on. Also, being within close proximity of many schools is a definite advantage—it will help students concentrate on their studies without having to worry about a hassle-filled commute home.
Because Taft is a university area, there are many hangout options from fast food restaurants to Internet cafes and coffeeshops, all offering student-friendly, budget-friendly options. Pursuit of Passion lists some of the area’s gems.
Skip the fast food resto lines and try some delicious food that you can only find in the Taft area. Here are a couple of Taft’s best-kept secrets that are not only budget-friendly but also have delicious eats.
Agno is one of De La Salle University’s best-kept secrets. The street right behind the Gokongwei Building and Andrew Building used to be lined with street food sellers with carts hawking “bente burgers,” shawarma rice, dirty ice cream, and rice meals. The strip was once cynically called “hepa lane” and was the designated smoking area of the university.
Today, however, Agno has transformed into a concrete-floored outdoor food court. There you’ll find plenty of choices, from Ate Rica’s Bacsilogan to Healthy Corner. The former is legendary for all kinds of silogs bathed in their signature sauce. Healthy Corner sells nutritionist-proportioned protein and vegetable meals with your choice of brown or black rice.
The revamped Agno is definitely much cleaner and safer than when it was known as “hepa lane,” but one thing’s for sure—the cheap prices have stayed the same!
2. Solomon Guest House
From street food, here’s something a little bit more upscale. Another carefully kept secret in the Taft area is the student-run Solomon Guest House on Ayala cor. Arellano Sts. The practicum students of the College of St. Benilde’s famed Culinary Arts program showcase their best work here.
The menu constantly changes as each batch creates their own theme. So it’s like there’s a new pop-up restaurant every term. Even better, you’ll get hotel-quality food for a much, much lower price.
Same goes for Hotel Benilde’s Cafe Romançon. For just P150—which probably costs less than your favorite frap—you can have your fill of whatever food fits the theme of the day: Mongolian barbecue, Filipino, Italian, Japanese. Sometimes they even offer a “Fry-day” merienda buffet…only on Fridays, of course.
When hell week swings by, students will surely have a difficult time concentrating at home. They can skip the noisy coffeeshops and head to these places which are great for both group and individual study. Best of all, these are open until late and are safe places to stay in if you’re pulling an all-nighter.
If you’re looking for something different for your hot brew, try Helping Hands Cafe. Service at the cafe is extra special as the baristas are all differently-abled. You’ll definitely get a boost of inspiration together with your coffee as you see how your baristas and servers have overcome their disabilities.
Even better, the cafe is open 24 hours and serves “real food” alongside its selection of coffee beverages.
2. Uni Lounge
Speaking of pulling an all-nighter, the Uni Lounge is a great place to stay for students when they need to focus on studying. Staying at the lounge costs P75 per hour; P150 for three hours; P250 for 6 hours; and P350 for an unlimited stay. It is not open 24/7, however. The lounge operating hours are 8 am to 5 am on weekdays and 8 am to 12 am on weekends.
Uni Lounge offers the perfect environment for studying: a strong internet connection, numerous charging outlets, unlimited coffee and tea, and even snacks. Information overload? Take a quick nap at the upstairs cushion area. Uni Lounge even has conference rooms available for an additional fee, perfect for org meetings and group projects.
3. The Nook at Avida Towers Prime Taft
The only thing better than studying at Uni Lounge is having your own exclusive study hall right in your condo. Avida Towers Prime Taft has some of the best amenities among all of the condos in the area, all with students’ best interests in mind.
For one thing, there’s The Nook study hall. It was specially designed for students’ study needs. When they need to take a breather, Prime Taft’s other amenities beckon: the pool, outdoor gym equipment, sunset deck, and jogging path.
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Study Hard, Play Hard
Student life is not all about studying. Students get to treat themselves to some quality time with friends at these fun-filled places near school.
If students need to take a break from studying or want to celebrate with friends after a stressful school week, there’s Cranium at D’University Place on Leon Guinto St.
Board game cafes have sprung up across Taft Avenue, but Cranium has the best selection of games, great service, and pretty good food to boot. The creative milk shakes are must-orders if you want to take a cool Instagram photo. The various chicken wings flavors are always crowd pleasers.
If you don’t feel like eating anything, a playing charge of P50 will give you access to all the games you can play. There are even a lot of two-player games, so board game date night is definitely in the cards.
Still not convinced? Cranium recently acquired another unit at D’University Place to accommodate all the happy gamers.
No pets allowed in your condo? No problem! Students can relieve their stress at Paws and Play Cafe, the only dog cafe in the area, right across from St. Scholastica’s College on Leon Guinto St. For an entrance fee of just P100, you’ll get to cuddle a giant Alaskan Malamute, a cute shitzu, and adorable chowchows.
There is a modest selection of drinks and nibblers, but really, you’ll definitely be there to have fun with your new furry friends.
From study sessions to filling meals on the fly, from fancy dates to fun gimmicks, Taft has it all. It’s not only a safe and convenient place to live for students who go to school nearby, but it’s full of great spots where they can focus on studying or unwinding after a long day at school.
To find out more about your best living option in the Taft area, read more about Avida Towers Prime Taft.