Visiting Bidibidi Cafe in Baao, Camarines Sur is entering the lush and vibrant world of artist, Bernadette De Los Santos, fondly called, BidiBidi. The signage “Cafe des Artes” seen along Rizal St marks the place of Bidibidi Cafe. Inside the gated walls is a beautiful garden interspersed with wooden sculptures. Vibrant murals envelope the facade of the house known as the home of the Burikbutikan Artist Collective, BidiBidi Enterprise Handicrafts and Bidibidi Cafe.
Who is Bidibidi?
Entering the house guarded by a giant selloum at the entrance, we were greeted by the bright and jovial disposition of Bernadette De Los Santos, fondly called by her friends as Bidibidi. There’s so much going for Bidibidi. Firstly, she’s a Bicol artivist (artist-activist) known for her bold, boundless and vivid colors in her paintings, from flowers to abstracts. Much like her personality.
Chic and Sustainable Handicrafts
Bidibidi is also an environmental activist with an advocacy for sustainability which she applies in her entrepreneurial venture, Fabulously Absolutely Rural Made (F.A.R.M.). Producing stylish and chic bags and accessories using upcycled fabrics and local materials. She was able to provide work to local women to help manufacture her items.
I would describe her work as bohemian but she would rather jest that it’s Buhi-mian since a lot of her materials also came from the nearby town of Buhi, Camarines Sur.
It is clear Bidibidi has embraced the rural life and even farming. Produce from her farm, La Huerta de Rosario, are used for her cafe. All natural and organic. They probably have one of the tastiest vegetarian burger I’ve tried, the Banana Blossom Burger made from the heart of a banana. We had a sampler plate of pasta, fried sliced bananas, camote fries and Iced Tablea Latte.
The whole place is such a creative space. It’s also a gallery where works from the Burikbutikan Artist Collective are displayed. It’s a place to nourish both the body and the mind.
We should have many more people like Bidibidi in our lifetime whose bountiful creativity oozes out to everyone. From her visual arts, to social enterprise and good food.
Visit Bidibidi Cafe
Baao, Camarines Sur
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.