Just what is a co-working space? It’s usually like a hub-like office or space with Wi-Fi connection where people can bring their laptops and other mobile gadgets there to work, research, do assignments, or generally just to browse the internet and chill, for a fee, of course. It’s the latest trend in answer to professionals and students who need a working space outside their homes or schools where they can work in relative quiet by themselves but not alone. The co-working hub may or may not serve food or beverages.
Another basic premise is to avoid the over-the-head prices of coffee or food that is standard in coffee shops where people often go to work online. These co-working spaces give an alternate place of work to online professionals or students who are tired of working at home (especially if the home is a noisy full house, pun intended), tired of hopping from one coffee shop to another, or if the need arises to find a working space during power outages or if the internet connection at home fails.
This co-working space trend is already picking up in popularity in major cities like Cebu or Manila. In Cagayan de Oro there are two places picking up on this trend: The Space and Librewry Café.
The Space is an office hub space specially made for professionals and students who need to do work online.
Located on the first floor of the Knightsbridge Building at the corner of 15th and Tomas Saco Street in Nazareth (in front of Mercury Drug), this “Space” is glass-walled all around and is filled with work tables and a counter and is strongly (emphasis on strong) air-conditioned, so we do advice bringing a sweater, jacket, or cardigan. That’s all you see, so it gives you the feel of an office space overlooking the street. There are a few couches around.
All you need is to go online at www.the.space.ph and register as a member by filling out a short online form. You then choose a plan that will suit your needs and budget. You can then go to the location and get your membership card at the counter and pay the fee. You can also go to The Space and directly register at the counter. With all the plans you get time access, unlimited free high speed internet access, and free tea, coffee, and water.
The plans usually range from a Night Pass (access between 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.), a Day Pass (access for a full day), 1 Week Pass (24/7 access for a week), and 1 Month Access (24/7 access for 1 month). The Space opened last August 12, 2016, with CDO Mayor Oscar Moreno doing the honors of the ribbon cutting. It’s quiet atmosphere is truly a hub for online professionals and students.
Another hub space for online professionals and students to work is a much bigger place located at the Casa Azzuri Building along Don A. Velez Street, in front of Sentro 1850. As the name implies, the Librewry Café has the feel of both an office hub space, an internet café, and a huge old school library filled with books.
Created from a business idea and feasibility study in college by a group of young entrepreneurs, the café offers tables and chairs similar to a library, work or study cubicles, group study areas, and study areas where you can sit on the floor. And not only is it a place to work, study, or generally just hang out and read a book, the proprietors support local coffee farmers by serving only brewed and iced coffee made from coffee beans produced solely in Northern Mindanao.
The Librewry is open 24 hours and has an hourly rate of P25 per hour in order to access the strong Wi-Fi (emphasis on strong). You get a free drink if you book for 3 hours or more. The somewhat deafening silence in the café is truly conducive for online work and studying.
And this quiet is greatly emphasized with signs all over the place, just like in a real library. Outside food and drinks are not allowed since the café sells its own coffee, soya milk, Panini, rice bowl meals, Wachichao herbal tea, and even mixed nuts and champorado.
As for the books, you can only read them exclusively inside the café since external borrowing is not allowed. Attempting to take out a book for a souvenir is greatly discouraged as well since all books are electronically tagged and will set off an alarm when it passes by the front counter.
The café opened only last July 10, 2016. Its location in Divisoria gives it direct access to online professionals and students searching for a hub space to do online work and research. The café frequently posts “1 hour free pass” promos on their Facebook page such as joining environmental campaigns or attending their “pajama parties.” They also have an honor roll for the customers with the most number of hours on a monthly basis. Members of the honor roll get free passes.
As Cagayan de Oro continues to progressively grow, the number of online professionals and students will continue to grow as well. And many of these people will always search for a place away from home (or if they’re far from home) or an alternative place to work or study. With this, it is hoped that more co-working hub spaces will sprout up around the city.