Dusk has settled in as the last few rays of the sunset were slowly fading. The city lights of distant Cebu City across the channel were starting to flicker when the lights of a field of 10,000 (LED powered) plastic, white roses turned on. Cheers, oohs and aahs erupted from the slowly growing crowd as almost everyone were trying to get close to the edge of the cordon. Soon, flashes from small cameras and smartphones erupted randomly at the center and edges of the rose field.
10000 Roses Cafe at the edge of the town of Cordova has risen to prominence ever since it opened last February 5. When people present at the event posted about the field of these lighted roses, it became viral. According to Miguel Cho, a Korean who is managing the café, it was inspired from a similar but bigger temporary installation at the Dongdaemon Design Center in Seoul. That setup had as much as 25,000 LED lighted roses. Being based in Cebu, he saw that there are many romantic couples but there is no park where they can spend time together. With the art installation inspiration, he conceptualized the place as a place for romance, where couples can go to and even propose marriage.
The 10000 Roses Cafe was a surprising hit. Last February 14, as much as 30,000 people visited the place, according to Miguel. The vehicle queue stretched from the Cordova Tourism Center all the way to the town center. It’s a distance of just three kilometers but took one two hours to be able to enter the premises. During normal days, dusk and nighttime are the most popular with Sundays very crowded with as much as two thousand visitors (based from entrance fee receipts imposed by the municipal government) coming to the area. And as a place originally intended to be romantic, there have been seven marriage proposals already.
All these were a bit unprecedented and overwhelming for Miguel Cho. Initially, there have been some incidents where a part of the area was damaged due to the crowd that they have to put on a rope cordon. Because people were hanging out, there was a need to serve food. For now, a simple menu, is available. Korean Chef Jay Lee, who also helps run the café prepares authentic Italian pasta, pizza and panini. Their Margherita Pizza and Marinara Pasta as best sellers. They offer hot and cold beverages with Nu Choco Frappe as signature drink. A more extensive Italian based menu will be available soon.
The crowd continued to grow as the night deepened. But beyond the novelty of the lighted roses, which really is stunning to look at, 10,000 Roses Café is a great place to hang out. it’s also a great place to watch the sunset or see Cebu City come to life at dusk while fishermen come in to shore.
GOING THERE: 10,000 Roses Café in the municipality of Cordova in Mactan Island is reachable by private and public vehicles. From the first bridge, just follow the road to the municipality and head to the Cordova Tourism Office. It is around three kilometers from the town center. There is an entrance fee of P20 imposed by the local government.