So much has already been written about Honesty Coffee Shop in Ivana, Batanes but I didn't see this store back in 1995 when we were there. It seems that it opened that same year.
Since that time, any feature article on Batanes would mention this unique store.
The store is stocked with little snacks like chips, hard boiled eggs, crackers and candies--just like a sari-sari store. There are also some souvenir items.
But there is no one minding the store. You help yourself to whatever you want, and leave your payment in a box--hence the name: "Honesty" store name. I don't know where the "coffee shop" comes from unless there is a thermos of coffee which I missed.
Signs around the store that say "God is watching you" or "God knows Hudas not pay" is enough to keep you honest.
The owners had to be tending a farm instead of hanging out in a store, so this model was devised out of necessity. Over the past 20 years, it has turned out to be pure marketing genius.
It's not just a store anymore--it's now a feel-good tourist spot since everyone who comes to Batanes likes to see and photograph the "Honesty Coffee Shop" (just like us). Sometimes they even leave money (not like us) without even taking anything.