What do a graphic designer, a singer, and a drummer have in common? A shared passion for the arts and music, of course.
From online entrepreneurs to curators of a creative space, the journey of cousins Cy Jimenez and Rancel Javier gave rise to an artistic haven known as Lutuan x Raina Garage.
As lockdown restrictions swept the country, Cy and Rancel found themselves navigating the challenging landscape by establishing online businesses.
“Sa mother ko itong place, we called it Lutuan, a tapsilogan that serves the community when pandemic hits our country,” Cy told Soundstrip.
Cy shared that the interests between him and Rancel were both connected by having a keen interest in arts and music, “we decorated and did some DIY things in our place, from the furniture to the lights and other fixtures.”
He highlights as things started to get back to normal, “naki pag-collab ako kay Rancel who already had a following with his signature coffee drinks Raina Garage brand.” This collaboration marked the rise of Lutuan x Raina Garage.
“Naisip namin mag-collab because we wanted something na pwedeng maging watering hole ng mga local artists especially residing and or born in Cainta,” added Cy
Meanwhile, Rancel told Soundstrip that what they want was a place where they can eat and sip coffee in peace.
According to him, Raina Garage “hindi basta garahe lang po ito, extension ito ng ating bahay,” they adopted a rustic Filipino theme and incorporated old furniture that holds sentimental value to them.
When one mentions art in Cainta, Rancel said that it’s often perceived as mere acting due to our Senakulo, Drum and Bugle, and Community band. However, “maraming nakatagong artists po dito, at yun ang gusto sana naming matagpuan. Gusto namin silang magkaron ng sarili nilang garahe.”
Their connection went back to their high school band days. Cy was a lead singer of a rock band but eventually stopped his budding career because he wanted to focus on his studies which quite paid off. He is now on his 10th year as a graphic designer working from different companies.
Rancel specializes in playing percussion instruments, with a particular fondness for the West African Djembe and the frog Guiro from Thailand.
Dabbling in Ukulele and guitar once in a while makes his coffee blends getting a cult following. Now he focuses his precision moves in producing cold coffees.
Reymart shuffles from time to time to make a living. But his passion is live performing, he was included in several acoustic gigs as a solo artist.
Despite their diverse backgrounds, they share a common objective: establishing a garage where the original “tambayan” welcomes both “nanays” and “tatays,” along with their hijos, creating a space for everyone to relax alongside the “titas.”
Meanwhile, Reymart Titong also from the town Cainta, is a veteran in the open mic circuit. He is a former artist-in-residence at Rannie Raymundo’s Madhouse Music production. One of the 64 artists waiting for the big break but didn’t happen.
He submitted a Christmas song demo and was invited by Rannie who liked his song. But unfortunate things happen when so many artists are swimming in a fish bowl, the rest is his story.
Now every place or event trying to promote something always invited singers or models and when luck strikes in his favor, Reymart was always included in the artists roster, thus earning him his moniker El Kapitan.
On December 10 for the Binhi Uno Songwriters Night event, El Kapitan booked artists from Cainta to do original compositions as we celebrate Human Rights Day. Performers for the special evening will do one original or cover that tackles human rights, political and other social issues, and two original songs.
The formidable lineup includes Rapper Ranniel YE NLDOPESO Cruz; Margarita band vocalist Kenneth Hesoyam Hernandez; Reymart El Kapitan Titong who also serves as the musical director for the evening; hip hop artist Catchy Rondola; Soloist Jacob Cob Priela; folk singer Jick Poyo Garbin; and photojournalist Bernard Testa.
Family and friends are invited to for the soft opening of Lutuan x Raina Garage presentation of Binhi Uno, Songwriters Night from 4pm onward.
Image credits: Bernard Testa