YOU DON’T need a port key, floo powder, Knight Bus, or Hogwarts Express to experience Hogsmeade and have a taste of the famous Butterbeer.

Nicole Guanio, a Business Economics graduate of 2014, came up with a Harry Potter-themed café called The Nook Café on the famous Maginhawa food strip last July which continues to leave Potterheads spell-bound with all of its quirky charms.

Butterbeer, a frothy drink that was adopted from the Three Broomsticks pub in Harry Potter, is the signature drink of the Nook Café, which allowed it to gain the favor of many Harry Potter fans in and out of the metro.

The quaint café has a small interior, brandishing different Harry Potter collectables. Customers are allowed to borrow robes, wands, books, and other memorabilia.

It also features a hammock and a “quidditch broom,” both suspended mid-air, as well as the famous “cupboard under the stairs” that used to be Harry’s room when he lived with his foster family.

‘Small talk over good food’

Growing up reading Harry Potter books, Guanio’s dream of setting up a Harry Potter-inspired café was sparked during a visit to Universal Studios in Japan where she was able to get a glimpse of “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” a themed area that featured food, structures, and merchandises related to J. K. Rowling’s piece.

“Naisip ko na sa café ko nalang ilagay yung love ko for Harry Potter. At least, hindi siya mawawala sa akin,” she said. “Lagi akong naghahanap ng maliliit na coffee shops na hindi alam ng mga tao, kaya ang ‘nook’ which means corner, parang reading nook, dito na pupunta yung mga katulad ko.”

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To make sure that her dream café would turn out the way she envisioned it, Guanio strictly supervised

the whole project

and personally bought everything inside her store—from the wooden pillars up to the painted drawers.

From the little figurines to the stacked books on the shelf, Nicole openly shares her Harry Potter collection with her customers, allowing them to get a feel of the magic inside her cafe.

“Masakit nung una na ipahiram ‘yung mga collection ko, ngayon pinapahiram ko na yung scarf ko, pero nasanay na ako. Babalik din naman ako doon sa Universal Studios to get new Harry Potter collectables,” Nicole said.

Even though she had a rocky start with people just passing by her shop, Nicole’s first few weeks in business were filled with small talk over good food with her fellow Potterheads.

“Meron akong isang araw na wala akong benta, ilang araw na walang tao, na P2,000 lang sales ko, pero masaya pa rin,” she said.

After several months in business, Nicole admits that she is still overwhelmed by the success of her cafe and the feedback of the customers. Even with the attention her café is getting, she still considers her first few months in business as her happiest moment so far.

“First month, masaya ako kahit hindi ko nakukuha yung quota ko every day, kahit wala akong benta, kasi nakakausap ko lahat ng mga customers,” she recalled.


Guanio plans to expand with a Weasley-themed branch in Tagaytay next year.

“Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. There are three statements—‘I’ll try’, ‘I’ll try my best,’ and the last, ‘I’ll do whatever it takes.’ Dapat nandoon ka sa pangatlo. Kahit anong mangyari, huwag lang doon sa ‘I’ll try my best.’”

The Filipino survivor


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