Dog Cafe’s are a new craze in Asia. It seems that they started out in Japan, and spread to Thailand and the Philippines. How did I not know about this until now? After three weeks of backpacking across 9 islands, a hot chocolate and some pooch smooching was exactly what I needed. So I headed off to Barkin Blends in Manila with Cai from Travelosyo to check it out!
How to Get to Barkin Blends
It’s a bit of a treck to get the Barkin Blends Dog Cafe to be honest. Google Maps might tell you that it’s just 40 minutes in a taxi from Makati (downtown Manila), but with Manila traffic, that could be more like 2 hours! Luckily, I had the fabulous Cai accompanying me – he’s Filipino and knows Manila like the back of his hand!
From Makati we took the MRT from Buendia to Cubao, then changed to the LRT and took it to Katipunan. From Katipunan LRT we took a taxi using the Grab taxi app.
Barkin Blends – The Human Zone
Enjoy your food in the human zone before going into the dog zone! We all know what would happen if you took in a sandwich! There is a gorgeous menu of sandwiches, pastas and cakes at Barkin’ Blends cafe, and all of the dishes are appropriately named after one of the dogs!
I had some lovely Finn-e-Pasta for just 120 Php (about £2!) and a hot chocolate for just 60 Php (about £1). You know that I love my hot chocolate! At the end of our visit, we treated ourselves to some gorgeous ‘pup cakes’!
Barkin Blends – The Dog Zone
You need to pay your 190 Php to enter the dog Zone, but it’s worth every penny! Now, if you have never been anywhere like this before, expect it to be….erm….smelly! It doesn’t stink of poo or anything, but there is a strong sort of ‘dog smell’! They have some lovely dog breeds including dalmatians, Labradors and patterdale terriers.
Remember that there are rules inside the dog zone – no pulling tails or feeding the dogs. You are allowed to cuddle and stroke them (but not force them onto your lap!) and you are allowed to get some lovely photos with the pooches.
Pet Cafe’s – Are they Ethical?
There’s a great deal of discussion online about whether these pet cafes are ethical – after all, they are using animals for profit. At Barkin’ Blends, the dogs were definitely looked after. As far as I could tell, they had all been vaccinated and had veterinary checks. No dog was suffering. They rotate the dogs so that not all dogs are in the ‘dog zone’ all of the time – this means that they get a break.
My main criticism was that there seemed to be a few too many people in there at one point, including children who were pulling the dogs a little too much! One dog went to try to escape through the back door, but he wasn’t allowed!
Saying that, they all seemed to be very happy on the whole. There were two or three members of staff in there while we visited, and they would look after the dogs, as well as get the dogs to sit and pose for photos, which they didn’t mind one bit!
What about the Mutts? (AKA Crossbreeds)
One thing to consider is that all the dogs in Barkin’ Blends were pedigrees. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could rescue a few abandoned mutts, care for their health and include them in the dog cafe? I understand that they need training, and this is easier from pups, but I know that there are a few street dogs who would love some care and fuss!
Tips for visiting Barkin Blends…
- Consider the traffic and take the LRT/MRT if you can.
- Barkin Blends is closed on Tuesdays.
- Arrive early to enter the dog zone – it’s first come first served.
- Change your shoes into slippers provided and lock your valuables in a locker before entering the Dog Zone.
Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is so important as it will help you with emergencies and unexpected costs on your trip. Make sure that you declare any pre-existing health conditions so that you are covered for those. Check your cover for accidents and medical care and also lost baggage or getting things stolen. Remember to report as soon as something goes wrong on your trip because some travel insurance companies require you to report something that you want to claim for within 24 hours. Read the fine print carefully when you sign up. I always recommend World Nomads. You can get a free quote here: