Meet Nowie and Odette Potenciano of Boracay’s Sunny Side Group

The Potencianos have always risen to the occasion whenever the Boracay tourism industry faced any challenges

The Sunny Side Cafe serves what is hands down the best breakfast in Boracay from their popular perch on the beachfront of Station 3. Its owners, Nowie and Odette Potenciano, have grown The Sunny Side Group into five separate restaurant concepts that employ more than fifty people.

During the six-month, island-wide shutdown in 2018, the welfare of those workers was foremost in the minds of the Potencianos. Not wanting to have their staff face six months without income, they sent a shout-out to their friends in the industry to find temporary work for their kitchen and front-of-house staff. They also organized pop-ups in Manila for Sunny Side, Coco Mama and a couple of their concepts from Station X. The main goal was always to help the staff, whose transportation and housing in the city Nowie and Odette shouldered.

When Boracay reopened, The Sunny Side Group helped sustainability efforts by offering incentives such as free potable water refills in their establishments, as members of a Philippines-wide initiative called Plastic Battle, which is made in partnership with Save Philippine Seas and SEA Movement.

As Boracay and other tourist spots shut down once more due to the pandemic, Nowie and Odette once again set about quietly helping out, redirecting Sunny Side resources to relief efforts whenever they could. It’s a testament to the care and responsibility the duo take — not just as business owners, but as community builders — that they do more than what is called for when the going gets tough.

 

 

 

While The Sunny Side Group’s restaurants in Boracay are yet to reopen — “hopefully sooner rather than later,” says Nowie — there’s good news for Metro Manila diners. Their popular concept at D’Mall in Boracay now has a second branch at The Grid in Rockwell, while their flagship brunch spot Sunny Side Café has a pop-up from December 2, 2020 to February 28, 2021.

“We’ve brought over our most popular dishes for The Sunny Side Cafe’s Pop-Up and for Spicebird’s permanent shop at The Grid. So if you’ve tried our restaurants in Boracay before, you’ll get a real beach vibe without having to leave the city,” says Nowie.

 

This article first appeared in the March 2019 issue of Smile magazine, and was updated on December 2, 2020.

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Written by

Patricia Barcelon

Photographed by

Sonny Thakur

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