while instant coffee is cheap, practical & good, there is a much better alternative. i'd like to blame nescafe as one of the main culprits that stumps the growth of awareness on coffee as they twist reality a bit to protect their bottomline and keep the filipino people in the dark. brainwashing us with commercial ads, to "educate us-kuno" on how coffee should be. there is truth to their commercial to some extent but better suited to their agenda. madaming resources on the net if you'd like to know more about how to appreciate coffee to the full extent if you are an enthusiast that is, coffeegeek & homebarista is a start. large, renowned brands such as nescafe, starbucks and others are tying people down.. one should know better. with a good supplier of fresh coffee beans, a good investment in say a coffee french press or coffee maker, a cheap-o spice grinder like philips... you can save plenty of money from going to starbucks sparing you from an ill-prepared and not so fresh coffee (be aware that their cost of production for a cup is about 15-30pesos, might even be lower considering their size). and you can have a cup of coffee that is way, way better than an instant coffee.
at 4-8pesos per cup (coffee alone, w/o cost of electricity or LPG and equips), with enough knowledge on preparation, a good equipment you can produce a great cup of coffee at home. why settle for anything less?
one must be warned though that even if there are ready available whole beans in a handful of supermarkets you must check their production dates, if you truly want to have the best for your money that is. no more than two weeks from roast date if you are strict in quality. forgivable is a month from roasting date. if you find no fault in taste those even longer than a month then make the purchase. one might think its just coffee, but as you progress and develop a taste for it then it's already treated like wine, where you'll slowly develop your taste bud for distinction. tell tales that it is fresh & newly roasted: as date stamps can be easily tampered with, try looking for packages that has lots of "air" (actually co2) in it, a sign that it is degassing (less than a week from roast date i presume), if package is see-through (which is a no-no in terms of packaging coffee is concerned since light, as well as air, deteriorates the quality of coffee faster) check if the beans has natural oils coating it. if its dry then it only means that it is old.
a caveat though, i'm no expert in coffee but through the years of drinking i have been able to distinguish awful from good, so i prepare my coffee at home since good commercial coffee is scarce.