By definition, a man cave is a part of the house or a small building near one’s house where a man indulges in hobbies and interests without being distracted. It’s primarily his sanctuary — his place of Zen.
For supercar nut Darwin “Darf” Mercado, a 250-square meter, 12-car garage is his own blissful haven.
“Two years ago, I built the garage for my personal cars and some cars for sale since I do car trading — with mostly sports cars and luxury vehicles,” the 46-year-old Darfsman Autohaus owner shared.
“My garage and office used to be located in Makati. But the traffic is bad. So, I decided to put one near my house and it saved me a lot of money and gas on a day-to- day basis.”
The car enthusiast takes pride in the architecture of his garage which he personally designed himself. It includes darts and gym areas, an office space and a die cast collection display — which he exults in being an avid toy car collector since he was a kid.
“Since I didn’t have much during those times, now is the time to splurge in it. I also put artificial grass for ‘fresh feels.’ We also made an engine block into a table where my friends and I — at times — sit down together for some booze.”
Needless to say — at the centerpiece of his garage — is his 12-car collection, ranging from an iconic orange-colored Lamborghini Gallardo, a Porsche Carrera, Mercedes-Benz SLK, Hummer, Toyota FJ Cruiser, spruced up Range Rover and Hyundai Genesis and a classic Mini, to name a few.
Before Darf was able to reach the pinnacle of his success in the car industry, he first started as a simple sales executive in one Korean carmaker in Makati City.
“I was only doing sales before for this Korean car company. But eventually I learned the ropes and finally ventured on my own,” he fondly recounted.
“Like any regular Joe, I was in the grind day in and day out in the metro and just used to drive a regular car,” he added.
But soon — as fate would have it — he was fortunate to meet individuals who would bring him closer to his dream job. From regular cars, he was now slowly selling high-performance cars in the high-end market. And from there, the rest was history.
“It was simply hard work and the right connections,” he disclosed.
“And of course, God’s blessings.”
Cars and coffee
Darf likewise all the more fueled his passion for supercars when he put up his own car club exclusive for high-octane gearheads like him just a few years ago.
He dubbed the 177-member group “Cars and Coffee” — a name borne out of its members’ simple ardor for high-performance sports cars and a hot brew.
Before the pandemic, the club regularly met at Burgos Circle in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig for their weekly fun runs to Subic, Zambales and Clark, Pampanga.
They take pride in giving donations to charitable institutions in these areas.
Pursue your own dream garage
Nowadays — since the pandemic began — Darf and his buddies would just cozy up back in his place and enjoy their supercars within the comfort of his own garage.
Asked what his advice would be for those pining for their own dream garage, he replied: “Pursue your own dream garage. Just believe. And soon, slowly, you will own one. Also, choose your collectibles wisely.”