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FFTG – or Food For The Gays, a play at dessert “food for the gods” – wants to be seen as more than just a community café, Instead, said FFTG co-owners (and partners in life) Chippy Abando and Nariese Giangan, this is a place where you – LGBTQIA people, and even those who are not – can be who you are without fearing to be judged. In a gist: a safe space.

“This isn’t common,” said Chippy. What we usually have as spaces for LGBTQIA people are bars, so “maiba naman yung meeting place (here’s a different meeting place).” This is particularly since “not everyone (goes out to) drink, or go dancing.” There are some who prefer to be in a place more conducive for meetings, for that first date, etc so that “malaking bagay na nagkaroon tayo ng community safe space (in FFTG).”

Nariese used to sell pastries online, around April 2020. Then this February, just as Chippy celebrated her birthday, they opened the physical venue.

With FFTG – and even if the name denotes members of the LGBTQIA community – “there’s no specific market targeted,” said Nariese, stressing that everyone is welcome here.

But Nariese said two things are worth highlighting here.

On one hand, they believe that creating a safe space for members of the LGBTQIA community pays off because “we believe in the pink peso.” This point’s worth stressing because when the pandemic happened, many venues closed, including LGBTQIA venues; and “for sure, particularly after the pandemic, there’d be yearning to be in another safe space.”

On the other hand, “we believe in our products.” Meaning, what they offer do not just look good in the menu; they’re actually tasty. Meaning, too, what they have “are something (we’re excited) to share.”


Opening a business with a partner – or even with others – can be challenging, admitted Nariese. But what makes it easier is they are at a point where “we both already know what we want.”

Nariese and Chippy

Besides, for Chippy, it helps that this has become a real partnership – i.e. they complement each other. Nariese, for instance, oversees food-related concerns; while Chippy focuses on the beverages. That they can help each other out as needed in their areas of focus is just a plus.


The menu – albeit short – contains various offerings.

For the food, consider:
-Pasta a la Carbonara (P150)
-Spaghetti alla Chitarra (P160)
-Pesto Pasts with Grilled Cajun Chicken (P180)
-Margherita pizza (P160)
-Meat Lover’s (P190)
-FFTG Special (P220)
-Banh Mi (lemongrass beef, chicken satay, char siu pork, P115-P150)

For the drinks, consider:
-Thai iced tea (P80)
-Iced drinks (mocha latte, coffee shakerato, cafe au lait, coffee creamery, from P80-P110)
-Hot chocolate (P70-P90)

If you’re in the mood to try something… rainbow-inspired, try the Rainbow Grilled Sandwich, which is, basically, grilled bread with rainbow-colored cheese fillings. That it doesn’t taste “fake cheese” is definitely a plus.


All in all, “it’s about the experience,” said Nariese. There are many places where you can eat pasta, pizza, etc but “it feels different if you eat them here. That’s a big part of it.”

Because here, added Chippy, no one will swear at you, you won’t feel ostracized, there’s no prejudice, and it’s safe. Meaning, “you’d enjoy your food while enjoying people’s company,” she said. – WITH MICHAEL DAVID dela Cruz TAN

FFTG is located at 58 13th Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City, 1109 Metro Manila. For more information, head to their Facebook account or Instagram page.


When in Puerto Galera: Build stronger connections over savory Italian dishes at Il Capo

A gastronomic paradise, Il Capo Smoke Haus serves patrons with rich flavors of Italian cuisine made with a Pinoy twist, from burgers, pasta, and steaks, to a diverse options of hot and cold drinks.



Along the serene shores of Puerto Galera lies a culinary haven that captivates the palates of locals and tourists alike.

A gastronomic paradise, Il Capo Smoke Haus serves patrons with rich flavors of Italian cuisine made with a Pinoy twist, from burgers, pasta, and steaks, to a diverse options of hot and cold drinks.

Currently headed by the matriarch Maria Corazon Abante Dela Peña, or Maya, Il Capo is a family business that was born from the hard work of Maya’s son Keith Limuel who is a cooking enthusiast.

Settling in Italy with his parents who were overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) then, Keith took a culinary course to personally study the traditional cooking techniques of Italy. Later on, he worked as a kitchen manager in a restaurant and with his knowledge about the ins and outs of food service, he went back to the Philippines to set up his own business.

“Nu’ng umuwi s’ya sa Pilipinas, nag-start na s’ya ng paggawa ng smoked bacon para sa mga turista. Maganda naman ang kita kaya pinagawa na namin itong dalawang palapag na building para sa restaurant,” said Maya, proudly narrating their humble beginnings.

[“When he returned to the Philippines, he began making smoked bacon for tourists. The earnings were good, so we had this two-storey building built for the restaurant.”]

The pandemic temporarily stalled the opening of the business but as the tourism sector started to pick up, Keith captivated taste buds, serving meticulously smoked pork, beef, and sausages through the small booth he put up along the bays of Muelle.

“Nakilala s’ya tapos nung nagkakaroon na ng turista, in-open namin ito last year. Tama naman, nung in-open namin ito, lumalago na ‘yung turismo. Timing na timing. Pagkatapos, nag-start na kami – January 8, 2022,” Maya shared.

[“He started getting recognized, and when tourists started coming, we opened it last year. It was just right when we opened it because tourism was starting to come back again. It was perfect timing. Then, we finally opened on January 8, 2022.”]

One thing to be amazed by the restaurant is its walls donned with vintage wine bottles. Along with their cheesy and meaty burgers on the menu, Il Capo offers authentic Italian wines which the family diligently collected while overseas.

And with all its wares on display, the restaurant has now become a place for customers to take aesthetic Instagrammable pics, connect with friends, and share exciting stories over good food.

But to elevate the dining experience of patrons, Maya equipped the resto with robust connectivity through the country’s leading fiber broadband provider Converge ICT Solutions.

“Napakalaki po ng deperensya sa amin ng internet kasi dati, ‘yung data namin mabilis maubos. Kapag sa internet, lahat kami naka-connect at sa sounds, mas maganda at mas tuloy-tuloy ‘yung Youtube,” Maya said. 

[“Our internet makes a significant difference because before, our data would quickly run out. But if it’s the internet, all of us are connected, and in terms of playing sounds, it’s better and more continuous when we listen on Youtube.”]

“Sa posting naman namin, dati, hindi kami makapaglabas ng ads. Parang bali-balita lang. Pero itong nagkaroon kami ng malakas na internet dahil sa Converge, malawak na po ‘yung nararating ng aming advertisement,” she added.

[“As for our posts, we couldn’t put out ads before. But when we got strong internet because of Converge, our advertisement now reaches a wider audience.”]

Converge offers flexiBIZ, an array of business-grade internet solutions designed for small-scale businesses looking for affordable and reliable connectivity to power up their operations. It features fast, secure, and customizable connectivity, catering to the unique requirements of MSMEs.

It comes in two variations with flexiBIZ Daytime providing businesses with speeds twice as fast during peak operations, and flexiBIZ Peak for a fixed maximum speed consistent throughout the day.

Amid the success of the business, Il Capo’s culinary journey is far from over. Bolstered by the positive reception for its offerings and the support of its customers, the restaurant aspires to introduce pizzas to its menu soon, targeting the metro as its next prime location. Currently, Keith manages another restaurant business named Red Tomato with his wife Jade, co-piloting their branches in Roxas, Oriental Mindoro and San Jose, Occidental Mindoro as Maya supervises the operations of Il Capo in Puerto Galera.

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Mrs. G Cakeshop finds out secret recipe for delighting customers with Converge

Amid the saturation of the local confectionary industry, Mrs. G prides itself on delivering a unique experience by treating patrons with the same warmth and kindness offered to family and friends. 



The Isabela-based confectionery Mrs. G Cakeshop appears to have already perfected its recipe for a successful enterprise. Delicately gathering top-grade ingredients, the pâtisserie mastered the art of selling treats, satisfying every customer’s random sugar cravings.

“Hello, kaibigan! Welcome sa Mrs. G!” [Hello, friend! Welcome to Mrs. G!]

Those who had already set foot in Mrs. G Cakeshop must already have experienced its brand of welcoming visitors. 

Amid the saturation of the local confectionary industry, Mrs. G prides itself on delivering a unique experience by treating patrons with the same warmth and kindness offered to family and friends. 

“24 hours a day, someone in the company is working their best to deliver a delightful cake experience to our customers,” said Nestor Gaddi, president and CEO of Mrs. G Cakeshop Corporation.

As warm as freshly-baked toast, the business cultivates a culture of friendship, which slowly made its mark among its customers. And soon enough, the business became the leading cake shop in the whole of Region 2, tagged as North Luzon’s new favorite cake shop.

By having its finger in every pie of the operations—from baking its cakes, delivering to stores, and selling them to customers—it can consistently guarantee the quality of its flavorful cakes. 

This is the exact reason why technology has become an important factor in ensuring that all parts of the business are running smoothly. 

Gaddi said they heavily invested in technology, which further enhanced their visibility in managing their day-to-day operations. They integrated their card-based loyalty system into an online application that customers can easily access whenever they would purchase their delightful pastries. 

Nestor Gaddi, President and CEO of Mrs. G Cakeshop shares how Converge empowered their business to reach new heights.

Consequently, the business’ need for a fast and reliable internet connection was magnified more than ever. 

Thanks to the country’s leading fiber broadband provider, Converge ICT Solutions Inc., Mrs. G is empowered to offer tasty pastries, whether it’s for a casual afternoon snack, or for sharing meaningful celebrations with the whole family. 

Through the fast and reliable internet connection of Converge flexiBIZ, the business is equipped to monitor its cake inventory real-time and make sure that all the orders are fulfilled and delivered on the same day. 

flexiBIZ is an unparalleled and pioneering service of Converge designed specifically for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It features fast, secure, and customizable connectivity that perfectly aligns with the unique requirements of organizations. It is available in two variations: flexiBIZ Daytime, enabling businesses to double their speeds during daytime operations, and flexiBIZ Peak, which provides a fixed maximum speed plan, delivering reliable, and consistent internet throughout the day.

“I will not hesitate to recommend Converge. Based on our experience, the upload and the download speed of Converge are almost the same. So I would tell SMEs, with Converge, you will get those quality products then you will have a reliable partner, too,” the cake shop head said.

Since the business started in 2017, Mrs. G has opened job opportunities to more than 400 locals and gained more than 100, 000 loyal customers. To date, they have already served two million cakes and counting. 

“Just like they say, success is sweet,” Gaddi noted. 

To know more about the Converge SME plans, visit

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Cebu’s well-loved Lantaw restaurant stays afloat despite challenges

Just one of the 17 brands under the Cebu-based and family-owned Pages Group, Lantaw Floating restaurant aims to create a dining experience similar to a tranquil ocean cruise – surrounded not just by the calming blue waters but by a feast of Filipino dishes. 



Businesses took a big hit because of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the food and beverage industry in the country. In Cebu, just when businesses are starting to recover from the health crisis late last year, Super Typhoon Odette struck and further devastated many establishments. At that point, the restaurant scene in Cebu was languishing. 

But with the economy reopening and restrictions easing this year, a Filipino floating restaurant owned by one of the most well-known food groups in Cebu is coming back in a big way. 

Just one of the 17 brands under the Cebu-based and family-owned Pages Group, Lantaw Floating restaurant aims to create a dining experience similar to a tranquil ocean cruise – surrounded not just by the calming blue waters but by a feast of Filipino dishes. 

Lantaw boasts of a very native Filipino food experience featuring the freshest catch of the day for the sutokil and grilled selection. Since the pandemic, many customers have gone online to order food or to know more about new offerings from the establishment.

“Lantaw basically offers you a very native Filipino experience, akin to how you would feel if you’re dining by the sea. We have the freshest catch of the day since  we have sutokil offerings and also a grilled selection,” said Trisha King, Marketing Head for the Pages Food Group. 

The Lantaw Floating Restaurant which started with its main branch in Cordova faced the impact of the pandemic and the super typhoon head-on as the floating structure itself was destroyed by Typhoon Odette last December 2021.

However, as the pandemic shut down some branches of the food brands under Pages group, and the Lantaw floating structure destroyed, the food group’s social media presence grew by leaps and bounds as Cebuanos took to ordering meals online. The food group quickly pivoted and developed their own in-house delivery service that catered to all their brands. 

Staying online and connected is part of the Group’s strategy in moving forward as it still gets inquiries through its social media pages. In this regard, it has relied on the pure-fiber connection of  Converge ICT Solutions Inc. in powering its point of sale systems and internal connectivity. 

“Even before (Super Typhoon) Odette, we already had Converge in several of our restaurants. Specifically for Lantaw, when the typhoon happened, we had to decide if we would push through with our monthly subscription. Our IT specialists called Converge and they were quick to respond and reinstalled when we were about to reopen this branch,” noted Trisha.

In 2022, the Pages Group, seeing the opportunity to restart the brick and mortar businesses, is reconstructing the Lantaw floating restaurant and says it will be ready in a year’s time. It also opened a second branch in Il Corso.

Trisha King, Marketing Head for the Pages Food Group shares that the well-loved Cebu floating restaurant has embraced digitalization as it moves forward from the pandemic. Converge powers the POS and internal systems for the restaurant and ensures that they are able to deliver the best to Lantaw customers.

While the floating restaurant itself is being rebuilt, the area that used to be a parking lot adjacent to it has been converted into a bright and welcoming open-air dining area, so it can start serving the Filipino favorites of its customers. 

“We’re doing very well actually, we just reopened this branch in Cordova last June. We decided to rebuild a small portion, like a prelude to our floating restaurant, because we want to make sure the brand continues to be felt in Cebu. Because it is still loved by everybody,” noted Trisha. 

Now with Lantaw’s Cordova branch and the connectivity powered by Converge, recovery of the food brand can fully take place until the floating restaurant can be rebuilt.  “We have to make sure customers are very pleased with the internet and for our POS system to keep running on a reliable connection. We have to make sure we have the best brand out there for our internal systems and the satisfaction of our customers,” ended Tricia. 

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