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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.”

BIZ COUPLE

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.

MUST-TRY CHOWS

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.

FOCUS ON EXPERIENCE

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.

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CMIP opens first ever Midea AC Pro Shop to bring air treatment solutions in Central Luzon

Located in Plaridel, Bulacan, the Midea AC Pro Shop introduces “My Professional Cool Idea,” providing high-quality residential air conditioners as well as light commercial air conditioners for the Filipino market.

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Committed to bringing world-class air treatment solutions to Filipinos, Concepcion Midea Incorporated Philippines (CMIP) in partnership with local air-con dealer Wintercool Ref & Aircon Services and Trading, has recently launched its first-ever Midea AC Pro Shop in Central Luzon. This is in pursuit of making user-friendly air-conditioning solutions accessible to the residents and businesses in Bulacan, Pampanga, and Nueva Ecija.

Located in Plaridel, Bulacan, the Midea AC Pro Shop introduces “My Professional Cool Idea,” providing high-quality residential air conditioners as well as light commercial air conditioners for the Filipino market. Customers can expect excellent customer service and professional recommendations from CMIP’s experienced sales consultants.

Additionally, with Wintercool’s highly-skilled technicians, the Midea AC Pro Shop guarantees after-sales service and support, so customers need not worry about the installation and maintenance of their appliances.

Present at the grand opening were Concepcion Industrial Corporation and Concepcion Midea Inc. Philippines’ Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Rafael C. Hechanova, Jr.; Anna Marie M. Alejandro, General Manager of CMIP; Albert Wong, Deputy General Manager of CMIP; Alfie Rodriguez, CMIP Sales Director for Commercial & Industrial Solutions Group and Midea Building Technologies; Fides L. Bayot, Marketing Director of CMIP; Jonathan Zeng, Midea RAC Product Marketing Specialist; and Mario Dela Curz and Elvie Dela Cruz, General Manager and Owners of Wintercool Ref & Aircon Services and Trading.

From left: Rafael C. Hechanova, Jr., Concepcion Industrial Corporation and Concepcion Midea Inc. Philippines’ Chief Corporate Affairs Officer; Mario Dela Cruz and Elvie Dela Cruz, General Manager and Owners of Wintercool Ref & Aircon Services and Trading; Anna Marie M. Alejandro, General Manager of CMIP; Albert Wong, Deputy General Manager of CMIP during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Midea AC Pro Shop Opening

“CMIP is constantly growing and evolving, and this time we are proudly making Midea’s top-notch products more accessible to the locals of Central Luzon.  We believe that the opening of our first-ever Midea AC Pro Shop will open more doors for us to reach every Filipino home or business in need of high-quality air treatment solutions,” shared Anna Marie Alejandro, General Manager of CMIP.

As one of the largest manufacturers of home appliances and being a Fortune Global 500 company, Midea has been reinforcing homes and businesses with high-quality, user-friendly appliances for over 10 years in the Philippines. With 28 innovation centers all over the world and a strong commitment to research and development, it goes above and beyond innovation to meet the ever-progressing needs of their consumers.

“We are very grateful to have worked with Wintercool on this project because, not only are they one of our most trusted dealers, their support is truly unwavering since the beginning. We are confident that soon enough we can expand our efforts nationwide to bring Midea’s world-class products closer to many more Filipinos,” said Albert Wong, Deputy General Manager of CMIP.

Wintercool is a prominent local dealer of Midea air-conditioning solutions and a trusted partner of residents in Central Luzon for ventilating, heating, and air-conditioning services.

To stay informed on Midea’s initiatives and products, visit www.midea.com/ph, follow @mideaph on Instagram and on Tiktok @mideaphilippines, subscribe to Midea Philippines Official on YouTube, and like @MideaPhilippines on Facebook.

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Bruno’s Barbers maintains positive outlook for PH barbershop industry

Since January 2019, Bruno’s Barbers has also seen a substantial increase in clients visiting their branches, allowing the company to keep the livelihood of its workforce throughout the pandemic—with about 1,100 barbers and therapists in over 65 barber shops across the country. 

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Bruno’s Barbers recorded a 9-13% growth month-on-month in transactions nationwide in the last 10 months, signaling the returning and growing demand for personal care services from the country’s leading barbershop chain.

Since January 2019, Bruno’s Barbers has also seen a substantial increase in clients visiting their branches, allowing the company to keep the livelihood of its workforce throughout the pandemic—with about 1,100 barbers and therapists in over 65 barber shops across the country. 

“On average we are experiencing strong growth in transactions per month for all our stores in the country,” said Marco Pascual, President, Bruno’s Barbers. “When the pandemic hit, we made sure to maintain our barbers and therapists so they could continue to serve our customers while also continuing our efforts to keep the livelihood of our people.”

“The strong demand for personal care services provided by barbers and therapists allows our company to not just professionalize the barbershop industry but also give them access to competitive livelihood opportunities to provide better for their families. As the company grows, they also grow with us,” Pascual added.

With loyal customers that span generations and an expanding client base, Bruno’s Barbers continuously provides its partners with livelihood opportunities and various programs and initiatives to support their families.

This comes as the country’s personal services industry has evolved into one of the most dynamic and fast-growing, amid the rise in consumers’ spending on self-care and personal wellness services—making up the majority of business establishments operating in the Philippines and accounting for some with the highest number of workers.

“This holiday season, this trend is likely to continue not just for Bruno’s Barbers but also for our colleagues in the personal care services industry as more Filipinos are expected to go to more social events following the lifting of pandemic restrictions,” Pascual shared.

Currently, Bruno’s Barbers is looking to bring in over 200 barbers and therapists on a rolling basis to be part of its team in its barber shop network nationwide.

With a company culture and positive work environment that continues to support its barbers and therapists, Bruno’s Barbers remains at the forefront of the country’s personal services industry as the first-in-mind when it comes to personal grooming in the Philippines, providing an avenue for grooming professionals to cater to the evolving needs and taste of its diverse clientele.

For those interested to be part of Bruno’s Barbers, find out more information on their FacebookIndeedLinkedIn, and website, or get in touch via email at jobs@brunosbarbers.com.

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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.

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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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