BEFORE this one, there was just one other place that we went back to three times within a week, just to try out what else they have.

The first one was Ayang's with its sinful humba, and then came Papa Beppe.

Papa Beppe is an Italian Restaurant along Bonifacio Street beside the Alsons office in between Mercury Drug at the corner of C.M. Recto Street and Dover Lanes at this weird corner albeit typical of Davao City, where the streetname of the one straddling Dover Lanes is Padre Gomez while the streetname of the same straight line but which crosses Bonifacio is De Jesus Street. But that might confuse you, so let's just stick to Bonifacio Street in between Mercury Drug and Dover Lanes.

It's small and real.

Inside is Beppe, the jolly Italian who would rush about offering you this and that while you wait for your order.

Beppe was once a clueless migrant who loved the beaches of Puerto Galera in Mindoro before he realized that Philippine typhoons can be devastating.

He had a restaurant there that had to be closed during typhoon season. But that was okay with him since during peak seasons, his restaurant draws in lots of customers. That was until one day when he woke up to see all his tables and chairs and everything else in restaurant floating out and around. That bad.

And so, not about to be driven out of the Philippines by a typhoon, he surfed around to see where these weather conditions do not wreak havoc. He found Davao.

His new restaurant opened over a month ago, and he has been having returning customers, including my group.

On my first time, I was with Imee and Carlos. Carlos had this aglio olio with seafood, Beppe recommended the lasagna for me, and the Spaghetti la Puttana for Imee.

The lasagna is good. Just too big for me. But I liked the puttana better, and yes, it's puttana. The aglio is very good too. Still, I like the puttana better. The tomato that goes with the breadsticks is refillable, and the sun-dried tomato is yummy. He also has a good selection of Italian wine and liquor. I had a glass of L'Abruzzo Beppe brought in sweet red for Carlos and me but which I found sweet for my taste.

Since the servings stuffed us silly, we had to call it a night and plan to return for the pizza. At least that's the original plan...

On our second visit, there was Imee, Deng, Kim, and I. The one that had an angelo (smallest at 11") in its name and the quattro formaggio (8"). The angelo is goodand very interesting (it had egg among toppings), but we liked the formaggio better. Aside from the pizza, we couldn't resist the pastas. Imee had risotto, I had the puttana, Deng got the lasagna, and... I can't recall what Kim had. I had another glass of red wine.

We went home too stuffed, too silly. Bad.

We had to return once more for a lighter meal.

This time there were Imee, Kim, Trish, Deng, and I.

Deng, Trish and I decided to share: one order of puttana (I can't resist it, I especially love the olives), one spaghetti Bolognese, one minestrone, and one 8" quattro formaggio. Imee and Kim just had minestrone each.

Finally, we had a meal that was just right. We were full, yes, but not stuffed, but we were still silly. And we truly enjoyed the meal except that I didn't have wine that night since I had some work to be done at home. Still, it was another satisfying dinner out.

A storm drove Papa Beppe to Davao shores, now he's cooking up a storm in his small restaurant that is slowly gathering some regular customers... like us.

"Oh, welcome back," he said on our third visit. "We might just open our upstairs area and offer a room for you there to live in."

(We might just take you up on your offer, sir... hehehe! And yes, you were asking what I do for a living... now you know. Cheers!)