IT WAS our department’s Kainuman, a gathering of the editorial staff for some food and drinks and a lot of stories exchanged. It’s our time to chill out and get to talk to each other as a group, but not as a meeting.

The place of choice, because it provides some quiet and relative privacy is Alfa Ocho Café at this new building right before Angel Funeral Parlor along F. Torres Street (if you’re coming from Bajada). Most visible is a laundry shop with a huge tarpaulin sign announcing it charges P29 per kilo. That is the exit.

You might not see the cafe easily because it’s at the rear part.

Notice that the new building has a driveway that goes in through the right wing and out the left wing. Drive in, then turn as the driveway turns. Alfa Ocho is right there at the turn where the parking spaces are.

They serve regular Davao fare like panga and barbecue. But they also have the so-called exotic ones like, frog.

That night, we got a lot: Sinuglaw, pork barbecue, beef kaldereta, inihawnapanga, grilled posit, and… crispy fried frogs.

The beef kaldereta is very tender.The tuna panga is fresh but can use a little more juiciness in its cooking (a little bit more ember with fast and furious paypay will do the trick). The sinuglaw had all the basic ingredients and so you can’t go wrong there. The pork barbecue a tad bit too saucy for me. The frog? Ermmm… I enjoyed picking through the spread-eagled figures, the eating was better enjoyed by Ara and Ruji. They also offer sawa, but I never liked the thought of eating snake. Anything else I can take, including insects and rabbits. I draw the line against snakes. The grilled pusit is tender, not chewy. This means, they know how to do their pusit.

The tiny restaurant has live entertainment on weekends and on a good night, like what we had Friday night, you can move your table on the driveway so you get a more spacious feel, and you won’t have to endure the loud music from the sound system.

There are several other items in the menu, but I was no longer able to check since we were already starving by the time we arrived, we were more focused on the eating than the exploring.

The place is really like the places we hung out in in the olden days when there were still no MTS, and Damosa Gateway, and Bricklane.

We topped the night with several rounds of beer as the weather cooperated and after a very short light drizzle, it became one cool rainless night.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the city, the rain was flooding the streets. We were one lucky bunch along with all those who partied along F. Torres on that Friday night.