Calvin Abueva very hands-on as he launches 'Dampa ni The Beast'

Jan 28, 2020
PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

WHO KNEW Calvin Abueva was an inner foodie?

Well, he was born and raised in Pampanga, a noted culinary capital. And now, he's got the chance to show off his cooking skills in a new restaurant, Dampa Ni The Beast, which went on soft opening just a few days ago in San Juan.

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“Mahilig talaga ako magluto kaya ito ‘yung business na naisip ko. Meron akong mga recipe talaga tulad ng sisig, at adobo dito, at mga Kapampangan dishes,” he told SPIN Life.

With this business, Abueva is opening a new chapter in his life — and is very hands-on.

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“Ako din mismo ang namamalengke," he told SPIN Life. "Pumupunta kami ng wife ko sa Divisoria [at] Navotas nang umaga, mga alas tres para mamalengke. Nagkakaroon na nga kami ng mga suki para pagpunta namin doon, may supplier na ako.”

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After market duties and morning preparations, he proceeds to his day job on the hardcourt. But even after the daily grind with the Phoenix Fuel Masters, the 31-year-old forward heads back to the restaurant to put in even more hours.

“Magpapahinga ako saglit tapos tatao na ako dito sa Dampa," said 'The Beast'. "Ganito na ang sistema namin, and masaya ako don.”

Together with his wife, mother, and a few helpers, Abueva helps out at the front and back of the house, from pre-processing of the food, to its actual cooking, to serving to the costumers.

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“Pati ‘yang mga jars ko, bagoong, atchara, chili garlic, ako mismo ang gumagawa niyan, ako nagkakayod niyan sa bahay,” he said.

From seafood paluto to SiLog meals, Dampa ni The Beast provides a wide variety of food entrees, carefully handpicked by the PBA star.

Salted Egg Shrimp

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Sinigang na Salmon sa Miso


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Lechon Kawali

Squid Sisig

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Walking into the restaurant, you unmistakably know it's the Beast's. Aside from the name, assorted memorabilia hangs on the walls: a few jerseys, a photo of his championship with Alaska in 2013, and a freedom wall, where fans can scrawl messages.

But on the hardcourt, his basketball career is still in limbo.

With an indefinite suspension still hanging over him, after the firebrand baller figured in multiple incidents in last year's Commissioner's Cup, Abueva also sees the business as a way to keep supporting his five kids. Abueva explained: “Pero kasi hindi din ako pwedeng umasa lang sa [basketball] kasi ‘yung sahod ko is not normal pa. Kumbaga kulang na kulang ‘yung kinikita ko dahil sa suspension.”

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Moving on from his many controversies has been a tough process for Abueva, but he could not be any happier to have found himself in a new field, far away from his uncertain basketball career.

“Actually, dito ko din talaga nalaman na may mga tao talagang nagmamahal sa akin, ‘yung mga na-a-appreciate ako kahit wala ako sa PBA,” he said.

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PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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