Pursuing A Family Dream: Manila Kitchen’s Story

4 minute read
Adodo flakes being poured on a rice plus egg dish

The pandemic was a rude awakening for many people. It was a period where everything changed: work, social interactions, and more.

But if there was a silver lining, it was also a period that pushed more people to pursue their goals and passions.  

For Natasha Acuba, it was the moment she finally honed in on to make her dreams a reality.

Working in retail for the past 12 years, the pandemic made Acuba realize just how volatile and important time is, especially as she watched case numbers and hospitalizations rise. “The year 2020 really made me realize life is short and, if I’m going to be waking up everyday to do something, I want it to be something I’m proud of and call my own,” she says.

It’s why, after years of contemplation, she turned her dream into reality by opening Manila Kitchen with her mother during the 2020 holiday season. The new business would highlight her cultural roots through food. 

“I started having conversations with mom and we were brainstorming what products we could come up with. We knew it was going to be food, and the idea struck that it should be something that the Vancouver/BC community has never had,” she says. “This where our Adodo Flakes came about and my vision for the packaging and the branding adds that homemade artisan gourmet feel to it.”

While Acuba took the steps to turn this into a business, she was heavily inspired by her mother who was also going through a rough patch during the pandemic. Immigrating from the Philippines to Canada years ago, it didn’t seem so daunting in a pre-pandemic world to be separated from family back home. But when COVID-19 swept the globe, borders seemed more defined and her family and friends felt farther away as travel and safety rules restricted travel.

“[My mom] was missing my grandma, who was not doing well after she suffered a stroke,” Acuba explains. “So we decided to dedicate this brand to her. [She’s] an empowered woman who started as a fish vendor in the market, but because of her business savvy, [she] created multiple businesses. Among them is a beach resort in the province of Cavite.”

Being a daughter of immigrants, representation is an extremely important part of Manila Kitchen. A lot of that representation is demonstrated through food and recipes that remind them of home. 

“Representation is very important to me as someone who came to Canada as an immig