Filipino Drinking Culture
Drinking – Inuman, as what the Filipinos would call it – has always been a staple to every celebration. May it be in a birthday party, a fiesta, or just a simple get-together, the Filipinos would always find a reason to gather around a small table, buy cases and cases of beer, and just chat the night away.
While drinking is a part of every country’s cultures, there is still something that sets them apart from the others. Here are some of the things that make drinking uniquely Filipino:
Yes, we drink every kind of alcoholic drink that you are aware of – beer, brandy, gin, etc. However, Filipinos, especially those who live in the rural areas, also have their own special wines which they drink on special occasions.
a. Lambanog is made from coconuts and is famously made in the Quezon Province. While some may tag this as the “poor man’s drink” because of its inexpensive production process, there are some companies who market it with different flavours like cherry, apple, and mint to cater to more people.
b. Tuba, just like the Lambanog, is also made from coconut sap. It has a bittersweet and stinging flavour. Some people would think that only the toughest of men could drink it, hence it is said to be a “hard drink”.
c. Basi is a type of wine made in Ilocos Norte. It is made by fermenting sugar cane juice and storing the product in an earthen jar. This wine takes 3 months to ferment and a year to age, producing a light brown drink with a sweet and sour flavour.
Image of roasted peanuts taken from Tasty Appetite.
No drinking session will be complete without a good pulutan, usually a good finger food consumed while drinking a nice bottle of beer of liquor.
a. Sisig is known to be the Filipinos’ favourite pulutan. This dish from Pampanga is made from pig’s head and liver cooked in vinegar and is seasoned with calamansi and chilli peppers.
b. Crispy Pata (Crispy Pig’s Leg) is another Filipino-favorite, especially with its crispy skin and tender meat. While this dish is undeniably delicious and addicting, people are advised to eat this moderately as it is also very high in cholesterol.
c. Peanuts, may it be boiled or fried and cooked with garlic and salt, is also one of the most common food found in every table during a drinking session.
Image grabbed from WillFlyForFood.
The tradition of tagayan, today, is something that shows camaraderie and friendship among friends who are having a good time. A glass is shared by the members of the group, and is passed for every “tanggero” to drink. The ritual started in the Quezon Province, where people offer their visitors a shot of their famous lambanog to welcome them to their place.
Image grabbed from FFE Magazine.
Filipinos love to sing, and you would always know that there’s a drinking session nearby when you hear the loud music from your neighbours who are blasting and singing along to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody or The Cranberries’ Zombie. From the belters to the drunken singers, you would never experience any dead airs or silent moments as there would always be someone grabbing the microphone and keying song numbers on the large videoke machine.
Image grabbed from Philippine Star.
At the end of the day, it’s not the food, the drink, or the large karaoke machine that is the highlight to every drinking session. It’s the group of people who gather around a table and just exchange stories, laugh at the same jokes, and share their precious time with each other.