Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day in the Philippines

Valentine's Day is observed in the Philippines much as it is throughout America. Every girl or guy gives a card to everyone who is special to them. Many buy cards in the department store or make them at home to give out to those who are special in their lives. Flowers are also often given, usually red roses, but there is not as much emphasis on giving candy or chocolates as their is in America. Still, other little sweets, such as pastries, small gifts, such as plush toys, and cards are personally delivered or sent. In addition, many couples dress up to go out to nice restaurants for the evening, dance in the discos, or go to the movies.

A truely unique custom in the Philippines, though, is that of wearing RED on Valentines's if a person has no sweetheart with whom to share the day. A man or women observed wearing something prominent in the color RED signifies to everyone that they are available or need a partner. Much like in the West, however, many Filipino weddings are also scheduled on this day and churches are often reserved far far in advance and large group weddings take place at many city halls all across the country on this Day.

As just one example, during the end of January, 1997, my wife, Melba, and her family, attempted to reserve the Cebu City Metropolitan Cathederal for our wedding on Valentine's Day but learned the entire day was fully scheduled with one wedding after another throughout the day, throughout the day before and throughout the days after. Because of a weekend and Sunday services, February 18 was as soon as our wedding could be scheduled and the cathedral reserved. As a result, we celebrate our Wedding Anniversary on February 18. But, luckily with the arrival of Valentine's Day each year, I am reminded ahead of time that our anniversary is approaching!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

San Miguel - Beer of the Philippines

The San Miguel Brewing Company was originally established in 1890 as La Fabrica de Cerveza de San Miguel, and became Southeast Asia's FIRST brewery. It produced and bottled what would eventually become one of the best selling beers in all of Asia. Within a short time, San Miguel Beer became an icon among avid beer drinkers throughout the region.

By 1914, San Miguel Beer was being exported from its headquarters in Manila to Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guam. As a pioneer in Asia, San Miguel went on to establish a brewery in Hong Kong in 1948, the FIRST local brewer in the crown colony.

Today, San Miguel Beer is one of the largest selling beers and is judged among the top 10 beer brands in the world. It is now available beyond the limits of the Philippines and Hong Kong, to include China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and the USA. In addition, all of its various other brands are also exported to the major markets around the world. These would include such popular brands as San Miguel Pale Pilsen, San Mig Light, San Mig Strong Ice, Super Dry, Red Horse, Gold Eagle, Cerveza Negra, and Cali, the country’s only malt-based non-alcoholic drink.

Overwhelmingly judged by nearly all American & European expatriates as "The Best Beer in the World," San Miguel currently sells for 58 php ($1.29 USD) per 1-litter bottle.