An introduction, invitation & some suggestions

An introduction, invitation & some suggestions

11/08/2012 Off By Bryan Ocampo

Hey, have you been to the Philippines? If you do a quick search in Google, you’ll see that it’s shaped like an elephant lying on its side. It’s an archipelago that has more than 7,000 islands. Pilipinas or Philippines or Filipinas is larger than Great Britain, smaller than California, and it’s the same size as Italy.

You may have heard of us more than 25 years ago when we kicked out a dictator, which was one of our proudest moments as a people. To the young ones, there’s this boxer named Manny who comes from our country.

We’re almost everywhere. More than 10 million of us are living overseas. Some of us could be in your country as your nurses, your domestic helpers, your construction workers, your cooks, your singers, your waiters, your doctors, your seamen, your programmers and almost any job you can think of. There’s a good chance you’ve already met one of us.

Yeah, you have seen us and maybe you can’t put your finger on whether we’re Asian or Mexican or Japanese or what-have-you. Some of us are still trying to come up with a stock answer. Probably, there’s none.

Just take a look at the people I know. They are all Filipinos:

Yep, we’re like M&Ms too.

That’s just a very very very small sample of  an estimated 100 million (that’s just BIG, right?) and counting. 

* * *

When you do get here, I have three fun suggestions that I think you can do in almost any part of the country:

#1: Videoke
You call it karaoke, we call it videoke. Same-same. We can carry a tune. From American Idol auditions to choral competitions around the world, we are fierce competitors. We can sing, we love to sing.

My friend Gelo is a belter. That is all.

You are most welcome to take the microphone away from our hands. Just make sure that you sing or else, we’ll snatch it from you. You can’t sing? Stop being silly. We’ll help you out with our most famous saint who will see us through. Who else, but San Miguel?

#2: San Miguel Beer

San Miguel, your friend and favorite saint for life.

Did you know that the first brewery in Southeast Asia was within the vicinity of the district of San Miguel in Manila? Hence, the name. Btw, take a look at the sea lion on its logo. It’s the same sea lion found in the Presidential Seal…if you use the mirror.

Our national symbols. Oh, and notice the sea lion. Images from Brands of the World.

We take pride in our beer. Japan has Kirin, the US has Bud and we have San Miguel. San Miguel has been around for more than a century and it has become our symbol of brotherhood, good times, good vibes, friendship and kwan.

San Miguel Beer or SMB goes well with a sizzling dish of rubbery economy parts of pork. All the oily goodness, which brings us to the next item…

#3: Sisig

Sisig, a sizzling dish of pork re-invented by Lucing Cunanan +. Photo by Chito Tayag.

“If you’ve never had this divine mosaic of pig parts, chopped and served sizzling and crisp on one side on a screaming hot platter, then you’ve yet to have one of the world’s best beer drinking dishes.” –Anthony Bourdain

Sisig (pronounced as “see-sig”) is a popular pork dish that really goes well with beer. You only die once so try this one for kicks. It’s a perfect match for alcohol because of its oiliness that gives extra coating to your stomach. Makes you sober longer.

These are my three must-try suggestions while you’re on holiday here. They are perfect ingredients for a great night. It hasn’t failed me so go ahead. Try it!


I don’t know what to do and I’m always in the dark
We’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks