Beergin Coke

“Beergin Coke”


It was, I don’t remember how many, but not many days after I arrived in country, that my co-newbie & I were invited to go out for drink by a local.


Tom, (10 years my younger but partner in mischief) and I had been known to have a drink.


We were in training at a mold-loving hot springs spa in a college town about an hour south of Manila. We were to be housed, in pairs, for a week, with local families.


I also don’t remember the Baranguy Captain’s name, to my great regret. Then, again, I also don’t remember the name of his eldest daughter. We arrived at their house at dinnertime, after training. I don’t really remember that first dinner, (she was stunning, can’t describe the color of deep tan blushing deep red, and Tom was younger & more handsome, so my glances were maybe less...), but, immediately after, He asked, “Would you like to go out for a drink?”


He took us 50 yards up the street, to what I guess I would describe as a canteen. Screened-in, no-frills food & drink. He ordered “Beergin Coke,” and kept on talking.


A Baranguy Captain might be thought of as something akin to an elected neighborhood mayor. As a group, they tend to be loquacious, & charming in their way. But this guy, (the 1st I’d met,) was, brutally honest about his country’s politics. Seven years before the “Peoples Power” revolution, at the peak of Marcos’ power, he was passionately talking to two new Peace Corps volunteers from America. He was pro-Marcos, believing Marcos’ thumb was keeping the lid on. While we’re waiting for “Beergin Coke.”


Which arrived, and turned out to be just exactly that. (I hope most have you have realized that “Beergin” is how many Filipinos would pronounce, “Virgin.” As a culture, they tend to love wordplay.) One bottle of beer, one bottle of gin (12 0z.?), and one bottle of Coke.  A plastic pitcher, and one glass.


Si Capi’tan, without pausing his discourse beyond a smile at the waitress, opened the bottles and poured them into the blue plastic pitcher. He poured, maybe, 3 ozs. into the glass, slammed it, and passed the pitcher & glass to me. 


That evening may have been my best ever encounter with mixed drinks.



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