From the Midwest redneck author of "The Rooster Crows at 4am!," "Lizard Poop!," and "The Philippines Expat Advisor"
Thirteen-Year-Old Drinkers at the Manggahan Festival in Guimaras
Went to the Manggahan Festival in Guimaras this past Wednesday evening. My asawa and I took our 11-year-old nephew, Sharwin, and 13-year-old niece, Shaina, with us. Got a bottle of San Miguel Pale Pilsen for myself and a bottle of San Miguel Light for my spouse. Sharwin and Shaina had bottles of Pepsi. Evidently, I could have purchased a couple of the brews for our niece and nephew that live with us at "The Compound" without any problem.
When I first spied the group of young drinkers,I asked my asawa what the minimum drinking age was in the Philippines. My spouse told me she was not aware of any minimum age requirement, and when she was a small child she would be offered a beer occasionally. "Really!" I exclaimed. "In America you have to be 18 or 21 depending on what state you live in before you could legally drink. But, teenagers in America do drink of course, but illegally, and certainly not in public."
So I went over to the owner of the restaurant at the Manggahan Festival, and asked the lady-in-charge the same question I asked my wife: "What was the minimum drinking in the Philippines?" I told her I noticed the table of young revelers which would not be legally allowed in America. With a somewhat quizzical look on her face, the owner informed there is no age limit, confirming what my wife said.
Research I did on the Internet stated that the legal minimum drinking age in the Philippines is 18, but that the law is widely ignored especially during fiesta time and other celebrations.
So when my asawa and I went back to the Festival this past Friday night, and before I headed over to my favorite place to have a Red Horse beer, I decided to ask a Philippine National Police Officer (PNP) if he was aware of what the minimum drinking age in the Philippines was, or if there was even such a law. I told him I had seen online that the age was 18. The friendly, and highly decorated officer, who had more ribbons on his uniform than a four-star general, advised me he knew of no such law.
I explained to him about our previous visit, and that some of the teen-aged drinkers were as young as 13. The officer told me that the establishments should not sell beer to someone that young, and that he would look into it. I told him I was not trying to get anyone in trouble, and if that's acceptable in their culture, it's fine with me. My wife then came over, and I told the lawman that my asawa and I lived in Guimaras. He was so pleased to hear that we were residents and asked how I like living in the Philippines. "I love the Philippines!" was my enthusiastic reply.
I thanked him for the information, and he thanked me for bringing the underage drinking issue to his attention. "Well, I'm off to drink some Red Horses now" I said as we walked away. "You know an old guy like me is old enough to drink!" "You're still a young man!" he said. "Salamat, po! (Thank you, sir!") Then I plunked down 60 pesos for a San Miguel Light for my asawa and a Red Horse for me. The evening was just getting started.