Now And Then: Drinking Habits of the #TitasOfManila


In classic “ladies who lunch” style, I decided to have lunch with a couple of my friends a week ago.

One of the ladies has been a friend of mine for years; our mutual love of food and wine brought us together. Celebrations, weddings, tragedies, a pregnancy, a sudden desire to live healthier, and several Shanghai trips later (all while drinking copious amounts of alcohol) further cemented our friendship.

As we mulled this over with water (water!), I felt particularly sentimental comparing our lives then and now. My friend was due to give birth that week, which got me thinking… Our lives have certainly changed.

This is, of course, not a sentimental “diary” blog.

I decided to talk about this sudden bout with melancholy because I realized, we are officially #titasofmanila, even with the way we drink.

Take myself, for example. When I started drinking, I didn’t like beer or wine (although my first booze was a glass of Rioja). It involved my friends coming over with some “concoction” that involved rum, coke, and other forms of alcohol in an effort to be “experimental”. Needless to say, it tasted like c**p, and some of us ended up puking in the bathroom.

My next foray with booze involved the classic college staple: beer. Beer binges normally happened after course cards in a back alley “carinderia” near our school (which has since closed). That place just raked it in during course cards, with cheap beer catering to heartbroken (“That’s it, I’ve earned a PhD in ANMATH…*sob*”), raging, (“I FAILED MY CLASS WITH THAT F****** PROFESSOR! AGAIN!!!”, ) or ecstatic (“We passed our thesis! We’re gonna f****** graduate! WOOHOO!!! Cheers, dude!”) students… Complete with sizzling sisig.

After I graduated, I ended up working for hotels, where after dinner drinking was the norm. The same formula applied: cheap is good (we would pool our tips for pulutan and bottles of GrandMa). This was when I learned to use gin and calamansi to cure a cough (click here for more details).


Pre-“tita” staples (clockwise from top right): Patron Tequila, Bacardi Rum, Coke (for rum coke, of course), and beer

I then started frequenting clubs. I was young, I knew promoters, and I would drink anything they put in front of my face (in heels and a teeny-tiny dress). My metabolism was off the hook, and I would drink colorful cocktails and down shots like it was nobody’s business.

Then, I started teaching, which made me paranoid about running into students in a club. That ended my clubbing days.

I got older (“mature” is relative), fell in love, and got married.

This is when I got serious with wine (so much so that I studied and traveled for it). I earned better money, no longer fit in the teeny-tiny dresses, and started being useless in the morning after an evening of bingeing (or just staying up after midnight, disco nap or otherwise).

I started to prefer quiet lunches and dinners. I found loud music to be too much. I went through a phase of not understanding this generation’s EDM (and caught myself calling people in their mid-20s “this generation”).

I started loving gorgeous whiskeys/whiskies and beautiful wines (with the appropriate food to match). Coffee (strong, not necessarily fashionable) became a necessity.

That’s when I realized, man. I was a full-fledged member of #titasofmanila.

I compared notes with my fellow titas (ladies in our thirties), and these are some of their “before and after” drinking habits (names have been changed):

  • Samantha
    1. Before: Copious amounts of beer during college
    2. Now: Quality wine, tons of water, and spritzers (during pregnancy)
  • Clarice
    1. Before: The under PHP100 bottle of vodka (it was perfect for a college kid on a budget to get wasted on)
    2. Now: Quality wine in quiet environments
  • Stan (a gay friend, still a tita)
    1. Before: Spirits. TONS of spirits.
    2. Now: beer, provided there is the perfect food to pair (granted, he has the metabolism of a 10 year old)
  • Monica
    1. Before: Whatever booze you put in front of her (she also “partied like a rock star”)
    2. Now: Wine (with a particular preference for a good Barossa Shiraz), and unique stuff from her travels
  • Belinda
    1. Before: Partied until 6 am three times a week, with countless gallons of cocktails
    2. Now: Clean living and alcohol-free after she took over her family’s company

Are you a member of the #titasofmanila? If yes, welcome to the club. How has your drinking habit changed? Cheers!

Dedicated to I (my favourite #tita) & E + P, congratulations on your new angel!

About Gail Sotelo

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3 responses »

  1. Pingback: The Year That Was (2shots of 2015) | 2 Shots and a Pint

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