Some of my friends say that I look like a throwback to the bygone Spanish era, i.e., mestiza. To be honest, I hated the label growing up where I did because it made me too different, and as with any environment where one stands out (during that era, at least), it tends to paint virtual bull’s-eye on one’s back.
I only really appreciated it when I got older… Not because of the perceived advantages it gave (I still believe that talent, attitude, and skills should take anyone anywhere), but because of the history it represents.
For those unfamiliar with Philippine history (we do have readers from different parts of the world), the Philippines was once populated by Negritos, followed by Indonesians and Malaysians. We were then colonised by Spain for over 300 years, followed by the American occupation and then the Japanese… Only really gaining independence after WWII, all the while trading with countries like China. This rather tumultuous history gave us a very unique, mixed heritage that is reflected in our names, our language, and even our cuisine.
That said, I am proud of our history… A story of strife that one can argue we still go through on a regular basis. If the way I look or sound (old school people from the Spanish times tend to pepper a lot of Spanish expressions in their daily vernacular… And in our house, to be asked “que hora es?” was pretty normal) is a reflection of that, then… Cool.
As I understand it, Bleeding Heart Rum Company’s newest baby, the Don Papa Sevilla Rum, also takes inspiration from this point of our history… Specifically the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade of 1565-1815, where Sevilla oranges ended up being part of the goods that were exported to our shores. The product itself is a blend of 5 and 15 year-old rum from 100% Negros Island sugar cane molasses and aged in American ex-bourbon barrels, followed by 3 years in Oloroso sherry and Andalusian Vino de Naranja casks. Vino de Naranja is a local orange spirit, and the brilliant idea of using its cask infused summery orange flavours to the rum.
I was one of the fortunate few who were able to try some during its launch last 29 October in Makati Garden Club. Personally, I enjoy Don Papa Sevilla Rum neat, but the cocktails Don Papa Rum’s Brand Ambassador Lloyd Misagal’s cocktail creations – the Don Papa Kingston Negroni and Papa Harvey cocktails – weren’t too bad either.
The dinner was also a great way to experiment with pairing the Don Papa Rum Sevilla cocktails and delectable food (tapas, paella, and churros) courtesy of Barcelona-born, Michelin star trained (by no less than the Chefs Albert Adria and Chef Sergi Arola) Chef Ferran Tadeo.
The dinner was capped off with more Don Papa Rum (naturally), and some of the yummiest local chocolates made by chocolatier Christian Valdes of CMV Txokolate. He showcased his skills through South Cotabato dark chocolate truffles infused with Valencia oranges.
All in all, the evening was a great way to indulge in a bit of Filipino history through quality pinoy alcohol – with a Spanish twist, of course – and delicious food. Salud!