Sunday, September 28, 2008

OktoberFest No More

Days to go and here comes October. Having worked with San Miguel Corporation for more than six years, October ushers in a tremendous ambiance of celebration not just for its employees but more importantly to the entire Philippine drinking population as well. On this period, nothing else comes to mind but overflowing beer, band rages, street parties and widespread fiesta. It’s time for San Miguel’s Oktoberfest!

For several years, I have been a part of Oktoberfest – now an officially DOT recognized event in our country. My employee ID was as good as an entrance pass and my various contacts in the Sales and Marketing Department has given access to enjoy the goodness of free flowing San Miguel beer. The kick off party usually begins on the first weekend of October in various simultaneous parties across the country. Together with friends and officemates, we just stay for a couple of hours because traditionally, as the party gets late, the crowd and the “outside crowd” becomes even more unruly and wild, and risk of being hit with flying empty bottles or showered with beer leftovers is uncompromising.

The Philippines is set to make it to the Guiness Book of World Records for the longest bar in the world--a staggering 600 meters in total, stretching along the length of San Miguel Avenue and winding down to Julia Vargas Avenue in Ortigas, Mandaluyong City. The bar, which easily bests the 240-meter record held by Taiwan, was one of the main attractions of the San Miguel Oktoberfest kick-off party held last September 5. The event, which also featured four stages and around 40 local bands and artists, also attempted to set a world record for the largest beer-toasting crowd. Third Eye Blind was featured as one of the main acts. Dubbed "San Miguel Oktoberfest 120," the event launched the longest-ever celebration of the world-renowned festival, now extended to 120 days.

Now I have resigned from San Miguel and decided to try my luck here in Dubai, Oktoberfest is one thing I truly miss most. Though I am not a beer lover by nature, the moments spent with friends while grooving to the music of the featured bands and the opportunity to just be there when it happens is something that I couldn’t find elsewhere. There are also beer here in Dubai, but as what the famous SMB commercial line said, “iba na ang may pinagsamahan.”

Traditionally, Oktoberfest lasts for a month, but for 2008, in celebration of the company's 120th anniversary, San Miguel has decided to make the celebration a four month long revelry of camaraderie, brotherhood, good times, exuberant parties and overflowing beer starting last September. “Siento biente na!” cried Manny Pacquiao. When there’s nothing left to take out of the wallet, Filipinos are sure to find a cunning way to produce money in time for that special occasion. In splendid irony, “pag sa pagkain walang pambili, pero pag inuman, lumalabas daw ang pera”.

Since I am miles away to be one with my friends in kicking off the celebration of Oktoberfest, only pictures of my friends have reached my mailbox as evidenced that Oktoberfest has indeed started. But hey, I might still be able to catch up the Closing Party if ever I go on vacation this December. If that happens, I will just text you and I will see you then. Cheers!


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