Beer Shortage! In the Philippines?

A Serious Mango Moment!

Last week my friend John was complaining that he had not seen the San Miguel beer truck in over a week. He doesn’t get out much so I just figured he has simply missed it. Sitting in his den at his computer perch, the only way he would see the truck is if it pulled into his car port! I figured he was paying more attention to watching movies and the NFL Draft than looking for the beer truck.

Fast forward a week – Teri drove to town with a case of empty beer bottles and returned home with a case of empty beer bottles. She said the Bodega (warehouse) was out of stock. It’s okay, we would just have to rely on our trusty sari-sari store across the street. So it is a few more pesos per bottle, but that’s okay. We will replenish the next trip to town. Until now, there has always been beer at the sari-sari store,  never fail. But the last couple days, nothing. There was not a sari-sari store in the village that had any beer! WTH?

San Miguel Grande
San Miguel Grande

Yesterday morning, we went to town and stopped at the Bodega with our empties. Again, the old gentleman that always waits on us told us “Waray Grande’s.”  (Waray meaning “nothing” or “none.”) He told us to come back after 3pm because the supply truck was coming later. Later that afternoon we came back to town to run a few more errands. I had to take some more video for my latest video project anyway. So we stopped in at the Bodega, as suggested earlier by our elderly curbside beer hop, and as we drove up, he just threw his hands up and shrugged his shoulders. “Waray” is all he could say. So I motioned him over to the car and began my interrogation.

Me: “Why no beer today?”

Attendant: “Today and yesterday, no beer.”

Me: “What happened to the San Miguel company?”

Attendant: “Out of stock!”

Me: “I’m beginning to see that, but why?”

Attendant: “Too much demand.”

Me: “But there is always demand for beer, diba?”

Attendant: “Yes, but now much more demand.”

Me: “Why more demand now?”

Attendant: “Many people have election money and now buy more San Miguel to get drunk.”

Me: “Ah, election demand.”

Attendant: “Yes, election demand. Until the election is over.”

Me: “But the election was 3 weeks ago!”

Attendant: “But there is still money leftover for drinking.”

So I drove off scratching my head thinking that I will shoot my videos and stop at every sari-sari store if I have to until I find a Grande San Miguel that my wife and I could enjoy later in the evening. Then I spotted the truck – an unmistakable white and green San Miguel truck. And it was parked alongside the road up ahead of me. And it had many cases of beer onboard! Oh Joy this day!  I pulled in behind it and immediately unloaded my case of six empty Grande bottles out of the car and handed it to the driver’s handler and said “Can you sell me beer?”  He responded by saying he could only limit sales of 10 cases to each customer. “One will be all I need, thank you.” We exchanged the empty case for a full one, I paid the driver, loaded the case into the car and turned around and headed home. But not before getting a couple more videos and stopping in for an icy sno-cone at my friends store in town.

San Mig at my doorstep!

I guess it is all beginning to make sense. A local road to our village that was under construction/repair prior to the election has come to a screeching halt a month before the election cycle began. I’m thinking that maybe that earmarked road money found its way to the people for their voting allegiance, and now San Miguel Corporation has all that money – except for another friend, Carl, who just purchased a new air conditioning system for his convenience store. “Compliments of election cycle spending” he says as he points to the newly installed unit.  “Business has been good lately!”

A New Road to Tomaligues!
Road improvements halted!

All I could say to that was “I think that is part of the road to my village hanging on your wall!” It’s all speculation of course.

It’s More Fun Being Retired In Samar in the Philippines!


18 thoughts on “Beer Shortage! In the Philippines?

  1. Ohhhh note to self: “stock up before the elections”. Very, very important information you’re getting out Randy.

  2. What election money means?
    glad you got your San Miguel’s

  3. Yes, we did that (stocked up) because we knew there was a ban on alcohol sales the day prior and the day of the elections. I had no idea the demand would last three weeks!

  4. Election money is the money that is illegally paid to the voters for their vote. In some cases, we have heard of folks that have received P3,000 to vote. That’s a half month’s wages for a lot of people.

  5. Some of the big churches received a huge amount of election money

  6. I don’t stay holed up all day, just most of it. I’m always on the look out for the beer truck when we start getting low. We did see the beer truck go by today, but he it didn’t stop around here. We did manage to get a liter of Red Horse from one of the local sari-sari stores, but my refrigerator is absent of all beer right now. You’d think that after all the years that people have been getting election money that the people would know to order more so they’d have more. For some reason it just doesn’t happen around here.

  7. San Miguel needs to build a Brewery on Samar to keep up with demand when they are having problem with the one in Cebu. I have been there when there was no Election and they was having shortage because Distributor was not getting his supply. When no shortage have no problem getting beer because 3 trucks come by house at 0800 and 1500 7 days a week. At end of day they park at Church count empties and full cases then leave trucks and go home for 2 hour Siesta before driving back to Distributor and turn trucks in. Most of time I just leave my empties at front Gate and if they see them will stop and refill them. Now that’s what you call home Delivery, will even bring them in house and sit them next to Refrigerator.

  8. Glad there getting the beer supply back up. That could be a serious crisis. Hahahah

  9. After laughing, I thought, “that’s what election bribe money should be used for – San Miguel.”

  10. Is funny how the human reacts to something 🙂

    No beer, must look harder for beer hahhahaha never give up 🙂
    It becomes a mission to get what you are after.

    For me, I’d only worry if the water truck didnt show up. hahahhaha

    Great story mate 🙂

  11. Dear Sir
    In the comment box says above, your email will not be published, required fields are marked.
    I have responded to your writings (not important
    to post) I have not seen or heard any feed back
    about my comments to you.

  12. It’s the same as the fence building concept. You build a fence to keep people out but when you build it higher, it becomes a competition.

  13. Just spent a few days in Mariveles, Bataan. My brother in law sent nephew out to get a case of SMB and two hours later he returned… he had a hard time finding it!

  14. Now that we are back home, we had some things to do around the house before dark. Just about sundown, the Mrs. walks across the street for a Grande bottle of SM and comes back with nothing. A check with all the area’s sari-sari stores also came up empty. The shortage continues. I might have to switch to Cervesa Negra!

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