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Kennel Maligo

on 30 November 2014

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"One man's drink is another man's person."
"One man's drink is another man's poison."

II. Summary
The story took place in a barrio, in the Philippines during the year 1945.
One late afternoon, in the nipa hut of the farmer.

The POV of the story is in the first person point of view.

This statement simply means that one's perspective cannot be the same with the others'. One may think that a particular thing may be helpful but that may be destructive to another man's eyes. We are all unique, we all have our own beliefs and thoughts.
Wednesday-Thursday, July 9-10, 2014
Group 2-English
"Are Filipinos Really Mild Drinkers?"
This story is about an American soldier bragging about his ability to drink all kinds of liquor to a Filipino farmer, but in the end got drunk because of the lambanog that the farmer offered. Written by
Alejandro R. Roces
, its setting is in the Philippines, during the Filipino-Japanese war in 1945. It centers on the drinking habits and the cultures of Filipinos and Americans and it uniquely showed the events that happened during the war by making the atmosphere light and humorous compared to ordinary stories with “historical” events on it. Also, this story has a satirical feel in it since it was said in the title that we Filipinos are mild drinkers, but when you read the story, it implies the opposite meaning of the title.

This piece won the Best Short Story Award of the University of Arizona, where Alejandro once studied.

It was a common sight to see American soldiers almost everywhere because American troops helped the Filipino fight against the Japanese. In the barrio, Joe, an American soldier asked for liquor from a farmer.

by Alejandro R. Roces

-Farmer: the humble Filipino who invited the American soldier for a drink.
-Joe: the American soldier who was proud and confident regarding his experiences with alcoholic beverages.
-Mother of the Farmer: the woman whom the soldier thought was his kimono girl.
-People living in the barrio: the people who brought out their guns and bolos when they heard the scream of the farmer’s mother.
-Friends of the soldier: the people who offered the farmer to have a drink with them.

Because he was drunk, Joe thought that the farmer was a Japanese soldier and the farmer's mom as a Japanese kimono girl. After hallucinating things, the soldier passed out and fell asleep.
The farmer brought Joe back at the garrison because he was so drunk at that time. After that, one of Joe’s friends asked the farmer if he wanted to join them and have a can of beer, then he replied, "No thank you, we Filipinos are mild drinkers."

Since there were no bars in the barrio, the farmer invited the soldier to his nipa hut and offered some "lambanog", the local liquor of the barrio.

While Joe drank the lambanog, he felt a mind-blowing sensation and started to feel dizzy. On the other hand, the farmer was feeling normal.

1. At the beginning of the story, the farmer said that GI's or American soldiers brought whiskey bottles everywhere they go, so the farmer said that it was part of their uniform. This symbolizes their culture, where his favorite drink was whiskey. In here we could say that one can change their faces or personality but not their origin. When Joe drank the "lambanog" he didn't feel right because he wasn't being an American, he was being a Filipino, which he wasn't used to. This is why he was drunk while the farmer was sober.

2. The Americans named lambanog as “jungle juice”. The Americans have whisky, rum, brandy, etc. which are high-end liquors and when the soldier saw the lambanog, he knew that it was not processed and it was only naturally made by Filipinos by extracting the juice of a coconut fruit. This name also mirrors the American’s perspective on Philippines. They see the Philippines as a jungle, wherein the people living in it are still not modern and civilized and they think Filipinos are still dependent to their natural resources.

3. The coconut tree symbolizes the pride and humility of every Filipino. Just like a coconut tree, it stays very high but its leaves sway down to earth remembering the land that gave it life. Filipinos are really achievers in life, no matter how many times we fall down to the ground, we always have the courage to stand up again and rise high. We dream and we do not settle seeing only the big picture of our minds but when we dream, we act as if it is our last chance of living but even if we such things, we still go turn our backs to our homeland and remember the love that made us grow brighter through the days.
III. Reflection
4. The farmer sliced the kalamansi and dipped it in unrefined salt. This was done to prevent figuratively inflaming their stomachs.
5. When the soldier drank the lambanog for the first time, he felt a mind-blowing sensation. As what the farmer said, “the first shot always acts like a mine sweeper”. Even if the soldier felt that way, he wanted to show the farmer that he can drink even the strongest drink of other countries. On the second round, the soldier again felt a strong effect of the lambanog that as he exhaled, a moth flying around the thickening flame fell dead. Lastly, on the third round, he completely lost his mind that when the farmer’s mother came home, he imagined her as a kimono girl and the farmer as a Japanese soldier, then he passed out.
III. Reflection
6. Filipinos are not mild drinkers. When the American soldier mentioned that he used to drink different kinds of liquor and that he was really fond of drinking such liquids but when he tried to drink the lambanog, he felt like he swallowed everything he said to the farmer. The farmer was acting very normal drinking the lambanog while the soldier already felt dizzy on the third time. Filipinos are really not mild drinkers. We drink when there is an occasion, we drink when we are happy, we drink when we are sad and especially we drink when it feels like we need to.
1. Culture of the Filipinos
2. Problems of Man
In the story, the farmer was already used to drinking lambanog that's why he was sober. The American on the other hand was new to it that's why he got drunk. This symbolizes the culture of Filipinos since the farmer was already familiar with it while the soldier was overwhelmed by it. It could also symbolize the problems of man since the people who are already used to the events happening around them would still continue to live, while those who aren’t might not be able to survive.
Coconut Tree
“Pride” and “Humility” of Filipinos
It was explained in some of the lines in the story that the coconut tree symbolizes the Philippines and its inhabitants because even though it stands high to the sky, its leaves still sway down to earth as if remembering the land that gave it life. And like the tree, Filipinos nowadays succeed in various fields, but still, they don’t forget the land where they started from and they acknowledge Philippines as their homeland and they are proud of it.

III. Reflection
Full transcript