24 Feb2012

It took roughly 26 years from 1886 to 1912 for Coca-Cola to reach Philippine shores, and it was serendipitous that we were an American colony at the time, or we would probably have had to wait longer. I am an unabashedly loyal coke fan. Have been drinking the stuff for over forty years, and best I can figure, may have consumed some 60,000+ cans (regular, diet, zero or other variants) in all those years! My family has always been addicted to the stuff, even though it had no more real cocaine extracts in it by the time we got our first taste of it. My paternal grandmother eschewed softdrinks, so I wonder if she deigned to have even just a taste of the newfangled drink when it hit our shores in 1912, when she was a teenager. My parents probably had their first cokes by the late 1930’s or so.

Over the years, I recall coke bottles on many an occasion, and it’s a bit weird how obsessive we were about insisting on Coke, and NEVER EVER Pepsi. :) Coke with chippy. Coke with champoy. Coke with barbecue. Coke with french fries. Coke with burgers… Those classic curved glass bottles are etched in my memory, as was the time Sister pulled a “family size” bottle out of a freezer, it slipped, crashed, exploded and nearly cut her toe off and I had to take her into the emergency room at Makati Med and I then proceeded to literally faint as they sewed her up! My brother, I think, worked briefly for Pepsi, and we were all in shock, but he worked longer with San Miguel/Coca-Cola so that made up for the temporary lapse in judgment… After my consulting days, I was “headhunted” into a regional strategy job for an unnamed company, and as I questioned the headhunter about location (Hong Kong), nature of job (Head of Strategy), housing allowances (critical issue for Hong Kong, and they assured me the allowance was positively MASSIVE, and it was) and they started to describe the company some more… I blurted out, I only drink Coke, so if your client is who I think it is, I don’t think I would be interested in proceeding further. The headhunter went silent and I knew it was my cue to say goodbye. :) So from a fiercely loyal consumer, Happy 100th Birthday, Coca-Cola, Philippines!!!

Note: I was NOT asked to write this post, I simply noticed the special cans at above at a grocery and decided to send greetings. :) I did this for another childhood favorite, Hershey’s Kisses, when it turned 100 a few years ago as well. :)



  1. kim e says:

    cola drinks were banned at home so I never got addicted to it. but somehow eating a burger isn’t the same without coca-cola. =) I knew a family who were great drinkers of coke, that the truck would pass by their house and deliver cases of coke on a weekly basis. the consumption of their household was even more than the sales order of the sari-sari store nearby.

    Feb 24, 2012 | 8:07 pm


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  3. The Sunset Goddess says:

    Oh wow, you really ARE a fan! That package being dangled by the headhunter sure seems tempting—and you turned it down because of your loyalty to Coke! :) I’m a Coke fan myself. Always been told how it’s not too good for the health ever since I was a kid but at the end of the day, it’s all about the taste (it’s just so good!) and of course, the memories. Cheers to Coke! :)

    Feb 24, 2012 | 8:31 pm

  4. j. says:

    Much of my cola consumption was relegated to Coca-Cola, growing up [partly] on base, that’s pretty much what was sold. There were some Pepsi products, but Coke tended to donate more to products to the soldiers, and give steeper discounts. It worked for my family, but I daresay, I am the only one in my family that absolutely loves the Beverly…if only I can find it in the US outside of the World of Coke.

    Besides, without Sprite [a Coca Cola product], how would Filipino BBQ sauce taste soo good!

    Happy Birthday Coke!!!

    Feb 24, 2012 | 9:39 pm

  5. katie says:

    Coke is love, love, love.

    Feb 24, 2012 | 9:44 pm

  6. Mary says:

    I want one of those special 100yr coke cans! I collect coke cans/bottles from different countries. They are my souvenirs when I travel :)
    I am also a big coke fan.

    Feb 24, 2012 | 10:08 pm

  7. Sarah says:

    Nothing like an ice cold Coke on a hot day. Ahhhhhh.

    Feb 24, 2012 | 10:23 pm

  8. Faust says:

    Back in the 1980’s I remember when I was a kid Coke was used to cost around 5 centavos.. hehehe..

    Feb 24, 2012 | 11:20 pm

  9. millet says:

    what is it about the very traditional bisaya pairing of (and that means both visayans and mindanawons) of coke and kinilaw? (coke supposedly neutralizes whatever cooties may be in the raw fish!) and for mindanawons, durian always has to be paired with coke, otherwise one may get a tummy upset. or so they say. am not a soda fan, but i have to agree, coke is the perfect partner of lechon, kinilaw, and pancit. there, that makes a birthday handaan!

    Feb 24, 2012 | 11:45 pm

  10. daphne says:

    MM, I also remembered my sister when she opened the freezer to get the “litro” coke and suddenly the bottle crashed to her feet as we were having a sumptuous lunch… Suddenly,I saw blood gushing on the floor with the icy-cold coke… Just like with what you’ve written above,I literally would like to faint with the sight of blood running through the floor and the smell of blood dominating the air. Hahaha! It just brings back memories. :)

    Feb 25, 2012 | 12:28 am

  11. bakerwannabe says:

    My parents had a sari sari store in Manila. Coca Cola provided us the cooler for the softdrinks. They repair the cooler and replace it when needed. We were the biggest Coca Cola sellers in the area and our family get invited by Coca Cola for their annual customer appreciation. They even provided the transportation for us to get to the function. Coke was our family favorite and I would go into a big discussion with Pepsi fans over the merits of Coke. I have stopped drinking soda for about 3 years now for health reasons. Once in a while I would have a glass and it still tastes as good as ever.

    Feb 25, 2012 | 12:54 am

  12. dhayL says:

    Me too, we only drink COKE in our household, well, my husband is a big coke fan, no pepsi pls (sorry), and only regular coke, so i was kind of influenced by him i guess. But nevertheless, i prefer coke definitely in terms of the taste, i find that pepsi is a bit too sweet for me, its not as strong, you know when you were a kid, you used to do stupid things like, drinking coke, and holding it down your throat until you sort of throw up, yep, i did back in the days :)
    The other day we ran out of stock, i buy the 2L everytime they go on sale, and we ran out for the first time, and we only have a diet coke for some reason at home. He opened the bottle, and didnt really like the taste but drank it anyway, until the flyers came and luckily they ahve them on sale again! ehehehe

    Feb 25, 2012 | 1:20 am

  13. dhayL says:

    MM, but i don’t think i have the nerve (like u) to turn away a “potentially” high paying job with excellent benefits/allowance just because you might be working for the competitor or the “kalaban” , hehehhe thumbs up ako sayo! :)

    Feb 25, 2012 | 1:33 am

  14. ykmd says:

    Ahhh…Coke and Chippy, Coke with bbq and puso at the beach on a sizzling hot humid summer day! Childhood memories :)

    Feb 25, 2012 | 2:22 am

  15. Sheryll says:

    Nice one MM!Im A Lurker for some time now..Finally my 1st comment!Keep up the good Job! So loving your Blog!Cheers to 100 years of Coa Cola!Im also one of those people who prefers coke over pepsi.:-)

    Feb 25, 2012 | 3:01 am

  16. netoy says:

    we from overseas would have not known about these special-edition cans had not for this site. though i don’t collect coke memorabilia, i just have to have these because of the Philippine symbol (suns and stars) and those words “100 taon”. uniquely Pilipino! i aleady emailed my friends to buy me some to take back home to the US the next time I go home. thanks much MM!

    Feb 25, 2012 | 3:26 am

  17. Footloose says:

    Umm, it seems true enough, nothing pleases everybody like Coke. As for me, Coke only pleases me when accompanied by Bacardi 1873 and a wedge of lime.

    Feb 25, 2012 | 4:48 am

  18. satomi says:

    I love Coke!! So addicted to it. My mom has been telling me for years that “Soda is bad for you”. But I never stopped drinking it. haayy sarap ng Coke!

    Feb 25, 2012 | 5:22 am

  19. BessYS says:

    Oh, MM!

    I’ve never seen a person who’s is so loyal to one product – Ikaw na!
    I’ve always been a Coke fan considering we owned several canteens and a small grocery in our place. We have dealt with a lot of Coke trucks and their personnel over the years – promos, free bottles of coke, t-shirts , bags etc.
    I’m now living abroad and it’s always been – Coke is it!

    Feb 25, 2012 | 5:54 am

  20. ARIEL says:

    I share the same preference for Coke over Pepsi- the bite it gives, and the right sweetness.
    Pepsi tastes flat and is too sweet.

    If Steve Jobs was referring to Coke when he asked prospective CEO Scully to choose between selling sugared water and changing the world, and he directed the question to me, I would have had a hard time giving an answer. LOL

    Feb 25, 2012 | 7:06 am

  21. enna says:

    COKE with humba!

    Feb 25, 2012 | 7:20 am

  22. jules winnfield says:

    coke and chippy baby! ü

    Feb 25, 2012 | 8:27 am

  23. PITS, MANILA says:


    do you remember this ad … coke adds life … 1970’s … baguio … bing pimentel …


    Feb 25, 2012 | 9:02 am

  24. Sleepless in Seattle says:

    Coke rocks!! no Pepsi in our household,i just remember when they change to the new coke, what a mistake!! The real thing is It.Coke and pizza.

    Feb 25, 2012 | 10:21 am

  25. anne says:

    Happy 100th COKE !!!! MM , please throw that canvas bag over here ! ;D

    Feb 25, 2012 | 11:11 am

  26. Bong says:

    Happy 100th Birthday to the soft drink that turned me into an addict!!! …and those damn Hershey Kisses – they’re evil too!!!

    Feb 25, 2012 | 3:08 pm

  27. Dragon (Melbourne) says:

    Here’s a bit of a tidbit for you MM (having worked as an EA for the CEO of Coke (not the bottling company):

    We had Coke/Soda allowances, on top of the free soda at the office. We were not allowed to bring in any competitor’s products, i.e., Pepsi, such as soda, pizza or chips into the premises. I remember when my boss asked me to order pizza for his lunch, he had to warn me (very nicely) to specifically not to order Pepsi products.

    Here’s another important factoid for you: the Philippines is a very important market for Coca Cola globally. At the time I worked there (with that wonderful, creative, proactive CEO), he had maintained the Philippines within the top 5 markets, which included the US, Russia – you get the picture.

    Ironically, when I was working there was when I had pretty much stopped drinking soda so all my soda allowances actually went to the family – LOL!

    Here in Melbourne, they just concluded the promo of having the bottles ‘named’. Generic names printed on the side of the bottle such as Danny, James, Mason, Carol, etc.

    Enjoy your weekend!

    Feb 25, 2012 | 5:01 pm

  28. Chach says:

    Coke + durian = bliss!

    Feb 25, 2012 | 6:19 pm

  29. Divine G. says:

    Coke and adobong mani …….

    Feb 25, 2012 | 8:13 pm

  30. Mari says:

    Once you are a loyal drinker of Coke… there’s nothing better than that drink. I, too am a loyal drinker of Coca-Cola and nothing else. Would not take the other brand unless there is no other choice. Too bad I missed those cans when I was there… I would’ve taken a pic of it too. Happy 100th Coca-Cola!!!

    Feb 25, 2012 | 11:17 pm

  31. Skye says:

    Coke and piniritong saging :-)

    Feb 26, 2012 | 8:53 am

  32. christine says:

    I remember looking forward to merienda time at home when I was a kid, since I would get to drink my daily ration of Coke for the day. Each member of the family has an assigned soda case, since one may decide to interchange sodas – Coke, Sprite and Royal True Orange were the only choices back in the 80s. We were drinking too much bottled Cokes that we had a bottle opener permanently bolted on the wall of our kitchen. =)

    Feb 26, 2012 | 10:55 am

  33. JE says:

    I’m curious if you’ve tried the Mexican Coke that has cane sugar instead. I’ve only heard of it, but don’t know if it’s being sold locally, and am intrigued as to how different it tastes from your regular garden variety Coke.

    Feb 27, 2012 | 12:52 am

  34. Doddie from Korea says:

    My husband collects Coke memorabilia. If anyone can send me a couple of those cans of Coke to my addy here in Korea, I can reciprocate in kind by sending Korean Coke cans. Or anything Korean that they want. Please email me if you want to do this trade – doddiep@yahoo.com.



    Feb 27, 2012 | 1:57 am

  35. Mike says:

    Cavities, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, reflux, etc., etc. No thanks, I’ll stick to water or coconut juice.

    Feb 27, 2012 | 4:38 am

  36. anna says:

    i so love the coke classic (original formula) which is still available at S&R.

    i have reflux but on occassions when i have to reward myself, coke is it!!!!! =)

    Feb 27, 2012 | 10:34 am

  37. Glutton on a Budget says:

    I don’t drink soda (okay I take Coke with selected alcoholic drinks) but I might buy some just because of those cans. The packaging is really well-designed! They will be a great addition to the miniature Coca-Cola bottles we have at home. Kudos to Coke and whoever was in-charge of this campaign.

    Feb 27, 2012 | 6:30 pm

  38. pepeng kaliwete says:

    Coke + Vanilla Ice Cream = Coke Float!

    Feb 28, 2012 | 9:02 am

  39. ami says:

    Speaking of coke, I’m giving up on softdrinks and iced tea for Lent.

    Feb 28, 2012 | 9:08 am

  40. Carol says:

    I can understand MM. If he took the job, he cannot touch Coke ever.
    I wasn’t allowed to drink soda as a child, my parents believed It triggered my asthma, especially cola (must be the coldness of the drink rather than the actual elixir). But for some reason I was allowed to drink non cold Sprite or 7up during special occasions. My aunt said my grandma used to use Coke to clean the toilet! The strong acid is supposed to take out stains in ceramics well or something. She couldn’t understand why her daughter loved to drink a toilet cleaner.

    Feb 29, 2012 | 12:20 am

  41. ami says:

    Carol – Instead of coke, we use cheap vodka for cleaning ceramics sometimes.

    Feb 29, 2012 | 8:15 am


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