Memories in a Can

A recent trip to the grocery had me buying myself a can of Cali Pineapple. It’s not the same Cali that I used to drink as a kid but it still brings back the memories.

A shandy (a mix of beer and lemon/lime soda), Cali was introduced to the Philippine market in 1995 by San Miguel Brewery. I understand now why it was so popular when I was around 6 years old (I was born in 1991). It was perfect for adults who didn’t want to drink an ordinary soda but was even more perfect for teenagers who wanted to act like grown ups.

My dad loved Cali, particularly Cali Ice. He often bought a few cans when we did our groceries so that he had something to drink while watching his favorite PBA team, Brgy. Ginebra. If not basketball, he would watch Filipino action movies with those famous action stars and their leading ladies who were always damsels in distress.

Having only daughters for his children, he had us grow up watching those TV shows with him at night. What Papa did not know (but eventually realized) was that my sister and I would steal some of his Cali. He sat on a chair while my sister and I sat on the floor. With his eyes glued to the TV, he could not see my sister and I with our stolen can of ice-cold Cali that we made sure to pop open in the kitchen so that he would not hear the fizzing sound.

When he found out, we got scolded and we were told that it was beer that we were drinking and that it was not for kids. My sister and I felt so kick-ass that time for drinking adult beverage.

As we grew older, the household expenses increased. Eventually, Dad stopped buying Cali already. I was around 8, I think, when we stopped buying Cali.

The next time I drank Cali was already in 2017, when I was on an out-of-town assignment in Legazpi, Albay. It tasted different to the drink I got used to as a kid. Maybe the formula has changed or maybe my taste buds have changed. It’s truly more of a soda than a shandy now.

What memories shall I make with a can of Cali now?

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