Inuman Session 101: Understanding the Filipino Drinking Culture

“Do Filipinos drink a lot?”


Based on the frequency of drinking, a survey revealed that almost 21% of Filipinos are regular alcoholic beverage drinkers. At least 79% of the respondents drink during special occasions, 11% drink alcohol weekly, 6% monthly and 4% daily.


Drinking or Inuman is a Pinoy way to celebrate with friends and family. Whether in birthdays, fiestas, Christmas or get-togethers all of it ends in a drinking session. Some of you might think, “why do Filipinos love to drink?” well that’s because we do it in unique ways. To understand the Filipino drinking culture, here are the things that you should know before you join a Pinoy Inuman session.


The first shot is for the spirits

The first sip is for the spirits

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In a Filipino Inuman session, everybody knows that the first “Tagay” or shot should be poured on the ground (if you’re outside) or should be thrown on the sink or whatever. Why?


It is believed that the first shot is offered to spirits or entities that may have joined in the drinking session. It is often called “Alay” or offering to give respect to the souls so they won’t get mad to drinkers especially if they are outside the house.


Local Drinks

Local Drinks

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A gin that will make you blind? A beer that has a kick of a horse and some brandy for success. Of course, you guys are familiar with these drinks but I bet you don’t know the true meaning of the word ‘drunk’ if you haven’t tried these Filipino local drinks. These drinks are often seen in the province since they know how to make it.

  • Tuba

    An alcoholic beverage created from the sap of various species of palm. In the Visayas, particularly in Leyte, the tuba is the product of mixing barok (the reddish bark of the mangrove tree) with the coconut sap, making the tuba red in color.
  • Lambanog

    A traditional Filipino distilled palm liquor made from coconut or nipa palm sap. It is derived from tubâ that has been aged for at least 48 hours. It originates from Luzon island in the northern Philippines.
  • Basi

    A fermented alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane in the Ilocos region of northern Luzon in the Philippines. It takes at least 3 months to be ferment and a year to age.

Happy Horse

Happy Horse

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Most of you might think that the ‘Happy Horse’ is a myth but it’s not. To beer lovers, I’m sure that you heard about the smiling red horse. It is said that the Happy Horse appears in every 12 bottles and as a stronger kick than a regular bottle.


The explanation for this is that the smiling red horse is the old version of Red Horse and it’s the same beer as the new version. Anyway, it’s still fun to look for that smiling horse in every inuman sessions just for the sake of bragging it.



Pinoy Pulutan

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An all-time favorite of all the drinkers who don’t drink a lot, the Pulutan. No Pinoy inuman session is complete without delicious food. Pulutan are just like finger food in a drinking session so you won’t drown into alcohol.


And in the Philippines, some drinkers love the Pulutan so much that they forgot that its a drinking session. Well, you can’t blame them because Filipino Pulutan will give you a taste of heaven!

  • Sisig

    The classic Filipino Pulutan. Sisig is a dish from Pampanga that is made from parts of pigs or chicken. It is usually seasoned with Calamansi, onions and chili peppers. It is best when served in a sizzling plate topped with an egg.
  • Crispy Pata (Crispy Pig’s Leg)

    Deep-fried pig trotters or knuckles served with a soy-vinegar dip. Crispy Pata is often served during special occasions. This is the number one best pulutan of all time in every Filipino drinking session.
  • Peanuts

    You have plenty of options to cook this. It can be boiled or fried and cooked with garlic and salt. Peanuts may be a simple pulutan but it will help you get through the drinking session.



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I think this separates Filipino drinking culture from other country’s cultures. Why? In Pinoy drinking sessions, friends gather in a table and will be given a shot by the ‘tanggero’.


There’s only one shot glass in one session and it will be passed through each drinker and refilled by the heroic tanggero. Heroic because being a tanggero is a tough job in an Inuman session because he/she needs to refill drinks, pass the shot glass, and remember who will be the next to drink. But the perks here is that you can cheat by not drinking when no one is looking.



Karaoke Videoke

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Karaoke is life. When it comes to celebrations, Filipinos love to sing their hearts out. And of course, it will be happier to sing if you’re already drunk. Basang basa sa ulan, Bohemian Rhapsody, Zombie, Dancing Queen, and many more.


Nope, Filipinos are not shy singing loudly even if their voices are not that good. Well, the neighbors are used to it so who cares?


Barkada Bonding

Barkada Bonding

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The best thing about a Filipino Inuman session is the memories that were made at that very moment. All the jokes, laugh, weird stories, funny memories of the past all of it are part of building a strong bond between friends and family.


And as time flies, you’ll all remember the good times and also the bad times that you and your friends shared in an Inuman session every night. Thinking “those were the days…” your youth days, and now you already have a family and lots of responsibilities. But at least you gained memories with your friends that will last forever.


There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of fun. Filipinos love sharing stories, jokes, and advice with their friends, this is our way to help each other and forget our problems. But always remember to drink moderately and stay healthy, you have plenty of Inuman session to attend so be a responsible drinker. LOL.


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Samantha Baluyot

Sam joined Remit this 2018. She is a Journalism graduate who loves to see the world in different point of views. Her goal in writing is to inspire her readers to have a better perspective and to live a meaningful life. She may look aloof but she’s a very friendly and a happy-go-lucky person.


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