Three Drinks Worth Sampling at MAFBEX 2017

We stumbled around getting drunk on samples at the country’s largest food and beverage expo

by Philbert Dy, photo by Mica Abesamis

The Manila Foods and Beverage Expo is happening right now at the World Trade Center in Pasay. We here at Rogue wandered the halls, tastubg all manner of foodstuffs, taking full advantage of the plethora of free samples available to visitors . But it was the beverage side that really called to us, mainly because wehere at Rogue really like to drink. This year’s MAFBEX offers the recreational drinker plenty of options for sampling, and here’s just three recommendations:






Lambanog seems to be going through a legitimate resurgence. There are several exhibitors this year pushing their own take on the local spirit, with most applying all manner of local fruit flavors to balance out its infamous harshness. At the Limtuaco Distillery booth, you can sample their San Juan Premium Lambanog, which rather than just being distilled, is aged in an oak barrel for three years. It tastes like a weird hybrid of lambanog and whisky, with coconut notes eventually giving way to a strong, woody flavor. It’s a drink that Limtuaco doesn’t actually sell directly to consumers, so this might be one of your few chances to sample this totally unique drink.







There are a lot of local fruit wines at MAFBEX. Bignay wine has become a fixture of artisanal food bazaars for a few years now, and you’ll find plenty of that at this year’s expo as well. But the local producers seem to be intent on turning everything into something that can you drunk. What we found most intriguing was the durian wine. Now, the wine doesn’t smell like durian, but its savory qualities do shine through a bit in tasting. And this leads to a wine that is very juicy and fruity, but not overly sweet. It in some ways resembles the fruit-forward wines of Australia. Its properties offer up plenty of intriguing possibilities for pairing. It feels like it could actually be a pretty versatile wine.






After a full day of stumbling through the halls of the World Trade Center, you might need something to offset the deadly effects of alcohol. The non-alcoholic drink that most intrigued us was a bottled lemonade with activated. This is one of those health trends that make incredible claims that are a little hard to verify. There is some evidence that the charcoal might help sop up additives in alcoholic drinks that people might have bad reactions to. But we’re not ready to verify that claim. If nothing else, there is some novelty in drinking something black that tastes like pretty good lemonade.


MAFBEX 2017 is running at the World Trade Center until June 18.