Amid all the online toxicity, some netizens have found ways to lighten up the mood on social media.
A couple of months after the expression "crack open a cold one with the boys" officially became a meme, a Facebook page gained traction for its snappy reviews of alcoholic drinks. From the humble gin bulag to the fancier Johnnie Walker Blue Label Whisky, Tagay ka muna pre shares its unique take on the drinking experience with the public, honestly doling out opinions any casual boozer could appreciate.
The page, managed by a couple of anonymous individuals who choose to go by the initials "V" and "R," doesn't position itself as a snooty connoisseur. Instead, this everyday man's 'Alak Blog' was fashioned after a similar page that reviews cigarettes, choosing to use street-speak and light humor to carry out their goals.
In an interview via Facebook, V shares that the idea to write about drinking dawned on him because of all the liquor he's consumed in the past few years—a love affair not unfamiliar to most Filipinos.
Two weeks into alak-blogging, it seems that he made the right call, based on Tagay ka muna pre's current numbers as of this writing:
-121,867 likes, and 123,225 followers
-38 trending Alak Blog posts
-reviewed 965 times, with an average of 4.9 stars
The man behind the viral forum credits its success to the fans who like, comment, and share their posts. "They are the greatest," V says, "I try to respond to everyone who sends a private message—no matter how many—to repay their support and show gratitude."
Although that's just him being modest. Tagay ka muna pre has become a hit mainly because of its friendly approach. It embodies the persona of that kabarkada, tito, or neigborhood drunk who enjoys reminiscing while inebriated.
In short, he humanizes the drinking experience, connecting to the audience using real-life scenarios most fans of alcoholic beverages can relate to. For example, who hasn't fallen victim to the affordable lure of an enticing brand like The Bar back in high school? Or who hasn't doubted the legitimacy of flavored beer?
This is how the procedure goes for Tagay ka muna pre: V does the spirit tasting, while R takes care of the bar chow ('Pulutan Blog'). Now, the two are introducing new content called 'Iwas Laseng Hacks' and 'Lasing Life Hacks.' But the liquor reviews still prove to be the page's main attraction.
So far, their most well-received anecdote is about Smirnoff Mule, with a whopping 27 thousand reactions. Trust, it's the nostalgia.
V explains that his judging process is as simple as, "Pag masarap sa dila, mataas. Pag matabang or nakakasulasok, so-so grade. It's just amusing that many can relate to my judgments." After writing the main entry, he grades the taste and strength of the liquor, then recommends a chaser.
And no, he doesn't have to be drunk to concoct these essays. A couple of shots are more than enough to get his creative juices flowing. "I may not be able to type that well," V jokes. "But I work best if my mind is focused on making people laugh." Pinoys are so fascinated with anything that has to do with alcohol because "we live in a country where it's accessible. Paglabas mo pa lang ng bahay, may empi at gin na agad sa tindahan." And people, especially those who like to get sauced, are curious about liquor they haven't tried.
His major takeaway from sharing his thoughts to a wider audience? "Majority of Filipinos, malakas uminom. Or at least they pretend to be."
He admits it would take him "more than a lifetime" to review every kind of alcoholic beverage available in the country. But in case that happens, he would like to explore other alcohol-related topics, like mixes, cocktails, and other concoctions.
V shares that if Tagay ka muna pre was your drinking buddy, it would be a dude who was "Malakas magmura, maingay sa inuman, at tumatagal sa inuman. Tipong naghahanap pa siya ng alak habang tulog na mga ka-inuman niya."
This pretty much sums up the blog's online appeal: their content isn't alienating, but like a good old drink, it's always enlightening and intoxicating.