Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Untold Pinoy Story No. 4

Beer Worship
In the 80s, San Mig was a popular joint where one can enjoy a mug of cold beer. Their branch in Ali Mall in Cubao was always packed with beer-bellied office employees, especially on payday weekends. It occupied a small space right across ShoeMart.

Amidst the darkness and the smoke, very few people took notice of San Mig’s unusual decor. Hanging on the walls are cheap reproductions of oil portraits of real kings. They were all European kings. There was King Louis XIV of France. In one corner was King Philip II of Spain. Next to him was King George III of United Kingdom. Then, in one dark corner was… Oops

In one dark corner was the portrait of a man who was certainly not a king. In fact, this man even fought the monarchy after joining the army. His dignified look could pass for a king but he definitely did not enjoy a royal life. While fighting the monarchy, one of his legs was wounded while his other leg was broken by a cannonball. Then, he had to break his leg three times to make it heal well. He was also arrested twice during the Spanish inquisition. Then, he struggled for the rest of his life with chronic stomach ailment.

The Pinoy interior designer who worked on San Mig’s wall d├ęcor was probably too lazy to conduct research on the identities of the men in those portraits. Because among the portraits of those European kings, the lazy interior designer had mistakenly included the portrait of a former soldier named Inigo.

Inigo became Ignacio after he changed his name. But Ignacio did not become a king. Oh yes, he became a prince. But he never lived in a castle. Because he was a prince of the church.

Yes, that odd painting among portraits of European kings which had been hanging on the wall of San Mig in Ali Mall for years and which had been a mute witness to the antics of beer-worshipping and wife-fearing drunkards was the portrait of a saint.
The man on the portrait was a patron saint of soldiers.

No, it was not the portrait of San Mig’s namesake, San Miguel or Saint Michael the Archangel, although Saint Michael was also a patron saint of soldiers.

The man on the portrait was actually a Jesuit saint.

The man on the portrait was the founder of the Society of Jesus.

Yes, the man on the portrait was St. Ignatius of Loyola.

And every Atenean knows the rest of his story.
Image from

NEXT: A Famous Atenean Becomes a Mistress, an Unwed Mother and Another Man’s Mistress


Citizen of the World said...

How very unusual indeed to include his photo. Graduated from Xavier U, by the way.

Thanks for dropping by my blog.


Nick said...

Hey Dylan.
Thanks for dropping by.

girl named shai said...

Hi there. A few weeks ago my blog friend Jon Limjap pointed me to this direction, and I've been checking for your latest stories since. It's my first time to comment though--I'm Atenean you see, so even if I'm usually too lazy to type my thoughts, anything Ignatian or Jesuit-related is enough motivation. Haha weird. :) I wish I could keep this good a blog. Seriously. Your stories are addictive.

Nick said...

Hey Shai.
Thanks for making your first blog comment here. Also, please extend my thanks to Jon for pointing you to this direction. I hope you were not disappointed.
Thanks for your kind words.
Thanks for dropping by.

Anonymous said...

hi nick,

i am a new reader of your blog. i would say the stories are very well written.

this one i didn't know, and i am an atenean. and we did go to san mig every once in a while during our college days. ano ba yan?


AJ said...

It's funny how the words beer and Jesuit seem to find themselves at each others' heels. This story brought back snippets of Jesuit folklore I have heard in college: how Jesuit priests/professors and Jesuit brothers enjoyed passionately exchanging philosophies over a bottle or two of ice-cold beer, and how sometimes they would invite fortunate Philo students to join them. I would hear classmates covertly discussing the previous night's drinking session and they would refer to it as...symposium(?)...I vaguely remember the name but I think it sounds like that hehe. Just wanted to share it. Like Shai, I am inclined to take an interest in anything Ignatian (it helps fight off the homesickness).

Here's to more untold pinoy stories!