My love affair with wine started when I was in my late teens. It was a bottle of red wine shared with a few friends and I felt more sophisticated than ever, at least at the time. It was a little rebellion that many experience at such an age but I am sharing this with you now for the love of wine in general and for the love of wine that is not exactly mainstream.
When my parents decided to go to Ilocos Norte one summer, my brothers and I went with them. It was a relatively long drive but once we were there, we went to the beach and had a barbecue. My brothers and I had our first sip of basi that night. It’s one of those moments with family that I will probably never ever forget.
It was the first time for us to have a better understanding of what we were drinking too. Sure we heard about basi from our grandparents and from other folks. We read the story about the revolt but we never felt closer to truly understanding how little of that legacy is left for our generation until that night. The revolt was a dramatic turn of events but it was an event that resulted from over two decades of suffering on the part of the Ilocanos.
With poverty rising, they grew restless and fight they did. This goes to show, if I may say so myself, that there’s more to basi than the smoothness of Basidina or the rather sweet taste of Virginia Blush or any other basi brand out there. There is history in it. It is a part of Ilocano heritage and that of Filipinos as well.
My first Basi del Diablo wine came to me in a package sent by my brother. I shared it with my parents while looking at Hong Kong’s cityscape. I feel so far from my country even if it’s just a short flight away. But my affair with wine and basi continues to this day.