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Slide 2:

What this paper will be looking into primarily is the promotion of alcoholic beverages in
the context of a deploring health system during the initial onset of the American administration in
the Philippines from the years 1902-1908.

Slide 3:
The main method used in this paper was the content and discourse analysis of various
newspaper advertisements of alcoholic beverages during this time. As you will see later, many of
these beverages were promoted as health drinks and we will use this to better understand the
health situation, medical knowledge and health-seeking behaviour during this period. From here,
we will be able to understand more the cultural, social and economic conditions during this time
period as well; in the context of consumer culture and promotion.
Slide 4:
So in order to do this, this is the outline of our presentation.
Slide 5-6:
Lets start with the context. The Philippines was a colonized nation under the Spanish
regime for around 300 years prior to the American administration, which started around 1898.
During this time, the Philippines was presented with numerous health and sanitation problems,
and several communicable diseases, such as diarrhea, cholera, malaria, tuberculosis and
dysentery were highly prevalent during this time.
In addition to this, the lack of a proper piping and garbage disposal system, the highly
dense population, and water and air pollution, the country was ill-equipped to respond to these
health issues. To concretize this further, here are some statistics taken from the Census of the
Philippine Islands in 1903.
Given this, the Americans made many efforts in order to improve these conditions.
However, these still left a lot to be desired.
Slide 7:
But in a health system, one must remember and understand that it involves a large variety
of sectors. Health, as a multi- and interdisciplinary study, goes beyond the medical and clinical
solutions, and factors such as economic growth, socio-cultural norms, and political climate come
into play and affect the overall health outcome of any nation.
One such factor, which is consumer culture towards non-medicinal products, will act as the main
focus of this paper. This is an important factor to consider and analyse because it is reflective of
the health-seeking behaviour, medical knowledge, and general desires of the public.
Slide 8:

The consumer culture for alcoholic beverages in particular saw a shift during the start of
the American administration. Prior to this, consumer culture was done on a highly personal basis.
In the Philippines, the cities are divided into many mini-cities called barangays composed of a
few hundred families. Within these barangays, communities are largely close-knit with one
another, and exchange usually happened within these barangays. Due to this, consumer markets
remained very focused in the micro-setting and community level; and the basis of purchases was
made on personal connections. All of this is particularly true for alcoholic beverages, with many
regions having their own specialty drink, such as tuba (coconut wine), basi (made of
sugarcane) or lambanog (coconut vodka).
But in the American period, this started to change. Advertisements for alcoholic
beverages, both local and foreign, started to appear in newspapers, indicating a rise in
profitability for the industry. What is even more interesting however, is that many of these
alcoholic beverages were being advertised as health drinks; drinks that would make you live
longer, drinks that would make you stronger, or drinks that would even cure diseases. Alcoholic
beverages started to become a medium for discussion in terms of health and socio-cultural
Slide 9:
This paper will focus on the advertisements from one such paper called the Manila times
from 1902-1908. This newspaper was established in 1898, and was published to meet the
demands of an English newspaper for the men of the US army who occupied Manila. Thus, in
terms of placement, the advertisements here were targeted mostly towards the Americans, and/or
the superior Filipino elite fluent in English; and this will act as an important jumping point in our
So now, we will present to you the different advertisements found in the newspaper. We
have divided them into four main themes: Physical Wellness and longevity, desire for sanitation,
purity and cleanliness, womens health and curing common diseases.
Slide 10-11:
The first advertisement above shows Duffys Pure Malt Whiskey, which is an alcoholic
beverage from the United States. With a headline Strong, Healthy, and Full of Vigor at 104, an
old man who is an avid drinker of the beverage is portrayed in his centennial years claiming that
Duffys Pure Malt Whiskey is the reason for this strong physical state and long life. Shown is a
quote from the said article. <point out interesting stuff>
Coming from a Filipino context where average life span is low, there was a strong desire coming
from the AMERICANS, again the main target of these advertisements, to become healthier and
to live longer. With the case study, it portrayed a character who is able to do all the chores and
able to work; a man who through this drink was able to sustain his youthfulness. The Americans,
particularly the soldiers, wanted to stay healthy so that they may continue to work. Duffys Pure
Malt Whiskey aimed to close the gap between the weak health conditions, and the desire for
them to live as healthily as possible.
Slide 12:

Duffys Pure Malt Whiskey even took this another step further in their next advertisement
a few months later, and as crazy as it sounds, this was the headline: U.S. has 3536
centenarians. Almost every one of them owes his or her ripe old age to Duffys Pure Malt
Whiskey, the elixir of life.
A contributing factor to the prominence of this campaign can be attributed to its Western
origins. Being a colonized nation by a world power, the Americans established their dominance
over the Filipinos. Since many of the Americans were living in the Philippines were away from
their home, there was a general sense of homesickness amongst them; the desire to go back
to the American way of living, despite being in another country such as the Philippines;
especially given its health conditions at the time. The Americans desired for their own standard
of living despite being in a country other than their own. And Duffys Malt Whiskey used to that
desire to expand their reach and cater to the market. This was a drink that reminded them of

Slide 13:

A large number of advertisements also greatly emphasized the need for pure, untainted
and clean beverages. An example of this would be one San Miguel advertisement from 1902.

This advertisement in 1902 gives us an idea of the publics idea of cleanliness and
sanitation at the time. Given the insanitary and polluted conditions at the time, companies
selling alcoholic beverages, especially those who entered the Philippine market in later years,
capitalized on this knowledge and used it in their advertisements to entice the public that their
products are clean as well.
Whats interesting to note here is that San Miguel is a local brand in the Philippines; yet
they promote themselves quite distinctively from other local brands. Here, they adopted
Western practices in formulating their advertisements by promoting it in a healthy and sanitary
way. The phrases above, such as the board of health approves, not tainted by any substance
and real tonics was done by San Miguel to market their brand; tailor-fitting it to the Americans
and elites. There was a sense of thinking that If i can promote it to the Americans, i can
promote it to other westerners so that I can expand my market even further.

Slide 14:

In fact, the Scottish advertisement from John Robertsons Scotch also uses this fact to
their advantage in 1906, their advertisement states: John Robertsons Scotch is the purest
whiskey on the market. Stood highest test at Bureau of Laboratories highlights the importance

of having a sterilized and clean drink free from harmful chemicals in order to maintain a healthy

What can be noted in these two advertisements about cleanliness is that it always
emphasizes having a high standard of purity and sterilization. Why was it important for them to
highlight that their scotch stood the highest test at the bureau of laboratories? To be approved?
To emphasize that its not tainted and that its real? All these advertisements can be seen as a
critique to the Filipino practices of making alcoholic beverages since many local filipino drinks
didnt have these standards at the time. This was done to highlight Western standards and
tastes; practices which were more trusted by the Americans at the time. It was meant to imbibe
the feeling that Ahh because Im drinking this drink, Im clean. and it will always be safe for me
to drink this; as compared to the other local brands.
Slide 15:

The newspaper beer advertisement focuses on the importance of womens health. The
advertisement claim that the Scotch is a stimulant that would give a woman strength and
energy. The advertisement also gives a clue/hint that medical knowledge regarding womens
health is also limited in the Philippines.
It is also possible that the advertisement above also targeted to the American citizens
who brought their families with them to the Philippines, who in turn would want a sense of
cleanliness for their wives as well given the unsanitary conditions in the early years of the
American Colonial Period.

Slides 16-17
Besides womens health, there are also advertisements that focuses on Common diseases
that are rampant at the time, such as cholera, tuberculosis and leprosy to name a few. A
prominent brand at the time, Kuenzle and Streiffs capitalizes on the current unsanitary
conditions that plagued Manila at the time. The advertisement shown in your screen is consistent
with the other alcoholic beverages at the time presented that focuses on the issue of rampant
common diseases in the populace. The advertisement highlights that the alcoholic beverage can
effectively cure dysentery and bowel problems. Moreover (next slide) the advertisements of
alcoholic beverages that focused on the issue of common diseases wanted to capture the small
American presence in the Philippines that are seeking sanitary conditions that wasnt present in
their environment. Moreover, the beer advertisements gave solace to the Americans since they
came from a climate that they were not accustomed to. Seeing these alcoholic beverage ads
probably made them feel sanitary by just drinking it. (unsure if you should say this -adriel)

Slide 18
The last advertisement shown above is a nurse pouring beer into a glass. This beer
advertisement is a powerful image that shows the state of medical knowledge here in the
Philippines and how beer companies took advantage of that knowledge and use it on order to
increase their sales. This company used the figure of the nurse to show that their alcoholic
product is being used medically. Moreover, the picture can denote a number of symbolisms in
terms of health.
First, given that the beer advertisement itself uses a nurse, it is possible that the product
can be found in different pharmacies or drug stores, since the advertisement it is approved by
health officials. Second, the picture shows that the beer itself symbolizes as a form of a drug
that bolsters the companies claim that their beer can heal or cure illnesses, despite the lack of
scientific evidence to prove that the beer has that quality. Lastly, the advertisement depicts that
women, especially nurses plays an integral role in the health campaign and service delivery of
the Americans during their colonial period here in the Philippines. As an American, it makes me
feel as if this is a legitimate health product since it uses the picture of a nurse.

Slide 19
Based from the themes and advertisements, it is clear that beer and other alcoholic
beverages was able to insert itself in the discourse of medicine and health. These drinks were
able to provide the Americans a sense or feeling of cleanliness, health and sanitation in the
Philippines like in their home country; while giving English speaking Filipino Elites a notion of
what is clean, and sanitary. These factors enabled these companies to capture a small portion
of the consumer market in the context of health. These companies effectively inserted
themselves in the Philippines market and took advantage of the vulnerable health situation to
suit their needs. These advertisements are also indicative of the consumer market in the
Philippines, how the packaging and marketing of a certain product; by placing it well in certain
facets, as well as considering the context of the society, can certainly make them believe that it
is true.

Slide 20

Overall then, these advertisements were able to capture what the ideal, standard,
healthy environment could be for the Philippines. A picture of society that is free from disease,
filled with physical health and longevity, and sanitary was a society that was presented based on
the world of the West. This picture provided a form of reassurance for the Americans staying in
the Philippines. At the same time, it acted as a benchmark for the Filipinos of what is clean or

unclean, and what words such as pure and sterilized means. This standard of living was
exposed to the Philippine community.
However, a literature review will show that this standard was not achieved. Physical,
mental and even emotional health for everyone still continued to be a long withstanding problem
in the Philippines. High poverty rates, communicable diseases, heavy pollution, sanitation
problems and lack of access to health services still continue to plague the Philippines, even up
to today where health inequity is at an all time high. Although at present, alcoholic beverages in
the discourse of health and wellness have been removed, it is still clear that more can still be
done in the Philippines in order to improve its health and sanitary situation; not necessarily
conforming to the American standard; but to uplift the quality of life present here to reach the
standard that we set.