The naughty spirits at Sampaguita
We had this coconut wine operation at Sampaguita District in Guinarona. Business was always brisk, and we did not want for orders. Former Leyte Governor Remedios Petilla always saw to that. Gov. Petilla left no stone unturned in promoting the Don Alfonso Coco Wine in the four directions.
One time we were with Romy Lobrigo for the bottling operation. We did so outside the winery if only for the cool breeze that we coveted. All the bottles were sterilized and arrayed, at 12 each. We had a sterile plastic hose to decant the wine to the bottles. Now the start. We counted the bottles one to 12. We then siphoned the wine to the first bottle. After that, lo and behold, four bottles were missing under our very noses. I said, “What’s going on, Romy, are you a bottle freak or what?”
Of course, Romy did not filch any bottle, neither did we. We replaced the missing four bottles and started bottling again. The same thing happened, each time some effing spirit was playing tricks by stealing four bottles. This went on practically the whole time we did the bottling.
Moral lesson: Don’t do your wine bottling al fresco because spirits are attracted to the alcohol, and will screwup your work.
The omen that we won’t forget
August 26, 1997 at Guinarona. This time, we were also rushing up the bottling of the Don Alfonso Coco Wine for urgent orders and deliveries. Being methodical, we arranged each jug of wine to be decanted in a first-in-first-out fashion. The wine bottles had been cleaned and sterilized. Now the bottling part. . .
Bottling. . .bottling. We used up three jugs. We transferred each batch from each jug. Time now to relocate the bottled wine to a separate counter for bagging and labeling. While lifting each bottle, the bottoms gave way, along with all the coconut wine contents. Each bottle had a bottom that gave way! What the heck was happening! Thinking that the thing was inauspicious, we stopped and decided to resume the following day. Except that. . .
We had a fitful sleep that night, and at 3 a.m., August 27, we were awakened by Mother’s groaning, asking us to help her. Mother was having a massive heart attack! She was perspiring like crazy and was cold to the touch! We rushed her to the hospital. She stayed at the hospital for seven days, the last day of which she died.
The mass bottle breakage without a sensible cause was the omen for Mother’s passing. An omen that we won’t forget. Ever.