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Destileria Limtuaco: the Museum for Every Avid Drinker Edit

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Michelle Tobias  • Contributor
Opinions expressed by Explora.ph Contributors are their own.

A HOT WOMAN IN A RED BIKINI, riding a horse by the beach. This image has been embedded in the Filipino psyche since the past century. Advertisements of this were flashed along the streets and inside homes, on wall calendars, billboards, and television commercials. If you don’t know about this, you probably weren’t born yet at that time. Or perhaps you have a vague recollection.


In the background of that advert is a white castle, symbol to the whisky being advertised. Across the decades, different actresses and models sported the wear while galloping on a horse along the beach. Over those years, the message remained the same: enjoy the smooth taste of the fine-quality White Castle.

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Limtuaco’s horse-riding woman in red bikini has become an iconic image in the Philippines.

Behind this popular advertisement is Destileria Limtuaco, the oldest distillery in the Philippines. Opened in February 2018, its anchor museum is tucked in a corner of the narrow San Juan de Letran Street near Lyceum of the Philippines University in Intramuros, Manila. The museum was carved out from an old "bahay na bato" where the family of Limtuacos used to reside.

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The facade of Destileria Limtuaco Museum.

On rainy days in Intramuros where most attractions are outdoors, exploring this museum is a reprieve from the gloomy weather. Not only can you learn about the oldest and one of the largest distillery companies in the Philippines. You also get a taste of their local brews—a perfect break to warm up your belly while listening to the rain patter outside. If you’re an avid drinker, it’s the perfect place to bring your binge comadres and compadres.


Here are 5 things to do in Destileria Limtuaco Museum:

1. Uncover the history of the Philippines’ oldest distillery

Since it opened in 1852, the distillery has gone through five generations of management. Its pioneer, Lim Tua Co, sailed all the way from Amoy, China, to Manila, Philippines, to venture into selling his medicinal wine, Sioktong, for the Chinese and Filipino market in Binondo. Being incredibly affordable, the wine grew popular, and so did the company and its many branded drinks. Today, a lot of Limtuaco’s brews are locally known, such as El Hombre Tequila, Toska Vodka, and Napoleon Brandy.

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Rum-making is explained at the left and whisky-making at the right.

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The four generations of master blenders in the family corporation.

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This platform rests on a giant barrel where liquor was brewed.

2. See different antiques, from vintage bottles to old wooden barrels

In the museum, tour guides will walk you through the old distillery process and the new techniques they’ve adapted. Along the way, you’ll see dozens of items from the past two centuries. On the ground floor outside the museum, there’s even a remake of the old trapiche, a wooden contraption that makes use of a carabao to squeeze the juice out from sugarcanes to make basi or sugarcane wine.

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The distillery process were done in old copper vats and wooden barrels.

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Different bottles and wine glasses were also used for different kinds of liquor.

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These were the actual barrels that Destileria Limtuaco used for aging liquor decades ago.

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The old bottles on display still contain liquids used in the brewing process. All of them have expired, however.

3. Learn about Sioktong, the medicinal wine that boosts potency and fertility

At the beginning of your tour, the guides will tell you about Sioktong. Also called Vino de Chino, it is a powerful medicinal wine believed to boost potency among men and fertility among women. Tales of renewed sexual vigor and pregnancy have become part of its legend. Do you know someone who badly wants to have a child but is unable to do so? Call him or her over for a shot of Sioktong!

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This medicinal wine is the first drink the company ever sold.

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The drink is still being sold up to this day.

4. View its museum of wines and spirits

In 166 years, Destileria Limtuaco has produced a wide range of distilled spirits and alcoholic beverages, including whiskies, brandies, gins, rums, vodkas, tequilas, cocktails, herbal and sweet wines, and the original medicinal wines. The company has even adapted local flavors such as sugarcane wine, mango rum, lambanog or coconut vodka, and coffee liqueur.

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These are some of the wines and spirits the company has produced through the years.

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Julius James is the company’s most expensive beverage at P3,000 per bottle.

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Here are some of the most recent beverages that the company is selling in the market.

5. Have a liquor-tasting activity for only P100 per person

Swing over the bar and try out their different liquors for only P100 per person! This includes two flavored cocktails and four kinds of liquor of your choice. We tried several beverages and some of the best we’ve tasted are the Amadeo coffee liqueur, the Baileys-like chocolate-flavored Intramuros, the mango rum Tropical Paradise, and the fruity dalandan liqueur Manille. Don’t worry, you won’t get drunk after this! Many of items in the bar are also for sale.

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The bar is made only for liquor-tasting. You can head over Poblacion, Makati, to visit their real bar.

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You can choose from a wide variety of drinks to taste-test.

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Limtuaco’s award-winning mango rum liqueur Tropical Paradise. Only in the Philippines!

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The coffee beans used in this liquor hail from the Philippines’ number one coffee town, Amadeo.

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Basi or sugarcane wine has been popular in northern Philippines since the Spanish times.

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Thanks to all the working students serving drinks at the museum! They’re a friendly bunch.

Book this experience for only P100!

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Book this Destileria Limtuaco Museum experience! At Explora, you can easily discover the best things to do and places to stay in the Philippines. Sulit sa budget!

How to get to Limtuaco Distillery Museum

In Metro Manila, take the LRT 1 and alight at Central Terminal Station. From there, the nearest gate to Intramuros is just a 10-minute walk away. If you don’t like walking, you can take a pedicab or tricycle and tell the driver to drop you at the Lyceum of the Philippines University, if the driver doesn’t know the newly opened museum. From there, look for San Juan de Letran Street and you should find the adobe-walled Destileria Limtuaco Museum.


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