Marinel “Manel” Paguia, of TGIFridays Philippines, is the new Asia Bartending Champion after she won the 2019 Asia-Pacific Bartending Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Paguia won both the Freestyle and Compulsory rounds besting contenders from Guam, Japan, Taiwan, and host Indonesia to claim the Asia-Pacific Bartending Champion title in competitions hosted by TGIFridays Gandaria City in Indonesia on October 23.
Paguia bagged and took home a plaque, US$1000, and the honor to represent the Philippines and Asia-Pacific at next year’s World Bartender Competition in Tennessee, USA.
The victory allows Paguia to represent the Philippines at the World Bartender Championship in March, setting the stage for her to achieve her dream of reclaiming the title of World Bartending Champion for the Philippines.
Well, it is not as easy as it looks. It took Manel 5 years of hard work as she entered different bartending competitions for years to gain experience and confidence. In fact, she prepares 8 hours a day to hone her skills by practicing and learning everything she needs to know for the competition.
Paguia’s winning moves with two-tin finger roll wowed everybody in Indonesia as she lit up a long, tall glowing bottle, balanced the glass while straining martini on LED in the freestyle or flairtending.
But securing the freestyle round was only half of the competition, as the other half – the Compulsory Round – needed a different skillset from Paguia. Round 2 required the Filipina bartender to memorize hundreds of recipes, display accuracy in pouring, and show excellent knowledge of the TGIFridays bar.
Paguia is now gearing up for the World Bartender Championship in March 2020 where she will be pitted against veteran bartenders from TGIFridays branches across the globe.
She hopes to duplicate the feat of her predecessors Jholan Penafiel and Rizza Umlas, the first female to earn the title of the World’s Greatest Bartender in the traditionally male-dominated annual competition of TGI Fridays. “I’m claiming it now!” she declared.
Philippine bars have also enjoyed world acclaim as Forbes listed The Peninsula Manila’s The Bar among the World’s Best Hotel Bars and Asia’s 50 Best Bars picked three Manila bars in the latest edition of the annual list – The Curator, The Back Room, and Oto.
Even popular celebrity Alden Richards had a stint as an OFW bartender in the blockbuster hit movie, “Hello, Love, Goodbye!”
SEND congratulations in the comments below to Marinel Paguia and TGIFridays Philippines for showcasing Filipino bartending talent!
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