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Instead of going out one last time, Canadian traveler John Early, on his final night in Bangkok, ended up staying in, “drinking this harsh bottle of Filipino rum, and writing a song about it.”


That bottle o’ rum, boys and girls, is none other than our beloved Tanduay. He quickly wrote a song about it, recorded it with the help of his Noypi friend Justin Lee, and shared on SoundCloud and then on Reddit, where MB Life found it.

“Who needs to say goodbye to friends and coworkers when you can drink Tanduay and play guitar? Ha ha,” Early tells MB Life over email.

Apparently, Early was about to fly out to Nicaragua after living in Thailand and working as an adventure travel guide for one year, when he discovered the magic of Tanduay. “I was about to transfer to run our company’s in Central America when I found a bottle in my friend’s storage. It was from her days running trips in the Philippines, one of her favorite countries,” he says.

The evening fielded a 2:33-minute ditty that strangely evokes the easy-going vibe of people who reside in the tropical paradise we call home.

We say strangely because Early has in fact, never been to the Philippines but captures the island vibe perfectly. “I’ve been to and worked in over 30 countries, but Philippines is still on my list,” he laughs. “I did write a song about your rum though.”

The song conjures images and experiences that we’ve all had, one way or another, thanks to Tanduay. Witness a line from the song: “We drank, we laughed, and we danced all night. The party seemed to last our entire lives thanks to the magic bottle of Tanduay.”

Early has been traveling for about nine years already, since 2008 and has racked up enough strange encounters to fill a book. “I’m actually home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan [preparing for the] launch of my new book Tales of the Modern Nomad on November 30,” he tells us.


Early says the Tanduay song and the story behind it are included the book along with the “most ridiculous encounters and stories you can imagine from traveling the world for a decade with my guitar, Norma.”

He says he’s a big fan of rum from Central America and thinks our Tanduay is similar to Thailand’s staple, Sangsom, which isn’t really saying much. “But when you mix rum with Coca-Cola, you can use almost anything, so Tanduay works great,” he says.

Listening to his song, it’s obvious he’s developed a liking to Tanduay, or at least to the actual word “Tanduay.” He’s mentioned it one too many times in the song! Who can blame him?

Justin Lee, the Pinoy who helped him record the song, is actually the guitarist of island/rock/reggae band The Steadies, who will be touring the Philippines next year. “So maybe I’ll jump in on their tour and drink some Tanduay with all of you!”

Listen to the song and have a great weekend, people!

If you want to get an advanced copy of Early’s book, or pitch in for the production cost, click here. You can also get in touch with him on Facebook.

Photos: courtesy of John Early


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