Wednesday, February 5, 2020



"Bootleg" refers to the illegal manufacture, distribution or selling of alcohol.

In 1907, it was illegal to make or sell liquor without a government license.

Long-time Guam resident Hermogenes Daproza from Santa María in Ilocos Sur in the Philippines either didn't know or didn't care. He never got a government license.

But he maintained a still and made åguayente or agi, a hard liquor. Perhaps he thought he could get away with it because he lived and made his booze in Atantåno', a farming area south of Piti, just before you make the turn to travel towards Hågat or Sumay. Atantåno' wasn't exactly teeming with people, so maybe Daproza felt safe and secure in the peaceful, hidden quiet of his ranch land.

He didn't even sell those six and a half bottles of åguayente to Ana Matanane, the wife of José Pérez de la Cruz. He gave it to her as a gift. She said she needed it as medicine, as she anticipated being confined soon to her bed.

Somehow, the Island Attorney heard about it and sent police to Daproza's ranch, where they confiscated implements used in his bootleg operation. The bottles given to Ana were also confiscated.

Daproza plead guilty and was sentenced to pay a fine. He couldn't keep his still, either. The government said it would sell it at public auction and the income put in the island treasury.

There is humor to the end of the story. The court directed the local hospital to analyze the bootleg to see if it would have caused any harm to someone who drank it.

The analysis showed that Daproza's booze was 45% alcohol. His liquor was on the same level as whiskey. The doctor said it wouldn't do anyone any harm if drunk in moderation.

By the way, the doctor said, there's no need to dump Daproza's bootleg. The hospital could use it as rubbing alcohol.

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