STARTING as an ordinary bartending enthusiast in one of the city's premier hotels, Kagay-anon bartender Renato Estrabela established what is now known as the flair bar-tending practice in Cagayan de Oro City. Now, he will be strengthening his legacy with his upcoming 'Lets Flair Cagayan' bartending competition which will bring together various flair bartenders in the Philippines.
"I really believe that the small community of flair bartenders here in the city can still grow through practice and more publicity," Estrabela said.
For 26 years, Estrabela has dedicated his time to the art of bartending by spending time in various hotels in the Philippines. His very first year in the practice was as a trainee under the tutelage of Pryce Plaza Hotel's then padre de hotel, Rene Escoltus.
Flair bartending, Estrabela said will amaze the spectators because while mixing cocktails, the bartenders will add up throwing exhibitions and other spectacles of the craft.
At 23 years old, Estrabela's interest in the art of flair bartending started even though the practice was not very well-know at the time. He spent time learning at Pryce Plaza hotel's masters for about two years until he decided to practice his craft for four years at the Grand Caprice hotel in 1993.
He considered his exposure in different bars and hotels to be his greatest training as a flair bartender. His craft was seen in celebrated establishments here in the city such as the Country Village hotel, Zordz resto bar, River view inn, and even Pulse Live Music.
It was only last year when Estrabela decided to build his own bar. He made his very own Skyy Flair Cocktail Mobile Bar in Barangay Lapasan as a hub for young aspiring flair bartenders.
"I have many students most of which I have trained with the hopes that they will find their passion in this art," Estrabela said.
In his career, Estrabela also has proven himself in various bar-tending competitions such as winning as champion in the 1995 Bailawanen Gold Bartending competition. He was also awarded as a first runner up in two Kumbira bartending competitions in 2005 and 2009.
Now that many novice bartenders are looking up to him, Estrabela aims to make use of his expertise to awaken the art of Flair bar-tending in younger potentials.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 26, 2017.