Filipino vodka makes it to Oscar gift bags

By Yong Chavez, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Feb 24 2012 02:46 PM | Updated as of Feb 24 2012 11:06 PM

LOS ANGELES, California - Oscar nominees and winners get a lot of perks.

Win or lose, all nominees receive gift bags with goodies worth $75,000. But even those who are not nominated get to partake in the Oscar-fever loot through celebrity gifting suites, or invitation-only events held at top hotels exclusively for stars and powerful Hollywood players.

"It's a beautiful day in Southern California. I'm getting free stuff, it doesn't get any better. It's a great place to be right now," said Hollywood actor Lorenzo Lamas.

And this year, aside from jewelry, clothing, beauty products and electronics, celebrities also got to sample VuQo, a Filipino-made coconut vodka. It is a play on the Filipino word for coconut, which is "buko."

Stars like Ken Davitian of "Borat" and "The Artist" was excited to try the Filipino drink.

"We're probably the most popular booth here. They're surprised at how smooth it is. They love the hint of coconut taste. A bunch of celebrities have mentioned Boracay. I'm really proud that they know Boracay. And they say, 'Oh, this is what I want to be drinking when I'm on the beach in Boracay,'" said Giselle Arroyo of VuQo, referring to tourist favorite Boracay island.

VuQo is manufactured in the Philippines and is now available in major markets in the United States. Its inclusion in Oscar gift bags this year is the Filipino community's latest coup in Hollywood, where they aim to introduce the product to influential tastemakers.