Summer, Fifth grade is waiting in the horizon, and a young man's fancy turns to errr..circumcision. There is probably no nation on the face of this earth more obsessed with male circumcision than the Philippines.
For Filipino boys, nothing is more shameful than being called "supot" i.e. uncircumcised. In tagalog "supot" is also used to describe any manly man who does not measure up. Thus a weakling is called "supot", an airhead is also called "supot", so is a henpecked husband, etc. Supot this, supot that.
A boy who is circumcised at birth is considered a cheater. The rule is you are circumcised between your second grade and your fifth grade. The more painful the better. Boys have two choices: the local circumciser (usually the village barber) or for many your local doctor. Now, don't get me wrong, it is OK to go to the doctor as long as its not one of those "painless-bloodless" promo they are now pimping.
There was only one hospital giving the painless-bloodless circumcision during my days: Garma Hospital in Cubao. Garma Hospital is also Metro Manila's first STD Hospital. So if you went to Garma you either got the painless- bloodless circumcision or you had gonorrhea (this was pre-HIV Manila).
I got mine from the neighborhood doctor. My dad got his from their local barber, the painful, anesthesia-less way. The barber who gave my dad his circumcision also circumcised the last three town mayor and probably half of the male councillors. Talk about bragging rights.
Nowadays, it is common for politicians--and even church groups to sponsor "Operation Tuli" during the summer months.
After you get your circumcision, it would always be a funny spectacle of young men wearing skirts. It was probably the only time that a Filipino boy realize his link to bloody Scotland.
Hah!! This is not a skirt, this is a kilt--don't laugh or I will cut your bloody head off.
After a few days it is time to remove the bandages--another source of entertainment. My cousin had to be chased by his mother for four hours before he removed his bandages. It was so bad that he actually almost renounced his manhood right there. What a wimp.
If you have been circumcised, congratulations for you have bona fide complied with Abraham's covenant (yep, its in the Bible..). If you have not gotten one, please get one. You might be sent to limbo and run into your best friend there.