Tuesday, April 21, 2009

White is the new sexy?


Going to Cubao, I came across this billboard staring Sam Milby.

Check out the message..(and I could not wipe the smile off my face) .

You know what I think? I think that the copywriter should be castrated and the resulting stump poured with patis.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fruits of Summer

Thanks to globalization, Filipinos have access to the fruits of the first world. Go to any large Philippine supermarket you will find apples, oranges, kiwi fruits, grapes sometimes even peaches and pears. Thanks to biodiversity, we have access to regional fruits such as lanzones, mangoes, bananas, melons and even durian and even to some unusual fruits that I believe are unique to the Philippines and some tropical countries. I could fire of a few right here: chesa, duhat, aratilles, camachile, makopa, santol, even caimito . The lowly fruits of summer I call them.

They also have a dirty reputation among petty neighborhood thieves. When I was a kid, we used to joke that the best santol would be “parang pag-ibig---mas masarap kung nakaw” (rough translation: the best santol would be like bad love—best if stolen..har..har).

Santol is also not glamorous as the only sweet part would be the flesh around the huge seed, and the fleshy part of the fruit would always be pungently sour---best eaten with salt or made into sinigang stock. I remember the fruit vendor outside of Angelicum school, he would have fresh santol that he would peel before your eyes which he would place in a plastic bag that would be dumped with rock salt.

Duhat and aratilles is another neighborhood treat. Our neighbor used to have a huge duhat tree and an aratilles tree. We would hit the fruits with our slippers and when the fruit falls down we collect them in a tabo filled with water. After making sure that there is no dirt, we would pounce on our fruits. Some would eat their duhat with salt, which is a bad idea if you have singaw. The unripe aratiles fruits would be stone hard. We would use it as ammunition for our slingshot. It leaves a nasty welt if you get hit. I have seen the kind of welt that is left by those plastic bb guns it is nothing compared to the large welt left by a green aratiles fruit propelled by a slingshot. Did I also mention that it the shot is well placed in your eyes, it could probably blind you.

Near my grandparents house in Tarlac, there is this huge camachile tree that gives camachile fruits during summer. A Holy Week visit to our grandparent’s house would not be complete till we climb the camachile tree and have some of the pungent-tasting fruit. My doctor friends tell me that camachile has de-worming properties. We probably needed it after wolfing down so much dirt-picked durian.

Chesa. This is one fruit I hate. When it is ripe, the flesh turns golden brown. And when you mash it, it reminds you of something you pick up after your dog spins three times in place.

Lastly, my favorite: Caimito. Of all the endemic fruits we have in the Philippines, this one has the potential to go mainstream. It is very fleshy, always sweet when ripe and best served split in half and ice cold. It also has medicinal properties and is a good substitute for anti-diarrhea properties. Too bad, they are not commercially grown and what little supply we have are also harvested as wild fruits.

As we approach Earth day, perhaps we should be thankful for the immense diversity it has given us in our own backyard. There is no accident in nature, and all this diversity comes with the plan to provide us with rich and nutritious fruits and memories of kids using their rubber flip-flops to knock them down.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Men and their instruments

No doubt about it, we are in love with our tools and our machines. All men are essentially cavemen. They are descendants of hunters and gatherers. Thus understandably, they take so much pride and joy with the instruments of their prowess. No man would put off the opportunity to talk about their cars, their guns, their grill (see previous blogs), their stereo, their computers or even their power drills. All men are proud of some machine or tool that they have. Whether you are a fighter pilot bragging about your supersonic fighter plane or a jeepney driver bragging about your stainless steel street machine, being proud of them is not conceit nor is it false pride.

"Tatak Sarao yan..hehehe"

Some smart aleck feminist even remarked that tools are the subliminal projection of men’s penises. Tools are their way of feeling usefull and is their response to the fact that female is the one allowed by nature to have offspring. I think that is over simplification. Yes, I do collect a lot of tools, how would they be representations of my delusions that I am a Peter North? No wonder all of my screw drivers have 10 inch handles and my neighbor recently bought a pair of micro pliers.

When men talk of their machines there are no strangers. You can start a conversation with any man regarding their machines and you will feel right at home:

“Ilang horsepower ba yang pump mo?

“How many rounds will the magazine hold”.

“Can it go 170 kph on the SCTEX?”

Just last week, I was riding a taxi cab, when the driver all of a sudden felt the urge to ask for an advice. He was having these squeaky noise whenever he would make a turn and the engine would stall. I am no ace mechanic, but when a fellow manly man solicits advice, you have to dish out something. Consider it flattery of the highest kind when a complete manly stranger starts a conversation with you. That could only mean that he could feel your genuineness oozing out of your pores. Think about it, if this guy wanted something technical or scientific, he would have easily asked an expert mechanic. But why waste an opportunity to exchange notes with another manly man? Manly affirmation is the key here, getting it right would be secondary. This never happens to women. Women will never approach another woman and out of the blue start a conversation about their computer or stove or their lipstick. For men to strike up a conversation with another man is normal, especially if it involved tools or machines. It would be creepy for another woman to go even start a conversation with another woman.

Now for the downside: no man would ever admit that he is helpless in the face of technical difficulty. Thus, the most logical thing to do is to tinker with it..trying to get it done. Most of the time we are simply armed with what little we know—or what little manly advice we got. There is even this delusion we have that given so much tools we can fix it. Thus we end up buying more tools every time something breaks down. Why just get an oil change when half the fun is buying a filter wrench and doing it yourself? Here’s a hot tip to the women out there, contrary to what may be written in the Orpah Magazine (or for that matter the Kris Aquino magazine), the best men are not in bars or in church functions, nor can they be found in a save-the-whale event, they are out there shopping for tools at the nearest Handyman.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Metrosexual ?

Allow me to bash the increasingly funny phenomenon of the Metro sexual male. Supposedly, Metrosexual men are men (wipe that smile off your face) who are conscious of their appearance and grooming and are cultured and sensitive and most of all heterosexual. Mass media glorifies the Metrosexual purportedly because they are the market of choice for all sorts of consumer products.

Reminds me of our definition of the “Man of the ‘90s” we used to kick around (Thank you Atty. Marvin Aceron and Atty. Punzi Punzalan). The man of the ‘90’s is supposed to be sensitive—but not gay. I guess the “Man of the ‘90s” is the prototype for our Metrosexual man.

First a quick disclaimer, I don’t go to “unisex” saloons and loyally see my manly barber for my shaves and haircuts. I don’t highlight my hair or get a manicure or a pedicure for that matter. Whenever I feel the need for a massage, it would be the rough kind offered by my barber or by my ever-loyal Romy the Human Spa.

The arch-type for a Manly man hygiene is the one that you see in Army barracks: simple, functional and sanitary.

Simple because all you need are the basic stuff like soap and shampoo and deodorant. Functional because it gets the job done. Sanitary? Ever wonder why soldier’s haircut are short? It’s actually to control parasites. I am happy with my once a month haircut and my once or twice a week shave.

Whitening products? I think that I am well-adjusted enough to see that nature intended my epidermis to be dark. Had it been otherwise, perhaps it would not have allowed me to be born a few hundred miles from the equator. Any fifth grader will tell you that nature’s selection of skin type is a function of climate and geography and not a function of vanity.

As I said before, if you need to whiten your skin to feel good, then perhaps you are better off talking to your shrink rather than Dr. Vicki Bello. And did I mention that there is no hard scientific link to whitening and gluthathione? And besides, I really can live without seeing my manly nipples turn pinkish-red. Whatever happened to tall, dark, and handsome? Reality check here, I think that if your problem is related to your dark skin, then you have a self-esteem problem. Simply stated: you have the self-esteem of a eunuch in a male stripper convention.

Clothes? I subscribe to the Rodney Dangerfield school of dressing (No, thanks GQ). I get no respect. Color coordination is basic and I have no use for neon colored shirts. My office pants and barong are made in the finest tailoring shops in Kamuning Market. I really hate it when another man wear a tight and shinny black shirt—with their nipples popping out. Someone once remarked that I dress up like “an off-duty parish priest”.

So what is my take on this Metrosexual thingy? I have no problem with encouraging men to be healthy, sanitary and to be well-groomed. But the Manly Man is never a vain man.