Art Film, Cult Film

“Laughs for the Road”

There was something about the late-night show “Two for the Road” hosted by Elvira Manahan and Nestor Torre  in the early 1980s.  It was stylish.  It was piquant.  It was funny!!! 

Specially when the madcap actress Rita Gomez was a guest on the show… [ but that’s for another post… ]

But according to a good friend, the original 1960s “Two for the Road” hosted by Elvira Manahan and Joey Lardizabal was far more interesting than the “watered down” or subdued 1980s version.  The original one, my friend said, could be downright dangerous…

He remembers one particularly memorable episode before the imposition of Martial Law on 21 September 1972.  He was about seven years old.  There had been a very strong typhoon, and in the spirit of compassion, “Two for the Road” held a “charity telethon” to help the victims…

And of course, the irrepressible Elvira Manahan manned a telephone…

All was well and wonderful and welfare until a man with a squeaky, slimy, sleazy voice called.

“Hillooo?  Ito pu ba ‘yung ‘Tu por da Rood’???” [ “Hello?  Is this ‘Two for the Road’???” ]

Elvira answered with her wide trademark smile:  “Yyyeeesss!!!  May I know who this is, please???”

“Elbiraaahhh…” the man’s squeaky, slimy, sleazy voice started getting breathy….

Elvira was nonplussed:  “Yyyeeesss!!!  And what can we do for you???”

“Elbiraaahhh…!!!” the man’s squeaky, slimy, sleazy voice started panting…

Elvira began to be amused and stifled a laugh:  “And whooooo is this please???!!!”

“Elbiraaahhh… aaahhh… aaahhh ” the man’s squeaky, slimy, sleazy voice sounded like he was already doing something… 

“Yyyeeesss!!!”  Elvira started looking around, comically wondering what was happening…

“Elbiraaahhh… ANG LAKI NG **** MO!!!” [ “Elvira… YOU HAVE A BIG ****!!!” ]  blurted the man with the squeaky, slimy, sleazy voice!!!

(**** =  the female sexual organ in Pilipino)


But no!!!  The uberstylish and uberwitty La Elvira was not offended in the least…

Shocked but delighted, she threw her coiffed head back and laughed the loudest laugh ever, fell on the floor, and banged her fists as her tears fell with her uncontrollable laughter!!!  She literally, in today’s lingo, “ROTFLMAO” “Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off”!!!

My good friend’s uberCatholic father witnessed the whole incident with his three elder sons.  Scandalized, he promptly switched off the television set to their protests.  He then recited the evening rosary with them, led by their mother.

All I can say is…

Elvira Manahan really had incredible style!!!

We all miss the lady!!! 


“La Lollo” in Manila

A story guaranteed to make you giggle endlessly… if you’re old enough to remember…

The beautiful Italian actress “La Bellissima” Gina Lollobrigida [ aren’t all Italian actresses so beautiful??? ] came to Manila in the early 1970s.  She had produced a very nice book on the Philippines.

In those days, foreign celebrities visiting Manila invariably became guests on Joe Quirino’s “Seeing Stars with JQ” on IBC Channel 13.  Local celebrities also became guests, albeit weekly, on Joe Quirino’s show, probably because there was no other talk show to be a guest in.  We children also watched it on the sly, not only because it was past our bedtime, but also because there was nothing else to watch at that ungodly hour [ 10:00 p.m.; during Martial Law, that was already an ungodly hour; these days, you’re just about to enter the bathroom to prepare yourself for “Embassy” at The Fort by 1:00 a.m.. ]  The only show we children refused to watch was “Aawitan Kita”; that was strictly for Lola Charing, Ate Talia and the aged househelp.  We children parodied “Ah-ah-weeh-tan Keeh-taaaah,” “tremolo,”  at the beach, complete with “Tweety Bird” and “Bugs Bunny” beach towels for “kimonas” and “sayas,” replete with crashing waves and orange sunsets!!!  On JQ’s show, we could imitate the high-energy dancing of Terry and Lally Aldeguer and their silent but full-mouthed “ah! eh! ih! oh! uh!,” and learn to sing “Besame Mucho” with a Cebuana accent from Pilita Corrales and her erstwhile beau Amado del Paraguay… “Bisami, Bisami Moot-soo…”  *lolsz!*  

“La Bellissima,” as expected of a foreign celebrity [ remember the Martial Law ban on imports??? ], became a guest on Joe Quirino’s show.  And so, after the usual nonsensical interview, Joe Quirino presented a token of thanks to the evening’s guest of honor… 

“Por our hunured gist “La Billissima” Geena Lullubreegida, I would now like to prisint the Pride op the Pilippines… ”  *bated breath*

“La Bellissima” smiled graciously, and expectantly…  As an honored guest, she would surely receive a considerable and elegant souvenir…

“‘Pamily Rabbing Alcuhol’!!!”  *canned applause*


He ceremoniously handed her a green plastic bottle of “Family Rubbing Alcohol”…!!!

“La Bellissima” graciously bowed and accepted the bottle of rubbing alcohol like a bouquet of roses or a sceptre in a beauty pageant, “Grazie!!!  Grazie!!!  Grazie!!!”  

But with the twitch of her eye, one could almost see a thought bubble in “La Bellissima’s” head:  “Whatthehell is this???”


Martial Law under President Ferdinand Marcos was supposed to have been a difficult time, and yes, it really was.  But some of the most ridiculous things happened at that point in time!!!   😛   😛   😛


I was with a cousin, yet another business-minded and very successful Pampanguena, recently and she related a funny anecdote about her great grandparents…

Her great grandmother was from an established and affluent Pampango family.  That family practically owned all the land in that town because they were the first to settle there.  She departed from family tradition because, instead of marrying from among the other good families in their town, she openly entertained the attentions of a Spanish “mestizo” gentleman from Southern Luzon.  The relationship blossomed and, parental objections notwithstanding, they were finally married.

All the ladies in her family, with their almond eyes and their overfed, oily “ensaimada”-like complexions,  disapproved of her marriage to an outsider, and to a Tagalog at that [ never mind that he was a Spanish “mestizo” ]!!!  Her own mother sarcastically quipped the line that literally made its way down the generations to the present:  “Ala ne mang dela iyang taung a yan queni cung e yng ‘tumpiang’ na [ the male youknowwhat ]!!!”  [ “That man did not bring anything here but his ‘youknowwhat’!!!” ]

What???  Bwahahahahah!!!  Truly, the dynamics of family don’t change… ever!!!

Nineteenth century Capampangan bitchiness at its best!!!   😛   😛   😛