Comedy Relief: Dead or Alive

I was at a big toy store in an upscale mall with my young nieces and nephew, watching my nieces go gaga over teeny tiny “Sylvanian Family” figures and my nephew over “Iron Man” robots, when I saw a young girl with her young father contemplating the purchase of what seemed like a baby-looking doll…

“Daddy!!!  ‘Baby Alive’!!!  ‘Baby Alive’!!!  Daddy, I want ‘Baby Alive,’ ‘Baby Alive’!!!”  insisted the young girl enthusiastically.

Young father took a look at the Php 5,000.00/xx price tag [ more than USD $ 100.00/xx ] and almost peed in his pants.

“Well… if I buy you “Baby Alive”… you’ll have “Daddy Dead”!!!  You want that???  protested the young father.

The young girl looked at her father sadly and started bursting in tears…

Of course the young father couldn’t bear it, so he relented…

“OK… ‘Daddy Dead’ it is…”  young father said with resignation, embracing his young daughter.

Harharhar!!!   😀   😀   😀

Comedy Relief: “Viagra”

This also knocked our socks off during a dear friend’s birthday dinner tonight at a Chinese seafood restaurant…

Elderly government official was on an official trip to New York City when he developed a serious medical condition and had to be hospitalized at the New York-Presbyterian.

Within the hour, all the members of his family living in the four corners of the world had already been informed.  They all wept because they knew it was the beginning of the end…

Everybody made plans to fly to New York City ASAP to be with him…

Elderly wife arrived, and so did eldest son, and eldest daughter, and so on and so forth.

A meeting with his attending doctors was hastily arranged, so that the family would know the exact status quo…

The doctors explained:  “In plain and simple words, he has had an overdose of ‘Viagra.’  Please tell him, nay insist, that he must not use it without his attending doctor’s instructions…”

“‘Viagra’ lang pala ang problema!!!  Nasobrahan lang pala!!!”  screeched the various family members.


Harharhar!!!   😛   😛   😛

Comedy Relief: Senior Citizen discount card

This really knocked our socks off during a dear friend’s birthday dinner tonight at a Chinese seafood restaurant…

An elderly government official had lunch with his PYT pretty young thing at a posh [ 5 star ] hotel restaurant.

Elderly government official decided that he and his PYT pretty young thing would have a little “love in the afternoon” in the hotel after their lunch.

The next day, the hotel called up the elderly government official’s landline to inform him that he had left his senior citizen discount card at the hotel’s registration desk.  The elderly government official’s elderly wife answered the call and said that she would fetch the card after lunch.

After lunch, elderly government official’s elderly wife went to the 5-star hotel, to the registration desk, retrieved her husband’s senior citizen discount card, and inquired about his recent charges.  Realizing what had happened even before hotel staff could explain, elderly wife abruptly stopped all inquiries and walked out of the hotel with her dignity intact.

It wasn’t the first time he had left his senior citizen discount card “somewhere compromising” so she just sighed…


Post Script:  Isn’t that the height of sexxxy:  “My hot young chick and I would like to get a room… so here’s my senior citizen discount card…”


Harharhar!!!   😛   😛   😛

Authentic Filipino “Halo-halo”

Summer in the Philippines is marked by the appearance of ubiquitous “Halo-halo” stands.  From major thoroughfares to the narrowest alleys, “sari-sari” stores to house frontages, you will find them:  several bottles of stewed fruits, canned evaporated milk [ or horrors, one of these made-in-China synthetic milk substitutes capable of inducing kidney damage ], white sugar, plastic cups and spoons, all on a campy plastic tablecloth, and a styrofoam box with a block of ice and an ice shaver.  It’s the archetypal summer small business of Juan de la Cruz.

“Halo-halo” is exactly what it’s called:   a mix.  When I was a child in the early 1970s, and long before it was made chic [ and then bastardized ], the 10 centavo [ yes, 10 centavos! ] “Halo-halo” at the nearby “sari-sari” store of Aling Maring’s was a mix of stewed fruits like “saba” [ plantain bananas ], “langka” [ jackfruit ], “nata de coco” [ fermented coconut jelly ], sweetened “mongo” beans, “ube” purple yam paste, red “gulaman” jelly [ bought dried like loofah from the public market; not American “Jell-O” ], red “sago” [ tapioca ], and “pinipig” rice crispies and was topped by a scoop of shaved ice, to which one added “ebap” evaporated milk [ read:  e-v-a-p-o-r-a-t-e-d, not “President” or “Elle & Vire”  😛 ] and white sugar to taste.

A few summers ago, I was stalking an antique “kamagong” aparador somewhere in Tayuman district in Tondo when the car broke down.  It had conveniently stopped in front of a “Halo-halo” stand in front of a pleasant-looking little house manned by a young mother and her well-scrubbed children.  Looking at the ingredients in closed bottles — “saba,” “mongo,” “ube,” “gulaman,” the styrofoam icebox, and the ice shaver, I decided to give it a try and ordered two for my driver and I.  It was good and had that elusive, nostalgic, pedestrian taste I remembered from childhood.  Cost:  Php 20 each.

While the A-crowd can have their chichi “Halo-halo” at the top hotels, and the regular Joes can have theirs in the various “Halo-halo” outlets at the malls, I’ve always felt, and strongly, that authentic Filipino “Halo-halo” is the one found on the streets, in the “sari-sari” stores, and house fronts.  It has to have that nostalgic “cheap” taste.  After all, “Halo-halo” is a descendant of the PreWar Japanese vendors’ “Mongo con hielo” found in populous Quiapo, Santa Cruz, and Avenida.  It was so common that no upper-class matron of that time would have served “Halo-halo” at her elegant “asaltos,” “bienvenidas,” and “despedidas.”   It was really “PPP” proletarian, plebeian, and pedestrian… during PreWar, at least.

In the 1950s, the generation of my parents used to go to “Little Quiapo” for “Halo-halo” after watching movies along the Escolta or Avenida…

Nowadays, the chichi go to the Manila Peninsula hotel lobby for the “Halo-halo” of upper-class Manila [ seems like any other “Halo-halo” to me;  I’ve always wondered if they should up the ante and make the ice out of “Evian” and throw in fruit preserves and “marrons glaces” from “Fauchon” for good measure  😛 ].  The regular Joes head for the various “Halo-halo” chains in the malls and elsewhere like “Digman” of Bacoor, “Icebergs,” “Razon’s” of Guagua, and “Kabigting’s” of Arayat [ Ayala Marquee mall, Angeles ], etc..

Ideally, as with everything else, the best “Halo-halo” should be made at home, bursting with all the yummy ingredients…   🙂   🙂   🙂

So, what’s your favorite “Halo-halo”???


Funny story about “Halo-halo”:

My Valdes cousin Susie Tinio Arroyo was telling me of the time she went with a mostly female tour group to Taal, Batangas.  The Coaster bus was full.  As expected, they visited the sanctuary of the miraculous Our Lady of Caysasay.  When they were leaving the shrine, their tour guide pointed to a nearby roadside stall and said that the best “Halo-halo” was to be found there.  The 90 year-old Taalena proprietress was known to prepare and stew all the yummy ingredients herself.  Mouths watering, the entire group of 35 foodies immediately flocked to the roadside stall and ordered a “Halo-halo” each.  It turned out that the 90 year-old woman was the only one preparing the “Halo-halo”:  she huffed and puffed and hyperventilated as she hurriedly shaved the ice and frantically prepared “Halo-halo” for the 35 surprise customers from Manila.  Yes, the “Halo-halo” was goooood!!!  Cousin Susie pitied the 90 year-old woman who panted to the 35th glass of “Halo-halo”…

And just as the 90 year-old woman handed the 35th Halo-halo glass to the last of the tourists, another Valdes cousin, Bunny Katigbak Fabella, stood up and requested:  “May I have more ice, please?”   🙂

*LOLSZ!!!*  Cousin Susie could hardly contain her laughter!!!

Grand Revival in Pampanga

It is amazing that in this era of rapid secularization and religious desensitization, religious traditions are experiencing an unexpected revival.  In particular, Roman Catholic traditions are experiencing a renaissance, indeed a grand revival, in Pampanga.  Thanks — of all people — to the youth.

Parish churches mount their “monumentos” — temporary altars to the Blessed Sacrament — for the traditional “Visita Iglesia” after the all-important Maundy Thursday afternoon holy mass:  the commemoration of Jesus Christ’s institution of the eucharist.  For the longest time and up to the present, Betis town always has the most remarkable, the most spectacular, sometimes very modern “monumento,” with a large budget allotment, that makes it a destination for pilgrims from other Pampanga towns, Bulacan, Tarlac, Bataan, and even Zambales.  In the late 1990s, a very traditional, very elegant, and most magnificent “monumento” entirely in antique silver was assembled in the lahar-ravaged Bacolor church by Thomas Joven and Jerome de Jesus from their private collections.  Joven and de Jesus are two Bacolorenos famous in elite circles for their expertise in the ecclesiastical arts.  Since then, the traditional Bacolor “monumento” [ not assembled every year ] — which rivals the annual Vigan cathedral “monumento” entirely of magnificent 18th century silver — has set the standard for all other Pampanga churches during Maundy Thursday, and so there has been a quiet but massive return to the sense of religious splendor during the Spanish colonial era.

There was a time in my childhood [ the 1970s ] when the traditional Good Friday processions in Pampanga, including ours in Apalit, were in sorry states.  Heirloom images were neglected [ thankfully not ours ], dressed shabbily, antique “carrozas” unkempt and unpolished, their lighting erratic or plainly nonexistent, the attendees lackadaisical and bored, and a general distaste for religious matters prevailing in the air.  Secularization was very in, and disco was preferred over the divine.

But it’s a different matter altogether now.  There is a renewed interest, surprisingly spearheaded by the youth, in all matters religious, including processions and other rites.  In all the old Pampanga parishes and even the new, Lenten processions have taken on a new luster, which 30 – 40 thirty to forty years ago would have looked “outta synch” and downright ridiculous.

Driving around Pampanga towns on Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday, one will see antique, ornate “carrozas,” mostly silverplated from the 1900s to the 1920s, being assembled, polished, and decorated with flowers in residential driveways.  Inside those houses, the antique images are being carefully dressed by the ladies of the family in well-preserved, traditional embroidered vestments, some of them original from the 1800s.  Some affluent families even pin a genuine gold and diamond brooch or two, or earrings and rings, to the female “santos” as signs of their devotion.  Some “pasos” will be processed during Holy Wednesday evening, the others on Good Friday, still others on Easter Sunday.

The traditional Pampanga Good Friday procession unfolds most beautifully and elegantly in lahar-inundated Bacolor town, once, and in a sense still, the seat of all that is patrician, noble, and grand in Pampanga.  Guagua, the traditional Chinese mestizo economic powerhouse, comes in a close second, despite the unsightly commercial district where the procession passes.  Santa Rita also has beautiful Good Friday rites;  the Holy Wednesday procession is remarkable for the number of antique “pasos.”  One is surprised by the fishing town of Sasmuan:  it has an astonishing number of antique, silverplated “pasos”;  its 1800s “calandra” of the “Santo Entierro” is truly remarkable for the magnificently-worked silver “arana de luces” chandeliers and the sheer number of antique “virinas” glass shades.  On the opposite end of the province, Arayat town has a most atmospheric Good Friday procession:  5 five of the beautiful antique “pasos” are still candlelit, returning one to the times of Maria Clara and Ibarra, of Capitan Tiago, Tia Isabel, and Padre Damaso…

I’m so glad that the time has come.  I am so fortunate to see a renewed appreciation and reestablishment of the meaningful, and beautiful, religious traditions of our forefathers in my lifetime.

“Visita Iglesia,” Online

It’s the most bizarre thing I’ve heard lately…

I’ve heard of “Burol” Online… but “Visita Iglesia” Online!!!  Wow!!!  *LOLSZ!!!*

Imagine going on the traditional Maundy Thursday visits to seven churches simply by sitting with your laptop or PC…

It’s kinda stretching it a bit far, doncha think???   😛