PWEDE NA YAN: I’m Whining In The Rain

The Philippines is a tropical country yet most locals seem to detest the only elements we have, sunshine & rain. I remember when my mom visited me back when I used to live in Sydney, Australia and the time she popped-open her umbrella on a perfectly sunny day. People were giving us funny looks and double takes and some even held out their hands trying to see if it was starting to rain. Most Filipinos hide from the sun for two main reasons, the first being a wholly logical and scientifically proven one and that is skin cancer. The second though is rooted more into our past and culture: dark skin complexion. It is widely acknowledged here that fair skin complexion is more attractive and is usually a sign of nobility (see The Beautiful People).
As for the apparent fear of rain, I would say this is due by and large to old wives’ tales. My mother up to this very day constantly reminds me, “Huwag ka magpabasa sa ulan ha? (Don’t get yourself wet in the rain ok?)” as she believes I will most certainly catch a cold that way. The last time I checked rainfall is made of almost pure water which I’m pretty sure is not detrimental to our wellbeing. Just recently I was in a taxi stopped at an intersection when it began to very lightly drizzle. A young woman standing at the crossing caught my attention. She badly wanted to cross the street despite the red light because she was getting a bit rained on. The expression on her face was a mix of irritation, frustration, and anguish as she shuffled about and even stomped her feet from time to time. This amused me greatly but on the other hand I thought maybe she just had to go pee.

PWEDE NA YAN: The Beautiful People

My skin tone is slightly dark and I’ve never really had too much of a problem with it. There was the slight teasing back in elementary school but kids have never cared and would probably mock you for having an abusive, alcoholic father too. So I used to wonder why the majority of Filipinos go mad trying to ‘whiten’ their skin complexion. It’s understood that fair skin is often looked at as attractiveness but there are plenty of beautiful people with dark skin as well.
Well I’ve come to the conclusion that the motive to look “white” is rooted in the belief that fair skin was a sign of nobility back in the day. The fair-skinned people then were in most cases descendents of Spaniards whilst the “kayumanggi (brown-colored)” folk were the commoners and locals. The rich and well-to-do could safely stay in the shade while the local workers toiled in the heat of the sun hence darkening their skin. Recollect and you will remember a time when you’d hear people comment “Ay mukhang mayaman siya (Oh, she looks rich)” solely basing this on the mere fact that the person in question is fair-skinned. Thus even today, Filipinos are after a lighter complexion so that they don’t look common and so they can emulate their favorite celebrities as well. The irony is, those very same celebrities are trying to tan themselves to match our native kayumanggi color.

Shame on Upper Deck & Panini

I pay a lot of attention to the packaging of hobby products. In fact as a kid I based my pack purchases solely on this aspect.

watch a youtube box break here

Now I’d been away from NBA cards for more than 12 years and just recently got back into it late this year (2010). Back in the day, there were only a handful of brands from the 4 main manufacturers, Fleer, Skybox, Topps & Upper Deck. The most expensive products then were Topps Finest & the Skybox E-X releases. Game-used jersey cards were next to impossible to find and only Skybox products offered autographed pulls on relatively easy odds via their cross-brand Autographics inserts. So upon my glorious return to collecting, I discover that GU cards and AUTOS are pretty commonplace especially if one buys high-end products.

I am aware that the hobby demanded these premium cards and were very much OK to shell out the big bucks for them. High end cards sure look tasty and the card stock used is 4-5 times thicker than what I’d been used to. Then I watched a few box-breaks on youtube and I have to say I was pretty disgusted when I discovered how these products are packaged. For example we have the Exquisite Collection from Upper Deck. You have seven cards inside a cushioned box wrapped in plastic. This box sits inside a tin container which is inside another cushioned box again wrapped in plastic. Everything then is contained in yet another bigger cardboard box wrapped in plastic! What a shameful waste of materials! In this age of eco-friendliness and consciousness, how can we stand by this travesty? Is all this necessary to make consumers feel they are getting the appropriate bang for their buck? I think not.

I say Panini and the rest should set an example by being a little more ‘green’ and conserve on packaging which will no doubt lead to lower prices and “de-alienating” the rest of the hobby folk from the high end releases. Even if they choose to maintain the high prices, I wish they’d show more responsibility and maybe use recycled materials. Another idea would be to run a redemption program and let customers return the packaging in exchange for collectibles or cards.

Disclaimer: I am not a hippie nor a tree-hugger. I just care.

Street Fighter WTF?!

I’m talking about Street Fighter II and the Championship Edition so don’t get your panties in a knot. OK, so why do they call it Street Fighter anyway? Is it just a bunch of vagrants duking it out in the streets? Wasn’t there a TV show called Bum-Fights a few years ago that followed the same formula? Anyhow, sure, each fighter in the game has their own agendas but if say, Guile really had to kill Bison for murdering his friend Charlie (who I’m sure he had a sexual relationship with), why does he have to fight Dhalsim too, for example? What’s he got against the poor little Indian who just wants to Yoga Fire this and Yoga Flame that. Leave the poor man alone, he looks like he hasn’t eaten in weeks!

Speaking of Yoga Fires, talk about unfair odds. Ryu, Ken, Guile, Dhalsim, and Sagat all have projectile attacks. If I were in a fight for my life and I had an ability to shoot fiery, burning orbs of energy from my body, I’d be going “TigerTigerTigerTigerTigerTigerTiger!” all day.

And what about the ludicrous bonus stages?

Alright, mighty Street Fighter. If you manage to destroy this car, that for some reason is parked on this dock, with your bare hands within the given time limit, you win POINTS!!!
These wooden barrels, which for some unknown explanation travel via conveyor belt onto a mini trampoline, need to be neatly stacked in this warehouse. But since our laborers are on strike, you, stupendous Street Fighter are tasked with trashing the barrels instead before time runs out. Do this within the time limit and you win POINTS!!!
These large metal barrels full of oil have been set on fire and arranged in a most precarious manner. If you, brave Street Fighter, kick the shit out of them and avoid getting 3rd degree burns before the timer runs out, you win POINTS!!!

Street Fighter?! Jeez! Seems more like Street Cleaner to me!

Disclaimer: I am actually a big Street Fighter fan


Bus drivers in Manila are given a hard time by everyone. The poor guys. Just because most of them probably never even went to bus driver school, don’t know how to use their rearview mirrors and have a total disregard for safety, doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy a good warm hug at the end of the day.
Seriously though, these drivers get very little money in terms of their base monthly salary and just make up for it through commission on the number of passengers they can cram into their buses and how many trips they make in a day. Now there must be at least a hundred bus companies operating in Metro Manila alone, so each driver from all these companies is battling it out with one another every day to snag every possible passenger on the road. This directly equates to the reckless, lane-swerving shenanigans we witness everyday on EDSA. Hence, no matter what kind of zoning, bus-only lane, or designated stops schemes the MMDA concocts up, a poor bus driver will always see those idle passengers as more money and more food on the table for their families.
The reason public bus systems in other developed countries work so well is because there are only a handful of operators running in any given city. That and the fact that drivers get a sufficient base salary. In other words, adequately-paid drivers aren’t desperate for passengers and will more likely follow traffic rules and bus stop regulations.

PWEDE NA YAN: I’d Sell Both Coke & Pepsi If They Paid Me Enough

Welcome to the Philippines. Would you like to be rich & famous? Then you’ve come to the right place. Unlike most nations that have common sense, you don’t have to be talented to make it here (see Ding Dong Dantes). You don’t even have to be good looking (see Ding Dong Dantes).

All you got to do is smile and look at the camera and say, “This product is awesome”. Oh, and showing some skin never hurt anyone’s chances either (see Ding Dong Dantes). Some might be able to read between the lines and pick up on my subtle hints that I am not a fan of unrelated, laughable celebrity endorsements* and Ding Dong Dantes. I plead guilty, but I mean c’mon! The guy looks like a creepy, serial rapist. Plus I never trust men named after the male genitalia. And why is he always half naked on enormous billboards on EDSA? I like making it to the office in the morning BEFORE I throw up my breakfast, thank you very much.

*There used to be a huge ad for Max’s Fried Chicken with Piolo Pascual looking suggestively at you while lying down on a couch holding a big plate with 1 whole fried chicken on it!

Street Fighter Comebacks or How To Talk Trash To Street Fighters

Do those stupid Street Fighters ALWAYS kick the crap out of you? Are you tired of their ANNOYING one-liners after a bout? Can you never EVER win a fight? If you answered “YES!” to any of these questions then you need my new book called “STREET FIGHTER COMEBACKS: How To Talk Trash To Street Fighters!

Those pesky Street Fighters have always had the last laugh but not anymore. In this guide you will learn how to take a beat-down with dignity. No longer will you need to walk away, stripped of your quarters, in shame.

Here are but some of the gems you will find in this enlightening manual:

Buy now for just $29.99!!!

Ryu: You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance!
–That April Fool’s joke is only about 20 years old now, cmon!

Chun Li: I’m the strongest woman in the world!
–You’re also the ONLY woman in THIS world.

Guile: Are you man enough to fight with me?
–Uh, I just finished fighting you, hello!

Sagat: You are not a warrior; you’re a beginner!
–You are not from Thailand; you are too tall!

Blanka: Seeing you in action is a joke.
–Seeing you in person is a vomit-inducing experience.

Dhalsim: I will meditate then destroy you.
–I will donate to the World Food Program then feed you.

E Honda: Can’t you do better than that?
-Uh…can’t you do better than THAT?

Zangief: My strength is much greater than yours.
-You’re strength must be your chest hair then.

Balrog: My fists have your blood on them.
-My blood is infected with Hepatitis B.

Vega: Handsome fighters never lose battles.
-Especially handsome fighters who bring 8-inch blades to a fistfight. Asshole!

 Buy Now!