Saturday, December 25, 2010


Purico, a brand of shortening, was introduced in 1919 by the Philippine Manufacturing Corporation (PMC). It was sold in carton blocks with the familiar yellow label. The products of PMC were promoted over the radio, then the leading mass medium before the advent of television. Purico sponsored "The Purico Amateur Hour" (It was later renamed Tawag ng Tanghalan/Call of the Stage for which the first TV advertising contract is signed, after PMC was bought by Procter & Gamble.)

The Purico Amateur Hour featured the brightest stars of the radio, dishing out songs and skits and what-have you--from Tolinday and Chichay, annoucers Ira Davis and Conde Ubaldo, actresses Rebecca Gonzales, Lily Miraflor and singing discoveries like Milagros Bernardo.

The radio program attracted bigtime stars (Rogelio de la Rosa, Rosa Rosal, among others) and gained a nationwide following. Fan photos of the performers and stars were issued for adoring fans to collect in albums. An example is shown above, made perhaps, by an ardent follower of the radio show. About 20 photos of from the radio program were assembled on a home made album of Manila paper, dating back to the 190s, the golden age of Philippine radio broadcasting.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


An advertising paper premium fan given by C.O. Del Rosario Inc., a beauty supply store along Azcarraga (now C.M.Recto St.) cor. Misericordia St. The shop sold everything from cold wave lotion, hair colors, setting lotions and salon essentials like scissors and curlers.

The cardboard , when pulled, reveals a full religious scene featuring Jesus Christ with a group of children and the biblical quote "Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not..". A rather profound message for beauticians--recipients of this vintage folding fan.

Monday, December 13, 2010


A 1960s tin pinback of the famous crimebusting duo. I remember Batman was shown on Channel 7 back in the late '60s and I followed every Zap! Kapoww! and Ka-Blamm! episode of the cape crusader and his young sidekick in green tights. Adam West portrayed Batman while Burt Ward played the boy wonder, Robin. They live in a mansion with their loyal butler, Alfred in Gotham City, which was forever being besieged by anti-heroes like the Penguin, Catwoman, King Tut, Mr. Freeze and the dastardly Joker. Batman clubs were formed overnight and members got to receive cheap premiums such as fan photos and cheap thin lithographed buttons such as this, which dates from 1966.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


The Philippine music scene of the 1970s was not just defined by moptop artists, British bands and folksinging groups—but also by a revolutionary songbook that became a byword in its heyday: JINGLE Songbook Magazine—or just plain JINGLE, to a horde of guitar-strumming, music-loving young people, myself included. Before JINGLE, we only had squeaky-clean songhits with predictable titles like “Hit Parade” and “Song Cavalcade”. But the launching of JINGLE changed all that: it was fun, it was attuned to the times, it was irreverent and wacky, it poked fun at the establishment, and it answered young people’s clamor for better entertainment.

First published in 1970 by Jingle Clan Publications, the first issue had the Beatles on the cover and featured 90 pages of songs—around 120 of them, 100 of which came complete with guitar chords. JINGLE was a staple in many high schools and colleges in the country, as it made singing and playing guitar so easy (the magazine had a pull-out guitar chord guide)—all for jut P2.50. JINGLE music had it all-- from Jack Jones to Tom Jones, Beatles to Monkees, Motown to Soul, Platters to Peter, Paul and Mary, James Taylor to Carole King, Pilita Corrales to Nora Aunor, ballads, folk songs, standards, songs from rock musicals (“Tommy”, “Jesus Christ Superstar” and more.

The articles too, were hip and cool, dished by a stable of writers that included Juaniyo Arcellana, Vicar Rosales, Pennie Azarcon and Ces Rodriguez. Emil Davocol and Dani Tagbo did very “in” illustrations that found their way on mod T-Shirts. I remember one beautifully-illlustrated poster that came free with an issue of JINGLE, a Pilipino translation of “Desiderata” done in calligraphy. I remember framing that poster for my room! Of course, JINGLE also gave other assorted freebies with every issue—like a Beatles’ bookmark, a David Cassidy poster , frameable quotations.

A lot of risqué things could be found on every page—from green songs and jokes (I even won First Prize in their regular send-a-joke contest, with my entry featured prominently on “The Grin Page”), protest songs and Anti-Marcos establishment commentaries. It ‘s no wonder JINGLE was one of the publications that incurred the ire of authorities and was targeted for closure during the Martial Law days. But so popular was JINGLE that it was soon made available again, spawning imitation songbook magazines like MopTop, Burgis (which became BM after Martial Law), He & She. It even raised its prices to Php 4.75 in 1077, and two years later, an issue cost Php6.00. Re-issues that came out in 2009 cost a whopping Php80.00.

JINGLE was line-extended with the coming of JINGLE Extra Hot Magazine that was a showbiz tabloid of some sort, but as they say—the original (concept) is still the best. Today, re-issues of past JINGLE editions are still available, reproduced to the last detail—including pull-outs—by Jackpot Publications.

Shown above are two original issues from 1977 and 1979, found at last year’s Greenhills Antique Fair, in good condition, priced at 200Php each. A cheap price to pay to reclaim a portion of my 70s youth. Err, which page again is that Jim Croce song?

Sunday, December 5, 2010


The first image we have of Santa Claus or St. Nicholas, shows the saint dressed in a bishop's miter and robe, with a kindly, bearded face. The Dutch portrayed their Sinterklaas, the giver of gifts, as a tall and reedy person in a red coat. It took the illustrator Thomas Nast to give St. Nick a rounder frame and a cheerier expression. He made St. Nick even more believable by giving him a workshop and the task of keeping an eye on children's behavior. He also gave him a permanent address: the North Pole!

America further built on this image in the 19th century by picturing him as a jolly gentleman, with white hair, a moustache and a long beard.He acquired a chubbier face and a ruddier complexion. The final milepost in the development of his image came from The Coca Cola Bottling Company when they used Santa for their ad campaign. Their artist, Haddon Sundblom, created an adult who ehshrined Nast's Santa's face and costume. The 1950s campaign continued for more than 40 years and this archetypal Santa image has been perpetuated and recognized as the universally accepted image of Santa Claus.

These two full-color Christmas Coca-Cola ads are from the back pages of National Geographic Magazine from the 1950s, found locally.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Johnny Hero is a 13 inch figure made by Rosko Industries for Sears in 1965 as an alternative to GI Joe. He disappeared a few years after as apparently an alternative was not required. He was repackaged briefly (probably to dump unsold stock) as an Olympic Hero. Johnny came with a red number 16 shirt, gold shorts, socks and white tennis shoes. His body was a heavy foam with plastic hands and head. He had a metal prong in his hand that helped him hold a baseball or football.

Once you bought your basic Johnny you could then buy accessory sets from your favorite baseball and football teams. It is not unusual to find later sets with mixed accessories. You may find a Vikings helmet with Redskins pants and an Eagles jersey.

One of the problems with this line was getting the helmets and clothes off on and off of the figures. The foam rubber would tear easily and the helmet was nearly impossible to get on without cracking it or scraping Johnny's ears. That short production run also means that these figures are hard to find. Just a few years ago, you could find Johnny Hero MIB for under $50 and equipment sets for under $10. Now boxed figures regularly sell for $75-$125 and equipment sets for $25+. Well, I find mine in a local city thrift shop for just a hundred pesos! That's a heroic feat!

151. Busted: JOSE RIZAL by Guilermo Tolentino

A small cast cement bust of our national hero, Dr. Jose Protacio Rizal, cast from an old mold made by National Artist for Sculpture, Guillermo EstrellaTolentino. Tolentino was a product of Philippine art’s Revival period, and studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. In 1925, he joined the University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts as a professor and later became its fourth director (1952-55). Some of his well-known works include: The Bonifacio Monument, in Caloocan City (1933), The UP Oblation, at the University of the Philippines (1935), Venus, and the Alma Mater statue of the University of the East (1957).

This particular Rizal bust, which is only about 7 inches high, is numbered at the nape, and possibly dates back to the 1950s. It was offered on ebay but was unsold. The bust is bare cement, without paint, and was made to decorate a desk or a shelf.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

150. Gameboard : OUR LADY OF BARANGAY

The devotion to the Birheng Sang Barangay (Our Lady of Barangay) had its beginnings in 1954, when a Filipinized image of the Virgin was painted by a former leprosarium inmate, Crisogono Domingo for the Catholic action group, Barangay Sang Birhen Association in Cadiz City. From a local devotion, the following spread nationwide, and this rare gameboard--found in Cubao X--was made in 1958 by the Catholic Trade Center to further encourage Filipinos to "find your way to Mary". The game pieces are long gone, but one could easily figure out the objective of the game--which is a race to the shrine of our Lady of Barangay, with stopovers at various churches in the country.

Today, the Shrine of Our Lady of Barangay can be found in Tagbilaran City in Bohol, which is known as "Simbahan Lingin" or the Cogon Shrine where the image is now housed.

149. STARSKY & HUTCH: TV's Streetwise Cops

One of my fave cop-and-criminal TV series in 70s was "Starsky & Hutch", produced by Spelling-Goldberg Productions, and aired by ABC from 1975-79. Army veteran David Michael Starsky (Paul Michael Glaser) and the blond former Marine Kenneth 'Hutch' Hutchinson (David Soul), were the California cops who prowled the streets of Bay City in theirred and white Ford Gran Torino, looking to chase some criminals on the loose. The two were a study in contrast--one intense and aggressive, the other, cool and reserved.

Starsky & Hutch were ably supported by their underground informant, the jive-talking Huggy Bear (Antonio Fargas) and their non-nonsense boss, Capt. Dobey (Bernie Hamilton). The unforgettable theme music was composed by Lalo Schifrin.

For 4 years, Starsky & Hutch thrilled its worldwide audience with their action-packed adventures, but the level of violence had TV network officials worried. Over time, Paul Michael Glaser lost interest in the show while David Soul pursued his other passion--music--making a #1 hit out of the song, "Don't Give Up On Us".

After the 4th season, the ratings declined and Glaser quit, thus releagting the two cop icons to TVland Heaven. The characters were briefly resurrected in 2004, with a film version entitled "Starsky & Hutch: They're the Man" starring Ben Stiller (as Starsky) and Owen Wilson (Hutch).

This hardbound, "The Starsky & Hutch Story", an authorized edition based on the TV series was released in 1977, for David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser fans who can't get enough of these two cute Southern California cops!

148. PINBACK: Saturday Night Fever

Saturday Night Fever, the movie that popularized Disco and catapulted John Travolta to international stardom was a global blockbuster hit of 1977 and 1978. As Tony Manero, the dashing Italian-American who ruled the Brooklyn disco scene with girlfriend Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney). This pinback button is a memento from those heady disco days when people bumped, grind and hustled their way to the music beat of the Village People, Sylvester, Donna Summer, Cerrone, Van McCoy, Hues Corporation, Chaka Khan--and of course, the Bee Gees. The long-haired Australian band with their highstrung falsetto voices thrilled us no end with songs from the Saturday Night Fever album that became a hot blockbuster hit worldwide, giving disco fanatics night fever, night fever, night fever...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

147. Building Creative Minds with TINKERTOY

One of the earliest--and best--Christmas presents I received from my parents as a kid was a canister of Tinkertoy-ordered from the commissary of Clark Field, no less! I got this special gift in 1964, at age 7, and I was delighted no end, keeping me occupied for hours constructing figures, pinwheels, watchtowers, vehicles, animated ferris wheels and robots from colored sticks and spools, supplemented with cardboard cut-outs. All I had to do was follow the instruction guide that came with the set. I played with the set until it literally fell apart and until now, I could visualize the fantastic things I could create with this unique toy created in 1914 by Charles H. Pajeau and Robert Pettit of Illinois. Pajeau designed the toy after seeing children play with pencils and empty spools of thread--and thus Tinkertoy was born. Today, Hasbro still makes Tinkertoy, in both plastic and classic wood. This complete and unused example of a Junior Tinkertoy was purchased for a few dollars at the famous Antiques Garage Flea Market in New York.


Here's a great example of an advertising premium from the popular soap, Camay, made by then Philippine Manufacturing Corporation (PMC), the future Procter & Gamble.

It is an album of beauteous Filipina movie stars of the 50s, with detachable color photos and biographical sketches of famous actresses of the day like Carmen Rosales, Tessie Agana, Linda Estrella, Rosa Rosal, Norma Vales and Nida Blanca.

It is often hard to find an album with all the pictures intact, but this example has them all. Camay has since undergone many relaunches--at one point, even the pronunciation changed into a more Americanized --Cah-mey!

But its association with stars and beautiful women remained. In fact. Camay Girls were some of the most recognizable women on TV in the 60s thru the 80s, a list that includes Pacita Goyena, Tina Artillaga, Maritess Revilla, Cita Revilla, Claudia Bermudez and Zsa-Zsa Padilla. In the 90s, Camay had all but disappeared from the product shelf, but the images of the legendary beauties who promoted the soap lingerin our memoroies--and in albums such as this!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

145. The Green and the Amber: 7-UP BOTTLES

One American soft drink brand that reached the Philippines in the 40s was 7-UP, that fizzly bubbly drink created by Charles Leiper Grigg in 1929. Originally, 7-UP was named "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda", because it contained lithium citrate, a mood-stabilizing drug used to cure hangovers. But it proved popular to the mainstream soda market, and soon, millions 7-UP in green bottles were staples ion picnics, parties and the homes, providing a refreshing aletrnative to cola drinks.

Its signature green bottles showing a woman in swimsuit with 8 bubbles in the front lable came out first in 1937. The design was kept the same till the 50s, although the bubbles were reduce to 7, in keeping with the 7-UP name. An interesting and rare Philippine 7-UP bottle is of amber and was used in the mid 50s and 60s. This bottle followed the 'non-swim' design produced until 1953. 7-UP's popularity has waned considerably with the introduction of Sprite, but there was a time when everyone was "'un for all, all for 'un, 7-UP the UnCola!".

144. Hello, Dolly: COMPOSITION DOLL

I have forgotten where I found this old composition doll, which is typical of those made in the 50s. Composition is sort of like compressed paper mulch, sawdust and glue but much more durable than paper mache. Its head, arms and legs are made of composition material, the body is made of stuffed cloth. Though it has some crazing, dings and paint loss, this doll with close-open glass eyes is complete right down to its satin-and-tulle baby clothes. It's been sitting on a baby chair in my room for quite some time now and perhaps, it's time to take it out when I go trick-or-treating this Halloween. With all the crazing that has started defacing its face, this once-cute doll is beginning to look like Chucky's bride, you know, that movie monster doll who goes around with a baseball bat screaming---"I wants YOU for a best friend!" Nyahahahaa!

143. Prescription for a Collectible : LAXONAL PURGATIVE POSTER

A paper handbill I got from an old defunct printing shop in Malolos touted the merits of a local purgative from the 50s--Laxonal--prepared by Angeles's Laboratory of Pulilan, Bulacan. "Hindi Delicado, Ipinagbibibile sa Lahat ng Botica" (Safe, Sold by All Drugstores), says the leaflet. Worm infestation was a primary health concern for Filipino children so much so that regular intake of de-worming medicines was recommended. Oftentimes, purgatives left children cold and weak, such that they had to stay at home during treatment. Of course, now we have more effective, safer medicines that you can take discreetly, without the needless stigma--and just one dose does it! One latigo, all bulate-goooooo!!!

142. Drinking Vitality: CHOCO-VIM

Choco-Vim was my idea of chocolate heaven back when I was a kid in the 60s. Dairy giant Magnolia concocted the chocolate drinks, and came in straight-sided bottles such as this, and also in shorter, squatter bottles. When the family would go visit my aunt in Manila, she would welcome us with servings of Choco-Vim, picked out from her freezer (she ran Herran Kiosk). Choco-Vim would be reincarnated as Magnolia Chocolait in the 70s, and this time, it was made to appeal to the young go-go crowd. Remember that ad featuring young people cavorting on a beach as the jingle "Superdelicious Chocolait, Supernutritious Chocolait.." played on and on?

In the early 80s, Chocolait was assigned to ad agency Ace Compton and, in a twist of fate, I found myself writing the ads for it! I guess my love and affinity for the product showed as the Magnolia Chocolait Ad won creative awards! Anyway, Chocolait--now in tetra packs--is still being sold today, but even if I know it's the reincarnation of Choco-Vim, I still long for the day for the brand to return--original name, bottle, flavor and all. People from my generation still pine for the nourishing, revitalizing Choco-Vim--so much so that there's even a facebook group devoted to this bottled chocolate goodness!

141. Boxed: NANCY DREW

If The Hardy Boys had a box, why not Nancy Drew? This 1977 lunchbox is based on the popular TV series starring Pamela Sue Martin. The character Nancy Drew is a creation of Edward Stratemeyer in 1930, which traces the adventures of a girl detective. First appearing in 1930, the detective stories made for juveniles were written under the pseudonym, Carolyn Keene. This particular box (copyright 1977 by Universal Studios) was one of the merchandise spawned by the hit, Nancy Drew Mysteries that ran from 1977 to 1979 on ABC. Initial episodes featuring Nancy alternated with episodes with the Hardy Boys. Martin left the series midway through the second season--and posed for Playboy Magazine-- and was replaced by Janet Louise Johnson until Nancy Drew was dropped completely in the final episodes.

Pamela Sue Martin however, may have the last laugh as her Nancy Drew lunchbox with its plastic thermos intact is worth more than that of the Hardy Boys. It has a value of about 50$ in good condition ($100, if in mint condition) vs. about 30$ for a used Hardy Boys box.


A cheap plastic 'perpetual' desk calendar with date, day and month adjustments at the back. Just a turn of the plastic knob will make you up to date for your daily appointments! The featured celebrity is the iconic Audrey Hepburn, who was all the rage in the 50s and 60s ("Sabrina", "Roman Holiday", "Wait Until Dark"). Some may call this too kitschy, but I think it's better than some of the griahsly-designed desk calendars that I receive every New Year!

139. Flavor in a Bottle: RUFINA PATIS

A true Filipino icon brand--that's Rufina Patis, perhaps the most well-known name in the local seasoning industry-- a notch higher than Tentay, Dalisay and Lorenzana patis. This flavorful fish sauce was first concocted by Lucio Lucas and Rufina Salao in 1900, an enterprising couple from the fishing town of Malabon. By the 1930s, the product was so in demand, such that in 1935, the brand name "Rufina Patis" was patented. In 1935, the demand for this product had grown so high that its makers decided to patent its brand name. Rufina Patis went international in the 50s when it was exported to Filipino communities in Hawaii and Guam. I still remember the catchy jingle that played over and over again on the radio "Rufina Patis! Rufina Patis! Ang patis Rufina...ay malinamnam!". Rufina Patis was first packed in bottled with paper labels. This 1950s-60s bottle has an applied color label with the signature Rufina font on top of a green circle. Other kinds of bottles were used, but the logo remained the same.

Though not as high profile and as visible in the marketing scene, the Rufina Patis Factory is still in operations today in Malabon, still churning out the flavor that first captivated Pinoy taste over a century ago.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

138. SCOTTIE FIGURINES: Collecting Goes to the Dogs

I've had this pair of black and white Scottie figurines forever! They are made of bakelite and I suppose they are from the 50s or even earlier. Every one seems to love these perky mutts; scottie terrier collectibles are dime a dozen. There's even a famous Scottie in the movie, "The Lady and the Tramp"--Jock, in an important supporting role. Black and White Whisky features a pair of Scottie as their mascots as well. I don't think I'll ever separate these two mutts--they have rested on this dusty shelf for, like 20 years? And if you think I am going to sell these soon, you're barking at the wrong dog!

137. Hand Carry: BAKELITE BAG

A mid-century bag with a clear lucite handle, an octagonal bakelite top and a body made with woven metallic strips makes a glamorour, shimmering statement when carried in public. A brass clasp keeps the contents of the bag in place--maybe a Max Factor pan cake, rhinestone-decorated glasses, a red Revlon lipstick. Found this in a makati thrift shop, possibly a discard of a once young and svelte high society girl who once dreamt she was Grace Kelly. What a lovely thought. Maybe I'd tote this along in the office one day as my lunchbox.


Stan Lee created this team of heroes for Marvel Comics in 1961 and the adventures of the Fantastic Four were lapped up by comic fans the world over. The group included Mr. Fantastic, the Human Torch, the Invisible Woman and the Thing. They have been adapted into other media--appearing as a TV cartoon series in 1970, as characters in video games and in a number of feature films. The 2005 movie version grossed $329 million worldwide. This vintage 1976 Aladdin tin lunchbox is yet another one of the group's incarnation. The other panel shows other Marvel superheroes like Mighty Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Wasp, Falcon and Ironman. A A box in pristine condition was valued at 80$ in 2001, but this one I picked up for 50 bucks in some local variety store.


The Lady who would be Queen--Elizabeth Alexandra, age 25--finally assumed the throne as the Queen of the British Empire on 2 June 1953--after a year after his father, King George VI, passed away due to lung cancer. Hers was the first televised coronation in TV history, with stately ceremonies held at the Westminster Abbey. Many commemorative items were made as souvenirs of the historic event, and mass produced items included plates, books, figurines, household wares such as this now 50-year-old-plus mug. Made of ironstone, it bears the profile of the new monarch, who continues to reign today with her royal family that includes Prince Charles, the heir apparent, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. Let's drink to Queen Liz's long and royal reign!


You don't see them a lot these days--these shiny metal horses atop jeepney hoods, often alone but sometimes in groups of three's or even more. If Rolls Royces have the Winged Lady as a signature hood ornament, our local honk-tonk jeeps have these equine fixtures, standing in attention amidst the clutter of color and plastic decor that define our national vehicle. Nowadays, you see these chrome-plated horses in antique shops, sort of folk art examples, priced anywhere from Php 200 and up. Aye, I tell you, Saraos aren't Saraos without these metal horses. Do I hear a neigh?

133. Time to Retire: GOOD YEAR TIRE SIGN

This metal sign was salvaged from our Shell Gas Station which my father used to operate in front of the Calrk Air Base gate in Angeles, in the 1970s (it was previously managed by his younger brother for many years). I remember spending time at that gas station after school, its most prominent feature was a big billboard showing a gyrating dancer with the headline "Zoom, zoom, super Shell!". This particular sign used to hang in the service bay of the station, next to Goodyear tires that were available for sale in case someone got a busted tire. There were so many of these signs, I can't believe I only have one left. Eventually, the gas station business floundered and closed. Today, the space where Shell used to stand is a jumble of crowded commercial stalls. Indeed, the Goodyears are gone.

Monday, July 5, 2010

132. PEPSYCHEDELIA! Pepsi Advertising Posters

Various psychedelic posters from the 1970s singing praises to Pepsi Cola, which, in those turbulent decades was the no. 1 cola in the country, outselling Coke by a mile. Remember "Have a Pepsi Day"? Or the "Pepsi Generation"? The posters are sooo Peter Max, relying on design more than the concept. Note the 'sarimanok' motif on the 3rd poster. Minnesotan John Clarkin is credited with bringing Pepsi to the Philippines at the close of World War II, becoming the 1st country manager of the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company. Advertising was handled by Ace-Compton Advertising in the 70s, but too bad I didn't get a chance to work on the account--it lost it in 1978. These are my only Pepsi mementos at a time when the so-called Cola Wars were at its peak.


Back in the 70s, nobody can talk about the Jackson 5 without referring to the Osmonds. They arrived in the entertainment scene almost the same time, with the same "singing brothers" concept. Clearly, the Jacksons, led by Michael Jackson, became bigger stars, but the Osmonds too had their share of worldwide fan following. The boy band started in 1958 as a barbershop group featuring Alan, Wayne and Jay. They became Disneyland fixtures until Andy Williams spotted them and gave them a break on his popular show. Soon, the toothy Osmonds--which now included Merrill and Danny started making waves with "One Bad Apple", "Crazy Horses" and the now-classic "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother". Osmondmania was on!! Danny emerged as the lead star, and the '1ts family of entertainment' expanded to include Jimmy and Marie osmond who also found fame as a solo artist (remember, "Paper Roses"). Why, the Osmonds even visited the Philippines and perfomed at the Araneta Coliseum at the height of their careers!

As usual, lots of merchandise--from dolls, posters, coloring books and 'annuals' such as the ones pictured above, were produced to satisfy obsessed fans. Donny and Marie went on to have a successful TV show as well which ran thru the 80s. Post-Osmond fame, the family suffered financial setbacks but recovered. Donny became a Broadway hit with "Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". Marie became a businesswoman, designing dolls. Jimmy opened the Osmond Family Theater in Missouri, while the rest of his brothers formed a much in-demand country group. Recently, Donny and Marie were seen on "Dancing with the Stars", where Danny emerged as the grand winner. Today, the Osmonds continue to perform as individual artists and as a group, bringing back their music to their baby boomer fans in the U.S. and around the world.


I was walking along Arquiza St., in Manila one day, and I chanced upon this vintage portrait of our national hero, Jose P. Rizal. It was well-painted and signed, albeit, illegibly and had paint losses, but the face remain unscathed, fortunately (this shows the painting restored already). Time was when every elementary school library or classroom in the country had a painting of a hero--usually that of Rizal and Bonifacio. Aguinaldo and Del Pilar were other favorites too, and I have seen at least one of Juan Luna. This Rizal painting could have come from one such elementary school. Rizal's 150th birth anniversary is coming up next year, so I thought I'd rescue our hero from antique shop oblivion, before it goes the way of "mi ultimo adios'.

Monday, May 17, 2010

129. ROOSTER TAKAAN, Paper Mache Mold

Papier mache art is synonymous with the town of Paete, Laguna which has been churning out colorful papier mache figures of all shapes and sizes for many decades now. The industry peaked in the 1970s, when Manila antiques and art shops included these colorful, folksy figures to supplement their dwindling supply of genuine antiques. The horses were painted in red lacquer then the body was further decorated with folksy patterns.

Along Mabini, the place to go for these decorative figures was Junque, whose proprietor was no less than writer-culturati-book publisher Gilda Cordero-Fernando. Silahis Arts and Crafts in Intramuros not only carried these painted paper equines, but also other figures, like roosters, rabbits and later, women in Philippine costumes, angels and Santa Claus. In due time, even the solid wood molds on which newspaper strips were glued became hot collectibles. The example shown above shows a mold for a seldom-seen rooster figure. This "takaan", as they are called, was collected from Paete and found its way to a Mabini shop, and then to a shop in Angeles. where I found it. It is too plain and heavy to become a "manok ni San Pedro", but it does make a nice doorstop!


Aside from the giant Rosary and the Spoon & Fork woodcarving, one other house decor that defines Philippine interior design is the "Weapons of Moroland" wall plaque. In the post-War years all the way to the 50s and 70s, this decorative plaque that features miniature weapons from the Muslim South was a staple in many Philippine homes, as well as a popular souvenir item among visiting tourists. This example is the harder-to-find smaller version, measuring only about 6 inches tall, is an example from the 1950s. It is of cheap plywood and painted aluminum and features the Philippine seal as well as a Moro shield in the middle of the wooden panel. The blades are made from cut aluminum. Some of the names of the weapons are kaus, kampilan, barong, laring, pira, panabas and many more (the larger version of this plaque features 22 weapons in all.)However, this plaque is missing three weapons: the Puñal, Kris and Bangkon. The "Weapons of Moroland" are still being made in fewer quantities today as their appeal has largely diminished brought about by more enduring souvenirs like giant folding fans, man-in-a-barrel, and yes--woodcarved Spoons and Fork, which continues to find favor in the homes of the nouveau rich and famous.

Monday, May 3, 2010

127. Coloring Book: BEN CASEY

Before Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice, there's Ben Casey--a medical drama series on TV that ran from 1961-66. Its main star, the heartthrob Vince Edwards played the role of the young, hunky doctor Ben Casey, a surgeon at County General Hospital. He was mentored by Dr. David Zorba (played by Sam Jaffe). The show found stiff competition from Dr. Kildare, also a medical drama series from NBC, which starred the equally cool and handsome Richard Chamberlain as the intern James Kildare. Both Ben Casey and Dr. Kildare even hit the airwaves on the same year. The audience was divided between the suave Dr. Kildare and the smoldering Dr. Casey, who was more intense, more brooding, more gritty--and more hairy! (blame it on Vince Edwards' Italian genes) . And, in the early ratings game, Ben Casey dominated its time slot. Both shows however generated a lot of merchandise like comic books, dolls, game boards, LP records and authorized edition coloring books--one example of which is shown above. The book, published in 1963, had pages to color of the doctor in action at the hospital.

Eventually, after 5 years, both shows were cancelled. Vince Edwards continued to act in Film and on TV (he made a TV movie in 1988, The Return of Ben Casey) until he died of cancer in 1996.


This antique ironstone baby plate made by HoldFast, a popular maker of plates and other houseware based in East Liverpool. I found this in Bangkal, and it was obvious the dealer recognized it as an antique, as it was hanging on a wall as a decorative plate. The central illustration shows a little boy and girl on a see-saw, who reminded me briefly of the Campbell Kids. HoldFast made many children's dishes, bowls and alphabet plates which featured letters of the alphabet written on the rim of the plate. HoldFast plates and dishes are noted for their durability and for their charming designs which often feature characters from Nursery Rhymes like "Bye, Baby Bunting" and "Pussy Cat, Where Have You Been?". This example is heavy and deep, and dates back from the early 20th century or even earlier. The best thing about it is, it still is serviceable, so now I use it as my breakfast plate!


There's a growing legion of pop-out book collectors today, first introduced to the world by Edward Nister and Lothar Meggendorfer in Germany and Britain in the 19th century. They charmed kids with their 3-dimensional structure and their all-action features that moved and transform elements on the page.

I remember buying this fairy tale pop-out book for five pesos from a local grocery store in Balibago, Angeles City that had all sorts of things to sell, other than canned foods and drinks. On the second floor, Johnny's Grocery had a sort of a department store with a mini-book and stationary section. This is where I found this 1971 "Made in Czechoslovakia" Cinderella, illustrated by Czech artist, Voitech Kubaska.

These collectible books were originally printed in the Polish language but the American versions were carried by Brown-Watson. The elaborate pop-out pages were retained, with surprising action scenes on every page, like this ballroom party scene--Cinderella and the Prince were revealed by pulling a tab that raises the curtains, with a retinue of guests standing in welcome to honor the pair. Alas, my "Jack & the Beanstalk" pop-out books has been lost, but I hope I can find a similar one on ebay which occasionally lists these books--at prices that will make your eyes, well, pop-out.


Vintage cookie jars enjoyed a brief surge in popularity in the late '80s when they were rediscovered by nostalgia fans who appreciated them more for their decorative and creative design, shape and form than their utilitarian value. These new collectibles got a boost when Andy Warhol's collection of period cookie jars were sold in an auction in 1987, for a staggering $250,000! There were character jars, advertising jars, animal-shaped jars, jars inspired by nursery rhymes, storybooks, pop culture icons and even everyday objects. form than their utilitarian value. Cookie jars were made by a variety of ceramic firms, the most popular of which were the McCoy, Metlock, Red Wing, Shawnee and Brush Pottery--all from the U.S. But Japanese firms also produced unusual hand-painted cookie jars like this one, in the shape of a boy's head, with his hat as the jar lid, complete with a rattan handle. Bangkal in Makati, that happy hunting ground of second-hand flotsam and jetsam, yielded this, err, kooky find!

123. Whitman Book: GILLIGAN'S ISLAND

Collectible Whitman Books were published by Western Publishing, founded in 1910, and which became well-known for the Little Golden Books of our childhood--those thin, hardbound books with golden spines that carried titled from Sesame Street stories to children's classics. The company also came up with a book series for older children and teens from the 1940s-1980s. The series from the 1950s-1970s included titles licensed from popular movies and TV shows, and this "Gilligan's Island" authorized edition is one of them. Gilligan's Island followed the comic adventures of 7 castaways as they attempted to survive and ultimately escape from the island where they were shipwrecked. It aired from 1964-67 on CBS and was seen on Philippine TV (Ch. 7) as well as the Far East TV (Clark Field, included). The "Ballad of Gilligan's Isle", the TV theme song, even became a minor hit. I used to have a coloring book as well, but only this Whitman book survived to tell the "tale of a fateful trip that started from this tropic port, aboard this tiny ship. The ship set ground on the shore of this uncharted desert isle. With Gilligan, The Skipper too, the millionaire and his wife, the movie star, the professor and Mary Ann...Here on Gilligans Isle!".


Back in 1967, Cafe Puro, a local coffee brand--offered these glasses with folk-dance inspired designs. Native dances, from Singkil, Itik-Itik to Pandanggo sa Ilaw and Tinikling, were immortalized on these glasses which became popular collectibles. Consumers tried their best to complete a set, but I think we only managed to get 3 glasses. The colored promo ads are featured below, from a 1967 issue of The Sunday Times Magazine.

These Instant Cafe Puro glasses were made really well, and a lot survived to this day. My glass was found in a Cubao thrift shop--I found two, but only this one now survived, featuring a dance called "Kalapati", an Ilocano folk dance that mimicked the movements of doves. Cafe Puro as a brand still exists today, made by Commonwealth Foods Inc. Cafe Puro comes in foil packs now, no longer in pretty glasses such as these ones. They make better freeboes than those pricey mugs that today's brewed coffee shops sell--all you get is their company logo. In 1967, you get to drink and dance with Cafe Puro!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


The "Golliwog" is a character of children's literature created by Florence Kate Upton in the late 19th century. The writer had been inspired by a blackface minstrel doll. The Golliwog was depicted in the book, "The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwog", as a type of rag doll. Subsequently, a doll was made based on this character which enjoyed great popularity in North America, Europe and Australia The doll has black skin, eyes rimmed in white, clown lips, and kinky hair, and it has been described as the least known of the major anti-black caricatures in the United States. The Golliwog doll has become the subject of heated debate. Some argue that it should be looked at as a cherished cultural childhood artifact, while opponents argue it should be retired as a relic of racism. My well-preserved Golliwog doll with its nice red suit and bowtie intact, was bought at the famous Portobello Road in northern London.