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.