Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Classic Barber Shop

The Classic Barber Shop

           When I was young, the barber's pole, with the red, white and blue stripes revolving, was a strong attraction for me. Even if my hair was not yet long, I would ask money from my father to have my haircut at the barber shop located about five blocks away. That was in Sta Mesa Heights, Quezon City. 

Appleton Barber Pole (appleton)

           I still remember those times I visited the shop and every time, I would be asked: Magpapagupit ka?  I thought then, and until now, that it was a stupid question. And each time, my answer, in a joking manner, would be: Hindi po. Pwede po ba mag swimming? The barber would give me the stare. I had no preferred barber.  I would take the vacant chair and whoever was available would do.

Keller Hydraulic Barber's Chair (sam'sclubphoto)

Collins Barber Chair (ibpic)

            I liked it then, and I still like it now, when the barber would wrap a white protective sheet around the upper part of the body and would clip it at the back. And then another smaller sheet which the barber would remove and dust off once or twice. Then I would hear the next silly question: Ano ba gusto mo? Barber's Cut?  To which I would reply: Wala naman po Carpenter's Cut. Eh di Barber's Cut na lang. I would follow this with a smile.  

Beppo's at the Ali Mall in Cubao, Q.C.

             Now, when the barber would start using the master clipper, that was when I would start feeling uncomfortable.  He would start pushing my head to any direction he liked and would say, from time to time:  Wag kang malikot. When he would begin to cut the hair at the lower head near the neck, I would hear the barber say again:  Sinabi nang wag malikot.  At dumiretso ka ng upo.  I couldn't help it as it was like being tickled.

Andis Master Clipper (appleton)

Antique pair of metal scissors (museumvictoria pic)

             The scary part would come next.  That was when the barber would sharpen the razor blade against the thick leather strap.  Any untimely move would be unwise as he would cut, with the sharp blade, the edges of the hair near the ears and neck.  And when the barber would start applying talc to soothe the skin and the green tonic to make the hair sheeny, I would feel relieved.

PRO stainless steel razor with pearl wood handle (amazonpic)

Diane Styling Comb (barberdepot)

The world famous talc (artofmnlinss)

For that lustrous hair (redsclassicpic)

Omega Brush, Gillette Slim Razor and Old Spice (theshaveden pic)

Marv Shaving Brush (appleton)

              Years have passed and I am now a man. A senior citizen. I still like going to the barber shop. I still have no preferred barber.  Anyone will do. In fact, I have had my haircut in different places by different barbers. While out of town and when my companions are playing cards, I always look for a barber shop in the locality to while away the time.

Haircutter's Republic is at the Q-Plaza in Cainta, Rizal
At the Robinson's East Mall along Marcos Highway in Pasig City.

              Let me see if I can still remember.  I had my haircut at the towns of Real and Infanta in the province of Quezon. Another one at Siniloan in Laguna. In Rizal, I've tried Cainta, Taytay, Antipolo and Montalban. In Tagaytay City, I had one near the junction where they used to sell beef and another one at the town proper of Mendez in Cavite. I've tried it in Silang, Indang and Alfonso. Once I drove down the narrow, winding road to the lake shore town of Talisay, Batangas to have my haircut at the town proper. Going farther west, I had my haircut at Lian and Nasugbu, also in Batangas.

Haircut in an ordinary air-conditioned barber shop is P50. Usually the owner gets 50% while the barber gets the remaining 50%.  At first class barber shops, like those in malls, the proprietor gets 60% while the barber pockets 40%.

 Typical barber shop in most towns

There are posters of beautiful landscapes and/ or sexy ladies.

Highly skilled barbers are almost everywhere.

              All these were documented with the dates included. Let me continue. I had one in Balanga, Bataan and one in Olongapo City.  One in Mabalacat, Pampanga and another one in Dagupan City, Pangasinan. Also in San Fernando, La Union. And many times at Abanao Street in Baguio City. One time in Solano, Nueva Viscaya. Once in Legaspi City, Albay and in Bulan, Sorsogon.  One each in Marinduque and Palawan. My list is long. And the farthest was in Inopacan, Leyte.  As I said, the barber's pole, wherever it is, draws me to the barber shop. Like a magnet.


Made-to order brush

Scissors used by professional barbers

First class barbershop at Holiday Park in Baguio City

Kwentong Barbero's interior

At Eastwood City in Libis, Quezon City

At Sta. Lucia Mall in Cainta, Rizal

Barbershops on Otek St. in Baguio City

At Abanao St. in Baguio City

3 barbershops in a row along the highway in Urdaneta, Pangasinan

An old barbershop at the town proper of Binangonan in Rizal province.


Sunday, 20 July 2014

One Rainy Sunday Afternoon at Hap Chan

One Rainy Sunday Afternoon at Hap Chan

             Clear, clean water was dripping down the glass panel, giving that relaxing feeling to onlookers. It was actually an indoor water fountain. Several Chinese lanterns were swaying as waiters and waitresses, garbed in red outfits, were busy attending to diners that had started to occupy every available table. The aroma of food being cooked and, then served to customers, made the craving stronger.

Hap Chan at Ali Mall in Cubao, Q.C.

Waiting area
             Hot Chinese Tea, brewed in ceramic tea pot, was first served with small cups for everyone. It is standard procedure as the place is a tea house. There was no need to strain or to infuse, no tea bags to dip as the tea was already mixed and blended. I savored the aroma, sipped a little, with the tea getting to the palate, down to my throat and to the stomach. 

Free hot Chinese Tea

             Stretching her right arm a little over my left shoulder, the waitress served the noodles next. It was Mixed Meat Pancit Canton. There were portions of chicken, pork and shrimps and mixed with the thick noodles.  I started slurping, unmindful of the loud, sucking sound.  And then I suddenly remembered my father.  He knew almost all kinds of noodles - bihon, lomi, miki bihon, lo mi, misua, cho mein, etc - and he would tell you where they were served best.

Mixed Meat Pancit Canton

              Next was the Fried Chicken, said to be a best seller.  I got a piece, dipped it in a specially-made gravy and made a big bite.  It was tender and juicy.  It was so good that I got another piece while still feasting on the first one. It was so good that I have included it in my list of top ten fried chickens.

Hap Chan Fried Chicken

              Served a little bit late was the Yang Chow Fried Rice. But the waitress made up for it by serving in quick succession the Salt and Pepper Spare Ribs and the Beef Broccoli with mushroom sauce.  They were delectable.  As I had another serving of the Spare Ribs, I remembered the little dogs.  I shoved some pieces in an extra plate and reserved them for the little ones.

Yang Chow Fried Rice

Salt and Pepper Spare Ribs

Beef with Broccoli
               Then there was the Steamed Fish Fillet with garlic. It was served with soy sauce as condiment. It was well marinated, cut in the right size and had that freshness. Then the Salt and Pepper Squid. They were tender, not rubbery. And then came last were the doughnuts.  There was Al Capone. There was Oreology. There was Avocado de Caprio.  And other flavors too.  I consumed three in three minutes. And as I drank my second glass of water, I again remembered something.  I remembered that I was the one tasked to pay for all those delicious food items served to us. I placed my bet on the Miami Heat and lost. I wished I didn't remember.  I wished that all I had to do was stand up, wash my hands and leave the place. Anyway, I had a grand time at Hap Chan. Like the rest of the group.


Steamed  Fish Fillet

Fried Squid with Salt and Pepper

Cooks of Hap Chan are from Hongkong.

Avocado de Caprio, Oreology, Don Mochino, etc

Mr. Green Tea and Al Capone

Satisfied diners

All winners

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Japan's Sex Slaves in World War II

Japan's Sex Slaves in World War II

              Japan, also known as Nippon Koku, was a world power in the 1930s and 1940s. Its military strength was so enormous that it was in a position to challenge the might of the United States of America and engage the Americans in actual war.  Japan, as a hegemon then, was systematic in almost everything. Air and naval attacks would commence, then army troops would move inland and would establish camps in strategic locations. Tanks, bazookas, machine guns, cannons and the like made the conquest easier.

A Kamikaze pilot about to take a plunge on a US warship in the Battle of Leyte during WWII. (AP photo; caption is mine)

Japanese soldiers in the late 1930s using Arisaka rifles (warfarehistorianpic; caption is mine)

Japanese Chiro tanks heading towards Manila in 1942 (g'gle pic; caption is mine)

Japanese tanks moving inland in the Philippines in WWII (g'gle pic; caption is mine)

             As conquerors or invaders, the Japanese military command would ensure that food and other military supplies would be sent on time for the troops. Ammunition, tents and other gears and gadgets would be sent regularly. After the Japanese had established dominance and seeming permanence, a contingent of young ladies would be dispatched to serve as cooks and laundrywomen and as sex slaves. These women were enticed to accept the jobs offered in exchange for money in lump sum and false promises. Authorities seemingly allowed such practices to be able to provide the sexual needs of their troops. When there was shortage of manpower, top military officials recruited forcibly from the conquered territory.  They were known as comfort women, working in garrisons that also operated like brothels.

Manila being declared an Open City on January 2, 1942 (wiki pic; caption is mine)

The Death March from Bataan to Capas, Tarlac  in 1942. About 80,000 American and Filipino soldiers surrendered in Bataan and were taken to Camp O'Donnell in Capas, Tarlac. (dailymailpic; caption is mine)

Japanese soldiers rejoice after the Fall of Bataan in 1942. (wwiiletterspic; caption is mine)

A Japanese camp in Bataan in WWII (allworldwarspic; caption is mine)

Photo above shows Chinese and Malayan young girls rounded up and forcibly taken by Japanese soldiers in Penang to serve as pleasure givers. (wiki pic; caption is mine)

Comfort women were kept in brothels and sometimes taken to military camps. (WNNpic; caption is mine)

            In the Philippines and other Asian countries, many young local women were rounded up and taken at gunpoint to garrisons. They were made to work as sex slaves.  Like that of a restaurant menu, pictures of these women would be posted at military camps for the officers and soldiers to choose from.  Many soldiers would take their turn on the unwilling captives. As they were really that systematic, a Japanese doctor would come and conduct examinations on these comfort women to ensure that there were no sexually transmitted diseases.  After the physical exams, the very same doctor would force himself on these women.

Beautiful Dutch Jan Ruff O'Herne was taken by the Japanese at Ambarawa in Central Java, Indonesia  and raped day and night.  Her mother and sisters suffered the same fate. (wikipic; caption is mine)

Comfort women during WWII (WNNpic; caption is mine)

            While there are now many testimonies written by so-called comfort women of WWII, the statement of Maria Rosa Henson of Angeles City clearly describes the cruelty and pain experienced by most sex slaves of the Japanese soldiers. Henson was only 14 years old then. This narration is contained in Yuki Tanaka's book entitled Japan's Comfort Women. Let us listen to Henson:

              "Twelve soldiers raped me in quick succession, after which I was given half an hour rest. Then twelve more soldiers followed.  They all lined up outside the room waiting for their turn. I bled so much and was in such pain, I could not even stand up. The next morning, I was too weak to get up. I could not eat. I felt much pain, and my vagina was swollen. I cried and cried, calling my mother. I could not resist the soldiers because they might kill me. So what else could I do? Every day, from two in the afternoon to ten in the evening, the soldiers lined up outside my room and the rooms of the six other women there. I did not even have the time to wash after each assault. At the end of the day, I just closed my eyes and cried. My torn dress would be brittle from the crust that had formed from the soldiers' dried semen. I washed myself with hot water and a piece of cloth so that I would be clean. I pressed the cloth to my vagina like a compress to relieve that pain and the swelling."(tanaka; wnn)

Maria Rosa Henson revealing her ordeal many years after the war (sakuramochipic; caption is mine)
                Through the Asian Women's Fund established by the Japanese government, Henson was paid a certain amount, many years after WWII had ended. She passed away in 1997, five years after she came out in the open to tell everyone of her ordeal. Today, when one takes a leisure walk at Liwasang Bonifacio near Jones Bridge, he sees a small marker near the Bonifacio Monument. It is in memory of Maria Rosa Henson. It is in memory of a thousand other comfort women. 


A memorial to the comfort women of WWII.  I chanced upon this marker while looking for the statue of General Lawton at Plaza Lawton several months ago.  Plaza Lawton is now Liwasang Bonifacio. Hon. Lito Atienza was Mayor of Manila when the marker was unveiled.

The marker is located near the Bonifacio monument at Liwasang Bonifacio.  The Philippine Post Office is in background.

An Eagle sculpture at Liwasang Bonifacio, formerly Plaza Lawton.