Skip to main content

Bad hair day

TELEVISION is heavily tattooed with shampoo commercials—why, the idiot box is all slathered up and virtually oozing with shampoo suds. The market for hair care preparations must be lucratively huge.

Or most people in these islands have gone bonkers over their hair, so hair care has become a national obsession. Never mind what’s under the scalp and skull, hair care is the order of the day. Say, beer suds also does wonders for hair setting but San Miguel Corp. won’t advertise it as such.

Now, the rind of kabuyaw—the so-called kaffir lime or Citrus hystrix – can lend a silky sheen plus a delicate sweetish scent to a maiden’s midnight tresses. Kabuyaw is now quite difficult to find—a seed-grown 6-inch tall sapling cost us P150 and it took months hopping from one garden show to another before we actually got one.

So, it will take 2-3 years before such pathetic sapling finally grows into a decent size and starts yielding the genuine article that tops every shampoo preparation currently available in plastic sachets and non-biodegradable plastic containers.

As we licked our chops over prospects of huge savings from having nature’s version of a hair care formula, we found out that three caterpillars have feasted and grew fat on the foliage of the kabuyaw sapling. It took less than a week before those leaf nibblers stopped their infestation and just hung out cocooned on a kabuyaw thorn— and turned up a surprise of three green-and-black winged butterflies.

So the kabuyaw stood there nearly defoliated—and those precious leaves ought to have gone into a quaint tangy broth for Viet and Thai cookery or into plain sinigang.

The few days of rain have nudged the sapling to put forth some tender buds that’ll hopefully replace the gnawed-out ones. That means in a week or two, we can try out either a Viet or Thai stew.

See: there’s a whale of a difference between shampoo preparations that choke the idiot box and this hard-to-find genuine article. The fruit rind goes to hair care. The fruit pulp goes into flavoring kinilaw na tanigue or a unique version of lemonade.

The leaves are for cooking up something tasteful and exotic—uh, make that whatever the caterpillars that turn into butterflies can leave untouched ought to turn up something delicious.

Shampoo won’t be drizzled on kinilaw na tanigue. Or mixed into a marinade. Or stirred into an exotic broth. Shampoo containers won’t ever be a nursery for butterflies.

Don’t consider this as an advertisement for ersatz shampoo to ease a bad hair day.


Popular posts from this blog

Every single cell of my body's happy

I got this one from Carmelite Sisters from whose school three of my kids were graduated from. They have this snatch of a song that packs a fusion metal and liebeslaud beat and whose lyrics go like this:

"Every single cell of my body is happy. Every single cell of my body is well. I thank you, Lord. I feel so good. Every single cell of my body is well."

Biology-sharp nerds would readily agree with me in this digression... Over their lifetimes, cells are assaulted by a host of biological insults and injuries. The cells go through such ordeals as infection, trauma, extremes of temperature, exposure to toxins in the environment, and damage from metabolic processes-- this last item is often self-inflicted and includes a merry motley medley of smoking a deck a day of Philip Morris menthols, drinking currant-flavored vodka or suds, overindulgence in red meat or the choicest fat-marbled cuts of poultry and such carcass.

When the damage gets to a certain point, cells self-destruct. T…

Billboard blight (PJI editorial for 3 April 2005)

HEAR it as a prolonged shrill shrieking that chafes and seeks to scrape off chunks of sanity of any man in the street.

Or it can be seen as an overstrained stretch of sameness so hideous it virtually slams splinters into the eyesight of those on commute via Aurora Boulevard from Cubao in Quezon City to Sta. Mesa, Manila.

See, those ubiquitous billboards look as harmless as a stream of insults heaped by a nagging wife upon her henpecked husband. The poor bloke takes it all in as test of monumental forbearance. Groan and bear it.

It is likely the same tattoo of advertised sales pitch is a tad too close to Pavlovian conditioning. The billboards are intended to make consumer commuters drool like famished dogs at a wide array of products and services for sale.

Could Dr. Ivan Pavlov and his experiment with dogs on conditioned reflexes be the operative mind-set behind those billboards that hold thrall over Metro-Manila’s major thoroughfares? Are we really going to the dogs?

So they prob…

Viagra au naturel

IT LOOKED eerie—a blaze of fireflies pulsing like stars in the nippy air, throbbing with mating passions. That show of lights somehow eased the shadows of a Holy Thursday night on a dry river bed a few kilometers trudge up Mount Makiling.

It’s likely that no river has lain in sleep for months on that moss-grown, boulder-strewn bed—except my 20-year old kid Kukudyu and I. We were out to spend the night, do on-site learning sessions by the next day. Usual father-and-son bonding. As the late Benjamin Franklin once begged: "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."

Past noon from the foot of the mountain’s northern section, it took us four hours ploughing non-stop through prickly bushes and forest undergrowth to get to that site. We got there in one bruised piece. By then, dusk was falling; the sylvan air hummed with a trill of crickets, cicadas, critters nameless in choral orison. That incessant “sh-r-r-e-eemmm---“ layered with “k-kr-r-eeengg--” …