Everybody’s looking for their one true love, and often, we build ourselves up and present the best version of ourselves in the hopes of attracting a suitable mate.
Not this person though. Reddit user u/medyochakalang embraced her inner ugly when she posted a hilarious ad looking for a hookup on the Philippines R4R subreddit of the social news and discussion website. She begins her post by saying she’s a 28-year-old virgin.
"Malapit na kong mawala sa kalendaryo," she says, referring to the typical Filipino expression of somene's age going past the number of days in a month.
The user says she blames telenovelas for making her believe there’s a fairly handsome guy out there who will eventually fall for her.
“Ikaw may kasalanan nito (This is your fault), Betty La Fea!” she said, referring to the hit telenovela about an ordinary-looking and socially awkward woman who lands a job in the glamorous world of fashion and beauty.
In the short post, u/medyochakalang implores the “handsome guys of Reddit” to think of her as a charity case.
“Kung sawa ka na sa puro magaganda at sexy, try mo naman yung panget na mukhang isang bulate na lang di pumipirma (sic). Takpan mo na lang ng unan mukha ko kung di mo talaga masikmura.” (If you’re sick of sexy and beautiful women, how about trying someone who’s ugly, who looks like a worm that can’t sit still. Just cover my face with a pillow if you really can’t stomach it). Promise, no hard feelings.
She also listed down supposed “reviews” about her looks from family and friends.
“If you’re wondering if she’s pretty or ugly, my answer is both. She’s pretty ugly.” - Ex boyfriend.”
“Nung nagsabog kasi ng kagandahan ang diyos, comatose yata siya (When God gave out beauty, she must have been comatose).” - Older Brother
Instead of feeling sorry for herself, the Redditor is a natural comedienne who’s self-deprecating humor seems to have resonated with the regulars of r/Phr4r.
“+1 for your sense of humor,” said u/iamfromthedirtysouth.
“I like you!,” said u/H3ndr1x_80. “You may not be blessed with good looks (which I doubt and mukhang umeechos lang) but i think your being funny is more than enough for you to get laid with your ideal guy.”
In a comment inquiring whether the Redditor has received any DMs (direct messages), u/medyochakalang said she’s actually received a lot of messages from “gwapo” users.
“I’m quite overwhelmed,” she said. “Kinakabahan ako baka kapag sinend ko picture ko biglang magghost lahat (I’m nervous because when I send my picture to them they might all ghost me). lol.”
Here’s hoping this story has a happy ending and that u/medyochakalang finds the guy she’s been looking for.
We’ve been following the news of the incident in the West Philippine Sea off Recto Bank. This is what’s been reported in the news: A Chinese vessel rammed into a Filipino fishing boat, and then abandoned its 22 fishermen in their sinking boat at sea.
We have seen the photos of the men, snapshots of 22 living, breathing human beings. Whether it was an accident, or whether it was done on purpose, it is mind boggling how the passengers in the Chinese vessel could just leave their fellowmen clinging to flotsam and jetsam kilometers away from land.
Where is the compassion? What has happened to basic decency and kindness for a fellow human being? How can some of our own fellow Filipinos, the armchair internet warriors and trolls, now question the integrity of those fishermen and give them the brush off as political pawns?
These questions have nothing to do with politics. We expressed the same outrage when 44 of our Filipino Special Action Force commandos were left to die in the Mamasapano clash in 2015, and our then leaders claimed miscommunication and ignorance. Where was the humanity?
According to Rappler news reports on last week’s situation, the fishermen fortunately saw the lights of another boat in the distance, and two of them managed to use a waterlogged boat to reach the larger vessel, a Vietnamese boat. At first the Vietnamese crew was hesitant, fearing the men were pirates, but then thought otherwise, pulled the wet, shivering men on board and fed them warm noodles and biscuits.
The Vietnamese news website VnExpress reports the Vietnamese boat then traveled about an hour to rescue the other 20 Filipino fishermen from the sea. “I believe that anyone who heads out to sea would’ve done the same thing, not just us,” the boat’s captain Nguyen Thanh Tam, said in the news report. Meanwhile, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported the largest organization of Filipino-Chinese businesses will fund the repair of the Filipino fishing boat so the fishermen can “resume their livelihood.”
We are grateful for the kindness of the Vietnamese crew members in helping save the lives of our fellow Filipinos. We are thankful for the generosity of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry who stepped up to the plate to help the fishermen get back out to sea as soon as possible to make up for the five tons of fish and livelihood they have lost. In this increasingly ugly upside down world, may we continue to celebrate what is good and what is right, especially when others will not.
If I’m being honest, the idea of driving the Chevrolet Colorado High Country Storm didn’t exactly excite my inner motoring journalist. Not because I dislike the pickup, mind you. I’ll get to that in a second. Rather, it’s because I’ve already driven the Colorado in one iteration or another several times.
Still, duty called, and I found myself with the keys to the High Country Storm. The Covenant Car Company, our country’s official Chevy distributor, launched this variant toward the tail end of 2018, and it currently sits at the top of the price list as the most expensive option. So, what do you get for the P1,638,888 price tag?
For one, you get a package that stands out from the rest of the lineup. Its exterior tweaks reflect its designation as an off-roading pickup. Up front, the hood sports black decals with a High Country Storm emblem. Along the sides, there are more decals, this time in a distinct black tire-tread pattern. The door handles are likewise black to match. Also black are the 18-inch aluminum wheels and the variant-specific sports bar. The new look won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it is eye-catching.
Inside, not much is different compared to the regular 4x4 AT LTZ variant. The High Country Storm’s interior sports a few more black accents (duh), but the cabin remains otherwise similar. Under the hood, there’s the same engine as well, and that’s a great thing. From my experience, it’s the engine that is the Colorado’s most underrated feature. The 2.8-liter Duramax turbodiesel with 200hp and 500Nm is a torquey mill that propels the pickup with surprising quickness. The suspension, also unchanged from the 4x4 LTZ, provides a comfortable ride for the segment.
Now, whether the P67,000 price difference over the standard 4x4 is worth it depends on you. On the one hand, you’re getting a limited-edition variant of a pickup that’s due for a new generation sooner rather than later. Barring that, you can get essentially the same pickup for less with the 4x4 AT LTZ. Personally, I’d opt for the regular pickup, but there’s no denying that a special variant has its appeal.
PHOTO: Jason Tulio
PHOTO: Jason Tulio
PHOTO: Jason Tulio
PHOTO: Jason Tulio
PHOTO: Jason Tulio
PHOTO: Jason Tulio
PHOTO: Jason Tulio
PHOTO: Jason Tulio
PHOTO: Jason Tulio
PHOTO: Jason Tulio
This story originally appeared on Topgear.com.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.
It seems Virgil Abloh and Nike aren't slowing down. In the past few years, the two giants have released some of the biggest sneaker collaborations, and now, they're back to break new boundaries, with Abloh setting his sights on Nike's heritage in track and field.
Photo by NIKE.
The "Athlete in Progress" collection features the Zoom Terra Kiger 5, a running shoe that salutes the confidence of runners. With three colorways, the shoe features nylon panels with brushed suede overlays. A retro Nike tongue, Off-White's zip tie detail, and spiked sole top it all off.
Photo by NIKE.
The designs officially debuted last year in Paris when the collection was shown as part of the Off-White runway show with athletes Dina Asher Smith, Vashti Cunningham, Cecilia Yeung, English Gardner, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Nafi Thiam, Caterine Ibarguen and Rénelle Lamote. Abloh again teased the release when he was spotted wearing the pair at Coachella.
Photo by NIKE.
Photo by NIKE.
"I started talking with Nike about this women's running project last summer and at the time, I was very much inspired by the aesthetic and style of track and field athletes. As a result, I invited some of Nike's elite track and field champions to participate in my SS19 Off-White runway show as the natural forerunner to developing and showcasing the collection," says Abloh.
Photo by NIKE.
In keeping with the theme, Nike has tapped reigning 800-meter champion Caster Semenya for Nike x Off-White Zoom Terra Kiger 5. An initial limited release inclusive of a run top and tight will precede the launch, with details yet to be announced by Nike.
Photo by NIKE.
The best part? You don't have to wait much longer: The Nike x Off-White Zoom Terra Kiger 5, which retails for P8,095, is set to drop on June 27 at Commonwealth Greenbelt.
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is coming back to Manila for the first time in three years on September 20, 2019. WWE Live Manila will be headlined by professional wrestling superstars such as Roman Reigns, Kofi Kingston, Charlotte Flair, Finn Bálor, Asuka, Elias, Xavier Woods, Big E, Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev, Kevin Owens, Bayley, Carmella, The IIconics and others.
In an interview with Esquire Philippines, Wilbros Live Executive Producer Winston Llamas, who is producing the show in Manila said, "We’ve had a partnership with WWE for years and have been bringing it here to Manila every three years, the last time in 2016. Obviously WWE has a lot of fans in the Philippines."
“We are excited to return to Manila where the passionate WWE Universe can see their favorite WWE Superstars live,” said Chris Marsh, Vice President and General Manager, WWE Asia Pacific. “Our fans can look forward to experiencing another action-packed night of family-friendly entertainment that will create life-long memories.”
WWE Live will happen at the Araneta Coliseum on September 20, 2019. Tickets go on-sale on Saturday, June 22 and will be available via TicketNet.com.ph, TicketNet hotline 911-5555 and at all TicketNet outlets nationwide.
Need a new pair of leather shoes? Before you haul yourself to the nearest store, consider getting a custom-made pair of shoes. These are sophisticated, timeless, and ready for most occasions (you can’t exactly wear your sneakers to the office or to your cousin’s wedding).
Why get a pair? Custom-made shoes are designed for the unique specifications of your feet, meaning you’re getting the most perfect fit. As such, these pairs are guaranteed to almost last a lifetime and, more important, won’t cause any issues with discomfort.
Right now, there is a new generation of shoemakers who are set to restore the glory days of Marikina as the premium shoemaking capital of the Philippines. These local cobblers will provide you with what you need, whether it's custom-made shoes with a classic style or a radical design.
Marikina holds a reputation for being a city of the finest shoemakers, but the local industry has seen a decline over the decades. Launched in 2013, Sapatero Manila is part of the new generation of cobblers who are leading the revival of the city's shoe industry. It merges the time-honored techniques of Marikeño craftsmen with the finest leathers from France, Italy, and England. The result? Fine, elegant shoes worthy of their heritage.
Suit it Up Manila, L&R Building, Arnaiz Avenue, Makati; Felipe and Sons, El Pueblo, Ortigas; Felipe and Sons, San Agustin Street, Salcedo Village, Makati; @sapateromanila on Facebook and Instagram
Besa’s is undoubtedly one of the most well-known shoemakers in the country. What started as a humble operation near Escolta in 1935 has grown to become one of the most pervasive custom shoe brands with several branches in the country and abroad. Aside from leather footwear, Besa's does orthopedic and corrective shoes for feet that need them.
Located in España, Signo Custom Clothing redefines the Filipino gentleman with bespoke services for suits and shoes. (Its founder, Renz Signo, places an emphasis on helping clients establish their fundamental style.) Like most local shoemakers, Signo sources its leather from Marikina, the shoe capital of the Philippines. It's also on the more affordable end for custom-made shoes with orders starting at P5,899.
Local haberdashery JE & Co. has launched its own line of custom-made shoes, R.E. Craftsman, making it a one-stop shop for very special occasions that need both suit and shoe. Its custom-made shoes, which are also made by Marikina shoemakers, take roughly three weeks to be completed and prices range between P4,000 to P4,500, which is a pretty good deal.
“Footwear + Art” perfectly describes Joco Comendador’s namesake footwear brand. Aside from classic leather shoes, the designer specializes in edgier, avant-garde styles for men who want to show off their individuality. What's more, he offers shoemaking workshops so you can learn how to make your own pair.
Black Wing is for the risk-taking, style-forward shoe hound. The Marikina-based company accommodates almost all styles, from the rugged to the unconventional, and when you don’t have a specific look in mind, you can communicate your ideas to owner Buddy Tan, who will then sketch a one-of-a-kind design. Here, individuality is key.
12 Erano Manalo Street, Barangay Sto. Nino, Marikina City; blackwingshoes.com; @blackwingshoes on Instagram
Marquina, another proudly Marikeño brand, has earned a following for its craftsmanship. Of note, the company does not use just one supplier, preferring to choose different factories for different specialties. Aside from leather dress shoes, it also provides contemporary takes on Chelsea boots and loafers. There's also its Try-at-Home program, where it sends you a pair to test drive. Made-to-order shoes start at P5,450.
Established in 1986, Godfather Shoes is perfect for first-timers who may be overwhelmed by a sea of shoes. It provides just the right options with custom-made shoes in a range of classics and essentials styles. As well, it offers quality at a price that won't hurt the wallet with leather-soled dress shoes starting at P5,900.
You can’t just walk in, pick out a shoe, and call it a day. There are different styles meant for different occasions. Most shoes are likely suited for casual endeavors. Boots are great for the coffee meeting with a client, seeing friends at a bar, or going on a date. Loafers are ideal for dressier lunch venues or a creative workplace. Lace-ups are trickier. Broguing, or those little decorative holes, make lace-ups more casual. The less broguing, the more formal shoes become. The black plain oxford lace-ups are for formal events.
During a concert in Amsterdam last week, Eddie Vedder took a moment to address the crowd. "Is the woman who gave me a lift to my hotel in 1992 maybe here tonight?" he asked. "I am almost certain that I would still recognize her face." She wasn’t there, but the Dutch paper Het Paroolfound her, and the story she told of a chance backstage meeting, a misplaced flannel shirt, and a nighttime bike ride around an ancient city is probably one of the most romantic—and most completely ‘90s—stories ever.
The woman Vedder was looking for was Veselka Custers, and the two met backstage after a Pearl Jam show in Utrecht in March 1992. "He was extremely shy," Custers told Het Parool of Vedder, "but I really felt a connection with him."
They talked at a cafe until three in the morning before Custers gave Vedder a ride to his hotel on the back of her bike. During the ride he carried her backpack, which contained one of her brothers flannel shirts. They parted outside his hotel "I still remember thinking: I’m not going to give myself to him," Custers said. "He’ll be somewhere else tomorrow and I’ll be one of the thousands of girls." She forgot to take back her bag.
A post shared by Het Parool (@hetparool) on Jun 11, 2019 at 5:46am PDT
In the years since, Custers tried to reconnect with Vedder when Pearl Jam returned to the Netherlands. She bumped into guitarist Stone Gossard later in 1992, and though he said he'd let her backstage at an upcoming show, the concert was cancelled. Decades later, she tried to leave a message for Vedder at a local venue he was scheduled to play. But they didn’t meet again for 27 years—until last week.
A cellist currently touring with Vedder learned of the interview with Custers after it was published last Tuesday, and he sent an English translation of the article to the Pearl Jam frontman. Vedder invited Custers and her husband to his next concert, in Brussels, and this time Het Parool tagged along.
After the show the couple went backstage, where Vedder and Custers finally reunited. They talked about their families, and Custers let Vedder know he can keep her brother’s shirt. And just as he said he would, Vedder recognized her face. “You still have the same smile,” he told her.
Not all pizza is created equal. Some pies are thin and crisp, some are thick and chewy. Some thrive on simplicity, some come bedecked with every topping possible. Some can bring you to the bustling streets of New York, others can transport you to a traditional pizzeria in Naples. Yet all these variations fulfill a promise: There’s a slice out there that ought to satisfy your every wish, desire, and craving. It's no surprise that pizza is usually on the top of people's favorite food list.
There are four components that make a good pizza. It starts with the dough, a crust with the right balance of crunch and chew, strewn with charred bits here and there. Next is the sauce. It has to be bright and it has to sing. Yet it should be humble enough to play its important role without overpowering the other key players. The cheese is simple. It should be melty and stretchy in the right spots. Then come the toppings. While a pizza with an abundance of meat and veggies is usually celebrated, one that promotes a balance of flavor and texture is a true feat. Quality over quantity, no doubt.
You might think finding the perfect slice that ticks all the boxes is hard to find in Manila. But there is actually a bevy of restaurants specializing in this Italian fare. Here, we have an unranked guide to the best pizzas in Manila. We kept this list as Filipino as possible so only homegrown brands were included.
1| Kermit Manila
Photo by Majoy Siason.
Kermit doesn’t shy away from proclaiming the freshness of its pizzas. Originally from Siargao, Kermit offers the type of pizza that is best consumed with toes touching fine sand and the scent of the sea in the air. At its Makati branch, however, Kermit takes on a more cosmopolitan vibe, but proffers the same creations with a heartwarming rustic appeal: Neapolitan-style pizza finished off in an uber hot brick oven in mere minutes.
Fior di Latte Mozzarella
4636 Molina Street, Poblacion, Makati City
2| Elbert’s Pizzeria
Photo by Kai Huang
This pizza is cerebral. Nothing less than perfection was demanded by Elbert Cuenca of his new pizzeria, which required sending his brother Adrian to Naples to study the fine art of pizza making. The result is a crust that strikes a balance between crunchy and chewy. Choice appliances and the finest ingredients, including a specific type of compressed wood logs, were brought in to create a one-of-a-kind experience that Manila has long been yearning for.
Quattro Formagi e Funghi
V Corporate Center, Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City
3| Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza
Photo by INSTAGRAM/ @INSTAGRAM/ @ginosbrickovenpizza.
Arguably the restaurant that introduced approachable, good-quality, Neapolitan-style pizza to the Filipino market, Gino’s leads the pack of best pizzerias in Manila sans contention. Its crust—crunchy, chewy, fresh off the brick oven—sets it apart by miles. Here is where leaving that bubbly crust untouched on your plate is considered a sin. Its signature spicy honey amps up the flavors, but really, that crust is already heaven-sent.
Amare used to be a little secret Baguio locals and travelers frequented for classic, brick-oven pizzas. Word spread about its greatness, and soon, it opened shop in Kapitolyo. Amare specializes in Neapolitan-style pizzas, tinkered a bit to cater to the Filipino palate. One of the best parts of dining here is preparing your pizza yourself. Pizza toss anyone?
Traditional, homey, old-school Italian cooking is Francesco’s specialty. Yes, Francesco is the name of both the restaurant and the chef who dishes out food he grew up enjoying. His pizza is loaded with high-quality cheese, topped with the right amount of ingredients, and finished in a high-heat brick oven. The Francesco (this time the name of its best-selling pizza) is a masterpiece of plump tomatoes, fresh sausage, savory mushrooms, roasted bell peppers, and creamy Gorgonzola.
Tartufata ai Formaggi
863 A. Mabini Street, Addition Hills, San Juan City
This hole-in-the-wall is one Mandaluyong City’s best-kept secrets. At a curbside stall along San Rafael Street, chef Arnold’s dishes out Italian-style pizzas laden with only the freshest toppings. Flavors range from the classic pepperoni and mushroom to a more playful marinara. The best part? They’re absolutely affordable! A personal size is a mere P80, while a double XL only costs P395.
Arostito Pollo Conlaglio
722 San Rafael Street corner Sta. Ana Street, Mandaluyong City
7| Pomodoro Pizza
Photo by INSTAGRAM/ @pomodoropizzaph.
For less than 200 bucks for a 10-inch pizza, you’re getting one of the best in town. The crust is chewy and tender in the right spots, yet firm enough to hold up the sauces and toppings. The tomato sauce is also the right balance of sweet and tangy, forming a perfect pool for toppings, ranging from pepperoni to ground beef to bacon. Want to take a more rebellious route? Try its pesto pizza that’s made with an indulgent creamy pesto sauce and chicken slices.
Amanti dela Carne
6G San Rafael corner Sta. Rosa Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Nope, you no longer need a membership card to enjoy S&R’s generous pizza slices anymore. The warehouse shopping chain has opened brick-and-mortar stores peddling its beloved American menu. True to its claim of serving New York-style pizzas, the wedges have a thicker crust, a liberal distribution of tomato sauce, and a magnificent layer of stretchy cheese with the right amount of toasted bits. You can stop there (the simple Cheese is satisfying enough), but you can top it with pepperoni slices or tender shrimp, too.
Thin is in at this Maginhawa legend. Friuli Trattori has always been known for its thin-crust creations since it opened in 2006. The thinness of the crust allows for heartier flavor options. The Formaggi, made with mozzarella, cheddar, and a bit of blue, is a no-fail choice. Other favorites are the Viva Venezia, loaded with beef, olives, and bell peppers, and the Pancetta, topped with crunchy pancetta and cucumber slices—both for under P300.
Fluffy is one way to describe this crust. It’s tender and chewy with just the right crunch, too. Then there are the jagged edges and burnt leopard spots that are to be found—and celebrated—in every order of Tapenade’s famed pizzas. Some splurging won’t hurt, especially with the level of creativity and attention lent to every pizza creation. Ever had a Cacio e Pepe pizza or a Vongole topped with fresh clams?
You know it’s a Cibo pizza because it’s oval. But beyond the shape, a Cibo pizza can easily be recognized by the quality and quantity of ingredients sitting atop its freshly baked crust. The quality, of course, doesn’t go below Italian standards. Every ingredient, from the meat to the greens, is in its most pristine state. The quantity promises proximity to traditional ways, as well. It's not overdone and overloaded—just the right amount to appreciate every flavor in every bite.
Don't think that Marikina doesn't have a contender for the best pizza in Manila. Fino Deli offers comforting Spanish and Italian dishes, and these include its unapologetically thin-crust pizza creations. The thinness makes it seem easy to polish off a whole pie, but the generous toppings prove otherwise. Its signature Cinco Queso is one of the best in the city. Other flavors to try are the Smokey Salmon, made with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and olives, and the Prosciutto Crudo di Parma with arugula and Parmesan shavings.
It’s hard to beat a classic. Opened in 2002, Caruso offers a dining experience that’s difficult to match. It prides itself in authenticity, from recipes to ingredients, all sourced from Italy. This is evident in its traditional-style pizzas. Get a simple Margherita and be in awe of the interplay of flavors. Go ahead and pair it with a glass of wine to enjoy life’s wondrous pleasures.
Can you imagine a pizza crust that’s thin but still offers a tender chewiness? That’s exactly what you’ll get at Mama Lou’s. Its thinness serves a purpose: Every slice can be topped with greens and sprouts, rolled up, and enjoyed sans the unbecoming drips. House specials include the Tabarnes (salami, anchovy, olives), Spinach and Goat’s Cheese (artichoke, spinach, honey), and Quattro Formaggi (cheddar, blue, mozzarella, and goat’s cheese).
Oohs and aahs are customary every time a box of Stephen’s pizza is opened. To say that its creations are a sight to behold is an understatement. The apperance of the crust, with some burnt, crisp spots, tells of its time in a brick oven. The pull in the cheese asserts the amount added to each pie. The distribution of toppings, the mix of colors and textures, and the creativity behind each flavor (Ever heard of Muscle Up, Crusty Crustean, or BRB anywhere else?) affirms Stephen’s position as a serious contender as Manila’s best pizza joint.
It's menu is limited but packed with hard hitters. Whether you choose the Margherita, 4 Cheese and Chives, or Pesto and Truffled Mushrooms, you’re sure to put Pizza Morena high up on your list of favorite pizzas in Manila. You can even purchase its pizzas in frozen form so you can enjoy them freshly baked in the comfort of your own home.
Crosta is not for the faint of heart, not because the pizzas are overloaded with superfluous toppings, but because they’re made with extra precision and kitchen genius. The crust sets Crosta apart because it uses a sourdough base, giving the end product a tangy undernote and a beautiful web of air pockets. It’s crunchy, airy, chewy, and absolutely delightful in every bite. Crosta only has a handful of flavors, but each one is an absolute masterpiece worth including in the best pizzas in Manila. Try out The Basic Bitch (classic mozzarella and basil) or the Shroomed Out (a medley of mushrooms).
The Social, 5770 Ebro, Poblacion, Makati City
18| Wildflour Italian
Photo by INSTAGRAM/ @wfitalian.
The guys behind Manila’s top brunch spot have decided to branch out into the Italian realm with their most recent opening. A traditional wood-fired oven from Italy takes center stage, with every pizza coming out of it a culinary triumph. The creations have that rustic, undone feel to them—charred, craggy, and cracked in the right spots—exactly how it’s done in the pizza’s birthplace. You’re all set with a Pepperoni, but getting a little frisky with the Cacio e Pepe wouldn’t hurt either.
Cacio e Pepe
The Finance Centre, 9th Avenue corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Today, June 19, is the birthday of Jose Rizal. Leading experts on Jose Rizal such as Renato Constantino (Veneration Without Understanding, 1970) and Ambeth Ocampo (Rizal Without the Overcoat Revised Edition, 1998) tell us that the first step to appreciating the heroism of Jose Rizal is to appreciate his humanity: his limitations, shortcomings, sins, and his quirks.
The following is a short list of facts that may have been obscured in the teaching of history in classrooms.
1| He Initially Hated His Name, Rizal
If you may have disliked using your surname when you were in grade school because it was awkward, that’s perfectly fine. In fact, that’s quite Rizal-esque.
When he attended school at Ateneo de Manila University in 1872 and the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in 1878, Rizal’s family made him drop the last three names Mercado y Alonso Realonda to protect him from persecution, as his older brother Paciano had been linked with the martyred Gomburza priests who were activists. The Gomburza priests were martyred in the same year Rizal started at Ateneo. Pepe hated using his name Rizal at school because he was afraid he would be mistaken for a bastard.
This soon changed, however, when his professors recognized his talent in writing contests and poetry. He also wrote subversive essays and poetry, making the name Rizal notorious, and effectively rendered useless the protection afforded him by the name change.
In 1891, after publishing El Filibusterismo, he wrote a friend, “All my family now carry the name Rizal instead of Mercado because the name Rizal means persecution! Good! I too want to join them and be worthy of this family name...”
2| Rizal Was Physically Buff
Rizal was toned, muscular, and lean. According to Ambeth Ocampo, when Rizal was transferred from Dapitan to Manila, authorities found improvised barbells made from concrete in his quarters.
Historians speculate that Rizal used himself as the model for this relief sculpture of a Filipino man lifting weights.
But why would Rizal lift weights? Probably for the same reasons why anyone would do so today.
3| Rizal Had a Best Friend Who Was Also His "Wingman"
In colloquial use, a wingman is a close friend who helps a man get hooked up with women. In the case of Rizal, his wingman was Jose M. Cecilio, who was also his best friend and closest confidant.
Among the “wingman missions” Rizal sent Cecilio to was finding out whether the women writing him really loved him or not. It was Cecilio who confirmed to Rizal that Leonor Rivera really loved him. Cecilio, on Rizal’s bidding, visited Rivera and gave her flowers, talked to her, and reported to Rizal through letters everything that he had seen and heard when Rizal was in Europe.
Cecilio kept tabs on each and every woman who Rizal was corresponding with, all on Rizal’s request. The best friends wrote in secret codes and codenames only the two could understand when they talked about women in their letters.
It is thanks to Cecilio that we know many things about Rizal today. In the 1930s, volumes of correspondence to and from Rizal were published by the press, many of which were preserved by Cecilio. Ambeth Ocampo shares that the correspondence between Rizal and Cecilio was so confidential that Cecilio only wrote the initials of women who fancied Rizal and vice versa.
4| Rizal Allowed Himself Some Amusements
In 1883 when Rizal was in his late 20s in Europe, he wrote Paciano:
“Women abound even more (here in Madrid) and it is, indeed, shocking that in many places they intercept men and they are not the ugly ones either... With respect to morality there are some who are models of virtue and innocence and others who have nothing womanly about them, except their dress or at most their sex. Rightly it has been said that the women in the South of Europe have fire in their veins. However, here prostitution is a little more concealed than at Barcelona, though not less unrestrained."
The letter to Paciano simply establishes that Rizal was familiar with such amusements. However, it was Jose Alejandrino who recounts in his book, La Senda del Sacrificio (1945) the following:
“One day he invited me to amuse ourselves, telling me we could pass the time in the house of two sisters whom he knew. We went there and I came to like the amusement very much, because a few days later I asked him when we could return for more fun, but then he grew serious, saying that he considered such entertainment was necessary once a month, but more than once was already a vice, and he was not willing to encourage vices.”
Although he did not explicitly state it, the real meaning behind this “amusement” was clearly implied. Alejandrino wrote it in a tone of respect for Rizal. He was a student in Belgium where he met and became friends with Rizal.
The purpose of revisiting these stories is not to ridicule him but to recount and appreciate his humanity. In doing so, we realize that Jose Rizal was not a deity to be put on a pedestal, but someone relatable, a Filipino we can appreciate and emulate because just like us, he was very human and also made mistakes.
Cheers to Rizal’s 158th birthday anniversary.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountry.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.
The Cinematic Classic Rock Universe will continue growing in the near future, and if Boy George has any say, he'd like Sophie Turner to play him. In the vein of successes like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman, the Culture Club member is getting the biopic treatment, with a film that's currently in early development. On first glance, the casting makes perfect sense, but not everyone is down to see Sansa Stark step into Boy George's shoes. And by "not everyone," that specifically means Piers Morgan because if there's nothing to complain about, Piers Morgan implodes.
Announced late in May, the film is set to be written and directed by Sacha Gervasi (My Dinner withHervé). The director told People last month, "In the London clubs of the ’80s, George was impossible to miss and everyone knew he would be a star long before the world had ever heard a note of Culture Club’s iconic songs." While no one has been officially cast in the role of Boy George, that didn't stop the legend himself from toying with a few suggestions.
In a discussion on an Australian radio show on Monday, the Culture Club frontman said that of all the casting speculations, Sophie Turner is one that piqued his interest most. "It’s really strange but that’s been a suggestion," Boy George said. "I think that will upset people, which I really like. ‘Oh she can’t play you, she’s a woman…' but when I was 17, I would have loved to have been her." After publications started picking up Boy George's affinity for the 23-year-old to step into the role, Turner responded with emphatic enthusiasm.
Game on. But then Tuesday morning, Piers Morgan ranted on Good Morning Britain, "The idea that we'd now have a girl to play Boy George is ridiculous... Why do we encourage this kind of nonsense?" When asked if he thought a straight man could play a gay man, Morgan agreed, yet doubled down on his first point saying, "I do think that only a man could play Boy George."
Photo by GETTY IMAGES.
But, Piers Morgan is not a casting agent, thankfully, and has no concept of a long history of men playing women and visa versa, in theater, film, and TV. Acting across gender isn't a newfangled liberal concept. It's even been a pretty effective way of portraying rock stars, like when Cate Blanchett played a stylized version of Bob Dylan in I'm Not There.
Though we're still likely months from finding out who will play the "Karma Chameleon" singer, Turner is a damn good place to start. Just check out a side by side. The pictures don't lie, so get the girl some dramatic makeup and a fedora and just see how it comes together.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.