Latest Stories

Forever 81

‘Lahat ng may tattoo, addict’


“FASHIONISTA,” by Gilda Cordero Fernando

My stylish friend, Cecille Zamora van Straten, dropped by, all in black, as usual, in the most dangerous boots ever. She was bearing a gift in a big palo china box. It’s a doll! she announced, beaming proudly. It’s my dad’s birthday and I bought him a doll so I got one for you, too.

I thought it might be a Shirley Temple doll or a kewpie doll, some cute, plump, nostalgic, smiling icon of my childhood. Her name is Kerkie, said Cecille, She’s by Lynard Paras. I knew Lynard Paras as an art awardee.

Then I saw Kerkie. I had to hold on to a chair. She had very bright, large and spooky eyes, black rotten teeth and a Babalu chin. She was eating barbecue on a sharp stick (or was it a human thigh?) Isn’t she lovely? Cecille chirped.

How did your dad like his doll? I asked. He loved it! said Cecille. The horror must have still reflected on my face, so Cecille put Kerkie as far away from me as possible.

I should have known! The doll had come from an aberrant toy shop adored by young people called Secret Fresh. My own grandchildren liked dropping in on it in Ronac Building, Ortigas, to buy some bewitched creature, vomit or poo. The artistic ones dreamt one day of seeing their own ghoulish drawings translated into those horrible plastic things. Their lola had no business being there.

But my 48-year-old daughter-in-law, who had adopted Kerkie, insisted, one Sunday after a lunch in Greenhills, on dropping by Secret Fresh. She wanted to buy Vomit Boy, another (ghastly) toy, this time by J J Zamoranos. Vomit Boy is a green child suspended in the air by its own Niagara Falls of vomit.

The horror shop is owned by someone called Big Boy. It is manned by a most amiable creature, long as an uncut spaghetti, named Robert Dim.

Lilli-Ann wavered between Vomit Boy and Garapata. Garapata is, yes, a fat, black, blood-sucking flea. There was a big bloated Mama Garapata and her brood of three in the display case. They surrounded a frightened dog with a human body.

Eleven thousand pesos, said Robert Dim. For the set? asked Lilli-Ann hopefully. No, only for the Mama Garapata, said Robert. Separate prices for the babies and the dog.

Octopus from hell

“BAD Hair Day,” by Gilda Cordero Fernando

Lilli-Ann wandered around. She saw Zombie Robber and a trio of witches with black mascara up to their temples. She spotted neon colored skulls. There were some bent penises. She saw an octopus from hell. She liked everything. She didn’t know what to choose.

Elmer Borlongan agreed to design a toy for us, bragged Robert Dim to me. Elmer is the most revered painter in town. He creates unsettling figures but they are not quite unhinged. I will come back when you have Elmer’s, I promised.

Robert brought us to an art gallery on an upper floor. Yey! Exhibit! said Lilli-Ann. The exhibitor was a guy called Marcus Nada. There was a big cardboard sculpture of some cut arms and legs. On the wall were cartoons. The caption of the first cartoon read: “Lahat ng May Tattoo Addict.” The next one: “Lahat ng May Bigote Masamang Tao.”  I’m glad my husband who had a moustache was not with us. He would have gone ballistic. But he’s now a dead zombie, too. I tried hard to avoid looking at the rest of the art.

Robert insisted on taking us to the basement, which to me looked like a former abbatoir. It contained long walls of street art. We stood in front of a nice one that looked like it had been through Sodom and Gomorrah. Someone wants to buy it, said Robert, but it is painted straight on the concrete wall. If we take it off the building might collapse.

On the way back, we had to pass by a floor selling mattresses. My bored son, who had been driving us, plopped down on one of the mattresses. You are allowed to nap on that for a one hour trial, Robert said.

Mol turned over on his stomach. “Feels good,” said Mol. “Try it, Ma.” I looked under the bed to make sure none of the critters had followed us.

I sat down on the orthopedic mattress and bounced on it. I tried a softer mattress and bounced on it. The salesman gave me a gel pillow to lie on. I laid down on it. It felt great.

“Ma’s bed in her house is ready to fall apart,” Lilli Ann told Mol. “I’ll buy the bed for you,” Mol told me. The price does not include the bed, said the salesman, only the mattress. Throw in the bed too, said Mol, taking out his credit card. The salesman made a lot of calculations. Robert bounced on another bed.

Sold! Mol said. Mol had bought me a nice new mattress and bed. It was the happiest Sunday of my life.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: addict , Cecille Zamora van Straten , Elmer Borlongan , Lynard Paras , Tattoo

  • Shadows1

    This article is pure garbage. Why it’s even printed?

  • http://twitter.com/chly2rees Chly Torres

    what a judgemental article. why dont u come and snort my dandruff?

  • http://twitter.com/sandra4560 .

    What a trash! What has happened to you, Inquirer?!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jun-Caneda/100001586548359 Jun Caneda

    Sobra ka naman bakit sinabi mong lahat ng may tatoo addict. Bakit addict ka ba ?

  • Littlefox131

    Huh? Did you guys even read it? I should bring my son to this. He likes gory.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PFBSNLJEABVABYWVE5W33M7YBE lorna

    Great article! I usually buy my weird vinyl toys at secret fresh. I’m sure you loved your tour there at Ronac with the weird creatures around you as if you’re a character in a children’s book.

    Anyways, I think the people who reacted violently didn’t read it, or if they had read it, didn’t undertsand this article at all.

    kudos to the writer.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  3. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  4. No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  5. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  6. The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  7. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  8. Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  9. What has happened to Barrio Fiesta and Singing Cooks & Waiters?
  10. Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. How to enjoy Buntod
  3. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  4. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  5. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  6. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  7. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  8. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  9. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  10. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer


  • Security in place for Obama as police hope for ‘peaceful’ visit
  • Retired SC justice Lorenzo Relova; 98
  • Ligots fight 2nd forfeiture case
  • PH will be partly cloudy in afternoon, evening—Pagasa
  • Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  • Sports

  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • NLEX roars to 7th D-League win
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 US doctors, including Fil-Am pediatrician