Page 3 Asian Journal - (619) 474-0588 Visit our website at http://www.asianjournalusa.comFebruary 6 - 12, 2009
left him paralyzed for 10 years. “Butthat didn’t deter him from smok-
ing,” conﬁdes Boots. He continued
to smoke two packs of cigarettes aday; and inhale its attendant nicotineand 4,000 chemical and other com- pounds which give a stick of ciga-rette its highs as well as its insidiousdangers. And not even his doctorscould stop him as Pete would reasonout that he had only a few moreyears to enjoy this habit.But unknown to many, Bootsalso lost both her parents to cancer brought about by their heavy-
smoking. Her father, Oscar Moreno,
dubbed as the Clark Gable of Philip- pine movies, was smoking heavily
until he contracted Miliary Tubercu-
losis in 1985. “After testing positive
for TB, my father didn’t want to
have anything to do with ciga-
rettes,” says Boots. “My mother’s
smoking habit, on the other hand,started when she couldn’t convincemy father to stop. So she decided tosmoke as well until she contractedcancer when she was 71.” Boots’mom passed away 11 months after she was diagnosed with cancer in1991.Boots somehow attributes ciga-rette smoking as a “predisposition to
a lifestyle” inﬂuenced by the peoplearound you. Her maternal and
paternal grandparents are smokers.“What you are exposed to becomesingrained and also becomes partof your lifestyle.” But despite her close proximity to chain-smokers,Boots somehow never developedthe habit. She did smoke at some point in her life, but it was short-lived. “It started when the late direk Lino Brocka asked me to learn howto smoke for a play we were doing,”
Boots recalls. One who is for real-
ism, direk Lino would have noneof Boots’ “inhale, exhale” acting so
she learned how to smoke. “That
started my one to two sticks a daysmoking.” But she only smokedafter meals. Known for playing the
role of the Virgin Mary in several
movies and stage dramas, Boots wasone time smoking a cigarette after a meal with her family inside a res-taurant when she overheard the kids
on the other table said,” Si MamaMary, nagsisigarilyo! (Mama Marysmokes!).” Her family had a big
laugh after that but she also realizedthe kind of impact she makes onother people. “I quit smoking after that incident.”In the case of her late husband,Pete, it was only when he found outthat he had gastric cancer that he
Boots onsmoking hazards
(Continued from page 1)
(Continued on page 18)
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A vendor who gave his name as ‘Joel’ holds up weeks-old snakes he sells as pets in Caloocan City. PhilStar photo by Jerry Botial By Jerry Botial
A vendor who gave his name as‘Joel’ holds up weeks-old snakeshe sells as pets in Caloocan Cityyesterday. Jerry BotialIn Binondo, one can have snakesoup or drink a cup of snake blood.In Caloocan City, chopped snakemeat – some say the texture andtaste closely resembles freshwater
Snake ‘ﬁsh balls,’ anyone?
ﬁsh – are reportedly used as aningredient in “ﬁsh balls.”“Water pythons, sir. Cheap. They
don’t bite, they don’t have fangs.
Here, touch them,” snake seller Joel,
23, said as he thrust a handful of foot-long, dull gray snakes in thisreporter’s hands.Joel, of Barangay Batungaw inBulacan, Bulacan, said prices rangefrom P50 for the smallest and P200for the longest, all just weeks old.
He said that for as long as he can
remember, residents in their villagehave been catching the snakes for their skin or to make pets of them.“Now that the times are hard, wehave learned to eat them, too, to
ﬁll our bellies,” Joel said, adding
that vendors of street food are also
selling snake meat disguised as “ﬁsh
balls.”Joel said he catches the snakes,which he called “kalabukab,” in themangroves of Bulacan or in local
ﬁshponds.The snakes have a long black line
running the whole length of their
yellow underbelly. The STAR could
not immediately reach the Depart-ment of Environment and Natural
Resources to conﬁrm the “identity”
of the snakes and whether they areendangered.
On a piece of corrugated card- board, Joel wrote the “speciﬁca-
tions” of his “product:” the snakes
eat ﬁsh, crabs, rodents, even house
lizards and cockroaches. When full,the water python will not eat againuntil a month later, he said.
The snakes can grow up to a yard
in length and at least as thick as
three inches across. They can live in
drums, mineral water containers or buckets, he added.Joel, the father of three childrenaged two, one, and three months,
told The STAR he knows no other job. He learned the ropes from his
father and has been at it since he
was seven. He said he did not ﬁnish
the third grade because his parentshad no money.
On good days, he can sell 30
snakes in 10 hours. Yesterday, he
has been on the street for ﬁve hours.Though he has drawn a crowd of
onlookers, he has sold only onesnake for P50. During lean periods,it takes him three days to sell hisaverage daily catch of 20 snakes.Joel said he has learned to avoidthe police, but did not say if heknows it is illegal to sell snakeswithout a permit.
He said he hopes to sell more
snakes so he and his family can sitdown to a good meal for Christmaseve, snake meat included.