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Do not be fooled by that dainty damsel gracing our cover. We haven’t gone Cosmopolitan….nor have we invoked the malevolent spirits of Brini Maxwell and Martha Stewart. Rigid social norms are indeed one of the most unfathomable contributions of mankind to recorded history. Admit it or not, we’ve all been forced to conform to an established standard of order. But more often than not, such standards have not only divided classes, but they’ve also made individuals subject to labels and prejudice. But we tend to forget that there is more to a person than copying hairstyles from magazines and drinking wine with raised pinkies. So for this July, Menagerie focuses on going beyond superﬁcial facades and glorifying one’s self-identity. For our Cover Story, we analyze mankind’s ever-present ﬁxation on beauty vis-à-vis the Filipino society’s obsession on beauty pageants. For the Lounge, we’ve been given the honor to feature the DLSU Communication Department’s very own Dr. Clodualdo Del Mundo, Jr and his entry to the upcoming Cinemalaya Festival, Pepot Artista. For our Fearless Forecast, our writer predicts how the mushrooming of subcultures might eventually lead to non-conformity becoming the very thing it is rebelling against. And ﬁnally, for our 25 Centavos’ Worth, one of our newest staffers shares her thoughts on how not being pencil-thin should not be a hindrance to self-fulﬁllment. So with that, I leave you an excerpt from director Baz Luhrmann’s modern-day Desiderata, Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen): Enjoy your body, use it every way you can, don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it,it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own……
Rant ‘n Rave
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
D: Mike Newell S: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes RATING:
Cello’s Doughnuts and Dips RATING:
Burgundy Transpaciﬁc Place, Taft Avenue
It is now a matter of time before the thrilled faces of young teenagers and J.K. Rowling enthusiasts are seen back at the theatres for another wild ride with the famous wizard. Yes! Harry Potter is back for another encounter with the mysterious, dark and magical world of Witches and Wizards in the promising Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The main cast is once again reunited with Daniel Radcliff (Harry), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) ready for the kicks. The start of the ﬁlm sets the tone for the whole movie and is obviously written to follow and even polish the steps of its predecessors. Harry, now 14, is frequently haunted by the same dream that leaves him hanging and keeps arousing his wizardly incredulity. This movie takes on the challenge of the fourth book which is ﬁlled with the most details about the struggle between Harry, his family and You-Know-Who. No wonder there were even plans of breaking this movie into two, but the producers and crews were adept at sticking to usual conventions by ﬁnishing the whole book instead. This time, the dark Lord Voldemort, played by the proliﬁc Ralph Fiennes , (Maid in Manhattan, The Red Dragon) will now appear in the ﬂesh, together with a more active group of Dark Eaters roaming Harry’s world in search for victims. Pulling free from his hapless disposition while attached to the back of Professor Quirrel’s head in the Sorcerer’s Stone, his rise to power is surely an exciting watch. The three movies differ in their focus and emphasis. Although the movie is boasting a widening array of new characters, it may be problematic in allocating more airtime for the leads. Then again,
the movie will not only reﬂect the story’s escalation towards more action and a wonderfully complicated plot. Instead, it also develops the broadening personalities of the three main characters. Ron Weasley, with the ever bothered look on his face, has changed since the ﬁrst movie. Perrenial bookworm Hermione Granger also develops a love interest in the form of Quidditch star Victor Krum (Stanislav Ianevski). Harry, on the other hand will again be wrapped up in so many things that it makes him look like the most popular kid in Hogwarts, but, he supposedly isn’t. Particularly appealing here, of course, are the special effects and creature designs by Nick Dudman who also worked in the previous two sequels. Again, the beauty of the movie lies in the idiosyncrasies absent from the Muggle World. The underwater siren, dragons, other mythical creatures and of course, Horntail the pet, are among the ﬁlm’s amazing concepts and highlights. On the other side of Hogwarts, and lightening the movie a bit is Harry’s continuing Quidditch exploits, and his growing crush on Cho Chang (Katie Leung), which promises a lot to the young at heart. With a budget of $170 million, and prominent director, Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) in the helm, this movie is packed with ripe adventures and a mixture of Rowling formula that have won the imaginations of readers. Here’s another proof of how Harry Potter sequences just keeps on getting better. - Nancy Chua
It all started in Katipunan (that’s Eagles’ turf for you and me), where everyone’s sweet tooth ﬁnds its refuge. With their irresistible doughnuts and mouth watering dips people just can’t get enough of these sweet treats. Maybe that’s why owner Cello Santos just had to open another branch, which incidentally for La Salle students , is just across the street. And with it’s bright and lively orange-and-white color scheme illuminating that patch of dark area just across the North Gate, it’s deﬁnitely hard to miss. Cello’s Doughnuts offers a total of 12 ﬂavors, from the traditional (chocolate, cheese, honey-glazed, sugar glazed, peanut butter, caramel, strawberry, candy sprinkled, and chocolate sprinkled) to the unique (Oreo, chocnut, M&M’s). Aside from that, Cello’s also offers tiny square shaped bread called Pillows and curved pieces of bread called C’s. Dips are deﬁnitely recommended, making their pillows and C’s go from the normal tasting honey glazed to an eccentric taste. Just like in the doughnuts, there is also a wide variety of dips to choose from - toblerone, nutella, dark chocolate, white chocolate and strawberry. Once an order is placed, the crew sees to it that they give their customers the freshest batch of newly cooked doughnuts that they have. So once the doughnut touches the customer’s mouth, one can feel the softness of the bread, just right enough to indulge in a few seconds of heavenly feeling. The sweetness of their ﬂavors is also made right enough not to make the customers want to drink water every time they take a bite. Though this restaurant bears the imposing aura of a posh doughnut shop, it is surprising to note that their prices are not far from the prices of their competitiors, such as Go Nuts Donuts and Dunkin Donuts. A box of 6 donuts costs P90, with each donut costing only P16. A box of C’s, containing 6 pieces, costs P60, and an addition of a dip makes it P90. A bag of Pillows, containing 20 pieces is only P90, and if added with a dip costs P120. Their cheerful crew is another great aspect as well, greeting their customers once they enter the store. It has such a lively atmosphere wherein students can take their mind off their studies and just unwind. However, being newly opened, there are still areas that need improvement, like the occasioanl inavailabilty of their offered concoctions. But with a little more consistency and steady supply of their products, Cello’s is deﬁnitely not far from living up to its slogan - “Loving it everyday!” -Rosanna Guintivano
Looking for a different ice cream experience? This new ice cream bar with prime locations at Greenhills and Eastwood City offers just that. A new approach in the preparation of its ice cream and the introduction of refreshing ice cream concoctions are the main attraction of Floyd’s Ice Cream Bar. Their innovative “Floydstone” or frozen granite stone which is used in mixing the ice cream concoctions was a ﬁrst in the Philippines. First, customers pick their choice of ice cream ﬂavors (from Fruits in Ice Cream) and “smoosh-ins” (toppings) like Marshmallows, nuts, m&m’s, oreo and choco chips, etc. It is then mixed in the Floydstone and Viola! You have your own unique ice cream concoction! You could even have a name for your own creation to be included in their menu. Their Frozen Thrills and best-seller concoctions like the Yin & yang, Almondine, Chocolate Bliss and La dulce Vita are deﬁnitely must tries. This ice cream bar also offers shakes like fruit-ﬂavored smoothies, milkshakes and parfaits. There are also cakes transformed into ice cream cakes like Turtle pie, frozen tiramisu, mango torte, mud pie, cookies & cream and many more! They also have different pie desserts to complement their wide range of ice cream varieties. Aside from cold desserts, they also offer puttanesca and carbonara pastas and different crepes. The price range is also affordable, with a budget of around a hundred to two hundred bucks, you can deﬁnitely try a couple of the best selling concoctions in this bar - a nice alternative to your usual frappucinos. The interior complements the overall inviting feeling of the bar – perfect for shoppers and waiting movie-goers. The location is also perfect especially in Eastwood where it is situated near the movie house. This is the perfect ice cream bar for those in quest of a sugar rush, you can never get tired of the varieties that this bar has to offer. Satisfy that sweet tooth with all the possible ice cream concoctions you could ever think of! - Angeline Manuel
Juan Carlos Chavez Menagerie Editor
COVER PHOTO: DIANE REYES COVER IMAGING: JAN MICHAEL JAUDIAN LAYOUT: JAN MICHAEL JAUDIAN LUIS DE VERA
Welcome back to Kansas, Toto. Last season’s Smallville left Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) being rendered unconscious by a glass of poisoned whisky, Lana Lang (Kristin Kruek) ﬂying to Paris, and Clark Kent (Tom Welling) himself getting sucked into “the cave”. This time around, the fourth season evolves from focusing on Clark’s relationship with his adopted family and deeper into the Superman mythology. It all starts in the middle of things and right away introduces a new character in the form of - gasp! - Lois Lane (Erica Durance). The central storyline this time is the search for the three elusive Kryptonian artifacts that bring about inﬁnite knowledge and power to those who can possess it. Greed and lust for power lead the characters to all corners of the Earth in search of the artifacts. Along the way, we meet Lana’s mysterious boyfriend Jason Teague (Jensen Ackles) and his mother Genevieve (Jane Seymour) who have motives of their own. Likewise, the traditional Smallville “Freak of the weeks” new and old return.
Clark and gang enjoy the rigors of senior year while pondering with moving forward. This season boasts great performances from Tom Welling, Allison Mack, and the newcomer Erica Durance. The scheming Luthors steal the show with the best performances in the series. Also memorable are Clark’s parents played by Annette O’ Toole and John Schneider who provide some of the best scenes despite their shortened appearances. Kristin Kreuk is sadly left with weak stuff but nevertheless manages to hold her own. The production values are great, using beautiful lighting techniques and effects that local fantaseryes can only dream of. Unfortunately, the overall story still suffers from plot holes and forced subplots. Superman purists might also be turned off by Lois Lane’s early introduction into Clark Kent’s life. All in all, Smallville Season 4 pales in comparison to a rather strong third season, and it leaves viewers on the short end of the stick. - Franz Francisco Chan
Floyd’s Ice Cream Bar
Locations: -Kiosk 5, Cinema Lobby, City Walk 2, Eastwood Cyberpark, Libis, Quezon City -2nd ﬂoor Promenade, Greenhills Commercial Shopping Center, San Juan
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Smallville Season 4 RATING:
(Studio 23, Tuesdays, 9:00 p.m.)
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A New Path For Dr. Doy
t seems hard to believe that Dr. Clodualdo del Mundo, Chair of the Department of Communication, after about thirty years of working for the ﬁlm industry, had not quite achieved his dream until now. Having worked with legends such as Lino Brocka, and writing screenplays like Maynila, Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag and Bayaning Third World, he has ﬁnally gotten the chance of directing his ﬁrst feature ﬁlm, Pepot Artista, a story he had conjured up long before any of his other achievements. Enter Cinemalaya, a festival that has granted ﬁrst time directors with P500,000 to produce a ﬁlm. Dr. del Mundo is one of the nine ﬁnalists in this festival and his ﬁlm is among the more highly anticipated ones.
The LaSallian: How did you come up with the idea for Pepot Artista? Clodualdo del Mundo: It all started many years ago, during the school year of 1970-1971. I was the only student in a screenwriting tutorial class under Nestor Torre. I wrote the screenplay for Pepot Artista then. Maybe I was inﬂuenced by 400 Blows by Francois Truffaut, in which a delinquent boy, is the main character. Then I thought of making some commentaries about the ﬁlm industry at that time, so I created the character of a boy who wanted to be a star. It all started there. TLS: You mentioned that you wanted to make a commentary. It was set in the seventies yet produced now. How has the message changed over the years? CDM: I revised the screenplay, so the subject covers a wider area. The commentary goes beyond the ﬁlmmaking industry. I think the theme has now become about the excessive interest of Pinoys in entertainment, and makes some comments about the entire society. TLS: How realistic is the ﬁlm, or did you treat it as an exaggeration? CDM: It’s a comedy, so there’s a lot of exaggeration in that. It was set in the early part of the ﬁlm when the mother lights a candle and drops candle wax on the boy - that’s an exaggeration already – that sets the tone for the ﬁlm. TLS: Was Pepot Artista your ﬁrst choice when you submitted it for Cinemalaya? CDM: Yes. I forget now the details, but I thought of it at once, when I learned about the festival. TLS: What can you say about the selection of other entries in Cinemalaya? CDM: I think it’s going to be a good festival. There are two other ﬁlms that are made by LaSalle graduates. Rica Arevalo’s entry is ICU Bed #7, which stars Eddie Garcia. And the other ﬁlm, also by LaSalle graduates Corinne Jimenez and Mario Cornejo, made Big Time. I’ve seen their ﬁlms and they’re very good. I know the other projects in the festival, I think they’re good. They’re very different ﬁlms, so it’s going to be an exciting festival. Also, they’re not formulaic ﬁlms, or genre movies. There are as many kinds of ﬁlms as there are ﬁlmmakers. TLS: How involved was Cinemalaya in the production process? CDM: They just monitored the production, ﬁnding out how it was going. Periodically we had to submit some requirements, like unedited footage, stills from shooting. At least in my case, they did not interfere with the production itself. TLS: Why did you decide to try your hand at directing? CDM: I’ve wanted to direct since I got interested in ﬁlms. I’d done short ﬁlms, and videos when I took my masters in the early seventies. I also made a 16 millimeter ﬁlm documentary. I shot it myself and I edited it myself. But there was no opportunity for me to direct in a full-length movie. The only opening I got then was as a scriptwriter.
TLS: Screenwriting is a very private routine as opposed to directing. How did you manage the shift? CDM: There was not so much adjustment that I had to make because I’ve directed for television, educational television, like Sineskwela and Math-tinik. I’ve worked in ﬁlm production and television production so I’ve worked with people. So it was not a problem. TLS: What’s your screenwriting process? CDM: How do I write? Well, in this particular project, maybe it’s been a part of me so much that I did not have to think about it too much. I just relied on whatever was happening around me, and ﬂowed with the events. I knew the story by heart, I knew the characters by heart. In revising the screenplay, I just let it ﬂow. And when I saw things around me, like for example, a birdhouse on a rooftop. I saw it while I was looking from a building overlooking Leveriza, and I just thought it might be a good detail – that the boy could be taking care of pigeons. It all fell into place, and I was able to use it as an important detail in the story. The idea of using Biyaya ng Lupa as a reference was not in the original screenplay, it’s in the revision. It just came to me out of the blue, and I thought I could use details in Biyaya ng Lupa. For instance, the mother being one of the actors who appeared as an extra in the ﬁlm or one of the children being deaf. Those references just came out of the blue, and I just ﬂowed with the events. Catch Pepot Artista at the following screenings: July 13 9:30 PM CCP Studio Theater; July 14 1:00 PM CCP Little Theater; July 16 9:30 PM CCP Multi-Purpose Hall; July 17 7:00 PM CCP Little Theater
TLS: What about your directorial style? Was it also as subconscious? CDM: Maybe not, because I had to make decisions on the set. I had to consider problems that we encountered on the set and I had to make adjustments. But I just wanted to make things as simple as possible. I didn’t want to call too much attention to style. It’s not a ﬂamboyant style, it’s not an MTV-ish style. I guess I was looking for a simple, functional style, an almost absent style. That was what I was aiming for. TLS: Of all the ﬁlms you’ve been involved in, which is the most personal to you? CDM: I guess the documentaries that I’ve done, especially Maid in Singapore. I shot it during my stay in Singapore. Pepot Artista is close to me because I’ve wanted to do it since the seventies. So if only because of that, it’s more personal than the others. And I directed it myself so I have more control over the ﬁlm. TLS: What are your hopes for Pepot Artista? CDM: I hope that it will be shown to a greater public. We plan to bring it to the different schools, and to ﬁnd other venues to show the ﬁlm. I just want to show it to different audiences and hopefully they enjoy the ﬁlm.
Dr. Clodualdo del Mundo’s directorial debut for a feature ﬁlm is Pepot Artista, a story about a young boy’s quest for stardom. Set during the Martial Law years and a time when bold ﬁlms were beginning to reign over wholesome love stories, the ﬁlm brings us a rather nostalgic homage of the Nora Aunor-Tirso Cruz III love team, as well as a clear reference to the 1959 ﬁlm Biyaya ng Lupa. Pepot (Elijah Castillo), a boy of about ten who delights in mischief at school and sells comic books to help with his family’s ﬁnancial struggles, dreams of something more than richness: a desperate longing to become a movie star. Despite letdowns from has-beens and failed wannabes – his mother (Rio Locsin), and performers at a fair, played by Bituin Escalante and Jeffrey Quizon – he continues to believe that greater opportunities are out there for him. It arrives at a chance encounter of a ﬁlm shooting, with calls for young kids as extras. Pepot’s adventures make him realize that the world is much too big for him, and the artiﬁcial world he yearns for isn’t quite at his arm’s reach. Highlights of this ﬁlm include Pepot’s drive to earn enough money for his big break; the rather unconventional quirks of his parents; and the uniquely crafted clichés every boy goes through, from being bullied to having crushes to running away. The ﬁlm’s appeal is further enhanced with cameos from Tirso Cruz III himself, Jose Javier Reyes, Yoyoy Villame, and Tado Jimenez (who plays a female teacher reminiscent of Iskul Bukol), among others. A comedy, a musical, and a period ﬁlm combined, Pepot Artista relives a genre that barely exists in current Filipino cinematic trends, yet remains marketable to all audiences. It is more so apt for today’s Filipino, where, at a time when the ﬁlm industry is said to be “dying”, brings optimism to the obsessive leisure that is attached to our culture. This, as well as the understated fact that every Filipino dreams of stardom and fame, gives enough assurance that Pepot Artista is worth watching.
Pepot Artista may be an inspiring take on achieving one’s dreams, but Dr. del Mundo is living proof that it is, indeed, possible. It may have taken him thirty-three years to do so, but the wait was well worth it.
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PHOTOS BY ERIC SIY AND APRIL DE GUZMAN
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ruth, beauty, freedom, love. The unforgettable words that immortalized Moulin Rouge into 21st century cinema ring of a very old tune. Years ago, French women danced to the can-can to celebrate these four declarations. After so many years, truth and freedom and love have eluded most of the human species, but beauty has always remained invariable. It has found its pedestal in history, from the legendary Helen of Troy to Chen Yuan Yuan of China, whose legendary beauty indirectly opened the ﬂagging doors of the Ming Dynasty for the Manchurians. Renowned beauties have all played crucial roles in the politics and economics of everyday life. Whichever way it is put, beauty transcends all races and all time. It is no surprise then that since the ﬁrst Miss Universe crown was put on then 18-year old Finnish Armi Kuusela’s head in 1952, the world has opened new perspectives in deﬁning beauty, and inevitably, brought a string of controversies with it.
Birth of Beauty When America’s Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, the whole world witnessed history in the making. But when Gloria Diaz was crowned Ms. Universe, it was a mark of a new sensation that fascinated Pinoys more than laying eyes on the newest scientiﬁc breakthrough. Year after year beauty queens became the most anticipated “inventions” that gave challenge, from trainers to fashion designers. Filipinos love to idolize. Who would forget Miriam Quiambao’s famous fall? Hilarious? No, it was conﬁdence added with grace, as the country sang in praises. Filipinos have always had a thing for presenting their best foot forward, something manifested in the tradition of hiya, of hospitality and of ﬁestas. We want to look good because we are attracted to anything that looks good. We know that about ourselves, albeit implicitly, and so we ﬁnd ourselves drawn to anything visually impressive. That means billboards (check out EDSA), movie special effects, and yes, beauty pageants. Beauty is an obsession the world over. And Pinoys know that the most interesting things need not be the most unique ones when they switch on their TV sets. Eyes get drawn by attractive women parading their glorious assets. Men gape, women compare, and children start internalizing beauty. Filipinos’ predilection for beauty pageants go beyond the traditional obsession with lipsticks, powders, and the occasional blush. It has a deep-seated history associated with the “television culture” that sprouted a series of beauty queens and failed wanna-bees.
more appealing. It’s no wonder why most of the youth today aspire to be models or beauty queens. A lot of pageants—the Mutya, Ms. Earth, and Bb. Pilipinas – in fact, exist to give them hope. It’s clear why a hard-up people like our own aspires for instant stardom through beauty pageants. There is much prestige attached to even just getting in the Top Five of any renowned pageant as it opens so many golden gates of opportunities for a quick lift up the social ladder. Think of Charlene Gonzales’ showbiz career, and Gloria Diaz’s and Margie Moran’s high-proﬁle marriages to politicians. You’ll see the same Cinderella-like escape that makes beauty pageants so dazzling. And sometimes, it can be funnier than you think. Amidst the spectacular event, its dazzling parade of candidates awaits the vital part of the evening – the question and answer portion. But why do eyebrows turn down all of a sudden? It’s not because of beauty queens’ incapacity to answer questions critically, but language usage is one vibrant that we all ought to give a thought. What could be used to express views in maintaining culture-sensitivity has become unfavorable or least acceptable. Why then do we settle to either of their lousy answers on the pageant night or their comical quotes in TV interviews that has seemingly become an oddity? Our vernacular language will not make us any less deserving. The Lottery For many young girls who ﬂip their remotes to beauty pageants, there is a raging question burgeoning on their subconscious: Are beauty queens made or are they born? Beauty is a very subjective factor. But in pageants, there has to be a “fairest of them all.” Aside from the usual training sessions, one of the ﬁrst steps towards taking part in beauty pageants is enrolling in beauty schools. In countries such as Venezuela and India, children are taken to beauty schools as young as ﬁve years old. That explains these countries’ constant semi-ﬁnal streak. According to Andrea Elrington, Miss Belize Universe 2005, “I don’t think it’s a lack of intelligence or beauty with the other countries, rather a lack of preparation that’s necessary to come here (Miss Universe pageant) and compete at such a high level.” Thanks to Gregor Mendel, genetics can tell us that most of our inborn traits are passed on to us biologically. That especially refers to physical features. So it then means that if you are pretty, you were most likely born that way. But, who’s to say whether your chromosomes produced what is “beautiful”? Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder, so it also helps to be born with your beholding society declaring you beautiful. So, which one’s which? The stage is set, the judges on to their picks, and the audience, each holding on to their bets. Enter into a world where looks are anything but a standard, set! But with all
the perfection there is, and of all the shades of beauty it has, there is still that deﬁning factor to ﬁt the one crown and stand out. It’s the cutting edge and it’s not just a matter of putting in one’s conﬁdence. Given that perfect face and that body shape after weeks of preparation, they deﬁnitely have what it takes. But other than that, it really is the deﬁning moment rather the X-factor. In a night where everything seems just right or just so, decisions keenly arrived at with winners fatefully chosen. No questions asked! It may be the night for the rest of their life, the title, the prestige, and the crown that goes to one, all given in a single night—now call that lucky! Beauty in Full Circle As the simple adage reveals, there’s no such thing as perfection. But it absolutely doesn’t stop us from working our ways to it. The world has become one vanity fair and that does not limit to women alone. That explains why the cosmetic industry has always been on the rise these days. As much as society attaches the sense of conﬁdence to beauty, this capital word has become basis in increasing one’s self-worth. Our social norms dictate that our appearance is a reﬂection of our well-being. Beauty has come along in this form and for everyone’s grasp for perfection it will remain a paradox, therefore possible. In the 21st century, the fashion industry rules the cosmetics, clothing, and many consumer industries. Today, the words “face value” connote a different meaning: plastic surgery, Botox, and Diamond Peels are the sassy woman’s guide to looking good. As the tricks of the trade become more and more widespread, a woman’s intelligence becomes a much sought after asset. People today are more appreciative of a good head between one’s shoulders. In today’s standards of beauty, any of the black, white, or yellow races can be branded beautiful. What is important is invisible to the eye. One of the truest declarations of Antione de Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince. And, what is perhaps the most invisible beauty lies somewhere inside. Take the Binibining Pilipinas pageant. While it is the search for Miss Universe, International and World contenders, what most people don’t know is that its original purpose was to raise funds for various philanthropist causes. Beauty then means having not just a pretty face, but a heart and soul, too. Real beauty changes the tides of time; it touches hearts, minds, and souls. It changes the world, and brings forth new perspectives. True beauty within reminds us that despite the world’s madness, we still have reason to hope for change. And this is perhaps one of the deepest roots of our fascination with pageants. Deep inside, we all realize that true beauty enlivens what is now lost – truth, freedom, and love.
PHOTOS FROM GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH
“There is much prestige attached to even just getting in the Top Five of any renowned pageant as it opens so many golden gates of opportunities for a quick lift up the social ladder.”
Unearthing the Tiara
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ALEJANDRO ALMENDRAS IV, KRISTEL KAYE CHUA, AND NICOLE TANGCO
When Maria Clara Danced on Center Stage One of the basic cultural conundrums of Filipinos is that they are perpetually enthralled by beauty queens. The beautifully made-up face, the mestiza look and ﬂawless accent, and yes, the immaculate dress, make them seem so unreachable. And all the
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OffLThe Beaten Track
respectful behavior for the people around you; rigid etiquette requires highly structured behavioral patterns that scream: “I’m royalty!” Manners are about holding up your wine glass and drinking as noiselessly as possible from it; etiquette is about clasping your ﬁngers around your wine glass and subsequently raising your pinky at precisely the “right angle”. Strict practice of this kind of etiquette can project an inhuman sort of perfection that is noticeably wanting in regular people. Artiﬁcial would be best suited to describe it. Not to mention that this stiff, methodical culture is so far from what’s familiarly Filipino. Filipinos have a very expressive culture that imbibes an atmosphere of friendliness and warmth. In the older days, it wasn’t much of a problem when someone walked funny or dressed up baduy. It wasn’t a big deal whenever we chose to eat dinner with our bare hands, nor did anyone mind when we cackled heartily at a good joke. What mattered most was the sense of community that we fostered and the ease at which we could express ourselves in our everyday dealings. Rigid etiquette, on the other hand, is more of a European outgrowth, stemming from the stiff decorum of royal courts and stately households. It adheres to a strict code of conduct that one must follow based on gender, social standing and age, among others. There’s a speciﬁc way to do even the simplest of tasks, from walking to talking, and sitting. Talk about spontaneity! In such a culture, self-expression is curtailed in favor of keeping up with social expectations—and appearances. Those bows and curtsies that little earls, dukes and princesses were taught in the old days are all part of their everyday rounds of “procedural etiquette”. Of Mushrooms and Champignons Somehow, people are eager to practice social etiquette that would undoubtedly give them away as upper class folks. And to a growing number of imageconscious Filipinos, anything European qualiﬁes as classy and sophisticated. This does not exclude my classmates, who giggled and bounced in excitement when one of our instructors taught us how to pronounce the French word “champignons”. Henceforth, they refused to utter the word “mushrooms”. That day, I heard “champignons” more times than I had ever heard it before that. More and more, urban Filipinos are easily falling prey into the clutches of the Western invasion. Sure, globalization is a modern boon that’s brought more than enough things onto our shores to conjure up never ending tides of “oohs” and “ahhs” in fascination. But increasingly, people are starting to set aside what’s inherently Filipino in favor of what’s blatantly foreign. And no, this doesn’t just apply to consumer goods on supermarket shelves and shop racks. Nowadays, the perfect image has actually become the “European image”. An Ode to Perfection Urbane culture has never been more obsessed with “delicate refinement”. The world is becoming more and more critical of the way you dress, talk, and behave. These are the criteria that will ultimately determine how many friends you’ll have and how far along the popularity track you’ll get. Hence, more and more etiquette-branding institutions and modeling agencies are cashing in on the image-conscious culture of today’s youth, each enticing gullible teenagers to jump into the bandwagon with promises of supermodel makeovers and “artista” prospects. But how perfect can we really become by adopting a lifestyle that’s so unnatural to us? How can we be so proud of ourselves by turning our backs on our cultural identity? How much longer can we go on laughing at the stubby, ugly duckling who thought he was a duck, when we’re the ones blinded by our pretentious vanity? During my short summer vacation stint at the image empowerment center, the only part of me that got empowered was my sense of spontaneity. It makes more sense to call that place the “etiquette reﬁnery.” Over there, I was taught that the only way to be able to project an aura of conﬁdence and reﬁnement was to sit down a certain way, walk a certain way, and pick up my drinking glass a certain way. There’s nothing wrong with adhering to this rigid etiquette and for a while back then, I tried to do just that. But I didn’t feel comfortable holding my head up high for too long. Maybe I’m not meant for royalty. But for me, I’m as perfect as anyone of them can ever be—I can always be sure of that.
What aspect or quality about yourself are you most proud to possess?
Being a fashionista—people can clearly see my mood and personality through my clothes. Christine, LMG I am an individual who never fails to rise up again despite frustrations and failures. I have God to thank for that. Ace Labuac, III-BSA I am very much proud of my strong personality. It gives people an inkling that I am capable of greater things than I appear to be. Geneve Parr, II-MEM I’m proud to possess the conﬁdence both in carrying myself and in expressing my views. Through it, I gain the respect of others; and that’s something I consider as a great fulﬁllment. Carlo Jamer, III-MFI My smile, because it brightens up other people’s day. Angel, IV-CS-IT I’m friendly, resourceful, and smart. Because of these qualities, I can really hold my chin up high and can really stand out especially in dealing with others. Bien Morales, IV-MTH-BAP Being a good listener—through it I can help others release their emotions and even relate with their problems. Pao Gatmaitan, IV-MFI I love that I have one heck of a sense of humor. I consider it a gift to be able to bring happiness to other people’s lives and somehow, affect them and make even the slightest difference. Athena Boncan, III-BSA I am a street smart person! The wisdom that I possess was not obtained from any written text or lecture. Being street smart makes me very “madiskarte”. Brix Aquino, IV-BSA
COMPILED BY DIANNE MARGARETH TANG
PHOTOS BY LUIS DE VERA
Manners involve showing respectful behavior for the people around you; rigid etiquette requires highly structured behavioral patterns that scream: “I’m royalty!”
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hen I was once asked to write about my nail care habits, I thought the question was pretty elementary. All it involved were a pair of clippers and dirty nails, after all! I thought I did a good job of keeping my nails tidy—until my older classmates started sharing up front the rigorous processes of the “manicure” and the “pedicure”—nice names for otherwise relentless regimes of cutting, ﬁling, buffing, and French tips. When my turn came, I clutched my paper tightly and shoved it to my face. For the next few minutes, I bluffed my way out of embarrassment, trying to recall the evasive details of an imaginary pedicure. To me, taking care of my nails was a simple task. Hey, what was I to do? I was a giddy 9-year unwittingly trapped in a branding institution for all that was prim and proper. And when you’re a little kid who dreams of nothing else but a summer of lazy cartoons and playground exploits, this was the ultimate nightmare. Raise Those Pinkies! For the next few weeks, the model-instructors of the image-empowerment-slashmodeling agency did their best to camouﬂage my rowdiness into every appearance of ladylike reﬁnement. Predictably, I did not have the greatest time, but what fascinated me was how everyone else in the room seemed to have been enjoying all this—everyone, that is, but me. Had I seen The Stepford Wives back then, I would have better understood what these nice folks were trying to make of me. I have nothing against learning my good manners. But manners are one thing, “rigid social etiquette”, as I would call it, is another. Manners involve showing
ANNE LORRAINE NG
the lasallian menagerie 9
MARIANE LOURDES PEREZ
25 centavos’ worth
In the movie “Madagascar” there is a character named Gloria the hippopotamus. The hippo is known as one of the biggest and laziest animals. However, Gloria could still stand tall and be proud despite her not being too good looking and lazy. She knows it’s what on the inside that matters which gives her a high level of conﬁdence. A lot of people think the same way she does, then again a lot more don’t. Going “riceless” Being overweight 90 percent of my life, I know how it feels to realize that sometimes “size does matter”. I have tried to lose weight but it never worked, except for now since I am on the “riceless” diet. I am proud that I have not let rice touch my mouth, then again I hate every moment that I see it in front of my face which is every minute of when I eat. I will not be a hypocrite and say that I never wished that I were thin. I have been teased a lot of the things from the simple “fatty” to the sometimes hurtful “Titanic”. I can’t get proper clothes in my size and settle for anything that ﬁts. People always tend to think differently of you. They think you’re lazy, dumb or that you’re depressed. A fat person most of the time has to be able to prove his/herself and show that he/she isn’t as lazy as one would think. People stare and you don’t get treated the same way other smaller people would. “I’m no DUFF!” On the other hand, I would still have to say being fat isn’t as bad as it seems. It’s not the worst thing that could happen. I agree it does have some health risks, the reason why I am on the evil “riceless” diet. I’ve got no problems at all ﬂoating in a pool. When I cross Taft, I’m safe because only a blind person can hit me, and if I do get hit I have enough cushion. Are we depressed? No! The overweight people who I know are some of the funniest and happiest people that I’ve met. Every group of friends has a “fatty” and most likely they are the life of the party. They wouldn’t care if they were to make a fool of themselves in front of a thousand people their self-conﬁdence is amazing. I remember a guy on a TV program having said “Every good looking girl has a “DUFF.” (d ugly fat friend). She is the friend who knows whether a guy has good intentions or not. For me, it’s because we can know if the guy will still be there years from now when she is overweight and her skin is sagging. We know it’s the inside that counts. For me, being fat or having any unwanted physical feature actually increases ones conﬁdence, we get so us to the insults that it does not bug us anymore. We realize that we are just as good or even better than the people who insult us. Riceless = Priceless People just don’t get it, the only difference between a thin and a fat person is the size. Society makes it seem like it’s a crime to be overweight which pressures people to resort to eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia. It’s not just about being overweight. Individuals seem to think that if you’re short, or you if don’t have a good body or anything else then you’re just plain ugly or you’re not good enough. Individuals who hate the way they look for any reason should learn to appreciate the brighter things in life and enjoy the “cheap thrills”. Being “riceless” isn’t just about a diet it’s doing anything just to look good in hopes that life would be better and perhaps you wouldn’t be considered ugly. It sounds cliché but people should just go back to the old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” and enjoy the good things life has to offer. In the end of it all, is the result of being “riceless” really priceless, can’t we just make life priceless now? Which reminds me of an Indian song where men are told the advantages of having a wife who is tall, dark or fat. (A line in English) “Even a husband whose wife is fat should consider his wife great, because he does not need a bed.”
As more and more people become part of these subcultures, therefore outnumbering mainstream society, conformists might then become the new subculture.
Since birth, our genetic conﬁgurations have predestined us into becoming one-of-a-kind. No two people, save identical twins, have the exact same genetic makeup. Yet we know that despite this three in a thousand1 phenomenon, the similarities between twins are often only in the physical. So, if we’re all different, why do we strive to conform? GGPM (Gaya Gaya Puto Maya) In the 1950’s, social psychologist Solomon Asch conducted a so-called ‘visual perception experiment’. Asch showed subjects two Exhibits. Exhibit A was a line. Exhibit B was a set of 3 lines of different lengths. Asch then asked test subjects which of these lines were of the same length as the ﬁrst. Piece of cake? Well, pretty much, as 95% of the observers were able to do this accurately (in a separate test)2. However, when Asch placed subjects in a group, with 6 other confederates who were asked to give the incorrect answer most of the time, the average subject conformed to the group response on 32% of the trials, while 74% of the subjects changed their minds at least once3. This change in attitude is what sociologists identify as conformity, a yielding to social pressure even when no direct request to comply is made. Sociologists identify many factors that bring about this ‘groupthink’, among them are factors we can identify with ourselves- social support, acceptance, and the need for respect. Inevitably, it is easier to conform than it is to stake your own claims, which is sometimes positive as bonds people by
giving them something to relate to. However, when people lose their individuality in the rush to conform, then perhaps all this following may not be to our best interests. Light and Dark But however novel the concept of non-conformity may seem, it is important to remember that there are people who have been going against the ﬂow for years. Unable to ﬁnd fulﬁllment in the larger societal context, these people form their own meaning systems, and lifestyles, resulting in a distinct subculture. Goths, Punks, Nerds, Artsy Types, Hippies, Grunge, and Metalheads, are just some of the many subcultures identiﬁed by sociologists. But, what is most striking is that a lot of us are very familiar with the elements that distinguish these groups. Thirsty for fresh perspectives, society has often taken ideas from these subcultures, incorporating them into the mainstream culture. Inﬂuencing fashion, movies, music, literature, and perhaps even increasing in size, these idiosyncratic groups are have truly made themselves indispensable to popular society. Punk’d! The Internet, as well as other advancements in communication, has opened us to a world of limitless information. Consequently, it has also made it easier for us to ourselves freely share information, a lot of which may be about our personal selves. Add to that society’s continuing adherence towards concepts of diversity, tolerance, and political correctness,
and you have the perfect petri dish to grow a world that truly embraces individuality. And who better to lead the pack than those who have been going against the ﬂow for years? Research has already shown that demographic diversity provides a lot of beneﬁts in higher education and the workplace. So if demographic diversity is good, then wouldn’t the cultural diversity offered by subcultures be healthy for society as well? And if demographic minorities can be protected by laws enacted by some countries, like those on Afﬁrmative Action, shouldn’t there likewise be laws protecting the right of minority cultures? Although it is much easier to do your own thing now than it was before, society still prefers to keep its members in line through traditions, norms, and the like. But if and when society does decide to throw out the old rulebook, or at least loosen the reins, so to speak, will we still be as eager to be different, or will we actually crave a more rigid social structure? The answer to that question is simple. We will always crave what we do not, or cannot have. So in a world dominated by conformity, subcultures will be those we may now consider as deviant. But soon enough, as more and more people become part of these subcultures, therefore outnumbering mainstream society, conformists might then become the new subculture. In a world ﬁlled with more people who are deviant, looking just like everyone else is sure to be the next big thing. Uniforms anyone?
ARTWORK BY IAN ROMAN
Individuals who hate the way they look for any reason should learn to appreciate the brighter things in life and enjoy the “cheap thrills”.
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PHOTO BY KARLA PERALTA
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