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i’m having a major dilemma over something really stupid. should i purchase a pair of havaianas (you know, the rubber slippers!) here or should i just wait ’til i get to brazil and buy them there? after all, they are made in são paulo where i will be a couple of weeks or so from today.

i don’t own a pair and i never thought i’d be compelled to buy one. i told myself that they were too “mainstream”. everybody owns a bloody pair so i made a pact with myself not to join the bandwagon.

when the havaianas trend started in the philippines, i bought a pair of blue nike slippers instead. its price was twice that of a better-than-basic pair of havaianas. that’s extremely expensive for a mere pair of rubber flip-flops. they only lasted for a little over six months. then the straps started disintegrating. ok, fine. they didn’t disintegrate but they did snap. and gone were my pricey blue nike slippers.

enter my favorite über-ordinary ‘spartan’ slippers which i purchased for 30 pesos from a local sari-sari in siargao two years ago. but they too have given up on me.

so when i went to mindoro in november of 2007, i asked my friend misael to buy me another pair of slippers. she did. she got me a pair of ‘hawaianas’ for 42 pesos. i could very well just choose to bring this pair with me to brazil. i don’t mind, actually. but the customs officers might. i’ve heard enough horror stories about people being held captive in foreign customs offices for toting fake LVs. creepy.

so perhaps it’s time to start caving in, flaking out and succumbing to the trend — something i promised myself i’d never do.


a week and a half ago, lottie and i ran some errands and so i had to drive all over town. we passed through cogon market and we were surprised to see people lining up towards a certain store. they were there for nfa rice, i was sure. the queue was definitely more than 200 meters long. with an average of 3 persons to a meter, that’s 600 persons easy!

after all our chores were done, we headed to la cabana to reward ourselves with a nice massage. as luck would have it, traffic was so heavy that i had to go around agora just to get to la cabana. we passed through the market and the same long line struck us as we circled the block. old people with kids along their side, young fair skinned girls talking to each other, dark muscled men sporting their paunches, 12-year olds toting their plastic bags… all of them lining up for that precious commodity. rice.

i personally don’t have a problem with rice. i’m not a big rice fan. but i can eat rice when i want to. it’s on the table during breakfast. it’s there again at lunch. we have it for dinner as well. that is, when we’re not eating spaghetti, bruschetta or some other italian dish. no, i do not have a problem with rice.

my dilemma arises because i think my beverly might have a problem with this rice ‘non-problem’.

let me digress a little. i say ‘non-problem’ because while we’re in a huge food crisis now and there’s a looming rice shortage, the government chooses not to admit having one. the prices have skyrocketed to unbelievable heights. and still, the secretary of the department of agriculture would have us think it’s business-as-usual. it is a ‘non-problem’, riiiiight?

moving on, i suppose this so-called ‘non-problem’ might actually be a problem to beverly and her relatives, especially to baby viva who has just recently started eating rice. you see, they love rice. the entire clan can finish two kilos a day. grace, our trusty househelp, is tasked to ensure there is enough supply of nfa rice for them. so grace lines up almost everyday at carmen market to meet the two-kilos-a-day quota for bev, viv and the rest.

now, if bev has a problem, i have a problem. i love my beverly. it makes me think though… does my love for bev come before the need of the rest of my fellowmen-and-women? does bev take precedence over the hordes of people lining up in cogon, carmen and agora markets?

tough choice. but in a perfect country with a perfect president who pursues perfect policies, i wouldn’t even have to choose between bev and the rest of the people. after all, food is such a basic commodity that it should not even be a choice. it’s a way to survive.

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August 2020

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