Ice Cream


Written on 11:52 AM by isko b. doo

When we were kids, our father used to experiment with all kinds of amulets, incantations, talismans and any scheme that would supposedly give him superpowers. In each nook of our house, you would find little necklaces, about ½ inch in width and an inch wide. It was basically a red cloth sewn together, patently concealing a piece of paper inside which, of course, holds the magical Latin chant for invulnerability.

Perhaps a little background. I belong to a family of “machos,” where balls are held more in esteem than education. I heard tales of my lolo, along with his sons, brandishing their guns and storming villages taking over lands on sheer firepower; tales of brawling, of clan wars, and of women. You see, the myth is you’re not part of the family if you’re not a player. Our surname supposedly carries with it a certain charm that could cut through women’s panties, easily. Of course, I and my brothers bought into the myth and had our shares of scuffles and women. In fights, the rule is: defend your brother or relative and ask questions about who started the fight later.

Anyway, it is in this context might we understand my father and uncles’ preoccupation with amulets. They are not exactly popular for their generosity.

One particular memory that’s etched into my mind was when my father and uncles had a ritual performed at our living room. The ritual would allegedly render them invincible to bullets. Tying a red bandana with strange markings around their head, they first formed a circle to ask for divine guidance, then with a jungle bolo, slashed through their limbs and trunks with no more than a red welt. My brothers and cousins witnessed the whole spectacle and our impressionable minds were, well, impressed.

I remember one time when my two elder brothers and I stole one of the red necklaces and tore off the cloth to look at what’s inside. It was nothing more than a bond paper with strange triangular shapes and doodle of an eye but we were not disappointed because the unfamiliar language made it seem mysterious and real. We fought for the right to hold the amulet and my elder brother earned that right because his fists said so.

We pestered our father into giving us superpowers, too, for why should only he be the superhero?

One day, our father called us three in the backyard to teach us a spell to make us stronger. With all seriousness and barely a whisper that we had to strain to hear his words, he revealed, syllable by syllable, the secret and ancient chant that could summon the gods into possessing you in times of crisis:


With a pregnant pause and as we stared agape, he added quickly.


And with that, he went off to work.

We were thrilled and couldn’t wait to try off our newfound powers. This was the days of the kung-fu movies. Imported Chinese movies dubbed in English with titles such as Drunken Master, Shaolin vs. Ninja, Animal Kung-Fu, Shaolin Fist and other ignominious titles. But we loved those movies and right after each film in the old Betamax tapes, my brothers and I ran off outside to mimic the moves.

What they didn’t know was that I memorized the incantation and repeat it in my head before each of our confrontation. I had it down pat. You chant the mantra and don’t forget the pregnant pause. That brief gap must have been important and part of the mantra for my father to pause like that.

It didn’t work. I got beat up each time.

It was only later I found that EE-SEE-KREE-AM POR-SA-LEE HE-REE really stood for "ICE CREAM FOR SALE HERE."

And REG FIL PAT OF? Well, that was the small print you see in Coca-Cola billboards. Reg. Phil. Pat. Off.

Registered Philippine Patent Office.


If you enjoyed this post Subscribe to our feed

No Comment

Post a Comment