Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"Wala Nang Pangit Ngayon"

I believe it was beauty journalist Ria Limjap who used to say that. She'd then go on to declare that it's all a matter of styling; you just have to know to apply the right makeup and wear the right clothes. I'm sure Ria is right, but let me add to her theory.

When I'm there in the markets, selling my handmade jewelry, I sometimes get to wishing that with me were Tara and Lea.

You know how it is back home, you're only pretty if you're a white-skinned mestisa. So both girls suffered growing up--Tara in Surigao, Lea in Pampanga--just because they were too brown. "Ulikba," Lea was cruelly teased. As a kid my mom swears I was a rosy-cheeked cutie, which may be why I escaped the bullies, but eventually the cuteness faded so that in my twenties a boyfriend told me, "Okay, you're attractive, but not beautiful." I should have retaliated, "Well, you're oily skinned, flat-nosed, and pot-bellied." Instead, stupid me carried the little hurt around for years.

Well, girls, I have a perfect cure for our insecurities. Buy yourselves a plane ticket and move to where we're all pretty! There's something about our black hair and brown skin that makes them do a double-take over here. Men and women alike. They stop at my stand to say, familiarly, "Tu es tres jolie," formally, "Vous etes magnifique," exclamatorily (inventing a word here, maybe), "Quelle est belle!", and even lyrically, "Vous etes ravissante."

One time a tall blonde approached me, saying she wanted to take a trip to Asia, then asking, "Are all the girls as good-looking as you?" Answering truthfully, I responded, "I'm really just average over there." I savoured the look of doubt that stole over her ocean-blue eyes (the kind that we all grew up wishing we had), and couldn't help but laugh out loud when she said, "Maybe I'll be skipping the Philippines then."

Flipping hair over my shoulder, finally and once and for all, I swooshed away the White Goddess with my thick strands of black.

So, yes, it's a lot about styling, but also this: Beauty is a matter of finding the right address. Now, if only somebody could tell me where they like pot bellies and oily skin, I could send an e-mail to my ex...

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

aba, kailangan ko ata mapadpad sa ibang lugar. hi apol, si cheryl to.

Makis said...

I agree, beauty is somehow a matter of geography but for this chinese looking-even fellow pinoys mistake me as chinese- I prefer to be ulikba. Your beauty advice is quite expensive though ;-) Btw, I would like to have your homemade fig confiture!

apol said...

CHERYL!!! Kumusta ka na? No worries, kahit sa Maynila pretty ka eh.

MAKIS, when we have our pajama party I shall give you (we're having one for Kala and you cannot not come!!!).

tuesday said...

the pretty ones in manila are NOT PRETTY HERE! channelling revenge of the nerds to! jajajaja

decorator said...

atih...

so di na nga ako aalis ng pilipinas kung ganun...


bwahahhahahahah!!!


:)

TinTin said...

Great post. I'm inspired to blog about this. I read up on this light skin is better mentality after reading this and found so much material.

ANALYSE said...

hehe, good, i found the new address too! and i have to add that here, i'm not anymore regarded as skeleton, bamboo stick, and payatot... they even envy my kapayatan, o di ba..

haze said...

When I was a kid they fondly or even cruelly teased me "dag-im" (that's Quezon province tagalog) meaning cloudy sky kasi nga maitim ako! Sabayan pa with my short curly hair (as in 7 style) so "ita" and labas....o laban pa kayo !

After reading your entry I feel so beautiful period ! Thanks a lot Apol you've given me HOPE ;-) !

jillsabs said...

oooohhh! lipat na tayong lahat na exotic sa france :)

siguro rarampa ako ng todo pag makapunta ako ng europe :)

KaY said...

Brown is beautiful!

Mrs. A said...

I totally agree! When I was in HS in Manila, I've accepted the fact na matalino ako pero hindi maganda... coz I'm morena at pango... my mom even told me na di naman daw ako maganda, magaling lang ako magdala ng damit... fastforward to present day in California, where all races (except Pinoys) comment on my loveliness and my 'exquisite' color...

apol said...

MRS. A, now you're matalino AND maganda. :)

TUESDAY, I started reading The Motorcycle Diaries but my energy was not right for it, and I got bored... For Pierre, it's going to be a reliving of his biker days. Me, I just wanna see Morocco!

GWYN, sige na nga, dyan ka na lang, being a giraffesque beauty.

TINTIN, you've never lived in Manila ba? It's slowly changing now, but when we were growing up, it was really pronounced, this preference for Misses Snow Whites.

ANALYSE, you are the exotic corporate goddess.

HAZE, dagim??? Sana kinurot mo sila.

JILLSABS, yes! Rampa is the thing to do! Don't forget to bring rolling electric fans para hinangin-hangin pa ang buhok mo habang naglalakad ka sa quaint medieval-era roads ;)

KAY, I second the motion.

mcsister said...

Kapal ni oily ex!!!! Brilliant advice -- all the reason why I am figuring out where to go next.

Recently, my Singaporean colleague A asked about what my name meant in the Philippines. I said, "Maya is the national bird."
A: "What does it look like?"
Me: "Oh just small and brown."
A (staring): "You just described yourself."

Goes to show that, in this skin-whitener obsessed island, skin colour is all a matter of perspective.

ate katrina said...

Korek ka dyan! I think that prettiness is a matter of perspective. But I have to say that before I met Sean, hindi hit yung byuti ko with the puti boys, but with the African American men! I blame my big buli.

Maya, parang backhanded compliment yon? Sino nagsabi? Uumbagin ko! You can move to the US and give all these young college girls a run for their money!!!

And Apol, of course, we should all move to a country where our beauty--both inside and out--is better appreciate. Ika nga nila, if the mountain won't come to Mohammed...

Jake said...

Day! Ang ganda mo talaga, antayin mo kami ha, para makapagdagdag ng kagandahan, hahaha!