Sunday, May 17, 2009

Alum and I: Partners for life against seborrhaic dermatitis

Alum or tawas has been known to help whiten skin and reduce underarm perspiration. Few people know that it can also be used to clear the skin if you have what is called seborrhaic dermatitis. This is a recurring skin disorder that produces itchy red spots on the oily and hairy areas of the skin like that under the eyebrows, the hairline, forehead, the side of the base of the nose and chest. These spots become rough and scaly as days go by. I have had this problem ever since I was in second year high school. I have been to different dermatologists and all of them said that there was no permanent solution to the problem and that I would just have to live with it, avoid stress and avoid the foods that I was allergic to. Of all the treatments I have gone thru and of all the remedies I have been asked to do, one thing stands out. This is the alum compress. Here’s what it does: it dries the spots faster, healing the skin in three days or less (it usually takes five days or more to completely clear the skin when using ointments). Since it is natural it is safe and has no side effects unlike if you have to use one particular ointment every day for the rest of your life. Aside from that, because the alum has a whitening effect, your skin would be lighter after regular use.

What you need:

alum crystals or alum powder (you can buy from Mercury Drugstore)
fresh clean water
face towel

1. Boil one and a half cup of water.
2. Pour the boiling water into a bowl.
3. Put 1 tablespoon of alum crystals in the water.
4. When the water gets warm dip the face towel into the water.
5. Lie down and cover the affected body part with the face towel for 15 minutes.

Do this twice a day every day until the itchy spots are gone. It works for me. I hope it works for you too.

Heavenly Dessert

My favorite dessert is mango (preferably Zambales mangoes) refrigerator cake. For those who know how to make refrigerator cakes, just use graham crackers for the crust and mangoes for the filling....remember not to add any other fruit. If you do not know how to make a refrigerator cake here's the simple recipe:


2 cartons of chilled all purpose cream
1/2 can of condensed milk
graham crackers
ripe Zambales mangoes peeled and cut into slices (the more mangoes the better)


1.Pour the all purpose cream in a mixing bowl followed by the condensed milk then mix them well, occasionally folding.
2. Grease the pan with the mixture then make the first layer of the crackers. Be sure to cover the base pan with crackers.
3. After laying the crackers, pour a good amount of the mixture on them. Make sure the
crackers are all covered by the cream.
4. Lay the mango slices on the crackers.
5. Make another layer of crackers on top of the mangoes.
6. Repeat number 3-5 two more times.
7. Refrigerate for two to three hours.

I used to make refrigerator cakes using fruit cocktail but four years ago I experimented with mangoes from our farm in Zambales. I've always used mangoes ever since. Zambales by the way has one of the best and sweetest varieties of mangoes. This is why it would be good if you could get your hands on Zambales mangoes when you make this recipe. I promise you that eating it is pure heaven. I have no other word to describe it. Making it makes me sing in anticipation. It's totally addictive so be careful. You might get a little fat.

Enjoy! I hope you'll love it as much as I do.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Reflections on Martin Nievera, freedom of expression and artistic license

Funny how celebrities get away with things. Take for example the case of Martin Nievera whose singing of the Lupang Hinirang in Pacquiao’s last bout has become controversial. He knew fully well, long before he flew to Vegas, that there was a proper and prescribed way to sing the anthem but still he chose to sing it “Martin Nievera” style, not taking into consideration the time signature, rhythm and melody that had to be observed. There are penalties for what he did (and what others who came before him did) which I think includes imprisonment for some time and a fine of a certain amount if I am not mistaken. Now all they ask from him is a public apology which he said he will never give. Other celebrities who have given their opinion about this and some senators (who are probably running for the presidency next election) are taking his side saying that Martin was just expressing the way he was feeling in the song, and that as an artist he had the artistic license to sing the song in any way he pleased. Hmmmm….I wouldn’t be surprised if I hear a rock or a rap version of the song in future bouts. They even asked Pacman’s opinion about the controversy. Well, of course, the boxer whose expertise was in boxing and not in law, said that he liked Nievera’s rendition, “Maganda naman ang pagkakanta niya. Mataas ang boses niya.”

Freedom of expression (which is not absolute) and artistic license (which does not give unlimited rights) have become poor excuses for posing nude, parading along a highway wearing nothing but a two-piece swimsuit and using the boxing ring to show off one’s singing prowess hoping to get a chance at Hollywood stardom, etc. But they get away with these things and other things because they’re celebrities. Somehow the world is kinder and more forgiving to them. It makes me wonder if I were to parade in the streets wearing a swimsuit, would I be forgiven? I don’t think so. I’d probably be taken straight to a police station or to Mandaluyong. I wouldn’t be able to use freedom of expression as an excuse. Is it because I don’t have that freedom? Naaah…it’s because I’m not a celebrity. If I were the one who sang the song in Pacquiao’s fight and I changed the melody and the rhythm, will the senators take my side? No, I seriously don’t think so. They wouldn’t care less if I get imprisoned. I don’t even think my relatives will stand by me. I would be alone in the fight and so would be other Juans and Juanas out there if they ever decide to “express themselves”.