“Living hell…” – Hiroshima atom bomb survivors share the insanity of it all

On August 6, 1945, the B-29 bomber Enola Gay took off from the North Field airbase on Tinian, in the West Pacific. At 8:15, 509th Composite Group commander Colonel Paul Tibbets arrived to the destination: Hiroshima. 30 minutes before that, 2nd Lieutenant Morri Jeppson had removed all safety devices from “Little Boy”, an atomic bomb loaded with 130 pounds of uranium-235—the first to be exploded over any population in the planet. 32,333 feet below, this is what that population experienced.


300 feet from Little Boy’s explosion hypocenter.
Hiroshima, Japan

Akiko Takakura.
Age at impact: 20 years.
One of the very few who survived so near the hypocenter.
TAKAKURA: After the air-raid the alarm was called off, I walked from Hatchobori to the Bank of Hiroshima in Kamiya-cho. I arrived at the bank some time around 8:15 or so, and signed my name in the attendance book. When I was doing my morning routine, dusting the desks and things like that, the A-bomb was dropped. All I remember was that I saw something flash suddenly.

INTERVIEWER: Can you explain the flash?

TAKAKURA: Well, it was like a white magnesium flash. I lost consciousness right after or almost at the same time I saw the flash. When I regained consciousness, I found myself in the dark. I heard my friends, Ms. Asami, crying for her mother. Soon after, I found out that we actually had been attacked. Afraid of being caught by a fire, I told Ms. Asami to run out of the building. Ms. Asami, however, just told me to leave her and to try to escape by myself because she thought that she couldn’t make it anywhere. She said she couldn’t move. I said to her that I couldn’t leave her, but she said that she couldn’t even stand up. While we were talking, the sky started to grow lighter.

Then, I heard water running in the lavatory. Apparently the water pipes had exploded. So I drew water with my helmet to pour over Ms. Asami’s head again and again. She finally regained consciousness fully and went out of the building with me. We first thought to escape to the parade grounds, but we couldn’t because there was a huge sheet of fire in front of us. So instead, we squatted down in the street next to a big water pool for fighting fires, which was about the size of this table.

Since Hiroshima was completely enveloped in flames, we felt terribly hot and could not breathe well at all. After a while, a whirlpool of fire approached us from the south. It was like a big tornado of fire spreading over the full width of the street. Whenever the fire touched, wherever the fire touched, it burned. It burned my ear and leg, I didn’t realize that I had burned myself at that moment, but I noticed it later.

INTERVIEWER: So the fire came towards you?

TAKAKURA: Yes, it did. The whirlpool of fire that was covering the entire street approached us from Ote-machi. So, everyone just tried so hard to keep away from the fire. It was just like a living hell. After a while, it began to rain. The fire and the smoke made us so thirsty and there was nothing to drink, no water, and the smoke even disturbed our eyes. As it began to rain, people opened their mouths and turned their faces towards the sky and try to drink the rain, but it wasn’t easy to catch the rain drops in our mouths. It was a black rain with big drops.

INTERVIEWER: How big were the rain drops?

TAKAKURA: They were so big that we even felt pain when they dropped onto us. We opened our mouths just like this, as wide as possible in an effort to quench our thirst. Everybody did the same thing. But it just wasn’t enough. Someone, someone found an empty can and held it to catch the rain.

INTERVIEWER: I see. Did the black rain actually quench your thirst?

TAKAKURA: No, no it didn’t. Maybe I didn’t catch enough rain, but I still felt very thirsty and there was nothing I could do about it. What I felt at that moment was that Hiroshima was entirely covered with only three colors. I remember red, black and brown, but, but, nothing else. Many people on the street were killed almost instantly. The fingertips of those dead bodies caught fire and the fire gradually spread over their entire bodies from their fingers.

A light gray liquid dripped down their hands, scorching their fingers. I, I was so shocked to know that fingers and bodies could be burned and deformed like that. I just couldn’t believe it. It was horrible. And looking at it, it was more than painful for me to think how the fingers were burned, hands and fingers that would hold babies or turn pages, they just, they just burned away.

0.31 miles from hypocenter

Taeko Teramae.
Age at impact: 15 years old.
TERAMAE: When the bomb fell, I was 15 years old. I was a third grader at the girls’ junior high school. I saw something shining in the clear blue sky. I wondered what it was, so I stared at it. As the light grew bigger, the shining thing got bigger as well.

And at the moment when I spoke to my friend, there was a flash, far brighter than one used for a camera. It exploded right in front of my eyes. There was a tremendous noise when all the buildings around me collapsed. I also heard people crying for help and for their mothers. I was caught under something which prevented me from moving freely.

I was so shocked that I couldn’t believe what had happened. I thought maybe I was having some kind of nightmare, but of course, I wasn’t. I felt pain when I pinched myself to see if it was real. I thought the bomb had been dropped on the central telephone office. The dust was rising and something sandy and slimy entered my mouth. I couldn’t figure out what it was since I couldn’t move or see. I couldn’t see anything in the dark.

A little later, I smelt something like sulfur. It smelt like the volcano, Mt. Aso and I threw up. I heard more voices calling “Mother! Mother!” But when our class teacher, Mr.Wakita, told us to behave like good students and stop crying, all the cries for help and for Mother stopped all of a sudden.

0.62 miles from hypocenter

Hiroko Fukada.
Age at impact: 18 years old.
INTERVIEWER: What was the color of the light?

FUKADA: I remember it was yellow. I clearly remember it now and despite the shower of glass, fortunately I didn’t have any major injuries. I thought it was hopeless because I thought the buildings directly head and I went out of the building because I thought it would be dangerous to stay inside. Soon I found soldiers walking in this direction. I was with my friends and we thought it would be safe to go with soldiers, and so we came here.

INTERVIEWER: What were the conditions outside the building?

FUKADA: Everybody was terribly injured. We were even embarrassed because we were not injured. I have no words to describe the scene. A flood of people went down this cliff just like dominoes down.

Mamoru Yukihiro.
Age at impact: 36 years old.
INTERVIEWER: Uh….how was it when you saw the ray?

YUKIHIRO: Immediately after I saw the strange yellow ray, the office was totally destroyed almost instantly, without any warning. It was as if a box of matches has suddenly been struck by a hammer and crushed to pieces. I didn’t even hear any sound. I sat still for a while, and then, I saw the sun ray come in above me. So I managed to get up, but I couldn’t find any of the 200 employees. Even though I myself had 3 wounds on my head and one on my back, I was so surprised that I walked out, I walked out onto the street with the blood running down my body. In the street, all I found were wounded people and destroyed houses.

0.74 miles from hypocenter

Akira Onogi.
Age at impact: 16 years old.
ONOGI: I was in the second year of junior high school and was mobilized work with my classmates at the Eba Plant, Mitsubishi shipbuilding. On the day when A-bomb was dropped, I happened to be taking the day off and I was staying at home. I was reading lying on the floor with a friend of mine. Under the eaves I saw blue flash of light just like a spark made by a train or some short circuit. Next, a steamlike blast came.

INTERVIEWER: From which direction?

ONOGI: Well, I’m not sure, anyway, when the blast came, my friend and I were blown into another room. I was unconscious for a while, and when I came to, I found myself in the dark. Thinking my house was directly hit by a bomb, I removed red soil and roof tiles covering me by hand and for the first time I saw the sky. I managed to go out to open space and I looked around wondering what my family were doing. I found that all the houses around there had collapsed for as far as I could see.

INTERVIEWER: All the houses?

ONOGI: Yes, well, I couldn’t see anyone around me but I heard somebody shouting “Help! Help!” from somewhere. The cries were actually from underground as I was walking on. Since no choose were available, I’d just dug out red soil and roof tiles by hand to help my family; my mother, my three sisters and a child of one of my sisters.

Then, I looked next door and I saw the father of neighboring family standing almost naked. His skin was peeling off all over his body and was hanging from finger tips. I talked to him but he was too exhausted to give me a reply. He was looking for his family desperately. The person in this picture was a neighbor of us. I think the family’s name was the Matsumotos.

When we were escaping from the edge of the bridge, we found this small girl crying and she asked us to help her mother. Just beside the girl, her mother was trapped by a fallen beam on top of the lower half of her body. Together with neighbors, we tried hard to remove the beam, but it was impossible without any tools.

Finally a fire broke out endangering us. So we had no choice but to leave her. She was conscious and we deeply bowed to her with clasped hands to apologize to her and then we left. About one hour later, it started raining heavily. There were large drops of black rain. I was wearing a short sleeve shirt and shorts and it was freezing. Everybody was shivering. We warmed ourselves up around the burning fire in the middle of the summer.

INTERVIEWER: You mean the fire did not extinguish by the rain?

ONOGI: That’s right. The fire didn’t subside it at all. What impressed my very strongly was a 5 or 6 year-old-boy with his right leg cut at the thigh. He was hopping on his left foot to cross over the bridge. I can still record this scene very clearly. The water of the river we looking at now is very clean and clear, but on the day of bombing, all the houses along this river were blown by the blast with their pillars, beams and pieces of furniture blown into the river or hanging off the bridges.

The river was also filled with dead people blown by the blast and with survivors who came here to seek water. Anyway I could not see the surface of the water at all. Many injured people with peeled skin were crying out for help. Obviously they were looking at us and we could hardly turn our eyes toward the river.

INTERVIEWER: Wasn’t it possible to help them?

ONOGI: No, there were too many people. We took care of the people around us by using the clothes of dead people as bandages, especially for those who were terribly wounded. By that time we somehow became insensible all those awful things. After a while, the fire reached the river bank and we decided to leave the river. We crossed over this railway bridge and escaped in the direction along the railway.

The houses on both sides of the railroad were burning and railway was the hollow in the fire. I thought I was going to die here. It was such an awful experience. You know for about 10 years after bombing I always felt paralyzed we never saw the sparks made by trains or lightning. Also even at home, I could not sit beside the windows because I had seen so many people badly wounded by pieces of glass. So I always sat with the wall behind me for about 10 years. It was some sort of instinct to self-preservation.

0.87 miles from hypocenter

Akihiro Takahashi.
Age at impact: 14 years old.
TAKAHASHI: We were about to fall in on the ground the Hiroshima Municipal Junior High School on this spot. The position of the school building was not so different from what it is today and the platform was not positioned, too. We were about to form lines facing the front, we saw a B-29 approaching and about fly over us. All of us were looking up the sky, pointing out the aircraft.

Then the teachers came out from the school building and the class leaders gave the command to fall in. Our faces were all shifted from the direction of the sky to that of the platform. That was the moment when the blast came. And then the tremendous noise came and we were left in the dark. I couldn’t see anything at the moment of explosion just like in this picture.

We had been blown by the blast. Of course, I couldn’t realize this until the darkness disappeared. I was actually blown about 10 m. My friends were all marked down on the ground by the blast just like this. Everything collapsed for as far as I could see. I felt the city of Hiroshima had disappeared all of a sudden. Then I looked at myself and found my clothes had turned into rags due to the heat. I was probably burned at the back of the head, on my back, on both arms and both legs.

My skin was peeling and hanging like this. Automatically I began to walk heading west because that was the direction of my home. After a while, I noticed somebody calling my name. I looked around and found a friend of mine who lived in my town and was studying at the same school. His name was Yamamoto. He was badly burnt just like myself.

2.3 miles from hypocenter

Isao Kita.
Age at impact: 33 years old
KITA: Well, at that time, I happened to be receiving the transmission over the wireless. I was in the receiving room and I was facing northward. I noticed the flashing light. It was not really a big flash. But still it drew my attention. In a few seconds, the heat wave arrived.

After I noticed the flash, white clouds spread over the blue sky. It was amazing. It was as if blue morning-glories had suddenly bloomed up in the sky. It was funny, I thought. Then came the heat wave. It was very very hot. Even though there was a window glass in front of me, I felt really hot. It was as if I was looking directly into a kitchen oven. I couldn’t bear the heat for a long time. Then I heard the cracking sound. I don’t know what made that sound, but probably it came from the air which suddenly expanded in the room.

By that time, I realized that the bomb had been dropped. As I had been instructed, I pushed aside the chair and lay with my face on the floor. Also as I had been instructed during the frequent emergency exercises, I covered my eyes and ears with hands like this.

And I started to count. You may feel that I was rather heartless just to start counting. But for us, who observed the weather, it is a duty to record the process of time, of various phenomena. So I started counting with the light flash. When I counted to 5 seconds, I heard the groaning sound. At the same time, the window glass was blown off and the building shook from the bomb blast. So the blast reached that place about 5 seconds after the explosion.

We later measured the distance between the hypocenter and our place. And with these two figures, we calculated that the speed of the blast was about 700 meters per second. The speed of sound is about 330 meters per second, which means that the speed of the blast was about twice as fast as the speed of sound. It didn’t move as fast as the speed of light but it moved quite rapidly.

2.54 miles from hypocenter

Hiroshi Sawachika.
Age at impact: 28 years old
SAWACHIKA: I was in my office. I had just entered the room and said “Good morning.” to colleagues and I was about to approach my desk when outside it suddenly turned bright red. I felt very hot on my cheeks. Being the chief of the room, I shouted to the young men and women in the room that they should evacuate. As soon as I cried, I felt weightless as if I were an astronaut.

I was then unconscious for 20 or 30 seconds. When I came to, I realized that everybody including myself was lying at one side of the room. Nobody was standing. The desks and chairs had also blown off to one side. At the windows, there was no window glass and the window frames had been blown out as well. I went to the windows to find out where the bombing had taken place.

And I saw the mushroom cloud over the gas company.

The sound and shock somehow suggested that the bomb had been dropped right over the gas company. I still had no idea what had happened. And I kept looking towards the gas company. After a while, I realized that my white shirt was red all over. I thought it was funny because I was not injured at all. I looked around and then realized that the girl lying near by was heavily injured, with lots of broken glass stuck all over her body. Her blood had splashed and made stains on my shirt.


Mother of All Throwbacks

Cafe-Puro-3D-billboardFlashback muna… think Hangouts and date places in the 50s to 70s

Panciteria Moderna was the place to go for pancit miki and miki bihon already wrapped in their version of ‘tetra pak’ (banana leaves on wrapping paper tied with a rubber band).. Pancit bihon was the specialty of Panciteria Wa Nam . Kung gusto mo naman ng chopsuey rice doon ka sa Hen Wah, tabi ng Avenue Theatre.

At sa Ma Mon Luk, siopao was at 30 centavos; mami was at 70 centavos or 2 pcs. of siomai (large) with unlimited soup for 30 centavos. So with one peso busog ka na. Ngayon bigay mo piso sa pulubi, titignan ka pa ng masama.
The Shangri-la in the basement of Shelborne Hotel (at the back) was the place to go for dates if you wanted a dark and cozy atmosphere. The Black Angel along Shaw Blvd near the corner of Kalentong in Mandaluyong was a very good place to listen to soft music (Fleetwoods, Lettermen, Cascades) and the lights were also quite low.
A l ot of coeds from Maryknoll as well as closet queens hung out there.

Then with the introduction of the ‘black light’ you looked like Dracula about to devour a beautiful victim. Kaya lang pag may pustiso ka itim ang labas kaya mukhang kenkoy ka. So do not dare to smile.
With Php 30.00- 50.00 in your pocket you were in pretty good shape for a date.

‘Bakuran’ was the in-thing at parties with ‘screening’ from a friend to assist you in getting a dance with a girl who was very sought after. Wack-Wack, the Sky Room in Jai-Alai, the penthouse at the Rufino Bldg. as well as Capri at the Sarmiento Bldg right opposite it were the favorite places for proms and balls.

Sikat ang event if the DynaSouls (dubbed the Beatles of the Philippines ), The Tilt Down Men (the Sotto brothers, Tito, & Val, favored the Dave Clark 5), Hi-Jacks, the Electromaniacs (later Electros) or the Bad Habits was the ‘combo’ playing..
Other popular bands then were the Bits and Pieces (after the Dave Clark 5 hit), Purple People, Versatiles (remember the late Bobby Lim), Technicolors (whose drummer Tony Tuviera is now the producer of Eat Bulaga), Red Fox (forerunner of Hotdog), Jungle Cats, Glenmores, Robins, Crystals , Phantoms, and the Downbeats (where most of the Juan de la Cruz band came from notably Pepe Smith or Joey Smith then).
What about gate crashing a ‘Tipar’ (for party) and the ensuing rumble between feuding barkadas: Havocs, Combat, Axis, Amboys, Mobs & Exotics, meron pang kanya-kanyang busina (car honking ID).
Remember BMI (Baguio Military Institute)? That school was a dumping ground for kicked out students from Manila and kids that needed discipline. Let us not forget ang mga taga ‘Baste’ ( San Sebastian ). Ang daming siga noong araw.
Alta Vista along Roxas Blvd. was the favorite place for wedding receptions at Php 8.50 per cover! Ngayon, kulang pang pambayad ito sa parking fee.
Special ringside seats for performances at the Araneta Coliseum were at P5.00 per. So with P20.00 you could safely invite someone and still have enough for a snack afterwards or a game of ‘putt and putt’ at the mini-golf place located at the back of Araneta. Among the more popular celebrities who performed at the Big Dome were Neil Sedaka, Anita Bryant, Teddy Randazzo, Nat King Cole, Jo Ann Campbell, Paul Anka, Johnny Mathis, Matt Monro, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, Dave Clark 5, Zombies, Peter and Gordon and many many more.
Noon 5 centavos sa mga bata at 10 centavos naman para sa matatanda ang bayad sa jeep. Manila and Suburbs ang lahat ng biyahe ng jeep noon na 3 seater lang (AC ang tawag nila dito) at talagang Upong Diyes lang ang sigaw ng driver.
Sa Avenida Rizal at Sta. Cruz, Blumentritt, Tayuman, Espiritu Santo Church , Grace Park, Pasay-Taft, Dakota – Harrison, Paco-Taft, Sta. Ana Tulay at BBB-Monumento ang mga sikat na lugar. Did you get an opportunity to ride the G-Liner from San Juan to Quiapo? It would crawl up to the corner of N. Doming to pick up passengers. That’s why we called it Gapang Liner.
Gas was very cheap then and they could afford to keep the motor running for 2 hours at a snail’s pace. Gasoline prices then were at 25 centavos per liter and there were only two types of gas; Premium or Regular. Caltex called their premium ‘Boron’ as advertised by that multi-colored dancing lights on top of the old San Miguel Ice Plant. Near those dancing lights was the big white kettle pouring hot chocolate on a giant cup. It was sponsored by Cocoa Ricoa. Esso named theirs Extra to ‘put a Tiger in your tank’.
Yung Good Earth Emporium pwede ring idagdag sa mga magagandang shopping mall noong araw. Yung Manila Grand Opera house, Clover, Odeon, Roxan, Hollywood , Cinerama, Avenue, Universal, Dalisay, Ever, Galaxy, Ideal, State, Lyric, Capitol ang mga sikat na ‘first run’ na sinehan noon. Movie tickets were selling at P1.20 and P1.50 kung Advanced Roadshow (meaning kasabay sa international release) . Kung medyo nagtitipid ka naman doon ka na lang sa ‘second run’ theatres for P0.85 lang double program pa mapapanood mo.
Remember those second run theatres like Gaiety, Rizal, Main, Times, Society, Scala, Globe, Esquire, Vista, Republic, Mayfair , and Palace. Pero iyong last two theatres e medyo notorious sa mga ‘singit’ where they show the ‘censored’ portions of the movie.
Bodavil was still a hit during the early 50s where Opera House featured the Lupito, Patsy, the Lou Salvador clan, Toto, Chichay, Ike Lozada, Pabo, Cachupoy etc. while Clover Theatre featured Pilita Corrales, Wing Duo, Reycard Duet, Bobby Gonzales, Sunday Contreras (anak ni Pugo), Eddie Mesa, Pugak & Tugak, Chuchi, Aruray, Doro & Popoy.. Did you know that German Moreno started as a utility man at Clover Theatre and did bit parts until he was discovered later on by Sampaguita Pictures.
Sa QuezonCity ay sikat yung Max’s Chicken, Aristocrat Cubao at Dayrit.
Ang dollar rate noon ay P3.70/1$ ang palitan. Kung medyo kapos ka e takbo muna kay Tambunting or A. Aguirre pawnshop.
Ang Cosmos Sarsaparilla ay 5 centavos at 10 Centavos ang Coke at Pepsi. Mayroon din Cosmos Orange kung ayaw mo ng Sarsi. Kung may extra ka e di Royal Tru-Orange na. Pero sikat din yung 7-Up, Lem-O-Lime , Canada Dry, Uva at Bireley’s strawberry and pineapple. Kalaban ng Cosmos noon ay Ideal at Avenue softdrinks. Remember Fress Gusto, Grassland Milk, Choco Vim. Pag may sakit ka naman pinapa-inom lang sa iyo Royal Soda Water at soda crackers. Kaya naman pag galing natin e takbo kaagad sa intsik (yun ang tawag natin sa kanilang sari-sari store noon bago sila nag diversify sa mga malls, transport, food production) at bili ng Coke and junk foods..
Pag Pasko madalas kami sa Sta Cruz para manood ng palabas sa Manila COD para sa Xmas season. Mas magaganda ang mga palabas pag Christmas kasi wala pang Metro Manila Film Fest noon kaya lahat ng sinehan pagandahan ng pelikula. Noon wala pang Chippy at nachos, ang merienda ay banana cue, camote que, palitaw, biko, pinipig, halo-halo, carioca, pilipit, butsi, hopiang hapon, hopiang munggo, hopiang baboy, bibingka, puto, cassava, cake o budin, suman at mani.
Ang mansanas ay apat-piso ang benta sa Lawton Bus terminal at sa Avenida. Mas mahal pa yung local na chico na pineras. Ang grapes, pear, at apple ang karaniwang binebenta sa mga bus terminal na papuntang south (BLTB). Ang bus noon ay bukas lahat yung isang side kaya doon dumadaan ang mga pasahero.

Puwede ka rin bumili nito sa Echague (now C. Palanca) tapos bili ka na rin ng hopia at mani. Mga sikat noon ay Kim Chong Tin at United Foods. Dito din nakakabili ng Chinese ham na por kilo or isang buo na nakabalot pa sa papel at plastic net.
Ang sikat na mga Plaza noon ay Plaza Goiti, Plaza Miranda at Plaza Sta. Cruz. Huwag kalimutan ang Barbecue Plaza na may “Pula-Puti” at beer. Sa mga bakery sa Manila ay sikat yung Herran Bakery, Jo- Ni’s, Hizon’s (favorite ni Dolphy kahit noon pa), Sta. Romana Bakery.
Remember Halili Beer (baka sa mga lolo ni Katrina ito) , Tody chocolate drink in cans, Horlicks malted milk tablets; Halili (baka kila Katrina din ito) bus, Super (dog logo) Transit, Yujuico, JD & MD buses; MM Liner, Medina Transit, Capistrano Transit, Pantranco, La Mallorca Pambusco buses and taxis, Golden Taxicab and Yellow Taxicab, Dollar Taxi.
Your favorite past time then was reading comics like Pilipino Komiks, Espesyal Komiks, Hiwaga Klasiks, Kenkoy Komiks. Kung medyo class ka naman binabasa mo mga Classics Illustrated (sometimes we get our book report from these comic books instead of reading the assigned novel) o kaya ay Tiktik. Dell Comics and Gold Key Comics from the US were also available at magazine stands.
ShoeMart started in Carriedo followed by the 2nd ShoeMart beside Ideal Theater and then SM Echague with a revolving restaurant at the top floor.
Safari Club beside Manila Zoo at the height of the ‘Twist’ craze, Dance-O-Rama with Pete Roa & Baby O’Brien every 5 PM on Channel 5.. If you wanted an earlier teeny bopper show, you watched Eddie Mercado in DJ Dancetime on Channel 11. Siyempre naman pag Friday, Nite Owl Dance Party hosted by Lito Gorospe, featuring the Celtics. Another delight to watch was 9-Teeners hosted by Jose Mari Chan, Rom Azanza and Tito Osias (all Ateneans) on Channel 9. Sampaguita was first seen as a cage dancer at 9 Teeners. Her real name is Tessie Alfonso. She got married to Nilo Santos of the Jungle Cats. Jeanne Young also hosted another teeny bopper show called The Insiders which guested the more popular combos at that time.
Siyempre sikat pa rin ang Student Canteen pag tanghali followed by Darigold Jamboree, hosted by Leila Benitez with Eddie Ilarde and Pepe Pimentel and Bobby Ledesma. Sa primetime naman nandoon ang The Big Show nila Cris de Vera, Oscar Obligacion a t Sylvia La Torre. Then it evolved into Oras ng Ligaya when it migrated to ABS-CBN. Remember Uncle Bob’s Lucky 7 Club. Who would forget Buhay Artista starring Dolphy and Panchito and a take off of a popular radio program Sebya Mahal Kita, Tang Tarang Tang with Pugo and Bentot on the lead.
Sa radio naman siyempre ang Kapitan Kidlat, Kwentong Kutsero, Gabi ng Lagim, Salamat Po Doctor, Lola Basyang and of course Kahapon Lamang and Tia Dely’s program which followed.. Konti pa lang may TV set noon kaya sikat ka sa kalye niyo pag mayroon ka ng television at minsan SRO pa nga pag basketball (Yco, Ysmael, Utex, 7-UP).
Now anyone who missed those days can’t really claim they’ve seen and tasted the best. Every generation has its own set of ‘Aces’. Do you recall when: You tasted Darigold Evap, Liberty Condensada, Sunkist Orange (in tetra packs), Magnolia Chocolait, Klim (the word ‘milk’ spelled backwards), Big 20 Hamburgers, Foot-long hotdog, Nectar, Chocnut, Tweet & Jiggs Candies (by Mr. Krieger), Tootsie Roll, Serg’ s Chocolate, kerosene-scented popcorn and kropeck along Dewey Blvd, dirty ice cream, Magnolia Ice Cream sandwich, Selecta ice cream (now Arce Dairy) and their fresh carabao’s milk, Magnolia popsicles in orange, chocolate and tutti frutti, langka flavors, Sison Ice Drop in monggo, and buko flavors, Milky Way’s buko sherbet, Acme Supermarket’s sundaes and Coney Island’s 32 flavors?
You went to: Arcegas at the Maranaw Arcade, Funhouse at Bricktown, Aguinaldo , Erehwon Bookstore, Alemars Bookstore, Bookmark, Botica Boie, Makati Supermarket D’Bankers Barbershop and Leila’s Coffee Shop, Tropical Hut along Estrada, Acme Supermarket, Cherry Supermarket (now Foodarama), The Regent of Manila, Hotel Mabuhay, Manila Hilton, Christmas carnival (at Lawton in front of Letran College ), Villa Pansol and Lido Beach , Aroma Beach and Jale Beach?
Rizal what? ‘Who would be crazy to build a cinema in the middle of nowhere?’ It turned out to be the best theater in the city of Makati then (at the same site now occupied by Shangri-La Hotel).rizal
We ate at: The original A&W along UN Avenue in Manila, Aristocrat’s Flying Saucer (across Malate Church ), Bonanza Restaurant, Little Quiapo, Country Bake Shop, Selecta Restaurant, Taza de Oro, New Europe, Madrid, Cucina Italiana, La Cibeles at A. Mabini, Luau, The Makati Automat, Sulo Restaurant ( Makati ), Bulakena, Casa Marcos, Au Bon Vivant, Salambao Restaurant, Dairy Queen, Di Mark’s Pizza in Cubao, the elegant dining room of the old Army & Navy Club, Botica Boie in Escolta, Alba’s in Florida St., Malate, Brown Derby and their signature foot-long hotdog came with its special, extra tarty mustard sauce and a hot, crispy bun. We used to park at their drive-in bays after we were exhausted from all-night partying but with enough energy to gobble down sausages and soft drinks.
The Plaza was the favorite venue for all formal school and social functions. Every Friday night the Plaza became an instant disco-teque called ‘POW’. Food was not a big factor so long as cozy couples could have their special table for two.
You shopped at: Bergs, Soriente Santos, Assanda’s, Oceanic Commercial (where you bought original watches and jewelries), Syvel’s, Walk-Over in Escolta, Good Earth Emporium, 15c and Up, Manila COD, Avesco at Avenida Rizal, Rustan’s San Marcelino, Aguinaldo’s in Cubao.
The original Rustan’s was the garage of the Tantoco’s residential house which was eventually converted into a dazzling shop filled with eclectic things and collectibles.
You would want your wardrobes (pang-porma) tailor-made. So you went to RM Manlapat, Toppers, Fifth Avenue , Estacio’s, Sleek’s (owned by Eddie Ilarde) or D’Sharp (owned by Dolphy) for your Continental style pants and shirt-jack (Marcos loved this style) or the sleeve shirt. If you wanted a groovy denim pants, you would buy the finest denim material at Divisoria and brought it to Gulapa’s. Levi’s was not a by-word then.
For school uniforms, we would love to wear our khaki pants from the famous RTW shop called Macomber in Quiapo. Or, our parents would just buy us a pair of Sabur or Savalbarro khakis. When it came to footwear, siyempre mas maganda pasadya especially when you want a good Chuka Boots, Spanish Boots or Beatles Boots. You went to Wings, Glenmore or Camara shoe makers. Pag casual naman siyempre US Keds, pero kung medyo low budget lang e puwede na rin ang US Kids. For sports shoes you would want a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor, and if you were on a low budget you bought Custombuilt or Edwardson. But if you wanted to float on water (as the advertisement claimed) you wore Marcelo Rubber Shoes black! Yan ang sinusuot ni Kenkoy..
Blockbuster movies were: The Ten Commandments, Shane, High Noon, King and I, South Pacific, Horrors of Dracula, Gunfight at OK Corral, Psycho, House on Haunted Hill, Magnificent Seven, The Alamo, Spartacus, West Side Story, Ben Hur, Longest Day, Madame X, Guns of Navarone, King of Kings, El Cid, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Birds, Elvis’ movies like Love Me Tender, Loving You, Jailhouse Rock, King Creole, Blue Hawaii , GI Blues, and the Beatles’ Hard Days Night, Help, Yellow Submarine, The Graduate, Romeo and Juliet and of course the ever popular The Sound of Music.
You had your hair styled or permed by: Nomer’s, Lita Rio, Grace Lagman, Dick & Lucy, and Kayumanggi. That was the time of Aqua Net stiff, foot-high beehives, French twist and Kiss Me liquid eyeliners and Pretty Quik instant facial blotters.
You sang: Dont Be Cruel and Hound Dog by Elvis, April Love by Pat Boone, Fool’s Paradise by Buddy Holly, Mack the Knife by Bobby Darin, Bobby, Bobby, Bobby by Jo Ann Campbell, Devoted to You by the Everly Brothers, Someday by Ricky Nelson, One More Chance by Teddy Randazzo, Carol & Calendar Girl by Neil Sedaka, Puppy Love by Paul Anka, Young Ones by Cliff Richard, Walk Dont Run by The Ventures, Apache by the Shadows, A Hard Days Night, All My Lovin, Yesterday, Hey Jude by the Beatles, World Without Love by Peter and Gordon, Cherish by the Association, Because by Dave Clark Five, Distant Shores by Chad and Jeremy.
Saved your whole month’s allowance of P20.00 to watch the Beatles perform live at Rizal Memorial Coliseum in 1966 (July 4).
It was hip to listen to: Bingo Lacson, Lito Gorospe, Bong Lapira, Eddie Mercado, Jack Henson, Art Galindez of DZMB and Jo San Diego (past midnight) of DZMT, Sonia Basa, Ronnie Quintos, Naldy Castro of DZWS, Harry Gasser, Joe Cantada and Jose Mari Velez of DZHP; the singing sensations from Ateneo de Manila, RJ and the Riots, The Loonilarks, Jose Mari Chan and the Twofus (Ronnie Henares and Jojit Paredes) and dance to live combo music garbed in cocktail dresses and dark suits.
DZMT was affiliated with the Manila Times and was one of two radio stations operating after 12 midnight. The other station was DZHP whose program was taped. Jo San Diego of DZMT went on live (she of the velvety bedroom voice. She can still be heard today at DWBR every Sunday afternoon).
And danced at Manila Hotel’s Jungle Bar,Bayside Night Club (with live music by the Carding Cruz band), the Nile , D’Flame, Rino’s, Wells Fargo, Nautilus, Hi-Ball and Bulakena. Or, maybe rode a Motorco with your date and went around Dewey Boulevard . When you got hungry you would drop by the Barbecue Plaza . You tried your luck at the Pula-Puti joint in Russell Street ..
Do you remember when: Malate streets were named after US States ( Pennsylvania , Tennessee , California , Colorado , Carolina , etc.). Paranaque, San Juan, Makati , Pasig , Las Pinas, Taguig, Pateros and Muntinlupa were municipalities of Rizal province; DLSU was De La Salle College, Poveda was Institucion Teresiana, Adamson University was the original St. Theresa’s campus in San Marcelino, Robinsons Mall was the Assumption Convent campus, Petron was Esso, Villamor Air Base was then known as Nichols Air Base, bancas were aplenty in the Baclaran side of Dewey Blvd. (now Roxas Blvd.) and traffic was non-existent in Tagaytay.
PLDT telephone numbers were five digits and you used your index finger to dial a number one at a time.
Sikat ka sa barkada kung may ‘syota’ kang ‘Colegiala’ (Assumption, STC, St. Scho, Maryknoll, Holy Spirit, St. Paul’s, St. Joseph’s , Sienna, PWU, Sta. Isabel). Siyempre hindi rin naman papahuli ang mga coeds natin from UP, UST, UE and FEU. As proof, you should be wearing her high school ring in your pinkie finger.
If you remember all these things, you’re in great company and I dare say… HAPPY TO BE!!! : )s

How to become a millionaire overnight.

million.jpgReport IRS Tax Evasion (tax fraud) and get a reward

If you report income tax fraud or tax evasion, you may be entitled to a whistleblower reward, as outlined in this website.

Modeled on the Department of Justice (DOJ) program, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) income tax reward program targets tax cheats and rewards whistleblowers between 15% and 30% of the amount recovered from unpaid taxes.

While much of the IRS reward program is very similar to the DOJ program, there are some significant differences, including:

  1. To collect a reward through the new IRS reward program, the underpaid taxes must total $2 million, but our threshold is $5 million (which equates to $17 million in undisclosed income or overstated expenses).
  2. The IRS keeps the whistleblower’s identity confidential.
  3. The IRS waits to pay rewards until after it collects all amounts owed in the case, and the matter officially is closed.

Examples of IRS Tax Fraud

Companies and individuals cheat on taxes in countless ways. A few examples of tax fraud where rewards are available include:

  • Shifting profits overseas: Schemes include concealing ownership of patents, and transferring ownership of logos, manufacturing processes and other intangible property rights.
  • Financial transaction fraud: Examples include balance sheet fraud, hiding assets offshore or overseas and keeping multiple sets of books.
  • Improper employee classification: Some companies improperly classify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying taxes.
  • Other: Other tactics used to avoid paying taxes include putting assets in another person or company’s name, paying cash to avoid records of income, claiming bogus deductions and much more.

If you know of income tax fraud or tax evasion and are interested in a whistleblower reward under the IRS reward program, fill out the relevant forms here https://www.irs.gov/individuals/how-do-you-report-suspected-tax-fraud-activity

Filipino Maids: Slaves in the Middle East?

All the dollar remittances that Filipina OFWs send back to the Philippines cannot justify the extreme hardship they suffer at the hands of their employers in the Middle East.

A few years ago, the nonprofit organization Human Rights Watch interviewed 99 domestic workers based in the United Arab Emirates, which is home to an estimated 146,000 domestic workers. Most reported working long hours of unpaid overtime—sometimes up to 21 hours per day—and many said that their wages had been withheld. Others had been confined to their employers’ houses, or deprived of food or rest. 24 reported physical or sexual abuse.

Maids being abused seems to be the norm in all of the middle east.

“I was 33 when I started work in Jeddah [a Saudi port city] for the first time,” says Norhana Abu, a Filipina woman who left her hometown of Manila to find work abroad. “My husband didn’t have a good job, there is job sometimes and sometimes no [sic], and I wanted to have money to send my children to school,” she explains.

Her first employer, a 60-year-old housewife, was “very nice.” But Abu’s troubles began when her boss’ physiotherapist asked if she could borrow Abu, because she was pregnant and needed help around the house.

“The physiotherapist, she lock me in the house [sic],” Abu says. “If I wanted to send money to my children she go with me, I want to cut my hair she go with me, I want to buy something for myself she go with me.”

Abu says that she suffered severe eczema as a result of doing household chores, like laundry and dishwashing, around the clock. “Even when I bathed myself, I had to use gloves because there was a lot of blood from my irritated hands,” she says. “No rest, no sleep, no day off.” After she was returned to her original employer, Abu ran away while on a trip to London with the family and has since been living an independent life.

Many attribute the treatment these workers face to the Kafala system, which exists in rich Arab Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait. It ties the worker to their employer in a visa sponsorship system that means that they can only switch jobs with their employer’s permission. This often allows the employers to feel like they have complete control over the maid and will not be reprimanded for however they choose to treat them.

Unfortunately, the law is not usually on the side of domestic workers. The International Labour Organization (ILO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, found that almost 30 percent of the world’s domestic workers work in countries where they are completely excluded from national labor laws. It means that these women often have no protections like weekly rest days, minimum wage, overtime, and limits on hours of work.


Upon arrival, passports are also often confiscated in an attempt to prevent the workers from running away. While this is often illegal elsewhere, authorities in many Arab countries will barely bat an eyelid at what has become common practice. Indeed, if the workers were to run away they would be liable for arrest and deportation, regardless of whatever atrocities they may be running away from. 


“Many employers actually lock their homes so they are literally escaping—climbing out of windows and so on, risking their lives… Some of them get seriously hurt trying to do this but if they manage and they’re found on the street, they’ll get arrested,” explains Rothna Begum, a women’s rights researcher for Human Rights Watch. “If they turn up at a police station to complain about abuse, they’re likely to get arrested instead [of their employers]. The presumption is always to arrest the domestic worker.”

In many cases, even their own embassies can’t help them. “The only thing you can really do when you escape is try and get to your embassy as quickly and safely as possible, but only some will shelter you,” says Begum. “Many either don’t exist as there is no embassy in the country, or often they’ll say come back tomorrow, but for many people they literally have nowhere else to go.”

In a survey of United Arab Emirates domestic workers, interviewees said that it was not worth running away or going to the authorities for help, as their employers would be able to bribe the police or embassy. In many Arab countries, patriarchy, sexism, and entitlement make for cultures that resemble an elite men’s club. Social power comes down to wasta, the Arabic word for “connections” or “clout”—and foreign workers often have very little wasta indeed.

“I did not receive my salary for nine months but I couldn’t say anything. When my visa expired my employer brought me to the police station and accused me of something I didn’t do,” says Mirasol Zamora, a Filipina who worked as a housekeeper in Kuwait. “I tried to complain about her [my employer] abusing me and not paying my salary but they didn’t listen and I was put in jail for six months, after which I was deported. I never received my salary or my justice.”

But the root of the issue lies far beyond just the law. Sherifa Zuhur, a visiting scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of California argues that “there is a culture of slavery in Saudi Arabia and in many Arab countries… it is a culture of owning people, from one’s own children and female family members to employees.”

“Culture of slavery” may be strong words to use, but Arab society is one built on patriarchy, obedience, and delegation. As an Egyptian-born and London-raised woman, it’s something I have experienced myself. Despite growing up in a very liberal family, I am no stranger to the customs and ideologies that dictate that men reign supreme. The influence men have over women is apparent in the way in which daughters, regardless of their age, often have limited freedoms. Many of my twenty-something-year-old Arab girlfriends still have enforced curfews and are made to report back to their brothers or fathers ahead of every decision. One 28-year-old Saudi-born friend doesn’t even have keys to her own family house in London—she has to ring the bell to be let in, alerting her family to her whereabouts at all times.

In turn, wives delegate to the domestic workers like Norhana Abu and Mirasol Zamora, who are everywhere. Indeed, everything is readily available and accessible in the Arab world — even McDonalds, pharmacies and corner shops deliver straight to your door, facilitating the belief that everything can and should be done for you. “To some extent I believe the availability of services creates the idea that everything should be done for us,” Maalim agrees. “It’s that mentality of ‘if someone can do it for me, why should I?’ I think that logic makes it easy for many to view maids, cooks, cleaners, drivers and etc as merely a ‘service’ as opposed to human beings.”

– mostly culled from an article by Alya Mooro

Like your “pers lab”… there are certain tastes that you never forget


For sure, there is one soulful kiss forever etched in your mind.

The time and day it took place are stamped on your lips. Along with the name of the special person who made it possible.

And there are certain “tastes” that were so good, you never forget the first time you enjoyed them.

Let me share my list while you try and recall yours.

1. Spam. I was around 7 years old and my whole family came to visit our newly born sister at Clinica Lopez (a cozy, little maternity hospital on Pennsylvania  St., Paco — a street renamed Leon Guinto). We hadn’t taken breakfast yet so my brother was tasked to buy food at the corner Chinese sari sari store on Herran. He came back with piping-hot pan de sals stuffed with strange, rectangular-shaped 1/4 inch-thick pieces of grilled meat. My first bite into my sandwich was sheer delight… a taste sensation never experienced before. An alien taste but such a wonderful one.spam

2. Kimchi. I was a 19-year old adman always “game” to discover new hotspots in the Makati area. I found myself inside a Korean restaurant but was at a loss as to what to order. The owner, a kind and motherly Korean lady, came to the rescue and explained what to expect from several dishes on the menu. She also asked the waiter to bring me some appetizers (all free) to enjoy while I made up my mind. My first taste of kimchi felt strange, but became pleasant with each additional mouthful. Little did I know then that the motherly Korean lady would someday become my mother-in-law.kimchi

3. Nasi Goreng. I became addicted to this Indonesian specialty in Kuala Lumpur. It was 10 AM and my band mates and I had just come from a photosession near the place where we nightly perform – the Regent of Kuala Lumpur. Tired of nothing but hotel food, we decided to try something new. We passed a small alley and were attracted like magnet to the spicy,  overwhelming smell of something being cooked on a kwok. We ended up in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant owned by an Indonesian Chinese. That Nasi Goreng that lucky day has never ever been forgotten since.nasi.jpg

4. Durian. Growing up, I hated the fruit with passion because of the pungent smell and its sticky, messy look when being consumed. Little did I know that I would see much, much more of the fruit when I became an expat adman in Kuala Lumpur. One day, my wife’s parents and her sister came to visit us in Malaysia. After a day of blitz shopping, I found them in my porch enjoying their prized “refrigerated” durian. They wanted me to try it… I said “no thanks”. But after much prodding, I gave it a try… and found out for myself – what my Malaysian officemates have known all their lives – that durian is indeed a taste of… HEAVEN.  Durian

5. Mamou Steak. I spent much of my youth thinking that a plate of steak is something you smother with gravy and worcestershire sauce and/or Tabasco. At least, that’s how I enjoyed it in places like Alfredo’s and Mario’s in Manila, and Black Angus in Los Angeles. Until one fateful day: I had been hospitalized for nearly two weeks and was starving. Hospital food had totally killed my appetite and my desire to eat. My kind sisters came to visit and asked what treat they can bring me. I told them that I had read about a new steak joint that has mastered the steak preparation of a famous steakhouse in Brooklyn.

And that glorious, tender, tasty steak has become my default choice when I’m in the mood to give myself an extra-special treat.


I cannot end this piece without sharing with you the one taste that has haunted me all these years. Haunted me to the point of near obsession.

In the 70s, on Yakal St. (or was it Malugay?), Makati was a small cafe called YumYum Kitchen. There were around four tables and a long counter.

The place was always full.

The cafe’s specialty was what they called YumYum Sausage served with YumYum rice.

The sausage was a kikiam-like creation (but not quite) with a crunchy, crispy outside and a savory, perfectly marinated inside. This was best enjoyed with their special rice and their hot sauce – which had more punch than our present day Tabasco.

To this day, I can still relish that special of specials… and would gladly pay an arm and a leg to experience it one more time.yum

Princess Diana shares her “unhappiness”

1. They All Had Mistresses: In the tapes, Diana says that when she confronted Prince Charles about why Camilla Parker Bowles was a part of his life, Diana said he replied, “Well, I refuse to be the only Prince of Wales who never had a mistress.”

2. Virtually No Sex: When asked about her sexual relationship with her husband, Diana said at first, “Once every three weeks then it fizzled out about seven years ago, six years ago.”

3. Love With Another: Diana confessed to her voice coach that she fell in love with her married police protection officer Barry Mannakee, but said that the relationship was not sexual.

4. Flight of Fancy: Diana revealed that while the nature of their relationship was not sexual, she consider fleeing the royal household to be with Mannakee.

5. Because Dad Said So: In the tapes, the princess claimed the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, had told him that he could have an affair with Camilla if his marriage failed.

She says, “My father-in-law said to my husband ‘if your marriage doesn’t work out, you can always go back to her after five years’.” She added that’s just what he did: “Which is exactly—I mean, for real I knew that it had happened after  five [years]. I knew something was happening before that but the fifth year I had confirmation.”

Was Princess Diana murdered?

The car crash that tragically killed Diana on Aug. 31, 1997, in Paris also killed her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, and the couple’s driver, Henri Paul. The fourth person in the car, Diana’s bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, miraculously survived the fatal accident. At the time, the crash was ruled a drunk-driving accident. Blood alcohol concentration tests later revealed Diana’s driver, Henri, had consumed the equivalent of 10 glasses of wine before getting behind the wheel that night. The vehicle Henri was driving reportedly reached 120 mph while he was trying to escape the hoards of paparazzi following the car.

After the death of his son, Dodi, Harrods business magnate Mohamed Al-Fayed launched his own private investigation into the crash. “I can’t stop until I find the truth. I will pursue it everywhere, every place, in France and [in England]. And, this is the right of a father who lost his child,” Mohamed said in a previous interview, featured in the new TV special Princess Diana: Tragedy or Treason.

MORE: Princess Diana’s Althorp Gravesite Has Suffered Four Attempted Break-Ins

Mohamed believed there was a massive effort by French authorities to quickly cover up crime scene evidence that proved Diana and Dodi were murdered by the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6. A man named Richard Tomlinson — who was a former MI6 agent — additionally told Mohamed at the time that British intelligence had recently perfected their techniques for vehicular assassination, leading Al-Fayed’s accusations of murder to reach an all-time high.

In addition, rumors swirled following Diana’s death that her driver, Henri, was possibly working with MI6 to carry out the Princess’ assassination. In Princess Diana: Tragedy or Treason, experts explained that Henri was missing for several hours prior to getting behind the wheel, was found with a substantial amount of cash in his pockets after his passing, and had nearly $300,000 — much more than his $35,000 per year royal salary — in the bank. Furthermore, experts alleged that Henri’s toxicology reports could have been tampered with after his death to make it seem that he was drunk at the time of the crash when he actually may have been sober.

Princess Diana with William and Harry - Getty

Diana with her sons, William and Harry, in May 1995. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

So, what did Dodi’s father, Mohamed, believe was the motivation behind Diana and Dodi’s alleged murders? He suggested the couple was killed because their romance was getting increasingly serious. Dodi had reportedly recently purchased a diamond ring for Diana and was thought to be planning to propose. Mohamed additionally thought the royal family did not want Diana to date Dodi because he was Egyptian and a Muslim.

MORE: Princess Diana and More Celebrities’ Last Words Before Death Revealed

Was Diana pregnant when she died?

In the months following Diana’s death, a French investigative journalist named Chris Laffaille claimed the People’s Princess was pregnant with her third child at the time of her passing. Laffaille alleged that official archives from the Paris hospital where Diana passed away showed evidence that the royal was expecting. He additionally reported that since Diana was nine to ten weeks pregnant in August 1997, the unborn child’s father could not have been Dodi, but possibly her ex-boyfriend, British heart surgeon Hasnat Khan.

However, the royal coroner present at Diana’s post-mortem examination quickly refuted Laffaille’s claim that she was expecting. “She wasn’t pregnant. I have seen into her womb,” he said at the time. A spokesperson for Paris Public Hospitals also later dismissed Laffaille’s documents as forged. “Examination of this document has established with absolute certainty that it is a fake,” the representative said. “It is ridiculous. Many of the medics who treated Diana remain at the hospital and all deny the claims contained in this forged letter.”

Mohamed Al-Fayed Getty Images

Dodi’s father, Mohamed, in 2008. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

When was the last photo taken of Princess Diana?

The final photos of Diana are thought to have been taken inside Paris’ Pont de l’Alma tunnel by the paparazzi who were dangerously pursuing the Princess when she was killed. Though Diana’s face is not visible in the pictures, she can be seen crouching down behind the vehicle’s back seats alongside boyfriend Dodi while driver Henri and Diana’s bodyguard, Trevor, were seated in the front of the car. Prior to the accident, Diana was famously photographed on vacation with boyfriend Dodi in St. Tropez, France on July 17, 1997, 45 days before her untimtely death.

MORE: Prince Charles “Made a Huge Mistake” Marrying Princess Diana

Did Diana attempt suicide during her marriage to Prince Charles?

Sadly, yes. In the years following her July 1981 wedding to Prince Charles, Diana allegedly battled a deep depression and once tragically attempted suicide while pregnant with her first child, Prince William. “I threw myself down the stairs. Charles said I was crying wolf and I said I felt so desperate and was crying my eyes out and he said, ‘I’m not going to listen. You’re always doing this to me. I’m going riding now,'” Diana reportedly once said of the incident, according to the TLC special Princess Diana: Tragedy or Treason.

Princess Diana Getty Images

One of the last photos taken of Diana in July 1997. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

How old was Diana when she died?

Diana was just 36 years old when she passed away on Aug. 31, 1997. She had recently celebrated her 36th birthday on July 1. At the time of Diana’s death, her two children, Prince William and Prince Harry, were aged 15 and 12, respectively.

10 Revealing Lessons from Cannes Sensation Alfonso Cuarón: ‘My Films Are Like Ex-Wives’

10 Revealing Lessons from

The six-time Academy Award-nominated director showed up at Cannes with some fantastic advice.

Alfonso Cuarón was on hand at the Cannes Film Festival last week to give an inspiring hour-and-a-half-long masterclass. Joined by French critic Michel Ciment, the talk covered much ground, from Cuarón’s relationship to both the Mexican and American film industries to the director’s scrappy beginnings to creating arthouse films, blockbuster flops, and Oscar winners.

“The consistency of a limitation is what starts to create an inner language. Limitations give you form.”

1. To make great art, forget that it’s a job

Cuarón got his start in the film scene in Mexico at a very young age. Because of that, he used his job primarily as a means of survival. “I had a kid when I was 20, so cinema became my means of support,” he said. “On top of that, cinema became a way of maintaining myself.” It is a habit he is still trying to kick. “My life and career, unfortunately—and now I’m focusing on exorcising this—has been not only cinema as the thing I love and my vocation, but also as the only way I learned early on about how to survive. That was a big ball and chain that I carried through most of my career.”

“Children of Men” Credit: Universal Pictures

2. Don’t obsess over finding your unique visual aesthetic

Even before the emergence of Guillermo Del Toro, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Emmanuel Lubezki, and Cuarón, there was a vibrant Mexican film scene. Cuarón wanted it to evolve. “When Chivo and I first started, we were struggling like hell to get rid of certain tendencies we didn’t like of the previous generation of Mexican filmmakers,” he remarked. “Unfortunately, a lot of that got into the technical and visual aspect of it or the polishedness of it. I think, in a way, that distracted our journey 10 years in the sense that for too long, we were concerned about creating a form. In retrospect, it was a distraction.”

3. Give yourself small goals

Lubezki and Cuarón had humble beginnings; the collaborators’ first projects were for a show they likened to a campy Mexican version of The Twilight Zone. “When Chivo and I used to do these ‘Toilet Zone’ episodes, we were happy if we had done one shot that was decent,” Cuarón remembers. “With our first film, we evolved this idea to be, if we do one scene that is a good scene, we’re happy. We had really low expectations in who we were.”

“I said, ‘Okay, I don’t like this script, but we’re going to compensate visually.’ That never works.”

4. Being in development limbo is okay—at first

After his first film, Sólo con tu pareja, garnered some recognition but failed to pick up American distribution, Cuarón realized that if he wanted to make real money, he’d have to make a move to the states. “Somehow, I’d discovered a cheat that would support my immediate situation,” he said. “It’s so weird—in Hollywood, you can live all your life without shooting one single movie and support yourself. You can be developing projects that will never happen. I entered the limbo. I took on projects that I was not in love with, but they were projects that I could survive on.”

‘Great Expectations’

5. Never try to compensate visually for story

The only movie Cuarón really seemed ashamed to talk about was his 1998 flop Great Expectations. From the beginning, he knew taking on the adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic wasn’t a good choice, but in his words, “you get seduced. It’s seductive. I was convinced by the studios who hire you to develop things. You don’t write [when you do that]. I forgot that I was a writer. I forgot that I was anything else. I spent my days reading screenplays.”

“I had said no three times,” he continued, “but I became cocky. I said, ‘Okay, I don’t like this script, but we’re going to compensate visually.’ That never works. When the essence—the concept, the soul—isn’t there, you can’t compensate with anything. That is the truth of the matter. It’s nobody’s fault but mine—it’s not the studio’s, it’s not the producers’, it’s not the actors’. It’s mine. I did the wrong film. I should not have done it. I didn’t know what I was doing.”

6. Ask yourself why you love film in the first place

After this failure, Cuarón hit a rough patch. “I lost my track,” he admitted. “Great Expectations didn’t do well commercially, so I wasn’t being sent good scripts. I was in another limbo where I was completely disenchanted by the whole thing.”

“But then I realized,” he continued, “that I was disenchanted not by cinema, but what I had been doing and the process and where I was. So I went to the video shop and impulsively just started renting the films that made me fall in love with the medium in the first place. I took piles of VHS and locked myself in a room for one week. And that’s the moment I decided to do Y Tu Mama Tambien.”

“Try to give as much thematic information—not explicit, but thematic—inside the frame as possible.”

7. Let go of old loves

Cuarón hates watching his own films. “Once I finish a film, I never see it again,” he admitted. “Sometimes I have to do an upgrade on format or whatever, but there’s no sound and it’s out of order, and I cringe anyway, watching the thing.”

“My friends and peers—Alejandro, Guillermo—consider their films their babies that they’ve nurtured through life,” Cuarón continued. “They love them and stuff. For me, it’s more like ex-wives. I love them so much, but I gave as much as I could. They gave me as much as they could. We move on and we love each other from a distance, but I don’t want to see them again.”

“Gravity” Credit: Warner Bros.

8. Limitations create form

As Cuarón’s career advanced, he started introducing more and more limitations into his work. “Limitations are frustrating because they cancel cool possibilities, but the consistency of a limitation is what starts to create an inner language,” he said. “They give you form.”

9. Every detail inside your frame matters

“How do you convey things without being explicit?” Cuarón asked. “Don’t be expository about them! How do you talk about things without talking about them?”

“Formally, I focused on how stories can be told visually,” Cuarón said. “Dialogue is a support for the cinematic experience—that includes sound and so on. Try to give as much thematic information—not explicit, but thematic—inside the frame as possible.”

10. Don’t dismiss things just because they’re popular

If weren’t for del Toro, we would have never had the best Harry Potter entry. That’s because del Toro convinced Cuarón to do The Prisoner of Azkaban after he found out that Cuarón wasn’t interested in the project.

“Del Toro asked, ‘Have you read the books?'” Cuarón recalled. “And I said, ‘I saw the film; it’s not my thing.’ And then he asked [again], ‘Have you read the books?’ And I said, ‘No, I have not read the books.’ And then he got so pissed off at me. ‘You fuckin’ arrogant bastard! Go right now, buy the fuckin’ books and call me back!'”

The rest is history.