Chickens and disasters | Inquirer Opinion
At Large

Chickens and disasters

Only in the Philippines, indeed, would the front page of the country’s biggest paper carry two stories about chickens on the same day.

One is a story about “chicken sad,” wordplay on “Chicken Joy,” the brand of fried chicken sold by the country’s biggest fast-food operation, Jollibee. In the last few days, it seems, some branches of Jollibee have run out of not just Chicken Joy but other popular products as well. Some branches had even been forced to close their doors to the public because they had simply run out of food products.


Jollibee explained that a computer glitch had been causing logistical problems ever since the company shifted to a new system. I’m a computer illiterate, and I can’t understand how this can be possible considering that most of the affected branches are in Metro Manila, which would have made emergency shipments of Chicken Joy and hamburger so much easier and faster to do. What was so difficult and complicated that a few phone calls could not solve?

But I guess it’s a testimony to how deeply and widely Jollibee has penetrated the Philippine market that a shortage or lack of chicken and burgers becomes front-page news and makes it to the evening TV news broadcasts. The news first spread through social media, which goes to show how Twitter and Facebook have been increasingly setting the news agenda, and this was where “chicken sad” was born.


Other fast-food firms have sought to ride on the “sad” story, but their joining the fray only shows how popular and ingrained Jollibee has become among Filipino families and in Filipino culture. If I were Jollibee, I would offer free Chicken Joy to all customers for the next few days to “welcome back” its customer base which has proven so loyal and fervid that the absence of their favorite fried chicken is now a cause for national concern.

* * *

The other “chicken” story is that of Mommy D, Dionisia Pacquiao, the PacMom herself, who reportedly has found love anew in a “spring chicken,” a man 25 years younger.

Her children have expressed support or at least suspended judgment on the budding relationship, although the PacMom clarified that they are still getting to know each other and that marriage was not on the horizon as her “man toy” had plans to go abroad for work.

But I must say that Mommy D is rocking the red gown she has on in the front-page photo of her and her man of the moment.

Which just proves once again that Dionisia Pacquiao is this era’s senior diva. She is a woman who manages to upstage her world-famous son whether it be marching down the red carpet of the State of the Nation fashion show, or twirling on the dance floor during her birthday party. I say, go for it, Mommy D! Things may not work out with your 40-year-old inamorato, but you have already proven that life and love (and dare I say, sex?) are within the reach of senior women, so long as they keep an open mind and a game attitude and don’t give a hoot about the opinion of others!

* * *


As disaster movies go, “Into the Storm” isn’t exactly a disaster, but if it’s at all possible, it’s an underwhelming film.

It tells the story of events that hit the small town of Silverton in America’s tornado belt, focusing on the family of widower Gary Morris (Richard Armitage), the high school vice principal, and his two teenage sons assigned to shoot a documentary to be buried in the school’s time capsule that will be opened 25 years hence. At the same time, a team of meteorologists, storm chasers and videographers descend on the town to film an approaching tornado, hungry for spectacular footage they’ve been chasing for a year.

I don’t know if it was deliberate on the filmmakers’ part, but “Into the Storm” has an amateurish feel about it, with dizzying hand-held camera shots that call to mind “The Blair Witch Project.” The tornadoes that beset the townsfolk of Silverton are meant to be awesome and frightening, but there is about the disaster something that feels contrived and low-budget.

For instance, when the older son Donnie (Max Deacon) and his longtime crush are trapped in an abandoned paper mill destroyed by a tornado, their lives are suddenly in peril as water starts pouring into their location. It turns out the water is coming from a water spout, such a disappointing development!

* * *

Part of the trouble, I think, is the lack of “connection” with the movie-going public, especially in this part of the world where denizens have had to cope with more dangerous weather disturbances like supertyphoons.

Another cause for the disconnect is the lack of empathy with the characters. While watching “Into the Storm,” I couldn’t help harking back to a similar film, 1996’s “Twister,” directed by blockbuster maven Jan de Bont and starring Helen Hunt (still at the height of her popularity) and Bill Paxton. But it’s the film’s backstory involving the death of the father of Hunt’s meteorologist character and her consequent obsession with tornadoes that gives the story weight, credibility and wins the audience’s sympathy.

Interestingly enough, writers Michael Crichton and Anne-Marie Martin (with inputs from script doctors Joss Whedon, Steve Zallian and Jeff Nathanson), “won” the Raspberry Award for worst script. I wonder how the student judges now would rate “Into the Storm”?

Still, if all you want to do is escape reality for two hours, then “Into the Storm” provides enough distraction. But just imagine how the money that went into this movie could be used to make a movie on “Yolanda,” the world’s record-holder among typhoons for severity, material damage and deaths. There’s enough human drama there to grip the world’s imagination!

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TAGS: At Large, Chicken, Chicken Joy, Into the Storm, Jollibee, Mommy Dionisia, opinion, Rina Jimenez-David
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