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Growing up in the Visayas, especially in the 80s and 90s means a whole lot of memories—from the games we play, the TV shows we watched, the songs we listened to and of course, the food we ate. The 80s and 90s were such a blast for a kid.
Based on a discussion in our social media sites, here are the favorite things we Visayan kids wanted to put in our lunch boxes and tummies. How many are familiar to you? (The following list is not ordered by yumminess but by the picture arrangement attached in this article)
1. Ricoa’s Curly Tops- Back when imported chocolates were not that accessible in grocery stores, local chocolates were kicking it! Take for example Ricoa’s Curly tops, a childhood favorite with a unique chocolate flavor. It is milky, creamy and sweet, perfect for small nibbles after a game of patintero or just a special request to Mom and Dad when going to church—well, that or those string balloons.
2. Tootsie Roll- if you wanted something to gnaw and your teeth craves for sweets, tootsie roll was a treat! Chewy and chocolatey, a stick will give you loads to gnaw about!
3. Bubble Gum- Back in the 80s, I think you could get around 4pieces per 25cents. If your mom or dad gave you some spare change, this was one of the favorite things we would buy at the stores.
4. Icing-frosted biscuits—Okay, I totally forgot what the brand was but these were really one of my favorites before. I usually ate the biscuit first and save the icing afterwards for more chewing. The different icing colors made it more enticing.
5. Animal crackers—Raise of hands for those who will admit this-- Who among you here ate the heads off of animal crackers first, imagining you were a big monster, sort of Godzilla-like, and just chomp off hapless animal victims? You loons! Yeah, I did that too.
6. Bobot—Where are Bobot candies now, I wonder? Remember the free ring items? Looking back, those were like super flexible fake-golden strings that can be destroyed with one hand fist. Yet, I remembered I had a Bobot ring in every finger and felt I own the world’s rarest diamond rings.
7. Hi-C- We didn’t have a lot of juice choices then and Hi-C was a favorite juice for us in the 80s. I forgot how it tasted, it must have been like melted Tang ice candy but yeah, all kids go gaga over a Hi-C juice box.
8. White Rabbit- With all the candy choices now, poor old White Rabbit won’t be a kid’s first choice. But this rabbit has been in the market for years and had been a child’s favorite then. I specifically dug the chewy ones.
9. Haw Flakes—Flashback to Grade 2 when we all had our First Communion. We had to buy Haw Flakes as practice hosts and buy it later on because the taste was addictive—unique in the sour side. And because of that First Communion practice thingie, every time I see a Haw flake, my subliminal brain immediately says, “Amen”. Way to go with the association.
10. Ice Pops- Well, frozen juices weren’t uncommon. Ice pops were a rich kid’s ice candy. To have one was a treat. For ordinary days, we make our own ice candy—made out of Tang, Eight o’clock, fruit shakes. It was convenient, easy, and gives significance to the refrigerator’s freezer space aside from the ice.
11. Alpine—Much has been said about the Alpine milk’s usage to health but I won’t dwell into that. I am happy that I wasn’t the only one who can relate that Alpine was one of the best milks ever invented. Don’t ask me why. It just stuck to my head or because that’s what my Mom used to have me drink before going to sleep.
12. Mom’s Pizza—Undeniably, the best pizza for every 80s to 90s kid. Sbarro, Yellow Cab, Shakey’s, Pizza Hut? Non-existent then. Mom’s pizza was and still is the best, especially when you buy it double. You can still buy this in whole boxes and slices in some corners around the city. When I crave for these, I usually go to Mabolo church every Sunday, they sell these stuff. YuM!
13. Maggi Noodles--- I can remember that Aladdin was shown in 1994. Why? Because I used to collect Aladdin and Jasmine stickers in every Maggi Noodles pack back in '94. It was that fun for a kid. Eating the noodles was just a secondary reason. "Hey, I got Jafar! Yes!"
14. Bazooka Bubble Gum—And another collectible goes to the Bazooka Joe comics, present in every Bazooka bubble gum. I wonder if they still have those. Eating bubble gum was way cooler because of the readable freebies.
Not in the picture:
15. Tivoli Funwich- Picture this: Chocolate biscuits sandwiching vanilla ice cream or chocolate ice cream coated with chocolate syrup. Yes, that was Tivoli Funwich. I remember saving up P13.00 every week just to eat this with my friends over the bench at our local park. Heaven!
16. Sustagen—Susie and Geno visiting local schools was like a school holiday, with kids saving up their Sustagen foil packs to get freebies and other Sustagen items. I cried when Geno tried to embrace me, I thought he was going to crush me or something. But yeah, their strategy was great. I drank Sustagen, I asked my parents to buy more especially when the famed mascots were scheduled to visit.
17. Tira-Tira- these are caramelized stick candies parents used to warn us about—if we ate lots, our teeth will fall off. I never knew if these were true but I was scared to death then, I didn’t eat a lot even if I wanted to.
18. Choco Powders with Straw—Again, I forgot the brand but there were these choco powders in sachets with a little straw that you use to sip the choco powder. We were careful not to sip fast or the powder goes to our throat and there would be a coughing frenzy.
19. Tamarindo— Candies made out of tamarind sweetened with a few sugar bits, and if you put a bit of salt, it has this sweet-salty taste that got you asking for more. Careful not to swallow the seeds though, because if you do—the seed will grow into tree in your tummy. Now, what kid wouldn’t be afraid of that? Our parents had some scaring issues, huh? Enough with the tamarindo seeds! Hahaha
20. Balikutsa- oohh these were our generation’s favorite then! It’s primarily dulsi hinimo hinimo gikan sa tuno sa lubi ug asukal, translated to—candy made primarily out of coconut cream and sugar/coconut candy. If you search within the internet, you can make your own balikutsa and feed your nostalgic memories to a frenzy!
So anyway, that was what we gathered in our nostalgic lunch box discussion. What were the contents of your lunch box or what did you crave for as a kid? Hungry now? Dig in to your lunch box of memories and mag iSTORYA TA (let’s talk!)
Our social media page and iSTORYA’s twitter account buzzed a lot lately with the topic—what is the best thing about the 80’s and 90’s? I discovered a lot of people around that generation who has a lot of nostalgic memories. We will be presenting them by categories. We would like to thank everyone who participated. Like our Facebook page and follow us in twitter —istoryanet as we give out exciting topics to talk about.