Remember the Bear Brand TV ad “look at my mole” that aired in the 80s?
It was about an old man reminiscing about his childhood. It opens with people gathering around, performing music (Tertulia), enjoying food and card games. He was in a sailor outfit, dancing with his Lola, dressed in elegant baro’t saya. It ends with the once little lad, now a Lolo (Grandfather), dancing with his own granddaughters.
Esquire Philippines lists the ad song in their “Commercial Jingles That Defined the Eighties”. It went head to head with San Miguel’ “Si Boom,” Seiko wallet’s jingle and Sunny Orange’s “I love you”.
I remember getting excited when the commercial appears on TV. The “Lolo” used to eat at our old carinderia. If memory serves me right, this lasted for at least a year. My mother owned a small canteen near Makati’s business district in the 80’s.
“Look at my mole” Lolo loves a good laugh. This is what I remember the most about him. Once he had trouble kick-starting his motorcycle. “I think we should get a match, and lit it!” he said. So I went to my mother and asked for one. This made him laugh to no end!
In the early 90’s, after a lengthy court case, we lost our rights over that property in Makati. We had to vacate our home, boarding rooms (our other business) and the canteen. We lost contact with most of the regular customers.
Two years ago, someone shared the old TV ad on FB. I was thrilled to see it again. I showed it to my mother. She remembers him. “(Always in) short sleeves polos, wire-rimmed glasses, slacks, a good pair of leather shoes”.
I reached out to a former colleague, a Spanish speaking mestizo, who I heard was related to the old guy via LinkedIn recently. At least I wanted a name—if I could get more information that’d be a bonus.
Yesterday, I finally got an answer. The man is his father’s cousin, Juanito Muñoz.
I was excited to know more but that’s all I got. “I am not sure if he’s still alive, haven’t seen him for years,” this man wrote. I did not press my luck. Looks like he doesn’t know much about him either.
Were we even talking about the same person?
See, If that guy’s my uncle we’d be close—he’s a charming old man—a cool Lolo for sure. That’s why the TV ad was a success. The role he played was him.
So, here’s hoping someone can add details about Manong or Mang Juanito. It would make my day to know if he’s still around, lalo na if he’s still dancing!