Pistachios and the Manny Pacquiao ad

Pistachio Almost 100% of the pistachios grown in the U.S. are grown in California, mostly in counties in the Central Valley area.

Pistachios are a high value crop, and rank #5 in California’s agricultural exports, after almonds, dairy products, wine, and walnuts.

The pistachios grown here are the type called “Kerman”, which originated in Iran. I used to shop at a Middle East market when we lived in the East Bay that sold delicious baklava types of desserts, many featuring pistachios inside, or sprinkled on top.  It must play a big role in the food of Iran and the region.

California PistachiosAfter Iran, the U.S. is the 2nd largest producer of pistachios in the world.

This chart of the top 10 world producers of pistachios is interesting because though Iran leads in production, the yields per ton/hectare are significantly higher in the U.S, and high in Turkey.

Top 10 producers of pistachios in World

Chart via Wikipedia commons

So, the industry here in California must be doing something different, if they can produce more nuts per tree, or perhaps they developed varieties with greater yields.

I used to drive past what seemed like endless pistachio orchards during trips to Southern California, when my grandchildren lived in San Diego.

Pistachio Kerman

If I did not want to take Highway 101, I would cross over on another highway in Paso Robles, to get to Highway 5, the main artery freeway to Southern California.

The crossover part of the trip going towards Lost Hills was the area where a lot of pistachios are grown.  It must thrive in this part of California.

I do wonder if the drought situation we face here will affect the orchards.  Since pistachios are native to desert areas, probably not, and hopefully they will live on past the drought years.

Pistachio trees can produce nuts after 7 years, and peak production is at around 20 years.  I’ve read that they can continue to produce nuts until 50, and even at 80 years old, but by then, the trees are too big for the nut harvesting machines.

Pistachios

Do you remember the red-dyed pistachios?  I think the first time I had pistachios, we still lived in the Philippines — and they were red.  It only took a few nuts to turn my fingers, tongue, and lips red.

It turns out that the beige shells of pistachios can have stains due to hand-harvesting, so manufacturers dyed the nuts red to hide the stain.  Who knew!

They don’t do that anymore because pistachios are now harvested by machines…so no more stain problems.  Good thing, because who knows what mystery red dye # was used.  I think I would rather have my pistachios “natural” anyway…

I’ve seen a variety of humorous pistachio commercials over the last year, through a marketing campaign by the “Wonderful” brand The most memorable for me featured Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao.

Have you seen this ad?  They may have just played in certain regions, which is why I am posting it.

As a Filipino-American, it is good to see Manny Pacquiao reach a level of success and appeal to promote and endorse products in the U.S. — even if I don’t like to watch boxing.  Here is another of his product endorsements (Hennessy) from the blog Taking a Deep Breath (and a write up about Manny’s recent fight against Mayweather).

Do you remember the red-dyed pistachios?  What is your favorite way to eat pistachios?  By itself or as a part of something else, like the baklava type desserts?   I remember getting green colored pistachio ice cream when my daughter was younger, but that ice cream flavor does not seem to be very popular these days.

Interconnected: Happy Earth Day 2015!

Seventy percent of the planet Earth is covered by ocean water.

Do you think it is a coincidence that our bodies are composed of about the same percentage of water too?

For Earth Day, let’s remember how connected we all are, and that the future of our planet is in our hands.

Note:  If you are still buying bottled water, or sold on the idea that water from a plastic bottle is somehow better than what comes out ofWater 100 percent Natural Ad your tap, please see this post 100% Natural Water.

It is a reminder for us to pay attention to, and to see through marketing tricks and ads, which sometimes feel like “green ads” from big manufacturers.

We are all getting smarter about his though, and I see many positive developments since I posted this article — so hopeful!

I understand that sometimes, we have no choice but to buy bottled water, but when possible, bringing your own water to special events or as we are out and about is a habit we can practice — and one that can make a big impact on our resources and reduce trash — trash that often ends up in the ocean.

HAPPY EARTH DAY 2015!

Trash and Trends: The Keurig® single-cup coffee brewing system

Jeffs Blueberry Cherry Tea Cake

Image from my post “California Cherries”

— NOTE: I’m also submitting this post for the new weekly WordPress challenge on the topic of PLASTIC WASTE REDUCTION, because sometimes, we buy new products that unintentionally add more plastic trash to our waste stream.  To see other submissions for the theme click here.

Coffee is a beverage enjoyed by people all over the world, and like most coffee lovers, it is part of my morning ritual.

Single coffee brews

Image snapped from from the Keurig Web Site

When I started seeing single cup coffee makers like the Keurig® brewing systems, I wondered if it was a fad, or just a passing trend.

I continue to see these systems sold everywhere — so, it seems it is here to stay.

Yes, it is convenient, and perhaps less wasteful if different members of the family can make their own cup —  especially if say, one likes a dark roast and another a lighter type roast coffee.

But of course, I thought about the resulting TRASH.

All those little single serve plastic containers and covers, that most likely will not be recycled, and end up in trash cans — adding to our landfills, where it will stick around for hundreds of years.

And it turns out I’m not the only one thinking of all the trash resulting from these single cup coffee pods.  Excerpt from the website TakePart.com:

About 95 percent of K-Cups are made from #7 plastic, which usually isn’t biodegradable and may contain BPA.

As for the remaining 5 percent of the pods, it’s tough to recycle them because the plastic container is attached to a foil lid—a big no-no for recycling centers.

A 2013 survey from the National Coffee Association found that nearly one in eight American households owns a single-serving coffee machine, and last year Keurig Green Mountain, the manufacturer of the machines and the pods, produced 9.8 billion K-Cups. There’s no way to tell how many of those ended up in landfills.

Which is why it was great to see a 97% Biodegradable single serve coffee pod, made by the Rogers Family Coffee Company.

Single Serve Coffee Biodegradable

The new, mostly biodegradable product made me say “Yeah!” — a product for those who love the convenience of this coffee brewing system, but concerned about the resulting trash problems.

The problem though is that the new versions of Keurig® single cup coffee brewers “lock out” competitor brew pods.

And so then it was….”oh oh… not so fast, Jane, it’s not that easy” (and cue dejected sound from a sit-com ringing in my head)…

From the Rogers Family Coffee Company blog:

In August of 2014 Keurig Green Mountain® replaced the standard Keurig K-Cup® brewers with a new version 2.0. This new version is very similar to previous models except for ONE thing… it includes a new lockout technology that only allows “Authorized K-Cups®” to work.

It does this by visually identifying a special ink on the lidding. Any cup without this “special” ink is rejected by the machine thus ensuring Keurig’s® marketplace dominance. While other companies are quickly working to adopt this special ink to their cups we at Rogers Family Company® believe that your right to choose any option is imperative.

Thankfully, Rogers has come up with an adapter called a “Freedom Clip”…and if you have a newer Keurig® coffee maker and want to use the biodegradable coffee pods, you can adapt it:

Freedom Clip

The Rogers Family Coffee Company is offering these “Freedom Clips” free on their website, along with a free sample of their biodegradable one-cup brews (click here for more).

Are you a coffee lover too, and own these Keurig® systems?

How do you make your coffee?

Recycle GlobeRelated: If you are not sure what the difference is between the terms biodegradable and compostable, check out this Native Leaf blog post to learn more.

 

For Superbowl XLIX – Bill Nye the Science Guy’s take on “DeflateGate”

I don’t normally post sports-related items on my blog — except when my favorite team the San Francisco 49ers finally made it back to the divisional playoffs in 2012. 

But I can be a sports fan and total sports geek at times, and totally followed and enjoyed the San Francisco Giants’ journey to win the 2014 World Series.

However, I found the crazy, excessive media focus on “DeflateGate” — when New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick claimed atmospheric conditions caused footballs to lose air pressure during the playoffs against the Indianapolis Colts — so ridiculous, in light of the other world events that major news outlets should cover.

I did hear Bill Nye”The Science Guy” give his opinion on this whole DeflateGate thing on radio and on TV…and just had to post this recent video on my blog.

Note: He actually takes a very SHARP turn in the middle of the video, saying what many of us are thinking about all this ball talk of late…so here it is from he folks at Funny or Die:

And for the football sports fans, a question:  If the New England Patriots win this game, Tom Brady will own his 4th Superbowl ring to tie with my all-time favorite player, Joe Montana.

If Brady ties Montana’s record, do you think he can then be called the greatest quarterback of all time, especially that this is his 6th Superbowl appearance?

As much as I dislike the Patriots, I dislike the Seattle Seahawks even more (hey, I’m a San Francisco 49ers fan, remember, we are REQUIRED to hate the Seahawks)….So for today, GO PATRIOTS! Plus, Tom Brady is a Bay Area native (San Mateo, California).

Are you watching Super Bowl 49 today to see football or like many Americans, watch it for the commercials and supercharged Half-Time Show?

Related to what Bill Nye talks about in the video, here is my post about the Environmental Tipping Point — are we living in an age of irresponsibility.

Wal-Mart targets Asian-American shoppers with culture-specific Black Friday ads – Tagalish, lip-point and all

Since English is an official language in the Philippines, U.S. based companies that use Tagalog (the national language of the Philippines) orTagalish to target Filipino American consumers always piqué my interest.

I started to collect MacDonald’s ads that use Tagalish…and now add this Wal-Mart Black Friday ad targeting the Asian-American community.

Here is one in “Tagalog” — at least according to the ad title — though really, it is in Tagalish.  Talk about really targeting Filipino-Americans…an actor points his lips in the 31 second ad.

See the other ads in “Hinglish” and Mandarin on Joey DeVilla’s website. The script format is the same in all the ads, including a lola / grandmother in each version.

By the way,  are YOU shopping on the Thanksgiving day holiday? Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, Kohl’s and Best Buy are among the stores open on Thanksgiving Day, while Costco, Home Deport, Pier One and Crate & Barrel are among the stores who refuse to open on Thanksgiving Day.

Related LolaKo.com posts and further information:

The pumpkin flavor craze — do all these products really contain pumpkin?

Lolas pumpkins photoWhat is up with the proliferation of pumpkin flavor everything?

We expect to see pumpkins — the sort used for Jack-O-Lanterns — outside of grocery stores this time of year.

Lately though, the pumpkin thing continues inside the store…from pumpkin spice yogurt and “limited edition” English muffins. Even the Oreo brand is in with their Pumpkin Spice Creme cookies!

Pumpkins used to be a sign that fall is here, Halloween is around the corner and soon, the Thanksgiving holiday will be upon us.

But now, the pumpkin and “pumpkin spice” signals a time of year when all manner of food and beverages are blanketed with this flavor.  Example:

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And just like Christmas songs and Christmas decorations, it comes to us EARLIER each year.

So why is pumpkin and “pumpkin spice” flavor in so many food and beverage products these days (especially since pumpkin by itself is rather bland)?

Starbucks PSL

Starbuck’s PSL (photo via Starbucks.com)

Turns out we can thank Starbucks for the brilliant idea to offer seasonal beverages, and in particular their best-selling Pumpkin Spice Latte  or “PSL”

For around $5, you can get a 20 oz PSL Venti but only for a “limited time”.

But does the drink actually have real pumpkin? Nope, just pumpkin pie spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.

A brilliant marketing idea, right?  Get people to anticipate a drink (just as we would anticipate the holiday season perhaps) which contains spices that are available all year round!

Here are other pumpkin flavor examples:

The “limited batch” pumpkin yogurt by Chobani, which does contain pumpkin…

The Thomas’ “Limited Edition”  English muffins…which also had pumpkin…

Then there’s the Oreo brand cookie with the prominent pumpkin on the packaging and the words “pumpkin spice creme”…

pumnpkin spice oreo cookies web

Pumpkin Spice Oreo ingredients are: Sugar, Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine, Mononitrate (Vitamin B1) Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid, Palm and/or Canola Oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cornstarch, Salt, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Artificial Color (Yellow 5 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Blue 3 Lake), Paprika Oleoresin (Color)

Do you see any pumpkin on the ingredients list?  Nope!

From the FoodFacts.com blog on the Pumpkin Spice Oreo

We’d like to call your attention to the fact that there is absolutely NO PUMPKIN anywhere in that list. Oh wait, they’re PUMPKIN SPICE Oreos, not PUMPKIN Oreos.

Technically that would mean that these should taste like nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and anything else we use to flavor actual pumpkin pie. Funny, we don’t see any of those ingredients on the list either. We do, however, see Natural and Artificial Flavors — which of course is what the folks over at Oreos are using to impart the taste of pumpkin pie spices to the cream inside this cookie.

And then, to make it look authentic (because all of those spices carry a rich, deep color), they’ve added a healthy dose of artificial colors.

There are also pumpkin spice teas, beer and other alcohol beverages….like this pumpkin spice whiskey from Rhode Island-based Sons of Liberty…

This one actually has plenty of locally grown pumpkins and actual pumpkin spices, and sounds good!

Food manufacturers are succeeding with the popular pumpkin spice flavor, so this craze is probably here to stay for a while.   (See the 2013 Nielsen’s graph below showing pumpkin flavor products experiencing tremendous growth).

Nielsen pumpkin flavor chart 2013

So I suppose we can enjoy the fall and all the pumpkin and pumpkin spice stuff out there, especially if you happen to like pumpkin spices (I do!).

Just remember, most will probably NOT have real pumpkin, but hopefully there will at least be REAL pumpkin pie spices.  You just have to look at the labels.

Do you like this proliferation of pumpkin and pumpkin spiced food in the market? Wish it will stay or happy if it’s a fad that will soon fade?

Lolas Turbaned-Squashes photo

Turbaned squashes – photo www.Lolako.com  Click on the photo to find out the difference between a pumpkin, a squash and a gourd.

And by the way, if you want to know the difference between a pumpkin, squash or a gourd, here is the link to my post Autumn Time, Pumpkin Time, with fun photos of many varieties now available…everywhere (just like the pumpkin spice everything).

Even the NPR Car Talk guys made a joke about this pumpkin craze in this morning’s program, mentioning their “pumpkin chai brake fluid”.  Oh well…what’s next?

Further reading: Article from Vox.com:  The greatest trick capitalism ever pulled was making you want a pumpkin spice latte.

WordPress Photo Challenge – Patterns of colors in costumes

After a hiatus from participating in my favorite WordPress blogging challenge (actually …a hiatus from blogging in general) I am submitting the following photos for this week’s theme from Sara Rosso, Patterns.

I immediately thought of the photos I took at the Marina (Monterey County, California) farmers market this past Sunday, the 5th of May.

I enjoyed the lovely costumes with repeating patterns and colors from a group performing folk dances for Cinco de Mayo.

Cinco De Mayo Color Patterns

Family Cinco De Mayo Color Patterns 1

Huddling together in preparation for their performance — and for photo opportunities — were the cutest little girl and boy, who seem to enjoy the attention and cameras pointed at them…

Family Cinco De Mayo Color Patterns 2

Cinco De Mayo Color Patterns 1Cinco De Mayo dancer at market low res

More about Baile Folklorico – traditional Latin American dances here

Cinco de Mayo events in the United States celebrates Mexican culture and heritage, and are very popular.

And of course, as with anything that can be commercialized, the popularity of Cinco de Mayo celebrations can also be attributed to beer companies promoting the event.  From the website, Hispanic Culture On-Line, Cinco de Mayo history:

The commercialization of Cinco de Mayo started because Coors Brewing Company wanted to improve its image among Hispanics who used to boycott the brewing company for alleged discriminatory practices….click here to read the article

Related article…Cinco de Mayo now a mainstream holiday, from SF Gate / San Francisco Chronicle.

Are there Cinco de Mayo events and celebrations where YOU are?

Want to learn English — and on a budget?

How about studying English in the Philippines?  It turns out the Philippines is a great destination for students who want to learn how to speak English, and on a budget.

Skyline of the City of Manila, Philippines, seen from the Cultural Center of the Philippines, photo by Mike Gonzalez via Wikipedia

I have met several Koreans (from my grandsons’ Tae Kwon Do classes) who indeed took English classes in the Philippines.  While visiting Cebu, I was also surprised to see all the Korean restaurants and Korean signs, catering to the new population of English-learning students from Korea.

Photo from the Philippine Department of Tourism

Here is the excerpt from a BBC Philippines report from Kate McGeown:

The Philippines is fast becoming the world’s low-cost English language teacher – with rapid increases in overseas students coming to learn English or study in English-speaking universities.

There might be other countries that people think about as a classic place to learn English, such as the UK, the US or Australia.

But there is one key reason that they are switching to the Philippines. It’s much cheaper. And in the competitive market for language students, it means the Philippines is attracting people from countries such as Iran, Libya, Brazil and Russia.

“We have very competitive rates compared with other countries,” says English teacher, Jesy King, citing her school’s fees of $500 (£313) for a 60-hour class – about a third of the price of an equivalent course in the US or Canada.

Another major advantage is the accent.

Filipinos speak with a clear American accent – partly because the Philippines was a US colony for five decades, and partly because so many people here have spent time working in call centres that cater to a US market….

She adds…

The Philippines markets itself as being the third largest English-speaking nation – after the US and the UK – a fact proudly displayed on the Department of Tourism website. And in a way, that’s true. Most people speak at least rudimentary English, and the well-educated speak it fluently.

Yes indeed…here is that section from www.ExperiencePhilippines.org website:

Considered the third-largest English-speaking country in the world, the Philippines offers world-class facilities and services – excellent accommodations, fine restaurants, modern shopping centers and communication services, efficient congress and exhibition organizers and professional tour operators.

Photo from Philippine Department of Tourism

Click here to read Kate McGeown’s article, The Philippines: The world’s budget English teacher and video.

Common modes of transportation in more rural areas in the Philippines.

The “Ube” and Purple Filipino Food

Update January 2015 — I’ve added photos of more ube products found at Asian stores.  From ube flavored crackers, cakes….even ube flavored Otap!  Snack companies continue to add purple ube flavors to their product lines.

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The theme for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge on the Daily Post is the color Purple.

I thought about food…specifically Filipino food, as I was working on a purple food post.

Indian Eggplant at Moss Landing, California Market Stall

There are many food in shades of purple. There is the eggplant of course, and grapes, purple potatoes, purple cabbage, purple basil, onions — which we call red, but really is often the same shade as purple cabbages.

Boy behind “red” onions at his family’s vegetable market stall, Philippines

Purple shade foods — beets and onions — for sale at the Old Monterey Farmers Market

However, when it comes to purple foods, I think Filipino food wins in the “most” category.  This is all thanks to the ube — pronounced “ou-beh” — a type of purple yam from the Philippines.

Filipinos are accustomed to purple food from the flavor and coloring of ube — and it must be ingrained in us.

Ube flavored food varies from a light shade of lavender to a deep, dark purple.  It does not matter the shade as I think I can speak for most Filipinos and Filipino-Americans here, that when we see purple or an ube-shade of food, we immediately think…oh look, purple…yes, it’s ube…its good….get it….eat it!

The purple ube by itself is a health food, with anti-oxidant properties.   But perhaps how we prepare it in the Philippines — whipped with milk and sugars, or stuffed in breads, cooked with biko or other rice flour based desserts — takes away its health benefits.  Or maybe there is still enough ube in there to count for something…

Here are some of my ube food photos.  It is common to see these at San Francisco Bay Area Filipino grocery stores and eateries.

Pan de ube — bread stuffed with the purple yam jam!

Philippine sticky rice with coconut dessert “Biko” plain (brown) and purple ube flavored.

Philippine “kakanin” or snack food called Puto, in plain white, or purple, ube flavored.

“Sapin-sapin” a type of layered, sticky, rice flour based snack food and dessert, ube flavored

It is also common to find ube flavored drinks, ice creams and ube snacks at  Filipino eateries, and even fast-food restaurants. This is from Chow-King, advertising halo-halo (an icy treat that translates to “mix-mix”). Click on the photo for Lolako’s Halo-Halo post.

Woman selling snacks contained in banana leaves, at the market, Philippines. The tube shaped items are filled with sticky rice cooked in coconut milk, then steamed. The cupcake looking items are “puto”, a fermented rice flour sweet snack, also cooked inside a banana leaf. You can see purple, or ube flavored ones along with the yellow and pink putos.  Click on photo for more on the Philippine banana-wrapped snack foods.

Ube flavored snack contained in banana leaves

The food snack and Chinese style pastry  “Hopia” typically has yellow mung beans, but lately I have seen these with ube flavored filling, too!

Purple Yam is available in a powdered format, if you want to add a natural food coloring (and some ube flavors) to your food.

Jeff made pan de sal — a traditional breakfast bread in the Philippines — with ube, using this brand of powdered ube.

The recipe is from Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan’s cookbook, Memories of Philippine Kitchens. They are owners of the restaurant Purple Yam, in Brooklyn, New York.

Homemade ube pan de sal with store-bought ube spread.

Frozen UbeFrozen, whole ube is also available at most Asian or Filipino markets.

You can also buy frozen ube that is already grated —- so you can save time if you want to make ube halaya.

Booth at Pistahan Festival in San Francisco – August 2012

Ube Waffles with caramelized macapuno (coconut) syrup by Pinx (www.PinxCatering.com)

Philippine ube “flower bread”

Picture is a small dish of super purple, ube “halaya”…sweet favorite of grated and mashed ube, cooked with milk (cooked by stirring, then stir, stir and then more stirring).  It is usually topped with bits of coconut curd.

We noticed at our local Filipino store, there are more products with ube flavoring!

Ube flavors snack companies

Ube flavor crackers and more

I was surprised to see ube flavored otap — a type of puff pasty popular in certain parts of the Philippines.  When I was a kid, otap was just plain otap, and now there is ube otap?

Ube is now in so many products…which confirms how much Filipinos love this food flavor.  Or again, maybe it is the color that reminds us of ube “halaya” and other traditional desserts, and food and snack manufacturers know we will likely try it.

What do you think?  Way too strange or…I’ll try that!

Related links:

Purple yam, Dioscorea alata (in cross-section above courtesy Deepugn – via blog In the Company of Plants and Rocks)

 

Blog post “Will the real yam please stand up”, from the blog, In the Company of Plants and Rocks.

Excerpt…Plants of the genus Dioscorea, the true yams, are perennial vines.  The yams themselves are root tubers…

 

Ube Flavor Ice Cream from Magnolia – Ramar Foods Intl.

 

 

Lolako’s Purple yam…or corn and cheese ice cream…anyone? On the unique, ice cream flavors from the Philippines.

 

 

Champorado – chocolate rice porridge

Champorado – chocolate rice porridge

And more of Lola Jane’s Filipino food posts:

  • Champorado origins – a chocolate rice porridge and favorite Filipino breakfast
  • Burgers…and Bangus?  Why the bangus fish is often thought of as a Philippine national symbol
  • About ginamos & tuyo…and can you bring in your luggage when traveling to the US
  • About Sinangag, and how much I missed rice while in boot camp in the US Air Force
  • Use of Banana Leaves in Filipino food

pumnpkin spice oreo cookies webAnd just as Philippine food companies use purple and ube flavors in more and more products, see this post about the pumpkin and pumpkin “spice” flavor trend in the U.S.

Tagalish SPICY McBites

I still don’t get why McDonald’s has these Tagalog / English — or “Tagalish” — ads in U.S. published, Philippine newspapers…well, aside from keeping those fast food dollars going to McDonalds, instead of Philippine fast food giant, Jollibee.

English, along with Tagalog is an official language in government, and most newspapers in the Philippines are published in ENGLISH.

It must be working for them.  Here is another one…this time, spicy chicken McBites.

Tagalish Spicy McBite Ad

Ad reads:

A different new taste in the flavor world.  New Spicy Chicken McBites from McDonalds — each bite of chicken brings unparalleled spicy taste.  Taste it soon as it is available only for a limited time.

View the rest of the Tagalish ads in Lolako’s category “Language and Advertising – Tagalish Ads”

I, too, speak, and write in Tagalish.  I do wonder though, as a Filipino-American, do these “Tagalish” ads make you feel like McDonald’s cares about your culture, or, knowing that the Philippines is the 3rd largest, English-speaking country in the world, do you feel insulted?

Tagalish Chicken McBites

And also, another multi-culture, “Tagalish” ad, with this new one from McDonald’s.

Except for the second sentence, the text is both in English and Tagalog for this ad.

Details read: Flavor so big, you will be surprised….Each bite provides delicious flavor…Taste the new Chicken McBites from McDonald’s before it’s gone.

Click here to view more Tagalish ads, in LolaKo’s Language & Advertising category.

Another green message placemat

Another paper placemat beverage ad, with a “green” message, this one spotted at one of our local Korean restaurants (and yes, lucky for Monterey Bay residents, we have a nice selection of Korean restaurants to choose from).

“You can always ask us for more.  Waste less for Earth.”

This time, the ad is for Hite, Korea’s largest beer company.

The previous one wasLOVE the earth, HATE the waste”, on a mat and ad for Jinro, a Korean soju beverage company (also owned by the company, Hite)

Click here for the accompanying article: Green message trends…soju and place mats.

Green message trends…soju and placemats

There has been a trend of “green” and eco-friendly messages, and many big corporations are jumping on board to be part of this movement.

I applaud this, as when a company, say, as big as Wal-Mart makes changes to the way it does business — like in reducing packaging waste or using renewable energy — its impact to the environment and the ripple effect is tremendous, especially if they use their power to make their manufacturers and vendors implement earth-friendly practices.

I have not seen this trend in larger alcohol beverage companies, so it was interesting to see this paper placemat from the Korean soju beverage company, Jinro, spotted at one of our local restaurants.  Jinro is owned by Hite, Korea’s largest beer company.

I like this attractive veggie heart and especially the message of LOVE the earth, HATE the waste”.  And as far as in-your-face messages, a message placed on restaurant placemats would have to rank among the top methods right?

Have you had soju?  It is a distilled beverage traditionally made from rice, and native to Korea.

In the state of California and New York, it can be sold in restaurants that sell beer and wine, despite being a distilled drink with a higher alcohol content.  Thanks to lobbying by the Korean community (with large populations in California and New York), it is exempt from the requirement of a full liquor license costing $12,000 here in California, and instead falls under the much less expensive beer and wine license — at around $300.

Jinro — the company that provides these placemats to restaurants — is Korea’s largest producer of soju, and according to their website, they are:

  • The world’s best-selling spirit for 6 consecutive years (2001 – 2007)
  • Ranked 1st in the Japanese Soju market for the 7th consecutive year
  • Also…that Jinro’s “Chamisul” sales volume exceeded 10 billion bottles on May, 2006
    (if you laid all 10 billion bottles flat on the ground, it covers the circumference of the earth 54 times)

Have you seen similar green messages from other beverage companies?

Oh, and by the way, I posted an article about South Korea and their enthusiasm for recycling in June last year (click here to view), with a link to a humorous article by the BBC’s Lucy Williamson.  Hmmm, so maybe, the campaign is also part of the more green mindset of Koreans…

Enjoy Newly Taste Best Gifts

And now,  something funny…

We use to see a lot more signs or items with odd or funny English translations when eating at ethnic restaurants — on the wall, bathrooms, or the chopstick wrapper, the paper place mats and so on.

I thought maybe we would not see any new ones, at least locally.

Well.I…so I am wrong.  Here is the calendar gift box — for 2012 — from the local Chinese restaurant.  You would think someone would catch this and fix prior to mass printing. Hmmm….maybe they do this on purpose…just so we smile and add it to our lost in translation items.

There is a funny website called Engrish.com dedicated to these translation topics  —- check out the site and their “brog” for some smiles, snickers and laughs (okay, maybe only if you share my sense of humor).

Most translations are from Japanese to English, but people submit items from all over the world.  I especially like the section called “almost Engrish”.

Sample submissions below.

Tagalish McRib

I’m adding this McRib ad to my now, sort of blog collection of Tagalish – Tagalog and English advertising.  So far, most of what I see are from McDonald’s — and this by far is the silliest. It is also different from the ones I’ve posted in that the sentences are either in English or Tagalog, but the ad itself uses both languages.

What does this ad convey, and what does “winning or losing” have to do with a sandwich anyway?

Oh I see…it translates:

Nandito na ulit ang McRib (The McRib is here again)

Sobrang sarap ng sandwich, ipaglalaban ko ito (The sandwich is so good, I’ll fight for it).

Okay then….

Click here to see the rest of the Tagalish ads, in my new category pages.

What do you think of this one?

No water bottles for sale? No problem…

Still thinking of the recent Bioneers Conference…where you could buy all sorts of drinks from the food vendors.  But if you were looking to buy a plastic bottle of water — the ones sold it seems, at all other event venues — sorry, but not at this conference.

And it was a rather sunny, hot weekend.  What to do?

No worries, as there were carbon filtered water stations all over the place.  So, as long as you had your reusable water container, you could fill up —  for free — and eliminate the need to buy single-use plastic water bottles, and saving a lot of money in the process.

And of course, if you forgot your water bottle, or needed to buy one, there was the Klean Kanteen store, sellers of stainless steel, reusable water bottles, conveniently located next to one of the water station tents.

A few months ago, I posted an article about advertising campaigns by bottled water companies, focused on getting us to think that bottled water is somehow better for us. Click on the water bottle ad below or here to read.

It is so nice to see the opposite message at the Bioneers Conference…we don’t need overpriced, single use, plastic water bottles at these big events!

To learn more about how advertising campaigns manufactured a demand for bottled water….and got us to buy water that cost up to 2,000 times more than the water from our faucets, click on this link to The Story of Bottled Water.  (From the same group that brought us “The Story of Stuff”).

 

 

And to read about how to free your event from bottled water, visit the website www.foodandwaterwatch.org

White Milk

I noticed this ad for white milk at Target.

Isn’t milk…plain old milk…just MILK?  I mean, you don’t send your family member on an errand and tell them, oh yeah, pick up some white milk while you are at the store…you just tell them to get milk.

Just odd, and I have not seen this before.

100% Natural Water

This ad for water caught my attention because of the big letters “Born Better”.  At first I thought it was some sort of new, better for the environment, bottle — especially with all the news about plastic trash (including many plastic water bottles) harming our oceans.

Reading further, I find the ad had nothing to do with the bottle or container, and was about the water itself…which is 100% Natural.

Really?  Water is 100% Natural?

This ad looks so healthy — the white clouds, blue sky, water and green grass.

But we have to be mindful of what is being sold to us here.  That is, that their particular water is “100% Natural” — “Born Better”.

Guess what…water from our faucet is 100% natural too…and if you want to take the extra step to put your water through water filtering systems or pitchers, it is still 100% natural.

If we are sold on a belief that this bottled water is somehow more “natural” or better for us than our tap water, does that make us feel compelled to buy water in a plastic bottle?  Which then results in even more plastic trash in our landfills because few plastic water bottles actually end up being recycled.  Worse, when bottles are not disposed of properly, they may end up being washed out to sea.

We are doing our best to bring our own reusable water bottles with us and to reduce drinking water from plastic bottles.  Sometimes I forget and don’t have a choice but to buy single use, plastic bottled water (and then we recycle!).

If you are as busy as our household is, it is best to have a few reusable water bottles at the ready —- we have several for each family member.

Here are websites to visit if you would like to learn more about the problem of plastic trash in our oceans — and what we can do:

www.oceana.org – plastics problem

And let me know what you think of this ad.

UPDATE: I have posted another water bottle related article, after attending the Bioneers Conference titled “No water bottles for sale? No problem…”  Click here to read.

The Jolly Bee & McDonalds Targeted Ads: Part 3

So I wondered… why are there McDonalds Tagalog / English ads in Philippine newspapers, here in the U.S.?  After all, Filipinos living here in America speak English (as do Filipinos living in the Philippines!)

I think I know why now—- and it’s about Jollibee.

Photo from www.Jollibeeusa.com

I recently read about Jollibee’s plans to set up 280 new stores this year, with 90 in China, as part of a major expansion.

Philippine-based Jollibee Food Corporation (JFC) started in Manila, soon after McDonalds made plans to enter the Philippine market.

At that time, the company founders—who had just started a Magnolia ice cream parlor franchise that also served sandwiches — figured that catering to the taste buds of Filipinos, and making spicier hamburgers would be the way to have an advantage over McDonalds.

Jollibee is now the Philippines’ largest chain restaurant, with over 600 locations (now 800 locations, as I update this post in March, 2014).  There are currently 26 locations in the U.S (mostly in California), and outlets in Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Brunei and Hong Kong.  It is one of Southeast Asia’s most successful companies.

Should McDonalds —with their 32,000+ locations worldwide— be concerned?  Well, perhaps enough so…at least for their Filipino-American customers, that they are doing these language specific ad campaigns in California..

The US State Department estimates the number of Filipinos in the U.S. at 4 million, or about 1.5% of the population  (as a comparison, the combined population of the states Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, Montana, Hawaii and Rhode Island is a little over 4 million).

Filipino-Americans are among the most educated, and have the highest incomes compared to other Asian-American groups (and so have money to spend on fast food restaurants, among other things).

Jollibee restaurants are opening up in areas of the US with a large and established population of Filipinos. Though this data is from 2000, areas highlighted with a high number of Filipino-Americans remain the same. New Jollibee restaurants are planned for New Jersey and Virginia.

But the U.S. Filipino market is just a small part of Jollibee’s expansion plans, when you look at the 90 stores they plan for China.

Jollibee has already established a presence in China by taking over several Chinese restaurant chains, including a fast food noodle chain last year.   And with China now an economic power, it may be easier to grow and catch up with McDonalds in China than here in the U.S.

McDonalds Targeted Advertising Part 2

And there it was again…McDonalds advertising in a Philippine newspaper using English and Tagalog  (Tagalish?) words.   No burgers this time — which was on my original post on this topic  (click here to read).

Well…it must be working since there were now two half page McDonald ads in the main section of this particular Filipino newspaper.

One ad is for an Asian salad: “Tikman ang harmony ng nature sa bawat bowl” (Taste the harmony of nature in each bowl)

McDonalds Tagalog and English Ad for Asian Salad

 

And the other for McNuggets.

 

McDonalds Tagalog and English Advertising - Chicken Nuggets

And so again, I am curious how the ad folks choose which words to use in English and which in Tagalog?  Do you think it is how the sentence sounds mixed up…or is it just more challenging to translate some words from Tagalog to English?

Here are the text details —

As far as translation for the McNuggets Ad at least…Filipinos do like their dipping sauces with certain foods (sawsawan) so it is not like there is not an equivalent word in Tagalog.

Strangely, I did like reading the following mixed words:

  • Ito ang big picture (here is the big picture)…and
  • Everybody say, “Saaaaarap” (Everybody say “Deeeeelicious”).

Though at the same time, I still wonder — and don’t know what to make of this mash-up of the two languages.  Is it to make Filipinos feel, well……included?  Attention Filipinos in America: McDonalds can speak (some of) your language!  And wants your fast-food dollars.

Well maybe the ad is working on me, or I am just getting hungry.    Or I like big pictures.  Or I really just like saying “Saaaaaarap!”

What do you think of these Tagalog and English ads?

Potato ABC’s

Product Ingredients lists: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Sunflower Cottonseed, Soybean and/or Canola), Yellow Corn Flour, Sea Salt, Dextrose, Methycellulose, Onion, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Natural Flavoring

I saw this potato product in the frozen aisle section.  I know…most of us are busy and look for convenient foods, but Potato ABC’s really?

Some may think…this is brilliant!  Gets kids to eat their potatoes and learn their alphabet too!

As for me….I think this is ridiculous.

Is it really necessary to take the humble and delicious potato and turn them into ABC’s?

After all, most homes with children already have ABC bath toys, ABC puzzles, ABC books….

In the process of looking up the ingredients “Methycellulose” and “Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate”, I found an excellent website called FoodFacts.com.

They have a food rating system based on the product ingredients (you can even look up products based on the UPC Code).  Especially helpful for those with food allergies.

Interested in how these ABC Tater Tots rate?  Click on to the website link here.

A simple way we prepare potatoes in our home is to chop in quarters or wedge shapes, toss in olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper and parmesan cheese.  Roast in the oven….EASY.

And no methycellulose or sodium acid pyrophoshate needed.  Our grandchildren love roasted sweet potatoes too…same method, just leave out oregano and cheese, or bake, mash like regular potatoes.

The Swiffer…are you ready to replace your walis tambo or ting-ting?

Using Walis Tambo

Our (very tall) brother-in-law likes to use walis tambo for quick clean ups inside the house.

Did you replace your walis tambo — the traditional Filipino broom — with a Swiffer and wonder how the name Swiffer came about?

We know that language used in advertising and by PR firms are all about enticing us to buy products, but how did the branding team who come up with the name for Procter and Gamble’s new mop, the Swiffer?

As you can imagine, a cool brand name is crucial to introducing a product to market.

For the Swiffer, the branding firm started with a play on the word “mop” but decided to throw that out since it was a new type of mop.

Instead, a play on the words clean, wipe and sweep was how the name “Swiffer” came about.

Swiffer is now among Procter and Gamble’s biggest sellers, sold in 15 countries.

The experts say that one of the keys to a cool name is that the word has to be easy to say in all languages —which is vital to brand success.

With Filipinos having a tendency to replace “F” words with “P’s”, or strangely, vice-versa— since the Tagalog alphabet does not have a letter “F”, some Filipinos may call the Swiffer a SwiPPer.

Which, actually…sounds like, a SWEEPER anyway!

Though good luck with replacing the trusted walis-tambo, or walis ting-ting, the traditional brooms made of grass (tambo is soft for inside jobs) or from the rib of coconut fronds (nice and stiff for outside jobs).

Lolas walis ting ting webI have lived in the U.S. for a LONG time, and I still use traditional Philippine brooms.

I suspect that if there was a survey of broom types used in Filipino-American households, almost always, they will find  traditional brooms, which, by the way, are usually made of natural plants that compost or biodegrade.

Here is the link to the article,  With Billions at Stake, Firms Play Name That Mop, featuring hit names like the Outback but also some misses like Google’s “BackRub”.

Do you live outside the Philippines now but still use your walis tambo or walis ting-ting — or other types of traditional brooms?

Or are you now using a Swiffer, too?

walis tambo with plastic trim for web

Walis tambo for sale at one of our local Filipino store. The walis makers should go back to using natural materials (bamboo or rattan strips, natural fiber twines) so that the entire walis can be composted when no longer usable. The walis is not going to last forever, so why use plastic unnecessarily? It would be prettier with natural materials, too!

Natural-walis-tambo

Picking Coconuts Philippines RdNot just for coconuts! Every part of the coconut tree is used, including the leaf frond rib to make the stiff traditional brooms called a “walis ting-ting” — click on photo for more about the coconut tree and coconut products made from this “Tree of Life”.

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