Thursday, July 9, 2020

286. FRESCO DEODORANT BEAUTY SOAP by Philippine Manufacturing Company, (PMC), 1955

In October 1955, the Philippine Manufacturing Co., , the maker of popular products like Purico, Perla and Star Margarine—introduced a new kind of soap—a deodorant soap with the brand name FRESCO Deodorant Beauty Soap.

Years before, PMC had already launched Camay with resounding success, one of the first beauty soaps in the country. Now it was ready to introduce an innovative soap. FRESCO claims to stop perspiration odor because of a special active ingredient called Arodin, a “wonder deodorant” that neutralized odor-causing bacteria that ordinary soaps can’t remove. 

The pink deodorant beauty soap is recommended for all-over beauty protection, with an alluring fragrance that clings to the skin and fragrance and lasts for hours.  FRESCO Deodorant Beauty Soap costs no more than other leading beauty soaps too.

Despite these wonderful benefits, FRESCO Deodorant Beauty Soap seemed to flouder, as its ads—by 1957—diminished in size and became rather unremarkable. FRESCO lasted for just a few years, and was discontinued before the new 60s decade began.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

285. Brand Stories: AVEGON RADIOS, 1953


One of the more popular brands of transistor radios that promoted the golden age of the Philippine radio industry was AVEGON, produced by Avegon Inc.,with offices at Sta. Ana, Manila. At its peak, AVEGON RADIOS rivaled the country’s leading radio and TV maker—Radiowealth—which was founded almost 20 years ahead of the company.


The story began with Engr. Antonio Avecilla y Nepomuceno, a Kapampangan born in San Fernando (b. 10 Sep. 1901) who was one of the leading lights of Philippine infrastructure reconstruction after the War. A 1923  Civil Engineering graduate of the University of Santo Tomas, Avecilla ‘s post-war works included the La Mesa Dam and Swimming Pool, Bel-Air Building, Syquia Apartments, Mote de Piedad, Galaxy Theater,  the San Sebastian Convent and Colleges, the Philippine Wallboard Corp. Bldg., the Rizal Motor Sales Bldg., and the rehabilitation of many war-damaged homes and factories.


In 1953, noting the burgeoning radio industry thanks to its rising use as an entertainment and marketing medium, Avecilla teamed up with a friend, Joaquin l. Gonzalez of Baliwag, and pooled their money together to form a fledgling manufacturer and importer of electrical appliances called AVEGON INC., coined from their 2 surnames, AVEcilla and GONzalez.



Despite a bumpy start, AVEGON’s transistorized radios began gaining a large following, favored for their hi-fi  performance and economical price. They were also prized for their handsome construction, as the cases were made from durable Philippine hardwood.

The company expanded by leaps and bounds, necessitating the construction of its own AVEGON office and factory buildings located at Invernes St., Sta. Ana, Manila. Avecilla served as the company president and general manager.

Later, AVEGON  forayed into the production of fluorescent lamp ballasts that could withstand high humidity and temperature—the first of its kind in the country. AVEGON Radios however, were the company’s flagship brands, with many models to choose from.


One of the most unusual were the AVEGON Dreamhouse radios—made in the shape of little roofed houses with TV antennas. It sold wireless record players, radios with legs—all sold at affordable prices.  AVEGON radios were regularly advertised on print and radio and had its own loyal market from the lower-midle class bracket.


Radiowealth upped the tempo of the competition by leading the local production of the so-called “TV and Radio/ Music Player Furniture Sets”, an innovation that sought to rethink our idea of what an appliance is, which, to the company can be a home furniture too. It is in this arena of product innovation that AVEGON faltered. It belatedly introduced its first TV set in early 1960s, and continued to produce traditional small and portable transistor radios, which, nevertheless had their own market niche. With more and more Filipinos finding new prosperity, large and modern appliance furniture became the vogue in the 60s right through the 70s—with the advent of the age of stereophonic, quadraphonic and surround sound technology.  


AVEGON continued making radios, and the hardwood cases gave way to modern colorful plastic in the 70s. The compToday, AVEGON Radios are prized by radio and music collectors as fine examples of local radio craftsmanship that is distinctively Filipino

TABLEAU: Encyclopedia of Distinguished Personalities in the Philippines, p. 73.
BALIWAG, Then & Now. Vilacorte, 1985

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

284. Served in the Philippines’ Finest Restaurants: CHASE & SANBORN COFFEE, Print Ad Series, 1956

CHASE & SANBORN, "Exclusively Served in the Finest Restaurants", Print Series, 1956

One of the early American coffee roasting companies was started in 1862 in Boston by Caleb Chase and James Solomon Sanborn. Initially engaged in tea and coffee importation, the company soon launched an American coffee brand bearing their name—CHASE & SANBORN COFFEE, the first coffee company to pack and ship roasted coffee in sealed tins.

CHASE & SANBORN was available in the Philippines beginning in the mid1930s. Imported all the way from the U.S.A., CHASE & SANBORN became a pre-war coffee favorite, advertised on leading magazines of the Commonwealth er and supported by msales gimmicks (premiums like how-to dance booklets were given away). The classic brnd was actively advertised through the 50s and 60s decade.

In 1956, CHASE & SANBORN came up with a pint ad series touting the brand as the exclusive coffee choice of the country’s finest restaurants and coffee shops. The strategic alliance with the renown establishments boosted the quality image of the coffee  brand.

The Philippines’ premier MANILA HOTEL was built in 1909  and was opened on the commemoration of American Independence on July 4, 1912. The historic hotel was the home of Gen. Douglas Macarthur and his family when he served as a military adviser to Pres. Manuel Quezon in 1935.  For “the finest hotel in the Far East”, only CHASE & SANBORN will do.

The well-air conditioned  NEW EUROPE RESTAURANT,  was a favorite dining olacein Manila, especially with the Ermita crowd. Located along Isaac Peral (now Herran  St.), “the home of good food”, was put up by Heinz Wielke.

 Known as “the grand old dame of Baguio”, PINES HOTEL was one of the earliest structures in the city, erected in 1909 on Gov. Pack Rd. It was destroyed during the War, but was rebuilt on Luneta Hill with the same name. The Pines Lobby was a popular coffee place, plus the Bontoc Bar, in the 1950s. It was gutted by fire in 1984.

Time was when pharmacies also had coffee shops appended to their business, and Botica Boie was a large drugstore chain that also operated BOIE COFFEE SHOP, along Escolta. While young people got their ice cream soda from the shop, the oldies delighted in their cups of CHASE & SANBORN COFFEE.

As the ad copy goes: “the finest restaurants the world over serve CHASE & SANBORN”.  But---you’ll enjoy its rich aroma and delicious flavor—at home too!”

Thursday, June 18, 2020

283. Brand Stories: VASELINE HAIR TONIC, 1960-1965

One of the best-selling hair tonics in the world is VASELINE HAIR TONIC for Men, manufactured by Chesebrough Manufacturing Co. The product had its start in 1859, when Robert Chesebrough visited Penssylvania oil fields and saw residue called “rod wax” that accumulated on oil rigs. Workers used the waxy substance to heal cuts and wounds. Chesebrough managed to extract petroleum jelly from the rod wax and created a medical product out of it which he called VASELINE.

The brand name was coined from the German word for water “wasser” and the Greek word “elaion” or olive oil.  From VASELINE Jelly, the company began expanding to personal line products using the same ingredient as base. In the 1920s, Chesebrough launched its VASELINE HAIR TONIC, a liquid hair groomer.  It was heavily promoted in print ads on the popular Life Magazine  from the late 1920s-1940s,  promising to ‘stimulate circulation, helped to relieve excessive dryness, and keep hir “manageable and handsome”.

In 1955, Pond’s and the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company merged to become Chesebrough-Pond’s.  By then, a Philippine affiliate company had been set up, marketing products such as Pond’s and Angel Face. It ws in 1960 that  Chesebrough-Ponds introduced VASELINE HAIR TONIC in the Philippines through a series of print ad. At that time GLO-CO, a local cosmetic company, dominated the men’s hair grooming market with its  Glo-Co Hair Tonix, endorsed by movies stars as early as the 50s.

To ensure wider usage, VASELINE HAIR TONIC was positioned as a unisex hair grooming product—good for both men and women.  Its quarter-page ads featured young men and women in various social situations. In 1967, rising young star of sampaguita Pictures--Lito Legaspi—endorsed the brand as its commercial model.

Vaseline was made by the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company until the company was purchased by Unilever in 1987.The product VASELINE HAIR TONIC with scalp Conditioner is still available today.

Friday, June 12, 2020

282. Brand Stories: GRASSLAND PURE COW’S MILK, 1962

 GRASSLAND FARMS INC., a 100% Filipino dairy enterprise, was founded in Nov. 1961 and began operations in June 1962. The promising modern milk processing plant gets its supply of raw milk from its own dairy farm of over 1000 cows.

The  plant was just operating 25% of its capacity with the bulk of the farm’s raw milk sold to disitributors of pasteurized milk. The lead products was GRASSLAND PURE COW’S MILK, which was processed from the raw product by heating the milk to a higher temperature than the pasteurised product killing all bacteria.

GRASSLAND PURE COW’S MILK was packaged in softdrink bottles, with metal caps and marketed by its offices with address at 1202 E. De los Santos Avenue. By 1962, the company was putting out print ads of GRASSLAND PURE COW’S MILK –“unequalled in food values because it’s rich in body-building proteins, vitamins and minerals”. And, to drive home the point that it’s good for young and old alike, the ads featured teens, oldies, kids and young adults.

In 1966, GRASSLAND FARMS INC, sounded a call for other companies interested in a joint venture arrangement primarily to provide working capital---  U.S. investors preferred. There is no information if such a co-op arrangement happened, but one thing for certain, GRASSLAND PURE COW’S MILK disappeared from supermarket shelves, even before the new 70s decade rolled in.

International Commerce, A U.S. Dept.of Comerce weekly. 4 Jul. 1966

Friday, June 5, 2020

281. Celebrity Endorsers: THE MAGALONA FAMILY, various ads 1953-1980s

The MAGALONAS are a very popular showbiz family,  thanks largely to the love team of reel-and-real life sweethearts PANCHO MAGALONA and TITA DURAN, who captivated Filipino movie fans with their many hit movies.

PANCHO MAGALONA (Enrique Gayoso Magalona Jr., b. 22 Jan. 1923/d. Apr. 1998), was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, the son of former senator Enrique Magalona Sr. of Negros Occidental. His sister, Susan Magalona (who married Joaquin Elizalde) was a legendary beauty in her time. He began his film career in 1947, when he was cast in “Prima Donna”, backed by a recommendation from Dna. Aurora Quezon, no less. The film was headlined by  opera singer Jovita Fuentes
His dashing mestizo looks sent many fans swooning, but his star shone brighter when, the next year, he was teamed up with a former child actress TITA DURAN. Their formidable love team was one of the most well-loved in showbiz, beginning in 1948, with the movie “Dahil Sa Iyo”.


The apex of  Pancho’s career was  a FAMAS Best Actor trophy for his 1958 film, “Hanggang sa Dulo ng Daigdig”. He even went on to bag Hollywood roles lin the Jeff Chandler starrer “Merrills’ Marauders” and “The Hook”, with no less than Kirk Douglas. His iconic role, however, was that of Simon, in the 1962 Jose Rizal movie,”El Filbusterismo”.
Pancho’s other half, TITA DURAN (aka Tita Durango, b. 14 Jun,1929/ d. 2 Dec. 1991) started as a child actress,who as an 8-year old, was cast as an abandoned child in the  1936 melodrama, “ Awit ng mga Ulila”. Sampaguita Pictures signed her up in 1938, and put her in another tear-jerker film, “Inang Mahal”. The war intervened but she returned as a young woman to her former studio, Sampaguita Pictures, to support Carmen Rosales in “Gerilyera”, which led to light musical roles—and a durable partnership with PANCHO MAGALONA.
The tandem were acclaimed for romance-musicals like “Always, Kay Ganda Mo” (1949), “Umaga Na Giliw,” “Kay Ganda Mo Neneng,” (1950)  “Sa Isang Sulyap Mo Tita,” and “Vod-A-Vil ”(1953) and  Sa Isang Halik Mo, Pancho” (1954). So wildly popular was their love team that PANCHO and TITA were sought after as commercial models, even  after they had married and had started a family. Their children would include Francis, Susan, Vicky, Victor, Henry, Popeye , Malot, Maricar and Martin.  
"Royal Tru Orange" TVC "Ito Ang Gusto Ko"here:

The MAGALONA legacy was continued by son FRANCIS MAGALONA (b. 4 Oct. 1964/6 Mar. 2009), who, as Francis M,  is recognized as the best and the most successful all-time Filipino rapper. He had monster hit songs like “Mga Kababayan Ko”, “Kaleidoscope World”, ”3 Stars and a Sun”,  and “Ito ang Gusto Ko”, which became the track of his well-remembered ROYAL TRU-ORANGE Commercials.  


On March 18, 2009, FRANCIS MAGALONA was recognized by the Philippine government with a posthumous Presidential Medal of Merit award, "for his musical and artistic brilliance, his deep faith in the Filipino and his sense of national pride that continue to inspire us."

Pancho Magalona, Tita Duran, Francis Magalona:
Francis Magalona Royal Tru Orange 2 Commercial Royal, uploaded by
Francis Magalona, 22 May 2016
Francis Magalona RTO Commercial,, uploaded by ninjacool 69, 3 Mar. 2011

Monday, May 25, 2020

280. Need A Haircut? Get the TRIM JIM Cut, by Union Carbide, 1971

In this age of the great COVIC pandemic, the world desperately needs a cure, a vaccine to put our fears to rest—and end this agonizing, extended community quarantine, that  continues to leave us isolated, hungry, pennyless—and in need of haircuts. Back in the early 1970s though, when long hair ruled supreme, there was a handy plastic contraption that one could carry in one’s jeans' pocket for quickly trimming and styling hair—without going to the barber shop.

In 1971, UNION CARBIDE introduced the TRIM JIM Safety Haircutter. It is a handy two-bladed do-it-yourseld plastic  hair trimmer that you use to trim your locks, simply by running the TRIM JIM through your hair, much like comb.

You can cut your hair longish—to achieve the HARE KRISHNA Look. Or thin it to get that EXECUTIVE Look. 

The TRIM JIM was so convenient when launched in the Martial Law years as long-haired boys opted to cut their own hair personally, than have it cut by scissors-wielding military people who were then hot on the trails of these long-haired nonconformists. ROTC cadets, too, brought a TRIM JIM along, in case their crew cut was still deemed to lush and thick.  A quick TRIM JIM cut will do it—for just 4 pesos!

Despite its much-heralded convenience, the results of using a TRIM JIM were unpredictable.  Unsteady hand pressure can cause uneven cutting. Sometimes, a single run of TRIM JIM with new, sharp blades can result in instant bald patches.Contouring hair like sideburns was difficult.

But then again, it’s true what TRIM JIM claims. The TRIM JIM cut is your own personal signature-- you get truly a different breed of cut!