April 26, 2007


Call me dense, but I don’t get this Filipino fascination for the Guinness World Record. I mean, just what is the point? Will the biggest bibingka plug up the hole in the ozone? Will the longest longganiza promote world peace?

In just about every festival, there is the showcase of the longest “this” and the biggest “that.” The longest ihawan, for example, or the biggest chineles. I can understand the marketing side of the matter: the need to promote the product, the festival and ultimately the place. But to go to such great lengths as to gun for a Guinness?

Trust me, it has nothing to do with the noble aim of “fostering unity.” I have been a token participant in two attempts, and “unity” is the last thing on one’s mind as one stews in sweltering heat, waiting for the cameras to roll.

The first time I was required to join was in 2004, when somebody broached the idea of our city earning a world record of sorts for the longest nut cracking. For all its worth, things did go perfectly well. Except that the organizers were probably so wrapped up in the prep work they actually forgot to notify the Guinness people!

My second stab at fame (ha!) took on an even more ambitious coverage: the whole stretch of the Maharlika Highway from up North to down South. It was supposed to be the longest tree planting ever. It could have been. The thing is, eight months later, I wonder where all the trees have gone. I don’t even know if we even set a record.

I remember the first time (or was it?) the Philippines tried to get a Guinness for the longest sausage or something. Way before the signal was given however, hungry participants—who had been in line for an hour or so—had already wolfed down the better part of the sausage.

And then, just last year, a town tried its hand at a Guinness for the longest grill. The smell of the inihaw, however, may have proved too much for the would-be record holders. They carted off just about everything, grill, charcoal and yet-to-be-grilled fish included.

On May 2, my beloved Pinas will again go for the gold: this time for simultaneous breastfeeding. Will “Sabay Sabay Sumuso sa Nanay” work? Or will the babies—and the mothers—decide that it’s just not worth the effort? If it doesn’t, well, we can always earn a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the country with the most number of Guinness attempts.

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