Tuesday, March 21, 2006



He goes inside seconds after the bus moves out of the terminal. From the entrance to the end and back, he moves with a basket full of goodies. All are priced at P5 a pop which covers five individually wrapped candies repacked in clear plastic. I’m a big fan. The last Candyman that I patronized was this small sun burnt man with gaunt features. He went around the bus chanting:

“kaindeeah. kaindeeah. kaindeeah… kaindeeah kayo jan. panlibang sa biahe. kaindeeah. kaindeeah.”

he spoke like a drunken man; rather, like a man who has lived half his adult life in drunken stupor. When he sells his stuff, you’d hear this sharp raspy voice and words that feel like he has recited them a hundred million times:

“kaindeeah. kaindeeah. kaindeeah…”

he passes by. I ask him for my fave of the lot. I give him my P5 coin for the exchange and then he leaves me, continuing his mantra.

I love the Candyman. Below are the delights he peddles:

White Rabbit – Lower version of the real white rabbit that we all grew up with. This caramel flavored hard candy is my favorite although unlike its sibling, you cannot eat the secondary wrapper. My advice, open and consume two at a time for heightened caramel goodness.

Snow Bear – Hard mint candy; I’m not sure if it has a chocolate center. I’ll have to check.

Orange Swits (no typo, it’s really Swits) - Four pieces of orange flavored… er, non translucent gummy bear like candy. Good to chew on but always keep some water handy for the killer sweet caused thirst that follows.

Mentos – known as the new school of street candies with a wide following among yuppies and the young. Slogan alert: “Mentos, the freshmaker”. See the Foo Fighters’ video for Big Me for the alternative slogan: “Footos, The Fresh Fighter”.

Stork – I remember back in the 80’s; well back in the 80’s you could say I remember back in the 70’s. Stork is one of the grand daddy’s of bus candies. It has survived political strife (Martial Law, EDSA) and countless natural (Storms and Earthquakes) and man made (PR; a TV show covered its factories revealing how dirty the place is. Cockroaches were involved) disasters. There is even a rumor that if you consume too much Stork, you become, sterile. Either way, Stork will probably go on far beyond our life spans.

V Fresh – Alas, Juicy Fruit bowed out of the street and got a better image; it has since been replaced by V Fresh, a fun gum with the same annoying tenacity of the ol Juicy when accidentally stepped on on the streets.

Halls – We get two flavors: the classic yellow wrapped Honey Lemon and Halls White. I was never a fan of the former; the latter on the other hand is good for a ciggy combo.

Maxx – Another candy with a twin presence in the Candyman’s mobile storefront. You can choose between Cherry and Green. I really don’t know why, but I always come out thirsty after enjoying the Maxx brand.

The bus rolls along, humming angrily in its wake. There is no one here who can say NO to a free goody offer from the Candyman. There will always be something for someone, no matter what. I guess the only sad thing is that the bearer of delights is usually a hard working man thinned by circumstance. It’s like seeing an emaciated Saint Nick bearing gifts. I guess the best way to help is to always buy. What’s a P5 coin for a few treats every time you ride a bus; well, it means a lot to the Candyman.

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