Body Talk with Bamboo
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - February 1, 2008 - 12:00am

They must have been separated at birth.

Bamboo is the flipside of Sen. Chiz Escudero and vice-versa. Their being lookalikes is mutually beneficial. Bamboo didn’t openly or officially endorse Chiz during the May elections last year but I’m sure a lot of Bamboo fans rooted — and voted — for Chiz.

But the intriguing question is: Did Bamboo vote for Chiz?

“I’m not gonna say who I voted for,” Bamboo begged off, in the same breath admitting that he was “flattered” by their “carbon-copy-ness” and recalling, “I think I saw him on TV during the election campaign in Cotabato, singing one of our songs.”

Perhaps, many people know him only as plain Bamboo and not by his kilometric full name — okay, now, take a deep breath: Francisco Gaudencio Lupe Belardo Mañalac. That includes his grandfather’s and father’s names. You can relax now. Bamboo, for short.

But why Bamboo, of all plants (bamboo is the symbol of humility because it is pliant, it bends lower and lower the higher and higher it grows)?

“It was my mom who gave me that name, maybe because she knew that the bamboo’s flexibility is actually its strength.”

A few years ago, Bamboo quit as vocalist of Rivermaya and disappeared for a while.

“It wasn’t just for a while,” smiled Bamboo. “I was gone for five years. I went back to school, in San Francisco and L.A., and I took up English, Philosophy and Film which was my major.”

He came back with a vengeance, resuming his rudely-interrupted singing career by putting up his own band named after him.

It wasn’t long before Bamboo zoomed to superstar status.

Now, he “sells” not only music but also beer (Colt 45, showing him in the TV commercial reducing a bully into ashes with the power of his dragon breath), cell phone (Smart), softdrink (Pepsi) and Penshoppe (along with co-band members Ira Cruz, Nathan Azarcon and Vic Mercado).

Fashion and music have always been regarded as twin vanguards of self-expression, according to the Penshoppe presskit. but never before have they come together the way they do in B-SIDE - Penshoppe Limited Edition Bamboo Collection, which is redefining the phrase “making a statement.”

Quote-unquote:

In a vinyl album or cassette tape, the “A-side” often features the artist’s mainstream hits while the “B-side” contains the less popular yet more expressive songs reflecting the artist’s real character. In similar fashion, the B-SIDE Collection uncovers the side of Bamboo rarely revealed to the public: Their personal fashion statement. Working in close tandem with Penshoppe, Bamboo, Ira, Nathan and Vic have handpicked every item to inject their dynamic styles in a collection that is uniquely their own.

Asked what song made him realize that he wanted to pursue singing as a career, Bamboo said, “I think it was during my Rivermaya heyday. I heard an album by Radiohead and I told myself, ‘Oh, it is something I would love to do’.”

And what was the very first song that had the most impact on him?

“I don’t remember the title but it was a Frank Sinatra Christmas song. I was very young when I first heard it.”

Lean like the plant he’s named for, Bamboo stands 5’9”, weighs 150 lbs., and wears size-32 briefs and size-8 shoes.

How does he maintain such a slim body?

“By working hard. I mean working, not working out.”

Is he clean-living?

“Oh yes, I am.”

Does he drink?

“Yes, but only Pepsi and Colt 45.” (As if we didn’t know. Hehehe!)

Does he smoke?

“No, I don’t.”

Do you do drugs (as what most musicians are suspected — wrongly, of course — to be doing)?

“No, absolutely not! I want to change the perception that if you are a band member, you are a drug-taker. We are into a new age, new time, you know. As I said, I don’t even smoke. I want to teach the younger generation to go with the music with a clear head. You know what I mean.”

Of course, you are aware of your responsibility as a role model.

“Oh yes, of course, I am. It’s thrust upon me, you know, but it’s not something you push for. It’s who you are.”

Are you carnivorous or a vegetarian? What kind of diet do you follow?

“Well, a pretty much balanced diet. I eat meat only once a month. I don’t eat pork at all, only beef but very little.”

What kind of food do you avoid?

“Junk food, sweets and candies, salty and oily food. Stuff like that.”

And what kind of food do you crave for all the time?

“Iba-iba. Sometimes, Vietnamese food, sometimes Japanese, sometimes Italian, sometimes Filipino. I guess it depends on my mood or my appetite at the moment.”

What’s usually for breakfast?

“Cereals. Sometimes, sardines and eggs with rice.”

For lunch?

“It depends. Chicken or fish. I do eat carbo but not too much.”

And for dinner?

“Lots of salads, with chicken or fish.”

Do you take snacks between meals?

“Maybe some cereals and lots of fruits. My favorite fruit is mangosteen.”

Favorite vegetable?

“I eat all kinds.”

What vitamins do you take?

“Multi-vitamins.”

How much water do you take every day?

“A lot. Nine to 10 glasses, or even up to 13. When I’m working, I consume as many as 20 glasses. After a night or two nights work, what keeps me back on track is rest and lots of water.”

What about juices?

“Yes, a little. I take Gatorade. And some soda. Pepsi Max, of course. No sugar, so it’s good.”

Coffee or tea?

“Neither.”

How much sleep do you get per night?

“I try to get as much as eight to nine hours per night.”

Favorite sleep wear?

“Boxer shorts, by Penshoppe of course.”

Any sleeping habits?

“Well, I make it a point to drink a glass of milk before I go to sleep. They say that milk contains melatonin, so it promotes good sleep.”

Do you snore?

“I don’t.”

Do you talk in your sleep?

“I don’t.”

Do you sing in your sleep?

“I hope not. Hehehehehe!”

What’s the last thing that you do before you go to sleep?

“I read a book. What books? Whatever is available. I’m now reading Eat, Pray, Love.”

And the first thing that you do when you wake up?

“Go down and have breakfast.”

How do you relax? What workout do you do?

“No time for workout. But I do sports, football and soccer.”

How do you cope with stress?

“Have a massage. I’ve been doing that lately. It takes lactic acid out of your body. It’s so relaxing.”

Favorite hideaway?

“The beach...when  I have time. It’s so quiet and so comforting. Or out of the country.”

Favorite city?

“Bangkok. It’s a fun city.”

Do you have a nightlife?

“Once in a while.”

How’s your love life?

“It’s good. I’m very happy with it.”

And your sex life?

“Very good. Very satisfactory. I am happily married.”

How many kids do you have?

“I’d rather not talk about it.”

Are band guys like you as vain as actors are?

“I don’t know. I can’t generalize. It’s a person-to-person basis. But me? No, I don’t think I am vain.”

Away from work, how do you pamper yourself?

“As I said, I get a massage... take a good meal at a good restaurant... enjoy the good life.”

One thing that you cannot do without?

“My bag. It contains my video player, my laptop, my cell phone... everything that I need.”

Name three women you think have nice bodies?

“Three? Hmmmm, let me see. I can think of only one — Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and The Papas. I just read about her in Vanity Fair.”

And three guys?

“Guys? I can’t think of any.”

Using only body language, how would you make a woman know that you admire her?

“By simply looking at her. Language of the eyes, you know.”

(Note: See related story on Page G-2.)

(E-mail reactions at rickylo@philstar.net.ph or at entphilstar@yahoo.com)

AS I BAMBOO CHIZ DON PENSHOPPE
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