Saturday, July 10, 2010


Jollibee is as much of a staple part of the Philippine culture as the steamed rice is. Every kid belonging to my generation must have grown up to its menu of juicy burgers and cripsy fries. I can't even begin to describe the sensational taste of the spaghetti and syrupy texture of its ice creams. For a 3 year old back then, a face-to-face encounter, including an equivalent high-five with the enormous mascot, is already eternal happiness. However, memories of that innocence tries to coat what I am afraid I recently realized. I can't even believe it took me this long to figure out the fabrication of what we, as "primed patrons" of the fastfood chain, believed to be the best thing in the world.

I can't deny the fact that it is a fastfood restaurant. The certainty of it is seen meters away with several parallel lines leading up to ringing counters and jingling coins. Absent are the bowtie-wearing servers prepared to take customer orders. The place, in terms of my perception of its sanitation, would be ranked far from a respectable score in a survey. The prices of food items are perfect for the regular student with an average amount of allowance, or baon. The equation of adding up all these elements of a typical Jollibee branch came to a stop when their so-called "special sauce" was introduce to the general public.

Now it makes sense. I don't know if they are just too dumb or simply have no desire to clean up greasy corners the management does not think we notice at all. But the thing is, we do notice. I know I do. Don't even get me started with using rewashable plastic cups over and over again as opposed to utilizing disposable ones. So how does the disinct condiment made particularly for their line of hamburgers come into play? They trick customers into believing this is how a burger should be made. A true burger needs our mouth to savor all the richness of the beef. For all I know they could be taking the meat patty out, and leaving just the bun and dressing behind and still we wouldn't notice. It's just addictive. Now all the unpleasant elements are cancelled out by this deceit to our gusto.

Two decades later today, everytime I step into a doorway guarded by an inanimate six-foot waving bee, I remember how it's all different this time around. I feel like each brightly-lit picture of the burgers, spaghetti, fries and ice cream on the overhead menu is artificial in its deepest essence. The innocence that tried so much to protect us from envisioning this moment is now irreversibly gone.

1 comment:

  1. I think all of the fast food chains are like this, anyway. They serve substandard food (as much as it tastes good, the quality of the ingredients really suck, of course because of cost efficiency measures,) and the turnover of customers is too fast that cleanliness will always be a challenge.

    However there's some genius here that, I would say, overrides our meticulousness on the quality of food or service. We actually patronize these chains not because they are cheap (though we BELIEVE they are, they actually aren't,) but because we have grown to love them. We're actually buying into the 'experience of Jollibee,' and I guess more than the quality of the food and service, this is what people actually go for.