Gentlemen, meet Ginoo, your dad's Playboy
It has business and sex (in Ginoo, they mingle well)" said the house ad copy. It featured the day's hottest nymphets—Gloria Diaz, Ana Marin, Alma Moreno—and made sure you bought it for the articles too; with stories from some of the most respected writers in the land (Vergel Santos punched in the book reviews, Teddy Benigno wrote two delicious pieces on the Ali-Frazier fight of 1975), supplemented by choice scintillating articles from Esquire (Capote's “Mojave,” and a piece on witnessing an abortion by a surgeon from Yale University). It had art stories and irreverent humor, and despite the operation’s meager indie budget, it thought big. When it decided to name 20 of the most beautiful women in Philippine society (Imelda Marcos was top of the list), it polled men from Dolphy to Tourism Secretary Jose Aspiras, PC Chief Fidel Ramos to Jose Joya. Deciding early on to stick to the side of the provocative, it's cover pictorials were criticized for being too safe (although the conservatives easily found it too sleazy), but by its third month Ginoo was a publishing success, its circulation shooting up to 10,000, double the unpadded print run of many glossies today.
Still, in June of 1976, the group that gave it license to publish, the Philippine Council for Print Media (PCPM), became the group that would effectively extinguish Ginoo, revoking its permit to publish because of what it perceived to be "obscene articles and illustrations that appeal to prurient interests." Reyes protested, and even sent a letter to President Marcos. Consequently, censorship won, and the publisher/editor lost his shirt. "The lords of the press make the rules for everybody except themselves," the columnist Doroy Valencia wrote in the Daily Express. "The big among the publishers have become bigger. The small remain cowed." In his Memoirs of a Newsman, Reyes wrote that he had intended for Ginoo to be “more than just a cheesecake magazine,” but at the end of the day the powers-that-be chose to perceive it as nothing more.
These days, copies of the rag manage to appear only in the city's secondhand shops—we wouldn’t mind suggesting you pick one up if you happen to encounter it. Ginoo may have lived too short a life but leafing through its pages today reinforces what we've always believed: beautiful girls and beautiful writing will always have their way of enduring.
Inside: Society muse Diana Jean Lopez declares, “Filipino men are the best. They’re the most sensuous.” Nestor Torre on Elizabeth Oropesa: “Beyond the curves and the bombast, there is the paradox of her doll-like face framing such large and wounded eyes, twin pools of hurt and danger, part doe, part panther.” Cover girl Gloria Diaz on the wet look: “I’ll go looking drenched because I enjoy it. Or I’ll do it for commercial reasons but I will never make art an excuse.”
Inside: A guide to the most exclusive clubs in Manila (the Manila Polo Club is considered most prestigious: membership, pegged at P10,000, is restricted). Plus, “A Treasury of Celebrated and Frustrated Sportswriting” which includes this bit from Teddy Benigno: “What 2-ton Tony Galento was to boxing, William Li Yao is to basketball. Both are ludicrously outsize, cords of fat dripping over their equator. The only difference is that...William Li Yao, but for the hair on his head and his thin moustache, hasn’t got a whisker of what on his body.”
Inside: The first chapter of Truman Capote’s controversial, Answered Prayers, “Mojave.” Staff writer Fort Yerro rhapsodizing on the night our ballers fought the Koreans at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in 1973. “You still breathed that claustrophobic essence that passed for air. That day, the essence barely slipped into your nostrils, as 11,000 cage freaks crammed into space designed only to hold 8,000. Asphyxia, it suddenly dawned on me, was a small price to pay for the dubious honor of witnessing history unfold before your very eyes.”
Inside: The search for Miss Chinatown and a day at the poolside of the Manila Pavilion ogling the year’s Binibining Pilipinas contestants. “The Third Sex with characteristic frenzy were in full-force,” observed the writer. “I can’t decide who was better-dressed, the women or them. Strutting around in the gaily colored plumage of the birds of paradise, no beauty pageant could ever hope to pull it off without them. It was definitely a sight of flora among the flora when they perched on the edges of the flowerbeds for a better view.”
Inside: Lino Brocka on why he refused the FAMAS trophy for Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (“I don’t respect the FAMAS.”), and refused to bind the 17-year-old Christopher de Leon to CineManila (“You have to know the whole history of the boy to understand.”). Also, a word from the chief bartender of Hotel Filipinas to fellow bartenders: “You should not only know how to mix drinks. You should also be a good conversationalist, a racing and jai-alai dopester, a historian, and know where the chicks hang out, in case a lonely soul should ask."
Inside: “Apart from your wife, who do you consider the most beautiful woman in the Philippines today?” so went the single question asked some of the most prominent men—Ambassador JV Cruz, basketball superstar Robert Jaworski, the sculptor Ed Castrillo among them—in the country. The results, published in this issue, had the cover girl Pilar Pilapil (“She is a morning glass of milk and cream cheese sandwich served in bed,” wrote Mario Hernando), wearing only a pink terry cloth towel in the centerfold, placing fourth.
Inside: “Inasmuch as a woman wants her independence, a woman cannot do without a man,” said Tingting Cojuangco, who the year before was voted in the magazine as one of the 20 most beautiful women, third only to Imelda Marcos and Miss Philippines winner Chiqui Brosas. Also in the issue, a guide on how not to lose your shirt in gambling. “ When you’re having a cold night at the wheel, assuming you’re playing the numbers and not just making the splurge bets on colors, it can be cold enough to put the Arctic to shame.”
Inside: The imminent death of the sauna bath. “Beyond all these, however, is the damaging talk that sauna houses are where you get varieties of gono, and, if you are “hooked” to a masseuse whose name you hardly remember, but whose number (that’s how they’re introduced to you) sparks a tingling sensation, an irreparable case of syphilis.” Then, there’s Mai Burgos, the girl with the umbrellas on the cover, advocating trial marriage. “Two people should jump into bed first before they think of plunging into something serious.”
Inside: Jose Mari Chan rocking a leopard print shirt, and neophyte actress Barbara Luna almost shirtless, bosoms showing through a wet kamiseta, as glorious a spectacle as the Hinulugang Taktak behind her. Earlier in the pages, a piece from Esquire, a surgeon writing about witnessing an abortion. “It is a persona carried here as well as a person, I think,” wrote Richard Selzer, a contributing editor to the US magazine, “I think it is a signed piece engraved with a hieroglyphic of human genes.”
Inside: “She slipped into the water, took off her flesh undies and emerged, wearing nothing but a smile,” began the piece on Marie Antonette, the girl on the cover. Further into the issue, “How many kilometers to nostalgia? 86, my friend, and that’s a short cut to Memory Lane,” jumpstarted an introduction to the coverage of the Vintage Car Rallye of ’75, where Andres Soriano drove his 1927 Chevrolet, and Dante Silverio in a Ford Model A, of the same age as Soriano’s spanking, leather upholstered ride.
Inside: “What turns the Filipina Woman On?” asked the magazine. “Wit,” said Jullie Yap Daza. “Clean shoes,” said Rosa Rosal. “A man who moves briskly with direction turns me on,” said Connie Angeles. Cover girl Lotis Key likes her man old. “Old in years. She wants him superior. And she wants him quiet.” Could she have been talking about Dolphy, with whom she famously fell in love? The article doesn’t say. What it says is how she falls in love. “The guy I love can ask me for everything. He can even ask me for the moon. I’ll let him have it.”
This article originally appeared in our May 2015 issue.