One Sunday, after getting a haircut, I proceeded to the nearest newsstand. It was a few minutes after 9 and so I was surprised to see that aside from the usual faces of regular subscribers and newspaper renters (they rent the papers for a fraction of the newsstand price and get to read them for as long as they like), there were others milling around the stand. There were clamors as to when the tabloids and certain national dailies would arrive. Hmmm . . . This was strange as I knew for a fact that Filipinos are not into reading.
As far as I know, these are the reasons whenever there is a mad scramble to buy newspapers:
- results of bar/board exams are published in a series of issues (the papers are bought as incontrovertible proof of passing/failing the exams or for clipping to be added to their albums/scrapbooks or for lamination)
- grade and secondary school teachers require their students to compile an album of pictures and articles
- results of winning raffle numbers or entries to certain products are published
- names of casualties/survivors are listed after a fire, earthquake, war, etc.
While many Lotto and Last Two bettors maintain certain numbers, others rely on tips from cartoons published in tabloids and certain national dailies. A lot swear by these tips as reliable and that they have won using them. One need not be a Robert Langdon (the cryptologist from Dan Brown's Da Vince Code) to decode these tips. A pair of eyeglasses is 8, a hunchback is 9, etc.
It is not unusual to see people poring over frame by frame of the cartoons and taking down notes for hours on end (they call this analyzing the tips). I don't know if encoding numbers in their work is deliberately done by the cartoonists but the numbers are really there. Some enterprising Pinoys with modicum of drawing skills sell mimeographed copies of their cartoons to these small-time gamblers.
If any intelligence agents are reading this blogpost, now they know where to go and gather info about the illegal numbers game here.