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Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Mad Scramble for Tabloids & Newspapers

On weekdays and Saturdays, I read the news online. But on Sundays, I buy the national papers, specifically the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) and the Philippine Star (PS) because of their weekly magazines. While the PDI goes on sale as early as 4 a.m. daily, the rest of the dailies and tabloids get to the newsstands by 10 a.m here in General Santos City.

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:
  1. 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)
  2. grade and secondary school teachers require their students to compile an album of pictures and articles
  3. results of winning raffle numbers or entries to certain products are published
  4. names of casualties/survivors are listed after a fire, earthquake, war, etc.
None of the 4 reasons cited above could be the reason for this mad scramble for tabloids(!?#). So I asked around and got these answers: I'm waiting for the lotto/sweepstakes results (understandable since the TV channel that features the draws are not shown on free TV here but only on cable TV) and We need "tips" for Lotto and Last Two (Last Two is an illegal numbers game based on the last two digits of the drawn winning sweepstakes/lotto numbers).

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.

1 comment:

rolly said...

These cartoon tip is not new. It was used by bettors on horseracing before. While I understand that giving tips like this might be possible since it is so easy to rig a horse race, I can't understand how a cartoonist can give tips on drawn numbers televised live. Someone is making a killing out of that one, no? :-)

I only buy newspaper on Sundays. I can't afford buying it everyday.

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