Monday, March 26, 2007


Every time I pass by this array of aesthetically-pleasing motorcycle helmets in Quiapo, I can’t help but ask myself if prospective buyers have any idea that these products may not provide sufficient head and facial protection in case of accidents. I ask this question because these helmets being sold by a street vendor along Quezon Boulevard and G. Puyat Street are most likely to be cheap knockoffs of the real thing; their overall construction unable to withstand even minor impacts.

With so many fake products from China flooding the local market, one must exercise greater caution, especially when buying from street vendors. But then again, much to my dismay, the hardware store in my neighborhood sold me a fake fluorescent bulb once, which lasted only a day or two. It was disappointing, indeed, that even this longtime neighborhood merchant would engage in such unscrupulous practice.

At any rate, it is infuriating to pay for something believed to be genuine but only to discover it to be bogus. On the other hand, it is just as equally exasperating to knowingly purchase something not authentic, but to be handed the real thing instead. And this is exactly what happened to some New Yorkers recently.

Crying widespread deception, horrified New Yorkers accused a number of Seventh Avenue fashion houses of selling authentic Asiatic raccoon furs under the guise of faux fur. For the most part, these were the same consumers whose pricey fur coats were once doused with red paint by PETA members. Now, more cognizant of the cruelties involved in the farming of these animals, as well as the process of extracting their fur — usually struck on the head with blunt instruments and skinned alive — New York fashionistas, nowadays, wittingly prefer buying fake furs over the genuine article.

Nevertheless, product development managers of some fashion houses such as Tommy Hilfiger, as well as merchandising managers of major department stores such as Nordstrom’s and J.C. Penney’s, most probably find Asiatic raccoon furs more cost efficient as opposed to faux fur. But for having discreetly used and sold real furs as trimmings for their fall and winter coats, these garment producers and retailers may now be facing serious legal charges for having broken the federal labeling law.

Ironically, these garments with Asiatic raccoon fur trimmings were all made in China, too.


Labels: ,

posted by Señor Enrique at 5:50 PM


Blogger Nashei said...

red One!!!!green Two!!blue THree!!!yellow Four!!!Pink Five!!!!

hehe whenever i see helmets they always remind me of those shows i use to watch as a kid...i dont know if you're familiar with them...chinese counterpart of power rangers..

March 26, 2007 6:16 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Nashel!

Unfortunately, these might have been way after my younger days ... hehehe. But I have seen some Power Ranger shows because of nephews and nieces ... they wore helmets, don't they?

March 26, 2007 8:42 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Incredibly colorful and attractive they are, Kyels! And that is why I always enjoyed looking at them whenever I pass them by.

But the safety they provide is a whole other issue :(

March 26, 2007 8:43 PM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

One of my Pinoy riding buddies just came back from Manila and talked about how cheap(not inexpensive)those helmets in Quiapo and Greenhills are. That is a serious issue for the govt. to deal with. With the influx of cheap motorcycles from China paired with cheap helmets is a bad combo for Pinoys who commute as well as use motorbikes for recreation riding.

Everytime I read or hear stories of countefeit items from Asia, it brings back what another friend told me about his experience with a fake Eric Clapton and Michael Jackson CD collection that he bought in HongKong...It was recorded by a Pinoy band and sang with really thick and heavy Bisayan accent. We still whip that CD out and play it everytime we have a party at his house and still get a bellyache especially from their version of Eric Clapton's "Layla" and MJ's "Beat It".

March 26, 2007 11:02 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I remember when I was buying a helment for bicycle riding in Manhattan, I had to make sure that I got the best I could afford. I wouldn't want to scrimp on something that is supposed to provide head protection. But here in Manila may be a different story -- mindset may be to save a few bucks on every purchase; this is why those cheap fake items from China do well here.

Those fake CD producers and marketers had it all wrong! They should have just marketed those fake Eric Clapton and Michael Jackson CDs as "Asia's Best" (a comedic release) ala Willian Hung of American Idol.

In doing so, they could've raked in millions of dollars as William Hung had done. Every one needs a good laugh every now and then.

I had a good laugh reading your comment, Noypetes!

March 27, 2007 6:01 AM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

I hope those fake helmets are not manufactured by the same plastic companies that does disposable spoon and forks in China!

"Hey we got extra plastic resins! What can we make from it?....Helmets! Yeah! Lets market it in the Philippines!"

March 27, 2007 6:24 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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March 27, 2007 6:42 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very distressing indeed when these phony items can jeopardize people's safety :( Why can't someone affix a tag that says it does not conform to safety standards hence use at your own risk? It still falls below the bar of safety regulation hence imprudent. I'm really surprised why the govt isn't doing anything about this.

March 27, 2007 1:31 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric, the rule is still caveat emptor - buyers beware. I wonder if these buyers realize that while they are getting a big bargain, they are also endangering their lives. That's "how cheap" their lives are. The mere fact that these products are cheaper than what the original costs should be enough warning that these aren't the real thing. :(

March 27, 2007 5:10 PM  

Blogger Sidney said...

Colorful image!
It is hard to find something that is NOT manufactured in China!

March 27, 2007 5:33 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It may sound funny, Noypetes, but I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be true.

It is really getting ridiculously dangerous with all these fake items.

March 27, 2007 5:35 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Haven't had a suit custom tailored here in Metro Manila, Ano ymous but I will certainly find out for you which ones are good, okay?

Thank you!

March 27, 2007 5:37 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I am most fearful of those electrical, wires, components, and whatnot that come from China, BW. They can actuall trigger serious fires ... and you know how close some of these houses in Manila are to each other.

Let's not forget the fake drugs as well that are causing deaths. The list goes endlessly.

The government somehow is unable to curtail all these smuggling of fake goods into the country. Pitiful talaga!

March 27, 2007 5:44 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

What I am most angered by more, Bugsy, is this macho attitude of some of our local folks. If possible they would never don helmets.

So, for the most part, they'd buy something cheap just to show the law enforcers they are wearing helmets ... without any regard for their actual safety and well-being! It's all for show, in other words. Crazy!

March 27, 2007 5:47 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

True enough, Sidney. In the States, most of the goods you can purchse over there, including the high end stuff are most likely made in China.

But my concern is more about fake goods that look good but are actually inferior in construction. I'm also worried about those fake pharmaceuticals entering the country.

March 27, 2007 5:49 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is so exasperating everytime one got that bad purchase. in the past, I had some item bought with a pricey tag and believed truly to be authentic and when I get home, I noticed some kinks in the way it was done, like the threads and the folds, and I would just end up depressed rather than be glad for the new purchase.

It would be very advisable to stick with stores known for credibilty and credence. Sometimes big stores still caryy fake products, like perfumes and leatherwear...

March 27, 2007 6:16 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

reminds me of the power rangers. nice vibrant colors. you really have a way romancing your camera, senor!

as to buying the helmets, what can poor people do? if they can only afford those cheap fake ones.

March 27, 2007 7:36 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I like that, Dine ... "romancing your camera." :)

I don't think they're that poor to afford buying a motorcycle (whether paid in full or in installment terms). The idea here is to protect your head and face as much as possible, and one must factor in a genuine helmet when considering purchasing a motorcycle.

Let's not even talk about how some of these guys weave in and out of traffic as if invincible. I'm actually afraid for them more than anything because they're so vulnerable :(

March 27, 2007 7:56 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I felt exactly that way, Major Tom, when I realized the hardware store had given us a fake bulb. I guess, it was more the question of why he had to do that -- the feeling of having been betrayed -- which added to the sadness.

This morning in the news, Maling, that canned product similar to Spam, has also been copied -- though it has some pork in it, for the most part, it contained more of those starchy fillers than anything else. Can you imagine that? Fake Malings!

March 27, 2007 8:03 PM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

...and how much of these items are skipping the custom tariffs?...Our borders are so vulnerable to these low quality items due to the fact that(please fill in the blanks)........................................................................................................................................................................

March 27, 2007 10:53 PM  

Blogger -= dave =- said...

Once in a while, an gruesome accident will highlight safety, and everyone will be concerned ... until they forget about it. Filipinos never learn. That's why others would say we are a suicidal people. Shows how much life is valued in this country.

Just to clarify: Bioman, Maskman and all the other "Super Sentai" heroes are from Japan. This series started years before I was born, and new teams continue to be produced even now. Power Rangers is an American adaptation in the 1990s. Ah, the wonders of Wikipedia :)

March 27, 2007 11:15 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I'm a simple blogger. The last thing I need is a multi-million libel case against me so ........... (wink).

So, Noypetes, have you one those clasic Harleys?

March 28, 2007 5:10 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Though attached with a stern warning, my curiousity took the best of me and I cicked on this URL which showed the gruesome pictures of a motorcyclist ran over by a trailer truck somewhere in Metro Manila. I couldn't look at meat for a few days since. The victim wasn't wearing a helmet, either.

Wow, Dave, you certainly know your Power Rangers. I'm glad these characters came way after my childhood days; otherwise I'd be running around the block wearing a Spiderman costume, while trying to balance an oversized motorcycle helmet ... hahaha!

March 28, 2007 5:16 AM  

Blogger sheilamarie said...

Hi Eric, sometimes people scrimp on items like the crash helmet, not thinking that it is their life/safety on the line. With so many cheap, but colorful, fakes available, di naiisip ng iba na it won’t be able to save their life if they ever get involved in a road accident. In the long run mas malaki pa pala ang gagastusin nila pag naaksidente.

March 28, 2007 7:22 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Tama ka nga, Sheilamarie!

And sometimes, I think most of these guys are the main bread winners, and should something happen to them, God forbid, many others will suffer from heir negligence.

March 29, 2007 9:07 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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