I first bought a condom when I was 16. Here’s my experience.

buying condoms philippines
Buying condoms can feel rather embarrassing if it is your first time

(A few days ago, I asked my students in Society, Culture, and Family Planning to buy a condom and to write about their experience doing so. Some of them had violent reactions, saying that it is very embarrassing for them to go to a convenience store or a drug store just to buy one. Of course that’s the point of the exercise! Haha.

Anyway, I did a similar activity as a student of Social Science III in UP Diliman under Mr. Jay Yacat in the summer of 2007. Luckily, the essay that I wrote for the class is still saved in my email. I am posting it below unedited.)

We were given a very challenging task recently by our Professor, and it’s something that I guess most of us have not yet done. It’s all about buying a pack of condom from the drugstore. This shall be my first time to buy one though I am already very familiar about how it looks, its purpose, among other things.

So I went to the Mercury Drug branch in PHILCOA to buy one and it seems that there’s some shame and guilt within me for what I’m about to do. The funny thing is, once I am already inside the pharmaceutical, I can’t find where the condoms are located. If I am already too shy to a condom, just imagine how embarrassing it is for me to ask someone for assistance in locating them! 

I have seen two salesladies and a middle-aged lady guard inside but I haven’t approached any of them. They might say to me…Bakit hijo, ikaw ba ang gagamit nito?” or Ang bata-bata nito, bumibili na ng condom!” Nakakahiya, right!

buying condoms philippines
Buying condoms can feel rather embarrassing if it is your first time

I stubbornly insisted on finding it myself though as time passed by, I looked more and more like an aimless wanderer than a customer! There’s a saleslady who politely asked me Sir, ano po’ng hinahanap nila? It is apparent that she has noticed me for quite some time now and she has decided that I must really be looking for something and that I am in need of assistance.

Finally I got the courage to ask her…”Mam, nasa’n po ba yung Frenzy dito?” Notice that I never got to say the word “condom.” She said, Naku hijo, walang Frenzy dito. Nandun banda yung mga condoms,” pointing to the exact location where I was standing a while ago. The location where the lady guard is standing right now!

In the end, I did not have any other choice but to ask the latter about the exact location of the condom to finally end the awkward moment. I approached her simultaneous with asking Saan po ba yung mga condoms, mam?” She had a quick reply: Ayan hijo, nasa harapan mo na.” She pointed to the stall that I had repeatedly bypassed moments ago. It was a very awkward experience for me, ewan ko ba!

Would you imagine that I myself, not too long ago, is very ignorant about it? I frequently hear about condoms but my knowledge about it does not go beyond its name. I once thought of it as something like Viagra or a drug taken in. I didn’t even know why it has particular flavors like what I see in MTV commercials.

Thanks a lot to Wikipedia and to some other books about the matter, my ignorance went away. It is interesting to note however that there is not a single instance wherein I asked any in my family about the matter. I had to satisfy my curiosity myself and I’m proud to say that I succeeded!

Regarding its usage, I count myself as one of those who strongly support moves by NGOs to promote its usage especially among the masses. I believe that there’s nothing wrong with it (contrary to what others claim) and in fact, its potential benefits are insurmountable.

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About Mark Madrona 1191 Articles
Mark Madrona is a prize-winning blogger, online journalist, and educator from the Philippines. Previously a book editor, he is now teaching communication subjects for two public universities in Manila. His blog The Filipino Scribe won 3rd place in a blog competition organized by the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP). In 2015, it was one of the finalists in the 2015 Lasallian Scholarum Awards for Best Online Feature Article in Youth and Education. He also won the Best Blog Award during the 2011 Population and Development Media Awards, the youngest recipient of that recognition. Know more about him here: http://www.filipinoscribe.com/about/.

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