Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Peace Corps Philippines has a traditional mustache contest at mid-service training, which was a couple weeks ago in Manila. For over two months, I grew a beard out in preparation for the event. A full beard is a rare thing in the Philippines, so I drew some funny looks and stares (well, I always do, but this time I imagined that the beard had something to do with it), as well as frequent comparisons to Jesus and Santa Claus. In a clean-cut country where I already buck convention by having frequently shaggy hair, I managed to get away with it when I explained that I was preparing for a lantugi sa bungot (mustache/facial hair contest). That always managed to draw a laugh, and I continued on. Near the end, one of my friends took me aside and somberly informed me that I really needed to get a haircut and shave because I looked "like a Bigfoot." I assured him that it would be soon.
The day of the contest finally rolled around on the first night of our mid-service training. I trimmed my beard down to a handlebar stache and some furious sideburns, donned a basketball jersey, borrowed some short-shorts, and played it as an enthusiastic '70s basketball player.. and I won!
For more of the story, I invite you to check the photo album I have compiled on facebook:
THE MUSTACHE CHRONICLES - http://www.new.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2322691&l=1efb8&id=10701003
Also, another volunteer has compiled more photos, and lots of video, here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcw7649/sets/72157607221317552
at 7:17 PM