Warning: The following dissertation has an adult theme. If you’re a minor or are easily offended by topics of sexual nature, please leave this post NOW!
In the process of researching for this blog post (yes, I research for perspective), I’ve come across several items that have been bothering me while watching Monti Parungao’s “Kape Barako”. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Rico (Johnron Tanada) is operating a losing coffee shop with bank arrears worth P120,000. He is given 2 weeks to make the payment or his establishment closes shop. Furthermore, his girlfriend Joyce is migrating to Canada and their only regular customer is a blimp who spends her 8 hours in front of her laptop, consuming nothing but cold tap water! Rico ends up selling his beat up car, fetching a measly P20,000. This leaves him with a hundred grand balance.
One day, barista Virgilio (Afi Africa) inadvertently blends a milky liquid to the coffee brew, unaware that his workmate Jeck (Mico Pasamonte), who during one of his idle pleasures, has ejaculated in the cup. This gastronomic additive soon turns their Baraco varietal into a special brew that has gay men flocking into the café, like the proverbial moth to a flame. The women, on the other hand, find the taste repulsive: “Ano ba ‘to, lasang Clorox!” But finally, hope is rubbernecking its head at the door, what with customers fighting for a seat. Poor Jeck is suddenly thrown for a loop. He ends up getting overworked (and eventually tapped out) to “extract” the magic ingredient.
With a few days left before the deadline of foreclosure, Rico had to hire more workers: Eboy and Badong (Allan Stevens and Marcus Aboga, respectively) who bolster the marketability of the restaurant; the waiters parade around the shop half naked, while the bouncer allows their customers to frisk him with extra access where it matters (yep, in this fantastic world, it’s the customers who do the frisking). However, there’s not enough cups that would guarantee them P100,000. On their final night, Rico and his staff turn their café into a gay bar, staging a one-night only all-men revue. Will they succeed in raising enough money to save the shop? Guess.
Director Monti Puno Parungao once again showcases the vulgarity of his (and Lex Bonife’s) ideas by cashing in on a sundry of full frontal exposures and the revolting concept of making semen an ingredient in your café latte. I'm aware that this is meant as a comedy, but there has to be a discernable line between common decency and humor the same way that people are not supposed to patronize pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia and coprophagia!
Johnron Tanada, a veteran of a dozen Pink Films, appears comfortable and fit, but fails to register distress or concern from his impending foreclosure. In fact, his character (an ex-seminarian and HRM graduate) looked utterly clueless on how the coffee business should be run. He spends his time reading letters and moping, and he isn't even good doing just that!
When a rich customer named Sir Giorgio (Frederick Peralta) offers P150,000 in exchange of dinner with “extra service”, Rico balks simply because he doesn’t know what it is! Later in the story, he would ask Eboy, a former “macho dancer”, what exactly is an “extra service” and even ropes him in for an actual tutorial session. (Yes, they have a one-on-one session) I almost fell off my seat laughing. For a café owner, Rico has the intellectual quotient of a turnip. He would rather sleep with his barista, dance and cavort with his staff in front of a salivating audience, and offer himself to his effete barista Virgilio (as gratitude for the latter’s loyalty) than endure one night with a well meaning customer who’s offering more than what he needs? The mathematics here doesn’t add up!
During the café’s “Big Night”, Rico and his boys perform a musical number sung by Virgie dressed in drag. The song (with Lex Bonife's cringe-worthy vocals) started with a pitch that’s too low, you can hardly hear the words until the rousing chorus. Now that should have been remedied because if the cafe's existence depended on a horrible musical number, they'd have been blown into smithereens right there! While Virgie makes a fool of himself on stage (made up like a horror show drag queen), the guys rollick, romp and swerve their booty on a makeshift stage. This really reflects the mediocre mindset of its makers; peddle those muscles until they’re blue. And not much else.
With Bonife and Parungao on board, you can bet your bubble butt that there’s a parade of phalluses on display (Pasamonte appears in half a dozen scenes pleasuring himself; Stevens (who’s a real life exotic dancer at a bar in QC) and Aboga wave their genitalia in a couple more. It’s Tanada who’s the shrinking violet, which is a mystery considering he's been in several, and this is his first lead role in a while. And a slicked back hair doesn’t flatter his looks either. Moreover, he should be careful enunciating as he’s prone to saying “Jake” instead of “Jeck”. It’s a good thing most of his lines were in Tagalog because the few ones in English were awkward. Yuppy owners are supposed to articulate better.
Pasamonte’s delivery reminds me of Jason Francisco (of the Melason duo), and this brave young man should be lauded for his fortitude and audacity to flash his wrinkly baton in several scenes. He plays the virgin guy who needs money to have his sick mother taken to a hospital (ho-hum, don’t they all have sick mothers, gramps, brothers and aunts?) During his break time, he habitually rushes to the loo for quick wanks. In one hilarious scene, he even talks to his little pecker: “Gusto mo na naman? Katatapos mo lang ah!”
Rico, the boss, gets hands-on tutorial from his bouncer Eboy. And since when does a coffee shop require a bouncer?
"Ligo lang naman ang katapat nun, boss."
Now let’s get to the heart of the more befuddling narrative strain: semen in the coffee! I have to admit it took me a couple of days to decide on posting this piece or not, but for the sake of discourse, I've decided to get on with it.
Does semen make a tastier coffee? It's possible. Let’s be adult about it and have a didactic discussion!
What comprises a man’s ejaculate? It turns out that only 1-2% makes up the “sperm”. Otherwise, I could swear that an ejaculate and sperm are a similar entity. In short, “semen” is the appropriate term for an ejaculate, and “sperm” is a component of the former. The rest of that gooey stuff is composed of various proteins, vitamins, sugars, salts, cholesterol, and water. These extras are what protects, feeds, and fuels the sperm in its journey (towards fertilization). With vitamins and sugar in its component, they serve a purpose and none of which includes as a “nutritional supplement” like when gingko biloba, lecithin, inositol, taurine or L-carnitine are being commercially advertised.
SOURCES OF COMPONENTS
There are 3 parts of the male anatomy that contribute to this secretion: A) the seminal vesicles produce that thick white secretion rich in sugars, mostly “fructose” (our table sugar is of the “sucrose” variety). Fructose is a “fruit sugar” thus we find them in many plants, like the sugarcane. Pure, dry fructose is a very sweet, white, odorless, crystalline solid. Fructose fuels the sperm cells on their journey to the egg. This thick white secretion comprises 50 to 80% of semen, i.e. the bulk of it. B) the prostate gland secretes the alkaline solution that combats the acidic fluid inside the female genitalia. This accounts for 1/3 of the volume of the seminal fluid. C) the Cowper’s glands secrete mucus lubrication needed during sexual activity, found in both sexes. This is what others refer to as the “pre-cum”.
Johnron Tanada is Rico, the cash-strapped coffee house's boss. Do you know how he shows his gratitude to a loyal employee who has the hots for him?
Miko Pasamonte provides the special condiment for their coffee. He even err... "handpicks" the brew.
Allan Stevens offers more delicacies to customers.
Marcus Aboga, the accommodating bouncer.