It couldn’t be real. It just couldn’t.
It looked too huge. It looked too conspicuous. And it looked too darn cute.
But it was there in plain clear sight, and the realization of it brought my husband to bring our vehicle to a screeching halt right in the middle of the busy thoroughfare.
There, grinning down at us from the central facade of the Shopwise building was an enormous billboard of our baby boy. The tissue paper he was endorsing was playfully rolled around his chubby little body and a small golden Labrador puppy sat right beside him. Our son, who was all of nine months at the time the ad was taken, beamed at the world with his endearing smile in a such a magnificently picture-perfect way.
I was rendered speechless. I cannot accurately describe the searing surge of parental pride and joy that welled up inside me at that moment. I suspect my husband felt the same way because he too was stunned into silence. For one insane minute, we found ourselves wordlessly sharing a silly smile that reached all the way up to the back of our heads.
We drove into the supermarket's vast parking lot and were giddily surprised to come across smaller posters of our boy hanging in dozens of lampposts all over the area. We got out of our car and eagerly snapped photos of our child’s banners using our celphones. Our manic shooting prompted a suspicious security guard to tentatively approach us and warn that management did not permit taking photos. My obedient spouse immediately stopped taking pictures, but I did not even pause. Too excited to care about silly building regulations, I impatiently told the guard it was my baby up there and even added: “Star na ang anak ko!” ("My baby's a star!") The man must have understood that arguing with a loony stage mother was a futile battle because he chose to back off, saying: “Ang cute niya, ma’am!” ("He's so cute, ma'am!")
It turns out that what we saw in Shopwise Libis was but a teensy glimpse of the vast campaign planned by the leading tissue paper company that picked our son as model. From that point on, our baby has been appearing everywhere. Our son’s ads have been splayed inside and outside leading supermarkets nationwide, posted in the backs of taxi cabs and at the sides of buses, placed in waiting sheds along busy streets and even stuck in the restrooms of popular malls. Friends and relatives call us out of the blue at different times of day just to say they have spotted our boy from as far as Cavite and Bulacan.
After some time, you would think that we, the ridiculously pleased parents, would get used to all the hoopla. We haven’t. When we espy a new poster of our adorable little one, we still brave the inevitable flack from security by sneakily taking photos wherever we are. When we need to go shopping, we still choose to enter a grocery that has our baby’s banners. When we meet someone for the first time, we still cannot resist the temptation of flashing our celphones and showing off our baby’s famous ads. And when people tell us we have ourselves a rising star, we still get thrilled to death.
Hooray for our fabulous Poster Child!