17 March 2015

Bomba: From Volleyball Spike to Soft Core Porn

Image credit: thelantern.com

Bomb. As a noun, the Advanced English Dictionary defines it as

1. an explosive device fused to explode under specific conditions;
2. strong sealed vessel for measuring heat of combustion; or
3. an event that fails badly or is totally ineffectual.

As a verb, the word is defined as to

1. throw bombs at or attack with bombs; or
2. fail to get a passing grade.

The word may also be used as a slangy adjective to refer to something as ‘great’ or ‘awesome.’

In Tagalog – and obviously borrowed from the Spanish language – the translation of the word is ‘bomba,’ like its English version most commonly used to refer to an explosive device.

However, in Tagalog – as in Spanish – bomba can also mean a pump or, in verb form, to pump. Hence, bombahin can mean to hurl, drop or plant an explosive device; or pump fluid from.

Photo by Kim Traynor, found on Wikipedia.

The word bombero, which in Tagalog is often used to mean a fireman or the fire truck, is probably a throwback to the days when water had to be manually pumped onto a fire.

The word bomba has also been used in a more metaphorical sense by people.

Back in the sixties when I was a young boy, I used to watch off-duty hospital personnel in the Air Base where I grew up play games of volleyball when there were still nine players allowed on the court per team as opposed to the modern six.

I would hear cries of “Bomba! Bomba!” while the game was being played; in reference to the striking motion that in modern volleyball is called the ‘spike.’ The power required of the strike, I suppose, was likened to that of an explosion.

Volleyball historians, in fact, credit the Filipinos with the introduction of the spike into the game, along with the three-hit limit before the ball was sent to the opposing side.

In sport, though, the usage of the word bomba was not limited to the game of volleyball. In the late sixties and early seventies when I started to play the game of football, we shouted “Bomba!” at a teammate to encourage him to kick the ball as hard as he could.

Bomba could be to kick the ball away from goal, which in the modern game is called the clearance; or to shoot hard at goal.

In a humorous and scathing sense, I have also heard people use the word bomba even in the present day to refer to a really foul fart. This is the sort when the one who laid it seemed not to have been to the commode for days; and the expulsion of the gas sends people scampering away to safety

Of course, many people my age will immediately point out that the word bomba referred to those soft-core pornographic films that were so en vogue in the late sixties and early seventies. In a wider sense, even pornographic magazines were also referred to in the same way.

Image credit:  Video 48.

I have no definitive explanation why the word was used to refer to pornography; but my guess is that sex in the wide screen was very much regarded as of an explosive nature during an era when conservatism was still the order of the day.

It can also be that the word bomba was used as a metaphor for the pumping motion in sexual intercourse. I do not really know. I was too young at the time. [Looks innocent.]

In the eighties, these became the pene-kula or the penetration films, the juicy parts of which were snipped away by the regulatory boards but which were spliced back in for viewing in the privacy of people’s homes by way of VHS or beta max machines.





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