LIKE father, like daughter.

It was former Cebu City north district congressman Raul del Mar who, more than ten years ago, first broached the idea of an underwater tunnel between Cebu and Mactan.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Now, it is Rep. Cutie del Mar’s turn to pursue her father’s dream.

If it materializes, the tunnel will be the first of its kind in the country. There are at least 31 such channels all over the world, none of them more popular and none longer than the Channel Tunnel linking Dover in England to Calais in France.

We traveled through the Tunnel from Paris to London via the Eurostar some nine years ago, and felt how the atmosphere even inside the train changed the moment we were underwater.

Little did we know at that time that it took nearly 200 years since a French mining engineer named Albert Mathieu conceived the tunnel in 1802 before the first freight and passenger trains rumbled through it in mid-1994.

The tunnel was, of course, vastly different from what Mathieu originally had in mind, which was a tube under the English Channel illuminated by oil lamps and intended for horse-drawn carriages. His plan also included the construction of an artificial island at mid-channel for changing horses.

Since the Mactan Channel is smaller than the English Channel, its period of construction should also be much shorter. But as Cutie herself concedes, her proposal is ambitious. Under the circumstances, I think futuristic would be a better description.

As population and commerce grow, the time may not be far when the need for an underwater link between the two islands becomes too urgent to ignore. And just like the two Mactan bridges that 50 years ago people thought were an impossible dream, Cutie's tunnel might become a reality.

When that happens, Cutie can rightfully say, Dad and I thought of it first.

***

A less ambitious proposal is the one coming from Vice Mayor Joy Young. No, I’m not talking about the purchase of three old planes which the mayor has shot down (the proposal, not the planes) but about making our city the lingam capital of the province.

Joy said he has talked to a few doctors who endorsed the special massage as anti-prostate cancer. (Incidentally, that was what my friends claimed, too although none of them are doctors.)

So instead of running after lingam establishments like what the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu are doing, Joy suggested that we encourage all of them to move to Cebu City.

I’m sure a number of these operators would only be too happy to settle in lingam-friendly territory. And bring with them their “patients.”

But there should be no prostitution, he warns, adding that lingam spas will be subject to strict guidelines that the Council committees on health and tourism are drafting.

This is the difficult part, I’m afraid. How can you possibly regulate what happens between a man and a woman in the privacy of a room especially when her job calls for fondling of his private parts?

Impose age limits on attendants? But how old does she have to be to consider her unworthy-–and unreceptive-–of indecent proposals? Require them to wear chastity belts? Handcuff the patrons?

Joy’s proposal is certain to draw flak especially from the self-proclaimed guardians of our morals. He has to do a better job of endorsing the innocence of lingam than simply citing the testimony of doctors who do not even have the balls to allow themselves to be known.

Perhaps, he can start by calling lingam spas as clinics, the attendants as paramedics, the patrons as patients and the sin tax imposed on the clinics as health care or even games and amusement tax.

(frank.otherside@yahoo.com)