Saturday, July 19, 2014

Where Treasure Lies

.."But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - Matthew 6:21-22

Jesus asks us to store our riches in heaven.

If I were to put that in today's language, I am being asked to invest in heaven.

How the heck do I invest in heaven, or accumulate spiritual wealth? Am I supposed to donate my income to church or charity? Would that make me a 'good person', worthy of a place in heaven? But if in the process, I end up turning my back on my family, my responsibilities and opt for hermitage, am I really a 'good person' then?

My take on this is to look at the 'spirit' behind my investments (or use of money and time), the motivation and attitude behind my use of money and time. It starts with putting God first, "loving Him with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul", then "loving my neighbor as my self". The beauty of loving God is that He asks us to express our love for Him by loving neighbor AND self.

Our investments must be made in our relationships, with others, with self, on a foundation of our relationship with Him. We use our time and money to take care of ourselves and develop deeper bonds with others, starting from self, to family, radiating outwards. He doesn't stop us from investing in our selves, to make ourselves happy and healthy and peaceful. But He reminds us that it is just the starting point. He reminds us to invest time and money to take care of our families, not just through loving encounters but, indirectly, by making sure we remain productive (work-wise) so we can provide for them. Then, we touch others in our work, and build relationships there, too.

Again, it doesn't and shouldn't stop there. As we build our relationships with others, we are reminded that we do this in the context of loving God, of being faithful to him. Hence, the relationships should enshrine the values He espouses like honesty, compassion, forgiveness.

Treasure lies in relationships with God, family and friendships. And that is where the heart should be.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Story from a Friend down south

I met this very young raider personally when I visited him in the city down south. We had a pleasant time chatting. Instantly, I knew he had loads of stories to share. I asked him to write one for the blog. I post it here.

Loving someone whom you haven't even met is not just hard, but foolish in a lot of sense. It may be the most desperate thing you may have done if love is the only thing that matters to you. It may be the form of love where you can actually pretend to be someone else and the person you're loving is actually not the person you expect him to be in real life. Nevertheless, it is the event where the greatest fictional love stories are made. 

This story, unlike other fictional gay drama, is the story of how I came to fall in love with a person whom I haven't seen or even added in Facebook. This is not new to me. I once had a relationship with this ghost person through phone calls and text messages. It is not that I was way too foolish to believe the character or the personality of the person, but I fell for was the emotions and feelings involved. It was magical; almost true in a sense. Even if it only happened in our imagination; even if it only occurred in our inbox and call logs; even if I was only shown two or three pictures of the person, I admit that I gave up my entire affection. The relationship ended because, in the first place, it had to end. It is not because I have come to realize how foolish it was to be part of something fantastic, but the fictional boyfriend in my inbox claimed he was about to die. 

This time, I met another person who might belong in the same story line.  Only this time I had all means of confirming his identity, except one. I didn't want to pass judgement because, truth be told I loved him. I probably loved the person I have come to know through our small conversations over the phone and the sweet text I get. He is a resident in PGH, or so he claimed. I met him over this website and I started to converse with him through messaging. We ended up calling  each other, sharing stories of how our days went by. 

I was skeptical of his character so I started to ask questions related to his education in med school. To my surprise, he could tell me everything about it without hesitation. As if he really went there. He could even speak about terms that only medicine students and doctors can understand. He had stories about his patients and how sick they were and what was the sickness all about. 

From there, I started doubting less and believing more. His roots are from Davao and whenever I ask him about things related to it, he can tell me, as if he really was from Davao.  I was in absolute awe of his consistency. Despite this, I still had one foot on the ground. Doubts never die; they could only be buried or be hidden. The one thing I always asked of him was to add me on Facebook so I can see how his life is. But he always had an excuse (which I accepted wholeheartedly) not to add me yet.

Time went by, and our conversations over the phone went strong and firm. I was falling for him little by little. He made promises: to court me when we meet, to give me his utmost attention and to love me for who I am. He even sensed my lingering doubt.  He understood why I did not allow him to court me just yet. We were going strong; I was happy and it was the sole reason why I deleted all gay social sites I had in my possession, because the prospect of him seemed very, very true and real to me. Until that day.

You see, since he was in med school, he was already suffering from peptic ulcer. His habit of forgetting to eat lead to cancer. Even when he first entered his internship, he told me he always forgot to eat. Suddenly he claimed he was about to die. It was heartbreaking.  Even until now, as I write this, I'm welling up with tears. Before it was diagnosed as cancer, he had a stomach ache beyond anything he had experienced before. So he has to be rushed to the hospital and got operated. He was scared even if he is a doctor. It was his first time to get operated on. I could only comfort him and cheer him up and tell him "everything's gonna be alright". We thought that after the operation, he would be alright. So he planned to send me to Manila so that we could see each other (finally). However, after the first operation, complications showed up. He had to be operated on again which meant he couldn't process whatever I need to book a flight. I couldn't book my own because I was still studying. My allowance couldn't buy me a ticket. After his second operation, it took him days before he let me in on  his condition. Cancer cells had scattered in the stomach going to the liver. He told me this, I was riding on a public utility jeepney.  I had to go alight and stand at one street corner to listen intently and with utmost care. We were both crying, I was crying on the street as I heard him crying hysterically over the phone. He wasn't ready for it and yet he got it. 

Whenever I tried to call, he wouldn't pick up; whenever I sent him a text, he wouldn't reply immediately. It always had to be him to make the call and text because he is weak from chemo. Then, one day I got a call from him. He wasn't as lively.  He sounded weak. He was crying.  Then he told me he was dying. I couldn't bring myself to understand. It just did not make sense to me. Why did he have to die?..... The only thought I had in mind was the fear and anxiety that this may be a rerun of my previous experience. 

But this time, I had my two feet back on solid ground. I felt cheated. I felt being played around. I did not even end the call properly. I just put my phone down and distracted myself.  Though I couldn't escape the fact that he was dying. 

Before I decided to finally write about this, I felt so helpless. At first, I did not understand why, but then I realized I was affected not just because he is dying, but because I was caught up again in a situation where I felt powerless. I wanted to be with him, not just to comfort him but to be there for him. 


But I also want to go to find out if this feeling of anxiety,  this fear, and powerlessness was real. I wanted to clear all doubts before someone goes dying on me yet again. But I never had the capability to go. And this is what made me feel worse. This made me feel more lost. 

I didn't know even when he was going to die.  All I want ed was to clear myself of all doubt. I didn't want to feel again that someone was playing with my feelings. I want to love the person I loved in texts and phone calls for real. I wanted things to be real.

This sounds familiar, doesn't it? Wasn't this his version of my "Talented Mr. Ripley"? Or is his real?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Weight Reduction Scheme

My weight hovered around 140-141 lbs for, like, months. Despite the nutritionist counseling and the workouts, I couldn't seem to make my weight go down to 137 lbs, which is super-ideal for my height and small frame. My trainer suggested that I do the tasteless diet: a diet bereft of seasoning, including salt. Even for just a week. Of course, this also meant tight control on fat, and complex carbs (desserts).

So I instructed the help to prepare my meals as such: nothing fried, just baked, boiled or grilled. No salt or pepper or anything for taste. Green salad with only calamansi as dressing. My carbs would come from wheat bread and brown rice only. I still drank coffee every other day. My only compromise was Fita or Skyflakes as additional carb sources. Yes, not the healthiest, processed and with sodium. But I made sure I limited that, too. And I stuck to the recommended portion sizes. I didn't overeat protein either. (Actually, I couldn't overeat on anything because the bland taste just deterred me. Lesson: If you want to lessen rice/carb intake, your viand should be bland-tasting.) I also made sure I was still exercising regularly - 3 days gym/weights, alternating with cardio (ranging from 30mins to 1 hour).

It was a struggle. Lasang papel as my trainer would put it. But the mind is more powerful than the tongue. So I just kept at it, counting the days. I have to admit that on day 4, I had a moment of feeling faint. I think I overdid the calorie-counting and went way below my 1,650 calories/day. True enough, my nutritionist confirmed it when I submitted my food intake journal. There was a day I just ingested less than 1,000 calories.

After just five days, my weight dropped to 135 lbs, about a pound a day! Finally after so long, I have reached, and even surpassed, that ideal weight. Was it worth it? Heck yeah. But I would have to adjust the calorie-count. And, I wouldn't do it as a lifestyle. LOL. I plan to put myself through this 5-day stretches once every two or three months.

I still need to work on the midsection flab, though. Some tell me, though, that I have to live with that. They say it is really excess skin, skin that has lost elasticity. A function of age. I pinch it and it feels 'fatty', though. So I'm looking at high-low intensity cardio to torch it. Maybe.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, July 4, 2014

the friend's ex

"Hey Luke, do you remember me?" The FB message read.

Luke looked at the profile that read "James". Hmm. When he looked at the profile picture, he recognized him.

"Hey there. Hello James. How have you been?" Luke messaged back to start a thread.

"Been good. Wow, it must have been ages since!"

"I know! That was like three relationships past."

"Hahaha. I love the way you keep track of time. Are you still with that company?"

"Nah. I moved to another firm now. How about you? You used to be in a bank, right?"

"Yup. The banker. But I'm moving again. Soon. LOL"

"Are you still in touch with Ben? I get to chat with him from time to time."

"Ben, my ex? Yeah. We still talk, from time to time. Why?"

"Nothing. So, whatever happened to you after Ben?"

"Well, I have a new partner. Well, not really new, though. We've been together after Ben."

"Wow, that's probably 8 years now? Congratulations!"

"Thanks. It's been working out. Actually I saw you at the gym last week."
"You sure it was me?"

"Yup. Weren't you at the Fort last Wednesday? You just did cardio on the bike."

"Haha. Yeah that was me. Where were you? Why didn't you say hi?"

"I didn't think you'd recognize me. Besides, you were so serious with what you were watching."

"LOL I'm always like that."

"You maintain yourself well, Luke."

"Thanks."

It was James' turn to ask. "So how about you? You've got a new love since... what's his name?"

"Since Dennis? No, am single now. But dating, you know the game."

"Haha. Actually I don't. Been a long time since I've been single."

"Ah yeah. But of course, been partnered doesn't stop anyone from acting single. Haha"

"Hey. I don't do that."

"But you did! I remember."

"Shut up! That was a long time ago! Hahaha. Hey gotta go. Can I get your mobile?

Luke didn't reply immediately. "Sure." Then he typed his number. "Chat soon."

He immediately went to check James' Facebook page. Hmm. The guy still looked great. Hot, even with a little less hair and more forehead. Luckily, the page wasn't as private. So he was able to browse a few more pics. Growing older actually fits him. He got a bit excited but that was easily doused by the thought that he does have a partner. Shortly after, he got a message on his mobile. "Boss, save my number. James." 'Boss?' he wondered.

After a few days, his phone was buzzing after dinner. It was James.

"Boss! How are you?"

"Hey. I'm good. Just chilling at home. You?"

"On my way home from a meeting. Driving now."

"Put this down, dude. This is not safe driving!"

"Hahaha I'm on Bluetooth, Boss."

"Fine. So you are bored driving."

"Hahaha. Traffic's bad. Which is typical on a Friday eve."

"Ok. I'll keep you company. So how's work?"

"Light now. Wrapping up. Turning over. Been thinking about you."

Luke got excited. "You have? Why? What about?"

"Trying to remember how we met."

"Ben brought you over to meet Dennis and me. We had dinner."

"Where?"

"At our condo. You were so quiet. Even quite a snob."

"What do you expect? You guys were 10 years older than me! " James laughed out loud.

"Asshole. But you had this 'attitude'."

"Like what attitude?"

"Like you were so bored. Like you didn't even want to be there."

"Hahaha Of course not. I'm just naturally quiet. And really, I was just in my 20's then. And you all were having such a chatty time. But I noticed you."

"You did?"

"Yup. Was wondering to myself what you saw in Dennis."

"What the?? What's wrong with Dennis? He's not bad looking."

"Come on. He's not your... match."

"What do you mean?"

"Good looking guy like you deserves someone who looks a lot better!" James laughed again.

"Hahaha You flatter me."

It wasn't even just flatter. It sounded more like flirtation.

"Uh Ok Hahaha Thanks. Well, he had some nice qualities. Besides, it didn't last anyway."

"Wait, Luke. I'm almost home. Will call you when I'm settled."

"Sure."

It took a while before James called.

"Hey there. I'm all settled."

"Took you a while to 'settle'"

"Hahaha. Yeah. Took a quick shower."

"Good for you. You must feel refreshed."

"Yeah. Still toweling off." That made Luke swallow.

"Oh. Hey if you are still busy, we can chat another time."

'Nah. I'm just taking my time to dry off. I usually take my time just lounging in my towel."

'Okay. Okay', Luke thought. His heart started beating faster.

"You wanna do facetime?"

Luke was suddenly conscious. "Sure. Wait. Hold on." He had to check himself on the mirror. How did he look? He was in his boxers and tank top. His hair was still in its place.

"Call me."

After a moment, the Facetime call went through. He got to see James again. And true enough, he still looked good.

"So where's your partner?" Luke asked.

"He stays in the province mostly. I go home during weekends. You've lost a lot of weight. And bulk."

"I was fat before. I was heavy."

"You look even better. Fits you."

"Thanks. Well you have certainly changed. And you're right. I may not have recognized you if I saw you now."

"Hahaha Why? Is it that bad?"

"No, crazy! It's just that you've really grown up."

"Hahaha I was a scrawny kid just a few years after college when Ben brought me to your place."

"Malnourished. Hahaha"

"Gee, thanks, Luke! You are just so great on my ego right now!"

"I'm kidding. I actually found an old photo of yours from that dinner. You want to see it?"

"No way!! Just throw that out! I don't want to be reminded of how sad looking I was."

"Shut up. It wasn't bad. You were young and... cute."

"Really? You found me cute then?"

Luke regretted saying that. He didn't want to flirt. But there was no taking it back.

"Yeah. You were. I mean, you're still cute."

"Aww. Thanks, Boss. You look great, too, Luke. You lost a lot of weight, I noticed at the gym."

"Well, decided I didn't want to be too bulky."

"I like what I see now. Hot."

'Really? How hot?"

Suddenly the camera went from front facing to back facing. And Luke was surprised to see an erect penis, legs and feet.

"That hot, Boss."
Luke was stunned for a moment. "Whoa. Nice."

"How about you?"

"Ok. Wait."

He lied down on the bed and put the phone down. He took off his clothes and grabbed his phone. He positioned it so his torso and cock were in view.

"Fuck. That chest. That cock." James moaned as he started stroking his cock. And that turned Luke on. Seeing someone get turned on by the sight of you is always a major turn on. He continue to hold his phone on one hand and stroke his own cock with the other.

"Show me your asshole." James said.

Luke hesitated. This guy thinks I'm a bottom? Fuck. Anyway, it's all Facetime. Luke decided to give in. He quickly repositioned his camera. He raised his legs and aimed at his hole.

"I want to fuck that hole."

"Oh yeah? You really want to fuck me?"

"Yes, Boss. I've wanted to fuck you since..." his voice trailed off. All Luke could see was his cock and more jerking.

"Open your ass cheeks wide so I could see your fuckhole better."

The position was awkward. He had his legs up and he was still reaching out to open his butt cheeks as he had the camera on one hand. This was quickly making his dick soft.
James' camera was shaking. Obviously, he was getting off on this.

'So the guy's a top.' Luke thought to himself. 'Well, this will all remain in cyberspace. No way am I going to bottom for him.'

He refocused the camera to his own cock as he was jerking it.

"I want to fuck you, Luke. Would you give it to me?"

Luke decided to just indulge the guy. "Sure. Sure. I'll let you fuck me."

"You'll be on your fours and I'll ram my cock inside you."

Feigning passion "Yeah, dude. Fuck me with that cock of yours." Thankfully, he was hard again and he was nearing climax.

"You getting there? I wanna cum. Badly."

"Yeah. Yeah, dude. I'm like almost there." More heavy breathing. The unsteady camera was still focused on his fat cock. "Let's do this live, Luke."

"Yeah sure."

"When? I want to put my dick inside that tight hole of yours."

"Soon, dude. We'll set it up. You near?"

"Yup. almost. almost."

Meanwhile, Luke couldn't hold it anymore and he started to squirt manjuice on his pubes.

"Fuck! That's hot! Ahh. I'm coming, Fuck! I'm coming."

Luke looked at the screen as the fat cock oozed semen out. Nope, he wasn't a shooter.

After just a few seconds, Luke said "Let's clean up. Let's talk soon." And he hung up.

He got some tissue and cleaned himself up. He laid there wondering what this was all about. This was the ex of a friend. True, it's been years and years since they broke up. But he's still the ex. So it looks like he had always had this thing for him? Why didn't he know sooner?

Then, his thoughts turned somewhere else. 'Didn't he say he was faithful? What was this all about? Isn't cybersex counted? And did he really seriously think I'd bottom for him? No fucking way. He didn't get a follow up text or call days after that. He just forgot the whole thing. Until about two weeks after, when he got a missed call.

He was deciding whether to return the call. He had forgotten the episode. And it wasn't as satisfying as he had thought it would have been. He decided not to return the call. But he answered when James called again a few hours after.

"Hey, Luke.. how are you, Boss?"

"Hey. I've been okay. You?"

"It was my last day. I start my new work after next week."

"Good for you. You going on vacation?"

"Just going home to the province. It's been a while since I saw my folks."

"Good for you. Congratulations on your new job."

"Thanks, Boss."

Awkward silence followed briefly.

"Uhmm. About what happened that one time."

"Hey.. forget about it."

"No. I wanted to apologize. I... I was just horny and we've been having problems.."

"Dude, no need to explain. I totally understand."

"It's not just that. Luke... well, you've always been my crush. And I got carried away seeing you after all these years."

"Me, too. Well, not exactly crush. But hey, you've always been hot. But I know your situation. And I just played along with what happened."

"I sensed that. But I enjoyed. Even if it's just cyber. You know."

"Haha. I have to tell you, though. I'm not a bottom. I just played along."

"I got that, too. Hahaha. I saw how awkward you were. Haha"

"Yeah! I don't know how bottoms do it. Hahaha"

"I know, right. But you're really hot, Luke. Stay that way."

"Hahaha Thanks. I will try."

"Catch you later. Partner's coming."

"No problem. Go. See you."

"Bye."

Luke scratched his head. He didn't know what to make of this. How should he feel? Was he supposed to be flattered that he had always been his 'crush'? How come there's a part of him that felt unhappy and ... 'cheap'? ... even 'used'? Does this even count for 'bad sex', if it was all virtual? Then, on a deeper level, there was that guilt. He is still a friend's ex. Did he betray him? Even if it had been eight years since they broke up.

He shrugged his shoulders and just chose to forget the whole incident. This is one of those times when being a swinging single just didn't bring the satisfying outcome that he wanted.




- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

the Adonis Factor and cc

A friend of mine messaged me recently:
Have you watched/downloaded Adonis Factor? Do you think it's happening also here satin? Naiisip lang kita while watching this film because you're one of the guys na nice body pa rin despite our age. ��

I didn't know about the film. So I downloaded what turned out to be an hour-long documentary on the gay obsession with physical beauty, particularly that muscular look in the US, particularly focusing on San Francisco, LA and Atlanta.


I looked at myself. Pushing five decades and still in pursuit of that ideal. Yes. Definitely I am as obsessed about it.

The film interviewed a couple of gay, muscled hunks, dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons and psychiatrists. Then, for contrast, there were a few interviewees who were 'counterculture'. But all of them acknowledge the hierarchy in the community based on physical attractiveness. The motivation goes beyond just having more sexual partners, or finding love. They talk about deep need to belong, to be accepted. Funny that for a subgroup (LGBT) who has been subjected to marginalization, the community creates its own cliques and castes that determine who is in and out.

Does it happen here? I can only talk about the gay community in the 80's - 90's as I was being exposed to it. Definitely, when you would go to the clubs and bars in Malate, you already know the A crowd: the most gorgeous, the hottest guys all in one area. Though that time, it was enough to be handsome (and maybe lean). Muscles and abs were not a prime commodity yet. Most of them were flight attendants or sales agents. But those groups were put together not by the equally beautiful but by the beauty brokers - the designers, the stylists.

I knew I was not going to be part of that. I wasn't pretty enough. I had a high school classmate who fit the bill. And he got instantly invited, courted and brought in. He was kind enough to string me along to some parties. I never felt comfortable. But I still aspired to be attractive enough to be invited.

Luckily though, times were also changing. The community had started to include the beautiful physique as a redeeming factor. That spurred me to try to develop my body, in the hope that I would be considered 'attractive' and 'desirable', too. That need for affirmation is so ingrained in me that until now, I continue to push my body. On top of the need for affirmation, the desire for sexual pleasure became a motivator, too. Then finally, the quest for a partner, for that love of The One, made this all a habit I cannot, and will not, kick anymore.

But is the Pinoy gay community as obsessed as what the film depicts the American gay scene? I don't think so. Yes, we worship that Adonis ideal. But I don't see us excluding others simply on that basis. Yes, we bitch and we berate - mapanglait - but I have yet to experience the kind of bullying and meanness as portrayed in the film.

Maybe because we also feel 'excluded' especially when we sample the scene in the US. We are largely ignored by Caucasians, except for the subgroup of Rice Queens. So we are kinder to each other?

I would still like to think that this 'obsession' of mine has healthy benefits. My cardio-metabolic indicators are good (cholesterol, blood sugar, etc.) I may not have the washboard stomach. I still have the pinch-able flab there. Yet I feel better about how I look now, compared to years before.

But I also know that the Adonis is not the end-all or be-all for the gay Pinoy community. I know of a lot of friends, peers and younger, who are not exactly muscular who have no issues getting a partner, whether for the night or for keeps. And though they may complain about their bellies, or their double chins, they remain to be attractive in so many ways.

Even if all of us lust over that muscled hunk in Instagram or Facebook, most of us would still consider the physical as just one of many dimensions of hotness and desirability.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, May 29, 2014

cc watch: Tales, More Tales, Further Tales of the City

I was able to read the first book, Tales of the City, by Armistead Maupin, decades ago. I couldn't recall the story but I remembered it was fun reading. I knew years after, that they made TV mini-series of the book. But I never got around to remembering to download. Until recently.

The first season had 6 episodes. Set in 70's San Francisco but produced in 1993, the series was fun to watch. And it didn't disappoint with the male nudity factor, though still just behinds. I won't get into the details but it was typical soap opera fare, with twists and turns and with very colorful (rainbow flag-colorful) characters. I was shocked to see my crush from the 90's, "The Rocketeer" William Campbell, playing a hot gay doctor. That certainly made me want to finish the season.








The second season also had 6 episodes. It was produced 5 years after but was supposedly just a year from where season 1 left off. They brought in new actors to play old roles. That was jarring at the start. I had gotten familiar with the Season 1 characters and my brain kept on resisting. Until I realized that the actor, Paul Hopkins, is way sexier as Michael Tolliver than the first season. The way the story unravels was still very credible, pretty much as Armistead wrote it. I noticed though that there were a few more scenes of gratuitous male nudity, frontal at that, in Season 2. But these were from the extras rather than the main characters.






The series ends with Season 3 as one 3-hour episode. This was produced in 2001 though the show itself takes place about 6 years after. By this time, the stories had gotten a bit stale and it needed a different plot twist. So it introduced new characters interplaying with the old ones (and old cast, no new faces this time). And lo behold, even the hot male characters were (finally) in their frontal birthday suits.






So, other than those snippets of nudity, is the series worth watching? I enjoyed it, though not in a delirious kind of way. The third season ranks least among the three. I felt it was just going through the motions. But what the heck, I've always been the type to see things through till the end.

So go watch it. If only to see hot couple William Campbell and Paul Hopkins kiss and naked. LOL


*all images lifted from IMDB.com

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