Sunday, July 31, 2011

cc's pink film festival

from diva cinema to pink film festival.

since last week, i've been doing much catching up on gay-themed movies. i used to be such a big fan of american gay indies, especially when it was still too hard to get a copy. i would order over at amazon for the dvd's. im proud to have original dvd's of big eden, trick, parting glances, latter days. yeah, bragging rights then because it was quite difficult, and expensive, to get copies.

but when pirated copies started becoming available in pink shops like top&bottom, the thrill of owning one died down. and i wasn't as curious anymore about the films. also, there didnt seem to be titles that were generating buzz among my friends.

being in touch with an old friend again, a friend of ex actually, re-acquainted me with western pink cinema. with the advent of torrent, all the films are just hours away (hours of downloading, that is). old friend has been busying himself with pink movies, and ebooks, during his spare time. and he started recommending titles again.

so im back to watching some choice pink films that ive downloaded, giving my two-centavos worth for each. i present them in the order i watched them. but i end this with one pinoy indie pink film that i watched last week.

this 10yo film ive been seeing long ago. but the reviews were never really positive. so i've put off looking for the film. well, i decided to download this just because i finally wanted to see dean cain play a gay character.
it's an attempt to be gay steel magnolias (a film they mention). gay bonding. gay issues presented in a light way. the dialogue is not particularly funny. but the nice thing about the movie are the actors they got. aside from dean cain, you will recognize mainstream actors (not necessarily leads) like timothy olyphant (whom i just saw in i am number four), justin theroux (can't forget him as joe in six feet under), ben weber (skipper in sex & the city), among others. di ba ensemble cast? lol i wouldn't even call this 'feel good', though.

this film was probably within the same year as broken hearts. and it had some heavy-weight support from lisa kudrow, cristina ricci and doris roberts. even adam goldberg for those who know him. old friend was saying that the romantic in him liked the opposites attract plot. well, for me it wasnt as much as opposites attract but one severely dysfunctional guy (the hottie) trying to get it on with another. so it was getting tiresome after his hotness wore off. it's set under a 'quest for love' storyline that is the gay man's holy grail. so nothing heavy. nothing outstanding. but the sucker in me still loves the old-fashioned happy ending.

this one i watched with pc, cuddled up in bed during a rainy Saturday evening. this was the most recent (2010) of all the movies. and i chanced upon it as the earlier movie from the producers of eCupid, the film i blogged earlier. let me spoil this for you. nerdy-writer-columnist dreams of meeting the one. hooks up online (their planet romeo) with the one. but the one thinks he is nerd's hot gogoboy roommate. he didnt have balls to tell the one who he really is. and the plot unwinds. pc was fast getting annoyed due to his dilemma of dishonesty. and while the one looks really cute and hot, his cuteness and texan drawl sounds so put-on. while all this dishonesty was going on, it suddenly hit me. good grief. this is my story with talented mr ripley! i was taken for a ride online (one hell of a ride that was) by a guy using pics of another person all the while we were chatting.

and while this one, again, ends happily and superbly cheesily (in the most barf-inducing way), of course, my story didn't. i found myself questioning whether the one could actually get over the deception and fall in love with nerd. i certainly couldn't.

for the nice display of gogoboy's bod, go watch it.

we immediately followed 'is it just me?' with this one. joseph gordon levitt has been doing gay indies for a while. he was the straight mormon in 'latter days', if you recall. the start of the movie had pc's eyebrows raised. an alien abduction in a gay movie??? seriously?? but as the story developed, we began to see how all the pieces started to fit. i must say that i was terribly impressed with this film. i wouldn't even call this pink cinema, per se. i found myself being revolted by the ploy as it became clearer. haunted by the idea. and the final scene actually made me teary-eyed. but that's just me and my psych background.

i end the pink film festival with a tribute to the producers of zombadings. i was amazed at how packed the ccp main theater was during the unholy 1130pm screening. it was gay central that night. and the film did not disappoint. it amused me no end. the timing, the little touches and quips, the soundtrack was perfect. the main actor was flawless as remington. and despite the scathing review from someone who doesnt get the humor, i know that most everyone i know had a great time during the movie.

Re "warning: a religious post"

ako'y napangiti nung nabasa ko ang comment ni fellowfab mcvie. bakit nga ba may "warning: religious post" ang aking mga post tungkol sa aking pananampalataya? bakit walang warning pag ang post eh tungkol sa sex-capades ko?

simple lang ang sagot ko. weird pero simple.

pakiramdam ko, nakilala ako sa blog bilang isang taong mapaglaro at mahilig sa seks dahil yung mga posts ko nung unang panahon ay puro mga bookings ko, habang ako ay nasa relasyon pa. ang pakiramdam ko, ganun ang tingin nila sa akin. at yun na rin ang expectation.

kung ganun, baka sila ay ma-offend or ma-turn-off kung may mga posts ako tungkol sa aking relihiyon. kaya ayun, may 'warning' para wag na nilang ituloy ang pagbabasa.

weird nga no? sige, paglilinay-linayan ko kung may katwiran pa rin ang aking pag-iisip at kung dapat ko pa ring ilagay yun.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

ave maria

warning: a religious post

at the ministry renewal, we were reciting the holy rosary. i havent recited the rosary in quite a while.

when i was young, we used to recite the rosary as a family every night. early on, i have learned to just mouth the words of all the prayers. i believe in God... Our Father, who art in heaven... Hail Holy Queen, mother of mercy... i memorized them all!

in school, a catholic boy's institution, there was a special devotion to Mary. there would be daily noontime recitation of the rosary, led by a school org dedicated to mary. i'd attend but not as regularly. but there was some sense of fulfilment of responsibility that came with it.

but all that time, it was empty recitation of verses. those prayers didnt mean much, i have to admit. and soon enough, reciting the rosary was a chore.

as i gained more knowledge about my faith, i decided to be conscious of these prayers, to bring back my mind to my words as i recite the formulaic prayers. i would recite the memorized words slowly, internalizing, visualizing.

hail mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you! id imagine the overwhelming feeling her cousin, elizabeth, must have felt as she said these words. imagine her feeling to look at her cousin in a whole new light! this young pubescent girl is pregnant, with the seed of the God most high.

holy mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners. i need to humble myself and realize how sinful i am compared to her without blemish. she could intercede for me. she could help me gain forgiveness and grace from her Son.

now and at the hour of our death. every time i recite the prayer, i remind myself of my mortality, of a mortality that could happen anytime. my prayer to mary becomes urgent, important and humbling.

i tried to do this each and every time i recited the prayer. 50 times in one rosary. and the danger to go back to an empty recitation is always there. so i employ more tactics. i pictures of images of the mysteries of the rosary from different movies ive seen, or paintings, or pictures.

then i took it further. aba ginoong maria, napupuno ka ng grasya. ave maria, gratia plena. dios te salve, marĂ­a, llena eres de gracia. i memorized the hail mary in different languages. and tried to recite them during a rosary. 50 times.

there was time i would pray the rosary while running, during my morning runs. that was refreshing but again, just empty recitations. until i stopped altogether.

reciting the rosary today reminded me of all these. and the fact that i still mouth the prayers mindlessly. tsk. tsk. but my singing has given a new dimension to prayer. my favorite ave maria is by gounod. the chorus is just stirring. im almost in tears. so now, im learning to sing it well. and pray in the process.

my voice teacher said it best. when he sings the ave maria, or any church song for that matter, and he sings it well, there is that moment where the congregation is in full attention. and he believes he is able to bring them into prayer at that moment. and he is no longer just a singer with a song. he is one with them in one intense communal prayer.

i hope to be able to do that, too.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, July 28, 2011

diva cinema

it started when pc downloaded 'burlesque'. and while the plot is really thin, the acting pathetic, it starred two divas: the lola and the apo, cher and christina aguilera. and being a musical, they both showcased their vocal chords. i was seized with the idea of a diva film festival. just a movie each for some divas in my top-of-mind.

dreamgirls i watched long ago. but the film remains fresh in my memory. because of the way they shamelessly morphed beyonce into a diana ross wannabe.

so that led me to download 'mahogany'. i never watched it before. but ive always wanted to. i knew it had something to do with fashion. and diana was simply stunning as a fashion model. the movie scene i remembered was her being stripped by some man in a tux.

so finally i got to watch it. and i wouldnt't exactly rave about. diana was thin, physically and as an actress there. but the fashion was fabulous. and yes, this was beyonce's look inspiration. the best part is still the theme song 'do you know where you're going to'

fast-forward to my idol, la madonna in her first feature film. i remember being star-struck when i first watched 'desperately seeking susan'. and to think this was filmed when she wasn't diva-esque yet. the director was so lucky to sign her up just a few months before she shot to superstardom. she probably didnt even try to act here. she was just being herself. when she attempted acting eventually, it became a disaster. with this film, she immortalized her eighties trash look. and of course, the national anthem 'into the groove' was the icing on the cake,

finally, i end with the barbra streisand. she has acted (and won) in many films years back. but i had always been curious about 'a star is born'. so i chose this, during her disco-rock-frizzy period. the film a lot of people may have forgotten. but the song is a 'mellow touch' staple - 'evergreen'. and another one which i love even more - 'with one more look at you'. the film is a remake of a judy garland original. and im curious to watch beyonce do this soon.

the genres i covered are very varied. the films i watched are not the shining examples of their acting prowess. id probably watch cher's 'moonstruck', barbra's 'funny girl', 'yentl', madonna's 'evita', 'dick tracy' and diana's 'the wiz' to better appreciate their acting, and relive the music.

but it was certainly fun seeing how big studios cash in on these divas. a poor plot, miserable acting they don't seem to care. a diva in a film brings in an audience base of loyal music fans. that's enough for them, i guess. and you know that they have succeeded if a hit song survives the film.

feel free to suggest other divas and their films that i should add to the list. mariah's 'butterfly' may be up next. :-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, July 25, 2011

unusually stressful

this day was. deadlines loom in the horizon. meetings and more meetings. my mind was getting awfully tired. but i still had so much thinking to do. yes, thinking and analyzing and deciding. i was feeling all that weigh in on me.

the physical exhaustion of mental exertion. i became that bitch again. snapping at everyone. may s si boss. sumpong.. im reduced to a mood. yet they brave my crappy disposition to get an approval, or a comment. they face bitchy me because they need to get their jobs done.

they carefully knock on my door. and even as i show a facade so cold, they let themselves in. meekly they talk. i look at them, trying hard not to be cross or annoyed. but my tense body movements, my smileless guile give me away, anyway.

such is the pressure of the job. split second decisions need to be made. even when you just want to stop thinking. and you just want to escape.

i dont even do this for the money, to pay the bills. i do this because this is the right thing to do. this needs to be done.

this was one unusually stressful day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

what is alone time?

my sister and i were conversing. sis: i admire you and ate (our eldest), among us, you guys are so driven. it's like you have to fill each and every second of your schedule with activity! don't you ever feel the need to just slow down and be alone?

knowing my sister, the question was honest. and yes, there was admiration there. for she could never think how she could be so... motivated.

the question struck me. yes, my schedules get pretty filled up. im so piolo, a lagarista. but i keep a lot of schedules for myself. gym time. running. church. voice lessons. blogging. she might think that all i ever think about is work. on the contrary, work stops at 530pm, monday to friday. im no workaholic. i do gym after office. saturdays are with pc. sundays, family and church and running.

but is that what she meant? when i have free time, what do i do with it?

yesterday, i spent the entire day in my home, alone for the most part. the physical interaction with family was during meal times. i had no schedule. i couldn't do my sunday run due to my back pain.

i ended up with the following: after breakfast, i heard Mass. after lunch, i was online. downloading movies. reading tweets and status updates. reacting to some. tranferring files to my new hard drive. then i watched SATC s1,ep1. then took a nap for an hour. then i went through some unlabeled cd's, watched some. practiced singing. after dinner, more online reading. then finished off with star wars V, while reading reports for the office.

is this the alone time she referred to? i certainly felt the physical alone-ness. going online and tweeting and reading, is that counted? or is the alone time she refers to really reflective time? reflection and meditation? hmmm.

my blogging makes me constantly reflective, in a way. there's always a question at the back of my mind whether this could be blogged. so i spend do spend time in my head just thinking.

im curious. what is alone time for you?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, July 24, 2011

with shoulders like that

i read that he was almost vomiting everyday pumping iron to get to this bulk. two f**king hours everyday. now that's commitment.

pc and i were discussing. the body doesnt fit his pretty boy face. but the longer i look at this pic, the more im disagreeing.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

it caught my eye

im confused. would you call this an american indie movie? or just a regular gay-themed movie? in the u.s., what makes an indie an indie? oh darn. movie seems cute and funny. waiting for the torrent file. LOL.

i regularly check out this blog asian men, mac lover. that's where i got the link.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thursdays with CC: Pick Your Battles

I have just come from a meeting, a typical one where there would be conflicting opinions. You can really get fired up and argue yourself hoarse. Part of discernment is knowing which battles must be fought and won, which you could afford to lose. You really cannot win them all. Beyond the skill of debate is the skill of picking the battles (and may i say, not just in the board room). Some of the questions I ask myself as I am about to engage: What will victory mean if i win this battle? Who are the people i am engaging? Who are they to me on a longer-term perspective? What are engagements would i possibly have with them in the future? What pay-offs do i see in the horizon if i choose not to engage, or deliberately even concede?

they may win this battle. but the ultimate question is, who wins the war?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Service Provider POV

i have sometimes i wondered. if one of those massage therapists would talk about their clients, what would he say? i mean, what would his thoughts be during the massage? what goes on inside his head? what would he be thinking as he did a client, like me?

boy shiatsu's interesting prose enlightens

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursdays with CC: Small Pond, Big Pond

would you rather be a small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond?

ahhh. typical career dilemma. and right off, ill tell you, there is no cut and dried answer.

small pond = local. big pond = multinational > it's not as simple as this but for this post, ill reduce it for convenience.

after my stint with the academe, when industry beckoned, the choice was easy. multinational firm with multinational pay. the p&g's of this world was for me to pursue. but reality was harsh. why would 'em multis even pay attention to a non-marketing graduate when they have the best and brightest from business schools begging to be let in?

change industry. onwards to advertising. should be easier. i was a lot more practical now. and a local agency had an opening. grabbed it. but at that time, this local agency was actually a heavyweight. it had the biggest fmcg's in its client list. it was way up there with the multis in billings. my patriotism kicked in. i could proudly work for a local company that was big and respected.

change industry again. my current industry is dominated by multis then. local players were small shops mostly except for a couple of aggressive ones. patriotism took a back seat to the prospect of going multi, with its better cars and opportunities for travel.

but none of them was giving me the time of day. and only one local firm entertained me. do i hold out for a multi?

no, i didnt. this local company, right on the first day of interviews, treated me right. they were talking to me as a peer, as a potential valuable asset, actually. yes, it was one very small pond. but it was a pond that would give me the chance to hone my nascent skills and implement my ideas. and at the back of my mind, i was always thinking 'i can actually grow this pond!'. who says ponds have to remain this size anyway?

fast-forward. the pond has grown tremendously. export is a few years away. multis have tried to attract me and my people to join them. though the environment and the industry have both become increasingly complex, it is gratifying to note that this local company is at the forefront. it is shaping the landscape as much as it is being affected by it.

this is not to downplay multis. their scale and scope will always keep them at a certain level beyond locals. they have the infrastructure, systems and process that improve the consistency and reliability of their output. access to technologies would be faster. but they are also bureaucratic. and the wired world gets smaller and smaller everyday. locals are just a click away from the same technologies.

bottom line for me. pond size is relative and more importantly, irrelevant. don't reduce your career choices to such.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thou Shall Love Thyself

cue in "The Greatest Love of All", Whitney Houston cover

It all starts with awareness.
Awareness of what is going on inside your body.
Helping you make yourself aware is this group, actively promoted by fellow fabC's miggs & lobster tony.

The Love Yourself Project

Find out more and just be more aware.

sharing an old speech

years back (in 2008, to be exact), i posted something about winning. in that post, i mentioned the speech i delivered as valedictory address during the mba graduation. i felt so great after that speech. it was succinct yet it delivered the right messages. i distinctly remember gibbs asking about the content of that speech. i finally found that document and am reproducing it here, with some minor editing. this is circa 2004.

Honorable members of the _______, blah, blah, blah, Family and Friends, a pleasant and blessed afternoon to all.

A few weeks ago, I had the unique opportunity to write about my personal journey pursuing an MBA through an executive program. The article, which was featured in the Business World, traced the various emotions I felt during the program: I went from energized to harassed, pressured, competitive, enlightened, burdened, exhilarated, exhausted, to relieved and now, even to nostalgic.

After 22 months, we now hold our diplomas in our hand. We have, in our possession, the signed approval sheets of our SMP’s. We now wear the sash on our right shoulder.

All these are but symbolic of the many, many changes we have undergone in the process. Our companies, our staff, our bosses have witnessed this transformation. We now look at our balance sheets and understand if not appreciate. We scan our environment and see strategic opportunities. We analyze our operations and we look for the value in the activity, the inherent competitive advantage. No matter how much we convince ourselves to the contrary, we are already changed, transformed, maybe even disfigured.

We are back to our respective companies. But it is not back to what it used to be. We are now inflamed with a desire to effect more changes, and create more “value”. For some of us, we are even expanding our circles of influence, lending this new-found talent to our communities, to our trade, civic & religious organizations. We are creating ripples simply because what we now know we cannot keep to ourselves.

So, to our dear institution, we offer no promises. For what the institution had envisioned for its managers, we have actually been doing. For even during the time we were in school, we continued to work for our companies, we continued to create value. But because of the precious knowledge we have gained from this institution, our power to create value has been tremendously increased.

But don’t take my word for it. Come and visit. We invite you to check up on us every now and then. See how we are transforming our companies. See how we ourselves have become the change that we wanted to see. See for yourselves and be proud! For you have done wonderfully, (school name), and we thank you.

i can actually still recreate the feeling of reading it. and remembering the part where i buckled. and how i looked at the audience, and the glare of the lights. it was my defining moment.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


my teacher shared this with me. not because he has a great voice. but he sang this with all the heart he has got. and because of that, he was able to move everyone. he shared this with me to inspire me. it's not all about having the greatest voice (is he telling me something? hmm) but it is all about feeling the song, and singing it from deep within. if i could tap into that...

here is russell watson singing the same song. it was the first cover i heard, because ex loved it so much. and russell is just a sight to behold. we even watched him when he performed here in manila eons ago.

my teacher told me this was actually the theme song of the movie "the mission". no wonder it was so haunting.

In my imagination I see a fair world
Everyone lives in peace and in honesty there.

I dream of souls that are always free
Like the clouds that fly

Full of humanity in the depths of the soul
In my imagination I see a bright world
Even the night is less dark there
I dream of souls that are always free

Like clouds that fly.
In my imagination there exists a warm wind
That breathes on the cities, like a friend
I dream of souls that are always free
Like clouds that fly
Full of humanity in the depths of the soul.

Monday, July 11, 2011

customer service orientation

i rant about not getting good customer service especially in retail establishments. i figure that in this day and age of extreme competition, any firm in the service industry should have good customer service as a minimum guaranteed experience, from the lowliest carinderia to the poshest resort.

but fabC lobster tony once made a statement that made me think. the front liners of a lot of service firms, especially in retail, are usually rank & file personnel who barely make minimum wage. is it reasonable for us to expect them to know 'good customer service' innately if they may actually not have experienced such? when one shops in the tiangges of divisoria and quiapo, does one expect to be accorded 'good customer service'?

my understanding of his point: it would be unwise to expect employees as front liners to innately be 'customer oriented'. to always have that ready smile, to be friendly and approachable. that is something that they may not experience regularly. hence, it is up to the establishment owner to train his/her people well in giving good customer service. and if possible, allow them to 'experience' good customer service so they would know what that feels. and if they felt good about being the recipient of a good service, then they would probably be able to incorporate the idea into their own jobs and task and provide good customer service as well.

cc reviews: outliers by malcolm gladwell

"cc reviews" i know. it is pretentious. lol. im pretending to be a gibbs cadiz. well, it is my blog. i can be whomever i choose to be. and today, i choose to be gibbs. cue in high pitch. Kidding, gibbs! (maybe he'll skip this post. hehe)

i read an e-book version. courtesy of torrent. the quality is quite bad. paragraphs mixed up in certain places. the tables and illustrations got lost. so i am basing this on strictly my understanding of that e-book.

outliers. super-successful persons like bill gates, sports jocks, nobel prize laureates, the beatles. or even entire groups of people (the chinese kids who outperform everybody else in math). he debunks the general notion that these people are born with extraordinary talent, intelligence. and we mere mortals can just gawk.

according to his perspective, they are not very different from us (surprise!) and their success is as much environment, timing and good old luck as innate talent. it is their specific cultural legacy coupled with the right circumstances (happenstance). well, built on top of talent and intelligence (all different types of). and hard, hard work. 10,000 hours of hardwork. which is 10 years of working at something, at practicing for 4.5 hours everyday during weekdays (my computation).

a caveat: his definition of success is super-duper success, stratospheric if you look at the list. and though largely financial-based, he doesnt preclude the nobel laureates. so go figure if this will apply to you.

it is both hopeful and hopeless. you dont have to be born with mega-high IQ to make it. (hey that applies to me!) but at the same time, he speaks of a unique confluence of factors (demography, the system, your cultural legacy) that were present to allow that talent to germinate. and to allow you to actually put in 10,000 hours of pure, hard work.

what is the Filipino cultural legacy? was ours really a rice-based culture that made our forefathers work much, much harder everyday of the year? what did 300 years of colonization do to that?

being born at this point in time in our history, the educational system we grew up in, how will these factors predispose success in one area over the other? or are we 'doomed' from the start?

will recognizing these be enough to improve my chances of success? but with so many factors that seem beyond my control, how will i even get by? or is it too late for me?

so many questions the book raises for me. worth pondering, for sure. i just dont know if i have the time or the patience.

a final ending statement: books read us as much as we read them.

what ive retained and chosen as my learnings from this book is because of who i am, and not because of what the book is.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Playlist: Kilig

i've had my share of kilig moments. too much in my lifetime. LOL. i wanted to put those feelings in a bottle. and open them when i like to feel them again. there's something about these cutesie songs. a friend of mine would call it "nagsisinixteen". LOL. parang hayskul lang!

Bubbly Colbie Caillat
As I Lay Me Down Sophie B. Hawkins
A Thousand Miles Vanessa Carlton
I Love You Always Forever Donna Lewis
Mad About You Belinda Carlisle
Breathless The Corrs
When I Think Of You Janet Jackson
How Will I Know Whitney Houston
Cherish Madonna
Take My Breath Away Emma Bunton
Just A Smile Barbie Almalbis
Color Blind Darius
If You're Not The One Daniel Bedingfield

Thursday, July 7, 2011

the ordeal

ive postponed taking the test for years and years. yes, i have had multiple sex partners. but ive considered myself a "low risk" player. because im not into anal sex much. and the few times i did anal sex, i was top, though more often unprotected but my partners all appeared healthy anyway.

and i havent had any major illness. except for that dengue thingie in 2009. i dont even get sick with flu. so im thinking my immune system's healthy. and of course, i do all that physical exercise! so why get myself tested?

about two years back, the news of the spectacular rise in new infections started to get around. and at the forefront of this is MSM transmission (men who have sex with other men). and they were even pointing to BPO's as "havens" of HIV transmission.

but it was only last year that HIV took on a more personal turn for me. i actually start learning of people i know, people i've met who are positive. and some of them, i have also learned, have passed away. *gulp* what used to be in another country, in another area is suddenly at my doorstep.

still i resisted being tested.

last january, it finally hit home. when a former sex partner turned friend disclosed his positive status to me at a party. i was numb at first. choosing to just not react. rationality kicked in eventually. i should finally have myself tested.

i hesitantly informed pc about it. scared of his reaction. but he was just so supportive. he promised to be tested, too, with me. and he will continue to love me whatever the test outcome. that was so reassuring.

yet i still postponed taking the test.

more and more of my friends were getting tested. most turned out nonreactive. yet there was nothing reassuring with the extent of their ordeal leading towards taking the test. one friend became paranoid for months, even after testing negative. it just got into his head. another had hysterical fits, imagining all the what-ifs. good grief. do i want to go through that, too?

and recently, more news of dear friends getting sick or even passing away. people who just tweeted a week ago were suddenly a memory.

i couldn't ignore it any longer. i set july as the month of the test. and funny, it coincided with miggs' efforts to do a rapid testing event. miggs told me to come early on sunday to take the test. i just smiled.

i told pc i wanted to finally get tested 7-7-11. i just want to get it over with. i picked the makati social hygiene clinic, where mcvie had himself and dan tested. i arranged my sched around it last week.

days leading up to today were normal. i didnt have any crying fits or hysteria or paranoia. but yesterday, whenever the thought did cross my mind, i felt a palpable fear. a tangible pulse rate increase, no matter what i was doing. i imagined how i would take the news. what were the things i would do. who should know? how do i tell my folks? what changes will happen in my life? but rather than despair over it, i started to "think positive" and assume that scenario. i would carry on. i have much too many things to do at work to be bothered by my HIV status.

so up until this morning, i was still busy with work. but during lunch, i felt the agitation. pc was running late and i was getting quite pissed. i wanted to catch the early afternoon window when there would be less people, according to mcvie. nevertheless, i kept my cool. seeing pc calmed me down. but i was anxious to really get it over with.

finally, we proceeded to makati city hall and looked for the clinic. we were lucky. there was nobody else there, except for two women waiting for results of a test they took. pc had his reservations about "government health facilities". but these were properly dispelled by the cleanliness and order of that clinic.

we were quickly entertained by the very friendly nurse, and ushered into a separate room for the "counseling" and the accomplishment of forms. i was my talkative self, funny and smiling throughout. my coping mechnism did a lot to ease the tension. pc was silent, primarily because the conversation was in the vernacular.

after accomplishing the forms, we had our blood samples taken. the med tech and other health personnel found me quite entertaining. even nurse yeye thought id make a great trainor cum spokesperson. (yikes!)

then more counseling and discussion as we waited for the results. nurse yeye was just so nice and sweet and knowledgeable (at about 85% accuracy). and she was so accommodating and reassuring.

in only 20 minutes our results came in. and she didnt read them to us right away. i wanted to grab the sheets of paper. but i just smiled and continued my rapt attention to her stories.

then she started with "well, since i already have the results, i guess you already know what it means, right?" (ahh, i do? nope i dont. did i miss anything?) "it simply means you are both nonreactive.". i could have kissed her and pc right there.

with that out of the way, we had an even more enjoyable conversation with nurse yeye.

nonreactive. how sweet that sounds. all that worrying gone with the word! i was also thinking previously that if i tested positive, it would feel like some kind of divine retribution for my sins. ahh the catholic guilt surfaces. but none of that now. its all good. and i can only thank the Lord for his grace and compassion.

we went malling a bit after, just to cool down. it was only then that i realized how tired i was, even if i didnt do any workout. all that anxiety was truly physically stressful. and only after was i starting to feel the fatigue.

relief. i feel like i was given a new lease on life. that He has forgiven me for all the transgressions, my carelessness, my callousness. and i will not ever consider unsafe sex after that ordeal. never again.

and i have this urge to just shout it out. GET YOURSELF TESTED! i will help. i will spread the word. IT IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE. on the contrary, early detection means longer life.

from fear and dread to advocacy. i owe it to Him.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Quezon Bridge,Manila,Philippines


a new acquaintance, a former date of a friend, started being friendly. we bumped into each other at a coffee shop. and he asked that i join him for a while. he was nice and inquisitive, especially about my relationship now. well, he seems like a newbie in the scene.

soon he was texting regularly. nangungulit lang sa text a hello here, a joke there. and he would ask more questions about my relationships. i started to feel that he was flirting with me. he found my fb profile and was commenting about the body pics. hmmm. i do admit, though, that it was flattering thinking i was being admired.

but when he started asking for dinner and coffee, i felt that this was not going the friendship way. so i talked to him, quite seriously.

hey. i want to tell you something.

wow. so serious. shoot. teka, are you about to shoo me away?

its just that im feeling uncomfortable na with the way things are turning out. i'm avoiding going out with you, thinking you might misinterpret.

(laughs aloud) hey! chill lang! dont be too serious! i'm just having fun with you. i know you might be thinking that i'm into you. it's not that! i'm just teasing. i'm no home wrecker. (laughs some more)

ah.. ok.. it's just that i thought... (embarrassed)... i'm sorry i thought that you wanted to go out on a date and i don't think its proper

i just want to really get to know you better, i mean, just be friends and all. i've got one of my own, a family man. i'm just glad to have met you and would like you, including your partner, to be my friend.

oh. ok. sure. yeah, we could be friends! i'm sorry i thought... sige, thanks.

assumptions. so embarrassing. ASSUME - makes an "ass" out of "u" & "me"

i was trying not read to it as flirting. but with the way he asked for dinner & coffee. and his questions about relationships. i ended up assuming anyway. and getting embarrassed at my wrong assumption.

mental note: di dapat maging assumptionista.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

closing shop

it's been exactly three years since i started this enterprise experiment. out of a whim, i invested in this. with nary an experience in running a business of this size. it was good, very good for the first two years. because of this, i was able to generate additional revenues to fund the construction of the house.

then things started going south. first it was the protracted construction of the road in front. customers started shying away. then the perpetual challenge of attracting and keeping personnel. especially cooks and help.

then finally, when the road was done, competitors started mushrooming all over the place. they sell at lower price points that i cannot match.

a perfect storm for the nano-enterprise.

pc asked me, what's the MBA solution to this? that question put me in the defensive. yes, with my MBA with honors, with my track record in my industry, yet i can't solve the problem of this itsy-bitsy teeny weeny little enterprise!

but it was an honest question that deserved an honest answer.

i would have to review the revenue-generation first and foremost. study how to bring those customers back in. and that might mean lowering the price points. and do grassroots promotions like flyers, consumer promos. then look at my cost structure and try to maximize that. pump in more capital to 'renovate' and attract attention again.

a lot i could still do. and that meant a lot of effort. which is the bottomline of it. i do not have time (and admittedly, the patience) to turn things around. just too much effort. and with so much on my lap in my day job, i just can't bring myself to exert all that effort.

there will be displacement of the employees. and that is what i still have to think about. i just cannot 'let them go' without thinking of where they will go. i will have to pray about that.

so i will be winding down this month, taking inventories and pulling out. it was good, very good while it lasted. and in the process, i got to know many people, a community actually. and that is fulfilling in itself.

time to say goodbye.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, July 3, 2011

winner ang weiner ni weiner

yeah. this is a tad too late. old news, actually. but his photos and this whole brouhaha just has me reflecting.

the wiener is a winner, i have to admit that. and he maintains himself pretty well. he is a few years older than me so i know it's quite an effort to maintain that AND be a congressman. but he ain't my type.

that torso shot is so grindr! actually, all the shots are reminiscent of grindr! and sometimes, even facebook.

when i first learned of the photos, i was so curious to find out how 'bad' it was. seeing these on the net surprised me. the photos are nothing so spectacularly offensive or pornographic, to my mind. it's self-promotion and narcissism, borne out of feeling great about one's looks and physical development.

and it's so like me. and hundred and thousands more like him out there. at least, this guy's got some equipment worth bragging about! and he puts pictures of himself. so many self-promoting romeos out there don't even use their own photos.

so what's all the gaga over this? well, reading the articles and arguments, i conclude that it's about the cyber infidelity. the cyber promiscuity. of an elected u.s. official. if it was just you or me, the average joes, people couldn't care less. but you got somebody like him, who campaigned and gave you all these promises, who is actually on your payroll as a taxpayer, then no less than your head is in order.

i'd like to counter-argue by saying that, hey, that's a purely personal thing. what has that got to do with performance in office? but in politics and showbiz, nothing is purely personal. and more importantly, the way they seem to look at this there in the u.s., performance in office, oh they have argued how such lapses in judgment will spill over to lapses in performance in public office.

how different it is for the philippines, methinks. if that happened here, yeah, we'd get all curious and debate and have jokes. but i dont think any elected official would get booted out or even voluntarily resign because of this. we have a clearer delineation between performance in office and personal infidelities. none the two shall meet.

so who's better off?

Friday, July 1, 2011

SAHC: Joy of Reading

Im looking for a copy of The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren. This is such a seminal piece of literature for me. i think i was in college when it hit the bookstands. and because i didnt have cash then, i asked my friend to buy it. but i read it first. i fisnished it in a few hours. i couldnt put it down. i can still remember the tears welling up around the saddest part of the novel.

i discovered the joy of reading early. i was going through our encyclopedia britannica (every home had one then!). focusing on dogs, dinosaurs and human anatomy. then i started young detective stories. none other than that titian-haired sleuth nancy drew! i read a few hardy boys books, too. even alfred hitchcock had a series of books with three young investigators.

i got this from my dad, who loved reading, too. funny how the taste in books was the outward manifestation of my own growing sense of self and sexuality. after graduating from the juvenile detective, i naturally turned to the adult novels (and started tackling the thicker books!)

i remember reading, almost guiltily, 'the other side of midnight' by sidney sheldon. boy, was that racy! explicit! some sexual images remain stuck in my mind. (the use of ice cubes while giving head!).

i wouldnt call myself a voracious reader, though. i'd read what my dad or my sisters would have on hand. through the years, that has included horror novels (amityville horror, stephen king novels), espionage thrillers (robert ludlum's bourne series), some classics (of mice and men, lord of the flies, a tolstoy one i can't remember now). then some philosophy ones and essays (anthony de mello is a favorite) and finally of course, the gay novels.

discovering that literature genre coincided with my gay evolution. there was consenting adult (that precipitated my coming out to my parents), the fancy dancer (also by p nell warren), tblbitw (the best little boy in the world). (as i was getting into relationships) but gay novels here in the phils. were few and far between then. so id content myself with what was available or what i could borrow from friends.

then life happened. worklife. and i began reading less and less. save for magazines and the dailies. a colleague made me read david sedaris. i enjoyed that. and 'the god of small things' by arundhati roy (?). that was powerful. kite runner was so emotional. i finished that while vacationing alone.

i have rediscovered the joy of reading. i've decided to clear the backlog. and that backlog suddenly increased with the e-books ive filched! hehe and really, i have pc to thank for. he remains an avid reader. and he loves sharing titles he enjoys (like murakami).

however, i havent gotten back to queer literature. now that it is a dime a dozen, i hesitate to get back to it. i need referrals to well-written ones, with good plots. id like to immerse myself again in some beautiful gay story and be enraptured.

any suggestions?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

a pc situationer

ive read some emails wondering if im still single. i thought i had communicated my 'doubled' status quote clearly. and then i realized that it has been a while since i have even mentioned pc in any posts.

pc is a very private person, though he used to blog himself when there were just a handful of pinoy bloggers. so i hesitate to just divulge our life carelessly. and more importantly, my life attached is quite uneventful, compared to my single life.

we are both quite busy, him with his studies. we meet twice a week, one of which would be a saturday. when we hang out here at home, it is usually to catch up on movies and glee. pc is usually updated with movies but he doesnt mind watching some good ones again! i bought the bluray of LOTR extended releases recently. so we have hours and hours of watching to do.

we do the malling bit, too. and dining out. he likes introducing me to restos he enjoys. and he has such fine-tuned taste buds and fantastic memory. so its truffle pasta at bizu, lobster at old manila, and putanesca at caruso, for example.

of course, nothing beats my mom's cooking, so he looks forward to dinners with my folks. and he has endeared himself to them with his varied stories from readings and travel. from time to time, we would just hang out at roof deck and drink some wine and listen to music.

the old soul that pc is, he re-acquainted me with reading and classical music, including opera. and because of his influence, im attempting to reach those tenor notes!

do we fight? we have our tampuhans. we once had this loong conversation over the phone. but it wasnt getting heated. debating was more like it.

soon it will be one year. and when i look back at those emo times, i just smile or even laugh. i am blessed to have been given another chance at love. and im making sure i treasure this chance well.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursdays with CC: Mentors and Models

i have been lucky to have been exposed to many role models as i progressed through my career. one particular person stands out in my memory. he was a former health undersecretary, with sterling academic credentials. i met him when my boss consulted with him on some communication projects we were undertaking. the topic we were discussing was not up mr usec's expertise. and as my boss was explaining, he suddenly launched into an elegant summary of the topic, a wonderfully simple and succinct framework to begin the discussion. i was floored! this was an example of intellectual brilliance at work. and i surmised that it was actually the knowledge and application of certain fundamental, logical frameworks that made him transcend his 'ignorance' of the topic and just comprehend effortlessly! i knew then that i wanted to learn and imbibe that analytical perspective.

but beyond models worth emulating, i have had the good fortune of having superiors who mentored me. as much as i would like to name them and honor them, my circumstances prevent me. but i could still talk about them with fondness and respect.

my first would be my college professor-turned-friend. he was crush ng bayan then. and though he wasnt particularly impressed with my performance in his class, he hired me as his research assistant when i applied. and through that, we became good friends. he was guiding me as i started my teaching. and although i didnt pursue that career path, i value his insights on education.

my stint in advertising exposed me to this lady who didnt seem to fit the 'ad agency' mold, she was maternal, almost dowdy. but from her i learned the value of precise communication and time management. she was OC to a fault. and i learned to be one myself.

during my short time with the health department, i was directly under a boss considered one of the "elders" of the advertising industry. we were part of a small communications project. and we were understaffed. so no layers between us. and he gladly took me under his wing to hone my marketing communications expertise, all 23 years of me. he was one tough boss. quite scary actually. but i learned so much in the critical analysis of communication campaigns, marketing, documentation, etc. and i soaked it all in! he was the first one who was consciously mentoring me, making sure i learned and i learned fast. i had a short "runway".

im down to the last two mentors of my life, two i met in my current company. one is the owner, a second generation visionary who treated me like a son. he also was conscious to impart life lessons to me, on top of running the business. a true entrepreneur, he is also religious and philosophical, too. which made for great, insightful conversations. but most of all, i learned the value of empowerment, responsibility from him. for he is truly empowering. and despite his stature, he does listen to my ideas, and allows me to implement freely.

the other mentor i hold in such high deference is the former chief executive, who has since retired. he is a professional manager through and through. and his knowledge of all aspects of operations is comprehensive. in contrast to the owner, he treated me as a peer. hence it was less "mentoring" and more of just consultations and concordance with business decisions. this is consistent with his very humble persona. also deeply religious but never preachy, he is the epitome of integrity. his wisdom i still consult to this day. and one i truly aspire to be like.

seek out models and mentors. look for those from whom you seek to learn. identify and be precise about what you admire about them. that is the starting point for your own growth.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

bath house memories

im finally reading mcvie's the wet book (sorry, mcvie!) i have this huge backlog of books to read. and only recently have i started working on that. i just finished 'chronicles of e'. and now, reading 'the wet book' has given me wet memories of my bath house experiences.

which are not much. going to the bath house was not really my scene much. id visit bath houses when i travel abroad. but here, it aint on my list of hook-up venues. i guess because hooking up is a bit too easy there. i like the thrill of flirting and hooking up in more public places. there is more excitement and fulfilment, actually, of the chase in the gym, the mall, on the street.

but ive visited the bath houses here in manila, particularly club bath and fahrenheit. and my experiences have been generally satisfactory.

i remember one time i was soooo drunk and horny, coming from drinking over at butterfly bar. i just suddenly decided to go to fahrenheit. the alcohol in my blood was also pumping my horniness.

i was literally walking with a swagger, i remember. i must have been a sight, not a pretty one i guess. my vision was spinning as i clumsily made my way to the locker area. and i couldnt even figure out how to open the darn lock. nice person beside me helped.

i stripped naked. not caring anymore if people were looking or not. (ordinarily i would have been quite modest and shy!). i went to the shower area to try to wash off the alcohol effects. i must have stood there extra-ordinarily long. and soon, i felt hands groping me. more hands. tongue on my nipples. somebody was grabbing me from behind and licking my neck. then i felt someone's mouth over my hard cock.

i was so fucking drunk and just enjoying it. i didnt even bother to check how the guys looked. i just closed my eyes and allowed them to ravage (!) me. there must have been at least two guys, maybe three there. and i might have been watched by others. fuck. i didnt care. no, actually, i was really turned on at this point. i had this picture of me in my mind, drunk and spaced out with people all over me.

i came over someone, as i was being held from behind. and when i was done, i just excused myself and went to other shower stall to wash off. again, i didnt want to look at the guys who did me. i didnt want to ruin my fantasy.

i quickly showered, dressed up and left, a bit more sober now. and headed for the exit.

yeah, talk about a quick fix. done in 30 mins!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad