Tuesday, November 29, 2011

what's there for me to visit in the Philippines

ive been asked this a couple of times from foreigners who don't know as much about the country. and unfortunately, there are still a lot of those. but the question is framed with a seeming intent to visit. so i appreciate the earnestness. so dear raider, if a foreigner, an afam, casually asks you this question, what will you answer?

Monday, November 28, 2011

a private person

cc, how come you don't blog as often anymore? i miss reading stories of your life, how things are going with you.

ahmm. kasi boring na buhay ko compared to the first years of my bloglife.

oh come on. no way could it be boring. tell us about your relationship.

i thanked him for reading, i was touched that he came up to me at the activity. he didnt immediately get that i was cc. i guess the cc on my name tag looked like a shirt logo. lol. and he actually looked quite attractive. it was flattering to be acknowledged.

but i wasnt completely honest with him. my life is not boring, it is too stressful and exciting, but not in the usual way gay life would be. i used to perpetuate the stereotype: the clubbing, the random hot sex. then there was the search for The one, and the drama of loneliness in between. and all that made for good gay reading,

my life with pc is no less interesting. and i could imagine writing about many things that we have been through, both the light and the heavy. it won't be a tiggah post but it could still be fun to read.

however, pc is a very private person. he does not seek the limelight, actually shies away from it. he was raised that way. and i truly respect that. so even as i write this post, im thinking i might be violating a vow to keep our life private. yet i know that each personal post i write inadvertendly includes a part of our life. so i think he understands that compromise.

so my life with pc, even those i would love to share, is off the list of topics in this blog.

so i write about other things. and often, the inspiration to write is choked by the business of living every day. and i certainly wouldnt want to just write about anything. there is just too much garbage out there that i should not contribute to. so the pressure to write something just a bit more substantial mounts and sometimes, stifles. and days pass that no new post is written .

even my attittude towards twitter has evolved that way. i limit my tweets to those that can mean something. and not just to express myself. so i admire those who twit with wit everytime. (minsan turn off lang yung mga kailangan pang mag retweet ng mga puri na natatanggap nila.) but then again, everybody has a right to self-promote.

the posts may be few and far between, i apologize. and i dont want to make promises either, that posts will be forthcoming, full of meaning and substance. alas, i am not built that way either.

but i will try.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

greetings from toronto

im hanging out right now at the food court of one of the buildings inside the Univertsity of Toronto campus, waiting for a friend to finish his chores for the day.

this is one trip that almost never happened. and only had less than a month of advance notice. a leap of faith, actually. the opportunity to take this trip came just last month, as i was preparing for the trip to cape town. i hesitated, almost declined even then. because i felt i was still recovering from my trip by then. nevertheless, i went through the motions and inwardly, left it all up to God. Bahala na. if He didnt want me to go, circumstances will happen to prevent it.

it was quite a long shot, i only had barely two weeks to get my visa processed. then, when it was finally processed, it seemed like the wrong one. a workers visa instead of a visitors visa. we might have problems at the immigration of the port of entry in toronto. and that was like three days to the time i was set to depart. i couldnt decide. i didnt know if i wanted to go through the uncertainty, not knowing if the my visa might get questioned or revoked. i didnt know if i wanted to sit in an airplane for 12 hours, go through two layovers. am i still feeling up to it? and for a trip that would only last 5 days.

i ws asking for a sign. i even tweeted that request. and i got really funny answers from twitfriends (nitwits? hehe) then one of them just retweeted 'like trying to fly an airplane', about christian missionaries being very serendipitous, and just trusting God to provide. the title itself was some kind of ninuninuninu "airplane", followed by the content itself, of just believing. that made me decide to go for it and just Trust that this is what He wants, and that nothing untoward would happen.

and now, im here. ive actually endured that 12 hour trip from nagoya to detroit, managing to sleep through some of the time, even when i didnt get the seat i wanted, in coach. all the anxiety with immigration was for naught. i breezed through very friendly immigration officers both in the u.s. and canada. it was a good, uneventful trip.

it all seems so silly now. but it was so real then. even to the last minute, i was ready to just back out of it. but the ordeal again reminded me of how "little my faith is". that letting go and letting God is still so hard to do. and then again, i am reminded that i should. because He always prevails.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

to the least of my brethren

the gospel earlier was pretty clear. judgement day consists of very simple questions:

when He was hungry, did you feed him?
when He was thirsty, did you give him something to drink?
when He was a stranger, did you make him feel welcome?
when He was naked, did you give him clothes?
when He was sick, did you care for him?
when He was in prison, did you visit him?

an affirmative answer to each of the six merits a place in the kingdom.

so eh ano ang nangyari dun sa lahat ng mga guilt trip ko about sex, about dishonesty, ek ekc? why the hell do i even bother to 'not sin anymore' if im going to be judged on the basis of those acts of love and charity.

i mulled over this. why the emphasis on avoiding sin and all that if it wouldn't even be part of the examination at the end of days?

i'm thinking that maybe, it's not so much that all that 'righteousness' is useless but that inculcating all that 'righteousness' is fundamental to doing acts of love and charity. confused? allow me to expound.

sin deconstructed is simply selfishness, self-centeredness, ego-centricity. it is all about me, me and ah yes, me. pride is the root of all evil, didnt people say that?

the acts of love and charity asked of us is the complete opposite of all this selfishness. a person preoccupied with self cannot simply perform all those loving acts sincerely. there would just be too many selfish reasons (excuses) not to carry out all those loving acts.

following that 'righteous' path is like training in being less and less selfish. and because of that, we become more sensitive to the needs of people around us: food, clothing, shelter, friendship, care. so ultimately, we will be able to answer those questions in the affirmative.

i look at my own life and realize that i am so far from this. i'm still not doing enough. so i guess, i'm not ready for judgement day yet.

to those who want to reach out

here is my email


Saturday, November 19, 2011

love yourself cafe, musings

just came from mgg's first-ever love yourself cafe talks. about 30 mgg readers came looking for people to connect with through meaningful discussion. migs called on the fabcasters to help facilitate the small group talk process. and i was just glad to help.

our group was one of the smallest, just 6 of us huddled in one corner. as facilitator, migs told us that our KPI was simple: 90% of the time, it should be the guests talking, rather than us. we could talk about anything and everything. and that i found quite disconcerting. it wasnt going to be easy to facilitate a discussion where people didn't know each other with no specific topic or issue at hand.

but somehow, we managed. and i got to know 4 other friends in one hour (pc joined me). all of them were single, but not all of them were searching. some of them seem to have found that sweet spot of singleness, without the bitterness or cynicism. we had two students, a professional, two teachers, two students, one in media, one in the culinary arts, an 18yo who was also the most comfortable with being gay and with being out.

we were in varying degrees of "outness", mostly to parents. but all felt comfortable with the status quo. there was a discussion on gay stereotypes - loud, flamboyant, promiscuous, irresponsible. and how some of us felt that need to be over-achieve and be responsible just to debunk such notions. i did like one comment that came out: isnt it that by "doing something about this stereotype, we are actually acknowledging the stereotype and giving it life and power?". we do not have to over-compensate to show the world that we are as normal and as responsible. we reinforce the stereotype everytime we react to it. love that challenging pov!

we promised to keep in touch and wrote our emails on the registry. i wish we would. though i know the probability would be quite low, given all of our busy lives. but i would like it if they did reach out to me, especially during those times that they would need someone to talk to, when it all gets lonely or confusing. though it was a very short period of spending time, perhaps we have planted seeds of friendship that could grow.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

is it in my genes?

my namesake lolo was such a womanizer. he just never seemed to tire of pussy. and pussy was always after him because he was one handsome man, with a killer smile, ever-charming, intelligent and accomplished.

his philandering ways drove my lola crazy. but what could she do? during those days, wives were just supposed to grin and bear it. my mom would tell me how they used to fight endlessly. and how she used to light black candles, praying for his death. or hers. creepy.

even until the time he was already 70+, lolo still surprised us by fathering a child with the household help. and she wasn't even pretty at all. she was quite slow (almost borderline retarded). but my lolo had his way with her anyway. story goes... he would lure her into sleeping with him with candies. (wtf. candies?)

growing up, that puzzled me. like i could understand my lolo falling for a sexy, beautiful, alluring temptress. and he would be so overcome with desire that he just couldn't help himself. but for someone who looked like that??? i bet she doesn't even know how to seduce properly!

then in my occasional readings, i came across the idea that it is really just power, and not even sex, that drives such behavior. men get off on that sense of being in this position of power, and sex was just a way of using. abusing that power. i still couldn't see how that could happen. how could a sexual act not be about sex?

but lately, it has dawned upon me where that is coming from...

it crossed my mind that i could actually have sex with a houseboy, a gardener or any guy under my employ not because i felt this strong sexual attraction or i am horny as hell. and it is coming from the feeling of being 'that powerful'. the idea of having this subordinate do this sexual act with me because of the power relationship between us is 'sexy' enough. and it has nothing to do with feeling horny or being so aroused with that person. it is simply about using that power i have over him to make him give me a blow job. yeah, ill enjoy the blowjob. but the real, twisted enjoyment happens in my head.

pretty twisted shit, right? but only now have i made sense of it.

cc on c3

ang dami ko ng utang sa mga raiders. ipagpaumanhin. let me attempt to comment on the thoughtful comments on previous blogposts.

victim mode
@ethan h you are right. we both crossed the line. i allowed it to happen. i didnt think of the consequences.

with csw's
@rygel that's pretty unusual, prepaid sex. :-) but i guess it makes it feel less transactional

interview with a vamp
@august whatever happened to the report?
@anonymous i don't know about the growing old with wisdom part. i still make so many stupid mistakes.

midnight snack
@ortigaswanderer im just about to start s02. i really thought it was HBO. hihihi

shifting tastes
haha, my sexplicit post
@ronron sorry na
@closetjj LOL
@carlos keep it hard!
@victor nice!

Monday, November 14, 2011

wtf is happening to blogpress

so frustrating. it was so easy with iPad1. now i can't seem to figure this out with IOS5.1 and iPad2

so let me try to post this rant.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, November 12, 2011

pinoy mad men

spent time with the stalwarts of the pinoy ad industry.  one long day with them.

some of them i knew from way back.  proud to see that these people i started my corporate career with have done so well.  some of them i was familiar with in college.  they used to be part of this fag group who figured prominently in campus, with their noses up in the air.  i found them snooty then.  partly because of my own insecurities.  but now i get to know some of them and they turn out to be nice and friendly.  and very accomplished.

i viewed dozens and dozens of commercials yesterday.  wonderful output of the best agencies.  after seeing them, i started to see patterns. 

realism in beautiful lighting - urban or rural setting, as real as it could get.  more often in humble (read poverty level) environs.  but captured in wonderful cinematography.

background music unplugged - to accompany the rich visuals, instrumentals without lush orchestration.  typical just pluckings of guitar strings.

real people, less celebrification

the 30-second telenovela

this reflects the spirit of the times.  the 'reality tv' mirror we indulge in.  and of course, the 'indie film'. rather than be dazzled by aspirational themes, we are more reflective now.  and that transcends geography and socio-economic classification.

some noteworthy materials that represent this came from meralco, nestle, safeguard, cinemalaya (siyempre)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

network offline

im going offline for a while. well, just the social networks. the timeline has become a distraction rather than a diversion.

what used to be a means for me to be updated on the life pf my friends' became a voyeuristic window to the lives of people i dont really know. not that there is anything wrong with that. but it has become unhealthy for me. stalker mode much!

well, im just giving myself a break, i suppose. let's see how long i can stay offline.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

treatment is prevention

from the conference i attended, i picked up this development in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  some quarters are pushing to increase the arv administration threshold of the cd4 count.  HIV patients under arv treatment are lot less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

thursdays with cc: the hunger

apologies to steve jobs fans out there, for my belated posthumous..err post.

Steve Jobs: Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

the value of this statement never rang more true to me than when i reflected about my teacher.

he has undoubtedly an amazing voice. he graduated at the conservatory with top honors. and hearing him sing would just sweep you off your feet.

but you won't catch him top-billing any opera, any concert, not anytime soon. why? because he is not hungry enough.

he sings for the love of it. wonderful. and he continues to study and perfect his craft. but he is not hungry for anything beyond that. not recognition. not wealth. he is perfectly happy the way he is right now. he is not pressured to take in more work, more students, because he literally does not need the money. so he just keeps on singing. and while he auditions for roles, or gets invited to some, he wouldn't be caught dead trying too hard to make it.

so that should be a good thing, right? to be content with what you have.


and no. steve jobs was right in wishing those stanford graduates to continue to be hungry. because hunger is the most powerful motivation to achieve excellence. 'blessed discontent' as i've blogged before.

my middle-class upbringing made me 'hungry'. made me keep on aspiring. and i still do. maybe not for the same things as before. but i still hunger, nevertheless.

i continue to challenge myself, to achieve better results at work, to reach for the higher note, to lose the additional flab. and lately, i hunger to do something that will really, truly achieve better health outcomes for all Filipinos, not just some.

hunger. it is a good thing.

110511 2148 Philippines?

i joined tour groups today. two half-day tours. yeah, these are usually tourist traps. but if you want to get the sightseeing done and over with, without having to do much planning, this is your best bet.

i usually do this for new places i visit. most of the trips i do are business trips anyway.

i joined small groups today. morning tour around the city of cape town was with 9 other pax. afternoon tour to the winelands, we were just six. i was mostly with whites: germans, americans, english.

i'm usually identified as asian. and a lot of them assume that i am either chinese or japanese. (hey mr. wong or hey mr. lee - i guess that is the counterpart of us calling each white guy joe.)

though when i mention that i'm actually from the Philippines, there is usually recognition, awareness. but not 100%. my afternoon tour guide didn't know where the Philippines was exactly.

recurrent themes upon recognizing that you are from the Philippines:

i've met some really nice Filipinos. very friendly.

there are a lot of Filipinos in (names their city). usually they are nannies.

i was on this cruise ship. and most of the personnel were Filipinos. and when i played some latin music, whoa, all the Filipinos just started dancing. it was hilarious!

how's the weather there? i hear it's like raining so much.

oh wow. how is manny pacquiaouuuw? he's great.

and as i have mentioned before, traveling is one humbling experience. im just another asian roaming their city, a tourist.