Friday, February 28, 2014

Grateful: Witness to the March of Technology

It still amazes me now far technology has advanced from where it has been since I was sentient. I was born to a family that had very modest means in suburban Manila. In the middle of the 60's, all I remember were newspapers, magazines, radio and the phonograph for outside news and entertainment. But because both my parents were musically inclined, and Lola had a piano, we could manage to entertain ourselves simply by singing along to my sisters as they played the piano. During special occasions, we would watch movies. And that was always a major treat for us. We would even dress up!

Communicating was done through the telephone, with its rotary dial and the party line (the shared line). Luckily, she was our spinster neighbor who rarely used the phone. I would get into monumental bitch fights with our eldest sister when it came to using that phone.

Soon came the television set. It was a wonder for us, seeing all that moving pictures in the little black and white screen in an elegant wooden cabinet. The first set was our Lolo's, so watching any show was a community event. Excitement over the TV got me my first major surgery at the age of 6. I tripped running up the stairs with my lunch on hand. I hit my right eyebrow on the edge of the steps. I was rushed to the hospital, and stitched by my own father (he was a resident surgeon then) without anesthesia. Yes. Without anesthesia. Thankfully, I have no recollection of the pain.

The tape cassette recorder and player came and allowed us to capture music we liked. That was the birth of the playlist, though we didn't call it playlist then. It was just a 'tape' or 'mix'. That was such a blessing. We didn't have to buy LP's (long-playing vinyl records) anymore to have a copy of songs we loved.

When we were in high school, Sony came up with the Walkman. Suddenly, you could bring your music with you. Revolutionary!!! And the coolest classmates were the first ones to have that 'it' gadget! I got mine in 4th year. It was a first gen type, when 2nd gen was already available. But I loved it. I learned to experience STEREO for the first time - High Fidelity! I finally understood what depth in audio meant.

The CD player came next. The family's first one was a personal type, a Discman. My first investment in a CD was Madonna's Like A Prayer album. It was amazing! The sound seemed so crisp compared to an audio tape. I called it an investment because CD's were just too expensive for impoverished college kids like me.

To communicate faster, 'the upwardly mobile younger generation' relied on pagers! Either Pocketbell or Easycall. From big sets, the pagers became smaller and smaller. The process remained the same. You dial a call center and leave a "Message for ID number..." But you'd still need to have access to a landline to be able to return calls. And that meant using those red public phones (that never work) or the neighborhood sari-sari store for a quick call. Just imagine how 'revolutionary' it was when the first cellular phones started arriving in the Philippines. Finally a portable phone! No matter if it was as huge as a flat iron. It was personal and portable. We started dumping pagers for the chance to have a cellular phone. My first was huge Motorola. Getting signal was quite a problem. (Nothing really changes?) But I didn't have to wait in some sari-sari store for my turn.

Then the Internet! You could get a dial-up service through existing phone lines. Subscription included an email address. Communication became instantaneous. And if you had the patience, you could start tinkering with the browser and read oodles and oodles of information on anything and everything, including PORN!!

Reaching out to others became easier with ICQ, crude chat services. I used to visit chatrooms like Gay Manila. Though these chatrooms were full of possible hook-ups, you also got to meet friends whose shared interest went beyond having sex. There were eyeballs and grand eyeballs. My bf then and I loved attending them for a chance to see in person that seemingly hot number in the chatroom. No pictures on profiles yet. Just ASL's. LOL

Internet speeds accelerated. Websites became portals which included billboards and chatrooms. Photos became easier to share. Then soon, even videos.

Meanwhile, phones reduced in size and SMS became a feature. Previously, you could only text within telco subscribers. Then the barriers went down. I still remember the first messages I sent from my Globe line to a Smart line of a potential date. Groundbreaking!

On the music scene, portable mp3 players made their debut. But they didn't catch my attention. The iPod did. But I had to wait for the 3rd Gen just to make sure it wouldn't just be a fad. And the 'playlist' was coined and born.

Digital cameras and videocams were also increasing in specifications and becoming cheaper. Soon after, cameras appeared in mobile phones, too.

I'll stop at this point. It gets both complicated yet more exciting and convenient. But beyond praising the current capabilities of the iPhone, iPad, etc., I am grateful for having seen this 'march of technology'. I have known how it is to be simple and unwired and unplugged. Yet I have also felt the ultimate convenience that current technology offers. I was born at the right time to have witnessed all this.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Grateful: Kasambahay

I can't call them 'nannies'. They were not exclusive to taking care of us. They were all-around helpers and assistants to my mom. But in my heart, they were more than just 'help'. They became friends, even family.

Tarsing, Billy, Auring, Elsie, Mina and Linda, Pia and Linda, Gemma. Those were their names. Or at least the names of those I still remember. They were the ones who came into our lives, into my life and helped shaped my childhood.

Even then, I cringed at the use of the word 'katulong'. There was something so debasing about the sound of it. And it didn't seem to encompass the friendship I had developed with some of them. I guess we were pretty lucky with them, for 'good help is hard to find.' I don't remember having been robbed, or abused, or any of those horror stories the CCTV nowadays capture about domestic help.

Billy tended to us as I was in my early school years. She was really quite tomboyish, very up-and-about and perky every time. In one trip to Baguio, Mom was appalled to discover that as I would sit on her lap, I would actually strum her nipples. Ugh. I was a lecherous young boy. Billy was also the one who would pick me up from school nearby. And one time, in my haste to go home, we both stumbled and bruised ourselves so badly.

Auring was a very quiet and reserved one. But the gossip was that she was flirting with our married driver!

Elsie hailed from Pangasinan. She had the thickest Ilocano accent and rolled her "R's" distinctly.

Pia was the household help I called my friend. I think I was in early high school during that time. She was pouty and moody. She could send Mom's blood pressure soaring with that attitude. But she was also very sincere. I would buy her Pilipino comics from my allowance. We would talk and tell stories. And though she probably knew about my blossoming sexual orientation, she kept quiet about it. I remember getting really pissed at her for walking into the bathroom as I was doing a Number Two! Yes, our bathroom doors didn't lock then. She had to do it because my eldest sister was screaming at her to get something she forgot in the bathroom. I felt so shameful! I didn't speak to her for days.

Mina and Linda seemed like a lesbian couple with their closeness. Mina was quite butch, smoking while doing the laundry. "Filomena mula sa Tagbilaran, Bohol" In contrast, Linda was tall but very comely and maternal. She was probably the sweetest of them all, the most caring.

A few years back, I accompanied my folks to the furniture trade shops. One of the helpers in the a shop suddenly approached my mom and introduced herself as a former help. I did not recognize her, though. My mom took some time before remembering her. She is Tarsing and she was introduced to us as one of those who took care of one of us as a baby. Then it dawned on Mom that I was that one! Only because Tarsing mentioned that it was a baby boy.

She was ecstatic! She hugged me and Mom and was just jumping up and down recalling the times, recalling how I was such a behaved baby. Though I had no recollection, I am still so happy to have met her.

I am now head of the household in terms of being the source of salaries and compensation. But it is Mom who manages and keeps everything in order. My attitude towards help has changed slightly throughout the years. Though I cannot say that I am "friends" with our current help, I will always look at them as family and watch out for them. Managing people in the office has also shaped my relations with them. I have tried to put a semblance of structure and order in managing performance and benefits packages. I am happy that we have managed to keep them, one having celebrated her 10th year with us last year.

I am so thankful to all the katiwala who have shared their time, skills and love with us through the years. In no small way, they helped mold me become the person I am now.

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Grateful. Still.

My barkada planned this Hong Kong trip in October last year. It was another chance to get together, after ‘bonding’ in April in Butuan-Surigao. We had loads of fun catching up then.

As one barkada, we have been together since the 90’s. Yes, the 90’s. One of them was my classmate in high school. The 80’s. We used to travel a lot together during that time until mid-2000’s. Understandably, we were in our 20’s going 30’s then.

But as the second decade came rolling in, we had not gotten in touch as much. This would happen only during someone’s birthday or when a friend from abroad visiting. Then early last year, we started to organize trips again. So even if we don’t see each other as often, we would look forward to the trips and the parties to keep in touch.

We were all supposed to leave today, February 6. They all left, including c3. I stayed behind. I suddenly had the mumps. I found out this morning at 3am. But up till 5am, I was still hesitating. Maybe it’s not the mumps. Maybe it’s no so bad. We’ve paid for the fare. What a waste it would be.

But even if my body could have handled it (I was having just low-grade fever intermittently, and the only thing bothersome was that swelling of the right parotid gland.), and even if i wasn’t so sure it was really mumps (I’ve had it before! How come I’m not feeling so bad?), I decided that I didn’t want to risk infecting others. (I’m reminded of ‘Contagion’, where ground zero was Macau! Yikes!)

So I was feeling awful. Really bad. c3 wanted to cancel but there was no use both of us not going. I can’t even risk him coming to see me anyway. So I urged him to go and not to waste the fare and accommodations.

But I’m snapping out of this self-pity mode. I still am grateful I didn’t go and get sick out there. That would have been terrible. On the budget. And inconvenient for everybody. I also get to spend some rest time at home. Maybe that’s what I sorely needed.

Yes, I am grateful. For gratitude, the attitude, is a choice.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Business Trip 3

They hailed a cab. Jeff talked to the driver and gave him directions. They were both at the back seat. But neither was making any move to be a bit intimate. Ryan was beginning to wonder if this was such a good idea. The alcohol seemed to have dulled his awareness a bit.

It seemed to be a short trip. He found himself in one of those inns, those that allowed for short-time visits. And the room reeked of overly sanitized sheets, probably having been laundered a million times from all the bodily fluids left there to dry. He was tipsy anyway. So it didn't matter to him.

"I'll freshen up. You should, too." Jeff went to the bathroom.

Left alone, Ryan suddenly thought of his security. The alcohol has started to wear off. Or maybe his fear started to grow. It dawned on him that he really had no idea where he was in Davao City. He hardly knew Jeff, except for that short conversation at the bar. What if this guy is actual a psycho? He began to feel uneasy even as he could hear the water running from the shower.

This was his chance. He looked for the phone and fumbled with the numbers. He tried "0" but just got a busy tone. "9?" He wondered. He was still trying to work it out when he heard Jeff from behind.

"Who are you calling?"

He turned to see Jeff in a towel. "Ahh.. Room service?" he replied quite tentatively. Jeff must have sensed the nervousness.

"Ah, you still want to drink?"

"Hmm... maybe. Just another bottle? Can I order? You want one?"

"Just Coke."

"Uhm, how do I do this?"

"Press '1'"

"Ahh, '1'... " feeling like an idiot. Ryan placed the order for drinks with the lady on the other end of the line, the one with a very thick accent.

Jeff turned on the old TV and surfed channels. "Aren't you going to take a shower?"

Ryan hesitated to leave his things alone. "You mind if I don't? Feeling kinda cold."

"But you're still in your office clothes. I don't think you even went up to your room."

He was out of excuses. "Ok, I guess." And he remembered how oily he was after that massage. He went directly to the bathroom without taking his clothes off. He was wondering if Jeff would notice. But apparently, he was focused on the TV.

He looked at the dank, wet bathroom. The white tiles need heavy cleaning. He carefully took his clothes off, neatly folded them up and tucked in his watch, wallet and phone in between the folds. He quickly stepped into the shower area and struggled with the knobs with loose threads. And there was no hot water. He braced himself for the cold water that came out in one stream. He rubbed himself with the awful-smelling soap briskly, to keep warm and to try to take out the greasiness.

He toweled dry and wrapped himself. And slowly walked back to the bedroom, with his clothes in his arm. Jeff didn't even seem to notice. And it turned out, the drinks had arrived while he was in the shower.

"Sit beside me, Sir." Jeff grinned and patted his side of the bed. "I'll pour the beer in the glass."

Expertly he was able to transfer the beer into the glass without making much bubbles. And seeing him doing this mindfully relaxed Ryan. Perhaps he had nothing to be scared of. Ryan gave him his glass.

"Here you are, Sir. Enjoy your drink."

Jeff grabbed his own glass and raised it for a toast. "Cheers, Sir Ryan."

Jeff lowered the volume of the TV but left it on. He looked at Ryan. "You must think I do this to the guests of the hotel."

"I actually didn't think of that. But now that you mentioned it, do you?"

"Hahaha, I'm no virgin. But I'm no slut either. I've met up with some guests, usually outside the hotel. But this is the first time I've become... assertive."

Ryan blushed a bit. "I'm flattered."

"I was not flattering you. I'm just being honest."

"Jeff, have you always been so sure of your... "

"My sexuality? My gayness?" he laughed a bit. "Yes, ever since I can remember."

"I'm amazed. I wasn't like that at all, growing up. I denied it for a long time."

"You had girlfriends? Wait, are you married?"

"Hahaha No. I went through the girlfriend phase but no, not marriage. I guess people in the office know now. But it's like a non-issue."

"Exactly, a non-issue. My folks know. My brother knows. Never really felt like hiding it."

"So they know about it in the hotel, too?"

"Yeah. But again, it's a non-issue."

Ryan felt totally relaxed now, and safe. The conversation reinforced that Jeff is a nice guy. He just wasn't used to guys being so forward.

"Do you have a lover back in Manila?"

"Hahaha, no. Had one but we broke off last year. Which is why I told you that finding the right one is hard."

"Do you have one?"

"Yes." Ryan felt a twitch in his heart when he heard the reply.

"Oh.. but why are we..."

Jeff cut him short. "It's an open thing. I can have fun, he can have fun."

"That's really amazing! You kids are so different now!" Ryan exclaimed.

"You mean you've never been in an open relationship?"

"Hell, no! I wouldn't have it that way! No way!"

"So conservative." Jeff chuckled.

"So this thing, it's all about sex, right?"

Jeff straightened up and looked at Ryan with a puzzled look. "Ah. Yes? What else could this be?"

"Of course. So silly of me."

"Hey, what's this? I thought you wanted it."

"Yes, of course." then his voice trailed off.

"Let's just make the most of it, okay?"

Jeff leaned over to him, looking at him directly. Slowly, his face came closer and he planted a kiss on Ryan's lips.

"I've wanted to do that since MTS." He smiled.


"Matina Town Square. Where we had drinks."

He leaned over and kissed him again. This time, Ryan opened his mouth to taste his lips, his tongue. It was just their lips intertwined now, lapping at each other's tongues. Then, Ryan felt Jeff's hand press his lips closer to his. And he wrapped his arms around him.

Jeff climbed on top of him, still passionately kissing, still wearing the wet towel around his hips. Ryan could feel Jeff's very hard cock pressing on his own throbbing member. He opened his legs to let Jeff pound his hips more. He caressed Jeff's back, hugged him tightly. His hands found his soft round ass, and he struggled to get them under the towel.

Jeff stopped and in one quick move, removed his towel and threw it over the side of the bed. Ryan loosened his and opened it. Jeff climbed on top of him again and they continued the kissing. Their hard cocks were now rubbing against each other. And Ryan could hear himself grunting in between the kisses.

Suddenly, Jeff straightened up and knelt and looked at him. Ryan opened his eyes.

"Huh? What's wrong?"

"Nothing. You are just so darn hot." Jeff let his hand run across his chest, brush his nipples down to his belly button. Ryan felt the electricity. He glanced down and thought to himself "yeah, not bad for someone his age."

Jeff seemed to know what he was thinking and smiled. "You are one DILF."


"Sheesh, don't you browse the internet?" They both laughed. "Daddy I love to fuck."

"Oh, that.... are we doing anal?"

Jeff laughed out louder. "You make it sound like some annual physical exam."

"No." Jeff hunched over and began licking his nipples. And with his abs he was pressing Ryan's cock. "Not yet." He licked all over it, sucked it and bit gently. Then he made his way to the other nipple, all the while grinding Ryan's cock with a rhythm.

He licked his way down his belly until he reached the cock. Then he paused and held the stiff cock in his hand. Ryan looked down at him again, without saying anything this time. Jeff looked at him directly as he started to lick up and down the shaft of the cock. Just gentle licking and nibbling. It drove Ryan crazy looking at him seemingly having a grand time playing with his dick. Then he went up the tip of the cock, and started teasing it with his tongue, letting the saliva mix with pre-cum oozing out. Finally, he swallowed. First the head, and just that. Sucking on his head as his tongue played around it. Then inch by inch, he lowered his mouth wrapping his lips tightly around the shaft.

Ryan saw his entire cock slowly disappear into Jeff's mouth. And he felt as the head seemed to have hit maybe the tonsils. He saw Jeff burying himself into pubes, though it was still short from the last time he shaved it. The warm mouth, the tight lips made him groan as he closed his eyes.

"Fuck! You're good."

Jeff continued to go up and down his cock, sucking and slurping. Then he felt a hot, wet finger starting to explore his crack. It just felt so good he let that finger wander around and feel his asshole. Then it poked inside him. That jolted him.

"Uhmm.. don't. I.. I'm not clean."

Jeff withdrew his finger. And straightened up a bit. "Turn around."

Despite that, Jeff propped Ryan's ass up on his knees. And as he was tugging on the stiff cock, he started to lick his asshole clean.

"No.." but that protest became a groan as Ryan felt the tongue slide up and down his crack, and even down to his cock, now being pulled down. Then he felt Jeff's mouth engulf his dick again, all strained and stiff yet feeling the lips and tongue playing all around. He was delirious with delight. Next thing he realized, he was already feeling Jeff's cock rubbing against his crack, his asshole.

"Did you bring rubber?"

Jeff reached over and kissed him on his neck. "You want me to fuck you? I thought you weren't clean?"

"No. But if you insist."

"Hahaha. Mr. Ryan, the pleaser. No, I won't fuck you. Even if you asked. "

"Oh okay."

"I didn't bring rubber. And I'm not going to do bareback." Jeff released him and let him lie on his back. He laid beside him, propped up by his arm, with his head on his wrist.

"I really like you, Ryan."

He didn't know how to respond to that. The guy's attached. He's based in Davao. What do you say to that?

"And I like you, too."

His cock became limp just as Jeff's free hand started to play with it.

"I can get it hard again."

"Don't. I like playing with it this way."

His fingers were gently fondling his cock, tugging at the loose skin, brushing against his palm and fingers. Then he straightened up and knelt, with his cock now directly at Ryan's face. He gently guided Ryan to suck on his cock. At first gently, letting Ryan control the pace. Soon, though, he was face-fucking him, feeling ecstatic as he looked down on him.

Ryan worked on the cock like it was the perfect cock. It was thick though not too long. And he loved the way it filled his mouth up, without gagging him. He played with the head, nibbled on it as he licked it. Jeff pushed his cock harder, pumped it all the way in. He was obviously getting worked up.

"Oh shit. Oh shit." Jeff murmured.

"Yeah, Jeff, come on my chest. I want to see you shoot that load on my chest."

Jeff was jerking himself furiously. "Yeah? You want me to? You want me to blow my load all over your fucking chest?"

"Yeah. Come all over me." Ryan himself was jacking off, too. He was so turned on by the image of this young stud jerking in front of him, in such wild abandon.

"Oh fuck, here it comes. Here it ..." Jeff shoots loads upon loads of cum on his chest. Thick cum just shooting out of the thick cock. And that made him come himself.

"Oh man! Shoot that fucking load! Whoa! What a shooter! I felt it on my ass!" Jeff cried out loud. And he tumbled out of bed to look for tissue paper.

Ryan laid there, all spent. He was panting. He closed his eyes, his head still reeling. Jeff approached him and gave him tissue paper. He got it but didn't clean up yet. He just laid there. After a while, he saw Jeff checking out his mobile.

"Oh shit. I have 5 Missed calls."

Ryan got up. "Huh? From whom?"

"My partner."

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Gratitude month

I celebrate my birth month by being consciously grateful.

This afternoon, I am grateful for the wonderful breeze I am enjoying at this quaint Starbucks coffeeshop on a Sunday. I am thankful for the freedoms that allow me to take pleasure in this: The freedom from financial constraints. The freedom from work schedules that give me time to smell the roses.

The freedom of a love trusting and true that allows me to be with myself.

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