Friday, February 19, 2016


Tinatanong sa akin sa tuwing malalaman ng aking mga nakikilala na ako'y miyembro ng LGBT community. Marahil ay nagtataka sila o nagugulat na malaya akong kumilos at manamit ayon sa aking tunay na nararamdaman. Bakit ka nga ba hindi matatanggap ng iyong pamilya? Ito ba ay isang kahihiyan? Dahil ba ito sa takot o hindi pagkaunawa? Hindi ba katanggap-tanggap ang pagiging totoo sa iyong sarili?

Coming out to one's family remains to be a very sensitive issue among a lot of friends. It is a very personal decision, laden with so much anguish. I am one of the lucky ones, blessed actually, that I am very much accepted, and loved, by my family for who I am.

Initially, I wanted to focus on one aspect of her response - "when people I meet know that I am a member of the LGBT community." - particularly the word "LGBT Community". I was thinking then that even though I am gay, I do not feel like I belong to a 'community'. I still felt like my 'community' is Gay, not L-G-B-T and all the colors of the rainbow.

In an instant, all this changed for me. With simply one callous, bigoted statement from PacMan, I saw the "LGBT community" emerge. I suddenly found kinship with each and every person who has been labeled "masahol pa sa hayop". I felt the collective indignation as only a community could feel.

Tanggap man ako o hindi ng pamilya ko, ng opisina ko, ng parokya ko, ng boksingerong sikat ay hindi kasing halaga ng pagtanggap ko sa sarili ko. At dahil tanggap ko na ako ay isang tao, taong nagsusumikap maging mabuti, wala kang karapatang tawagin ako, at ang aking ginagawa sa loob ng silid ko, ng anumang pangalan, lalo na ng 'hayop'. At dahil tao ako tulad nilang lahat, ang mga karapatang tinatamasa nila ay dapat ring tinatamasa ko.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Temptation of Jesus

Today's gospel talks about how the Devil tempted Jesus during the 40-day fast he was observing.

I just noticed how Jesus rebukes the first two attempts of the Devil by quoting the Scriptures. But on the third attempt, the Devil himself quotes the Scriptures and uses it to tempt Jesus to prove His credentials, i.e. the Son of God.

This dramatizes how the Word of God could easily be used not for the good it was intended to do. Don't we hear so many accounts of so-called religious folk who justify their words and actions using Bible verses, with vile or even heinous outcomes?

It is so easy to be led astray by wolves in sheep's clothing. I believe that the best guard against this is to truly be reflective, analytical of His Word and the Scriptures in an ongoing manner. Ultimately, it will be our consciences that must be empowered to discern. But our conscience will only develop such power if it receives the training, a training within the context of a humble heart eager to seek out and listen to His Wisdom.

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

I Am What I Am

I was virtually alone in the resto of Discovery Suites in Tagaytay last year. It was a cloudy afternoon. I decided to get their cheese platter and help myself to some wine.

And I recalled my dream.


Nakupo kapag:
- Maraming tao
- Bitin ang pinto
- Napipigil pa an gihi
- May tissue na pwedeng upuan
- Nagpapa-impress sa mga lalake
- Sa damuhan
- Isasabay sa pagtae

Nakatayo kapag:
- Ihing-ihi na
- Wala namang tao
- Hindi bitin ang pinto
- Madumi ang rim ng toilet
- Nasa dilim naman at pader lang ang equipment for immediate relief

Nakahiga kapag:
- Napapihi sa panaginip

Walang partikular na posisyon kapag:
- Napapaihi kasi kinikiliti

No, I haven't been asked this question. I just love the way she answered. Throughout the book, the replies speak of breaking dichotomies. I never thought of that before. It's all about 50 or more shades of grey.

BTW, this post is part of a series of reflections lifted from the seminal book "Anong Pangalan Mo Sa Gabi? At Iba Pang Tanong sa mga LGBT" published by the UP Center for Women's Studies, edited by Tetay Mendoza and Joel Acebuche.

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

One Day Challenge

Lent started yesterday with Ash Wednesday. I challenged myself to have an 'immaculate' and 'sin-free' day. LOL That meant being patient, being kind, being slow to anger (or not getting angry at all). That meant no lustful thoughts, no judgements of others. I wanted to try to be love personified. I'm trying to imagine how the Virgin Mary was, being holy and blameless all her life.

Well, I realized how totally difficult that was.

Upon waking up, I opened my gadgets to tune in to social media. I see posts from my sister, the one I have frequent disagreements with, that made my eyes roll. Oh my! I just judged her! I realized that it was so easy for me to dismiss her because of what I felt towards her. I suddenly replaced those thoughts with more loving vibes towards her.

The Viber group of my high school friends was filled with messages. I looked at them and see shared photos of almost-naked hunks! Oh no! I am tempted to open one and zoom in. I stopped myself and scrolled down, just to get rid of the notifications.

I was rushing to attend the morning mass. But I was trying to feel calm even as I was hurrying. Leaving the house, the household help was rushing to give me my lunch. She almost forgot. I was instantly annoyed. Stop! I quickly changed how I felt and just smiled at her.

All that in the first two hours of the day.

And it got more challenging at work at a meeting. I was becoming irritated at the way things were moving so glacially. I noticed I was starting to raise my voice. I caught myself and calmed down. I smiled and made a joke instead.

At the gym, I was trying to stay focused on surviving my workout. Cute, hunky kid, a crushie, I admit, walks in. Oh my! Lustful thoughts! I turned my attention to the Spotify playlist and tuned him out.

You can imagine now how my entire day went. At the end of the day, I noticed how almost automatic it is for me to be irritable, or lustful, or annoyed, or judgmental. The thoughts, and emotions, seem like reflexes to the stimuli. I had to consciously stop myself every time, if only to keep me on track.

I may not have been successful at this challenge. But I am happy that I was able to exercise some mindfulness and some control in my thoughts and feelings.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Cruise Instructions

You see him from afar. You notice him.
You are not sure if he notices you as you walk towards one another.
As you come closer, you like what you see.
Was that a look from him, too?
A few steps away and yes, you notice him checking you out, too.
Or so you think.
You walk past each other.
After just a few feet, or three seconds, you glance back.
You check if he glances back, too.
If you are really interested. STOP.

Look back.
Check for a glance-back.
If he doesn't (or if you didn't catch it), it's not meant to be.

But if you see that momentary glance-back, hope is alive.
Just stay there. Pretend to be looking at the window display.
Never mind if it is all women's clothes.
Yeah, the point is to be obvious to HIM that you are stopping for him.
Casually look back and see if he is going to stop, too.
If he does, and he pretends to do exactly what you are doing, BINGO.
Or even better, he starts walking towards you, BINGO.

Go for the kill.
Slowly, start walking to approach him.
Don't be shy. Walk towards him.
I said walk. Don't run. You don't want to look That desperate.
Slow down as you approach him. Hopefully, he'd still be there. He'd still be faking appreciating a stupid window display.
About two feet away, stop. Preferably at the same window display.
Smile to yourself. As if you saw something you liked at that stupid window display.

Choose appropriate pick-up line. Some suggestions:
Straightforward. May kasama ka?
Pa-cute borderline pathetic: (looks at stupid window display) Ang ganda nun no?
Lame and corny but may be appreciated because of corniness: Anong oras na?
Stalker-ish: Nakita kita. (Notices something he is either carrying or wearing and uses it as a line) Galing ka sa school?

Alternative endings:

He doesn't stop walking BUT still glances back.
You have to follow him. Don't run. Just walk a bit faster to catch up.
If he wants you, he will continue walking but will slow down so you can catch up anyway.
There should be a series of glance-backs with half-smiles as confirmation.
Once you catch up, choose appropriate pick-up line.

The more aggressive type may actually make you follow him.
It may be towards a restroom. BINGO.
Follow him. But don't be over-eager.
He will go to a urinal. Choose the one beside it. BESIDE his! Not the time to be coy.
Do Not Initiate Conversation At The Urinal.
You May Check-out Package BUT be discrete.
Conversation will transpire at the sink area.
Or, if there are too many people, outside the restroom.
But confirm interest with direct eye contact on the mirror above the sink.

If he leads you to a dark and secluded place. DO NOT FOLLOW.
The risk of being held-up is higher than risk of quickie sex.
I repeat. DO NOT FOLLOW. Abandon mission!
Always go for areas where there are still people around.

Disclaimer: This post is for reading pleasure and not meant to be construed as instructional, despite the tone.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

BIrth Month starts

Good Grief! I'm turning 50 by the end of the month. I turn gold!

It's absolutely ancient in millennial terms, maybe even prehistoric. And I get a lot of the ribbing from younger pals. I used to do that myself.

In my 20's, I would look at people in their 50's and think of how old they must feel. That is not necessarily a bad thing. As I was climbing up the corporate ladder, I would be inspired by those already up there. I would think that they would have so much wisdom.

As I fast approach 50, I don't feel so old, or so wise. Yes, my body has changed much. There are really more aches and pains, especially in the joints. I can only lift so much weights. The effort to burn that fat is twice as much.

I am reminded of this quote "Just when I knew all of life's answers, they changed all the questions." That is exactly how I feel, especially with work. I got to this executive position, leading a change in the industry dynamics. Then, almost in an instant, the dynamics changed again. I am back to almost zero.

I don't feel so old because I don't feel so wise. I was hoping that at this age, I would be this 'guru', this 'sage' just dispensing quote-worthy statements, lessons of life. Unfortunately, I haven't collected much yet. I am still learning.

Maybe it's a good thing. It is certainly humbling. I'm still pushing myself, challenging myself, in all aspects. This 50 year old is still not giving up on having a slimmer midsection. This 50 year old is still wracking his brains to come up with solutions to work problems. Yeah, it is getting tiring. But it is not enough to make me pull a hard stop.

Not just yet. Let's see how I feel when I change my citizenship to Senior.

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