Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mass Entertainment

For the first time in years I attended the Misa de Gallo at our parish church in Marikina. And I was surprised by what I saw.

I never knew that our current parish priest is so showbiz. Through the years our parish always had two anticipated masses on Dec. 24. But this year he limited it to one mass, which had us worried because the church cannot accommodate all the parishioners in our village. So he had wide-screens and projectors set up all around the church so that the overflow of people in the parking lot would be able to see the mass like on TV.

He also had the old lady collectors dress up in Filipinana costumes and do a dance number after they finished doing their rounds for the second collection after communion. In the beginning of their dance number, the lights in the church were turned off. Then the dancers held up blinking lights as the music played. Karir kung karir ang dance number! The dance itself looked like a traditional Filipino folk dance mashed with tai chi simplicity to accommodate the osteoporostic participants.

And before the final blessing, our parish priest announced that there was going to be a fireworks display at the parish parking lot.

As I watched the night sky ablaze, I wondered how the mass would look like if Master Showman German Moreno overhauled it.

Friday, December 24, 2010


From the brains behind Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Olivero and Endo comes this brain-busting comedy, scheduled for the first quarter of 2011.

Personally, just the mere presence of Roderick Paulate in the movie is enough to make my head giddy with excitement and anticipation. OMG, si Kuya Dick, doing what he does best!

Watch out for it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Make Christmas Merry

So this is Christmas,
And what have you done?
Another year over,
And a new one’s just begun.

-- John Lennon

2010 has been quite a year for me. It was the year I ended my Single Since Birth status. It was the year I moved out of the condo I shared with a housemate and into a place of my own. It was the year I took my second test and breathed a sigh of relief. But it was also the year two of my friends found out they were HIV-positive.

A decade of the new millennium past, and a new decade beckons. One of my favorite quotes has been: Life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived. I’ve always believed that every problem has a solution, but when it comes to the bigger picture of Life, one just goes with the flow—sort of. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” and all that jazz. But I guess wisdom happens when one knows when to fly into a rage and when one quietly submits to what is and what will be.

May we all be a little more ignorant, a little bit wiser, and a lot gentler this coming 2011.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I. Will. Never. Get. Drunk. Again!

My officemate Donita* is the tomboyish-looking kind of girl, but she’s definitely straight. She prefers jeans and t-shirt, and wears her hair short. She’s very much into sports, which is why one could cast her as Sporty Spice. It’s her lack of femininity and her love for traditionally male-centric games (like basketball) that can throw people off.

An artist from my department, Calvin* is wiry thin with a boyish demeanor. Newly hired just a few months ago, he exudes the enthusiasm of someone fresh off college. He’s still very gung-ho and open to almost anything.

The following incidents were reported to have happened last Wednesday at Amber, during our post-Christmas party gimmick. I have absolutely no recollection of them whatsoever; let it be stated for the record that I am just repeating what my officemates told me the following day.

[1] While dancing with Donita and some others at Amber, I leaned over to her and said, “Alam mo, okey ka. Kahit medyo butch ka.”


[2] The following day, Calvin went up to his immediate supervisor and said, “Sir! Ang guwapo ko pala!”

“Ha? Bakit?” asked his supervisor.

Calvin laughed and said, “Eh kasi sinayaw po ako ni Sir Joel! Naramdaman ko pa nga yung balbas niya sa aking leeg!”


Donita just laughs about it now. I still have to give Calvin a good whack on the head when I see him.

*Not their real names

Monday, December 20, 2010

Close To Home

On the first week of December, I found out that a friend of mine was HIV+. He was the first guy I knew who turned out to be positive after I’ve met him (unlike, say, Chronicles of E whom I’ve met after he found out that he was HIV+). Several days after, a Fabcaster told me that another friend of ours was also HIV+ (though he refused to name the friend).

As another Fabcaster said, it really makes a difference when someone whom you personally know has HIV. It brings the virus closer to home. And if it’s a close friend, the disease is literally breathing down your neck.

For those who have never taken the test, believe me when I say that I know the fear of taking it for the first time. I was lucky; I was literally dragged to the test by Chronicles of E. Having him plus a friend for company, plus the fact that the test was done on such a public area (in the streets of Malate), helped shoved my fear aside. What’s more, the results were to be given two weeks after, so I had time to actually “forget” about it.

But it took me almost a year after to take my second test, and the reason was simple: fear of “what if?” What eventually helped me conquer the fear was my sense of responsibility to myself (and consequently, to my loved ones), which, as it turned out, was much more compelling than just coasting along on the blissful irresponsibility of ignorance.

So for those who still haven’t done so, please take the test. And if you tested negative, take the test again after six months.

And always, always, always PLAY SAFE. (Thank you to those who reminded me about this reminder.)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mind Versus Body

I never really liked getting drunk. Tipsy is fine, tipsy is great. You get that buzz while still aware and able to enjoy what’s happening. But drunk is just plain awful. Everything gets tuned out, and you’re left grasping at yourself, trying to keep yourself together—and to keep everything you drank (and ate) to remain in your stomach. It’s a test of mind over body, wherein the mind itself is weakened and the body threatening to break down.

After hosting our Christmas party (successfully, so I was told), I joined everyone in drinking and dancing (okay, okay, more drinking than dancing). And when the booze ran out, our bosses dragged several of us over to Amber. There I downed 5 shots of coffee-flavored Patron Tequila. Needless to say, I ended up sitting on a chair, my head reeling and the music fading into a blur.

Then I heard my officemate Howie asking me, “Are you okay?” I shook my head. Then I felt someone hand me a glass of something cold. “Here,” my other officemate Trisha said. “Drink this. You need sugar!” I looked up and saw the soda can she was holding. I drank from the glass she gave me.

As she turned away, I whispered to Howie (who was still beside me), “Sugar? She gave me a Coke Zero! There’s no sugar in Coke Zero!”

Even with the world spinning like crazy, my mind is still very, very aware. But unfortunately my body isn’t as controlled as my mind. A few minutes later I was barfing in Amber’s bathroom.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bed Manila Is Back-la!

First, the official press release (with matching pictures):

BED Manila will finally hold its grand public opening on December 17, Friday.

The long wait is over and after a series of endless teasing, BED Manila brings you the real deal! A bigger and definitely better BED Manila for you to explore.

With more than 600 square meters, 3-storey dance and music playground, now you can truly play all you want in BED Manila. This is the biggest BED ever!

BED Manila aims to be Asia’s capital of lifestyle celebration giving its unique market the most innovative entertainment, products, services, facilities and exceptional individuals all in one equally uniquely designed space.

Its battle cry: “Live Loud. Live Proud.”

In BED Manila, everyday is a celebration of diversity as well as individuality. It celebrates music, the soul of its home. It celebrates dance, the way we play. It will be the home of great individuals who celebrate their passion for success, love, life and freedom.

The grand public opening is supported by Dove Men, Vaseline Men, Folded & Hung and Finlandia Vodka.

Last Saturday, Dec. 11, we attended the invitational launch of Bed Manila. Since it was an invitational event, the crowd was more of friends of friends of friends. And what can I say about the new place?

In Goldilocks’ tale, she didn’t like Papa Bear’s bed because it was too hard. She also didn’t like Mama Bear’s bed because it was too soft. But she loved Baby Bear’s bed because it was just right.

When Bed first opened, it was a small hole-in-the-wall two-storey affair. When it got crowded, it got really packed. But the Manila gays didn’t mind feeling like sardines; it was a chance to snuggle up (or maybe cop a feel or two) to your crush. It was like a private (jam-packed) space that we grew up with, and to this day I still remember the small space with much fondness. But Bed closed down for renovations.

Bed re-opened to a bigger venue, with an even bigger mirror ball. There was more space, space, space. Though it frequently got crowded (especially on Saturday evenings), the bigger space meant more maneuvering room. It didn’t feel like the private “hideaway” that Bed used to be, but change was inevitable. More guys were more open to exploring their sexuality, and Malate was losing some of the old-time gay-friendly establishments—the pink crowd needed a place to call home. Bed was big enough to welcome all of them.

The fire unfortunately killed the music for a few months, and the Bed crowd flocked to other alternatives (in The Fort and Ortigas). But now the brand new Bed Manila is back.

What struck me most was how Bed Manila raised the ante on the interiors. Most gay establishments have this somewhat seedy, thrown-together look; it’s like they didn’t have much money to really spruce up the place. The new Bed Manila is light-years cooler than its previous incarnation. Gone is the ubiquitous throw-back-to-a-bygone-era mirror ball. From the snazzy interiors designed by Ricky Disini to the too-too cool monitors and huge screen in front and behind the DJ’s booth, Bed Manila now looks first world. And why shouldn’t it be? Why can’t we have international DJs come in and spin for us?

What’s even better, they now have converted the third floor/rooftop into the smoking area. My biggest beef with the old venue was the lack of proper ventilation; all that cigarette smoke would eventually sting my eyes and made the place unbearable.

My other complaint was the heat, especially when the place gets too packed. In the following days we’ll see if the new airconditioning units can take the heat of a jampacked Bed. Then again, maybe the place will never really reach the crowded levels of the old Bed—if they increase the entrance fee, then that will naturally put a limit to the number of people crowding the place.

On the 17th of December we’ll find out if the latest incarnation of Bed Manila is not too big, not too hot, but just right for all of us Goldilockses.

It’s The Month Of Decemo

“It really hurts when you give your full attention to someone, tpos you know, ahhmm hindi xa ganun sayo… sigh.”
“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”
“Many are dying for a piece of bread, but many more are dying for love.”

The above quotes I lifted from a Facebook group account. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, so the song goes; however, most suicides are also recorded around this time of the year. Yes folks. It’s Christmas time, there’s a need to be afraid. Be afraid, because of all that emo shit and the neediness of people that abound. Be afraid, because ‘tis the season of break-ups and the Twitterverse is suddenly awash in hate and hurt. Be afraid, because Hubert Webb and Hayden Kho have been given reprieves, and now the jokes are flying fast and furious. (Okay, that last statement was irrelevant; I just wanted to toss it in.)

Okay, fine; December is the month of emo-ness. Ah, all the lonely people! Strolling in a mall with D one Sunday evening, I flashed back to the time when I’d stroll the mall alone and seeing all those people with their loved ones. It can get stressful and lonely to be alone in a sea of togetherness. But thank god I was someone who often went against the tide; seeing all that togetherness made me appreciate my singlehood amidst them.

So how does one handle the attack of the lonelies? Here are some practical tips:

[1] Appreciate the term “single blessedness.” As much as married couples are blessed with one another, blessed too are the lone wolves who prowl the earth. We were alone when we were born, and we’ll face Death alone. The sooner you deal with that, the better.

[2] Learn to dine alone. Start with the sit-down restaurants; it looks more sossy eating alone in an expensive establishment. When you do fastfood joints, bring something to read. It makes you look busy, plus it diverts your mind from the attack of the lonelies. But if they do attack, just remind yourself: you’re feeding your mind as well as your tummy. You’re being good to yourself.

[3] Do physical activity. Take up a sport you like. Enroll in a gym. If you’re going to work out, do it to be healthy. Don’t do it because of a narcissistic need to be adored for your physical beauty. Do it because you need to be good to yourself.

[4] Your singular presence in a sea of togetherness already screams “I’m alone!” It is best followed by, “And I’m okay with it!” instead of a pathetic, “Please someone, anyone, love me!” Smile. Be aware and be interested in everything around you; live in the now. Do things with a purpose; even if it’s to just wander and waste your time, do so purposefully.

[5] Appreciate and devote time for your “me-time” (which is different from “single blessedness.”) Even though I am already in a relationship, I still treasure my me-time (and D also has his own me-time). Me-time means reading. Me-time means treating myself. Me-time means being good to myself.

[6] Fall in love all over again with your friends. If you have few, make some new.

[7] Fall in love all over again with your family. If you are not close to your family, then see #6.

[8] Sing: “Learn to be lonely; learn to be your one companion. Never dreamed that out in the world there are arms to hold you. You’ve always known your heart was on its own. So laugh in your loneliness, Child of the wilderness! Learn to be lonely; learn to love life that is lived alone.” (from the movie The Phantom of the Opera)

[9] Sing this too: “You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout; I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town.”

[10] Christmas comes but once a year. But remember this: Christmas comes every year. Get used to it.

Ho-ho-ho! Jingle your balls, dick your halls. Have a merry Christmas, folks.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Synchronicity And Serendipity

Migs started this activity last year. He would send out an invite to his readers, and those who sent him an email would be invited to a little tête à tête. For this year he accommodated more than the usual, so he asked me to help him facilitate two groups in one Saturday afternoon, Dec. 11.

It was an interesting experience to meet 13 strangers, with 7 of them joining me in one table for a free-flowing chit-chat session. To be honest, at first it was a bit awkward, but I always had this fascination for people and their stories. So soon we were just talking and sharing.

What I found fascinating is that several of them admitted to not having a group of gay friends that they can hang out with. It’s not surprising really; most of them aren’t as out of the closet as, say, the majority of the Fabcasters. Most of them are discreet and straight-looking; some are so straight-acting, they can fool several gaydars.

To those who were at S&S Batch 3, thank you for your time, your honesty, and your company. To Migs, thanks for the opportunity to join this batch of S&S.

At the end of the day, what matters really are the people you meet in your life. Many will fall by the wayside, some will stay with you for a long time, and a choice few will be with you ‘til death do you part. By the third or fourth Fabcast I knew that AJ, Corporate Closet, Gibbs, Migs and Tony will be my BFFs.

I hope you guys find your gay BFFs too.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

For Those Who Grew Up In The 80s

My brother was beside himself with excitement when he sent me the following SMS: "This. Will. Blow. Your. Mind." (Guess we have the same genes, huh.)

Apparently he stumbled upon this video in YouTube. It's a promotional spot for this Norwegian(?!) television series entitled Gylne tider (in English: "Golden Times"). According to Wikipedia, "The show has produced four seasons which premiered in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2010. Presenter Øyvind Mund, cameraman Steinar Marthinsen and sound engineer Ingar Thorsen travel to meet their childhood heroes." Interesting premise. In their 3rd season they focused on international stars, with emphasis on the 80s.

In this promotional spot, the crew asked their childhood heroes to lipsynch to an uber-80s song, "We Are The World." For those who grew up in the 80s, this one's for you.

There's also another TV spot, this time their guests are lipsynching to "Let It Be." Unfortunately it's not on YouTube, but you can view it here:

Saturday Night...

...I feel the air is gettin' hot...

(I just hope the place has a new sprinkler system in place on the 11th, bwhehehe.)

No Gaydar? No Problem!

Last Monday, London_boy and I went to the Ayala Triangle to try out one of the new restaurants that opened there. Unfortunately the crowd was still quite thick, so we ended up retreating. And that’s how we got to watch a portion of the light show at the Ayala Triangle Gardens (Mon-Fri, every 30mins from 6pm to 9pm).

It’s really just Christmas lights on trees that are set to blink on-and-off to music. It’s pretty straightforward, if you think about it. But gather thousands and thousands of lights and hang, twirl, wrap, or spread them around trees and on the ground beneath them, and you’ve got a spectacular sight.

So it happened that we stumbled upon the middle of the trees while a slow song was playing (something like, “Silent Night”), so the lights were also gently, slowly fading on and off in time with the music. Most of the lights were off, in keeping with the stillness of the song.

But then it was immediately followed by a lively tune. Suddenly all the lights in the trees burst forth in a blaze of color. It was a gasp-inducing sight! London_boy and I couldn’t help ourselves; out of our mouths burst forth an awe-inspired tili:


A split-second later we realized what happened and burst out laughing. “Shet, nabisto tayo!” said London_boy.

So! If you suspect someone of hiding inside his pink closet, just invite him to the light show at the Ayala Triangle Garden. And watch his inner bakla burst out in a kaleidoscope of tili.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hiya, Tush!

I will be on indefinite online hiatus starting today. I am physically fine, don't worry about me.

(This gives me a great excuse to think of a banner for a new season.)