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)

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Love & Relationships Fabcast, Part Two

And now, part two of our epic and fairly long discussion on love and relationships among men.

One by one, the Fabcasters and the peanut gallery tackle the questions: Why do I look for love? Why do I go into a relationship?

On a personal note, I noticed that Migs and Tony found the discussions “heavy” and a bit on the “cheesy” side. I agree on the cheesy part, but I don’t think it was heavy; as usual, silly side-comments abound.

Listen and enjoy!

Download Part 2 (right click and save)

Music credits:
“Love Is Strange” by Everything But The Girl
“Love Montage” from the soundtrack of Dying Young by James Newton Howard
“Theme from Beauty And The Beast” by Lee Holdrige and Don Davis
“Theme from Somewhere In Time” by John Barry
“Love Theme” from Forever Young by Jerry Goldsmith
“Theme from E.T. The Extra-Terrestial” by John Williams

Death Becomes Us

“Hellooooow?! Deeeath!” – Remington, “Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington”

* * * * *

I see how affected some of my friends are when they come face to face with death, and I ask myself: Am I lucky that, early in my life, I have experienced several deaths of very close loved ones that I now have a matter-of-fact acceptance of death? Or am I doomed because I’m unmoved when it comes to loss?

I rarely am saddened by news of death these days. Instead, I’m often more shocked, but only because of the unexpectedness or the suddenness of death. If it’s expected, like when my grandmother died of old age, I even see it as a happy occasion, for at last she was at rest (increasingly in her last years, she had trouble moving about, her memory was increasingly slipping and she had started addressing people who had been long gone). When my dad died, I actually felt happy for him because he himself told us how ready he was to meet his Creator. I was sad more for my mom; it’s a good thing that she showed us how resilient she was in the days after, so that I stopped worrying about her.

Some might be shocked at my unfazed reaction in the face of death, especially of someone who is not really close to me. They may even view this as callousness on my part, and perhaps to a degree they may be right. But what may be callous to some is merely matter-of-fact to me. And if one would go all meta-physical about it, death is but a part of life. Face it, that is the reality of death.

I realize that I am neither lucky nor doomed. We cope in different ways, and they are all valid so long as it works for you and that you are not hurting yourself and others in the process. Sadness, anger, numbness or even indifference—all are but ways of coping with the reality of death.

So don’t expect me to go all weepy at your funeral because I won’t. Besides, you’re dead already.

Last Order Sa Korean Grill

It’s been some time since the Fabcasters had time to bond with one another, so on Christmas day we decided to have dinner at a Korean grill near Tomas Morato. Migs, Gibbs and I were the first to arrive, and we decided to order ahead instead of waiting for the others.

For appetizers they trotted out kimchi, pickled onions and a delicious shredded lettuce salad. For our main course, we chose grilled pork and beef belly. To eat them, one takes a piece of grilled meat and put it on a lettuce leaf, add chopped fresh garlic and onion if one so desires, roll the lettuce and eat it with bare hands. It’s a bit high-involvement, but hey, it also seems so healthy. We asked the waitress to grill the meat for us at a nearby table, since we weren’t sure of our grilling skills.

We were nearly finished with our initial batch of appetizers when two more friends arrived and joined us for dinner. So Gibbs called a waitress over.

“Miss, puwede pa bang dagdagan pa ang appetizers? Puwedeng dagdagan yung lettuce?” he asked.

Ay, leetus? Sige ba, sir!” replied the waiter. Then he turned and shouted into the kitchen, “Isa pang leetus!”

I turned to Gibbs who was beside me, then to Migs. We were all grinning.

After a while the main course was all grilled and ready to serve. The waitress placed the plate in front of us and proudly announced, “Ito na po ang inyong beef billy.”

There was a second of silence, then someone repeated what she said. “Ah, beef billy?”

Opo sir,” she replied. “Beef billy.” Then she proceeded to finish grilling the pork belly.

“Okaaay,” I said.

Gibbs wanted to order drinks, so he called a waiter over. The waiter took Gibb’s order, then asked us if we wanted to order drinks too. “Water na lang,” Migs said.

Isang Coke Zero at tow-big,” the waiter repeated our order then left to get them.

Then the waitress placed on the table our last order. “Eto sir,” she said, “pork billy.”

We all nodded. “Aaah, pork billy.”

She walked away, done with her grilling duties.

Gibbs turned to us and said, “At least consistent sila.”

Ho, ho, ho.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Love & Relationships Fabcast, Part One

After The Love Yourself Café, Migs had the Fabcasters and some of those who were also involved to a discussion on “Love and Relationships,” which was also the theme of the first Café.

While all five Fabcasters were present in the Café, sadly two of them couldn’t make it to the Fabcast recording.

This discussion turned out to be the lengthiest one for 2011. I’ve broken it down into four parts to make the downloading or listening via streaming more manageable.

Download this Fabcast (right click and save)

Music credits:
“Tara’s Theme” from the soundtrack of Gone With The Wind by Max Steiner
“Georgetown” from the soundtrack of St. Elmo’s Fire by David Foster
“My Life Would Suck Without Someone Like You” mash-up

Sunday, December 25, 2011


D has a particular gait, a shuffle almost, that he does when he’s particularly happy. It’s like a cross between a penguin and someone who’s constipated, or at least one who’s in dire need to do number two. His head swings left and right, and his steps are in small shuffles. He usually has a shy grin on his face as he shuffles, and when he stops, he more often than not says something like, “Yay!” or a variation thereof.

I know D needed to be home in Bataan for Christmas day, but I also know how difficult it is for him to get a bus ride home. So a week before Christmas I offered, “Let me drive you to Bataan.” I’ve always loved driving, and I don’t shy away from long road trips. Given his work schedule, he gets off Saturday morning, so we can only leave after his work.

7am, day before Christmas, D woke me up. “Let me just get my things and we’ll go,” he said. He packed just enough clothes for three days, and he counted the hundred-peso bills he’d distribute to his pamangkins. A quick shower and change into shorts and a t-shirt, and I was ready.

EDSA traffic wasn’t as heavy, but there were expected bottlenecks, especially in the areas where the provincial bus stations are located. But once we got to NLEX, it was a smooth ride all the way. D took a nap from my place to our first pit stop at a gas station. After that we were listening to music and watching the Luzon flatlands whiz by. I decided to skip San Fernando and the other Pampanga towns before Bataan because I didn’t want the holiday traffic and the slow, ubiquitous tricycles that slow down the drive. So I took SCTEX, which I think was also the first D passed through there.

“Wow, ang ganda ng view!” he yelled excitedly, as we saw the mountain ranges of what we suspect is where Subic is located.

Prior to the trip, I didn’t even check Orlando’s oil and water; I only had his tires inflated and his gas tank filled. I trusted he wouldn’t break down on me.

We got to the Dinalupihan exit, and after a few minutes we were at the plaza of D’s hometown. There was a convenience store nearby and I decided to buy a bottle of water to drink on my trip back to Manila.

“Thank you, hon! Happy holidays!” D beamed at me. He then grabbed his bags, including a paper bag containing shampoo for his dog May, and got out of Orlando. “Wala ba akong naiwan?” he looked around the back seat. “Do one final check,” I said. “All here!” he happily declared.

“See you in a few days,” I said to him.

And then he walked to the front of the convenience store, where the pedicabs were waiting for passengers. No, not walked; he shuffled his happy shuffle. I saw him flag down a pedicab, and waited until it drove away. Then I drove away.

At a constant, leisurely pace of around 80kph on the highway, I made it in around 5 hours (shorter had there been no traffic on EDSA leaving from and coming back to Manila).

I felt like Santa bringing a special gift to a family in Bataan. It was one happy road trip all the way.

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Space

There’s something to be said about having a place of your own. It’s your own personal physical space, your domain. There, you are the master of your keep.

When I was still living with my folks and siblings in Marikina, my bedroom was my sanctuary. My mom used to call it Joel’s sanctum sanctorum, and everybody knew well enough not to enter there without permission.

When I first moved out and rented a room in Makati, I was sharing a two-bedroom condo with a female friend. We had separate bedrooms (both had their respective bathrooms), and we were only three in the house (she had her maid who took care of her two pugs). So we pretty much kept mostly to ourselves, except during breakfast and Saturday lunches.

Then I moved to a studio-type unit still within Makati’s CBD. My stay there was pretty great; it was fully furnished, and within walking distance from Greenbelt. However, such a great deal came with a caveat—I had it only for almost half a year, and when the lease ends the owner was going to claim it for his use.

I next rented a room in this old four-bedroom house in Iba Street, Quezon City. It was a huge house, so our landlord rented out three of the rooms. It was okay at the start; Migs was also a housemate of mine. But soon after he moved out, and the other rooms were soon rented out to others. When I left, there were 5 more people in the house. Even though it was a huge house, we had to share in the common bathroom. It didn’t help that one of them was a female; when she left a pair of her panties and bra hanging on the shower curtain rod, I muttered to myself, “That’s it, time to move.”

So now I’m in a fairly new one-bedroom condo unit in Mandaluyong. I’m nearer to Makati now, and when our office moves to Shaw next year, I’ll be one MRT station away from the office. It’s barely furnished, but at least it has a queen-size bed, aircon, refrigerator and water heater for the shower. Because of the holiday season, I haven’t had time to fix things and buy stuff, so my belongings are just piled willy-nilly everywhere. In the next few months the bulk of my spending will go to furnishing the place up. I will need to be prudent about it; I am merely renting, after all.

Still, I had one of my most relaxing sleeps ever on the first night that I slept alone in my new space. I finally have my sanctuary again.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Marry And Bright?

Some people have asked me to push for gay marriage here in The McVie Show. Yes, I agree with you that there should be no more discrimination of marriage; why should marriage be only for heterosexuals? As far as gay marriage is concerned, I don’t have a problem with the “gay” part.

However, I don’t believe in marriage, not unless there’s divorce.

I’m fine with the idea of two consenting adults agreeing to be united, and the state acknowledging their union and awarding them with certain privileges and benefits. But to lock in two adults with no way out is, I believe, a concept that has lost its relevance to me because it is not grounded on reality. Yes, there will be couples who can make it ‘til Death do them part. But not all marriages will succeed and survive.

In fact, I’d rather just live in together. If you last, then congrats; if you don’t, well, at least untangling need not be messy and drawn-out.

Walang Iwanan, Help CDO & Iligan

Donate to the Philippine Red Cross at:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Knocked Out

Thursday evening we had our office Christmas party, and for the third year in a row I was one of the hosts for the event. We had boxer Brian Viloria, reigning WBO Flyweight champion, and his wife as special guests. We got him to pick out the grand raffle winner. He even stayed on and danced the night away with us—and boy, the man can dance. Brian is such a down-to-earth guy. And compared to that other boxing champ who is also a politician, Brian’s much easier to deal with and comes with an entourage of only one, his better half.

On Friday afternoon he and his wife drop by our office for a courtesy call. While he and his wife were talking to our bosses, I tweeted the following: “Brian Viloria in da hawz! He and his wife brought Krispy Kreme for the whole dept. He even personally offered me a doughnut. Ang cute niya.”

And then few minutes later, he tweeted back: “It’s nothing really. Merry Xmas and Happy New Years to you and (our office).”

And then I received a notification via email that he had started following me on Twitter.

And then I died.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Adele Is Not A Party-Pooper

“Why is there no music? There should be music! Where’s the DJ? Where’s my music? Where’s my music?!”

That was my officemate in charge of our company party, in her I’m-in-charge-and-panicking mode. It was the start of the party, and the early guests were plenty. They were our clients and business partners, and we made sure the food was plentiful, the alcohol flowing, the raffle prizes numerous and the entertainment continuous. But the hired DJ who’s supposed to play music during dinner was still stuck in horrendous holiday traffic. How do we put our best foot forward when we already tripped at the start?

She was looking at me for answers. I was at the control booth; we were going to use my laptop to play our AVPs later, so my Macbook was already hooked up to the system. I pulled up my iTunes and said, “I’ll play something.”

Suddenly, my fantasy of being a DJ became a reality. Okay, okay, so I wasn’t using professional equipment and the music transitions weren’t seamless. But for the first time, I was playing music for a major party. Eeeee! Hahaha!

Siyempre fineel-na-feel ko ang pagka-DJ, noh!

I started with the safe choices, the current hot dance hits: “We Found Love” by Rihanna, “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5, “Sexy And I Know It” by LMFAO, “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga. I wasn’t too worried about my musical choices anyway; after all, the guests were either busy eating or schmoozing with one another. I guess because of that, I decided to push it a bit.

First, I decided to play David Guetta’s “Titanium.” Sure, it’s not a pop hit, and I’m sure most of the guests weren’t familiar with it. But David Guetta is David Guetta, and his music practically screams, “Party!”

Then I went with the kinda-safe-but-not-really choice; I played one mash-up after another. First was a Britney-Rihanna-JLo combo, “S&M Against The Floor.” Then a LMFAO-Ke$ha-Britney Spears-Lady Gaga-Katy Perry mega-mash-up, “Party Rock Anthem.” I was playing a third mash-up of Madonna-Lady Gaga-Pitbull, “You Know You Want Love Celebration,” when the idea hit me.

What if I play Adele at a party?

I mean, who would have thought that the woman responsible for an increase in emo levels worldwide would have a place at a party? Sure, I have heard of dance remixes of her songs, but I didn’t have any of those in my iTunes. I only had her album, “21.”

Still, why not? There’s “Rumor Has It” after all.

To prepare for Adele, I first played Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” and Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away” first. And then I took a deep breath and clicked PLAY.

Thump! Thump! Thump! Thu-thu-thump! Thump! Thump!
Oooh! Oooh!
She ain’t real…!

Hey, it works! Go Adele!

Too bad I couldn’t run onstage and copy the steps of the Troubletones from Glee, but that would be too much.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

The Pride Fabcast, Parts 1 & 2

Part One:

Here the Fabcasters and the peanut gallery tackle the question of Gay Pride. Are we proud of being gay? What is it that we are proud of? We asked each and every one to say his piece. And it’s very interesting to hear twelve different points of view, twelve different takes on gay pride. From still staying in the closet to being out in the open, from the creative field to the corporate world, twelve different voices speak out their learning and their truths.

This Fabcast was recorded on the same night as the “Prude Fabcast,” thus there was no more roll-call. For the record, the Fabcasters are: Corporate Closet (aka CC), Gibbs, McVie, Migs and Tony. And the members of the peanut gallery for this recording are: Dan, Dean, Inye, Joms, Londonboy, Luis and Paul (aka Iamtofuboy).

Download part 1 (right click and save)

Music credits:
“Get Up Stand Up” by Bob Marley & The Wailers
“Born This Way (DrewG & Brian Cua Dirty Pop Mix)” by Lady Gaga
“Could You Be Loved” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

Part Two:

Let me tell you an interesting side story regarding this particular recording.

Before we began recording for that evening, Migs realized that he had forgotten to charge the rechargeable batteries of his digital recorder. So while he was charging them, he asked CC for an extra pair of disposable AAA batteries; those were what we used to record the “Departures” and “Prude” Fabcasts. Unfortunately the disposable batteries were from CC’s TV remote; he warned us that the batteries were kinda old and may not last until the end of the recording. (If you can recall, in part one there was a pause and then you’d hear me—which was then echoed by Migs—ask out loud, “Teh? Na-re-record ba?” That was us checking to see if CC’s batteries had died in the middle of recording.)

We continued to record, segueing seamlessly into the “Prude” fabcast. When we finished with that, we decided to proceed and record the “Pride” Fabcast. At this point Migs took out the disposable batteries and replaced them with the partially charged disposable batteries of his. He figured that, given the number of minutes they were charged, the batteries could last for at least one more recording session.

Cut to near the end of the recording: Migs, as a joke, asked AJ out loud, “AJ, are you proud of being gay?” And I, along with several others, immediately chanted the by-now classic lines of Roderick Paulate from the movie, Zombadings: “Charoterang isprikitik, umappear ka vahkler. Magpa-feel, magpasense, ditey sa baler. Witiz shokoley ang udangchi ditey. Sa fezlaboom mo marz na super kalerkey!”

I remember laughing out loud afterwards and continuing the discussion when suddenly Migs stopped us and announced that he saw the battery indicator light of his recorder blink out. “Naubos na ang battery!” he exclaimed. And when we checked at which part the disposable batteries died, it was right after he asked AJ his question. We managed to record “Charoterang isprikitik, umapp—” and then silence. We had to borrow another pair of disposable batteries from CC to finish the recording.

I guess for this recording, the Fabcasters were all present.

Download part 2 (right click and save)

Music credits:
“Queer” by Garbage
“Thanksgiving” by George Winston
“Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” by Diana Ross
“Redemption Song” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

Thursday, December 01, 2011

A Fairly Smooth Ride With A Few Bumps

“The Road”
Directed by Yam Laranas
GMA Films

Beautiful cinematography, masterful evoking of mood and clever storytelling structure by Yam Laranas. But why do some characters act like they’re following a script and not their inner motivations? Thus certain illogical moments break the spell and remind viewers that they are just watching a movie. Carmina Villaroel is a hoot, and child actor Renz Valerio is so adorable. I was too distracted by his crooked smile and pinch-worthy cheeks to be scared during his portion of the film. And what’s this?! Jaclyn Jose, underused?! The horror!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An Addendum To “Teach P How To Doogie?”

While discussing the Piolo-KC fiasco with the Jonas Bagas (gay activist extraordinaire, staunch Riza Hontiveros supporter and all-around Mr. Humanity, thus the “the” before his name, LOL), he reminded me of a very important point which I totally missed in my previous episode of The McVie Show.

(What’s more, his reminder made me realize that I made an unstated assumption in my previous episode; by keeping quiet on my assumption, I was being unfair to Piolo. But more of that later.)

Some say it with concern, most say it bluntly and with much chiding: “Mag-out ka na kasi, Piola!” What’s more, the ones screaming for him to step out of the closet are gay guys.

Haven’t we in the community seen for ourselves how cruel it is to force people to come out when they’re not yet ready, for whatever reasons they have? Didn’t we as gay guys experience for ourselves first-hand how unsettling for us to be pressured into admitting we’re gay? Coming out is a personal choice, done on one’s own time and pace.

And here is where I will state my assumption plainly: ASSUMING that Piolo is gay, it seems clear that he has come out to certain guys (especially the ones linked to him). But to pressure him to come out to the whole world is, I think, unrealistic, cruel and unnecessary. Unrealistic because his current career requires that he appear straight. Cruel because it’s his call, not ours. Unnecessary because apparently most of the people I know in the community treat his sexual preference as an “open secret,” so what for?

Jonas Bagas raised a valid point. We may crack all sorts of jokes about the split-up, from the innocuous to the bitchy. But let’s draw the line when it comes to calls for him to come out. The community may want him to come out because he can champion the pink cause and wave the rainbow flag for us. He’ll be the poster child of the Proud Pink Pinoy, and I’m sure bonggang-bongga ang poster! But that’s not for us to decide.

That’s his choice to make. Or not.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Teach P How To Doogie?

So many people are a-buzz about Piolo Pascual and KC Concepcion’s break-up, and her interview in “The Buzz.” Let’s not beat around the bush: her interview further fueled talks that Piolo is gay. To be fair to her, she never categorically outed her ex-boyfriend. But this didn’t stop the Tweeple (including yours truly) from having fun at their expense. And why shouldn’t we? They are public persons, and what we’ve done is similar to what late-night show hosts dish out in their opening monologues.

But there are also those who have earnest takes on the matter, just like this following comment that I’ve seen echoed by several on Facebook: “Why doesn’t Piolo just come out and fashion a career just like Neil Patrick Harris?”

Perhaps some who said that were half-kidding. I am sure that some, based on the tone of their comment, were totally serious. So for those who earnestly think that Piolo can be the Pinoy NPH, let me say in all earnestness: it is not that simple.

Piolo cannot fashion a career like Neil Patrick Harris. NPH may have started as lead star of his own show “Doogie Howser, MD,” but he was a child actor back then. When he came back into the scene, he was in mostly supporting roles, often comedic in tone. His comeback breakthrough was spoofing himself in Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle. And he solidified his comeback with his performance in the ensemble comedy, “How I Met Your Mother.”

Piolo, on the other hand, is a matinee idol of a romantic lead mode. He’s not much of a comedian (in his romantic comedies with Judy Ann Santos, it’s Juday who supplies the comedy; he plays it straight, pun intended). And I don’t know if he can re-invent himself as an action star (besides, as far as local showbiz is concerned, the action genre is currently in deep hibernation).  So for now he’s stuck playing male romantic lead.

Aye, there’s the rub. So far, no openly gay actor of such massive popularity as Piolo’s (just among Filipinos, of course) has ever thrived as a romantic lead. Can you name one? Didn’t think so.

Rock Hudson built a career out of being a romantic lead, but it was only when he was dying of AIDS that his homosexuality was talked about in the open. But who remembers Rupert Everett? Didn’t think so either.

Romantic movies require a suspension of disbelief and the willingness of the audience to submit themselves to two hours of make-believe. The female audience members should identify with the leading lady, and the male audience with the leading man. (An aside: for me, one of the most effective romantic male leads today is John Lloyd Cruz. He is someone even straight guys will say is a tunay na lalaki whom they can easily identify.) By coming out, an actor ruins his chance to be the fantasy figure of the audience. By declaring himself in no uncertain terms that he’s gay, an actor allows too much of reality to intrude into the make-believe.

So what can Piolo do at this point? Nothing, really. He should just keep quiet and weather the storm.

Meanwhile, if I were him, I’d start charting a new career course. Revive the action thriller genre and do ala-Keanu Reeves in Speed, or play a spy like Kevin Costner’s role in the thriller No Way Out. Or perhaps he can produce and star in a Yam Laranas horror film.

But he should avoid a movie musical at all costs.

Monday, November 28, 2011

No More Drama

I used to be a drama queen.

When I was younger I didn’t have that many friends. And I couldn’t tell my parents or my siblings my problems because I feared they’d think me strange. So I just soaked and wallowed in all that drama. I perfected my personal pity party playing in my head. All the songs on the radio were perfect for my situation, and I’d listen to several songs again and again because every word, every lyrics slashed deeper and deeper into my heart. “All By Myself.” “You’re In My Heart, You’re In My Soul.” “What Kind Of Fool.” “Alone Again, Naturally.” “On My Own.” The whole soundtrack of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera. Notice a pattern? They’re all about love.

Yes, love was the one thing that I majored in drama. Family problems? Not much. Friends misunderstanding? I was too polite and courteous. But I was the poster boy for unrequited love. I was attracted to other guys, but at the back of my mind an alarm repeatedly whispered, “Beware!” And so I kept quiet, kept them all inside. But all the while I wanted the boys to reciprocate what I felt; worse, I fell for straight guys. This went on for years, even after I graduated from college.

When I was about to hit 30, I stayed out all night every Friday and Saturday. I forgot what my bedroom looked like during weekend nights as I looked for love in all the right—and wrong—places.

Then one day, it just hit me. Life is about choices. And happiness is a choice.

I don’t remember now how I ditched the drama. All I can remember—or maybe all I chose to remember—is vowing to stop feeling sorry for myself.

And whereas before I used comedy as both a crutch and a coping mechanism, I now fully embraced it. Life is random; life is absurd. And I choose to laugh in the face of all that. Life is already hard as it is, why make things harder? Shrug your shoulders, throw your head back and smile. After all, laughter is a far more enjoyable act than crying, and certainly far less embarrassing. Smiling uses fewer muscles so it’s much less tiring than frowning.

At first I stopped being romantic. But my mistake was to swing the opposite direction and appropriated a cynical stance. Eventually it became clear to me that cynicism has its limits; worse, cynicism is unsustainable. So instead I became a realist. And that was when I started to grow up.

I used to be a drama queen, but not anymore.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Prude Fabcast, Part Three

At long last, the third and last part is online! Pardon for the delay. Alam mo naman ang ating Ate Migs, maraming napakamahalagang inaatupag. But hey, these are alarming times, and responses like his are necessary.

But let’s put the serious aside first. Here is the third and last part of “The Prude Fabcast” with Iamtofuboy. Or maybe we should call it The Grilling of Paul.

As we finally conclude the recording, the Fabcasters and some members of the peanut gallery give their two-cents worth. We touch on the ideas of self-worth and self-image, closure and moving on from past relationships, and the idea of de-coupling sex from the relationship (or living a “compartmentalized” life, according to CC).

Click on the link and enjoy!

Download this fabcast (right click and save)

Music credits:
“Rapper’s Delight” by Sugarhill Gang
“Change” by Tears For Fears
“Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana” by Muscagni
“The John Dunbar Theme (from Dances With Wolves)” by John Barry
“Theme from Father Of The Bride” by James Newton Howard
“If She Knew What She Wants” by The Bangles

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wait A Minute

In the public debate on the RH Bill, the Anti-RH camp often uses as a reason the “Big Bad Pharma Companies” that allegedly are supporting (and perhaps even funding?) the push to have the RH bill approved because it means more business for their products, be they condoms or medicines for abortion.

Fine, I understand the simplistic economic cause-and-effect. But using the same line of argument, wouldn’t more industries benefit a lot more from the birth of a child? From hospitals to medicines to baby products--these are multi-billion dollar industries. So why aren’t those companies supporting the Anti-RH camp?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Safe Spaces

I found it interesting that fellow Fabcaster Tony described gay places such as bathhouses, gay bars and dance clubs, and massage parlors (that cater to a gay clientele) as “safe spaces.”

Safe spaces. Until Tony mentioned that term, I never thought of such a concept. But I realized, yes, we gay men do need our safe spaces. These are places where we can go to and we can feel safe. We can be ourselves and not feel out of place or scorned by the rest of society. We can mingle with like-minded folks, people like us, and feel accepted.

If you look at current gay safe places, most of them are dark--dark interiors, discreet facades, and open only at night. I suppose this is in response to how homosexuals are marginalized.

Which is why the recently-concluded first-ever Love Yourself Cafe matters more than just a grand EB. The vision for the Cafe is simple, stated in its poster: “A safe space for casual conversations on topics that dare, with people who care, to question and share.” Of the more than a hundred who signed up, around 30 guys were chosen for the first Cafe.

It was a relaxing, enjoyable night. The venue was at an undisclosed condo in Makati. We met a lot of new faces for the first time; in fact, I’m sure there are in-the-closet guys there who perhaps will feel awkward if you bump into them during the day, perhaps, and they’re with their officemates and you’re, like, “Huuuuy, teh! Kamustasa?!” with matching flailing of arms. I bet in that instant they’d want the ground to open up and eat you--not them, mind you, but you mismo--alive. From as young as 17 to as old as 50+, from the closeted discreet to flamboyantly out, from the hopeful to the jaded (and back again), there was a rainbow coalition of different hues that night.

Of course the event still had to be done discreetly. That’s what happens when you include discreet guys. Perhaps there will be a world wherein being gay is not seen as being different, and straight-acting gay guys will not mind being identified as “gay;” but for now, this is reality, and we must learn to adjust accordingly.

One of the dreams of the Love Yourself people is that the Cafe become an actual venue. Now, how does one have a Cafe that closeted gay guys will not be afraid of being seen in there? Methinks it needs to be a for-members-only Cafe, and the entrance should be discreet. Maybe it should just look like a house on the outside, or the entrance is on a small side street. Haaay, one of these days.

Meanwhile, there will be another Cafe, I’m sure. Just watch out for announcements.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Heart Laughing

(Thank you, Jonas Bagas, for posting the following poem on your Facebook wall. I immediately fell in love with its attitude and its message. The title alone speaks so much to me. I just have to share it to you guys.)

The Laughing Heart
by Charles Bukowski

your life is your life

don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.

be on the watch.

there are ways out.

there is a light somewhere.

it may not be much light but

it beats the darkness.

be on the watch.

the gods will offer you chances.

know them.

take them.

you can’t beat death but

you can beat death in life, sometimes.

and the more often you learn to do it,

the more light there will be.

your life is your life.

know it while you have it.

you are marvelous

the gods wait to delight

in you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Wonder

When the call first came out online, I shrugged it off. “Vote for the Palawan Underground River as one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature!” Voting was online, so a lot of these calls were re-tweeted on Twitter or reposted on people’s Facebook status.

I never bothered to vote.

Not because I’m not nationalistic. Not because I’d prefer the Chocolate Hills of Bohol to be the Philippines’ nominee, simply because I’m a Boholano. Not because I have not personally been there and seen the site with my own two eyes.

It’s because I don’t agree that the new 7 Wonders of Nature (or any other 7 Wonders, for that matter) should be decided by popular vote. There should be more thought behind declaring sites as a “world wonder,” more than just mob mentality.

A cursory investigation will reveal that the new 7 Wonders is a private endeavor. Even the UNSECO has disavowed any connection with the new movement (from Wikipedia):

However, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in a press release on June 20, 2007, reaffirmed that it has no link with the “private initiative.” The press release concluded:

‘There is no comparison between Mr. Weber's mediatised campaign and the scientific and educational work resulting from the inscription of sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List. The list of the 7 New Wonders of the World will be the result of a private undertaking, reflecting only the opinions of those with access to the Internet and not the entire world. This initiative cannot, in any significant and sustainable manner, contribute to the preservation of sites elected by this public.’

Makes me wonder what really is the true motive behind this new 7 Wonders movement.

(Here’s an interesting article:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Be Responsible

Presenting two quotes from two people who will remain anonymous. Who they are is not important; rather, the situations in which they find themselves in, and how they view their situations is what I want to point out. Take a look:

[1] “When I like someone, I tend to make my whole world revolve around that person that it hurts me when my effort can’t be reciprocated the way I imagine it to be. Can’t really blame myself since I’ve been wanting this so bad for so long now.”

[2] “One of the things that I really am working on processing for myself has a lot to do with my relationship with my mother and how in many ways I try to re-live that in my interactions with (Name of Girlfriend). I really turn into an immature boy when she is trying to address a grievance with me. In Freudian terms, I see this as part of the so-called Madonna-Whore Complex. I’m still trying to work through all these issues but I do know that I also tend to treat (Name of Girlfriend) as an extension of myself and not an independent person who is entitled to her own thoughts and feelings.”

* * * * * *

Two different guys, two different sentiments. One is already in his forties, the other in his early twenties. And to both of them I want to ask: “Where is your sense of responsibility?”

In life, many things are beyond our control due to outside forces, be it natural or man-made. But the one thing we can take control of is ourselves. Self-responsibility entails that a person take charge of his life, of his feelings and his actions. One becomes the captain of his self.

I get it when people look to their past in an attempt to understand their present. The manner in which we were raised by our parents, the way our relatives and friends treated us, and even the way authority figures like teachers behaved towards us--all of those have affected the way we look at ourselves, how we comport ourselves, and how we interact with others. I understand that knowing the past can help some people let go and move on. However I also fear that the past is used as an opportunity to lay blame on others.

I believe that part of growing up is to be able to rise above the transgressions of the past and live a responsible present. One doesn’t even need to dig up the skeletons of past wrongs to be able to do the present right. Wanting something so bad is one thing; but you only have yourself to blame for throwing your self-pride, dignity and common sense out the window just to snag someone. Not treating your girlfriend as her own independent person? You are responsible for your present actions; more importantly, you can choose to improve how you treat your loved ones.

In taking responsibility for ourselves, we also need to adopt a “Get real” attitude. This means that we should face reality on its own terms. To be captains of our souls we should not rely on Fate or Karma or 11-11-11 or the Almighty God to pave our futures for us. It would be nice to think that there is a Higher Power looking for our welfare, but I wouldn’t rely on it. Things happen, pure and simple. We plan what we can, we control what can be controlled, but things have a way of falling into place that we can’t always predict. How we accept them, and work with the cards that have been dealt to us, is a mark of someone willing to be responsible for his own fate.

Taking charge of our life doesn’t mean that we put ourselves above others. Rather, we own up to whatever it is we say or do. And we acknowledge that improvement comes from within. This means that we need to learn to be a friend and a mentor to ourselves. In improving ourselves, we cannot be too harsh or too self-critical with ourselves. We need to motivate ourselves not through fear, but because we love ourselves.

Past is past; the future is not yet written. So live in the present, be in the now. And be man enough to take responsibility for your choices, your actions, your life.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lucban Longganiza, Part Two

That Monday morning was a bright and cheerful one, perfect weather on our last day in Lucban. D decided to sleep late that morning, so it was just Londonboy, Calvin and I who went to town to have breakfast and to have a look around.

My two companions have been to Lucban before, and they recommended a restaurant near the plaza for breakfast. Calvin warned us that the serving time takes a little longer than usual, as is customary in most provincial eateries.

While waiting for our food, I couldn’t contain my curiosity. “Teka lang, guys,” I said, “I’ll just go to the 7-11 and check and see if Marvin is on duty again this morning.”

Malamang,” Calvin said. “He was also on the morning shift yesterday.”

The convenience store was a short block away from the restaurant. I was there in no time. Even from the outside, I could see Marvin manning the counter.

I pushed the glass door in, and entered.

Without looking, I could tell a pair of eyes was following my every move. Instead of going towards the cashier, I turned right instead. I pretended to look for something on the shelves furthest from the counter. I also took that opportunity to check out the store. Aside from Marvin, there was the female supervisor behind the counter, but she was busy typing away at the store computer. At the small eating area near the microwave and the dispensers was a policeman having a snack. We four were the only ones inside.

I stopped in front of the toiletries, pretending I was looking for something. I bent over, looking at the bottommost shelf, curious what items were displayed there. When I stood up, Marvin was already beside me.

Aba! He left his station to approach me!

Ano po ang hanap ninyo, sir?” he asked.

For a split-second I was stumped. I really wasn’t looking for anything, and I hadn’t thought of getting any item as an excuse to be in the convenience store.

Hindi ko pa alam eh,” I decided to be truthful.

Marvin smiled. “Aaah,” he replied. “Hindi pa ninyo nahahanap” (truth be told, I’m not quite sure if the punctuation mark at the end of the word “nahahanap” should be a period or a question mark; the way he said it so softly, it sounded like something in between).

I’m impressed. He’s a sly one.

Anong oras matatapos ang shift mo?” I asked. Hey, two can play that game.

Ano, sir,” he replied. “Mga four, sir, ang tapos ko.”

Aaaah,” I nodded. I knew we would be on the road back to Manila by then. Still I smiled, then raised my eyebrows knowingly at him as I asked, “So, taga-rito ka lang ba?

Again Marvin had that shy smile on his lips. But his reply had a hint of a rueful tone. “Ay hindi po ako taga rito, sir. Ano po, taga-Majayjay po ako.” That was the next town after Lucban.

“Ah okay,” I replied. Then I walked away, pretending to continue browsing. He also decided it was best that he return to his post, lest his supervisor start wondering why he was taking so long with a customer.

I grabbed a small pack of Kleenex and walked to the counter to pay. Again, Marvin refused to break his eye-to-eye stare; again, I let my fingers brush his as I gave him my payment. And again, as I walked out the door I turned around and saw Marvin still staring at me.

I stepped out and never looked back again. The Lucban air was cool despite the bright morning sun, and a slight breeze caressed my cheeks as I smiled and walked back to my friends.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Lucban Longganiza, Part One

Sunday morning in Lucban, we trouped to the only 7-11 near the plaza to buy provisions I realized I forgot to bring. While the others were lazily looking around the convenience store, I headed to the cashier after grabbing the stuff I needed.

Behind the counter was a man of about early twenties. His uniform looked one size too big, but I could tell his body type is more of the rounded kind. His round face was topped by wavy hair swept back and parted off-center, and he had eyes that naturally looked sleepy even when wide open. A shy smile was plastered on his lips. I took a peek at his nameplate: Marvin.

As he was ticking off the items I was purchasing, he kept looking at me straight in the eyes. He almost never took them off of mine. Mind you, I’m used to prolonged eye contact, and can match them in length and intensity. But after a few seconds I was the one who felt unnerved and broke off contact. WTF, is this Marvin coming on to me so blatantly?! I looked up again. His gaze was penetrating and constant. Dammit! I looked down again.

“Sir, may two pesos ba kayo?” he asked.

I looked back at D and the others, who by this time were behind me, waiting for me to finish my transaction. “You have two pesos?” I asked D. He fished out the coins and handed them to me. When I placed the coins on Marvin’s outstretched hand, I made sure my fingers brushed his palm. Then I looked at him again. His facial expression never changed, but he also didn’t take his eyes off me. Only when he dropped the coins in the cashier and got my change did he look away. I got my change, my purchases and went out behind the others, who had proceeded to exit earlier. Because I was last at the door, I looked back at Marvin. He maintained eye contact as I stepped out the door.

Outside, Londonboy exclaimed, “Teh! Anlagkit ng ngiti ng cashier sa iyo, hah! Ahahaha!

D placed his arm around my shoulder and chimed in, “Oo nga. Jusko kung makatingin.

Aba! Will I get to taste fresh local longganiza here in lazy Lucban?

To be continued.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Things One Sees On Facebook: Week of 6-12 Nov 2011

Let’s face it. Sometimes we see things posted on Facebook that make us laugh out loud, or at the very least get us going in a giggling fit. Sometimes we see something that moves us, or astounds us, whether in a good way or otherwise.

Here are some which got my attention recently:

[1] Corruption of the line: “Pag bakla, salot agad? Di ba puwedeng malas muna?”

[2] Steven Spielberg does a George Lucas. On the occasion of the Blu-Ray release of Jurassic Park, the director reworks his masterpiece to make it “less scary for the kids.” In turn, he makes it terrifying for adults.

[3] Will the real Ramona Bautista please stand up? Please stand up? Please stand up?

[4] Ramon Revilla, Sr. is a prime example of why the RH should be passed. Sheesh, no wonder he entered politics; otherwise, where will he get that money to support all of his children?

Lucban Virgins No More

We’ve always wanted to go to Lucban, Quezon ever since our friends told us of how peaceful, how cool, how relaxing the place was. So leading up to the long weekend, when Londonboy wanted to take a road trip on his newly-bought vehicle, D and I (along with Tony and Calvin) immediately said yes to a two-night stay in the land of longganiza and Zombadings.

Nestled at the foot of Mt. Banahaw, the most mystical mountain in Luzon, Lucban is a quiet town of unhurried minutes. The streets are narrow, given that they were built before those huge airconditioned buses were invented. Like our town Bilar in Bohol, Lucban has a cool climate given the higher altitude; the water that flows through town is cold and fresh from the mountain. Londonboy swears bathing in those waters gives you clearer, glowing skin. The pace and atmosphere is bucolic; however, unlike in Bilar, Lucban seems to stay alive way past dinner time. This is the town that seemingly never sleeps. Fittingly, there’s a 7-11 very near the plaza.

(The lamps in Abcede's.)

A food trip is what I had in mind, and so our first stop was at Abcede’s, where I had breakfast of the famous Lucban longganiza, fried egg and fried rice. We also ordered grilled porkchops for sharing. Dipped in spicy vinegar, Lucban longganiza is the best local sausage for me--crispy, garlicky and not sweet at all. Then we ate at Palaisdaan, the kind of resto wherein the tables are on rafts floating on several ponds full of fish. I especially enjoyed their grilled tilapia in gata, okra and grilled pork.

I had a blast walking around town, taking in the vibe of the place. We looked inside the church. The Catholic Church, despite all the money they get from the faithful, seem to be more inclined with getting the latest Pajeros and SUVs instead of spending for the restoration and upkeep of their historical churches. And they have no idea of maintenance and restoration; instead, when their church is damaged (say, by a storm or by old age), they repair it in a modern, uninspired way. Perhaps it’s just provincial small-mindedness, I guess. As a result, the inside of the church is a disappointment compared to the impressive exterior.

Before we left we ate at Ground Zero, Lucban’s pizza place that serves thick, generously-topped pizzas, calzones and delicious bacon-twists, which is a flat narrow bread twisted with bacon inside.

(Supreme pizza at Ground Zero)

(Their calzone, or as they stated in the menu, "wrapped pizza")

I asked Calvin to give us a bit of a Zombadings tour: he pointed out to us the locations where certain scenes were shot. I particularly wanted to see the street where the final scene (with the end credits) was shot.

Lucban is far enough to be considered a get-away, but near enough to be convenient when one wants an impromptu escape. I want to visit that place again.

P.S. -- I was also able to buy a pair of “Crocs” for only 95 pesos. When Tony found out the price, he exclaimed, “Ang mahal naman!” (He thinks had I bought it in Liliw, Laguna, it would fetch for less.)

Saturday, November 05, 2011

The Prude Fabcast, Part Two

Presenting part two of our rambunctious discussion. Here we get to dissect more Paul aka Iamtofuboy’s dilemma. He apparently had met a couple of guys who became his benchmarks for guys he’d like to be his partners. And now he’s having a hard time meeting guys who can meet his standards.

And after “perineum,” we came up with a new buzz phrase, c/o Migs: “Good job!”

Click on the link and enjoy.

Download this fabcast (right click and save)

 Music credits:
“Let’s Misbehave” by Eartha Kitt
“Baby Elephant Walk” by Rene Touzet
“Get Myself Together” by Robyn

Friday, November 04, 2011

The Love Yourself Cafe

We’ve always talked about this; Migs was the one who first came up with the idea. It’s his idea of Serendipity & Synchronicity, but expanded. It’s like a Fabcast, only multiplied and (I suspect) less noisy. It’s kinda like TEDTalks, if TED were fab and had break-out groups.

The Love Yourself Cafe. It’s bringing gay men together in a safe place for casual conversations on topics close to the pink heart. And for the first LYS Cafe, the topic is, “Love and Relationships Among Men.”

No, we don’t expect to be able to have all the answers to everyone’s questions. These talks are meant to be a forum for guys to be able to speak their minds and to hear others as well. We hope that with these exchanges the participants will be able to hear other points of view, and get something out of them--whether it’s a confirmation of their beliefs or a eureka moment that points them to a new direction.

Or at the very least, they have a relaxing, meaningful afternoon.

WHEN: Saturday, 19 November 2011, 6-9pm
WHERE: to be announced when finalized, but most likely somewhere in Makati

Migs, Gibbs and I will be some of the facilitators. Limited slots available, so if you’re interested, email ASAP. Or request an invite via this form:

Let’s talk.

Oh Baby, Baby!

U2 first burst big into the Manila music scene back in 1983 with “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day.” Their huge hit “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” cemented their status as a critically-lauded rough-and-jangle rock band that wears its heart out on its sleeve. The latter quality was most evident when they honored the American legends of rock n’ roll, blues, folk and gospel in their album Rattle And Hum. But their sixth studio album received mixed reviews and harsh criticisms.

Thus Achtung Baby was born.

Whenever I talk to U2 fans about their favorite U2 album, most are divided into two camps: the pre-Achtung and the post-Achtung. Most rockers favor the pre-Achtung sound (and to some extent, are happy with the band flexing their rock and roll muscles again with their post-2000 albums).

For me, though, U2 was at their most creative best when they released their seventh studio album, Achtung Baby (1991), and its audial sibling, Zooropa (1993).

From the opening guitar salvo of “Zoo Station,” you immediately hear the band stretching their sound into new territories. This is a band coming out with an album on their own terms. They tap into alternative sounds like electronica and dance to pump new energy into their rock songs. But more than just their music, the band also seemed to have relaxed with their “heart-on-sleeve” attitude. They still had earnest songs, but at times they also sound more flippant and fun.

For me the first ten songs segue effortlessly from one track to the next. From “Zoo Station” to “Ultraviolet (Light My Way),” no track sounds like a filler or a throwaway. Only in the last two track do the band sound like they’ve run out of steam; despite that, “Acrobat” and “Love Is Blindness” still impress on their own.

U2 pushed the envelope even further with their follow-up album Zooropa. More electronically-sounding than its predecessor, the eighth studio album is a more uneven mix. But it still boasts of “Numb” and “Stay (Faraway, So Close!).” Another personal favorite of mine is the last track, “The Wanderer,” which features the sonorous voice of the legendary Johnny Cash. Like in “Numb,” Bono hands the lead vocal chores to someone else and contents himself with supplying falsetto back-up vocals.

Sadly their foray into electronica and dance reached its most experimental (and least appreciated) with Pop. With this album, it’s like the band stretched itself too far, and the strain is apparent.

For me, Achtung Baby remains the zenith of the band’s creative achievements.

So imagine my excitement when I found out that, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the release of Achtung Baby, they are coming out with this:

It’s the Uber Deluxe Edition, a limited edition “magnetic puzzle tiled box” which will contain:
• Gatefold wallet containing 6 CD audio discs (the album, follow-up Zooropa, remixes and reworkings from Achtung Baby sessions)
• Gatefold wallet containing 4 DVD discs (including “From the Sky Down” documentary, “Zoo TV: Live From Sydney” videos and bonus material).
• Album vinyl on 180gsm black vinyl in wide spine sleeve with 2 x inner bags
• 5×7” clear vinyl in original sleeves housed in a slipcase
• 84 page hardback book
• 16 page 12×12 oversized booklet
• Bono’s trademark “The Fly” sunglasses
• 4 x enamel badges
• Propaganda magazine
• 16 art prints in wallet
• Sticker sheet
• Exclusive numbered lithograth

It’s enough to make a rabid fan curl up and go into a coma.

Of course, when I tweeted the damn thing, I got a reply from Paul: “@mcvie nakakaloka tong deluxe ed na ‘to. tinalo ang deluxe ed ng westlife. hehe. choz.”

So I replied back: “@paulopocket 20 years from now tatalunin ang U2 ni Justin Bieber’s ‘My World 2.0/20 Biebelicious Edition.’”

Meanwhile, I wonder which bank I can rob easily?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Final Destination

The funny yet weird part was, when I woke up that morning, the last line of Bryan Singer’s breakout movie The Usual Suspects was looped in my mind: “And just like that, he was gone.”

I went to the bathroom for my usual morning routine. In the shower, I poured cold water all over my body to wake me up. When I reached up for the soap dish placed on top of the wall divider, I realized there was no soap at all. Dripping wet, I parted the shower curtain, stepped over the tiled divider (which kept water from the shower from splashing all over the rest of the bathroom floor), and got the soap on the sink. As I stepped back into the shower, I was still repeating the line in my head: “And just like that, he was gone.”

My right foot slipped on the wet tiled floor.

My mind registered my falling down in slow motion. As my right foot slid forward and up, my left foot started to slide forward also. I could feel my body falling backward quickly. And then suddenly Time jumped forward. I felt the bicep of my right arm slammed against the tile,  and the right side of the back of my head, just above the neck, smashed against the tiled divider.

And just like that, I found myself on the wet shower floor, naked. My butt was cold because of the wet floor. There was pain on my right arm, and the back of my head throbbed with pain. Shocked. Stunned. But still awake.

And just like that, I remembered the line: “And just like that, he was gone.”

Wrong movie, I thought. Thoughts of Final Destination came to mind.

Without moving, I took stock of my surroundings. I can hear the water from the open faucet filling up the pail. The neighbors were cooking breakfast; I could hear something frying. I could feel my butt and lower back getting wetter and colder.

I carefully stood up, rubbed the back of my head. I could feel a small bump. Hairline fracture. Concussion. These lines immediately came to mind; I’ve been watching too much TV. Still, I knew I had to have myself checked.

I drove myself to St. Luke’s emergency room. The doctor asked me if I blacked out or felt sleepy or threw up. No, no, no. He felt the bump behind my head. I told him I wanted to make sure I didn’t have any concussion. “Hindi naman malaki yung bukol,” he said. “Pantay pa naman yung likod mo.” But still he ordered a series of x-ray tests.

In the x-ray room, I felt like a model in a photo shoot because the technician kept giving me instructions like, “Turn your head to the left,” “Place your arms at the back, and lower your shoulders,” “Chin down, chin down!” and “Hold that pose.” Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it.

After waiting for the results, the doctor told me the good news. They didn’t find any fractures or breaks. He prescribed some painkillers just in case; on the way home, I decided not to buy any of them. Yeah, I am that hardheaded. I was also told to observe myself for the next 24 hours. But I never felt any dizziness or nausea.

And just like that, I guess Death still has no need of me. Yet. (And no, it wasn’t karma, I’m sure. If only the good die young, then I’ll live to be a hundred years old.)

Karma’s A Bitch

Karma is that cosmic equalizer, the one that rights a wrong. It’s punishment that boomerangs when bad things are done or a reward for the good ones. It’s a great idea, much like God rewarding the good and punishing evil on Judgement Day.

But face it, karma doesn’t really happen; we just choose to think that events are karmic-induced. “Oh my, I’m late for work!” That’s karma for staying up so late. “I fell in love with a man who cannot commit.” That’s karma for playing around. Karma is a convenient reason, an effect to a cause. And so when bad things happen when we were bad, we attribute it to karma. Because it helps put balance and order into the universe. A chaotic, random universe is a frightening concept to behold.

But until there’s scientific, empirical proof that karma exists, then it’s just an outside substitute for a conscience... or of coincidence. It’s as comforting as the thought of Santa Claus and angels, but less juvenile.

(Image taken here.)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A Grave Visit

We were putting flowers and candles on my dad’s grave when my older brother muttered out loud, “I wonder if the ordinary lapida will be replaced in the future by interactive ones.”

“You know what would be a great invention?” I said.


I pointed at the marble tablets on the ground. “Imagine they’re weatherproof touch-screen tablets with sensors,” I began. “When it detects someone approaching, it flashes information on screen while a Siri-like voice says, ‘Welcome! You’re visiting Mr. So-and-So. He was born in Dec. 4, 1944 and died of a heart attack on April 1, 2003. Needless to say, he pulled a cruel April Fool’s joke on everyone.’ Ahahahahaha!”

My younger brother chimed in. “The tablet should also be able to recognize the visitor. So when it does, then a pre-recorded voice of the dead will playback: ‘Thank you, Vanessa, for visiting my grave!’”

“How about all the tablets are wired to the person’s Facebook account?” I wondered. “If he or she has one, of course. So the visitors can leave messages on the deceased’s wall.”

My nephew, who’s a third year college student now, quipped, “Wouldn’t it be so tacky if there was also a Like button?”

We all burst out laughing.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sa Fezlaboom ng Malars, Na Super Kalurkey!

I haven’t been to Malate in a while, so on the way there for the 2011 Black Party I was wondering how much it has changed. We were off to meet our friends at the Love Yourself (LYS) booth.

The parking lot where I always park my car was still there. The attendant was still the same guy; he greeted me with a “Long time no see, ser!” after leading me into a parking spot. He didn’t bother to give me a parking ticket anymore; he knows I’ll never leave without paying.

Most of the familiar establishments were still there. However, the crowd felt a little thin, especially on the “straighter” areas of Malate. Just a few minutes past midnight, the volume of the crowd is usually at its peak.

The intersection of Nakpil and Orosa was closed off for the Black Party. I like to think of that particular spot as the intersection between the straight Malate and the gay Malate. That’s where the sexual lines blur, and the only orientation is to have fun.

The party was in full swing. We missed a performance by one of our friends (Von, hahanapin ko ang video sa YouTube, hahaha!) But the LYS hunks were out in full force. People were dancing on a stage erected at the intersection. And folks were having their pictures taken at the LYS backdrop. A little later, with the party in full swing, they switched on two bubble machines positioned on both ends of the booth. So fab, so gay.

Then it occurred to me that despite this intersection’s blurry reputation, most discreet gay guys will still never dare step into Malate, most especially during a big event such as the Black Party. For them, it’s a place and occasion for guys who are mostly or totally out. They would still rather prowl the more discreet places like The Fort, Greenbelt, Resorts World or Tomas Morato. For them being seen in Malate is a red flag of confeeeearmation. Kalurkey!

And I remember what Tony said about creating spaces for gay guys to be comfortable in. Which made me wonder, is there a place where discreet gay guys can mingle with out gay guys? I don’t mean a big event, like Big Fish events, where straight people are also in attendance; rather, a place exclusively for gay guys of different states of self-acceptance to be accepted as they are.

Or maybe I dream too much. Maybe discreet gays will always steer clear of the out-and-about ones. They will never interact with each other in the outside world, because to be seen with the out-and-obvious is another form of confeeeearmation.

Meanwhile, we can only intersect furtively in the dark or online.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cold Comfort

My friend Leigh and I had lunch at Masseto, a swanky and chi-chi resto in Salcedo Village. As what happens with most long-time friends who haven’t seen each other for months, such an occasion is marked with good food, much laughter and heartfelt sharing of significant life moments that happened in between meet-ups.

She has been going through some emotional stuff recently, so by the time dessert came along we were deep in conversation, occasionally taking a break by asking for more water or, when the waiter handed us the dessert menu, ordering Salted Caramel Ice Cream and asking that it be split in two, since we were both quite full.

When dessert came, she was struggling to keep her emotions in check. She had already taken off her glasses and, at one point, covered her face with her hands. Still, she bravely continued her narration, while picking up her dessert spoon. I also picked up mine. She was talking while she scooped a bit of ice cream, and placed it in her mouth. I absentmindedly mirrored her movements, all the while concentrating on her story.

We both tasted the ice cream at the same time.




Suddenly everything stopped. We both died as the ice cream melted in our mouths.

“Oh my god, Leigh!”

Ay putang ina. Wow!”

Shet Leigh, ang saraaaaaaap!

And right there and then, we forgot all about her situation. We were oohing and ah-ing and marveling at the thick texture, the way the ice cream had already melted on the sides, and how the sugary residue clung to the back of the spoon.

Great food can be that powerful. Even for just a few seconds, all is well in this world.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chasing Stars

For the full short story, go to:

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Dean Francis Alfar’s short story “L’Aquilone du Estrellas (The Kite of Stars)” is an amazing tale of unrequited, one-way love. (SPOILER ALERT: Read the full story first if you don’t want to read the spoilers below. Because I’ve quoted in italics all my favorite passages from the story.)

The story is about Maria Isabella du’l Cielo falling for a stargazing young man. When told that he only has eyes for stars, she thought of a plan for him to notice her. She approached master builder Melchor Antevadez with a strange request.

“What I need,” she began, “is a kite large enough to strap me onto. Then I must fly high enough to be among the stars themselves, so that anyone looking at the stars will see me among them, and I must be able to wave at least one hand to that person.”

“What you need,” Melchor Antevadez replied with a smile, “is a balloon. Or someone else to love.”

She ignored him like most love-struck fools do, and insisted on a kite. Finally the master builder gave her a list of materials he needed; to complete the list would take sixty years. She accepted the task without hesitation.

Melchor Antevadez squinted at her. “Is any love worth all this effort? Looking for the impossible?”

Maria Isabella gave the tiniest of smiles. “What makes you think I’m in love?”

Melchor Antevadez raised an eyebrow at her denial.

What makes this story extra melancholic is that Maria Isabella hired a 14-yr. old butcher boy to accompany her in her task. After sixty years they came back with all the materials; the great grandson of the master builder had taken over from his late great grandfather’s shop. When Maria Isabelle was being strapped onto the kite, she tells the butcher boy (who had grown into an old man already), “This is certainly no time for tears,” Maria Isabella reprimanded him gently, as she gestured for him to release the kite.

And she never realized that the butcher boy had loved her all this time.

As she rose, he sighed and reflected on the absurdity of life, the heaviness of loss, the cruelty of hope, the truth about quests, and the relentless nature of a love that knew only one direction.

I wish I had read Dean Francis Alfar’s “L’Aquilone du Estrellas (The Kite of Stars)” when I was younger; it would have saved me a few years lost in stupidity.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Patience And Memory

“What is patience? It’s 86 missed calls just so that on the 87th, D will wake up and not be late for work.”

Even as I was typing it, I could already anticipate the responses for that Facebook status and tweet: “That’s so sweet!” And true enough, I did get those on Twitter. On Facebook they were able to write longer comments. But what I really just wanted to point out was how surprised I was that I reached 86 missed calls.

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D knew that if he relied only on the alarm in his phone, he’d continue sleeping; that’s how deep his sleep usually is. Thus his need for me to be his alarm clock.

One time it took me more than an hour to wake him up. Afterwards I told him how stressful it was for me since I personally felt responsible for waking him up. We eventually agreed that D would supplement my call with an alarm clock; meanwhile, I promised I will not stress myself out if D took long in waking up.

Because D is on the night shift, I’d end up trying to wake him up while I’m driving home from work. I’ve turned this task into something advantageous for me. The drive home is already tedious due to heavy traffic; this task keeps me preoccupied. I’d use an earphone so I can put the phone down (handsfree!); thanks to redial, I found it much easier to call him up with just a press of a button. (Still, hitting an all-time high of 86 missed calls was something I never expected.)

Someone reacted, “I’d have muttered ‘bahala ka sa buhay mo’ after missed call #3 or #4.” I did think that a couple of times in the beginning, especially after going past the 10th call. But I could never get myself to just drop it.

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In our opening ice breaker exercise during our planning session last Wednesday in Tagaytay, we were asked to say 5 things about ourselves that is not so well-known in the office. Without thinking much, I blurted out that: [1] I have a 21-yr old boyfriend; [2] who’s my very first, and I, his; [3] that we’re celebrating our 14th monthsary on that very day; [4] and I already texted him but he hasn’t replied yet; [5] because he’s most probably asleep, since he works nights as a call boy. In a call center. LOL. It was the first time I announced it so publicly and to such a big group. They all cheered and clapped. I think I was squirming with inner delight.

Afterwards I proudly texted D about it. Last night he corrected me: “Hon, ano ba?! 16 months na tayo!” Oh no, senior moment.

I may be his alarm clock, but he’ll be our almanac.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Are You Open To It?

An open relationship is not for everybody. Both parties should be able to handle the fact that their partner hooks up with other guys. Not everyone is capable of separating sex as just a physical act versus sex as a physical expression of the love between two people.

It doesn’t mean that persons who can handle open relationships are better or more mature. It just means they have a different point of view or a different set of values from those who cannot imagine sharing their partners with others. This is also true vice versa.

So to those monogamists who feel sorry for the ones who are in open relationships, don’t. I’m sure those “sluts” are having just as much fun and satisfaction as those “prudes,” albeit in different ways. To eat his own; err, to each his own.

The Prude Fabcast, Part One

After our “Departures Fabcast” (aka “Pigsa In The Perineum”), we focused on our special guest, Paul aka Iamtofuboy.

I first met him online; I follow him on Twitter and we’re friends on Facebook. He had said before that he has always wanted to meet the Fabcasters and to take part in a Fabcast recording.

So when Migs and Gibbs co-celebrated their birthdays, I invited Paul to the party. There he met CC, Tony and other members of the peanut gallery. During the course of the night, he actually mentioned to me and CC that he was a prude, and he viewed it as some sort of “problem” for him. So we thought, hey, that can be the topic for the next Fabcast.

So now here’s the first of a three-part discussion. Because this was recorded on the same night as the “Departures Fabcast,” don’t be surprised if our running gag for the night continues on the following episodes!

Download this fabcast (right click and save)

Music credits:
“Ooh La La” by The Wiseguys
“Like A Virgin (Live)” by Madonna
“Sho Nuff” by Fatboy Slim
“Why’s It So Hard” by Madonna