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)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holiday Thoughts, Thanks To Entertainment Weekly

1. Big Love

In the magazine’s Dec. 21 issue, Fleetwood Mac member Stevie Nicks writes about the late Whitney Houston. She remembers watching an interview wherein Whitney said that even though she had numerous successes and had met so many famous people and had toured the whole world, when she fell in love with Bobby Brown, all she ever cared about was, in her words, “being in love. All I cared about was my husband. Nothing else mattered.”

Stevie then muses that if Whitney were alive today and was asked if she would change anything, she would say no. “I think she was very aware of where she was going,” Stevie writes. “And yeah, it’s a tragedy. But I also think sometimes when real big love gets in the way, there’s no turning back.”

Love, especially the passionate emotion, is a powerful force. Many stories and movies have romanticized such a love, and numerous songs have been sung of a love that moves mountains. It is an awesome and fearful sight to behold. It distorts reality, making it impossible for one to see the bigger picture. It makes one immune to reason. Big love consumes a person much like revenge.

It is awesome. It is tragic. And when real big love gets in the way, there’s no turning back.

Which is why the older I get, the more I prefer the ability of someone to keep his emotions in check. I find merit in keeping emotions, including (or perhaps especially) big love, in their proper perspective.

2. One Life

In the same issue, there’s a quote from the late Gore Vidal, talking about man’s place in the large cosmic scheme of things: “...all the more reason for us to maintain in proper balance what we have here. Because there is nothing else. Nothing. This is it. And quite enough, all in all.”

I remember nihilists use the argument that “Death makes life meaningless; ergo, we need not behave ‘properly.’” So we do not need to concern ourselves with others.

But there is a flip side to the argument. Because of Death, life becomes a one-shot deal. Since you’re only on this journey once, make it worth your time. Furthermore, life’s meaning and worth isn’t something foisted on us by the gods; rather, we ourselves choose to put meaning and worth.

What would be worth living? Is it money and material acquisition? Or is it the pursuit of happiness? For the longest time it was enough for me to “be happy.” But one day when I told my friend Leigh that my goal in life was “to be happy,” she said something which made me think: “Happiness is a by-product. What do you want to do? And in doing that, it will also make you happy?”

I realized that happiness in and of itself as a goal can lead one to purely selfish pursuits. I guess there’s nothing wrong with that, unless those selfish pursuits are to the detriment of others. One’s goals should take into consideration the balance of things on this Earth. After all, “this is it. And quite enough, all in all.”

Again, there is a need for perspective. We should always consider the larger picture.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Life Rules

Our life journey is all about learning how to adjust to the real world.

We use Hollywood romances, sitcoms, and viral wedding videos to help sugarcoat reality, to make us see things in a more palatable rose-colored glasses. And there is merit in donning those glasses. We need to be able to figure out a way to cope, or else we’d have a breakdown. But that’s really just to cushion the blows. It would be foolish to think that things get better in reality with a soft focus, swelling orchestral music, and a gentle fade to black. Sooner or later, we still have to face the fact that we have bruises and welts. And that the best thing to do is not to feel sorry for oneself or get mad at the world, but to take your lumps and learn from them.

And as much as we want to protect children from the “big, bad world,” I think it’s a mistake. Children should be given a healthy respect for the dangers--and the wonders--that the world has to offer. More and more I suspect that the world will be spared of even more mentally unstable shooters had their parents disciplined them more and instilled in them a fear for obedience. I’m afraid Americans’ penchant for sparing the rod and allowing kids to terrorize their parents give the children a warped sense of entitlement and a sad lack of self-discipline.

Of course this way makes possible the specter of parental abuse. There will always be bad apples, true. But I still prefer to give the responsibility to those who are of age.

Even as adults, we shouldn’t try to insulate ourselves from the bad that’s out there. Political correctness is an attempt to sugar-coat the world. We will never be able to please everybody. Let there be disagreements, let there be insults. Life isn’t fair, and sometimes the best course of action is to just smile and roll with the punches. There is also strength in losing, especially if you learn how to get back up (and not get even).

It’s okay to seek ways to soften the blows, but never forget that life is tough. Deal with it.

Friday, December 21, 2012

What D & I Are Watching These Days

Screen RED

According to their website, Screen RED is an “Asian movie channel proudly brought to you by HBO Asia and Mei Ah. It features movies from China, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and beyond.” Sadly, that “beyond” simply means “and a few Thai movies.” I’ve not seen any Filipino, Malaysian, or Singaporean movies.

However, we’re enjoying a lot of Korean and Japanese films. Among our favorites are:

Go! Boys’ School Drama Club - A Japanese comedy set in an all-boys high school. Aoi Nakamura stars as the student who witnesses a performance of “Romeo and Juliet” and joins the drama club in the hopes of wooing the female lead. He’s shocked to find out that Juliet’s played by a guy!

The Lady Shogun And Her Men - Set in 1716 Japan, where a mysterious plague has befallen Japanese men, a samurai enters the elite harem of beautiful men within the Palace. They are there to ensure that when the 7-year old Lady Shogun is of proper age, she will pick one of them to ensure the propagation of her lineage. In a place where no woman except the Lady Shogun herself can enter, handsome and capable men compete fiercely with one another for the attention of the Lady Shogun--and the affections of one another.

Beck - Based on a manga and anime of the same title, it’s a story of a rock and roll band’s rise to fame. Aoi Nakamura plays the drummer; he also has a small role in Lady Shogun, where he plays a man-servant trainee who develops a crush on the lead samurai. Yes, I have a crush on Aoi, hahaha!

School Days With A Pig - An engaging though a bit disturbing Japanese dramedy. It’s based on a true story about an elementary teacher who lets his class raise a piglet in school with the aim of eating it by the end of the school year. As the students get more attached to the pig, the class becomes divided over its eventual fate. Surprisingly moving performances by the kids, and the lead is also very cute.

There are also Korean and Japanese horror movies that we delight in watching. Going beyond movies, we also are fans of two Korean telenovellas:

Reply 1997

(Also known as Answer to 1997 / Answer Me 1997) This Korean drama that airs on  tvN (or Mnet or Channel M) centers on a group of high school friends from Busan. The drama goes back and forth from 2012 where they have a reunion, and 1997 back in their high school days. It shows the extreme fan culture of K-pop while at the same time showing the little relationship dramas between the friends.

D and I are actually hooked because of the male lead Seo In Gook (or Seo In Guk), a singer/actor who’s handsome precisely because of a slight imperfection (he’s somewhat banlag on his left eye), and another male co-star, Hoya, who’s a member of the Korean idol group Infinite. In Reply 1997 their friendship is complicated by the fact that Hoya’s character has a secret crush on Seo In Gook’s character, who in turn thinks that his friend is courting his female crush (played by female lead Jung Eun Ji).

I Love Lee Tae Ri

Another Korean comedy drama that aired (yes, tapos na) on tvN, this stars Super Junior member Kim Ki Bum. It’s about a 14-year old boy who makes a wish and is magically transformed into a 25-year old man. That he’s also a swimmer elevates this Koreanovella into a work of genius. After his transformation (while he was doing the breast-stroke in the pool!), he spends the rest of the series in a tuxedo. Okay, make that a work of semi-genius.

There is also a love story there somewhere involving the female titular character, but yeah well whatever.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

What A Year Ender

Is it just me, or has it been that for the past few years that the jolliest of seasons has been marked by sadness as well? This year marked the wrath of Typhoon Pablo, last year it was Typhoon Sendong, the year before we had the sinking of MV Catalyn B off Cavite on Christmas Eve. And who can forget the Philippines’ own Titanic, MV Doña Paz in December 1987? One can say that, thanks to global warming, the more powerful weather disturbances now happen at the latter time of the year. As for the maritime disasters, it’s due to the yearly exodus of people going home to the provinces for Christmas.

But once in a while we get more inexplicable visits from the Grim Reaper. A 20-year old man opens fire on an elementary school in Connecticut, thus making it so far the most ghoulish Nightmare Before Christmas this year. It happened in local USA, but the horror is global.

As usual we react with much hand-wringing and prayers. I don’t know if this incident will be the tipping point for the US to reconsider their Second Amendment, but frankly I’m not so interested in the debate over the right to bear arms as I am fascinated why these mass murders have been repeated alarmingly in the US. What is it about the American culture and psyche that breeds such shooters? The US isn’t the only country where one can easily purchase firearms. How come they have the highest number of deaths by firearms?

D asked me if something similar has happened here in the Philippines. I replied that there may have been Filipinos who have opened fire on others, but I don’t recall any specific incident when the targets were helpless and innocent civilians. Usually when a Filipino runs amok (I remember the Philippine media using that term), his assault is directed towards particular persons, with an occasional unlucky uninvolved who just happened to be in the line of fire because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Compared to Americans, we Filipinos are more connected to the larger society. We have our extend families, our neighbors, and our village associations; fact is, our country is actually small enough so that we aren’t too far apart with our degrees of separation from other Filipinos.

But I’m sure things aren’t that simple. Then again, maybe I, like many others, are falling into the trap of thinking that such unspeakable atrocities must have several complex reasons behind them. Maybe the real horror is that the reasons are simpler.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

RH Bill In Da Haus!

And so it came to pass that on the early part of Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, sometime past one in the morning, I was in the bedroom reading the latest issue of my “bible,” Entertainment Weekly, when D yelled from the living room, “They passed the RH Bill!”

So I switched on the telly, and lo and behold. So they did! The House of Representatives had voted to pass the RH Bill on second reading. The margin was slim at 113 versus 104, but still it was a victory for those in favor of the Bill.

I watched as the senior female correspondent of the news channel interviewed a bishop who was with an anti-RH Bill group picketing outside the Batasan Pambansa. The bishop stated that he believed the RH Bill was passed because President Noynoy “enticed” his party members with political and financial perks if they vote in favor of the Bill. The correspondent countered that the Church also was not remiss in flexing their influence over the lawmakers, but the bishop quickly countered, “But we have no pork barrel, unlike the government.”

Ah, dear bishop.

Yes, you cannot entice lawmakers with material goods. But you did threaten all of us with spiritual blackmail. Don’t you remember, dear bishop? Didn’t the good ol’ Catholic Church threaten lawmakers and ordinary folks alike with excommunication for being pro-RH Bill? Excommunication is one of the harshest things you can inflict on a person’s spiritual well-being. And yet, there are Catholics in those 113 who voted “Aye.” Yes, dear bishop. We may be spirits living in a material world, but reality bites. Hard.

Chew on that, dear bishop.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pak! Man

Full disclosure: I work for a company that earns millions of pesos whenever Manny Pacquiao has a boxing match.

* * * * *

When the tweets came in that Manny was knocked down, I breathed a sigh of relief. Inwardly I feel that the Manny today isn’t as hungry and focused as he was before. I wish this is his wake up call. Yes, he can be a preacher, a senator, and a boxer. But he can’t be great in all three simultaneously.

I took that opportunity to make fun of the CBCP and other anti-RH folks who blame every bad news to the RH Bill. For me, Manny losing is bad news. You still feel for the guy, despite his anti-RH statements. After all, his accomplishments are still record breakers.

But I’m puzzled whenever I see people post, “Pinoy Pride!” or “Pinoy pa rin ako!” in reaction to Manny’s loss. Of course we are still Pinoy, regardless of whether Manny wins or loses. I just find it shallow if people hinge their nationalistic pride on a boxer’s performance.

What is nationalistic pride anyway? For me, it’s pride in our accomplishments as a people, in our culture and history. It is a collective pride. But more than that, we should be able to find it deep within ourselves; it is not dependent on the success of others. When Manny wins, we are collectively happy because “one of ours” won. But let us be clear: Manny’s win is his; it is not a triumph of the Filipino.

(An aside: some may say it’s the triumph of the Filipino spirit. But what is the difference of the “Filipino spirit” from the never-say-die spirit of the Japanese, or the Americans, or the French?)

In the age of the Internet and worldwide connectivity we need to take a second look at nationalistic pride. More and more I find that the sense of nationalism, while important, will eventually take a back-seat to the bigger sense of humanity. More and more the boundaries between nations are breaking down. What happens in one country affects others. There will be a time when an insular outlook will be passé. (Say goodbye to beauty pageants as we know them.)

So Manny lost. If we’re sad, let it be because we feel sad for an individual’s loss. And we can still be proud of him for giving a good fight; it’s just that Marquez did better. It is not our Filipino-ness that took a beating on the world stage. Relax.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The End

Thus ended another fairly tale. So far D and I have counted three break-ups among our friends. Apparently ‘tis not the season to be jolly, fa-la-la-la-la la-la la-la.

Of the Fabcasters, D and I were the first couple to enter into an open relationship months after we got together. It’s not that the other Fabcasters are prudes; in fact, I think the others are also capable of being in one. It’s just that their partners aren’t interested in going open, and for an open relationship to work, it takes two to tango (with others too, hehehe).

Interestingly, D and I are also the only couple who are living together under one roof. We didn’t plan it that way. In fact, early into our relationship D said he didn’t want us to immediately live in together. He wanted to experience what it’s like having a place all to himself, taking care of the rent and the daily cleaning, maintenance and all. But that was before he had to move out of the dorm.

Living together brings the relationship to a different level. D and I have learned and are still learning how to adjust with one another on a day to day basis. Every day we continue to work on our relationship. Some days we encounter friction; some nights we end up giggling and laughing and being sweet with one another. Most days we go through a casual routine. We’re busy with making our marks in this world. We support one another mostly by just being there for each other and being witness to our individual growths.

Love may feel like a fairy tale, but staying in a loving relationship isn’t one. There is work involve. But if you both put in the work, there are perks along the way. Staying together under one roof presents new challenges too. But if both of you take on the challenges together, then you both enjoy the benefits also.

Whenever people find out that D and I are now on our second year and counting and they say something like, “Awww, that’s so sweet,” I always fight to keep my eyebrow from lifting up to the high heavens. The reason why most people go all emo when relationships end is because they still think that love is a fairy tale that magically just happens. Get real, fairies. Fairy tales require hard work too. And forever does not exist. If you want infinity, take up math; otherwise, everything else in this universe has an end.

Love yourself and appreciate the different loves you have now instead of hanging on to an unnatural and unrealistic idea of forever. And maybe then you will find out how to really be happy.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Amalayer, Anonymity, Accessibility, And Our Actions

So the Miss Amalayer video goes viral, and the netizens are at it again. She became the target of comments, jokes, spoofs, and personal tirades against her. But thanks also to our experiences with Lao and Carabuena, some netizens quickly expressed outrage or concern over the cyber-ganging up on her. Some mocked those who mocked her so-called faux-American accent, calling them hypocritical.

The Philippines may not be the most wired country in the world, but many of its citizens are fairly email- and Facebook-savvy. And the number of connected citizens will increase as the technology becomes more widespread. So it’s good that this early, there is already a growing concern about how people behave online.

Proper behavior is agreed upon by a society and is passed on to the next generation. Generally, we know how to behave properly in public. We don’t just squat in the middle of the sidewalk and take a dump. We are taught that we should cover our mouth when we sneeze in public. And sex should be done in the privacy of a room.

As the internet becomes more and more accessible, we should learn how to behave online as well. Particular online sites, such as chat rooms, have moderators who can impose some form of discipline in their forums. But with Facebook, Twitter, and other public sites with no moderators, the participants ought to learn how to self-moderate. Admitted, this will take time. But it’s good that people are already speaking out. The process of check-and-balance has started.

An enemy of proper behavior is anonymity. Mobs form and become an unstoppable force when individuals lose their identity in a crowd. Anonymity emboldens them to behave unruly because it’s difficult to pinpoint responsibility.

Our sense of anonymity these days are affected by two important technological advances, the rise of the internet and the availability of video-recording devices in cellphones. Thanks to technology, everyone is now a mobile CCTV. Before that, when someone behaved badly in public, the only witnesses are the ones in the immediate vicinity. Now millions can view an incident and instantly weigh in on it.

The internet allows anonymous postings. Some people rant on their Facebook or Twitter pages without fear because they hide behind handles and pseudonyms. But even those who use their real names online do mouth off too. They do that because: [1] they feel that they have some level of anonymity because aren’t really well-known (unlike celebrities with millions of followers); and/or [2] they are exercising their right to free speech by sharing videos/photos and stating their opinions on their personal site.

My personal stand on the matter is this: I think people should be allowed to say whatever they want. For me, freedom of speech goes both ways: people may speak up against you, but you too have the right to speak up and defend your actions.

(On a side note: Can verbal bullying be defended under freedom of speech? I believe in certain exceptions, particularly the underage who are not yet emotionally mature. Students should be protected from verbal or physical abuse.)

But what about mature adults being “verbally bullied” by supposedly fellow mature adults? If people are free to throw below-the-belt insults at you, you also are free to hurl right back at them--or you can keep silent. I am for people learning how not to be too sensitive and affected by what others say. Whenever I hear “victims” of cyberbullying whine about how they suffered so much stress, I want to tell them, “Toughen up, wimp. Be the adult that you are. If you commit suicide because you were bullied, then it’s your loss.”

Thanks to video and the internet, the cyberbullied becomes an instant celebrity. So perhaps we ought to look at how celebrities handle a situation wherein they become targets of public ridicule. When Hugh Grant was caught hooking up with a prostitute, what did he do? When Eddie Murphy picked up a streetwalker who turned out to be a chick-with-a-dick, what did he do? Yes, they have a whole team working on their public image. But there must be a lesson or two which us non-celebrities can pick up from them. First, admit to yourself that you are responsible for your actions, and certain public acts have very public consequences. Toughen up. If the stress is getting to you, seek help. Don’t answer each and every criticism; in fact, learn how to tune out the noise. Weather it through. People eventually move on and forget.

Like it or not, technology can make instant celebrities of us all, whether in a good way (look at Kevjumba, Happy Slip, and all those cute kitten videos) or not. That should be a warning to us all. Austin Powers got it right: Online or off, “Oh, behave!”

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Free HIV Test In Makati!

Too busy to go for your HIV test? Postpone it no more. Come by after work, or before you start your shift – this testing event starts at 5 PM and shall operate till 2 AM to accommodate everyone who wants to avail of free & confidential screening for HIV, Syphilis, and Hepatitis B.  Venue is the Medicard Lifestyle Center, at Buendia corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati City. For pre-registration, go to

Know your status and be worry-free.

The Party Fabcast, Part 2

Here is the second and last part of the Fabcasters’ discussion regarding Ladlad, the gay party list running for the next elections.

Here we also consider the question: “Should a gay party list assume that just because a voter is gay, he/she should vote for them because of their sexual orientation?”

And in our wrap-up, we weigh in on who we will vote for in the next elections.

Listen in and enjoy.

Music credits:
“Piss On The Wall” by J. Geils Band
“Election Day” by Arcadia
“Man In The Mirror” by Michael Jackson

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Party Fabcast, Part 1

Undas 2012, at a condotel in Quezon City, the Fabcasters and the peanut gallery held a different kind of party. Over pizza, cake, and wine, we discussed the idea of a gay party list. Is it necessary? Is the current gay party list group Ladlad representative of gays?

O di ba, political itetch!

But if you think the Fabcasters have become too serious, fear not. We cannot even take ourselves too seriously, CHOZ.

Listen in and enjoy.

Podcast Powered By Podbean

Music credits:
“Sirena” by Gloc 9 featuring Ebe Dancel
“It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons

Monday, November 05, 2012

Wreck-It Good

“I’m bad, and that’s good. I’ll never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.” - Wreck-It-Ralph

* * * * *

Wreck-It-Ralph is a Disney movie, but ever since the Pixar folks were made in charge of all Disney animation, this latest has all the trademarks of great Pixar films. It has unexpected depth that will engage adults as it engages the kids with its cute characters and colorful world.

It’s amazing how the most colorful of media (computer games) actually contains the most black-and-white of characters (good versus bad). Wreck-It-Ralph is about a bad guy who wants to be good, and it’s an anti-hero movie flipped over its head. What makes it more fascinating is that Ralph purposely wants to be good. And it’s a breath of fresh cinematic air when he realizes that the road to good intentions can be littered with actions that are more than 50 shades of gray.

One of my main pet peeves with movies these days are their predictability, but Wreck-It-Ralph is that rare Hollywood movie that surprised and amazed me. It even managed to blindside me with the identity of the main antagonist. It shows how characters are not entirely all good or all bad, and that “good” and “bad” may not necessarily be traits but just roles that one can play. For an animation movie that’s usually aimed at kids, that’s not bad.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lintik Na Tiktik!

I’m happy that Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles is doing well. At least, that’s what their press releases are saying. (Of course, box office grosses of Philippine movies are routinely padded, but hey, let’s not rain on their parade.) So let me applaud the producers behind Tiktik for daring to go beyond the usual trends. (Imagine had they made Natiktikan: The Secret Aswang Affair. One shudders at the thought.) But let me also tell you why it didn’t work for me.

I am not sure if Tiktik wants to be a horror-comedy movie, or a horror movie with comedy. The nearest template I can think of is Quentin Tarantino’s From Dusk ‘Til Dawn. It takes its time setting up the situation (two brothers hijacks a family and find themselves in a bar full of vampires) before all hell breaks loose. Dusk succeeds because the audience isn’t sure if any of the leads will survive ‘til dawn. And its over-the-top gore actually makes sense: the gore keeps things horrifying, while its outrageousness adds comedic value.

In contrast, there was never any real threat to Lovi Poe or her baby, especially when the latter was dropped from midair (rendering the slow-mo effect superfluous). You knew that Dingdong Dantes will manage to save the day despite, or precisely because, of his aggressive nature, and will do so while looking like the Bench model that he is, with sexy soiled sando and shoulders shiny with sweat. (In fact, I think the movie missed an opportunity here. The filmmakers should have knocked his character done a notch or two.) Even the death of two major characters did nothing but merely increase the body count. 

For a horror-comedy to succeed, the horror should be solid. And for horror to succeed, the audience must accept the set-up. Dantes is a fairly competent actor, and in this movie he manages to be both an asshole and likable. But his excessive gung ho attitude in the first part fizzles. Was this the filmmakers attempt to make him more palatable? It would have made more sense (and a more interesting movie) had his character’s hot-headedness continue to put them is peril throughout the movie, and has to rely on his quick instincts to undo his mistakes.

There has been much ado about the technical aspects of this film. The CGI landscape are marvelous, and really effective in adding to the movie’s mood and tone. The CG creatures, though, need to be less cartoony, and their movements are still as stiff as wire-frame. And we really need to invest in make-up and prosthetics. If it’s not believable gore, it won’t work.

But mostly it’s really the tone which can make or break a film like this. Erik Matti huffs and puffs to push adrenaline levels up. But all that movement isn’t moving. What made me stay was mere curiosity to see how the movie will end.

Honestly, I do want to support local movie makers who dare to push the envelope and offer something new to audiences. But pushing the envelope per se is not enough, and if we as an audience want better movies, let’s not just settle for “at least it’s something new,” or “but the filmmakers were passionate about it.” Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles is but part of the necessary steps in the right direction. I hope that the next ones will get it right.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Friendship Conundrum

How should one behave when his friend is doing something that one doesn’t agree with? Are there friendship rules on that?

My take on the matter is simple. As friends, we need not agree on everything. Thus, we can have differences in terms of tastes, likes, and even morals. As friends, we appreciate our similarities and tolerate our differences. Just like with boyfriends and partners, irreconcilable differences are deal breakers. If you can’t stand to have a friend who doesn’t share the same values as yours, then it’s time to reassess your friendship.

Let’s consider several scenarios:

[1] What if you suspect that your friend who is in an exclusive relationship with someone else is fooling around? Suspicion is not yet grounds for accusation. If you and he are close enough as friends, then you are in a position to bring it up with him. You can tell him something like, “Hey, I’ve heard something that concerns you, and it’s quite sensitive. Can we discuss it?” If your friend says that nothing is going on, give him the benefit of the doubt. If you can’t give him the benefit of the doubt, then either you’ve judged him to be incapable of staying on the straight and narrow path, or you should reconsider your friendship with him.

[2] What if you have undeniable proof that your friend is fooling around? As a friend, you have every right to bring this up with him. If you don’t agree with what he’s doing, you can tell him that. (If you agree with him fooling around, well then, no wonder you’re friends!) You can advise him on what to do, but basically you will have to honor his decision. As a friend, your duty ends there. How your friend moves forward and addresses it with his boyfriend is a matter that’s between the two. Better keep a respectful distance.

[3] What if you’re close to just the one who’s fooling around? Then as a friend you can talk to him, but only to him. If you value his friendship, or if you prefer an uncomplicated life, under no circumstances should you squeal to his partner.

[4] What if you’re close friends with both parties? In general, rule number 3 applies here. The spirit of the rule is simple: Talk to the one who is fooling around, not the one who’s being fooled behind his back.

However, this situation is quite tricky, because ultimately you will want to be fair to both since they are your friends. You may ask the one being cheated on, “Hey, how are you and your BF?” Or depending on your skills, you may choose to drop hints. But if he asks you outright if his partner is cheating, then I believe you have the obligation to tell the truth.

Which is why, if I’m friends with both parties who are in an exclusive relationship, I think I’ll want to ask them ahead of time, in front of the both of them: “Hey guys, we’re all close friends here, right? If I find out that one of you is fooling around behind the other one’s back, WHAT WOULD WANT ME TO DO? Is it okay for both of you that I squeal on the other?” By turning the question on to them, you’re forcing them to decide what their expectations are from you as their friend. Then it becomes a clear-cut agreement between all three of you.

It also sends a clear message to both of them: If one of them wants to fool around behind his partner’s back, he should also make sure he keeps his fooling around a secret from you. Then you’ll be oblivious. Ignorance is indeed bliss.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Okey Sinister, Okey Sinisis

Once upon a time, there was a little movie called The Blair Witch Project that coughed up big scares and bigger box office returns. Thus the found-footage genre became legit. The genre (is it?) has produced some hit and misses, but so far it has thrived very well with horror and suspense. The appeal there is obvious; it allows the viewers to have that “OMG, did I just see what I saw?!” mimesis, having seen what seems like real footage. The intrinsic difficulty then of found footage films is that there’s added burden on the filmmakers to make the set-up feel real.

Sinister finds an ingenious way to sidestep the found footage difficulty by making it a movie (or movies) within a movie. So you get the delightful shocks of both found footage and traditional horror genres.

I must admit I got through several scenes by squinting my eyes. Mid-film I turned to D and said, “Nasi-stress ako sa pelikulang ito, ha.” It is a fun horror ride, yes. In fact, it really delivers some pretty disturbing images that linger long after you’ve left the theater. But the script also contains inconsistencies and illogical turns that often mar my enjoyment of scare flicks. Horror should have the smarts to keep things real, otherwise you have an incredulous audience going, “Now why the eff did he do just that?!”

Sinister stars Ethan Hawke, and while he is a good actor, I think the intrinsic smarts he exudes as an actor doesn’t work well for him here. His Ellison Oswalt is a novelist desperate to write another bestseller, and he places his family in danger by renting the house where a family was hanged to death in the yard. Oswalt doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but even a skeptic of the occult will know that moving his family into the actual murder scene isn’t a wise thing to do. Had Hawke gone for a more unthinking Oswalt (like, say, how Jack Nicholson can do oblivious so well), maybe I would have believed in him more. Also, as he discovers more and more the hideous murders in the home movies, why doesn’t he say anything to his wife? Didn’t he find it weirdly suspicious that the box of home movies was in the attic? It really took him a long time before he came to his senses. There is a big difference between selfishness and stupidity.

The music is something that I both like and dislike. I have to admit, Christopher Young’s score is so unsettling, it deserves its own concert tour. But I have a problem with horror movies wherein the music practically dictates the mood of the scene. The music is disturbing and disturbingly obvious. It practically screams, “BE AFRAID! BE VERY AFRAID! SOMETHING’S ABOUT TO HAPPEN!” and then something does, but it’s not exactly what you were expecting. So in the end the music actually becomes a cheat.

As I said, Sinister is still a fun ride. Yes, the ending is predictable, but there are enough going on to keep you interested. And while the traditional horror tricks don’t deserve the screams they generate (shock for shock’s sake), the certain images in the found footage part are genuinely distressing.

Grab someone whom you’d wanna grab hold of (and vice versa) when you watch this.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Where Do I Go From Here?

I started blogging back in 2004. That was eight years ago. I remember discovering and getting excited with all of these gay bloggers who, thanks to the relative anonymity of the Internet, had given voice to our pink concerns. Now, I said, I can also hear my voice in others.

It was my friend Nelz whose blog I read first. I was amazed at his chutzpa in posting intimate, graphic details of his sexcapades. From Nelz’s blog list, I started blog-hopping, discovering other pink voices. Some were more graphic than Nelz, others were more circumspect. And that got me wondering. How much of it on the Net is the truth, and how much is just press release? Is there a way to tiptoe on that fine line between the two?

My original intention for The McVie Show was to come up with a “personal diary” that was as much a show as it was truthful. Present my life in an entertaining way, for there is an audience out there (yes, I assumed at least one other person will want to read about me). And because some bloggers were quite prolific, I also wanted to post an entry a day.

After a week or two I tweaked my original “reason for being” and instead opted to present the more entertaining aspects of my life. And what topic was a surefire crowd-drawer? My sexcapades in bathhouses, cinemas, and gym saunas soon became fodder for the Show.

But change was inevitable. Cinemas stopped allowing viewers to sit through multiple screenings. Slimmers World shut down all of their saunas and steam rooms. And my bathhouse stories were compiled and published.

Before one could express oneself in forums and blogs. But then Facebook and Twitter allowed us to rant and rave in a more focused and succinct manner (well, some a lot less wordy than others). Suddenly we had to be all Strunk & Whitean with our tweets and status updates; others chose to go jejemonic and txt-jargonic in their attempt to stay within 140 characters. Still the damage was done. We said things shorter and in an instant. Responses happened in a blink of a refresh. Thanks to comments, likes, and retweets, our singular voices could now be magnified into an online roar. And all that without having to worry about drafts and spell-checks and word crafting.

Blogging became the equivalent of a concept album on vinyl at time when everyone else is shuffling among disparate individual MP3 tracks.

Yesterday I got an email from Nelz. He had stopped blogging years ago. Now he announced that he’s unplugged himself from Facebook, and will now spend his time reading books.

I too have thought of unplugging. But still there’s something that draws me back to my blog. I don’t know what it is, and right now I’m not too keen on finding out what. I am also still figuring out which direction to go. But as the adage says, “The show must go on.”

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

As Is! (ala-Clueless)

This is the first episode of The McVie Show under Republic Act No. 10175 (or the Cybercrime Prevention Act), and I will proceed with business as usual. And speaking of....

At first my objection was the 11th-hour inclusion by that stupid and pikon Sotto of the libel clause in the said Act. I object to both his underhandedness and the inclusion of libel as a cybercrime.

Ironically though, his actions threw a blazing spotlight on the whole Cybercrime Act, and further scrutiny showed that there were other problematic provisions in RA 10175, with the problem mostly on vagueness. Cybersex is now a crime? What about cybersex between two consenting adults? And what’s the difference between cybersex and phone sex/sexting, and why is there no hullabaloo on the latter when it’s been here longer? And have the authors really thought through how they will implement the law? Is liking or sharing posts considered “aiding or abetting”?

Given the noise being made about it, I think it’ll be sometime before the dust settles. Meanwhile I will continue to express myself, and the Show goes on. Fuck it.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Ang Pagdadalaga Ni McVie, Part 5

Part 5: We Are Family (or Dealing With Our Givens)

Ah family! We can choose our friends but we can’t choose who we’re born into.

In many ways, our family is responsible for our formation in our early years. We get from them our faith, our beliefs, our ideals, and so forth. We didn’t have a choice. Whatever our parents told us to believe in, we believed wholeheartedly. God. The Tooth Fairy. Santa Claus. And gays are an abomination.

Sadly that’s what I grew up with. I don’t remember my parents being vocally against homosexuals. But their behavior towards them spoke volumes, how easily they dismissed them, and how they turn their noses up against the homosexuals in our neighborhood. My parents were outwardly friendly to the baklang mananahi named Jamie, or to the baklita who watched over the sari-sari store in front of our house. But they were still bayot, and as far as my parents were concerned, they did not measure up to being a man.

Thank god my parents sent me to a particular Jesuit institution, and thank god for the pasaway Jesuits and their pasaway teachers who taught me to think for myself. I really understood the value of questioning what was taught to you back when you were helpless to resist.

Another difficulty for those growing up in the closet is the idea of coming out to one’s own family. There’s this pressure for full disclosure to the people you love; the idea being, if you love someone then you should be completely honest with them. After all, coming out is a sign of trust, right?

Sadly, it’s a lot more complicated than that when it comes to blood relations. Family dynamics are like snowflakes; no two are exactly alike. And for every “painless” coming out story, there’s an opposite story that shows the sad truth of parents not being able to understand and accept their gay son or daughter. And what makes it different from partners and friends is that you do not choose your family. Even if you decide to completely cut ties with them (or vise versa), the the fact remains that there is a biological connection. Perhaps that fact will eventually become inconsequential; or sadly, it may become a source of contention and friction later on in life (for example, if there are inheritance issues).

At first I too thought, “Oh no, one day I should come out to my parents. They deserve to know who I really am.” But I kept pushing it off, waiting for the “right” time. Then my dad died, so I thought, hey, it’ll be easier to tell my mom. But I still kept putting it off. Then one day it dawned on me: I am not defined by my sexuality. I am more than just what I do in the privacy of my bedroom. And adults understand that it’s okay if some things are better left unsaid. I mean, do I really wanna know the sexual activities and proclivities of my mom?!

So now I have a relaxed attitude towards my family with regards to coming out. If they ask me, I won’t lie. But if they don’t ask me, I won’t volunteer.

Every gay guy who’s still struggling with the idea of coming out to their family should be assured that you do not have to come out, especially if they don’t feel compelled to do it. And no one has the right to compel you. Coming out to the family is an individual decision, and as I said, individuals are as different as snowflakes. You are as dazzling as a snowflake, whether you are out to your family or not.

(Up next, Part 6: Alone)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Project Run(a)way

I don’t get it. So one day you’re in a relationship, the next day you’re out. What is this, Project Runway?

When I was a lot younger, I bought into the whole “‘til Death do us part” bit, which is why in my hopeful mind I thought that the only right way to companionship was to have a long and thorough courtship period. That courtship period serves as time for two people to get to know each other well enough, so that they have enough basis to decide whether to plunge into a serious commitment or not.

It was only much, much later on when it dawned on me that gay Filipinos don’t (and most probably won’t for several years) have the institution of marriage; thus, separation between two gay men is less messy. Consequently, two guys can officially become a couple before the “getting to know you” stage commences. No big deal, really, since we don’t have the institution to tie us down outside of personal choice.

The lack of institutionalized commitment means that gay relationships will rise and fall on the decisions of the two parties involved. On the one hand, this makes gay relationships sound so flighty, so easy-come-easy-go. But on the other hand, this separates the men from the boys.

To be committed takes dedication, patience, and honor. It can be difficult, even more so if there is no legal document that forces one to stay committed. When it’s so easy to just run away, then commitment becomes an act of will.

So if you’re someone who just jumps into a relationship, who doesn’t even stop and consider the implications of choosing to be with someone, who is more in love with being in love than with a real person, then you’re just a kid. Or you’re an old guy who perhaps needs to grow up.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pride And Survivor

What constitutes national pride? I ask myself that as the worldwide juggernaut of a TV show begins its latest installment, Survivor Philippines. Online I see people tweeting or posting on their Facebook status, “Survivor Philippines makes me so proud of my country!” or some similar sentiment. And that made me wonder. I’m okay with the fact that the show brought in dollars for our economy. I’m also happy that the show becomes an international platform to showcase the beauty of Caramoan in Camarines Sur. But to be proud of it? What is it about Survivor Philippines that makes it a source of national pride? Why should we be proud of as Filipinos?

Predictably, as soon as I tweeted my musing, some immediately reacted, saying they were proud that this international show is showcasing the beauty of out country. One even chided me for being a sourpuss. They must have thought I was bursting their happy bubbles.

But I really am just curious: why should we be proud of being the setting of Survivor? Is it because Survivor shows the beauty of the Philippines, unlike The Bourne Legacy whose producers admitted that they chose Manila because of its dirt and chaos? But if it’s just showcasing the beauty of the Philippines, our Department of Tourism has been doing that for the longest time. Besides, anyone in production will tell you that the choice of location does not rest solely on its telegenic beauty. And if being a Survivor location is a matter of pride, then Upolu, Samoa and Koror, Palau have us beat, with the former being the location of two seasons and the latter of four seasons.

But it seems some of us really make a big deal out of any mention of anything Filipino on an international platform. I’m reminded of Phil. Daily Inquirer’s Ruben V. Nepales who, whenever he interviews a foreign celebrity, always looks for a Filipino connection with that celebrity. A friend of mine tweeted: “Eh kung proud nga tayo na Pinay ang asawa ng pinsan ng kabit ng kapatid ng isang NBA player eh.” To which I replied: “O proud tayo na yung may 1/4 Pinoy blood yung kapatid ng katulong ng teacher ng mga anak nina Brangelina.”

I’m proud of our heroes. I’m proud of our athletes. I’m proud of our country’s beautiful locations. But in Survivor Philippines the country is just a backdrop for the show, not front and center. The contestants are Americans, the whole production is American. I’m happy that part of our country is seen by millions of viewers all over the world. But proud?

Nationalism and patriotism should go deeper than just getting excited every time we hear the words “Philippines,” “Filipino,” and “Pinoy” uttered by foreigners, or when we find out that a Filipino is six or less degrees of separation from (insert foreign celebrity name here).

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Fabcasters On Relationships, Part 4

The fourth and last part, as we wrap up our discussion on monogamy and open relationships. What was supposedly a discussion on the relationship status of the Fabcasters turned into an exchange of views on open relationships and monogamy.

Producer’s note: At the end of the recording, Tony blurted out, “Ambagal ng mga utak ng mga matatanda ngayon ah.” And while I was editing this particular Fabcast, I realized he was right; in particular, I was quite scatterbrained during the whole recording session. On reflection, I wasn’t ready to discuss my open relationship simply because I’m in the middle of it all, and that I’m learning new things every day, mostly about me. So it’s difficult to step back for the bigger picture when you’re deep inside the frame.

Boy, I’m so glad the Fabcasts are not live, ahahaha.

Music credits:
“My Love Life” by Morrissey
“Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj feat. Ester Dean
“Love Me For What I Am” The Carpenters
“I Want It That Way” by Backstreet Boys

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Fabcasters On Relationships, Part 3

And now it’s Corporate Closet’s turn to be under the spotlight. Or on the hot seat, if you will. Here CC discusses his past relationships and gamely endures the slings and arrows and barbed quips from his fellow Fabcasters as well as from the peanuts gathered in the gallery.

And maybe it’s unconscious on my part, but when choosing songs for this part, I ended up choosing songs from the 70s. I guess it reflects my age as well, LOL.

Music credits:
“Love Isn’t Easy” by Abba
“Father And Son” by Cat Stevens
“It’s Sad To Belong” by England Dan and John Ford Coley
“Mahirap Magmahal Ng Syota Ng Iba” by Apo Hiking Society

The Fabcasters On Relationships, Part 2

On this second part of the Fabcasters’ discussion on the relationship, D and I answer Jason’s question, “Aren’t you enough for one another?” We also conclude our story of our open relationship, as Tony joins belatedly into the discussion.

“Are you open to an open relationship?” This question is tackled by the others, especially by Gibbs and Bogs, Migs, and Tony.

The second part ends with an unexpected arrival by another latecomer to the peanut gallery.

Music credits:
“Love Me For A Reason” by Boyzone
“Love Is For Singing” by the Apo Hiking Society
“Turn Up The Radio” by Madonna
“A Different Point Of View” by the Pet Shop Boys

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ang Pagdadalaga Ni McVie, Part 4

Part 4: That’s What Friends Are For (or On Friendships)

Friends have always been very important to me. They provide me with support, inspiration, stability and, since I like to surround myself with witty people who know how to laugh at themselves, much laughter.

It was in grade school that I first joined a barkada. We stayed together until after college. Today my original barkada is now scattered all over the U.S.; only two of us stayed in the country. Thanks to college theater and work, I formed new sets of friends. With Internet, the world opened up to me, and that’s when I met other like-minded gay guys. And that’s how the Fabcasters were formed.

There was a time in the past that I saw my friends as my alternative to the lack of a lovelife. Having different sets of friends meant more choices if I needed to hang out with someone. And different sets meant shifting gears and having a wider repertoire of interests. That’s why when people ask me, “Isn’t it lonely to be alone and single?” I now disagree. It took me years to realize, but eventually I first discovered that my friends keep me from being bored. And a couple more years, I learned an even more important lesson: I myself can keep me from being bored.

You can’t choose family, but you can most certainly choose your friends. So choose well, choose wisely, especially when it comes to gay friends. I first came out to a female friend because I felt she was my safest choice. But immediately after that, I made it a point to also come out to the gay friends that I had. Because being gay means being treated differently, it’s great to have similar-minded people with whom you can bond with, look up to, emulate, and eventually learn from.

And don’t be afraid to let some go, eventually and organically. It’s a fact of life; there will be people whose path of growth will diverge from yours. You may have a lot of shared past, but you now face separate futures. So learn how to move on with grace and love. It’s a valuable lesson that you will definitely keep coming back to, and will serve you well with your family and even with your partner (or partners).

That’s why nowadays I don’t see friendships as an alternative to a lovelife. No, friendships are, in and of themselves, a special and different kind of love. It is not romantic love, but it is love nonetheless.

And if what they say is true, that ideally your lover should also be your friend, isn’t it great that you already have people with whom you can hone your skills in the art of devotion, loyalty, respect, selflessness, and eventually, saying goodbye? (Hello, AJ!)

Thank god for friends.

(Up next, Part 5: We Are Family)

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Fabcasters On Relationships, Part 1

Two years ago the Fabcasters were all single, and we marked that occasion with a Fabcast that’s also significant because it was also to be the penultimate recording with AJ.

Today, Migs, Gibbs, CC, Tony, and I are all in relationships. So now we marked the occasion with a Fabcast recording on relationships. (We hope it’s not the penultimate recording of someone though, bwhahaha! Excuse the ghoulish sense of humor, I rarely get to flaunt it these days.)

I guess D and I were chosen to go first because we were the only partners present in the recording. So first on the Fab grill: “Danyeeear” and I discuss our open relationship.

Click on the link below and listen.

Music credits:

“Out Of The Game” by Rufus Wainwright
“Lovegame” by Lady Gaga
“Left To My Own Devices” by Pet Shop Boys

Ang Pagdadalaga Ni McVie, Part 3

Part 3: All You Need Is Love (or On Relationships & Love)

So far my biggest, longest-lasting hang-up was: “Why am I single since birth?” From the time I was attracted to the same sex until I was 44 years old, I was enjoying what is euphemistically called “single blessedness.” I thought the euphemism was cloying, annoying, and condescending, until I had a boyfriend. Now I still think there’s a tinge of consuelo-de-bobo shade in the term, but now that I can compare being single versus having a partner, I can now say with conviction that, indeed, the former has its blessings.

But that will fall on deaf ears of the desperate and the delusional. Desperate because they want a partner above all else; delusional because they think that love is the answer. All they need is love, love is all there is.

Actually this need to be coupled is a universal need. But among gays, it becomes especially significant because we’ve been accused of being incapable of having long term relationships of the monogamous kind. Makati at malandi are easily attributed to homosexuals. Not surprising; as I said in Part 2, sex is seen in a narrow context (I blame this on imposed Catholic guilt regarding sex). Thus I think this spurs a lot of gay guys to want to prove that gays are capable of achieving the Holy Grail that straight couples aim for: a long-term monogamous relationship.

This need to be coupled is reinforced by pop culture. Literature, popular music, and the movies all have their share of love stories. That these soap operas, melodramas, and romantic comedies aren’t limited to one culture indicates that this is very much a universal theme. And there is a good reason behind it. Man is a social creature; he is built to socialize with his fellow men.

Nature also made falling in love desirable. The joyful rush, the increased heart rate and blood flow, and the dilation of the eyes--the physical manifestations of falling in love are akin to being high on drugs. And there’s a natural logic to it all; Man needs to copulate so as to ensure the species survives. But Man is unlike animals. In the animal kingdom, when females are in heat they and the males respond instinctively. But Nature has kicked Man out of that instinctual habit. If we want to have sex, we don’t release pheromones; instead, we negotiate. We flirt. We even bamboozle.

Since birth, we are bombarded with all of these Love! Love! Love! messages from both Nature and Nurture. No wonder we’re always looking for love.

Back in high school when I started getting interested in guys, I was attracted to only straight men. That led me to a series of unrequited love, and it took me a while to snap out of that vicious cycle. When I was in my late 20s, I was desperately seeking love on weekends, first in Malate, then in Makati. When I was still single when I hit mid-30s, I told myself, “Career na lang nga muna. Love will happen when it will happen.” And yet still I secretly wished, “Lord, give me a lover!”

It was only when I was into my 40s that I finally found some peace in the idea that I may be single for the rest of my life. It was the fear of “OMG, I’ll still be single when I get old!” that fueled my need for a partner. And when I turned 41, 42, and so forth, I still didn’t find someone. More and more I got comfortable with the idea of being single. My only regret was that I could never really know what it was like to have a boyfriend. But that’s something I have no control over. The one indisputable fact of love is that it takes two to tango.

At 44 I finally met a tango partner.

So now that I can compare, I can safely say that having someone in your life gives you a chance to know yourself even more. Most of these lessons you can actually learn from family and friends. However, it’s so easy to take family and friends for granted. With a partner, the lessons are a lot harder to avoid and evade. And I’m so thankful that it’s D who’s with me on this.

What I also realized is that Love doesn’t favor straight or gay. We actually share in the same fears and go through the same problems (well, except for the sex problems, of course).

Some people, when they hear my story, would react with, “Oh wow, it took you so long. Poor unfortunate you.” But I don’t feel unfortunate; in fact, I count myself lucky. Knowing how emotional I was when I was younger, I am glad that I met D when I was more stable and less emotionally volatile. (D may want to disagree with me on the last statement though, hahaha!)

At least Fate spared me and you many an emo post.

(Up next, Part 4: That’s What Friends Are For)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ang Pagdadalaga Ni McVie, Part 2

Part 2: Let’s Talk About Sex (or Being Sex-positive)

I started getting interested in sex during high school, when I’d see my male classmates pouring over girlie magazines and I’d be turned on peeking at their hard-ons.

Shortly after that I had my first sexual encounter. It was in a movie house in Cubao with a total stranger. In high school I started watching movies on my own (I discovered the joys of watching a movie again and again and seeing the reaction of the crowd during different showings, but that’s for another topic altogether). One day I was watching alone in Quezon 2 (back when there were no malls, movies were shown in stand-alone theaters; however, those theater owners saw the value of having more than one screen, and so that started the trend of having Quezon 1&2, Coronet 1&2, Remar 1&2, etc., but again that’s for another topic) when a guy sat next to me. That was the beginning of my movie-cruising years. Then I discovered massage parlors, but part of me was (and still is) put off by monetary payments and negotiations.

It was when I discovered bath houses that I really let loose my inner slut. At first I felt a pinch of Catholic guilt after a particularly raunchy time in the bath house. Over time that guilt disappeared, but it wasn’t because I forgot about it. As I experienced encounter after encounter, I asked myself if there really was anything wrong with it. We were both consenting adults, we knew what we were getting into, and (eventually, with the advent of HIV) we also made sure we played safe. So I asked myself: What’s wrong with responsible sex between two consenting adults?

Some people would say that only sex with love can reach ecstatic heights that casual sex cannot. Or that sex with love has more meaning versus casual sex. That may be true for certain people; heck, it may even be true for most people.

However, sex defies surveys and popular choices. Sex is about finding out what you enjoy the most; even better, sex is about two individuals satisfying one another. (Yes, most casual sex partners tend to just worry about their own satisfaction. But assuming that both parties fairly mature, and both are looking out for their own needs, then most likely the negotiations will produce a win-win situation.) Physical satisfaction may sound limited, but those who’ve experienced what endorphins can do will attest that the satisfaction goes beyond physical.

And assuming that sex-with-love really is the most mind-blowing of sexual experiences, what about those who aren’t in relationships? Casual sex, especially the raunchy, sweaty, heart-and-waist-pumping kind, can reach heights of ecstasy too. It may not be the same, but it sure can be quite toe-curling. Don’t believe me? Perhaps you haven’t been getting much.

So what does being sex-positive have to do with being gay? Our choice of sex partner is the very definition of “homosexuality,” but sex between two men (or two women) is still quite the taboo. We should be allowed to exercise our gayness without the stigma.

That includes the scorn that we get from our fellow gay men. An active sex life is seen as slutty instead of healthy. Again, I ask: So what’s wrong with being a slut?

So you’re contented with having occasional sex. So you prefer sex only in the context of a monogamous loving relationship. So you think the ass is purely “exit only, no entry.” Fine, well and good. But don’t force your views on everyone. Don’t put yourself higher than everyone else. Not everyone thinks that every sperm is sacred. Sex need not be limited to the procreational kind; sex can also be recreational. Sex is a matter of motive and taste, and in taste there’s no dispute or dictatorship.

And just because I am a slut because I have more sex than you doesn’t make me a lesser person. It just means I work harder. It just means I’m comfortable with the idea that 2 responsible adult males can decide to engage in a physical activity that will result in a lot of sweat, physical exertion, possibly some soreness in certain parts of the body, and a general feeling of euphoria after the deed. If it sounds like I just described two men playing tennis, well, there you go. Recreational sex is just like playing tennis, except that one shouldn’t hit the balls too hard.

George Michael had a hit song entitled, “I Want Your Sex (Part 1)” and the following lines really resonated with me:
It’s natural,

It’s chemical (Let’s do it!)

It’s logical,

Habitual (Can we do it?)

It’s sensual,

But most of all...

Sex is something we should do.

Sex is something for me and you.
Sex is natural, sex is good.

Not everybody does it,

But everybody should.

Sex is natural, sex is fun,

Sex is best when it’s one on one.

Well okay, so I don’t always agree with the last line (hey, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it), but you get my point.

(Up next, Part 3: All You Need Is Love)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ang Pagdadalaga Ni McVie, Part 1

One of my biggest struggles in accepting and loving myself was my very narrow definition of a gay man. Gay equals bakla equals Dolphy’s Fefita Fofonggay equals Roderick Paulate equals all the loud beauty parlor hairdressers screaming over the shrill whirl of hair blowers. I didn’t and couldn’t identify with them, so what did that make me?

Eventually I learned about straight-acting (or at least straight-looking) gay guys, and I found a way to wrap my head around the idea that I can be gay and yet not end up with plucked eyebrows. (At some point I did start plucking my eyebrows, but that was already me well into my journey to Fag-bulousness. More on that later.)

Having a positive role model that I can emulate was not my only struggle. I had a lot of hurdles to overcome in my journey to becoming comfortable in my own skin. Let me tackle them one by one in a series of episodes here in The McVie Show. Let me call this mini-series, “Ang Pagdadalaga Ni McVie.”

Part 1: Losing My Religion (or On Coming To Terms With My Faith And Religion)

My struggle to make sense of my faith was fundamental in my development as a person. I had to reconcile my sexual orientation (a homosexual) with my religion (a Roman Catholic).

Part of the problem with religion, especially among us Filipinos, is that we’re brainwashed with it from birth until we start thinking for ourselves. So the struggle is against more than a decade of imposed belief and behavior. Thank god for puberty; for most of us, it’s the time we question things taught to us. Unfortunately for me, I was never the rebellious kind, so my questioning started much later.

I was told that homosexuals were sinners and doomed to damnation. So I had two choices: be a faithful Catholic and stop having sex and falling in love with other guys, or leave the Church’s fold. At that time I wasn’t willing to be a non-believer, but I also didn’t want to become celibate.

My breakthrough happened during my fourth year high school retreat. In agony, I confessed to the Jesuit priest who was hearing confessions about my homosexuality, and I asked him, “Father, am I doomed?” His answer stunned me. He said that while the Church’s current stand on homosexuality hasn’t changed, he personally believed that it was God Himself who made me homosexual, and that He loved me unconditionally. Hearing it from a priest reassured me; maybe, one day my Church will stop looking down on me and my fellow queers.

Eventually I heard of more Catholic priests (not just Jesuits) who privately believed differently even though they publicly towed the Church’s official line. But eventually I got tired of waiting for changes to happen in the Church. And given my increasing disappointment with the Church’s stand on several matters, I decided to drop my religion. Besides, I was non-practicing for quite some time already. I still believe in God, but mine’s different from the Church’s. I still have my faith, even though I lost my religion.

(Up next, Part 2: Let’s Talk About Sex)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lead Us Out Of The Dark Ages, My Lord

I think it’s crafty that the Philippine Catholic Church built into their belief system the idea of humility and obedience as a way of making sure their followers tow the line. How? The story of Satan’s Fall shows how pride and disobedience led to the former angel’s descent into disgrace.

Humility and obedience, such a powerful combination. You cannot question authority or teachings, because to do so would be disobedience. If something doesn’t make sense, you should have the humility to accept that some teachings really do not make sense.

I am not surprised that such mentality is espoused and even flaunted by our bishops. Their call for an investigation on the 159 professors of the Ateneo de Manila University who declared their personal stand for the RH Bill is, for me, a sign of the Church Hierarchy flexing their supposed muscles. This, despite the fact that the Ateneo president already clarified that the University’s stand is similar to the CBCP, and that in the classrooms the stand of the Church against the RH Bill is also taught.

What seems to get the bishops’ goats is the fact that the University allows dissenting opinions to not only be discussed openly, but for faculty members to make a public stand that’s contrary to the Church.

I can understand it if the Church wants pre-school and even high school kids of Catholic institutions to be fed the Church’s line. But here’s where I disagree with the bishops: by college level, the students should be encouraged to think and decide for themselves.

After all, as adults we eventually grow up. Life and Experience will teach us that not everything Mommy and Daddy said is true. There is no Santa Claus. Religion is the opium of the masses. And love stories don’t end in “Happily Ever After” with fade out; instead, they continue on with new complexities and complications alike.

One of the reasons why I stopped going to mass was because, as I grew older, the more I found the parish priest’s homilies too simplistic. It’s as if he was talking down to an 8 year old. More and more the mass became irrelevant to me.

I humbly believe in a God who is not irrelevant nor detached from reality. He is a God who makes sense, who appeals with Reason, not Fear. He may not come down to do miracles first-hand like in the Old Testament, but He shows His hand through other people’s actions. That’s the God I choose to believe in, a God that exists in the Now and not in the Dark Ages, a God that is different from that of the Philippine Catholic Church.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

McOp Page

Robert Blair Carabuena mauls MMDA Saturnino Fabros

On tape, it was very clear. Carabuena went overboard in his anger over being flagged down by MMDA traffic enforcer Fabros. That is what most of us saw.

I understand the anger that viewers felt against Carabuena. I also understand that many will vent out their outrage at him. But some reactions went overboard, forcing Carabuena to shut down his online accounts.

Aside from the cyber-bullying, I also was appalled that many Netizens immediately casted Carabuena as “bad” and Fabros as “good,” as if the whole story could be simplified in black and white, rich versus poor, Nora/Sharon versus the world terms. But instead of in glorious Widescreen Stereophonic, the story is byte-sized, viral-ready, and primed for snap-judgement.

But the video only showed the physical abuse. Where’s the rest of the story? That some people made extreme snap judgements after seeing an incomplete picture is what worries me the most. Didn’t it occur to people to ask first if there really was a violation or not? And would people have reacted the same if the situation were different? What if the traffic enforcer was seen trying to extort money, causing the driver to flare up? I even wonder exactly to what extent of the situation did the TV5 crew witness.

Yes, the truth of what happened may be as simple as what was already reported: a driver commits a violation, an enforcer flags him down, an altercation and over-reaction occurs. Yes, Carabuena should be taken to task for his behavior. It was uncivilized and unthinking, and what I find alarming is that certain netizens reacted likewise.

Tito Sotto plagiarizes US blogger

First, I will not bore you with a blow-by-blow retelling of the events.

Second, the issue of plagiarism is different from the issue of whether the RH Bill should be passed or not. I will discuss only the former here.

When it was first pointed out that parts of Sotto’s speech were plagiarized, I was still open to the idea that maybe Sotto and his staff didn’t have any malicious intent of passing off someone else’s words as their own. Perhaps in their haste they merely forgot to cite their sources.

But the subsequent non-apologies and statements of Sotto and his children wiped out any possibility that they made a mistake. Instead, their backpedalling and arrogance made it clear that they do not grasp the crux of the plagiarism issue, which is intellectual dishonesty. Furthermore, their reaction shows a severe lack of humility and courage to admit wrongdoing. Worse, if they truly believe that their excuses are valid, then it shows a serious lapse in, uhm, basic logic.

I find such behavior unworthy of a senator, which is why I’ve stopped calling Sotto as such. For me he was always the weakest comedian in the TVJ triumvirate, and given his performance in the past few days, he should also retire from comedy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


So there’s this list of 20 Things Your Most Annoying Friends Do On Facebook. It’s obviously intended as a humorous post, yet I have to admit that some of the examples cut close to the bone. It’s not that I have annoying friends; instead, I have friends who do annoying things on Facebook. My particular peeves:

3. Vaguebooking
Urban Dictionary defines “vaguebooking” as the following: “An intentionally vague Facebook status update that prompts friends to ask what’s going on, or is possibly a cry for help.” I prefer that you go direct to the point. Now, if vaguebooking is your form of online landian, then it becomes all the more annoying. Grow some balls, boy. I actually have more respect for blatant flirting. At least we can just focus on how well or how style-mo-bulok you conduct your flirting.

4. Unsolicited Check-Ins
I really don’t get Foursquare or similar apps. I really don’t care where you check in or who the mayor is of some establishment. They are useless information.

6. Vanity
Self-obsessed, self-serving, and self-explanatory. OMG, if I could name names....

7. Song Lyrics
I must admit I have done this in the past, and my reason for doing it is to highlight a song’s message because it resonated with me at that time. But lyrics that come out of the blue and without context? What’s this, The Singing Bee? Name That Tune?

9. The Twitter Sync
Guilty here, sometimes. This is so easy to do with TweetDeck. And especially annoying reading on TweetDeck.

19. Mundane Posts + Exercise Bragging
This is a sub-genre of the “Vanity” post, but focused on the minutiae of running, dragon-boating, and sepak takraw. (In fact, I might actually be more forgiving of sepak takraw since I don’t know much about it.)

20. Redundant Links
I must admit, sometimes you can’t delete the URL because the linked article doesn’t appear in your post. I blame slow internet connection for that.

So there! I can live with the rest, like political rants and the occasional third-person. Come to think of it, I’ve not un-followed anyone yet because of such peeves. I suppose I can live with the annoying online habits of my FB friends after all.