Category: Public Address



On my way to work today, I saw a 15-foot billboard of the Mandaluyong City Ordinance against riding-in-tandem. Riding in tandem is the Filipino equivalent of a drive-by.

The said ordinance prohibits two males from riding the same motorcycle together, unless they are father and son. It sounds absurd, but wait till you see the pictures.

I remarked on the billboard and the taxi driver weighed in… (I’m paraphrasing)

He explained how terrible the problem of riding-in-tandem is. His neighbor, who was having coffee in front of his house one morning was shot 10 times on the head and face by two armed men on a motorcycle.

The two strangers rode up to the front of the house asked the neighbor what his name was and bang– (times ten)

Wait, there’s more…

The motive? The men were hired by a trader from whom the victim owed 8 sacks of charcoal. (that’s Php1,200/$30+) It’s so fascinating how some people can so arbitrarily assign a value on someone’s life. And because they do, seemingly absurd solutions turn into City Ordinances.

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Ang buhay, ika nga, ay parang tele-serye.

 Here’s a day in the life of Day and me.

 Introductions: Si Day, matagal ko nang bet na pinakilala sa akin ng bestfriend kong si Peewee, na ex ni Coco (7 years sila) na nakilala ko sa Singapore nung nagbakasyon ako dun two weeks ago.

 Day: Uy Coco really really really likes you…

 Doni: Of course he does. I remind him of Peewee.

 Day: Yey! Soon to be couple na ito!

 Doni: Nyek. May boyfriend na ko.

 Day: Kung ang asawa nga naaagaw boyfriend pa kaya? Hahaha.

 Doni: Ano ba, engaged din si Coco no. Adik to. Saka kung iiwanan ko yung boyfriend ko, para lang yun sayo. Hahaha.

Day: Engaged lang pala. I can ruin that engagement with just one snap of my finger. Anyway, sinong past time naman ‘yang sinasabi mong boyfriend?

Doni: Hindi siya past time at wala siya sa social radar mo dahil isa siyang outlier just like me. Bwahahahaha

Day: You said you’ll leave him for me, so he’s just an ‘effin past time.

Doni: I said that to humor you and because I know you’ll never want to end up with me… Duh…

Day: Weh. Ganun pa din ‘yun.

Doni: Think what you want, Day. Don’t be jealous.

Day: I’m not jealous babe. You already made me feel better earlier by saying that I’m the only person that can make you leave your boyfriend. And with that, I’m already satisfied. So no need for me to think much. I love you Doni. Mwah!

Doni: Hmmmmm… Hollow pathetic little lies. If you really want to get with me, then you should have. Now it’s too late. Too bad.

Day: Nah. What’s too bad is you’re with someone who happens to be just a past time. And you thinking that he’s not is the hollow pathetic little lie. And it will be too late for that guy to realize that. With that I rest my case. Peace!

Doni: What’s bad is that I’m with him instead of you. And you’ll never know how bad it is because you were never and won’t ever be with me. And it’s your fault. Don’t feel sorry for my man, Day. He gets to be loved by me.

Ang arte ko na.

Ang ganda ko pa.

(Pero iniisip ko kung ako ba talaga ang nanalo sa sagutan naming dalawa…)

Nangangarir


Nang magsimula ako magtrabaho, sinabi ko sa sarili ko na magiging Manager ako bago ako mag-30.

Alam kong para sa ibang tao, hindi naging mahirap na maabot ang goal na ito. Pero kung nagtatrabaho ka sa HR, o kahit anong position sa administration o support, sangkatutak na politika at paghihintay ang dapat mong tiisin bago ka mapromote.

Laging sinasabi sa akin na ang HR ay isang calling. Hindi siya basta trabaho. Ika nga, it’s a labor of love. Nilalagay ko lang sa perspective ang lahat para marealize mo na gayong posible, mahirap maabot ang goal na yon.

I consider myself lucky because I’m one of the people who know exactly what they want when it comes to their career. Sa career tayo magfocus kasi everything else about me has not been figured out yet. Hahahahahahaha… (fade to sad face emoticon)

When I left my first agent job, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in HR. I have been working in HR for about six years. In that period, I started as a recruitment associate, doing phone interviews and chasing numbers all day. Less than a year after that I was promoted to Recruitment specialist, handling face to face interviews and assessments. Eventually, I was handling my own accounts.

I moved to a bigger company to get training and after my recruitment project ended, I was introduced to Employee Relations and Organizational Development. I started as an associate, then I was promoted to specialist. Eventually, I was handling Labor Relations.

I had a huge fight with my Manager who scolded me in front of all my team mates. Of course, kahit umiiyak ako, nagdadahilan pa rin ako sa kanya. Sabi ko, “if you feel that I’m standing in the way of the rest of the team then you should let me move to another team. They are asking for me after all.”

Bago kami mag-away nung dati kong manager, she told me that she wanted me to become successful so she was training me to be like her.

Sabi ko, “I don’t want to be like you because I know I can be so much more.”

Yuh, maldita ako sa work. Hahahahahahahaha…(escalate to evil emoticon). Of course, a week later, sinampahan niya ako ng kasong Insubordination at although alam kong hindi niya ako pwedeng iterminate, alam ko lalong hindi ako mapopromote kung makakatanggap ako ng memo. What an asshole move. Matapos ‘to nang promisan niya akong ipopromote niya ako, kaya naloko akong maghandle ng isang buong site (without her supervision, dahil ayaw na ayaw niya sa site na yun dahil matatapang daw yung mga tao). Nagulat na lang ako a month later na may na-hire na pala siya for the position she was promising me. May gana pa siyang sabihing para daw yun may magdefend sa akin, this after nakuha ko na ang loob ng entire site at starlang-starla na ako dun.

I decided to leave that company to pursue a relationship with a start up business, where I was responsible for doing all things HR.

Pero dahil dubious ang kumpanya, at dahil nagka-ilangan kami ng aking estranged jowa na dun din sa start-up company na yun nagtatrabaho, nagresign ako ulit at naging Supervisor dito sa company ko ngayon.

Bongga.

Naalala ko pa kung paano ako maliitin nung ex kong yun dahil Operations Supervisor siya at na-bum ako for two months.

Ngayong sumabog na ang start-up na yon, dahil estafadora pala yung management, sa kangkungan na pinulot si ex. May gana pa siya ngayong kontakin ako. So ginamit ko na lang yung linya niya sa akin dati:

Bakit pa ako tatapak sa basura e ang ganda ganda na ng stilletos ko?

I told the manager who hired me sa trabaho ko ngayon na goal ko talaga maging manager by age of 30 at naghahanap ako ng kumpanya na mabibigay ang opportunity na yun sa akin.

I also want to have tenure, because I’m done with running around.

Ngayong wala na yung manager na yun, andito pa rin ako sa kumpanya. At nalaman ko na lang eventually na I was hired, of all reasons, for my looks.

Hindi ko naman siya masisi.

Anyway, I was being my normal bibo self here sa office. At nadiscover ko na talent ko pala ang magbigay ng bad news at kumontra at mampossess ng mga empleyado without appearing negative or rude. Kahit kasi nagmamaldita ako, hindi pa rin nagagalit sa akin yung minamaldita ko.

Ang tawag daw dun ay CHARM.

Maraming beses na akong nakipag-banggaan sa mga director at ilang beses na rin akong ginawan ng complaint dahil sa mga pagrereklamo ng mga maeepal na boss-bossan dito na hindi sanay na kinokontra sa sarili nilang katangahan.

Meron akong talent: I cannot tolerate bullshit.

At kesehodang kung sino ka pa. Alam kong alam ko kung anong ginagawa ko, at hangga’t mas marami akong alam tungkol sa pinaguusapan nating dalawa, hindi ako magdadalawang-isip na sabihin at ipagtanggol ang puntong yon sa iyo.

Masasabi kong magaling ako sa trabaho ko. At gusto ko yung ginagawa ko. Bihirang masabi ng isang worker yun. Passion ko yata talaga ang maki-alam sa buhay ng ibang tao at ipagtanggol ang tama.

I was able to establish an image of reason, integrity, fairness and of course, BEAUTY. Hahahahahahahaha (fade to soft smile)

So much kong nagalingan ang trabaho ko, na pretty soon, marami nang nakakatunog nito.

Recently, I received an offer from another company. They are asking me to do the exact same thing I’m doing here pero they are willing to give me almost twice what I am currently making.

Ang haba ng hair kong silky.

Siyempre, tinanggap ko yung offer. At nagfile ako ng resignation dito.

Over the past several weeks, kabi-kabila ang mga Executive na kumakausap sa akin para i-convince akong mag-stay. Kinausap ako nung acting General Manager namin nung nakaraang linggo at sinabi niya yung mga plano niya para sa HR. Na ikinatuwa ko naman. Kaya lang, hindi niya pa raw masasabi kung kailan yun mangyayari.

Tapos nung isang araw, kinausap naman ako ng VP na onaks. Isa siya sa mga pinaka-malditang onaks dito sa office. Ganito yung conversation:

Onaks: So, ano? (yes, kaya niyang magstatement nang ganun.)
Ako: Haha, so, ano nga?
Onaks: I heard you were resigning (hanggang “so, ano?” lang ang kaya niya)
Ako: Yes, I gave my letter yesterday.
Onaks: Do you know the top reasons why people leave?
Ako: Uhmm…
Onaks: You should know this.
Ako: It’s usually due to some sort of dissatisfaction. I just don’t think it fits this situation. I like my job. Really, the only reason why I’m picking-
Onaks: I didn’t ask you why you’re picking them. I asked you why people leave. Okay, so there’s three reasons. The first one’s the boss. I don’t think you have a problem with that. The second one I forget. The third one is for money.
Ako: Well, in this case, it is the offer.
Onaks: So what are they offering you?
Ako: *Offer*
Onaks: And how much are you making now?
Ako: *(Offer/2)++*
Onaks: That’s a lot. Now I can’t tell you that we will be able to do something special for you. In the last few months that we have been working together (may project kasi kami) I found you to be very talented. Of course, we want to keep your talent.
Ako: Awww… Thanks (as in, pa-sweet talaga ako nito)
Onaks: And you know how tough I could get.
Ako: Yeah, you’re a bully that’s why.
Onaks: No I’m just tough on the people whom I know can take it.
Ako: Awww…
Onaks: So are you accepting the offer?
Ako: Yes I signed and I start on the 23rd.
Onaks: So obviously I’m looking for a way to keep you. Everything that has been discussed about this I’ve told Onaks 2 (mas powerful na Onaks, no. 2 kay president ng company)
Ako: Yeah, I talked to General Manager (siyempre, first name talaga ginamit ko dito). I’m actually very optimistic about what he has planned.
Onaks: And why is that?
Ako: Because it goes with what we wanted to do as a team all along. The thing is, I don’t know when that’s going to happen. And now something better has come along.
Onaks: So how long are you going to be here for?
Ako: Until the 20th. But I asked for a terminal leave so I can get my stuff fixed. So I’ll have till next week since I have endorsements.
Onaks: Okay. We’ll see, I’m still not done trying to keep you.
Ako: I’m surprised that you’re talking to me about this, actually.
Onaks: And, why is that?
Ako: I don’t know. It just seems like it’s so important.
Onaks: Well, you’re important.
Ako: Thanks…
Onaks: You’re welcome, and you’re not leaving until the project’s done.
Ako: I’m done with it. I’ll give you my recommendation.
Onaks: OK (insert utos here)

Now wheels are turning around me and it seems that they are really making an effort to convince me to stay. Nung pipirmahan na ni GM yung sulat ko, sinabi niya sakin na kung pwede bang bigyan ko muna siya ng isang linggo para mapresent yung plano niya sa Executive Team. Tapos tingnan ko raw kung gusto ko yung gusto niyang mangyari.

E hello, sila-sila kaya yung mga boss.

Nakakaloka.

Never ko inexpect na malalagay ako sa ganitong situation. Feeling ko, pinag-aagawan ako ng mga tao. Ahahahahahahahaha (ang tigas talaga ng fez ko).

Pero siyempre, hindi na sila dapat choosy sa ganun. Kasi kilala ko ang sarili ko at gaya ng appeal ko sa mga boylipops, alam ko ring may kakaiba akong bagsik sa work. Naeembarass nga lang ako magdemand kung tinatanong nila ako kung ano yung magpapa-stay sa akin.

Kasi ang kapal ko naman kung magpress-release akong gawin niyo kong manager at hindi ako lalayas. (Mas gusto ko kasing kusa ‘yong nanggagaling sa kanila)

Ang taray ng work no?

Sana ganyan din ang lovelife…


 

Jade: …I’d definitely want to see you again soon.

Me: I don’t blame you.

Jade: I forgive you.

So this is the upswing. Finally, things started looking up after I settled my finances. I hate to admit it, as I said to Nikki, but money does make you happy. Well, money helps make being happy easier.

Last week spelled an end to the slump that I have been on for a while now. This makes writing difficult so allow me to detail the events prosaically.

I had just finished doing my Performance Review for the first half of the year and boy, have I been working! The form, which didn’t include my manager’s comments was fourteen pages long!!!

On Thursday, I went shopping for something to wear for an interview I was having on Friday. After several hours of going around the mall, I finally found a store that had shoes my size and not juvenile-looking. I got myself a new pair of dark wash jeans which I have been on the search for forever. Say what you want, but Bench jeans are the only jeans that fit me well. I know getting one from Zara or Topman would appeal better to the finnicky tastes of some people I know, but what the heck, I can wear a shirt that I got from the teens section of a department store and make everyone think it’s designer. (I may be exaggerating here)

I broke in my jeans by heading out to Malate by myself. Yes, it was one of those “date-yourself days” that I have from time to time. For effect, I wore a shirt that said “ALONE” in front, and “AGAIN” at the back. It was a very witty shirt and I got it for the rough equivalent of two US dollars, when I went to Bangkok.

I went to a karaoke place I used to go to with the Hasslas (a group of friends I went to Boracay and Puerto with). Since I come here every time I happen to find myself in Malate, the bartender recognized me and cleared a spot for me at the bar. I ordered a cocktail since it wasn’t a beer day and started deliberating if I should pick a song and sing to a group of over-achieving singers.

There were 14 songs in queue, I figured by my turn, I’d be too drunk to care. I downed my drink, picked three songs and ordered another one.

Meanwhile, a guy with slits for eyes was scoping me from a table close to the bar. He looked like an ex of mine who owed me money. I was almost going to ask for it back when I realized that he was Chinese and not Japanese.

He asked me to join his table (he was out with his sister). And I stayed with them until the bar shut down. He was a little drunk and was starting to get argumentative with the cashier. They helped me hail a cab, and right before I got in, Eize (Chinese guy) asked if I wanted to sleep beside him that night. I got in and shut the door right away.

On Friday, I was on time for the interview. It was for a lower post but with a better package. Plus, I get to work with my two best friends and have time to take for a Master’s degree if I wanted. Since the guy who was interviewing me knew me for a long time, the assessment wasn’t so difficult. His only question was, if I really wanted to get that job because there is hardly any upward movement in that company.

See, I set a goal for myself and my career. I told myself that I will become a Manager by the age of 30. I’m going to be 27 in a month. I’m several steps away from that goal if I stay with this company. At the same time, I could pursue a different goal of becoming a Psychologist if I move to the other one.

I received another offer from one of my old bosses who is looking for a supervisor for the company that she is currently country manager of. It’s very promising and I’d really want to explore that as well.

To continue the theme of exploration, I explored the possibility of flinging myself back into the dating scene again (or at least opening myself to the prospect of meeting other people). So last night, I met a guy from UP.

Jade’s first boyfriend is Joel, who is an estranged friend of mine. They were together five or six years ago. He also had a crush on an ex-boyfriend of mine who I lived with for a week.

Cubao Expo at Dusk

He took me to Cubao Expo which is a haven for beatniks, hipsters, hippies, artsy folk and people from UP. In short, this is MY TOWN. I’ve been here before but never with as much people around. People had to queue up before getting in that night because it was “Meiday” and a lot of indie bands were playing.

I bumped into Claren, who I always bump into in very random places (story to follow). And I almost jumped out of my skin seeing that I actually knew someone who was in that sea of people. Claren looked impeccable as usual and was with a guy who looked exactly like him. I introduced him to Jade.

Jade knew a lot of people in Cubao X. So I went around the motions of the “hi’s and hello’s”, “great-to-meet-you’s” and “oh-you-look-familiar-have-we-met-before’s.” He introduced me to one of the finalists from Project Runway Philippines that I had a MAJOR crush on. I didn’t realize it was him at first. I used the third line on him. To be fair, he didn’t mention PRP, I just realized it after Jade brought it up half an hour later.

Now that I think about it, Jade reminded me so much of Jo, my last boyfriend. He was mature, artistic, secure, and not so good looking. I got his jokes and he got mine. We caught each other’s punchlines. He had the same taste in music, the same penchant for judging pretentious people and most glaringly, the same level of touchiness. We would be stopping at several spots around the Cubao X compound and look like a black and white blob. He was all over me. But not in a salacious way.

We were talking about the rain I think when he stole a kiss and walked off to toss his drink down the drain. For a few seconds, I was stunned, caught off-guard. I didn’t know what to make of it. When he came back, I just carried on with the conversation as if nothing happened.

He took me to Future which is the bar below a boutique called the “I Love You Store.” I told him to get me a cocktail and he ordered what would be dubbed as the drink of the week… My Shirota.

My Shirota is a mixture of Korean Soju, Yakult (a fermented milk drink almost every kid I know is addicted to), and Grenadine.

Equals My Shirota

It tasted of every good memory I had as a child. It was very appropriate for the theme of the night. It was sweet and tangy and pink.

After floating around Cubao for several hours we grabbed a bite and decided to sound trip by the curb. It was 3AM and there were blisters the size of nickels on each of my heels (why did I ever not wear socks?) I was so tired but I wanted to float some more. So I decided I’d check into a hotel with Jade.

I asked if he would sleep with me if we slept together. And he told me that he wasn’t sure. I laughed and told him that I didn’t know the answer to that question either.

We slept naked with our arms around each other and we woke up 11 hours later.

We had breakfast and coffee at 4PM and we took the train home after two hours.

I got home and commenced a thirty minute search for my other phone. As I was calling myself and listening intently for the opening verse of Bic Runga’s “Good Morning, Baby,” I pondered on the reasons why the past week was one of the best I had.

Like My Shirota, it was a cocktail blast from the past–a mix of familiar feelings: the satisfaction of a shopping find, the thrill of getting scoped by a stranger, the pride of being sought after by a job instead of the other way around, the excitement of being in the company of beatniks from UP and the tenderness of falling asleep in someone else’s arms.

Taking A Stand


In case you don’t know yet, a big part of my job has to do with meeting people and conducting administrative hearings. I administer discipline so I constantly have to go on meetings to talk about whether a person should be fired from work or not.

Got Wood?

Very serious, nerdy and stressful stuff.

These meetings usually happen at the end of the employees’ shifts so this is around 6AM onwards my time. This is usually the time I’m most active. And by active I mean real attentive, quick-witted, etc. etc.

Early mornings cause my body to awaken, in a way. The sun, softly letting it’s rays into the office window. The air in the morning is a tolerable combination of dew and smog. And since it is the end of the shift, people are excited and generally in a good mood.

That’s all well and good except for one major problem…

My massive boner.

Before the Perv Alert starts wailing in your brain, let me explain.

If you’re a guy, you probably know what I’m talking about. There is a physiological phenomenon called spontaneous erections. It’s a natural process that occurs mostly during puberty (yes, apparently I’m still pubescent, there is hope) or on certain days, when environmental conditions are ideal (and by environment I really mean the weather and nature.)

Since I wear slacks to work, I tend to arrange my junk a certain way so that it does not disrupt the “line” of my silhouette. If you’re a gay guy, you would know what I’m talking about.

I have an obsession about being streamlined. I hate so much when there are things bulging on my pockets (and elsewhere). I make sure that my underwear has enough tucking power to manage certain “things”.

But on busy 6AMs, it’s like someone stuck a vise down there, and I would be at wits end trying to sit a certain way or walk a certain way in the hopes of creating room for my Junjun to breathe. These maneuvers very often do not work, and I’ve had to scoot my seat under the desk and “handle things manually” to keep certain veins from popping and to ensure that bruising does not occur and consequently cause the ultimate demise of my precious gift.

Even then, in addition to ruining my “line,” it ends up hitting my belt buckle, further aggravating the situation.

There have been a number of times when I was called out to do something and I literally would have to count backwards from 30 or think of exposed brains or washing machines or brick walls to get it to subside.

The tragedy is that I feel certain people are already getting wind of this problem. There’s a guy at work who always schedules meetings with me at 6AM or thereabouts and he’s commented on my pants once or twice. (Normally, this would disturb me, but I kind of have a little crush on him so I let it pass.)

One time I was in a 630AM hearing, and it was for performance, I think. So I was asking the employee why he thought his scores were subpar for that period. He was very inaccessible during the session. It was difficult to get a response from him, he just kept looking down. So I said, “please don’t give me a hard time.” Then he smiled real creepy so I looked at the coach right next to me, crossed my legs and wrapped up the session.

I had to pretend writing something down as they were leaving the room because I couldn’t get up off my seat.

I bet 40 years from now I wish I would have this problem. The thing is, it’s just real bad timing right now. Plus, it hurts!!!

I haven’t gone to the laundry yet so I used up all my support underwear. Today I’m wearing boxerbriefs.

Note to self: Clear schedule from 6AM-7AM.

Roo


I was blog-hopping to increase some traffic into my wordpress blog.

Yes, WordPress has a feature that ticks off my competitive/obsessive nature… BlogStats. It’s a horrendous affirmation of my need for attention. Yuck, I am such a three-year old.

credits to Angel: http://curiousanimals.net/

So I did something that really helped out. I joined a blog community. And I started posting links on my Facebook Wall.

Sad to say, the weekly assignments were suspended (after the week I joined) so my blog has been in the dark for a bit.

So I was hopping. Nyl, who’s a trainer from work has a blog in Blogger. And Nikki’s been telling me that I should check it out. So I did. He’s done so well already. Nyl’s a good writer. He writes nice fictional stories.

As you can see so far, my prosaic skills leave much to be desired. I’m not a very good storyteller. I like to write poetry though because it comes more naturally to me, and because I like rules and going around them.

So I checked out Nyl’s followers and I was clicking on the links to the other guys’ blogs and I sort of got disheartened.

I mean, I enjoyed their blogs. They made me feel queasy and voluptuous (see, that I got from Anne Rice). But they were mostly about hot sex!!!

My mother reads my blog from time to time. And I don’t think she will appreciate prosaic accounts of my “gallivanting” floating around the internet. I have posted some of those before, but they always turned out to be jarring. (I use poetry to talk about sex, so I can always tell her, that it’s just “poetry.”)

And I feel that if I posted articles like that, it wouldn’t have the same effect other people’s accounts would.

I’m terribly insecure about myself.

I feel that when people read my sex stories it would be like they’re watching an accident happen, or a fire in progress. It’s interesting, but so… pitiful/sad/painful.

You know when a guy gets run over by a truck in the highway and cars slow down because they’re oddly attracted to the gore? That’s how they’d probably feel.

Of late, I have had not a lot of sex adventures. (Somewhere in California, my mother is thanking the Lord)

See, I’m not necessarily a looker.

I mean, people only get attracted to me after I get their attention. I’m not the kind of person that steps into the room and has a “presence”. I feel a little sad about that. But I feel stupid for not doing anything about it. And of course, the moment I open my mouth, all thoughts of sex vanish from everyone else’s mind (Oh my God, a successful IRONY).

Sometimes, I wish my life were more relatable. I wish I was more… into the gay scene. I wish I never lost touch with the people I used to hang out with in Malate. Oh, I would have flourished in the drama of it all.

But then I realize, there is a reason I left all that. There is a reason I built a wall around me to anesthesize myself, to create my own experiences, no matter how unsuccessful they were.

I couldn’t stand being a brick.

I couldn’t stand only writing about sexcapades, and drunken nights, and popularity contests. They’re all very entertaining, I agree. But I was constantly looking for something else.

I’m happy though that in my wandering, I found that there are people out there like me.

The key, I found, to make the world better, is not to stop at the first sight you see and make a judgement about everything.

So I’m still hop(p)ing.

A Hike


Imagine a cat being run over by a car. Its forelegs up like a black man pulled over by a beat cop, hindlegs spread awkwardly apart, the way the “walk” sign is.

Now imagine me at that position, sprawled on the couch.

“I can’t breathe,” I told Nikki. She always has a way of expressing extreme concern. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?” I felt like a blanket of thick mist was draped over me, invading my nostrils, I had to breathe through my mouth.

On certain days, I feel like this, especially today. And I feel my face slowly melting into sadness, assuming the position it takes when I cry. My tearducts also begin to ache, signaling the imminent flow of tears.

But I had nothing to cry about.

At least nothing concrete.

I’ve had mood swings like this for almost the entire year now. In the past, I’ve been able to time when they would come (usually on the third quarter of the year, around the time I celebrate my birthday). But recently, it’s been really, really erratic.

I’ve had bouts of anxiety on and off for the past two years. They’re inexplicable.

The safest way to get over this is to sleep. But in my case, when I do choose to sleep, I end up sleeping the entire day, upwards of 12 hours. And when I finally am forced to wake up, due to the call of nature or a rumbling stomach, or work, I feel even worse.

I’ve had dysthymia since third year college. During my first phase, I stayed on the couch for six months, only getting up to get a glass of water or to go to the bathroom. I’ve had to drop all of my non-major classes for the entire term because I wasn’t going to school.

It’s recurred every third quarter of the year since then. And somehow I was able to manage it.

Before, whenever I’d have an anxiety attack, I would walk. And when I say walk, I’m talking about serious walking. Like 15 or so kilometers.

Last night, I went to sleep when Nikki left for work. I woke up at 2AM feeling like shit still so I decided I would take a walk. So I walked to the city hall, around 2KM or so and around the rotonda. Then I decided I’d walk from the city hall to EDSA through Boni Avenue. That’s around 5KM. It took me an hour to get there. I was walking really slowly, because I don’t want to be drenched in sweat by the time I reached the highway.

When I got to EDSA, I crossed the train station to get to the Northbound Side and took a bus to Shaw Blvd., which was literally one train station away. I got off the stop and walked all the way to Emerald Ave., which was roughly around another 3KM.

I’d hoped that someone would pick me up, actually. And not to take me back home but to pick me up like a prostitute, you know. A Nissan Adventure with a really cute driver actually slowed down to make eye contact with me. Yes, the light was on in his car and his window was rolled down. But after we made eye contact, I just looked down again and kept walking.

Ordinarily, I would have taken the offer he implied and probably had meaningless sex. I would even pretend to be mute, or deaf, to avoid having to talk to him.

Stupid things happen when you take extremely long walks at 2AM, if you let them.

I texted Ian, “I need gravity…”

I was floating away.

I needed an anchor because everything in my mind was going awry. It felt as if the neurons in my brain were endlessly firing and I couldn’t make them stop. The thoughts just kept flowing like the water from the faucet I leave on when I’m in the bathroom.

Yes, I keep the faucet on and put a bucket under it. But I let the water overflow because I like the sound of it and how it wets my feet but not completely. Thinking for me is both unstoppable and very bad for the environment.

I can’t write on days like this when I’m firing.

I can’t stand writing crap. And when my brain goes into hyper mode, I can’t keep myself from seeing only crap in whatever I write. So I end up being more miserable at the end of it.

I was seriously contemplating taking a marker to my bedroom wall and making a mural. But I knew that it would be hideous, so I had to take myself out of the house to stop myself from doing something I’d see and regret when I wake up in the morning.

Last night was the perfect night for someone to have been there and tell me, “there, there, everything’s going to be just fine.”

That never happens, of course.

Even with a random stranger. Especially with a random stranger.

As I was walking all over the city, I was reintroduced to the foulest of smells, the direst of circumstances, the worst of hopeless cases sleeping on urine stained steps and nooks. Their clothes encrusted with the grimy residue of the bustle of the city. I look at the faces of the people I walked past. They were either coming from somewhere or going somewhere. Some were waiting for someone else, or something definite. They all had something to do and they just happened to be not there yet.

And I, the aimless wanderer, had more in common with the urchin passed out under the footbridge. We were both suspended. There.

There, there… nothing was fine.

I looked at my watch and noted the change in the sky’s color. It was about to be morning, and soon, as the earsplitting blaring of the city buses become more sustained and almost overlapping, the city will shake off it’s sleep and begin to overflow.

The clamor may be too much for my exhausted mind.I decided to walk back the 3KM and hailed a cab somewhere along Shaw.

The thing about walking is that you never really feel how far you’ve walked until you stopped.

As I was sitting on the passenger seat of the cab, this fact was reiterated to me. But I didn’t complain. Pain in the legs is way better than pain in the heart, any day.

I went straight to the bathroom after opening the door to the apartment and washed my feet. I got my stash and smoked a pipe a little bit. I took my clothes off and passed out on my bed.

When you’re exhausted, everything else doesn’t matter. I make my body tired so that I’m forced to sleep. And when you sleep, you can dismiss thoughts as dreams, and I always forget my dreams anyway.

I slept eight and a half hours.

I woke up today not feeling any happier. But feeling relieved, despite some aching in the legs.

When I got to work, Ram asked me what I was doing in EDSA at 3AM. I didn’t realize someone had seen me. Marice also asked me if I was fine, since Nikki told her that I was funking again.

I didn’t know what to say.

I know that I’m miserable, but I’m not so worried about it. Because I’ve been feeling that way on and off for years. My rationalizations always prevail over any need to resolve my so-called issues.

There is no cure for dysthymia, besides therapy.

I actually called the Phil. Mental Health Association.

They told me to take a hike.

I’m Here Now


Anniversary namin ni Day kahapon.

Okay, technically, hindi naman kami. Pero napagkasunduan namin (meaning, ininsist ko sa kanya) na anniversary talaga namin ang June 27. Yun kasi ang unang beses na nag-usap kami ever. Sabi ko sa kanya na dapat magdate kami ng June 27, pero since Pride Parade nung sabado at dahil 7PM na siya umuwi kinabukasan, at aaminin ko, hindi rin ako umalis ng bahay, hindi kami natuloy.

Medyo naoverwhelm nga ako ng kaunti sa nagdaang weekend. Kasi, dahil sobrang galing kong mag-cyberstalk, nahanap ko yung profile nung unang lalaking naka-date ko ever. Ang aking pers lab. Oo, siya yung sinulat ko dito dati. Na naging dahilan kung bakit ako naging sappy writer for a while. Ang sukatan ng lahat ng lalaking nakadate ko since (pero napalitan na yata yung standard ko mula nang maging kami ni Jo, huwaw… o Bub, gusto mo yun?).

Anyway, sobrang nagpapaka-nonchalant ako about the whole experience. Pero minessage niya ako sa Facebook tapos midconversation, tumawag siya sa telepono, at slight nagpanic ako at nalagay ko sa call waiting tapos hindi ko na alam kung paano ko siya babalikan kasi never naman akong nagcacall waiting ever, kaya dinrop ko yung call tapos tinawagan ko ulit siya. Yes, may ganung clumsy drama na nangyari.

Dun ko napagtanto na may kurot pa rin pala sa puso ang nakaraan.

Tapos medyo nabuwisit ako kasi nung tinitingnan ko yung mga fotos niya sa Facebook eh nakita kong hindi nagdiminish ang ka-cute-an niya. In fact, ang sexy sexy niya na ngayon. At mukhang bakla na talaga siya (as opposed to the conflicted bicurious self he was nung una kaming magdate).

So obviously, nagsound na naman ang mga chimes sa brain ko. Tapos slight nagdream ako na baka kaya niya ako kinocontact ngayon ay dahil gusto niya na kami bigyan ng second try. Na medyo kina-upset ko, kasi I was doing so great not needing to have someone in my life, tapos biglang eto na naman si ultimate “The One” at gusto ko na naman yata ng happily ever after.

Tapos naalala ko na ako pala ang nagstalk sa kanya. So na-cancel out lahat ng daydream.

Si Stephen, Heartbreaker ng HongKong

Bago ako bumalik sa “what if- what if” at “I wonder – I wonder”, e mabilis ko nang pinigilan ang sarili ko. Ngayon ko lang nakikita ang value ng “if it’s meant to be… or not to be, that is the question.”

Nireview ko ang nakaraan at ang history ko sa mga ganitong uri ng interaction. Napansin ko na tuwing may gusto akong makatuluyan ay bigla kong iniiwan ang sarili ko sa ere at hinahayaan kong mahulog ang sarili ko sa isang imaginary kumunoy. As in “dive”–no, more like “plummet”. Kung hopeless romantic kang gaya ko, alam kong alam mo yung feeling na yun: na lumalaki nang sobra yung object of your affection tapos nagkakaroon siya ng sobrang lakas na gravity, at kahit na tumatakbo ka palayo e wala ka ring choice kundi magrevolve at magrevolve sa kanya (may centripetal force).

Wait…

kailangan natin ng moment para ma-appreciate yung image na yun. Ang witty kasi…

Okay, moment over.

So after almost five years, e ngayon ko lang talaga narealize na alam ko na ang dapat gawin sa mga ganitong sitwasyon. At feeling ko, dahil matanda na ako, alam ko na na minsan kung alam ko kung anong tamang gawin e dapat yun ang gawin ko.

So bago pa siya tuluyang lumaki (ulit) e pinili ko nang bigyan ang sarili ko ng isang matinding dose of reality.

To reinforce the message, nanood ako ng “He’s Just Not That Into You” kanina. At naalala kong crush ko nga pala si Justin Long.

Naisip kong ang pakikipagrealsyon ay hindi isang hunting expedition. Rather, dapat mo siyang gawing fishing trip.

Sure, kailangan mong mag-exert ng effort. Sure, kailangan mo ng bait, kailangan mo ng line, kailangan mo ng hook, ng sinker, at ng fabulous na fishing outfit, pero pagna-cast mo na yung line, keri na yun. Wait, wait ka na dapat ng bite. Walang sense na sisirin mo yung sapa tapos manually mong isukbit yung pain sa bibig nung fish. Dahil ang tawag doon ay hindi fishing kundi overkill.

Sobrang guilty ako sa ganyan.

Which brings me to the next kuwento…

Saturday night ang birthday party ni Jeremy sa Cubao. 8:30 ang party pero siyempre, 10PM na ako dumating kasi ayaw ko naman maging atat. Dumating ako sa isang party ng mga fresh grad na never ko pang nameet. Mabuti na lang at nandun na si Micay at si Toni, na parehong, naeewan din sa mga kaganapan. Contrary to my past experiences in reference to Jeremy’s house parties, medjo droll at honestly, slightly irritating ang party na ito.

Pagpasok ko pa lang ay binati ko na si Jeremy. “Happy birthday!” quieme, na may absence ng usual touchiness. E mesyo busy na siya kaka-ayos ng mga sheeznit so pumunta na lang ako malapit kay Micay para maka-catch up kami ng konti. So pagdating ko, umuulan na ng compliments from Micay. “Bakit ang guwapo mo ngayon?”, “Ang cute,cute naman ng outfit mo.” “Uy, grabe namiss kita.”

Sinegundahan pa yun ni Toni (ang bestfriend ni Jeremy) na super nagpapaka-social butterfly. So parang, ooo–kaaayyy (something’s fishy), sabi nila kain na daw ako. Sabi ko naman, wait lang, iinom lang ako konti muna.

I was asking them about the pink drink they served me, sabi ni Micay, si Migs daw gumawa nun. I was like, “sinong Migs?” tapos speechless na si Micay.

In reality, may idea na ako kung sino si Migs, kasi si Day, na hari ng mga cyberstalkers, ay inaasar ako dahil magkamukha daw kami nun.

Finally, sinabi rin ni Toni na si Migs na ang boyfriend ni Jeremy. Nagpause ako for a change… sabay sabi ng “Ah, ganun…” tapos kumain na ako.

The whole night, ni minsan, di ko naka-interact si Migs. Dahil kahit may opportunity, di ko naman alam ang sasabihin ko. I mean, di naman protocol na mag-catch up kami diba? After all, hindi nga ako inintroduce ni Jeremy sa kanya.

I decided to leave early kasi dead na yung party at frankly, hindi na ako interesado magstay dahil nagbibuild na yung awkwardness, especially after Jeremy told our group na ine-alienate daw namin yung mga friends ni Migs. Ayoko ng drama. Sayang ang outfit ko. At nasesense kong mababadtrip lang ako. So I left.

I said goodbye to Jeremy and gave him an awkward hug (he was getting something from the cooler kasi). I don’t know what to make of it. Pero for a change, I just want to keep it that way. There’s no point over-analyzing. I’ve been doing that forever and it’s got me nowhere.

Kagabi, nagpost ako sa Facebook ng status message:

“There are two things that the past can do with equal intensity: show you how much you’ve changed, and show you how exactly the same you are.”

Original yang quote na yan. Hahahaha…

At kaya ko naisip yun kasi totoo naman talaga siya. Pero ang mas mahalagang lesson diyan ay habang nagkakaroon ka ng maraming past (meaning, kung nagmamature ka), ay dapat nadidistinguish mo na rin kung ano ba sa mga changes ang dapat mong i-retain at kung ano bang sameness ang gusto mong i-leave behind.

I have always asked myself, why it was difficult for others to see how great I am. I mean, a lot of people can see it plainly. You guys do, right? (Huwaw, major Fishing!!!) but never the ones I wanted to show myself to.

Then I realized, it was never about them really. It was about me. Sometimes, pinapackage natin yung sarili natin para magustuhan tayo ng iba. Hindi natin napapansin na in the times when we’re not looking, other people see us and they like the view… a lot.

June 27 ang anniversary namin ni Day. And he happens to be one of the people who see me when I’m not looking. And like me… a lot.

I figured, whatever the past does, there’s always something that ties it to the present. It’s the fact that I was there, and I’m here now. And the distance between the two is completely under my control. It’s taken several years for me to come to this point when I can look at the past and see it for what it is: a series of memories.

There’s no sense living my life holding on to the things that I wanted to have in the past. There’s no sense dwelling on the “what if’s” and “I wonder’s.” Those things were never real, and there’s no guarantee that they will ever be real.

I’m here now.

No Private Reading


 

I can’t recall exactly, but it has been almost 6 years when I declared myself to be an Agnostic.

Last night, after several weeks of begging, Dunhill and I finally made it to church. (Yes, folks, people like me don’t flare up upon entering holy places. Although I was anticipating it a little bit.)

I was late. As usual. But I knew it was okay with God. So I got in right after the communion and smack in the middle of Worship time (this is the part where the church sings.)

Now I used to be really, really active in church: to the point even of going to missions and evangelizing. I have preached a few sermons too, which is an achievement considering I was just starting University.

I’m quite sure it was disillusionment that caused me to renounce my church several years ago, much to my mother’s dismay. But I can say that I’ve maintained a sense of spirituality (self-defined, of course) which ironically, has led me to the events of last night.

Anyhoo, while listening to the band (having a band at church was unheard of in the congregation I used to belong to since all worship should be done a capella and without the aid of any man-made instrument) I had goosebumps. It was probably due to the awkwardness of the situation and the fact that there was a devotee standing right in front of me, arms outstretched and in the verge of a trance.

This desire to come to church actually began almost a month ago. I woke up at around 5AM one Saturday and cleaned house. I just felt an overwhelming desire to listen. It was like the Universe was trying to tell me something and I felt that I would hear it in church.

I know how incredibly fanatical that sounds… trust me.

It so happened that I was playing a record from Incubus as I was cleaning house and then it went…

“Remember that we’ll always have each other, when everything else is gone…”

That’s Brandon Boyd wailing the lyrics to “Dig” which I felt was the message that the Universe was trying to send me at that specific moment in time.

I responded with a well of tears… of course.

Flash forward to a month later, it is Saturday and due to some last minute cancellation, I end up in Starbucks with Dunhill. By this time, we had both agreed that I will attend church. If you know me, you know that I panic over things that I have absolutely no control over. I am a closet basketcase. So it was very important for me to set ground rules with Dunhill, in case something goes awry with my little reunion with God.

I had already told him how long it was since I last went to church and that I take this attendance really, really seriously, to the point that I KNEW, that there would definitely be tears.

Dunhill has never seen me emotional in person. He would just hear me cry over the phone. And I wasn’t quite sure how he’d feel about it, since a lot of people get alienated when other people get affected by that to their face (case in point, outstretched-arms-semi-trance girl from par.6).

So I told him strictly that it was going to be a very personal service for me and I wouldn’t mind if he pretended he wasn’t with me at all.

So the band was singing, the girl was almost going to pass out, and I find my goosebumped self in the verge of crying too. Then this guy comes up the stage and begins to read this passage…

“The Lord is righteous in all His ways
and loving toward all He has made

“The Lord is near to all who call on Him,
to all who call on Him in truth.”

-Psalm 145:17,18

And my tear ducts turned to geysers and I was trying so hard to keep my head still so no one from behind me (including Dunhill) would notice that I was exhibiting emotions outwardly. I was biting my lip, pinning my hands and stopping my nose from twitching or sniffing, and the tears just rolled and rolled down my face, up my nose, down my neck.

Oh… it was horrible…

And fabulous.

Then without giving me time to recuperate, the Worship part ended and everyone sat down. I didn’t have a seat since I was late so everyone turned around to look for theirs and set themselves ready and I was standing there, blotched face and tear streams and all.

And at that point I wished that God knew SMS, because he really didn’t need to send me the Universe’s message like this.

So I grabbed Dunhill and told him that he had to take me to the bathroom quick because I was unravelling. And he probably felt odd about the whole situation because he just pointed me to the thing and left me to go by myself.

I sat through the sermon, which, I’m sorry pastor, I didn’t care for very much. And then the whole thing ended. I was a little disappointed that Dunhill didn’t do a post-game analysis with me, because he just sent me out into the world right after what was virtually a life-changing experience.

Since I didn’t bring my smokes (in fear that the church would smite me) I went to a convenience store and bought a pack and smoked the whole thing off. I was walking down the road to what I thought would be a coffee shop but I ended up on the wrong street which happens to be where the red light district is. It was dank and smelly and reeked of, well, sin. And I struggled if I felt alienated or at home in that row of blinking lights.

Then the raindrops started falling and it was beginning to be a tropical rainshower so I hop on the next jeepney to get to the mall where I was going to have dinner. But since there was a flash flood (in under 10 minutes!) the driver decided to go around the regular route away from the mall and I had to get off at a stop which was several blocks away.

So I was stuck in that little store for a good hour, and there’s only so much you can do in such a small space, in such a long time, so I grab a TIME from the magazine stand and browse a little. After what seemed like a half hour, the security guard comes up to me in a very audible whisper…

“Boss, bawal magbasa dito.” (Boss, reading is not allowed here.)

And it hit me right now. It was another message.

I was seriously contemplating whether I would attend church again. Then I thought it over and over and over, till now, when I started writing this. And it dawned on me, I left the church and became agnostic because I read too much into what other people had to say about my relationship with God, a relationship I have learned to redefine for myself.

I was reading into what other people thought of me, and what they would think of me and how I want to live my life.

As I extricated myself from the convenience store after being embarassed by the guard, I stood under an awning for a while, trying to keep the rain and flood water from my shoes.

The Universe is sending me a message.

This is the part where you listen.

Reading is not allowed here.

On Building a Family


 

Having no legislation for gay marriage in the country, I am faced with a crossroad in my life. I am a 26 year old gay man with a stable career, a home, and the emotional stability required to start and build a family. The problem: how does a gay guy build a family?

If you belong to a progressive culture, this question hardly seems a connundrum at all. It would have a more existential effect, in a way of speaking.

I know that a lot of gay men like me dream of having a traditional family structure, where there are parents and probably children. However, the gay culture in my community seems to have resigned to the fact that gay men are destined to linger in a sort of relationship limbo. It’s not very uncommon to find that the gay couples who have lasted a long time have morphed into open relationships.

It’s a tragedy that some people think that infidelity is an unavoidable consequence of being gay.

I have no delusions that this challenge does not exist in straight relationships. However, there is less of a stigma that comes with infidelity among homosexual relationships. After all, if you view homosexuality as unnatural then infidelity isn’t so far down the slippery slope.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and I told her how much I wanted to settle down already. I want to invest in a family. Ever since I understood myself, I realized that I was meant to be a homemaker. In high school, I was Secretary of my school’s chapter of Future Homemakers of the Philippines (FHP). (Yes, I’m also a geek.)

Now how does having legislation solve my problem?

It doesn’t.

But having legislation will allow other gays to be able to visualize that possibility for them. Well, not really, because people don’t make rules for things they can’t even visualize yet.

All I want, as any person does, is to have a home to come to at the end of the day and have someone there that I want to take care of. Someone I chose. Someone who also chose me. I want to be able to give that person all the attention and all the care that I have learned to develop as Secretary of FHP.

That seems to be a long shot. Right now, the best thing that I can take care of is a plant. A plant can outlive you. A plant won’t cheat on you and best of all, a plant won’t leave.

Good thing we had gardening in FHP.