I Hope You Dance

June 29, 2009 at 3:53 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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My sweater is no match to Baguio’s cold early evening air. I sit on a chair among a dozen tables dotting the ampitheater, watching one of my best friends take her first steps as the newest missus on the land. E. looks splendid dancing with R., wearing a deep blue evening dress and a flower on her hair. The wedding, of which I am man of honor, was a close, intimate affair of about a hundred friends and families attending the ceremonies and another hundred merry-makers at the open-air reception.

There is food, plenty of it, on a buffet table with a long line of guests chatting with their plates at hand and their voices racing past each other in confusing speeds. There is music, there is Noel Cabangon and Cookie Chua singing love songs, and pairs of men and women with their feet on the floor of the makeshift wooden stage and their affections on each other’s shoulders for the rest to see.

I press my sweater closer to my chest and try to ignore the creeping cold on my skin, but it is no use. It is December, and it is Baguio, to unexpect the cold is to disbelieve the obvious.

I sat there and thought back to about a year earlier, when my other best friend I., invites me to hang out to break a groundbreaking news. She was expecting a baby. Over the next few months I saw her go through the process of pregnancy – the ballooning belly, the budget woes, the apartment hunting, the baby registry — the adustments that one had to make when making space for a plus one.

As I watched E and R dance their frist dance as a married couple, I remembered how I had missed the birth of I’s baby girl, but would see her later when I would visit her parents’ apartment. She was an adorable little ball of quiet satisfaction when I first met baby A. She had hair that stood on her crown and little fingers that curled to her palm and a little mouth that moved to any sound made around her. And I., well, I was computing the cost of work and law school and family life on all fronts. But when she held Baby A, nothing seemed to matter. She was happy. I remembered the first time I ever saw the newest mother on the land breastfeeding her child. It was a picture of solid joy. And I was the doting first-time godfather.

A godfather, however, who was now in line for beer. I stood up for a glass of alcohol to hopefully keep me warm as the night wind grows colder. And that was when the inviting hands started to beckon me to the dancefloor. I refused, choosing instead to keep my mother company, whom I had brought along to witness the wedding and sightsee the city on this weekend.

As I watched my friends dance, an indescribable feeling took hold of me. Like something wasn’t right. But it wasn’t such a bad feeling as much as it was unsettling.

And then I realized I and E had something in common. They had not just left singlehood, but have upped the stakes on their respective couplehoods. They’ve taken things further into unfamiliar territory. Taken the next steps. Moved on.

I’m completely and honestly happy for my friends. But I felt things were not to be the same.

And yet, if someone asks me how I’m doing, I would just say things are the same with me. Im still working with a non-profit. Im still not dating anyone. Im still a ladder-step away from complete and utter poverty. Same old me, doing my same old schtick.

And it got me to thinking: when everyone else is moving on, how does one keep from being left behind?

The hands that beckon insist, and I give in. I take the dancefloor, and I take it like I never want to let go. I dance with my friends, and the cold December air starts to feel like it wasn’t even there. I do my moves, and the rhythm takes over and the joy of the moment sinks in and it is a welcome feeling.

And as the next few months would show, some constants remain. Like friendships. No matter where people end up in their own separate journeys, there are things that they will always look back at, and always need.

I., sends me messages every now and then, drops me a visit at the office to hang out, chat a bit, study, and pump her breasts for feeding baby A. E. on the other hand is always in touch and we have not lost our small talks at all, even when she juggles her consultancies, her marriage, her malfunctioning car, and accompanyng R. to his project sites.

My friends may have taken the next step, but as they keep moving on, I’m glad I have stayed the same. Because this way I remain one step behind, always ready to be the friend I had aways been for them.

And so I danced that night, that cold December night when there were no stars in the sky, no new thing happening in my own life. Because new things had happened to my friends, and I realized I shouldn’t be caught sitting around and just watching as they unfolded. I needed to dance around them and with them, because lives in motion are lives worth being a part of.


clarity of purpose

January 3, 2008 at 1:39 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

my mom and i are chumps who, under the pretext of avoiding the noise and the pollution, go to those countdowns on new year’s eve.  for the past two years we’ve gone to the (ehem) kapuso countdowns because they’re generally civilized and the fireworks are fantastic.  never mind the variety show that precedes it, the fireworks obviously cost something north of millions.

anyway we’re going home and got on an FX.  which was rather odd because historically going home had always been a bummer during these countdowns. but 08 started off well enough i guess.  so there we were sitting comfortably in the back.  never mind the jacked up fare.  at least we were going home.

and then i noticed there was this guy sitting in front of me.  beside him and across from where i sat was my mom.  okay, no, i swear this isn’t about boys again and how yummy they are.  it’s about something else. let me get to my point.

anyway he had this johnny depp thing going on with him — shoulder length hair, short goatee and that “atchaka”, and he was fair skinned which is right up my alley.  in short i thought he was cute.  as we made our way through the midnight streets of cold haze and fireworks smoke  we would make eye contact several times. and no, again, this isn’t about serendipitous moments or some finding-the-love-of-my-life shit i used to crow about.  i’m not saying this to wonder whether he was interested or not — though i can contend he was, hehe.

my point simply is that there before my very eyes was my own aruba nights dillema.  the moment was pregnant with representations, and conferred a certain level of clarity of purpose for me. my mom gets sleepy and starts to doze off while the FX ran the highway.  i reach out in front of me to hold her head high so she won’t hit it against the door.  he looks at me, and then my mom, feebly smiles and then looks away.  i could almost read his mind.  “you have a great son ma’am, and he’ll find himself a great guy someday — just not today.” because i know what the lifestyle demands, and how you stand in the community when you have the sort of responsibilities i do.

i don’t stay out all night.  i don’t take care of my body.  i don’t over stack on hair products.  i don’t even have a circle of gay friends.   i’m on the outside looking in and part of me doesn’t want to go in, because i am held back by what i need to do.

that was the clarity i gained that night.  it’s so tempting to go off in search of my own aruba nights, but at the end of the day i still go home to a house where i pay for everything, including the whims and medications of a septuagenarian single-parent household mom. i’m not as independent as some people i know.  i have to make peace with that, and boys fly by my sight every now and then, but knowing what i do know about the community, i’m not one of those people who come with the most marketable credentials — think no sleep overs, no moving in together, no shared family dinners, no nothing like that crap.  and i’m perfectly fine with it.

which is not to say i’m taking myself out of the game. far from it.  in fact if dates come along then fine.  but a gradual shuffling of priorities set my head straight the past few months.  i have a plan.  no deviating.  it’s time to let others tell the story of love as it unfolds in their own pathetic puny little lives.  i’m building an empire.  and it’s more exciting than heartaches, hehehe.


get me bodied

September 21, 2007 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

current rave!

saturn returns

July 20, 2007 at 7:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

where was i while the world just kept moving? i tried to keep up.

over the past couple of weeks i have come to appreciate that i did take some things for granted.   there was a time when i thought i could get away with anything, because there was simply no reason to try. i could slack off, because i can. i realize i had allowed myself to fossilize and stagnate, and that if nobody was willing nor able to push me, then maybe i should have pushed myself.

because recently, reality checked in and kicked me in the butt and out on the street.  i realized some people will let you down, some people will hurt you — but only if you let them.  which means instead of taking the gutter-level path of anger and recrimination and bitterness, i chose to take the high road.  i just asked myself at one point, “in times of crisis, if you can’t hold on to what you believe in, then what else have you got?”

but maybe that’s asking too much of people.

at the age of 29, saturn supposedly returns to its position in your natal chart.  the same spot it was in when you were born.  it takes saturn about the same amount of time to make one revolution around the sun.  at the said time, structures that have kept you down supposedly breaks down in order to pave way for the new.

and i have a nagging sense that some structures in my personal life did begin to unravel.  since last year.  i became more confident of myself, i became interested in what was outside my comfort zone.  i became more athletic. i intensified my traveling. and i began to challenge some things i always thought were true.  like whether the word friendship, in and of itself, conveys the power that it underlines. it is time to say hi to saturn.  and ask him to please, please, help me unload.  there are just some baggage that unnecessarily weigh me down.

and i have better things to do with my time.


August 25, 2006 at 10:10 am | Posted in Uncategorized, UP Mountaineers | 1 Comment

“While the louder, more flamboyant and thus more visible members of the community are now under fire for not comporting themselves with dignity and decency, the fact is that for decades they were considered the “safe” face of the gay community. Time was when Filipino society was comfortable with the very notion of the ‘bakla’ or ‘syoki’ only if (s)he conformed to the stereotype of what the gay community has termed the “parlorista,” the gay man who dresses like a woman, acts in an effeminate manner and engages in an innocuous trade. Such gays were considered acceptable and non-threatening, but only if they remained within their narrow circle, and behaved in ways that immediately clued in others as to their sexual orientation. Gays became “threatening” only after they achieved some degree of economic power as well as social and intellectual clout, and only after it became fairly obvious that, really, gays were — and are — everywhere, and that these days it’s nearly impossible to tell who’s gay or not gay, at least on the basis of dress, manner or behavior alone.”

– Rina Jimenez-David

August 25 column, At Large

Continue Reading disclosure…

the transaction

January 12, 2006 at 10:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Song of the Moment: Other Side of the world, KT Tunstall
To Do (tasks, not people): finish transcriptions
Current State: thankful

if there is one fight i never want to pick with a friend, it would be one about money.

i distinctly remember carrie going all the way uptown to charlotte’s flat asking her, ‘why won’t you lend me money?’ at a time when aidan was trying to evict her from their apartment. and charlotte was pretty clear: she did not want money to ever become an issue between the two of them. of course charlotte ended up pawning her ring (from trey) to help carrie buy aidan out of her apartment.

needless to say, so many friendships have been torn apart by money. promises broken are easier to deal with if they do not carry a price tag. unfortunately this time, i am the one playing out the debtor role. some amount i owe isn’t supposed to be an issue, but i really feel like this friend has been avoiding me for quite some time because the holidays passed and i hadn’t been able to give back the money i owe.

and yet, this very same friend knows exactly the financial situation i am in, and is in quite a powerful position to understand exactly why i am unable to do so. and i took her word for it when she said ‘there is no pressure’, and when i said ‘yes, i will pay’ she repeated the exact same words.

the awful news is that an expected cash inflow has not yet materialized. iona offers to make up for it which i am wont to do because that’s like juggling one’s debt around.

the point is, i took on the words at face value. ‘there is no pressure’. and when i broke the news that the money won’t be available until later this month, the words she sent were “kaya nga tinatanong kita dyan kung kaya mong magbayad o hindi eh”. and knowing her, that wasn’t said out loud with no sarcasm behind it. i just don’t get the tone she took on. and she takes it on a lot, even when i am late, or when i am texting her and she doesn’t reply and i send her e-load and she tells me i ruined her credit line or something.

i mean i do know what i owe, and i am assuming responsibility for it. but between friends who know exactly where each other stands, and between two people who know exactly what life the other one is living — what the hell was that?

maybe i was just expecting a little more compassion and a little less rigidity. and silly old passive-agressive me, i am again hesitant to force her hand for a showdown. i’m bugged by all this, and the evil part of me would like to tell her ‘kung alam ko lang na manunumbat ka sana hindi ko na hiniram ang perang ikaw naman ang nag-offer.’

and to think she knew exactly where the money went because she was there all the time. yes, as upsetting and embarassing as this sounds — i spent the money for my mom’s birthday.

i am so ashamed to do this but between me and cess, for example, so much money had passed between us and we never end up accounting for them. we’re so conjugal. walang bilangan. and most ideal, eileen and i who never even owe each other.

i guess there’s a lesson to be learned in this. i’ll stick with my budget, and if i do pick out a financial adviser it would be one who wouldn’t make me feel so bad about my spending habits and my lifestyle expenses, which isn’t even that much to begin with. liquidity is synonymous to freedom, it seems.

i still love my friend, and i am confident we’ll make it past this. but this one just leaves a mark and i am not forgetting it anytime soon.

the parent trap

January 11, 2006 at 6:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Song of the Moment: Proud by Heather Small
To Do (tasks, not people): get back to work mode
Current State: craving

at some point you will have to learn to detach yourself from the situation. know what you can do and know where to stop, i tell her. if nothing you do pleases them, then let it be. don’t let them make you feel bad about yourself.

but she’s tired. and i can tell by the sound of her voice that she’s fed up with the old folks at home.

what was it that gibran once said about your kids not being your kids, blah blah blah? in guess who’s coming to dinner, dr. john prentice has a heated conversation with his dad who disapproves of his marriage. and he says, when the tone gets to the point that his dad begins telling him he owes him (to paraphrase): ‘however you brought me up and everything you did for me, you owed me because you brought me into this world.’

and true. if we ever find ourselves looking after older people, let it be because we really do care about them and not out of a sense of entitlement. not out of a feeling that they own us and we owe them. children are not investments, as she sharply points out.

the stress of providing is not an alien topic for me as well, but i am thankful that at least my mom is not treating me like a piece of property. it makes it a more welcome responsibility. for others like me, well i don’t know because i don’t know a lot of people like that. but as far as she is concerned, i do believe that someday she’ll get out of it. i hope so.

the magic stays with you! chinky!

January 6, 2006 at 1:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Song of the Moment: My Humps, Black Eyed Peas — rolling on the floor laughing my, err… humps, off
To Do (tasks, not people): buy gifts for later
Current State: excited to post pics below

this is us, last december 17, 2005. we got up at the ungodly hour of 5am (ungodly for me, that is) so we could have breakfast at tagaytay before going back down to sta. rosa. iona, myself, eileen and rico met up at katips before heading off to bing’s place to abuse his spanking brand new vios, hehehe.

5th-wheeling never felt sooooo good. hahaha!

breakfast at bag of beans. food yum-yum, price okeydokey. take-out? sure. but watch where you point your finger. you might end up spending half your pocket money. 😛

candid shot, kunwari

bing doesn’t seem to believe eileen’s claim, whatever it was… hehe

at the log jam exit bridge, before we saw our stolen shots at the log drop. (mental note: gotta post THOSE!)

me and rico tickling helpless eileen at the wheel of fate. thank god she didn’t fart.

tickle tickle! this is the same girl who rode the space shuttle 3x, along with iona.

bing myself and iona at the ferris wheel in the morning. cool lang, pero gutom na yang mga yan. hehehe.

costume change after the wild river ride where i DID want to get wet. but DID NOT, grr.

nye-nye! wish you were here! har har

uyyy…through thick and thin, har har!

paint us black up there

iona strangling me for hogging the limelight, hehehe

and more pics at my flickr gallery courtesy of ionaks. 😀

bring it on!

January 2, 2006 at 11:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Song of the Moment: Constantly, MYMP (har har har)
To Do (tasks, not people): go back to work, hahaha
Current State: appreciated (by iona who wrote a very touching testi for me)

if i remember correctly, last 2003 i told myself that 2004 was the year i was going to have fun. well, i think 04 turned out to be the year i saw the best and the worst of me. i might have to go back to my archives to confirm. then 05 turned out to be the year i started taking responsibility for my actions. well, okay okay. my language is far from being mature (see LOVER ME description in post below), and neither have been some of my actions.

but i swear, 06 is the year i am GOING TO HAVE FUN.

for the first time in ages, i am not too keen on anything developing in the romance department. it’s not that i have given up or anything. it’s just that i’m at a point in which i have a thousand things i want to do and what a bore it would be if i had to keep checking out someone else’s schedule for what i want to do with my time, right?

i want to learn how to swim (tangina, that is so pathetic for someone who’s 28). i want to learn how to ride a bike. (loser, capital L, please).

i want to climb my first mountain. i want to climb another one and another one.

i want to join another marathon and improve on my not-so shameful 48 minutes in 04.

i want to take on tennis. and at the same time improve on my badminton.

less coffee.

instead of french kisses why not spend time learning french?

those things. no boys for now. and it’s not because i got burned or have decided with finality i’m a closet het. if i were i’d run away with cess or iona and raise kids. i love kids. i want kids.

if anything i am thankful for the hurt, the confusion and the general disappointment with every new face that crossed my path. it made me realize that i do have what it takes to take on a relationship. it’s just the getting there that troubles me sometimes, and it shouldn’t. some people jump from one bed to another at a turnover rate you’d think they were keeping up with the revolution of mercury around the sun. some people linger, and that’s an awful thing because the rest of the world isn’t going to wait while you get over a molehill of a man who left you.

and then there are those, like me, who are moving around. not necessarily like dawn-of-the-dead walking around, but more like a michael-kimmy-julia kind of walking around. sometimes rushing, sometimes pausing but still, we end up thinking:who’s running after us?

but you know what, that’s okay. some people call it singlehood. i call it my ME time.

like ricky reyes lo the scriptwriter said, it doesn’t matter how you get to quiapo. the important thing is you get to quiapo.

and speaking of quiapo, i think carlos celdran has those tours up and running this month. instead of walking over there where it’s so easy to wallow in self-pity and misery, why not walk that way and actually enjoy life?

so on this, my 300th post, i say ‘bring it on’. time has a way of fucking up with schedules and with people around us. but life should always be lived according to what we want, and what we need at any given time. and at this time, i want to be a richer person. rich in things i’ve done and all by myself. and boys won’t turn me into that.

me, me, me, all about me!! (as always)

December 30, 2005 at 1:04 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

me happy, new profile friendster:

VAIN me: i believe deep in my heart that everyone must have moisturizer, and i thank god for exfoliating gloves, but i really have to learn how to incorporate chapstick into my routine.

RAH-RAH me: i do recognize that people do have their part in making our communities better but if everything boiled down to the individual what do we have governments for? accountability and transparency — those aren’t a heck of a lot to ask for.

SPIRITUAL me: there is a god, but it isn’t defined by the rules of whatever transient church you can come up with. my spiritual life is my business and mine alone, no one should regulate it, no one should mind it.

GOOD SON me: at the age of 20 i started paying my own rent, the utilities, the phone bills, the groceries, the clothes and yes the meds that regulate my mom’s blood pressure. truth is, sometimes they regulate mine as well.

MEMBER OF SOCIETY me: i believe in the inherent goodness of people. eventhough sometimes some of them will let you down. i give a fuck about humanity. it’s the people i meet who make me think dogs should inherit the earth.

FRIENDSTER me: i move around a lot and if you’re lucky and if i’m lucky we’ll ht it off. don’t hold your breath for me to tell you everything about me though, since even telling my best friend i’m gay took two years. but don’t worry about telling me yours. i’m a deep well of other people’s innermost torments.

LOVER me: if you’re mediocre, don’t even bother. if you don’t like me then fuck you loser you don’t know what you just let slip away. but if you like me don’t think i’m boring. i am, at first. but hey, if it works out and you can put up with me and i can put up with you, who knows? maybe we’ll have what others just talk about.

SEX-STARVED me: i’m a fucktard who just wants to get off, like everyone else. if people moved around with paper bags on their heads would that make sex so much easier? i doubt.

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