Monday, May 3, 2010

P-1



Bring yourself and expect nothing.

It was what I should have told myself on the way to Palawan Bar in Cubao. At past midnight, the cab speeds across Bonny Serrano after hailing it somewhere in Camp Crame. It was a Friday, the beginning of a long weekend. Coming from a product training at work and a house warming affair hosted by a very old friend, I was set to party before the night ends.

The gimik coincided with Totoy Baliko's rest day. Earlier that afternoon, he was my trainee and the need to unwind also comes on top of his priorities. He knows I might go to Malate and was interested to join. Still I was uncommitted. Had Mister Deja Vu decided to make his presence felt that night, I would scrap my plans of going out and invite him for a sleep over instead.

Unfortunately, the boy was missing in action. He stopped texting after his company outing a few days before.

Totoy Baliko asked for a change of venue. He said he would be seeing his best friend, and was hoping if I could join them in Palawan. The place was fine. After all, I could always sneak out should the crowd bores me. It's been four years since I went there. The reason: to write a bar review for J.Neil Garcia's class in Creative Writing. Being a denizen of BED and Government at that time, I looked down at Palawan for being jologs. The bathroom stinks, the chairs and tables wobble, and the (makeshift) stage where faggoty stand-up comedians try to entertain the funda-faced (foundation) crowd didn't impress me.

Therefore, my return was already pre-judged. I would have chosen Palawan Two anytime.

But Totoy Baliko sees Palawan One as his saving grace. I remember his stories about the place; the people he became friends with; how he sees the decrypt bar as his sanctuary when he was jobless and needed a place to reclaim his sanity. I understand the need to sanctify and remain humble when entering its doors. Palawan's ratings maybe several notches below O-Bar, but for a dear friend, the place meant everything.

---

Traffic along Edsa was pretty light and I arrived at Palawan barely 30 minutes after leaving the house warming. Paying P30 pesos for the entrance fee was unbelievably cheap compared to BED whose door fine costs P350. There were two gay stand-up comedians doing a question and answer portion with a guy who was about to sing at the stage. Having no credits to tell Totoy Baliko of my arrival, I had no choice but to go from one table to another just to find my friend.

Heads titled as I pass by the narrow aisles. Whether their stares expressed lust or puzzlement was not a concern anymore. I've straddled between heaven and hell in the bathhouses before (making out with the first guy who caught my fancy in just a matter of minute of entering the dark room) and having to carry myself in a seemingly non-threatening place wasn't difficult at all. It took around seven minutes to go around and check the tables and when I didn't find my friend, I went out to look for a credit-loading station near the bar.

Suddenly, someone called my name outside. And there he was standing just a few paces from me in his shining beauty,

pretty in skinny jeans,
fabulous in his black polo
and fantastic with a red scarf wrapped around his neck.


Mami Athena should have gone with me.

Totoy Baliko introduced me to his friends. They were all effeminates and the way they talked and the way they sashayed towards the bathroom reminded me of the guy I slept with over a year ago. The guy who took me home was of course manly but his housemates were not. To say that I was comfortable to be seen with them in public will be a lie, but I've already learned some valuable lessons about pakikisama. Sometimes there is more to than meets the eye and this humility was what I showed during the first few uncomfortable hours with Totoy Baliko's friends.

One by one, the guests who would perform on stage were introduced. There was the trashy talk and toilet humor of the hosts and there were the buckets of Colt Beer that were served on our table. My friend was visibly worried that I looked bored and restless, which I was. But the feeling was magnified by an upset stomach no thanks to the couple of San Mig Lights and several slices of pizzas I devoured at my previous party.

Looking around, people seem to know one other. It would be a pity to be seen there drinking alone while watching the stand up comedians making fun of themselves. However, my impressions were wrong, as I have learned upon my return. One thing I have noticed is that nobody sang songs from The Calling or Matchbox 20 and instead, the performers tried to out-diva each another with songs from Beyonce, Britney and Mariah.

"Ganito talaga dito, lahat gusto maging diva."

Later that night, Totoy Baliko told me that after the comedians leave the stage, P-1 transforms into a dance club much like its bigger sister a few streets away. There's also a place they call "aurahan" where guests get a chance to release their libog with someone they met at the bar. Being an explorer, I checked the place out. There was an unmarked door within the inner room which lead to a vacant lot beside Palawan. The ground was actually reserved for those preferring outdoor binging over listening to the singers on stage. There was nothing much to see, except for the small unlit nipa huts at the edge of the lot. I think that is where the action happens. When I came back to our table and told Totoy Baliko what I saw, I merely remarked.

"Not my cup of tea."

Yeah, as if I didn't do it along Orosa inside a Fortuner SUV last year.

---

The party started shortly after the stand up comedians disappeared. Totoy Baliko's best friend (who thought I was straight) was the first to witness how I transformed from being a lukewarm and ambivalent guest to being a hardcore clubber when he invited me for a dance. The series of wild abandon didn't end there, for as my instincts began reasserting, I found myself closer to my element.

trading glances with guys at the dance floor.
and allowing strangers to press the limp mushroom
between my legs only to brush them off.


Soon I found a guy worthy of being my dance partner. He was the ER type, and judging from his get-up which includes a sleeveless cotton jacket, checkered shorts and rubber slippers, he was someone coming from below my class. It didn't help that he spoke with a Visayan accent, but since he already caught my attention, I stuck with him for the rest of the night.

The metamorphosis from being the snooty kid from Malate to becoming the raver-on-the-dance floor junkie never saw its epitome. For one, the DJ seems stuck with Insomnia and Poker Face that to hear Telephone (Kaskade Extended Remix) being spun would be short of a miracle. I wasn't in the mood to bust some killer moves. Second was the presence of people who just knew me. Though I did some naughty things with my dance partner (like pinning the guy against the man-sized AC while rubbing my crotch against his torso, and then letting his hand explore the waiting snake inside my tight jeans) restraint still ruled over my actions. Just when things were about to get out of control, I left my partner to return to our table.

"I had fun dude. Thanks for inviting me here." I said to Totoy Baliko while picking up my backpack. It was already 4 in the morning and my exhausted body badly needed rest. One by one, I bid farewell to his friends before giving my host a tight hug for a great night.

I went to the toilet to take one last leak and before I could react, the dance partner barged out of the bathroom door. He saw me waiting and decided to pursue our unfinished business. He followed me back to the toilet to take one of the vacant cubicles. There were others inside and their presence prevented us from making a move. I left the bathroom to wait for him outside. When he came out, I pushed him in a corner to kiss once more.

"Tara tol punta tayo sa likod." I understood what he meant. He seems to be a regular customer of the place.

"Bakit?" I pretended not to know. He never said a word but instead arched his body before leaning against a wall so I could squeeze his hard on.

"Tigas ah!" His sausage was quite big.

I was tempted to go with him, but remembering what I said to Totoy Baliko earlier that evening, I had to keep my word. The score could have been settled had he proposed a private place to do the deed. But since I was in no mood to cross the line, chances are I wouldn't take the bait.

Again, I abandoned the dance partner to depart Palawan for good. It was a night of bonding with a friend and colleague who had stuck with me for years, and I had no real desire of spoiling it by picking a stranger to take elsewhere.

The price for a lust unfulfilled however would come later.

---

Two nights after returning to Palawan, a blog comment from Totoy Baliko gave me the idea to return and experience the place alone. I arrived at past midnight to catch the same crowd I've seen before. Palawan has its own feel that is different from what I am used to.

But there are also similarities that make every gay nook and corner much the same.

Still, there were the stand up comedians making fun of themselves and the guests. The lonely boys club still belts out power ballads such as Alone and Where Do Broken Hearts Go. The guests still wear collared shirt, checkered pants and loafers which hardly distinguishes one from another. Sitting between an effeminate guy who probably decided to have a girl's night out with his friends and a manly guy who constantly rubbed his knee against mine - to my annoyance - I've realized that no matter where you find yourself, people like you act the same.

The values I picked up in Malate maybe different elsewhere, but when it comes to friends and strangers, there is not much to compare.

A bottle of Colt Beer and I am already satisfied with my solo expedition. Putting myself in Totoy Baliko's place at his lowest and highest state of emotions while in Palawan, I have come to accept that his home would never be mine. It was the good and bad memories which makes him stay there, same with the good and bad memories which I try to relive in the dance floors of my own home.

"Return only when invited..."

Dropping the still cold glass on the concrete slab, I stood up to leave P1 for my long trek back to Orosa.


I hear the ticking of the clock
I'm lying here, the room's pitch dark
I wonder where you are tonight
No answer on the telephone
And the night goes by so very slow
Oh I hope that it won't end though
Alone.

Heart
Alone



14 comments:

totoy baliko said...

Awww..I love it! Thank u pala, pinagbigyan moko! Idol kita sis Forever! 'May third eye kanga talaga, u can see more than meets the eye : )

iurico said...

reminds me of my P2 days. :-)

Yj said...

the first time i went to Palawan was way back 2006.... i've never been there since...

yaiy... kung hindi lang sa summer classes ko, gabi gabi ako nasa malate hahahaha.... ahmishu khoya!

daredevilry said...

we go where we get our comfort from. we build our own spaces and invest them with memories.

i dont think i will ever call malate or p1/p2 my home

anteros' dominion said...

havent been to malate nor to p-1 and p-2

and yes, the search for the my own sanctuary is still on going

solitude is still far from my grasp

but still, the unwavering strength in finding that the i can call my own home prevail

Kane said...

"He was the ER type, and judging from his get-up which includes a sleeveless cotton jacket, checkered shorts and rubber slippers, he was someone coming from below my class."

OMG Mugen! Ang maldita mo!

I really like what you said, "It was the good and bad memories which makes him stay there, same with the good and bad memories which I try to relive in the dance floors of my own home."

It is in those places where we found ourselves, and built those memories, and that's why they have endeared themselves to us.

So, iyong iyo ang O bar?????

Kane

Guyrony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Guyrony said...

Never been to P1, P2 nor Government.

Guess I'm just bound to be a Malate boy.

And that's not a bad thing at all!

daniel said...

Ako po pala ung nag-request ng telephone kaya pinatugtog hehe : )

Mu[g]en said...

Daniel:

Di ko yata matandaan na pinagtugtog yung Telephone. Hehehe. O baka abala na ako sa landian nun.

Guyrony:

There's not much of a difference, unless you're keen on meeting new people/new cultures. Lol.

Your other comments appears to be intended for someone else.

Erick:

You have to first ask, are you a party person. Maybe your sanctum lies not in the glitzy halls of clubs, but in the quiet comforts of your home.

Mu[g]en said...

Kane:

May karapatan akong magmaldita no. Hahaha. Subukan mo kaya magkaroon ng jowa na every week mo binibigyan ng 200 pesos gayung pareho naman kayo ng sweldo.

Tapos pag date niyo laging ikaw ang taya. Ewan ko lang kung hindi mag uber choosy ka rin. Lol.

Oy, hindi lang akin ang O-Bar. Ang buong Malate ang mundo ko. Hahaha.

Eon:

I was spawned at the corner of Nakpil and Orosa 8 years ago. Like a salmon seeking its headwaters, I keep coming back.

Mu[g]en said...

YJ:

Magsasawa ka rin kapag nag gabi gabi ka sa Malate nu! Ano naman gagawin mo dun?

See you soon. Sa 28th. Hehe.

Iurico:

Kwento naman diyan!

Totoy Baliko

Walang anuman! I really hope you had fun as well. As in, I left the place the second time with you in mind.

Guyrony said...

My Bad, yes the other comment was intended to another blogger. :)

dark_knight said...

made me curious.. ^_^