Thursday, September 29, 2011

Vice: Ganda

When Vice Ganda called for an end to hypocrisy, he didn't mean this:

promiscuity eh?

From what I see, the respected comedian desires to break the wall separating the closeted, effem-basher homosexuals and the out, flamboyant fairies like him. We are, after all one people. 

Whoever spun this article is walking a very thin line. This is not how you do it when you're searching the pink brick road to acceptance.

The publicity stunt is bound to backfire. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sinking Feeling

Manila International Book Fair
September 16, 2011

I should have taken it as an ominous sign. 

It was a sunny late afternoon. I was pushing my mom's wheelchair towards the Shrine of Jesus the Way at the Mall of Asia when I caught glimpse of the bay. The azure expanse at the end of the road was a sight to behold. It was a well-spring of tranquility spilling over my gloom-afflicted shell.  

As we neared the sanctum across the convention center, I found something odd about the bay. It was a bit swollen. "Perhaps it was high tide," I mulled over while looking at the shimmering blue horizon. It was like the ground was tipping over and the line between the terra firma and the aqua marinus was separated by a mere solid block of concrete higher than the esplanade. Take it out from the landscape and the bay might actually engulf the reclaimed property extending from Roxas Boulevard.  

And then I imagined a not-so-far future when islands in the Pacific would actually disappear beneath the ocean. Scientists all over the world have already warned that shore lines will retreat should climate change remains unchecked. Cities from New York to Dacca would have to be given up to the sea as stronger tempests pound the coastal regions. In my head, I imagined a massive sea barrier higher than some of Manila's landmark buildings. The city, which had sunk below sea level must be constantly walled.  

I shrugged at the thought upon remembering Baby Lenin. For Christ's sake, the kid is just one year old. He deserves a better world than the one I'd leave behind. 

I would like to think the idea was just a figment of my dystopian imagination, but after seeing pictures of the Baywalk and Roxas Boulevard this afternoon, with the peripheries between the sea and the coast overlapping under the monstrous storm surge, it seems my sinking feeling just two weeks ago is justified.   

I remember before I went to bed at 8 in the morning, as the sky began to howl with the arrival of gale-force winds, a government official in Malabon worried that the high tide set that morning would further inundate the city. Nobody knew what would happen next. Fortunately for us, the government was prepared.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Welcome Wagon

"this is another attempt of me blogging. i have quite a number of blogs in the past starting with Multiply which we all know has lost its following and people don't open their accounts anymore. i had one blogger account way back in college for my philo class though --- that was full of pambobola just to get a 4.0. Hahaha! i have tumblr and i blog every once in a while but i couldn't blog everything since i couldn't talk about gay stuff there. LOL. 

so you see, i don't write very well. so whoever is following this, thank you for being nice. haha! 

i'm JC, by the way. and this is my alternate life." 

One year later: 


Ngayon pala anniv ng blog ko. Hehehehe. 

His message appeared on my Gtalk chatbox. 


Talaga? Teka. 

*pause* hinanap kunwari ang blog ni kabiyak. Inabot rin ng ilang seconds bago ako naka-reply sa kanya. 



Buti natandaan mo. 

Notthewimpykid: Last week ko pa yan tiningnan. Hehe 

The fits of remembrance had me recalling my life the day Baabaa first appeared on blogger. A look into my own timeline reveals that I was about to start my Raketship with someone who would drop me at the middle of a remote training session. Bentusi's job ad would appear on Pinoyexchange a few days later. 

I was also confessing my past sins while lending my voice to the collective indignation at policemen who raided the Queeriosity Palace in Pasay. While I don't completely agree with the people who go to BH, I was crying foul at the human rights abuses and the trauma they got from authorities.

Funny, one year ago and I was already ranting about my fucked-up sleeping pattern too. The nocturnal habit is still there, in fact just a few days ago, the partner was nagging me to sleep earlier. Sinasabayan ko daw kasi yung Atlantic Time Zone niya. Haha.  

This was my life the day I spotted the Notthewimpykid setting up his own online space. Parang magkapit-bahay lang. Kulang na lang magkaroon kami ng impromptu house-warming party sa blog niya. I know he should be the one writing a post about his blog anniversary, but I can't help but recall what his arrival means to me.

Talk about turning 180 degrees from the life you once had.

Now, the Raketship is flourishing, despite my occasional Writer's Block and procrastination. While news about bathhouses had finally disappeared from my radar, perhaps, nobody goes there anymore. 

If there's a reason why the partner's blog anniversary has a special place to me, its because of its prophetic revelation of our future. 

Who would have thought.

Unknowingly, I was the first who welcomed him into my world.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Huling Biyahe

I spoke to a girl-friend. (read closeted fag hag kasi hindi niya alam ang sexual preference ko) on Facebook chat last night. The sexy, late-twenties school principal was the one I tried to pair with auto-fellatio boy a few months back. The pair somehow clicked, with the sexy school principal chick finding the boy interesting. The problem is, auto-fellatio boy fell in love with his Ford Fiesta. Ang issue pa nito, no-girlfriend since birth ang binata at mas effeminate pa kung kumilos sa akin. Our friends are beginning to question his sexuality tuloy.

Unfortunately, the boy didn't pay attention to the chick. Bad shot sa akin yun kapag nagkita kami sa reunion.  

Now the sexy school principal chick who bought her own Hyundai racer this week asked me if I pray a lot. Of course I said yes, ako na ang tambay ng Monasterio de San Jose habang nasa Canada ang Santo Papa. Akala ko pa naman na she would ask me to pray that her students bag the championship sa isang inter-school competition, but it turned out, she asked me to pray for another boy.

"Mugen naniniwala ka na meron tayong one great love?" She asked. Napaisip ako bigla.

Truth is, I had many crushes before. High school pa lang ay nanliligaw na ako ng babae. (in a pathetic way) Nung college naman ay pabling na ako ng slight, and in my early 20's, ang crush ay madalas kalandian. Kaya ngayon I dwell only at the present. I may have had thoughts about what ifs, but if one would look at my romantic history. I go full blast with my feelings until the other person says its time to go. So far hindi pa naman ako namaril ng ex sa SM Malls.

"I don't believe in that one great love at the beginning." I told her. "You realize it only when you have been together for a very long time." Siyempre impressed si babae.

Ang kuwento pala, the other boy and the sexy school principal chick dated three years ago. The boy asked her kung puwede daw ba maging sila, the chick declined. Sabi niya hindi pa siya ready. The boy moved on, met his next girlfriend and now break na sila. He tries renewing his bonds with the sexy principal chick at hetong si future fag hag naman ay biglang nabuhayan ng loob at tinawag siyang the "one great love."

Knowing my girl-friend's frustrations, I tried to be supportive with her in her quest to find that elusive love. Sabi ko pa nga, "sabihan mo na lang ako kung mapapakasal na kayo ha?" I'm sure kinilig si babae. Pangarap niya yun for a very long time. Pero ang laking gulat ko lang nang malaman ang buong storya.

The guy asked for her number. Dali-dali namang binigay ni sexy school principal chick. What I thought was a recent event happened na pala two weeks ago pa, and the boy all this time has not sent his first text message to my girl-friend. Kung gaano ako kabilis naging excited, ganun din ako kabilis nanlupaypay. Parang nilabasan lang ng tamod. As conventional wisdom goes, you find someone interesting, you reach out with a speed of light. Sa kanila yata, parang paasa lang ang nangyari.

I told the girl-friend what I felt. Sabi ko na kung may gusto ako, kaagad na tatawagan ko, makikipag-set ng date and who knows, the person might feel the same. Gusto ko sana gawing example si Baabaa, kaso baka lalong ma-depress si future fag hag kapag malaman niyang hindi ako straight. I assured her na as long as I'm around, I'd make sure she will end up with the right guy. Parang katulad na lang kay ex-girlfriend, I stalk her potential dates just to make sure hindi siya natatanso. 

To be honest, I really don't know what single girls who are approaching their thirties feel. Sa tinagal tagal kong umiikot ang mundo sa sangkabadingan, ngayon na lang ako nagre-reach out sa mga babaeng kaibigan na naging bahagi ng masayang buhay ko sa college. Kung hindi dahil sa isang conversation with a high school classmate ngayong gabi, I wouldn't fully understand why sexy school principal chick appeared a little aggressive in pursuing a guy - any guy - who she could get married soon.

"hay nako mugen ako pa tinanong mo hindi ako masaya sa buhay ko. ginagawa ko nalang kung ano role ko sa buhay." I asked the high school classmate if she's a single mom. Sabi niya hindi. Hirit ko naman masuwerte pa rin siya. Yung mga kilala kong single mom, ginagapang talaga ang mga anak nila. This is what she said to me. 

"ano bang mas maganda mging single parent o tumandang dalaga?" Biglang sumagi sa isip ko si sexy school principal chick. Kasama na dun si ex-girlfriend na pinagtatawanan ko pa habang kausap sa Facebook rin kagabi.

"eh 30 na tyo kamusta naman kung magka anak pko"

Somehow, I felt like an ass for being insensitive. Being surrounded with single moms who try to make both ends meet in such a way they would look a little desperate distorted my view. It prevented me from seeing the other side, yung side naman ng mga babae na gusto magkapamilya pero kailangang maghabol na sa biyahe.

"Parang gusto kong maniwala na all goodlooking guys are either taken or, umm gay." I once told someone.

If only I know a lot of nice, faithful straight single guys, I could have introduced them to my sexy single girl friends. Seryoso, gustong gusto ko maging masaya sila. Kaso sa mundong ginagalawan ko, these guys never exist.

Yung iba pa, makita lang na medyo maganda ang katawan mo sa DP, magtatanong kung puwede "makitambay" sa place mo.

And that story deserves another entry.


Taas Noo

“This is what democracy is all about: having a government disciplined enough to imbibe in itself the principles of transparency, accountability and citizen involvement—the necessary preconditions to poverty alleviation and inclusive and sustainable economic growth,” 

President Benigno Aquino III
Open Government Partnership Summit, 
New York

I was all smiles one morning while reading the news article on the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It was a breath of fresh air after having to bear the putrified smell of blood reeking from the crime scenes at the SM Malls just a few days ago. Of course I was not there to see the gruesome moments while men fell to the ground after being gunned down by their lovers. (who plans to self destruct as well) But the collective shock, no matter how I tried to shield myself, was able to hit me with a potent punch.

President Pnoy was invited by Obama to attend the opening of the global initiative summit at the Big Apple. I remember asking @abi_valte on Twitter how much will the taxpayers have to shell for the plane ticket and the hotel accommodation of the president and his men. It turns out, the price was irrelevant. Rather, we should all be proud that the country was invited to grace the prestigious event attended by some of the important leaders of the free world.

The Open Government Partnership aims to promote greater transparency and accountability in governments. It hopes to fight corruption with free-flowing information and instill a sense of nationhood by engaging  people on social media and other public forums in a healthy discourse of state policies.

The chance to speak came at an opportune time because the country is also remembering the declaration of Martial Law 39 years ago. While no one among us had lived through such time, echoes from our surviving elders tell how they fought for freedom on our behalf.

And while the past leadership corrupted every aspect of our lives, it was, I believe a far cry from the ancient horrors of an authoritarian regime. History was there to make sure the past never happens and we asserted it the moment we cast our votes and chose the leader who would look after our aspirations.

Change has indeed come. From the symbolic turnover of classified documents from the AFP to the Commission of Human Rights, to the alliance of the government and the business leaders against corrupt business practices, to the very words of the taxi driver that I hailed a few nights ago; when he concurred my impression that the police have become a little less abusive these days. There seems to be a quiet hum in the air, and its familiar sound has become too hypnotic for our ears to ignore.

To be sure, these superficial embellishments do not translate to swift economic prosperity, and it would not serve as an antidote to our social ills. (As of these writing the Polytechnic University of the Philippines students and faculty are planning to march from its Santa Mesa Campus to Mendiola to bring into light the dwindling budget for the state university) Instead, the sea change serves as a reminder; a promise that as long as the government fulfills its social contract with the people, the nation will somehow be appeased.

John Kennedy once said in a stirring speech "ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country." The speech tells us that to achieve progress, the citizenry should do its duties and not rely everything on the government. I do not know how many of us are aware of this wisdom, but I have faith that as long as PNoy enjoys the trust rating recently reported in the news, he can call on the nation to do its part in nation building.

I was there when the people banded together to help Ondoy's victims get back to their feet. The Bayanihan was infectious, I know, such selflessness runs in our blood.

Anyway, whenever I get to read news like this, I cannot help but return to that blog post last year, when, in a moment of epiphany I defied everyone's expectations by casting my future with the current president. I remember all the comments as well the occasional cricket sounds whenever I write entries such as this.

"As for Noynoy, I see him accomplishing little during his term, but he will be loved like his parents are. Accomplishing little will never be an issue, not even a footnote in the grand scheme of things.

What he will bestow to a grateful country is a sense of belonging: an undeniable feeling of pride among its citizens."

June 29, 2010
Midnight Afterburner

Five more years before history judges our decision.

So far, I am overjoyed that the present, has not betrayed me yet.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Anti-Planking Act

Everyone knows what planking is and a lot of kids (and stupid adults) have already met their maker by lying their stiffened body, face down in places that are too dangerous for people to attempt such pastime. (such as the corner railing of the balcony) 

But if Congressman Winnie Costelo of the Second District of Quezon City would be asked, what he knew about planking is that its a terrific exercise in public disturbance. He might have gotten the idea from some delinquents who planked along Espana Boulevard to protest the rising oil prices.

Earlier today, the not-so-esteemed but hardworking and eccentric lawmaker from the Batasan announced that he would file a bill banning planking in public. This is to discourage protesters from expressing their grievances by throwing themselves - like a cadaver - at the middle of the road.

In a matter of hours, the chorus of contempt and derision expressed in social media was universal. The nation faces so many troubles and the brightest idea our congressmen could come up with is the banning of an activity that makes no sense - even to the senseless. 

The fad itself is dying out - like the j3j3m0n text talk - which became synonymous with the illiterate just a few years ago. And like the dougie, that everyone tries to dance in the local dance clubs after being mastered by tweens in the US early this year, before we know it, owling on top of the Mabuhay Rotunda would be the new in thing when protesting the next time someone declares a nationwide strike.

I suspect Representative Costelo was just trying to pull our leg for his political gains. The androgynous congressman once even proposed a 4-day work week which, would have stirred pandemonium among BPO Shift managers.

A collective shrug had descended a few days after the bill made rounds in the news. 

The Anti-Planking Bill of 2011 will never reach, even the first legislative reading of Congress. Heck, Congressman Costelo would even get re-elected in his district, not because of the silly bills he authored, but from the media exposure he received for turning the 15th congress into a circus act. 

I was able to read what the bill said. I also learned that planking itself in public does not carry any penalty. Since we are on the subject of the anti-planking bill, let's up the ante by including imaginary sanctions once a person gets caught planking:

SEC 7. Should a student or group of students get caught planking in the streets, government offices and public places, the offender(s) are required to do the dougie with his/their pants down at the middle of a busy road intersection. The offender(s) are also required to render 500 hours of public service cleaning the toilets of government hospitals and a month of forced labour in one of the secret state farms in Mindanao. Before the offender(s) are released from his/their obligations, he/they must pay a bail of no less than P10,000 pesos to be used in the feeding programs of the DSWD. The offender(s) must also promise not to perform the owling posture should it become the new craze when planking dies out.  

Sounds too harsh? I bet it would be fun - like taking your pictures while planking in the oddest places just to impress everyone. And since the activity would be forbidden in the very near future. Let me end this thoughtless blabbing by imitating what everyone does these days:

The balls man, its ouchie!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Grammar Police

I have come to accept that English will always be my second language. No matter how many words I learn or sentences I mass produce in the assembly lines of my head, there will come a time when I would question the impeccability of my tongue.

But when in doubt with my thoughts and the transmission of message seems to be hampered by a cluttered mind. First, I read my words aloud to find my Zen. Second, I rephrase my sentences so that my ideas would find clarity, same with a glass sprayed with soap water.

And when everything seem to be lost in translation, still, I embrace the language my heart often speaks. 

"ang taong hindi marunong magmahal sa sariling wika ay masahol pa sa mabaho at malansang isda"

Bakit ka pa mag-iingles kung maisasapuso mo rin naman sa iyong inang wika?

Sunday, September 18, 2011


"Hello Tita Heart, Good Evening po." I was already near the exit of the department store when I saw the girls' dresses on display. Above the rack was a cardboard that says 20% discount.  

"Nasa sale po kasi ako. Naisip kong bilhan na ng pamasko sina Vito at Crissa." Tita Heart chuckled. After all, her grandchildren are my niece and nephew. My call must have been unexpected since I dialed her number just to ask what the kids would like to receive as Christmas gifts and it's just September.

"Sandali teka ha..." I heard my aunt calling her daughter-in-law. She was not around.

"Ikaw na ang bahala. Alam ko namang magaling ka diyan eh."

"Sigurado kayo, wala kayong ipapabili sa akin para sa kanila?" I picked up a spaghetti strap top with Dora the Explorer print. It comes with an orange leggings. The price is 320 pesos. 

Not bad for a pair. I would have bought the dress if they have a smaller size.

"Ilang taon na nga po ulit si Crissa?"

"2 years old pero mataba." Tita Heart paused for a bit. I knew she was smiling. "Malaki ang puwet."

"Ok po," I grinned while trying to picture my niece. It's been almost a year since I last saw her. "Si Vito po?" 

"Mag wa-one year old ngayong November." 

Yes, I remember. My cousin's boy was born a week after Baby Lenin.

"Sige po Tita Heart, yun lang. Usap na lang ulit tayo kapag naligaw ako diyan." I immediately dropped the call. Certain that I won't be allowed to take a leave on All Saints Day to visit my dad, the next time I would see my aunt is probably on December.

So I returned to the Manila Book Fair to check the books I was planning to buy last Wednesday. But unlike most people who go there to acquire tomes for their personal indulgence, mine were already earmarked for loved ones.

The money I had set aside for splurging was well spent. I bought a bunch of inspirational books from OMF Literature, which at that time was having a Worship service while people flock their exhibit. I was also able to speak to some Buddhist volunteers who promised to keep in touch in case I decide to join their meditation classes.

At Anvil, Ambeth Ocampo signed a book I was planning to give to my cousin. Meanwhile I found the perfect young adult novel for my goddaughter. (who I have not spoken for ages, and whose ties that bind us together are the yearly tribute of books I give during the holidays)

The loot I was able to bring home was only a fraction of what appears on my Christmas list this year. And for all it's worth, I was completely satisfied with the booty. However, I also learned that the mall across the convention center was having a sale. Some items were on 50% discount and the drop in prices was enough to weaken my resolve to avoid the mall at all cost.

My plan was to buy three pairs of socks and then leave the department store as fast as I could.

But when I spotted a Bossini shirt at half its original price. My eyes suddenly gleamed. At the same time, I remembered the unused credit card still snugged in my wallet. 

You know, in case of emergencies.  

The story ends with me spending the next hour and a half holding back the temptation to grab everything at whim.  

I went home with another loot bag, this time, owing the bank a couple of grands and a realization that the book convention was just a front. It was the last quarter sale that swept me off my feet. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Manila International Book Fair

Let me put a ring around this blog entry. Books love me, but I don't love books. I get lazy reading printed literature, and the disability shows every time I gasp for words when it's time to pen my own sentences.  

My house might be mistaken for a library, no thanks to a beautiful mother who is a bibliophile in denial. Books covering varied topics about the social sciences swamp every nook and cranny of the master's bedroom. Even the living room is not spared. Shelves serve as dividers between the kitchen and the sala.    

When I was a kid, I remember my dad bringing home two carts of paperback from a book foundation. I don't know his reasons for collecting such volume of reading materials but I know, my parents shared in the bounty. The books went to different shelves. Some, even found their way to my man-sized bookcase many years later.   

September is the time of the year when book publishers and retailers gather for a once in a year event. Known to book lovers and bibliophiles as the Manila International Book Fair, to be there at the convention is like stepping foot in heaven. That is, if you are a person who sees books as food.

This year's Manila Book Fair opened last Wednesday. I was lucky to learn - from some blogs - the schedule since the opening day falls on my rest day. Earlier this week, my mom had asked me to free up my day off. She wanted to go to GSIS headquarters to submit some papers for her retirement.

The 32nd Manila International Book Fair 2011

"Ma, punta tayo sa international book fair sa MOA." My mom's eyes gleamed. "Ngayon ang opening nila." 

"Ay sige sige!" We were inside the car on our way to Roxas Boulevard when I suggested our activity.   

It took us less than an hour to submit her papers at the government office. Since I always make it a point to lead the way when my mom and I go on a date, I decided for us to drop by the church and attend the novena before crossing the street and into the SMX Convention Center.

I know the book fair is a favorite haunt for book bargain shoppers. But what I didn't know is that there's a 20 pesos entrance fee before you can proceed to the exhibit halls.This information might have been denied to us because in the previous years we went there, we showed up on the last day of the book fair.   

I left my mom to rummage spiritual books at Saint Paul's while I pirouetted my way to Adarna to shop for these:

Adarna House

My Christmas List for this year has been updated the day before I set forth for the book fair. Five more children were added to the list.

As my mom hoarded Sociology books at Goodwill Bookstore, (She bought the thick tomes for P100 pesos each)  I did my rounds and paid tributes to the publishing houses of my home universities.

University of the Philippines Press

University of Santo Tomas Publishing House

Anvil has some of the best Filipino writers in their roster. I consider them my favorite publishing house. 

Anvil Publishing House

Unfortunately, the only title I was able to buy was a book about the Blessed Virgin. I'm thinking if it would be my birthday gift to my mom, or part of my Christmas present.

The Anvil Collection

Rex Bookstore was already a household name even when I was still in elementary. Their obscure (decrypt) main branch is located somewhere along the University Belt. For a long time, I thought the book publisher had already disappeared. At the book fair, they proved themselves to be the king.

Rex Publishing

They even have iPads for the guests to use.   

Rex Interactive

Rizaliana books from the National Historical Institute.

National Historical Institute 

They say no single religion holds sway over humanity. Absolute truth touches different lives and enlightens many consciousness. For this reason, the school of Theosophy exist.

Assorted Books from the Theosophical Society of the Philippines

We stayed there long enough to see my mom's cash disappear from her wallet. At which time, the book fair was also about to close. As we exit the exhibit hall, my mom and I learned that both us went there unready; our shopping list unwritten. I tried to compensate by snooping around my loved ones' Facebook accounts when I was at Rex Bookstore, but time was running out.

I might have to return sometime to resume my shopping.

The Manila International Book Fair runs until Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 8 pm. Receiving less publicity than it did the previous years, I'm not sure if the place would be packed as it did the last time.

It would have been fabulous to see Milflores and Visprint to join the exhibit, but their absence leaves a dark hole for those who are into contemporary Philippine literature. Apparently, they prefer to go their separate ways or they can't drop the prices of their books like the other publishers did for this event.

The books and I shall pursue this uneasy peace. Meanwhile, under the banner of progress, I shall continue indulging my mom's eternal love for books and this hidden longing to give the gift of literature at the time of sacred giving. Christmas is around the corner. For this reason, I opened the season - like I always did in my previous lifetimes - by making this trip to the convention.


Thursday, September 15, 2011


Hindi na bale ang pansariling pakiramdam ng pangungulila.

J-Bear and Mugenbear

Ang mahalaga, sa tuwing nakikita ko silang kapiling mo, tiwala akong hinding hindi ka nag-iisa.

Happy Monthsary Baabaa.  Mahal na mahal kita.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Ang fearless forecast ni Mugen last Saturday sa inuman ng mga Engkantos ay magiging kulelat ang pambato ng Philippines sa Miss Universe Beauty Pageant. So what kung nasa Top 15 siya, Thank You Girl pa rin ang award ng ating kandidata.

Unlike Miss Venus Raj na inapi muna at nilapastangan ng Binibining Pilipinas Charities bago pinadala sa pageant, Shamcey Supsup has basically no story to tell. Walang drama or struggle na todo relate ang lahat kaya naman ang buong sangkabadingan ay lukewarm ang reception sa kanya.

The Missosologists are betting for Miss Ukraine, while the Las Tres Estrellas were for Miss Greece. I for one had already pinned my hopes with Miss USA because I found her elegant and beautiful. Ang mga Engkantos naman ay walang say sa kung sino ang dapat patungan ng crown, except that they are planning to copy that YouTube Video na sumikat last year.  

Tatapatan daw nina Pilyo, Papa Tagay, Rocco Sison at ni Fox yung mga tili at tambling with matching tears of joy nung mga bading.
Like I always did in the past, I would just sit in a corner and let the mainstream gays revel at the beauty pageant. Sino ba naman ako, hindi ko nga alam kung sino yung contestant natin sa Miss Universe before Venus Raj. Besides, with the odds stacked against us, I'd rather spend my time poking fun at the yearly habits of gay people during this time of the year.

Konting konti na lang, maari na magdeclare ng national holiday ang gobyerno tuwing sasapit ang coronation night. Sa dami ba naman ng nagle-leave of absence sa tuwing oras na ng telecast, better to let everyone enjoy the show kesa naman patagong nagsisipaglaho ang mga bakla. At this rate, it's not impossible to think na a third ng male population ng bansa ay maging swingers by 2015. Even the President of the Republic might be a closetta by 2020.

When I was in high school, nobody bothered to watch beauty pageants. Men would say they're just looking forward to the swimsuit competition, while the ladies, hindi ko actually alam ang reason nila for watching. Kids like us watched the show because it was an international competition. Kailangan daw "suportahan" ang pambato ng bansa.  Besides, enjoy naman talaga yung parade of colors diba?

Who would have thought those kids would grow up to become beauconeras one day.

More than the fun and the festivities, the growing tradition of beauty pageant watching tells something about us. Before, it was the effeminates and the parloristas who would rally behind the candidates. Kiburlah na ang sasabihin ng iba, basta dapat ang Pilipinas ay well-represent.

But now, things are starting to change.

I asked a gay colleague earlier kung ready na siya for Miss Universe. Siyempre ang sabi niya oo. We talked about Miss Supsup pati na rin yung signature walk niya nung pre-pageant. Apparently, he doesn't know about the walk. So ako naman na well-informed ang nagbigay ng link. To be honest, it was the Tsunami Walk that caught my attention. It was sweeping, revolutionary, at shit, napako ang tingin ko sa liyad at giling ng balakang ni Shamcey.

So there, life as we know it will grind to a halt at 9 am. And for the first time in recent memory, I have decided to throw my support and be one with my brothers and sisters in watching this yearly event. If ever Shamcey wins the crown, tatalbugan ko ang mga engkanto at pag-aaralan ko talaga yang Tsunami Walk na yan. If not, dating gawi ulit. Babalik ako sa pagka-straight, magbubuhat ng bakal sa gym at tatantanan na ang pagga-gay speak sa Twitter. 

But yes, you heard it right. I will be tuning in to Miss Universe tomorrow morning.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


On this very day ten years ago, I became witness to one of the world's greatest tragedies. The economic heart of America was struck, not by a lighting but with a poisonous arrow. It was this act of carnage that would eventually take the United States to its place today.

It was a Tuesday evening. I just got home after a long day of juggling school activities and running my dad's publishing company at same time. I could not recall where my dad went that week, but after my successful 2-week management duties in his company that summer, he often asks me to look after its day to day operations when he flies out of the country.

I was tuned in to the Kapuso Network while waiting for the late night news. Since school took up most of my time, my responsibilities to the publishing house was limited to writing my dad's column. Prepping myself up before I choose the subject to write for the tabloid's next day publication, a news ticker suddenly appeared below the TV screen. It said the World Trade Center was burning after a second passenger plane hit the South Tower. 

Urgency called that I switch immediately to CNN to find out what was taking place in New York. I learned that two planes had collided with the office towers in an apparent terrorist attack. The events happened so quickly, there were unconfirmed reports that a third plane hit the Pentagon and a fourth one crashed somewhere in Philadelphia.  

When one of the towers collapsed, you could see the incredulous look on the faces of the news anchors. Indeed, in tragedies of this magnitude, one can never hide the human trappings of even the most stoic people. Being a Journalism student at that time, the September 11 attacks and its aftermath gave a glimpse of what the profession is all about. From my dad, I've learned to speculate where the events would lead to, and from CNN, the truth that news never sleeps.

I was able to finish my dad's column before midnight. On the other side of the world meanwhile, the senseless plane attacks would reveal that it was a well-planned terrorist attack. In the months and years to follow, we would become witness to a much bigger tragedy - the great American disillusion.

The column I have written that night of the attack (Manila Time) is still with me. Apparently, the much younger Mugen still had to learn to get his facts straight before publishing an article that will be read by the masses. While much of the details there swung far from the truth, I ended the article with a grave warning:


"...Ang mga pangitaing ito ay nakakapag-paalala sa mga unang sandali ng World War 2, nang ang bansang Hapon ay biglang binomba ang Pearl Harbor. 

Sa oras na malaman ng Estados Unidos at mga kaalyado nito na isang bansa ang nasa likod ng kawalanghiyaang ito, ika nga ni Uncle Joe:  “No Mercy,” giyera at Nuclear Bomb ang maaring abutin nila. 

Para sa atin at sa iba pang tao sa mundo, maaring ito ang magsimula sa muling digmaang pandaigdig.  Ito ang maaring magdulot sa ating tuluyang pagkawala sa balat ng lupa. Ngunit higit sa lahat, di-mabibilang na inosenteng tao ang mamamatay sakaling mangyari ito.  Ang may kagagawan ng trahedyang ito ay masahol pa sa Abu Sayaf.  Ang mga terroristang ito na marahil ang sugo ni Satanas upang maghasik ng lagim sa mundo. 

Maraming inosenteng tao ang namatay sa dalawang magkahiwalay na pag-atakeng ito. Marahil marami pa ang madadamay sa mga susunod ng mga araw.  Marahil ito rin mismo ang maging mitsa ng isang madugong digmaan.  Kung hindi natin pag-iisipan at damdamin lang ang ating susundin, pagkawala ng mga tao sa mundo ang maaring kahantungan nito. 

Ako ay nagkokondena, nakikiramay at nagbababala mga tol 

Ito’y isang seryosong usapan."  

Sa Bisperas ng Di-Nalalayong Digmaan
September 12, 2001

History tells that I was right, somehow. But now that a decade has passed and we remember the day of the fallen, I would like to ask, were the actions taken by the United States really gave justice to those who have died. Or did the most powerful nation on Earth fought two costly wars in vain?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Job Ad

PPOC is a start-up company in Makati. Our culture is to hire young, smart, and hard working people to join our team. Because we are a startup you have the potential to join a fast growing group of people and move into leadership roles quickly. Literally, the new employees of today are the managers of tomorrow.

Job Description:

We are looking for experienced link builders to comment on Blogs, linking back to a wide range of URLs and anchor text. Instructions for finding appropriate blogs will be provided, as well as a proprietary tool that we have created to record links for each website. We need someone to simply leave comments with a link, and record the links in our internal, web based tool...

Isang basa lang, mukhang mapapa-submit ako ng resume dahil pasok sa qualifications nila ang credentials ko. The job ad was nicely written and all the necessary details were included. Halatang professional ang nag-compose ng advertisement. Dedma na sa salary, it's the promise of career growth that attracts me to the start-up company. 

Ganitong-ganito rin ang job advertisement ng company ko noon. Nabasa ko yun sa Philippine Daily Inquirer Sunday Edition. Sabi sa ad, stress-free at laid back ang environment. We can even go to work even in our house clothes.

Six years later, a lot of things have changed. Hindi man siya ganun ka-stress free gaya ng dati, but people who have moved elsewhere would still say na na-miss nila magtrabaho dito. Especially nung time na hindi pa ganun ka-strict ang hierarchy.

A few months ago, I could have sent my resume, including a well-thought cover letter. Lahat siguro ng ka-eklatan na ma-iisip ko ay ilalagay ko sa application letter kasama na ang first name ng job poster (huwag ka, talagang sinusuyod ko sa Internet ang e-mail makuha lang ang first name ng HR. Lolz.) The string of recent failures didn't damp my spirit. Mas palaban pa nga ako eh. Pero after all this time looking for employment elsewhere, some realities have emerged. It made me rethink about my career options and act like I am invested in the company.

"Baka naman hindi ka na bumalik pagkatapos nito." Yun ang hirit ng boss ko a few days before the supposed effectivity date ng resignation ko. Nag leave of absence kasi ako para samahan si JC manood ng Zombadings sa UP Theatre.

"Sir naman, hindi naman ako ganun no?" Pero in fairness, may very, very slight tendency rin akong kumain ng words. 

"Pasensya na, naprapraning lang." Sa totoo, hindi ko alam kung bakit ganoon ang reaction ng boss ko. Why am I so important when I'm not even part of the production team. Kung tutuusin naman eh parang Appendix lang ang role ko sa office. Tingin ko, kaya namang gawin ng iba ang mga tasks na naka-assign sa akin.

At this point, I'm not really concerned of losing my job. Sa totoo, mas excited ako sa prospects ni Bentusi kasi I think her company is getting bigger. Parang sarap-sarapan rin ang feeling ng work-at-home lalo pa't Eastern Atlantic Time ang body clock ko. At the same time, Limbo naman ang tingin ko sa day job. Pumpasok lang ako para magpalaki ng bayag, kung hindi man rumaket...

But wait, hindi yun ang talagang point ng entry ko.

While reading the job ad at Pinoyexchange, isa lang ang naglalaro sa isip ko. The boss wouldn't know, so as the other major players at work. But in my wildest dreams, I wish it was me posting that job ad, for a new account na ako mismo ang naghanap abroad, nag-negotiate, at nag-pasok sa company.   

When that happens, I can finally take-off with flying colors and look for another career - perhaps a teacher or an NGO worker kasi alam ko, naka-full circle na ako. 

Instruction manual will be provided with instructions how to use our Link Recording tool, as well as detailed specifics of the URL's, Anchor Text, and Descriptions to be used within the comments.

The ideal candidate will work quickly and efficiently, with a strong attention to detail. Previous experience building links is preferred. 

Skills Required:
• Basic Internet Knowledge including performing Google searches and finding information online
• Basic Computer Skills
• Knowledge of basic SEO concepts
• Directory Link building experience
• Strong written and verbal communication skills in English
• Ability to learn new skills quickly and adapt to changes in processes
• Independently identify issues and work through the problems to complete tasks
• Attention to detail and deadlines

Excellent pay, dayshift work, great chance to rapidly advance.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I still recall how the old men in our neighbourhood would spend the entire day preparing this delicacy for their pulutan in the evening:

First order of business is to find a suitable canine they could slaughter. It doesn't matter if its the neighbor's dog, (the one who usually barks at strangers, or snaps at kids playing in our narrow street) as long as its ex-owner gets invited to the feast.

The fun part (at the time) is when the butcher stabs the hapless dog with a knife on the throat. Seldom was I able to see the unceremonial blood-letting, but the other kids say the dog wiggled and sprayed urine as it dies in front of the spectators. The butcher then leaves the carcass in peace as he prepares the blow torch to be used to skin the animal.   

Animal hair never goes well with any dish, and before the flesh could be cut into small pieces, the fur must be eliminated first. For more than an hour, the dog - now in a spit gets a flame bath with a blow torch. The hair falls off leaving the outer skin burnt and crisp with the smell of char-boiled meat wafting in the air. 

At this step in the preparation, most kids give up in watching the spectacle to resume their other juvenile pursuits. Some including me, would still drop by once in a while to see how the toasting is being done. 

When all the hairs have finally fallen, the partially burnt dog is then carried over to the makeshift table. The butcher, now armed with a glistening machete cuts the animal just below the gut. The innards are taken out - the intestines and body cavity hosed down, including the kidneys and the liver. These organs are then chopped into small pieces to be stir fried and served as appetizers.

The gall bladder is excised because the men claim it tastes bitter. The putrified smell of blood and digestive juices sloshing from the table repulses everyone except for the butchers who are tasked to prepare the dog. To bear with the stench, a bottle of gin makes rounds among the men. The stoves are then readied for the entrées.

It's almost evening and the dog, which began as a breathing, barking animal has now been reduced to slabs of meat. The revellers, some who have come elsewhere gather in another table. Stories fly while drinks overflow. The dishes laid out on the table include azucena in tomato-based stew and grilled dog meat. Bopis and adobong aso also appear in the buffet table.


Dogs in those days were eaten because it was a delicacy. We were told that dog meat was an aphrodisiac and it makes your body strong. For us kids, to taste even just a morsel of the meat was a rite of passage. Our eagerness however came with a forewarning: Local beliefs tell that dogs know when a person ate their kind.

The canine-eating days have come to pass, and the practice has become a kind of taboo especially in the cities. Animal rights activists have succeeded in changing everyone's perception. After all, nobody in his right state of mind would eat man's "best friend?"

While there are those who think that we shouldn't forbid the ethnic groups in Benguet to follow their tradition. For the rest of us, modern customs have finally prevailed.

All it took was a single generation for beliefs to change.

MANILA, Philippines – Around 60 slaughtered dogs intended for meat trading were seized by authorities in Pugo, La Union on Monday.

Pugo PNP said suspect Anson Cayat, who was driving the van carrying the dogs, was arrested at a checkpoint around 5:30 am.


Monday, September 5, 2011


Just this once, I will showcase JC's photo, a hobby he is slowly nurturing after he bought a Panasonic Lumix GF2 camera in Canada. I lend my space and eventually my time. For being a lover of nature photography, I hope that my partner incubate his talent and make use of his camera to hatch his artistry.

Bliss by the Notthewimpykid

Saturday, September 3, 2011


To become a foodie, one must have a passion for anything that is edible. A foodie must be prepared to appease his gustatory needs, and journey the ends of the city for culinary delights never sold anywhere.

These are qualities I hardly possess. Given my intense discipline to assert form into my sagging frame, eating to my heart's content was a pursuit I followed only at home. Starving myself, on the other hand, has always been my religion.

My body is already used to the punishment.

But something has changed before the past year was over. Baabaa came and his taste buds are eager to venture into places where food is plenty. Eager to share treasured moments with my partner, we went out, dined in, checked out restaurants featured in the blogs and sampled gourmet food whenever our budget would allow us.

Food has become our shared delight.

Banchetto was already a household name when Baabaa and I decided to leave the confines of Makati to the uncharted realms of Ortigas. It was past midnight, I recall, and the entire stretch of Emerald Avenue was packed with hungry mouths rushing to their "lunch breaks" from the call centers dotting the smoky, slobbery strip.

It didn't take long for us to modify the linings of our stomachs. There's a wide selection of dishes being offered at the stalls. There were pastas in different shapes and servings. Rice meals with fancy viands were laid out on the tables, and rich cakes and pastries as far as the eye could see sweeten the greasy atmosphere with their appetizing colors.

Baabaa and I helped ourselves engorging a large burger with patties as big as a small plate. To damp the lingering beefy aftertaste in his mouth with anything sweet, my partner bought a mango crepe which he shared with me while taking a stroll around Ortigas.

Meanwhile, the crowd at Emerald Avenue began to thin as stuffed patrons quietly lumbered towards their workstations.

Uno Burgers

Looking back, the Banchetto experience was regarded with less weight than the other dinner dates I had with my partner. The thought may have stemmed from the fact that it was a rushed trip, or the Al Fresco dining at the sidewalk was less romantic than sitting on a chair and staring at each other while waiting for your meal to arrive. It is only now, after overhearing the word Banchetto from a gym mate did the memory stream again.

Banchetto has a different feel from the more formal and ordinary eat outs we had. As the thought begins to return, I remember munching my burger while Baabaa happily tried to pass as a conyo who bragged in front of others about his BMW parked at the bend. I recall sharing my thoughts about the other food bloggers, wondering if they were in the vicinity that Friday evening. But most of all, Banchetto is cherished not for the sensual, diabetic, and cholesterol-laden food it offers, but for the thought of inviting my partner out and telling him it was my treat. The previous ones were all Dutch.

It was the first time he allowed me to foot his bill.

Pops by Summer

Heeding to the pangs of hunger, I decided to return and reclaim a memory I thought I had lost. The Banchetto we once knew had moved elsewhere. Now tucked in an obscure parking lot right next to a stadium, whose infamy is tied with the scored of starving masses trampled in a stampede, its faded glory is imprinted on the faces of those who stayed behind.

The kiosks, the grills and the ready to eat meals remain, and so are the handful of pilgrims eager to experience the tastes of the food market. Gone are the foodies, with their sophisticated DLSRs in tow. It was them who raved about the midnight feasts in Ortigas, but now they are nowhere to be found. The pervading smell of food being grilled, fried, or sometimes being baked is still there, but the spirit, which makes the Banchetto stand out has long disappeared.  

After taking some snapshots, and savor for the last time the tastes and flavors of Banchetto, a special longganisa empanada and a dice of carrot cake tried to fill my cravings. Of all the mouth-watering offerings laid on the table, I picked something with a regional flavor only to learn halfway through that the pastry has no taste.  

Some things would never be the same.

Losing my appetite, I left the parking lot and went home with a tummy still empty.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Ebb And Flow

Our total production for August has dipped by 17 points. The data I collected several days ago was then compared from the outputs we had in the previous months. Naturally, the boss was upset. But knowing that we are at the mercy of our clients, the least thing we could do is hope that September's report wouldn't be as terrible as today.

The downward spiral has never happened since the company had to let go half of its workforce. The scars of retrenchment are still visible as some of those who were forced to leave are still searching for work. While the slide wouldn't lead to the immediate closure of the company, the signs are pointing towards the wrong direction. Much as I would like to see our situation favorably, we are being dragged by forces beyond our reckoning. Our business model is six years old. Technology has grown leaps and bounds since then.

Our market is already saturated.

Business instincts tell us to diversify, but the snail pace progress keeps us dependent on our current line of service. An attempt was made to follow Bentusi's footsteps, but it was a disastrous venture. Not only did it cement my allegiance to the raketship, a  fallout ensued between me and the project handler.

Across the floor, prospects are bright for our call center department. A new client signed the contract a few weeks ago. And while the account proves more challenging than the present complement, the booming contact center wing remains the silver lining to the maelstrom we found ourselves in.    

The emissaries have all returned empty handed. Despite my bold move to search for greener pastures, I went back to where I started. Sometimes I'd like to reflect on the error of my ways. Was I too all-knowing during the interview? Did I appear too cocky for the would-be employer? Was it because I speak my mind too much, or perhaps I presented myself more of a co-equal than a subordinate.

Methods must be pondered.

What I am certain is that in all those interviews, hidden preconditions have already been set. For it wouldn't be easy letting go knowing my loyalties to the company remain strong. And once an opportunity comes, I'd be at pains to leave my team behind. More than a reminder of what life is beyond the rose-colored glass, they are my family. As some of you knows, my place of work isn't your kind of paradise - especially my paycheck - but for all its faults and disappointments, the company remains my home.

Whatever state we are going through strengthens my resolve to postpone my off-world ventures. The dip has allowed me to see my holdings with a pair of new spectacles. This urgency, while still in an abstract form is slowly taking shape. A vision. Maybe this is how things are meant to be. After all these years of being a passive worker, perhaps it is time I should take an active role in attracting business to the company.

If only I know where to start.

At a hindsight, maybe there is a deeper reason why I cannot leave. Not for learning new things from someone whom I used to look up to or a kick in compensation, which some people say is too low for my caliber. Perhaps I am bound to accomplish bigger things, neither the boss or I have foreseen some years back. I may not be equipped with the skills yet, or the leads and means to find suitable clients; I may not have the authority yet to represent the business or even the blessings of doing explorations that would lead us to greater heights.

But like the rise and fall of the sea level, the ocean remains in constant motion. To lap in the shore now while harnessing the tides will reward me of a dream fulfilled; slip and I might find myself forever lost in the open waters.