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Let’s hear it from the other side. Here’s a letter from a former masseur, who generously shares his story. Thanks, Nel.

* * *

Dear Migs,

I have been an avid reader of your blog site for almost a year now. My friend shared me your site- maybe in his desire to facilitate answers to my redundant questions about manila masseurs faster than he really could. In fact, I would not allow a day to pass without visiting your wellness link to update my list of the latest scoops and hot masseurs that should soon be tucked into my suitcase before my departure to manila for me and fellow PLU’s annual Christmas vacation.

I am Nel, a closeted gay in my late forties, an accountant by profession who acquired a citizenship here in USA after I was petitioned by my employer/lover. I have too many complexities in my personality that had been brought about by the numerous hazy chapters of my gay life. I’d like to share some of my own experience, just to find release after I made some disclosures about my murky past as reaction to a comment posted by one of your readers (masseurs, masseurs post. comments #’s 1359, 1361 and 1366.) I’d like to see it posted as a contribution in your site, so that others may be inspired and believe there is life after the massage bed or for whatever purpose it could serve to the readers.


* * *

It’s nearly been three decades now that I have done everything possible to bury an old memory of a dark past- all available evidences had been burned or stashed away so that I can go ahead and forget this segment of my life.

While I was pursuing my college I work part time as a massage attendant in DATU and NY5 in the early ’80s. I belonged to the league of Larry, Veda & Romy who during the establishment’s heydays were considered the best and most requested among the crop of masseurs in town.

My love affair with rubbing other people’s back was prompted due to my dire need for great financial support in acquiring a diploma in college. With a hope to end up as a career pigeon and free my family out of poverty, I accepted an invitation of a long lost cousin, Romy, who worked as a masseur in Datu spa. I can still vividly remember my first day. It was an emotional rollercoaster ride having survived three servings of carnal lust in-house and one outcall that really drawn me into deep slumber after my last salvo of sexual arousal and satisfaction. As a greenhorn, I was thrown into this den of patrons who were totally mindless of my ignorance to the basic deliverables of my job; I was tuning my body into a robotic capsule, withstanding undesirable odor and enduring sound bytes that were then erratic to my ears. I allowed myself to be touched, I felt and I liked it… I learned to bring resources to myself, slowly building an audience whom I can make laugh then moan… and they craved for more- my company, my body, for all its worth.

Those days introduced me to a new world of human behavior, through the people I met and served. Except for a few, the characters were mostly older and were still searching like me- whose backgrounds run to the whole range of social status, nationality, upbringing and education. By doing outcalls, I encountered different lifestyles and by dating them, I learned to understand the intellectuals, the mediocre and the talentless hordes; I saw the super powerful, the uncertain, and like me, the downright petrified. We had one thing in common: they too were sensorial-visceral. They need to see and touch things for them to experience satisfaction. Even as a masseur in a quasi-legitimate venue like DATU and NY5, I had neither encountered abusive, demanding nor uncouth behavior among the many clients I had served. Massage aficionados demanded simpler whims then and they all have one objective, one dream: to be touched, be felt.

Before I can cause a minute to hold another year in the spa, I found myself employed as an accounting clerk for a legislator- a regular client who supported me in pursing the remaining years of my education. Although I was under his employed, he permitted me to continue moonlighting as a masseur to my regular well paying guests on my spare time. With patience and determination I finished my degree in college, passed the board exams and remained loyal to the last year of this legislator’s government service. Apparently, the election prevented him another term which meant, I too lost a job.

At that moment, I was like a bat out of hell; I took the opportunity of a long time invitation to work for another client who mans a large forwarding company based in Guam. My association with Glenn (not his real name) started four years back when he managed Makati office. During that time, we dated a lot, thrived on drives to Matabungkay, crazy trips to Puerto Galera, and great meals in fine restaurants. I worked as a liaison officer for Glenn in Guam and upon his retirement from that company in 1994, we moved here in NYC, where we operated a Filipino eatery in Port Authority.

In 1998, he succumbed to a severe case of heart attack. Glenn was the only son of a widowed mother, and upon his death I took the burden of caring for his mom. At the time of her demise in 2006, their small estate was transferred to me upon the will of Glenn.

Looking back, as a young person many years ago, I used to think of aging as maturing intellectually. In theory, people grow old. I knew that. But my appreciation of it was conceptual. In other words, it was something that happened only to straight people. It was almost impossible for me- an impetuous, virile, young gay-boy to imagine that the day would come when I, too would grow older and procure the same electrifying benefits I rendered when I was younger…

It was hard to imagine aging while my body was supple and strong and my shoulder length hair was swaying with the wind. As a young person then, I could survive as many orgasmic nights as I wanted and just collapsed into sleep when I needed to. My body was programmed to excite and release endorphins.

And with this dilemma, ironic as it seems, is the gift that comes with aging. Advancing years and the body pains it brings have made me more awake and craving to be touched, rubbed and kneaded. While I may feel the limitations aging has imposed on this body, it has also given me the direction to look for someone who can warm my back- after all, what seems delectable in my twenties may no longer be as appetizing in my forthcoming fifties.

I have tried to recall those times in my life where I stood on the edge of a massage bed. Without meaning to, it has turned out that I have meandered overly long through memories of my youth and my beginnings as a lowly masahista, stories surely of little interests to others. But maybe, by selfishly writing this I have finally exorcised my irretrievable past, not to cast it off but to fondly fold it away among my other treasures, at last free of restlessness, discontent, and longing. And it is highly probable that no matter how much I try to hold them down, the memories will insist on resurfacing in my mind, persistent swimming up through the layers of time.

Comments (43)

  1. NOEJER said on 06-08-2012

    Great story indeed. They are worthy to recall with someone who will listen and share his own side of story over a cup of coffee or along the shore leaning in a sand on summertime.

  2. jessie james conbvento said on 20-11-2011

    Ganda ng story month kuya nel nakarelate po ako duriong wen am studying…but am not a masseur I do other things also to support my study but I don’t have any regret bowt dat things becoz its worth it I finish my study as a bs psychology becoz of the help of my dark past… I like your story coz its help me become stronger wisely everyday in my life god bless po…

  3. jm said on 15-02-2011

    a very candid story!…very insightful…mejo nakakaiyak yung mga last part, parang your story is like staring at a future which is certain and definite…

    im lucky at a young age to know things people at your age experience, i have more time to mend my ways and to love more, laugh & smile often, & do things to live life to the fullest,

    i should say thank you for sharing your life…by “selfishly” telling your story you have influenced (perhaps not only me) one person to realize how short life is to be wasted on matters that really do not matter…

    good luck & wish you happiness “,)

  4. 6772 said on 29-09-2010

    The road you traveled is the road you have chosen. At a young age you were not given good choices in life because of your circumstances. No one can say that the means to attaining your stature now is not worth emulating but a choice was made between good and not so good. Guilt is a negative force but no matter how we deny the reality it will never liberate us from it. It will be a part of who we are. But life will go on. Straight or not we have shares of dark pasts. We can only have a meaningful life if we share some of our blessings to people who needs it most, to those who have circumstance as you were still a young boy so that they will not succumbed to the same path you have traveled. But indeed there is a great lesson I learned from you to accept the things that has happened and look forward to what life brings. Nice story.

  5. Chappy said on 19-07-2010

    To Nel….
    Our lives are built with building blocks of experiences and the emotional as well as physical attributes of those experiences are the cementing medium that binds these blocks together. The reason why you have survived is not because of those good blocks but because of the foundation of rock solid blocks of experiences that have taught you all the best lessons and experiences in your life, and this includes your being a masahista in the past. As we grow old we look back at those memories that brought happiness to us and we tend to forget those ‘unpleasant things’ that made our past undesirable. Be proud of your being a masahista because this has made you a strong survivor. The reason why you seem to be a “prisoner ” of the past is because you continuously deny it. Now that you have expressed it in this blog, you feel some good relief isn’t? Why? Because it is only now that you brought it to the open and felt proud about it! I hope next time you look back in life, always remember that your being masahista has made you strong worthy human being! God bless Glen.

  6. charlie said on 28-11-2009

    Growing old is mandatory but growing up is completely optional. Life is the predicament of existence and what happens in between our youth and the end of the road is what really matters. I’m moved by his story and made me crave to have someone I could call mine.

  7. -crave- said on 23-11-2009

    tnx sa story kuya nel..nag isip tuloy ako ngaun kung tuloy ko pa toh..trainee pa lang naman ako..baka pde pa ko mag back out…meron pala gantong blogsite,,na click ko lang sa google search ng search results ng mga massuers gaya natin..

  8. mickeyscloset said on 22-11-2009

    so touching. i love it.
    btw, idol kita kasi CPA ka. sana ako rin maging CPA someday. hehe

    Visit my blog:
    anjan ang adventures ko in life. ahaha xD

    more power and more love! =P

  9. FilipinoTopMale said on 22-11-2009

    great story… great person… great life. thank you for sharing your life.

  10. Alex said on 22-11-2009

    most people dread or fear the thought of growing old. yeah, sure, some welcomes the idea and even embraces it. but admit it or not, most do not. and the mga nakaakibat na katotohan ng pagtanda ng isang tao.

    alam na natin yun: humihina na ating katawan, madaling magkasakit, bumabagsak ang ating mga mukha at para sa ilan, ramdam na ramdam na atin ang katotohanan ng kalungkutan.

    to be honest, nel’s story can be anyone’s story. in the end, i feel that what nel wanted to actually tell us is that the pangs of loneliness in his growing old and alone is just as real as the hedonism of his being a former masahista of his youth.

  11. Mike said on 22-11-2009

    i hope to see you when i get to the States next year. it’s just a matter of perspective on what one wants to do with his life. yours is a great story to share. with all the colorful bravado attached to it. 🙂

  12. Rome said on 22-11-2009

    Good to know that another masahista made it through. Ang buhay nga naman hindi mo masasabi ang kahahantungan. Congrats!

  13. Nick said on 21-11-2009

    Nel, I see that you have survived. I salute you and wish you well.

  14. lionking said on 21-11-2009

    Hi Nel,
    Just read this letter of yours.
    I’d refrain from making any comments now lest you’d get provoked again -just kidding, ok?
    Also hoping you were able to read my post dated Nov 16 on that other blog thread.
    It just occured to me as I was reading the reactions here that those three blogs you mentioned above were in fact mine(the earlier ones).
    I’ve only been a visitor to this blog only relatively recently and only by accident and I did find some of the commentaries really interesting as I don’t get to read stuff like this, as in never.
    Talk about arousing one’s curiosity.
    But raining on one’s parade was the last thing on my mind when I forwarded those posts.
    Now, I realise how they could be interpreted subjectively.
    Though, again, that wasn’t my intention.
    And I do hope that you’ve taken it in your heart to make peace with those rather callous remarks from someone who should have taken into account other’s deeply-held feelings in view of these matters.

  15. Quentin X said on 21-11-2009

    I actually do have respect for the people in the spa industry. Most of all I do admire the people who work there because that is what they like to do: to give relief to the weary. It is unfortunate that society have too many self-righteous members who look down on such a trade.

  16. marcuspineda82 said on 21-11-2009

    Hello, like your blog…

    Seeking for your advise my problem is located at below link:

    Might feel na im using your blog, but you may just ignore this one… Thanks! and more power!!

    Kaw migs, if you were given a chance to talk to a 10 years old version of you anong sasabihin mo sa kanya?

  17. nel said on 20-11-2009

    to everyone: thank you for all your comments. postive or otherwise, you have all the liberty to be so.
    you comments warms my cold nights!

    to migs: thanks for the space. I really apreciate the gesture.

    to manuelito: yes, I am lonelry most especially when the dusk creeps and realisation of being alone in the chilly nights of fall. that is the reason why i opted a job in a graveyard shift. the company of my officemates is a great relief from the pangs of my midlife solitude. great to hear about you and if you get to see mike tell him i will pay him a visit for holidays!

    to contagious: oh well, you can put it that way. But you see, times change and there are many factors why everyone of us had reached different results to our goals. Basta for me, I honestly admit i enjoyed every minute of my Datu days and grateful for the perks that came with it. And i hope the pain behind the bitter tears of my solitude now is not a revealation of some guilt, remorse or regret for what have transpired if i considered a different route to reach my fate. Is this some sort of a denial? o takot ako kay Bro?

    to all masseurs in the prime of their youth: I’d like you to grow and live a satisfying life for yourself in the future. I hope my testimony will speak volumes of how graciousness, value of family and the capacity of having a gigantic heart will soar you to your dreams.

    But frankly guys let me tell you, when i look into the mirror now, the person I see is someone I don’t like. He’s older and maybe a bit wiser. But yea, migs, He is still the same person he was…

  18. Mark said on 20-11-2009

    this story frightened me

  19. bluelightninglad said on 20-11-2009

    That story made me hard… in a nice way! Thank you for sharing it Nel.


  20. •alchemist• said on 20-11-2009

    I thank you so much for sharing your wonderful experience Nel. I am always thinking deep on what I will become when i grow old because of this preference on my sexuality. Will I still have a family? Children? A well established life and integrity? But after reading your story, I felt wrong on thinking too hard about this things. At 19, I can say i have established a strong foundation of my personality from countless people I’ve met with the same preference. Sharing of thought and helping each other achieve contentment through acceptance and understanding. As humans we are not complete, there is a factor out there which can make you complete. It can be a person, an experience or a realization that life is a mystery of our own existence. Cherish the memories. It brings smile on our face in a simple way, even on our wrinkled face and grayed hair.

  21. danilova said on 20-11-2009

    ay Dandan,

    na kuryente ka? para ka naman si PGMA maya’t maya na kukuryente! Para ka din si lionking putak hg putak di muna nag iisip bago. at kapag natauhan nag iissue ng damage control. hahaha nakakatawa ang mga vakla, marami din wishy-washy mag isip.
    pero ang pag kakaiba nyo ni lionking madunong cya mag apolise, ikaw walang manners! Hello dandan, di excuse ang oras ng pagpost ng commento mo; ang comprehension level mo ang may kulang!!!!! peace tayo!!!!

  22. Jasper Cortez said on 20-11-2009

    Maganda ngang gawing pelikula and life story ni Nel. Maraming mapupulot na aral ang mga PLUs at ang mga taong pwede nilang makarelasyon.
    Mas maganda pa ang plot nito kaysa sa mga naisapelikula ng mga gay indies. Hindi violence or despair ang ending. If you are a PLU, you’ll feel uplifted pagkatapos ng kwento.

  23. Jasper Cortez said on 20-11-2009

    You are reaping the benefits of your youth because you did not allow the basic value of LOYALTY within yourself to be corrupted by temptations of the flesh and money. Hope you’ll find more contentment in the years ahead. Enjoy your christmas in the Philippnes.

  24. Dandan said on 20-11-2009

    oh okay, sorry i misread everything. nevermind my earlier post. >.<. its early in the morning.haha

  25. Dandan said on 20-11-2009

    I totally dont get him at all, post 1359 and 1366 came from a person named lionking, and post 1361 came from a person named linus, who from the person who posted 1364, said that they are the same person. Up to this point it still makes sense. But when I read again what was written in post 1364, Nel, #1364 poster (who from reading the post above, considering all the info bout DATU, american citizenship, and accountant jobs) is also HIM!

    What?!!?! is he talking to himself?! oh and contradicting and arguing to himself as too! Hahahahaha. funneh.

  26. manuelito said on 19-11-2009

    why do i have this feeling that nel is living a lonely life? feeling ko lang naman yon, sana mali. lahat naman tayo ay dumadaan sa kanya kanyang pag-subok ng buhay e….merong mga bagay na okay lang makalimutan at meron din namang masarap balikbalikan no matter how painful it was, ang mahalaga nakatulong ito para gumanda ang buhay at pananaw natin sa buhay…at first i knew nel as i also came from the same compound, ny5…he’s from the early 80’s while i’m from the late until early 90’s…hi nel…i think i know larry, during our time he’s the most senior and no longer regularly reports….mike and hendrix were our managers then,,,but the spa owner was jun m….before i joined ny5 i used to work as janitor in napocor sa agham road…there, i met a former masseur named mencio who intruduced me, together with my other two goodlooking janitor-friend to mike…i also finished accountancy and in 1997 i was lucky to get employed at _Bank….that bank is no longer existing as it’s been acquired and merged with a bigger bank…ngayon auditor ako ng mas bigger bank….i consider myself now a banker as i already mastered the in and outs of banking business….i also consider my few years stay at ny5 as one of my best experience in life…..i already shared a bit my story in male to male massage, but I was so amused that there’s people like me in this world….(iba nga lang ang status natin, you seemed so successful now in nyc…are you married? …pero Masaya naman ako sa buhay not rich but I have enough to buy what I want…and what I need)…nakakatawa, no one in my family also knew what i’ve gone through, ang akala lang nila, janitor ako na self-supporting student sa manila…
    very thankful din ako at nadiscover ko tong site nato, kasi dito ko naishare ang sarili ko…without the fear of being discriminated and persecuted by the few …thanks mig,,hehehe…(as if kilala kita)..:)
    nel,,,,good luck and more blessing pa sana ang matanggap mo…

  27. contagious said on 19-11-2009

    Hi nel.
    I lift my hat for the unselfish courage of coming out to share some hidden secrets of your life. I can empathize with you on your stand to react against the incongruous display of notoriety by some commenter’s obviously because you had surpassed the intricacies and joys of being one.
    It is clear however, that your defense to these breed manifests your belief not to fish them out of cut- throat trade but use the opportunity to positively jumpstart a network of future connections. Maybe true, if they are as witty as you had been. But the bad news amigo is: only a minute number of masseurs conform to that mindset and still the bigger portion of them is leaning to favor financial enumerations of the moment than forming a conducive and meaningful client-masseur relationship. I have seen the good ones’ and just feel sorry for those who allow themselves to be coerced by their pimps to bully their clients for the money.
    I also admire your writing skills and how you so eloquently capsulated your life story as a back rub provider. Maybe you should write a book to chronicle your memoirs and explicitly serialize your escapades with the gamut of characters you encountered. That should be interesting for some good reads….

  28. ares in uae said on 19-11-2009

    napagod ako magread.

    kakainggit at kakainspire, parang mas gusto ko na lang ata mag-aral ng massage tsurvahs.

  29. Odrixer said on 19-11-2009

    ganun talaga, habang nagkakaedad lagi mo maiisip yung mga nakaraan mo. Bigla bigla na lang yun papasok sa isip mo ng hindi mo inaasahan.

  30. markd said on 19-11-2009

    a very inspiring story.. it helps us to understand how difficult the Masseurs are going through and that there could actually be life after MP..

    Nel, you have lived a very colorful life, which I believe could inspire a lot of people.. maganda sigurong gawing indie film.. hehe

  31. weng said on 19-11-2009

    You have live your life Nel, as we grow old, it is always better to relive the yesteryears. and we all pass through this once.

    I was inspired by your story.

  32. tnoi said on 19-11-2009

    makulay ang storya niya.

  33. Ronnie said on 19-11-2009

    I feel like shedding a tear. What a journey you had Nel. Good luck to all your endeavors. Thanks for sharing you story.

  34. butterflyrhai said on 19-11-2009

    i love massages….this is a great entry….everybody has a chance in this so called life….

  35. abc said on 19-11-2009

    very inspiring nel! i wish you all the best 🙂

  36. darc said on 19-11-2009

    it’s like coming full circle. great insights in a well-written piece.

  37. taekopenk said on 19-11-2009

    Penge tissue.. dumugo ilong ko. hehehehehe

  38. v said on 19-11-2009

    gleng gleng ni ateh nel. 🙂 mabugey este mabuhey!

  39. james said on 19-11-2009

    its a lifelong journey… well done more to to come.. thanks for an inspiring story.

  40. ric said on 19-11-2009

    Thanks too Nel. You write well. As we grow older, we will have different perspectives of our life and those of others. I was listening to the song “Ako lang ang nagmahal” sa blog ni Gibbs and it dawned on me that in our relationships in the past, we often asked ouselves the question if we were the only ones who loved.. Lucky are those who have been loved in return. I think, this is our unending quest in life – to get that loved we are thirsting for (and the need to be touched is a part of it) that in a fleeting moment and at the dark corners of the spa, we at least experience the one thing we long for in our life…

  41. beki said on 19-11-2009

    touching. very warm, yet leaving you cold.

  42. Adrammelech said on 19-11-2009

    That’s how all humans are…Unsatisfiable…

    Even in the world of straight individuals, we never stop craving for something better, because it is our nature to find something perfect for our imperfect lives…

    But as we grow older, we soon realize that the only thing that could satisfy us is someone who we could grow old with…

  43. pacer150 said on 19-11-2009

    ..a touching unforgettable experience..good luck nel

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