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Counseling Psychologist Niel Kintanar responds to Ayan, an MGG reader whose letter was first published here. Interesting to read a professional’s take on Ayan’s situation. To refresh, I am republishing Ayan’s letter, followed by Niel’s response. Feel free to share your thoughts as well.

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Hi Migs!
I am fond of reading your blog.
I am Ayan. Straight ako when I was in high school, I’m sure of that. Marami akong naging girlfriend nun. Until one time, I need to have a tutorial in Math because of my low grades. so i went to my tutor’s apartment at around 6pm. he is one of the best math teachers in my school by that time, but he didn’t handle our class. i am well-known in our school, that’s why he offered me his help. Malakas ung ulan nung gabing nun, i didnt bring my umbrella so i got wet.. when i entered his apartment, he told me to take off my clothes baka daw sipunin ako. hinubad ko naman kasi ok lang naman siguro un parehas naman kaming lalake, walang malisya un.

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Hi Migs!
I am Randall (not my real name though), 20 years of age, studying in one of the best universities in the Philippines. I accidentally saw your site when Wanda Ilusyunada was featured on Y Speak. It was 2007 if my memory serves me right. I one by one checked his Pink Mafia (his friends) and there you were. The green-ish and glittering Manila Gay Guide site I saw that time. Hehe. Of all the sites I visited in the list, indeed, you have the most sensible topics and I must say very updated. From then on, there was no day that I will not click a new tab to browse your site every time I am online. I love everything on your site. The best part? The true-to-life letters and the candid comments of the people.

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Hi Migs!

I am fond of reading your blog.
I am Ayan. Straight ako when I was in high school, I’m sure of that. Marami akong naging girlfriend nun. Until one time, I need to have a tutorial in Math because of my low grades. so i went to my tutor’s apartment at around 6pm. he is one of the best math teachers in my school by that time, but he didn’t handle our class. i am well-known in our school, that’s why he offered me his help. Malakas ung ulan nung gabing nun, i didnt bring my umbrella so i got wet.. when i entered his apartment, he told me to take off my clothes baka daw sipunin ako. hinubad ko naman kasi ok lang naman siguro un parehas naman kaming lalake, walang malisya un.

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May isang reader tayo na gustong humingi ng tulong sa mga mambabasa ng MGG. Heto ang liham niya. Kayo na muna ang magbigay ng inyong kuru-kuro, habang si MGG ay naglalakbay pabalik ng Pilipinas (flight in a few hours).

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May problem po ako. Di ako lumalapit sa bading. Kasi baka matuluyan akong maging bading. Kaya sa mga straight guys ako sumasama.Kapag straight guys kasama ko Nakakalimutan ko na yung mga bagay na kabadingan. Kasi naimpluwensyahan na nila ako. Nanliligaw, nagkaka-gf, nagdo-dota, nagba-basketball at nagkukwentohan about sa mga guy things. Sanay na akong nahihipuan, tinitigan at ino-offeran pa ng pera ng mga bading. Pero parati akong umiiwas para maayos ko yung sarili ko .Kahit guapo pa. Ang problema ko ngayon pati mga straight na kabarkada ko nagpaparamdam sa akin. Yung isa dinidikit yung t*t* nya sa likod ko. Sabi ko baka wala lang yun. Yung isa naman kapag kaming dalawa lang kinikindatan ako. Yung isa naman nung nalasing kami, sinama ako sa place nya tapos natulog ng nakahubad! Sa isang kama lang kami.. Sa isip ko normal lang yan. Pero nung marami kaming natulog sa bahay nya, nakadamit naman sya. Bakit ganun. Yung isa naman kapag nagbibiruan kami parati nyang sinasabi “reypin kita dyan eh!” Tapos pinaka masakit pa! eh ang gugwapo pa nila. Anu bang dapat kong gawin! Minsan di ko na ma-control yung feelings ko. Pero pinipilit kong magpakatatag.

– Juan

Hi Migs,

Good day!

I am writing to you para maliwanagan ako sa lahat ng nangyari sakin. My name is Yours (a loan word from my true name so basically not really my real name, just sounded like my nickname. Actually there is a unique spelling of that nickname but to protect my privacy i just loaned the word as well as the spelling), 20 from Cebu. To be honest, I am bothered right now kung sino ba talaga ako lalo pa’t parang nagkagusto na ako sa kapwa ko lalaki na ang pangalan ay Emman (not his true name).

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Hi Migz,

I’ve been planning to write you a letter, matagal na. Pero when I heard Kiko’s podcast, nagdecide na ako, eto na talaga. But how should I start? Sige na nga, the usual.
 
I’m Vincent. I’m 22 years old. As of the moment, hindi ko alam kung ano ako, but I can say na hindi ako straight. I’ve had lot of encounters na. It started when I was a kid. Nakita ko porn stuff ng dad ko. Watched it. And by then, curious na ako makakita ng tite. There even came a point na yung mga kuya ko, kapag tulog, sisilipan ko. Ewan ko. Curious lang ako siguro kung ano ang makikita ko. Tapos yung isa naming kapitbahay, pinahawak pa niya sa akin. I guess, that’s where it all started. Hindi ko na matandaan kung ano ang sunod doon. Ang alam ko lang, dahil sa internet, lalo akong na-introduce sa gay porn. Mga sites na M2M. Tapos chat. Webcam.

Yung first experience ko was inside Alta Cinema. Gusto kong malaman kung ano ba ang meron doon. Nagulat ako. Chupaan here and there. Parang may free access ka to hold anyone’s dick sa loob. Doon ako unang nachupa. Pumayag ako just for the heck of it. After I came, I ran out agad, tago. Baka makita niya mukha ko. Matapang ako sa loob kasi madilim e.

Nasundan ‘yun when a friend of mine, my so-called Kuya, asked me if I wanted to come with him sa dorm niya. Inaantok na kami pareho that time kaya sumama ako. Nung nakahiga na kame, bigla siyang yumakap tapos he confessed that he’s bisexual, tapos hinalikan ako. Hindi na ako nakapalag. Or should I say, hindi na ako pumalag. Again, for experience and curiosity. We did not have anal sex. Puro blowjob, kissing and handjob. Paguwi ko ng bahay nun, I told myself, stop na. Ayaw ko na. Pero pag itetext niya ako na makipagmeet, it’s as if wala akong magawa. Mas natatalo ng libog ang utak ko. I was 18 then. For three years siguro, occasionally, nagkikita kame. This year, sobrang dalang na. I changed my number a couple of times at hindi ko ibinibigay sa kanya, pero pag tinamaan na naman ng kalibugan, tinetext ko siya.

He’s not the only guy na natikman ko at natikman ako. There was this friend na bi. May boyfriend siya before, then they broke up. He didn’t know what I was into. (Syempre, walang nakakaalam. Actually Migs, first time ko ishare ang lahat ng ‘to.) Anyway, after my “Kuya”, this “friend” became my “parausan”. After quite some time, nagka-gf siya, ako din. So stop na kami.

Last December naman, fresh from a break up (with my girlfriend), lumabas kami ng kabarkada ko. Malayo ang bahay ko kaya nakitulog ako sa kanila. Wala akong idea na trip niya ang mga lalaki. Bigla ko na lang naramdaman ang kamay niya gumagapang. Tapos yun na. We talked about it. Wala lang sa kanya. Kahit sa akin naman, wala lang din.

You know what’s funny? For me, pag sa guys, lust lang lahat. Madami na din ako nagiging girlfriends, and sa kanila ko nakikita ang love. Pag libog, sa guys. May ganun kaya talaga? O ako lang? I have no girlfriend since September last year. One year na. And whenever wala akong gf, feeling ko, for everyone’s consumption itong junior ko. Because of G4M, I discovered the secrets of public restrooms. MRT hipuans and stuff like those. Even in resorts. Random encounters.
 
I don’t really know the point of sending you my letter, Migz. Parang wala naman kwenta e. Haha. Pero sige, send ko na din. I just felt na gusto ko i-share sa’yo buhay ko, and maybe I want to hear your views about me.
 
Thanks Migz. Hope to hear from you, soon!
Vincent

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Hello Vincent,

Salamat as sulat mo, at sa pagbabahagi mo ng kuwento ng buhay mo. Sigurado ako marami ang nakaka-relate sa iyo na nagbabasa nitong blog ko. Kaya naman gusto ko ring bigyang hustisya ang effort mo by sharing with you my honest thoughts.

Let me tell you what I noticed as I read your letter. Una ay iyong element of indecision. Sa kuwento mo tungkol as escapades mo, particularly yung sa Alta at sa paglalaro-laro mo with your “Kuya,” I noticed the battle inside you — parang gusto mo na ayaw mo. Next element na na-notice ko sa kuwento mo ay ang hiya, or shame. Sabi mo tungkol dun sa kababalaghan sa Alta, “after I came, I ran out agad, (nag)tago. Baka makita… mukha ko.”

I’m taking notice of these 2 elements (indecision and shame) just so you can also start being more aware of the situation. Think about these feelings of indecision and shame, not to judge yourself with them, rather, take them as inspiration to delve deeper into yourself. Maaari mong itanong sa sarili mo, bakit nga ba ako di mapakali? Ano ba ang gusto ko sa pakikipag-sex sa lalake? Bakit ba ako nahihiya? Ano ang kahiya-hiya sa mga ginagawa ko? Bakit ito kahiya-hiya? The self-knowledge you will gain in asking these questions is very important. Mas makikilala mo ang sarili mo. Let your answers to these questions guide you to become a more empowered person.

Sinabi mo rin sa letter mo, “For me, pag sa guys, lust lang lahat. Madami na din ako nagiging girlfriends, and sa kanila ko nakikita ang love. Pag libog, sa guys.” Allow me to address this too, Vincent. Hindi ikaw ang unang tao na naringgan ko ng ganito. Meaning, hindi ka nag-iisa. There are other people who share your confusion. Tipo bang, you lust after lads, yet you love only ladies. May isa pa nga akong kilala, baliktad naman. Bading siya kasi sa lalake lang siya nai-in-love, pero admit niya na pagdating sa sex, prefer pa rin niya ang sugat kaysa sa ugat. Indeed, iba-iba tayo, at dahil dito, at dahil din sa sinabawang gulay, makulay ang buhay. So don’t worry about you being weird or dysfunctional. Keri lang, sabi nga. I have a feeling though that as you get to know more people, as you add more experience to your years, and with a little bit more effort on your journey to self-awareness, mas magiging malinaw sa iyo kung ano talaga ang gusto mo. The challenge really is about being totally honest with yourself. As long as you always prioritize truth over what other people might say, self-image, ego, etc., you’re on the right track, hijo.

Again, thank you for sharing your story to us, Vincent. I will leave you with one last thought: you do not need to explain yourself to others; but you owe it to yourself to know what really you want in life. You’re young and you have a lifetime in front of you. Grab it and enjoy the wonderful journey ahead.

I wish you more self-knowledge and more honesty with yourself.

World Peace!

Nagmamahal,

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Would you read a letter from a 23-year-old guy, fat, has man-boobs, and lacks self-confidence? I would. Because such a guy reeks of humanity — he is the everyman, the norm, the average guy, the real thing, who, given the descriptions, is at the core still nothing but the same as us — looking for love, searching for “The One” and dreaming of a happy ever after. Come on, read.

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Hi Migs,

I was browsing through the net and i saw your blogs. It’s my first time to actually write to someone about my what i feel. I wanted to lighten my load.
I am a 23 yr. old guy, fat, has man boobs, lacks confidence, amongst other negative qualities. Single and i’ve been searching for something in my life. I’m in a state where i don’t want to accept the fact that i think i’m gay because i don’t want to be one. and i really want to have a family of my own in the near future. But the thing with me is that ever since i was a kid, people regarded me as gay, which i think really affected me a lot since then. I didn’t mind them but as i grew up i started to feel a different feeling i began to like the body of men that are really well toned. I started to fantasize about them, and now i have hired the so-called “masseurs”.
Every time i set up an appointment with a masseur i really get excited and aroused but when the time comes that i’m in the actual meet i don’t feel anything anymore and i feel like i’m just wasting my money. Why could that be? and i was thinking that i might just need someone to talk to about what i’m feeling and going through. I’m really confused when i look at the body of a man i really want to touch it and feel it but when i’m there i don’t want to do it because i feel that it’s not right and it seems yucky doing that… am i gay or am i just insecure with the body of a well toned man…
But i have tried fucking another man and it felt odd. Someone has sucked me already and it felt good for a while then after that i didn’t want to do it again. i’ve also tried sucking and i don’t feel it. All these things i only fantasize of doing but in reality i don’t like it.
Is it still possible for me to have a girlfriend?

hope to hear form you!

Sincerely,
S.C.

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Dear S.C.,

Allow me to answer your question: “Is it still possible for me to have a girlfriend?”

The answer is yes. But I would follow up with a question — is that really what you want?

I’d encourage you to continue piling up questions, so you can be challenged enough to know your self more. To be more self-aware. I’d hate to see you rush yourself into an answer. As in many things, rushing doesn’t exactly produce the truth. Maybe a convenient version of it, but not the whole, unadulterated truth. And you don’t want that, right?

You would want the real score. Who are you? What do you really want? What is your preference? What would make you happy deep down? What would make you feel this life is actually worth living, despite all the hardship? Take hold of yourself, take hold of your life. Be aware of your past programming (“You’re nothing but a gay boy, so be a gay boy!”) and put a stake in the ground — you are who you decide you are! People will always have opinions, but if you are strong enough with your self-concept, you do not need to kowtow to their opinion of you.

If you are sincere in this self-awareness exercise, you will definitely encounter questions that aren’t easy, yet there is no rush in answering them. Take as much time as you need. What is important is that you are on that road to self-awareness. Discover yourself bit by bit, day by day, little by little, breath by breath,… and trust that one day you will be blessed with an inexplicably clear understanding of yourself, an awareness that you never even dreamed you could possibly have. Be open, and be trusting. Your epiphany will come soon. Meanwhile, continue questioning.

And continue truly loving yourself — by embracing who you are, who you really are, not your weight, height, or man-boobs. Remember, you are much, much more than these things.

Be your best self always,

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guysplayinbw

hi migs! Please help.

My best friend and i are both really hot guys (according to people)… We’re in great shape and straight. But we’ve started to have this weird attraction that both of us deny but we can’t seem to keep our hands off each other. Sometimes it gets sexual as we try to push each other’s limits, holding each other thighs jokingly. but we joke around talaga except what’s the line between joke o hindi?

– Ron Jr.

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Dear Ron Jr.,

Whatever line you’re talking about, you have clearly crossed it. You’re confused now because you want to know if your friend also has, at least in his mind. And if you have the assurance that he indeed has, then you’ll push further and enjoy the goods. Is this just about right?

To tell you the truth, Ron, this exact thing happened to me before. My friend and I would sleep together (no sex), hang-out all the time, drink, laugh, and sometimes play-wrestle (yes touching here and there).

And where are we now? Hello, I’m now the Manila Gay Guy. And the other guy? He is a very successful corporate guy, still quite a looker but no lovelife, no GF, and he still says he’s straight. We’re still good friends till now. The last time I saw him he was in a coffee shop hanging out with 2 gay guys. He says he’s just not homophobic, that’s all. Hmmm.

I’m not saying what happened to me is the exact same thing that will happen to you. In fact I’d wish yours would go more for the “happy ending.”

And bottomline: Keep it up, and let things flow. Exciting, isn’t it?

World Peace! Mwah!

Migs

When I was little, I memorized and repeatedly recited this little poem: “Mother, mother, I am sick. Call the doctor very quick! Doctor, doctor, shall I die? No, my darling, do not cry.” This same poem came back to mind as I received the following email from Dr. Ayedee Ace (not his real name). I include below our correspondence. Interesting. Read on, and share your thoughts.

doctordrareyoubi

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hi migs,

i just want to ask your opinion regarding two experiences that i had. i won’t bother you with the details though.

i had a friend in college and who was also an org mate where we usually have meetings on friday afternoons after classes. this friend of mine was rumored to be gay, although he had girlfriends in the past. during the fridays when we didn’t have any afternoon classes, he would invite me to hang out at his apartment. one time we watched the whole “Angels in America” (an HBO series) on dvd. i wasn’t familiar with it, but eventually found out it was a gay-themed mini series. this friend of mine also had an apartment mate who, just a few years ago, came out of the closet.

i also had a room mate who i had no idea was gay. i eventually found out he was one when i walked in on him with another guy in our room (that’s another story). well, we had a talk about it. i evetually told him that i had no problem with him being gay, just as long as he gave me a heads up if he was having somebody around. anyway, i guess he got more comfortable with our living situation, he even invites me to watch episodes of “Queer as Folk” and the movie “Shortbus” on his laptop with him.

my questions are, in these two situations were my friend and room mate trying to:
1. find out if i was gay too?
2. win me over to the other side?
3. make a pass at me?

or am i just paranoid?

thanks, Ayedee Ace

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Hi Ayedee Ace,

Thank you for sharing. You asked me, “am I paranoid?”

I don’t know. I can answer you better if you tell me more about yourself.

By the way, are you gay? Or have some doubts that maybe there is a
possibility you are?

Migs

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hi migs,

first, let me just say that i think i just gave away my identity by emailing you with my actual email account. now you can just google my name and know how i look. how careless. but any way, let’s just keep my identity between the two of us.

about me – 26, physician by profession but currently teaching in a university, middle child, 3 brothers, over-achiever (dati)

anyway, the short answer is “it’s complicated”

when i was younger, i could definitely say straight – as in breasts, vaginas, the works.

but when i reached adolescence, that’s when things got a bit … different.

you see, i was abused by an uncle when i was around 4 or 5. he was around 13 or 14 at that time. the thing was, i didn’t know that that was an inappropriate thing to do to me until i was like 11 or 12 and read about stuff like that. all the while, i thought it was nothing, although i sort of had the understanding that it wasn’t a “normal” experience. and part of me felt guilty because at that age, i actually enjoyed it. even to this day, i can still remember the sensations, even the odors, of how things went the days i was actually abused. and somehow, the memories “excited” me. it was always at the back of my mind.

i think that was when things got complicated and i started imagining doing it with the same sex. i actually had an experience with a male cousin. i won’t go into any details, but let’s just say he was the initiator. but right now he’s already married. we actually sort of had a small talk about it and he just said “mga bata pa tayo nun. di natin alam ginagawa natin.”

anyway, currently, i think i’m bi (or maybe i’m just in denial) but i want to go back to being straight again (as if there is a magic pill that can actually do that).

well, i hope this bit of info will be enough.

thanks again, Ayedee Ace

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Dear Dr. Ayedee Ace,

Your first letter struck me, because while you were asking questions about the meaning of your friends’ actions, I knew in my gut you had something else in mind. Well, as you yourself revealed in your second letter, indeed there was something else. That you are bisexual, perhaps “gay but in denial,” and is wanting to become straight if at all possible.

This is what I want to tell you: self-awareness is key. It is not about labeling — bi? gay? straight? confused? For now, I tell you, it does not matter. What matters is being more and more aware of your real self. What do you want? What does your inner self tell you?

You generously shared the story about your abusive past. I congratulate you for being honest and up front about it. It is the past, and you cannot go back to change anything. It is the past, yet it gives you some way to understand how you are right now. The challenge though is realizing the following: your past is not you. Your past provides good context for better understanding of yourself, but you have a choice, you have the power of volition, and therefore can choose how your past would influence your present, and your future. You can choose to let your past be a prison cell, you can choose to let it be your scapegoat, you can choose to let it be your cloud of haze, or you can choose it to be just a story of how it was before, but not the continuing plot of your present and future story.

You are, as that poem/song says, “the captain of your ship.” And I repeat my invitation to be more self-aware. I believe awareness is self-correcting. In your journey, as you become more aware of where you are, and the direction your ship is sailing, you also become a more powerful captain, able to adjust your rudder, even bit by bit, and steer your ship to that place where you can be the best you can be.

Aye, aye, captain Ayedee! Your truth will guide you.

World Peace! – Migs