I think this letter/story is quite touching, so I’m featuring it here. “Skye” thanks for sharing!
with the consecutive typhoons hitting our country people started to dread the rain. rain shouldn’t be feared nor rejected. the rain itself is not the root cause of our problems. we badly need better drainage and better waste management. i sure hope i don’t sound insensitive and selfish when i say that i love the rain. (i said rain and not typhoons.)
the rain has always been a friend of mine. it has brought me many wonderful memories. i would like to share with you one of them. migs, have you ever felt love slip right out of your hands.. like it was incredibly close that you could touch it, grab it.. but then you somehow lost the chance to do so? this is exactly how i felt with this person.
I was talking to a guy tonight, a friend of a friend, and just through 2 cigarette sticks he related his lifestory. A sob story. Mario never knew his parents, who died before he could even be conscious of having them; he grew up in Mindanao, in his sister’s care, under whom carino brutal took a slightly different flavor — she accounted all his growing up expenses every chance she got, and for a while that drove Mario to always do well in his studies. “Balang araw,” he thought, “magiging malaking tao rin ako, babayaran ko lahat ng ginastos niya sa akin.” The psychology worked for a while, earning Mario top honors when he graduated Salutatorian from grade school. The same psychology backlashed though, and before Mario could earn his high school diploma, his motivation flipped and he ran away from his sister’s care.
He found himself in the busy, chilly streets of Baguio. “Alam mo yung Slumdog? Ganun. Taong kalye ako, madungis, pagala-gala. Pero hindi ako ni minsan namalimos.” At 15, he survived by finding odd jobs anywhere he could. One day, a knight in shining armor came. He introduced Mario to a friend who operated a restobar. There, he became a waiter, then assistant cook, then cook, and at one point, because the resto owner once heard him sing while cooking, became the restobar’s singer-entertainer. This was the time he started to gain confidence about his abilities. Great things were happening to him. But at the background, something was nagging at him. The knight in shining armor has, from day one, been his abode partner, and from then grew more possessive each day that passed. “Hanggang sa nasakal ako. Maayos na ako dun, pero di ko nakayanan ang paghihigpit nya.” He escaped his knight’s grip and once again tried his luck elsewhere. This time, in Manila.
In the country’s capital, he stayed with relatives. He was welcomed and treated well by his city relatives, but only because he brought home money. “May ipon ako nun, galing Baguio. Pero nararamdaman ko, unti-unting nagiging dependent mga kapamilya ko sa akin.” He was happy helping, but it didn’t take long for him to realize it was only because he brought home food to eat, not just for himself but for everyone in the house.
“Sa mga pinagdaanan ko sa buhay, tumatak sa isip ko, lahat ng bagay may kapalit. Yung ate ko, pinalaki niya ako, pero gusto niya bayaran ko lahat ng nagastos niya sa akin. Yung tumulong sa akin sa Baguio, lahat ng tulong niya may kapalit. Kinse pa lang ako, ginagamit na niya katawan ko. Kahit mga kapamilya ko, pinatira nila ako sa bahay nila, pero meron ding kapalit.”
Mario continued on telling his story, up to how he has become a boytoy of sorts to the rich, famous, and fabulous, Manila’s gay glitterati. He was almost apologetic when he told me he earns up to 12k a day, just “accompanying” his clients. “Malayo na ang narating ko. Dati ang dungis-dungis ko. Ngayon, kita mo, Migs — ang kinis at amputi ko na di ba? Atsaka marunong na rin akong mag-ayos at magbihis.” He was smiling a naughty smile while he was saying this, and that was when I felt Mario actually had charisma, not just looks. “Kapag umuuwi nga ako ng probinsiya, pakiramdam ko, artista ako. Yung mga kapitbahay ko dati, nagpapakuha sila ng litrato sa akin. Basta maputi, basta taga-Maynila, para sa kanila, importante. Ang hindi nila alam, yung totoong trabaho ko dito. Mga ignorante.”
I sat there, in deep thought, almost hypnotized. His second cigarette was finished, and with the dancing smoke that tapered out of the spent butt, my mind meandered too, pondering on those powerful words, “lahat ng bagay may kapalit.”
Malayo, matagtag, mainit, matagal, maalinsangan, at malagkit ang nilakbay ko mula Maynila patungo sa bayang ito sa Laguna. Maraming naglarong gunita, mga alaalang minsa’y matamis, minsa’y mapait, ngunit gayon pa man, tila umaayon pa rin akong balikan ang mga ito, sariwain, dahil ako ay, nais ko mang itanggi, umaasa pa rin.
It was late night, everything was quiet and we were driving around his neighborhood, I on the driver seat, and him on the passenger’s. While it was dark, I knew there were clouds hovering in the sky as no stars nor bright moon can be seen to provide that magic mood lighting.
John started talking about a particular experience back when he was still a freshman in college. In an org event he joined, he got introduced to a guwaping TV personality, let’s call him Larz, a new graduate of the same college in UP, also from the same org. Before even meeting Larz, John actually idolized him, perhaps even secretly adored him, but because he was not yet aware of his own sexual preference at that time, John did not really distinguish between the two feelings. They had a good chat in that event, and eventually exchanged digits.
One time, Larz invited John for a friendly tete-a-tete at a coffee shop in Katipunan.
“Coffee tayo,” Larz texted.
Without batting an eyelash, John replied, “tara!” It was, after all, his “TV idol” who invited, and who was he to decline?
For the most part of their Starbucks stay, they were just like any normal buddies — exchanging stories, laughing, teasing, etc. In short, nothing really noteworthy. Nothing, until this little weird twist. Larz casually invited John to accompany him to the CR. John did not know what to make out of the invite, he was kind of confused — male buddies normally don’t go to the CR together, right? — but he agreed anyway. He was his “TV idol,” trustworthy, and a buddy, so nothing — supposedly nothing — should go awry. Or so he thought.
Inside the CR, Larz unzipped and, while relieving himself, was conveniently exposing his family jewels for John to see. “Tingnan mo, kapal ng b*lbol ko no?” Larz joked with John. Again, John was confused. He felt very uncomfortable. He pretended he did not hear anything, and just looked away, as far away as he can, inside the minuscule place that is the CR.
Back to their Starbucks table, they continued the exchange of stories, as if nothing happened. Larz brought out his cellphone and started to show John his collection of video scandals. The straight kind. A short clip on a girl celebrity doing things she would never allow her mother to see. Another clip of a female starlet doing her thing with a then basketball star. And so on, etc. John feigned interest, since he knew straight men usually get all excited with these stuff. Larz did something extra though. He jokingly touched John’s crotch, “uy, nagre-react na ang alaga mo, hahaha!” While John kind of knew it was inappropriate, the only thing in his mind was, this guy was a good guy, he won’t do anything bad to me. Larz was his idol.
Later on, Larz who had a car, volunteered to drive John home. Of course John agreed. When they reached John’s boarding house, he did the most Filipino thing to do. He invited Larz over, “baba ka muna.”
In his room, John offered, “hey Larz, dami ko ditong kadiri na porn, piss fetish, sh!t-eating girls, baka magustuhan mo, hahaha!”
Larz responded automatically, “Kadiri! Patingin!”
While Larz was viewing the unusual photos, then started another round of suggestive teasing. There was more touching, more teasing, and John was caught unaware. Again, he was confused. But he thought wise to just ask Larz, “sige na, Larz, uwi ka na.”
Larz was decent enough to leave, and sugar-coated the hullabaloo with much humor.
While the story was being told, I was just quiet and nodding, acknowledging John’s feelings. I thought he wanted to share how he personally experienced an actual sexual harassment scenario. He said, “when I told this story to a female friend she said it was very clear harassment, but when I was in the actual situation, it was very fuzzy. Most of the time I was confused and did not know what was happening.”
I resonated with those words. When I myself experienced a similar situation, I felt the same confusion. In my case, I even felt guilty being harassed, thinking, did I do something to make him do that to me? It was a very negative, almost traumatic, experience. So, yes, I thought John was on the dot with that statement.
However, as I thought more about the scenario, a different perspective emerged. Was John totally a victim here? What other things can you see that may move us to interpret his story in a different way? What relevant nugget of learning can you get out of this story?
I’m in California. As the clock struck 6 PM, I left the hotel where I’m checked in to do some walking. I thought it’ll do me good after that long-haul flight from Manila. The temperature was just right, cool and breezy, and while the beach wasn’t all that pretty, some of its visitors were. I noticed two beautiful latino boys playing ball. They must be in their late teens.
Araw ng Pasko, kung bakit may isang tao ang tila ba biglang sumulpot sa aking alaala. Francis ang pangalan niya. Kaibigan ko siya mahigit 10 taon na ang nakalipas. Matalik na kaibigan. Napakabait sa akin ng taong ito, ngunit sa iba, tila ba napakasuplado niya. Napakatalino rin niya, mahilig magbasa at makipagduwelo sa pamamagitan ng salita’t malalalim na diwa. Batang-bata pa ako noong mga panahong halos araw-araw ay kasama ko siya, at dahil na rin siguro sa gayon, madaling nahulog ang loob ko kay Francis. At siya rin ang kauna-unahang lalaking aking nakasiping.
A gay friend gave me a gift today. (Thanks Madam!) It was the DVD featuring Paolo Rivero and Paolo Serrano, entitled “M2M 3: Versus.” It says on the back cover of the DVD jacket:
Versus is a tale of two male hunks undergoing the different stages of realization and of falling in and out of love. Their story reels off in their minds and is carried out in a rather sensual and provocative manner. What actually goes on…? And what are the complexities in the process of carrying out, staying in and moving on from this kind of relationship?
Masterfully crafted as the previous M2M features- this video shows the intricacies and dynamics of male to male relationship.
More photos of the two Paolos after the jump.