Monday, October 13, 2008

Palawan Dreaming

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Notes on a Male Pageant (Translation: Mga Nota Galing sa Male Pageant--joke!)

Rain clouds and hints of lightning and thunder could not keep them away. After a particularly vicious Miss Pintados contest (wherein the grace period for contestants to pause and think during the Q & A was apparently 1.5 seconds, and if the lady fails to answer coherently- and fast, she gets booed off the stage), all roads that night led to RTR Plaza for the Ginoong Leyte contest.

With the promise of up close sightings of rippling muscles and barely-there briefs hardly concealing raging hardons (do producers coach them or something? Bark to contestants like, “I want all schlongs up in the air by the time you boys march on stage!”), the first row was of course filled, almost exclusively, by gays.

My beau happened to be visiting me during the Tacloban fiesta. I had previously thought of a way, on how to coax him to allow me to watch the pageant with him without losing the “intellectual and poised veneer” I had worked so hard on maintaining. Turns out, there is no intellectual and poised excuse to watch a male pageant. I wanted to see men in skin-tight, thin, almost see-through speedos. There, I said it. I am as capable as the next queer to squeal when they see big muscles posing.

Being the great boyfriend that he was, he consented. Armed with my 10 megapixel, 10x optical zoom camera, we braved the crowd and wrestled for a place inches away from the stage. Lights dimmed, and dramatic music blared from the speakers…

And out came the contestants in their Tribal Wear (aka indigenous materials glued to their thongs). They danced and pranced onstage, much to the delight of the gaping audience. Eeeeeeee! One tranny dressed like Jlo on crack, was screaming her head off. One still-in-the-closet teenager recorded the number on his phone.

The contestants introduced themselves and which part of Leyte they were representing. A half-German lad (with a particularly bazooka-like bulge in the front of his bahag) stood out because of his towering height and sharp featured face. The rest were a selection of pinoy boy-next-door types, with some surprisingly handsome, artista-like candidates.

The emcees came onstage, a tired-looking gay man and a woman dressed in what appeared to be a shower curtain. They greeted the crowd, introduced the judges, and thanked a volley of sponsors. “And now! Let us meet our candidates in their futuristic wear!”

Screams. Jeers. Out came the contestants in their futuristic wear (aka tinfoils and sequins glued to their thongs). One played peekaboo using his gossamer cape- revealing a generous bulge inside his white skivvies. Click, click, click! Cameras worked overtime.

During the question and answer portion, the crowd seemed a bit more forgiving to the men. Even though the artista-looking guys were stammering and practically being fed the answers by the emcees, there wasn’t a single “boo” heard.

“Male pageants like Ginoong Leyte is a vehicle where we can showcase our culture and history of our province. It doesn’t intend to objectify men.” Said the gay emcee piously.

Hah! Objectify, schmobjectify. We all came here to see bulges, my friend. Even the women audience can attest to that. Oh well, those guys knew exactly what they were getting into, joining that contest- and I bet you showcasing Leytenean culture was the least of those reasons.

The winner? The 9 incher, I mean, the half-German guy from Ormoc.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

just so you know

date: oct 1,2008
mood: happy
song: just so you know

they've always invoked both feelings of desire and disdain in me. men appeared in many forms: the bullies in elementary school, my high school crush, my college friend who i slept with for the first time...

and my first boyfriend-

or was that technically a relationship? the extent of our interaction consisted mostly of him going to my dorm and fooling around with me until my roommate knocks insistently on the locked door. there were no discussions of "let's move in together soon" or "where is this going?", which probably explains why i never heard from him two months after we met for the first time at that party.

i've always had a penchant for good-looking guys (who doesn't?), and i dedicated my friday and saturday nights in malate or galera to ensnaring the "perfect guy". in the haze of liqour and raging hormones, i'd inevitably jump into bed with them. but these trysts ended up for me, almost always, with tears and goodbyes.

and then there was one:

it began with e-mails for about a month. he bought a copy of my book, and one day asked if he could have lunch with me. he must be a little crazy, i thought. i mean, this guy lives in manila and for two years now i have been based in tacloban. he said he'd take the plane and go on a day trip.


admittedly, the romantic in me was delirious. i've never met the guy, but how romantic can you get? my first boyfriend couldn't even take a tricycle to buy bread from the baker, but this guy will take a plane ride.

there is a twist of course. he's older than me- not that i consider age a hindrance, but it could be difficult to meet in the middle. we have different sensibilities, tastes, philosophies- after all, we are in different places in our lives. and i also thought: what would people think? this wasn't exactly the "cute young couple" scenario i've always imagined.

when we made it official finally, i was prepared to bridge the gaps- adjusting to his lifestyle, meeting the people around him- and he did the same with me. i realized what i've always missed in my previous relationships: compromise and commitment. during the most trying times in my life he was there: my mother's passing, my grandmother's hospitalization, and all those little trials in day to day life.

with him, i've learned to look beyond the surface- beneath appearances, behind rose-colored glasses. i began to see the good qualities in people like kindness, generosity, and compassion.

i'm far from that twentysomething boy who searched for the perfect guy and found none. i'm an adult in a loving, grown up relationship, and even up to now he still makes my heart leap.

i'm so lucky to have found a man like you, happy 6th hun. ;-)

The Average Military Man

The average age of the military man is 19 years.

He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country.

He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father’s; but he has never collected unemployment either.

He’s a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away.

He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and 155mm Howitzers. He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk.

He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark.

He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.

He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional.

He can march until he is told to stop or stop until he is told to march.

He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity.

He is self-sufficient. He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and swears the other. He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry.

He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle.

He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts. If you’re thirsty, he’ll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food.

He’ll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.

He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands. He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job.

He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay and still find ironic humor in it all. He has seen more suffering and death then he should have in his short lifetime.

He has stood atop mountains of dead bodies, and helped to create them.

He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed.

He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to ’square-away’ those around him who haven’t bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.

Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is not "just" a boy.

He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years.

He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding.

Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.

- From the blog of my brother Ted, US Navy Corpsman


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