Sunday, March 29, 2009

Clean Slate

Voluntary scars, that’s what my tattoos were. I always remembered having this feeling- perhaps defiance, or non-conformity and I wanted myself never to forget that I chose to be different. Or maybe it was just a phase.

I still don’t know how it will look like when it’s lasered off. Will it be gone completely like they never were there in the first place? Or would I still see hints of what once was my proud skin? Of course, I now know much of who I am is way deeper than my skin. I’ll just miss them, that’s all.

(Photo above shows my arm right after the laser treatment, to date this will be my fourth.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sentiments of an Obsessed Cinemaphile

I still can't seem to purge the Love of Siam hangover, so in a cathartic effort I'll recount the story one last time...

As a young boy, Mew was referred to by his classmates as "that sissy boy". Frequently a loner in school, he seeks solace in the company of his grandmother who takes care of him. Next door lived Tong, a high-spirited boy about the same age, with an equally active and impish older sister Tang.

One day, as Tang teaches her brother to blow a bubblegum, Tong accidentally spits the gum and it lands on Mew's hair. Mew runs to his grandmother in tears, and she comforts him. She teaches Mew how to use music to express one's feelings and she explains why she favors a particular song- a melody Mew's grandfather once played to her to express his love.

One day at school, Mew gets bullied and Tong comes to the rescue- only to get beaten himself. As Mew tends to his friend's bruises, Tong sheepishly apologizes for the gum incident. Mew declares they are now even and from then on, the two become best friends.

On a family trip to Chiang Mai, Tang begs her parents to stay behind for a few days with friends. Her mother reluctantly agrees as her husband insists- "she is a big girl and can already take care of herself." Upon their return, Tong gives his Mew a present through a treasure hunt- Mew uncovers parts of his present all throughout the park, but only to find the wooden toy missing the last piece, as the tree where it was hidden in was cut down.

"It's ok," young Mew declares. Happy nonetheless at his friend's efforts.

But Tang did not return on the date she promised. Tong's parents left him in the care of Mew's grandmother as they return to Chiang Mai to search for their missing daughter. As the nights pass, Tong gets lonelier and his friend comforts him as they lay together on Mew's bed.

The day came when Tong's heartbroken parents decided that they should move away. Tong searched for his friend to say goodbye, and found Mew at their usual spot at the park by the river, sitting by himself. He told Mew not to let anyone bully him and that he should take care of himself. Mew did not say anything in response, later he just quietly watched the car sped away and wept.

Fast forward to the present- the boys are now adolescents. Tong is a handsome fellow with a beautiful girlfriend named Donut, however Tong seems distant towards her. His father had sunk into depression and became an alcoholic, much to the dismay of his fortitudinous mother.

Mew is now the lead singer and composer of a teen group called "August Band". Although their songs are popular, their producer urges them to compose love songs which would cater to an even bigger audience. "A love song should be easy to write at your age." He declares. But although Mew tries, he could not quite compose a good love song, even with his new neighbor and friend Ying's (who harbors a crush on Mew) silly provocations. ("If you like to know what it's like to have a lover, I can be your girlfriend!" to which Mew merely responded, "You're crazy.")

Tong and Mew's lives begin to intertwine once more when a chance meeting at Siam Square- a popular after-school haunt for teens- sparks Mew's old feelings for his friend. Along with this is Mew's ever-growing feelings of confusion precipitated during close encounters with his male peers. He even asks Tong if he has "something different from other people." To which his friend replies no.

As the boys continue to spend more and more time together, Mew's feelings blossom, enabling him to compose beautiful love songs. In one of the most beautiful and thought-provoking scenes in the movie, the boys lay in bed beside each other, just like when they were young, after a very late practice session. Tong asks Mew how he is, and Mew responds that although his music-playing is fun, he is constantly lonely. Juxtaposed in this sequence are scenes of Tong's mother, who is unaware of his whereabouts, worried sick and driving around the city looking for his son.

Mews narrates how his loneliness started when his grandmother died a number of years ago, and asks: "If we can love someone so much, how will we be able to handle it when we are separated?...Is it possible to love someone and never be afraid of losing them? Is it possible that we can live our entire life without loving anyone at all?"

Meanwhile, August band is assigned a new manager named June, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Tong's older sister. Tong, his mother Sunee, and Mew asks June to play the role of Tang in hopes of getting Tong's father out of depression and alcoholism.

Temporarily, the scheme works and a "homecoming party" for Tang was thrown. In the same party, Mew and his band plays a love song that Mew composed for Tong. As Mew sang, the chemistry between the two boys was palpable and June notices. After the party, sitting beside each other, Tong remarks how beautiful the song was. Mew replies,"Without you in my life, there would be no such song. Do you have anything to say after hearing it?" Tong puts an arm around Mew and kisses his friend. Unfortunately, Sunee accidentally sees the two boys and sulks at this new ordeal: a gay son.

Sunee confronts Mew the following day about his relationship with Tong. Mew insists that they are just friends, but Sunee asserts that whatever relationship the two have, they should stop immediately. Mew is devastated, and avoids Tong and playing with his band altogether.

After a no-show at a recording session, Mew receives a visit from a persuasive June and his band mates. Eventually Mew returns to become part of the band once more, June on the other hand is dismissed from her work as manager of the band.

Tong sorts out his feelings, and while decorating the Christmas tree he uses male and female ornaments to explain his feelings to his controlling mother. Finally Sunee gives her son her blessing to choose what he thinks is best for himself.

On the eve of Christmas, August band is to play at Siam Square. As Tong meets his girlfriend Donut, Mew's song plays on the video screen. Tong finally breaks up with Donut who haughtily walks away, then Tong runs toward the auditorium where the band is playing.

He joins Ying and waves to Mew. Ying glances at the beaming faces of the two boys and finally accepts that she won't have a place in Mew's heart- she quietly slips away. After the performance Tong congratulates Mew. His friend asks him the same question he asked the night they kissed:

"Do you have anything to say after listening to it?" Tong looks his friend in the eye and says: "I can't be with you as your boyfriend... but that doesn't mean I don't love you." He gives his friend a present- a missing piece of the wooden doll. The boys bid their goodbyes and went their separate ways.

Sunee reads a letter from June wishing them well. Tong's family finally comes to terms and accept the fact that their beloved Tang will not return and that they must go on as a family. Back in Mew's room, he puts the last piece in place, on the present Tong once gave him as a child. Just like the toy that was missing a piece, Mew had an emptiness that he felt when he was lonely- but because of his best friend's love, he is whole once more.

The movie ends with Mew saying a tearful "Thank you." as he gazes at Tong's gift.
To all the loves that bring us to life.- The Love of Siam

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Hedonist Enraptured

I sent this through e-mail to some people, and so far I've had interesting responses (from males in their twenties):

Don't you think the gay lifestyle is too hedonistic? I'm not judging here, simply stating some of the things that are quite obvious: countless exploitative "indie films" shown in cinemas-or direct to dvd, massage parlors on every corner, chat rooms, dating sites, hook ups, - you name it. I'm beginning to believe that the "too much sex culture" is due either to repression or just plain loneliness.

I've done things in the past typical of any single gay guy but I asked myself: is that all there is to being gay?

I have gay friends both in Manila and in the province who spend weekends looking for guys to hook up with (and mind you my yuppie friend in manila is not single). It's the same routine over and over and apparently, they are not happy with the set-up either (nor do they show signs of stopping). I understand some people may not like permanence or commitment at all, but what do you think the future holds for gay guys given that we don't marry or procreate and form families?

What are your thoughts?


Reply 1:

I think it applies to all gender irrespective of their sexual preferences…the common misconception where gays are being equated to sex (or maybe even the lack of it) needs to be set-straight for the sake of the ignoramuses…

Honestly, sex would be the last thing on my mind when I buzz or meet people on the dating sites…I prefer a good laugh over a cup of coffee than a quick nookie…call me an old fashion but believe me it took me more than one month to spread my legs before I get to know my bf for four years…

And besides, SEX just for the heck of it could really be tiring…

Relpy 2:

yup tama observation mo. kahit naman sa straight. i keep pointing to straight guys kasi, para magkaroon ka din ng perspective at di ka lang exclusive sa mga homosexuals.

uso sa PLU ang open relationship. Dahil sa libog factor ng mga kalalakihan at madami lalaki ang hirap controlling ang kanilang alaga.

since dati, naniniwala ako sa exclusivity pagdating sa sex, ngayon relax din ako pagdating sa sex if ever na may partner ako. Naiintindihan ko na hindi ko kaya i-fulfill ang mga gusto ng partner ko. Pero ang nakakatakot lang dito is makakontak ng sakit.

I learned my lessons din nito lang, payag ako sa open relationship, pero I make sure, between sa amin ng partner ko, hindi ako ang maya maya't may bagong ka-sex. Okay lang makipagsex sya kanino kanino pero, hindi sya pwedeng mangako sa dalawang tao. If in case na inlove sya sa iba pa, then the relationship must end. It is obvious hindi ako ang kailangan nya.

Sex is just sex plus more. Depende yan sa napag-usapan nyo. If there's a need to express yourself, then do it. Sex is self-expression.

Pero sabi ko nga sa blog ko, may kakambal ang self-expression: respect

Pero if you're partner are doing the same and agree about having hook up outside the realtionship, then okay lang. Basta the partner and you must be responsible enough. Pero kung walang agreement, dun ka sa default, which is monogamy. Yun nga respeto, in short magdusa. Ito ang outcome ng decisyon mo dati pa. Kasali ito sa package.

By the way, 75% of the world societies are polygamous alam mo ba, western lang ang in denial. Pero since nandito ka sa society natin, you are free to make a choice, however you must suffer the consequences.

Reply 3:

kind of..but i have no plans naman of doing this like for a lifetime. I know that there would be a point in my life that I'll stop. I'll stop because I found someone... someone that I'd been praying and waiting..(it wouldn't matter if he/she.).The important thing is, there should be an element of 'love'. It should be mutual. I'll not commit myself to some1 if love is missing. It's an essential ingredient.

'Bout the seeking pleasure thing with guys, it's kinda normal for us gays. It's something in you. Its an urge that is beyond your control (most of the time) and at the same time gratifies you... parang compulsion kumbaga.

Pero definitely, I'll stop. I dunno when. As of now, I'll just make the most of gay life while patiently waiting for someone.:-) I just know him/her by heart.

Join in the discussion and give us your two cents on this topic ;)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

An Unsent Letter from the Pages of an Old Notebook

Oct 31, 2006

It’s a strange feeling not being close with someone you were once with.

I just bumped into you at the lobby, but I couldn't bring myself to speak- just nod in recognition. Truth is, I have a lot I want to say to you. Before, you and I were inseparable and we finished each other’s sentences, now when we meet it’s more of an exchange of polite hello’s and awkward silences. It's impossible to bring back what was once was, but at least I know now how important each moment is in a relationship- and a love like ours need nurturing.

I miss you, I miss us. I know I’ll meet people and still make new friends but sometimes, in nights like these I think of the past and the good times we’ve had.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Tale of the Mucle Shirt, Polyester Shorts, and Yellow Speedos

One of the saddest things ever is having a closet full of clothes you would never wear again (at least in your right mind) - like that acid wash jeans you once thought was so cool, or the sputum-colored Palaro t-shirt you wore one drunken night, or even that Lacoste knockoff you bought that's already faded from far too many washes. I decided to clean up and make some closet space by checking each item one by one, and sorting out the "wearables" from the ones I'd give away.

It's amazing how much I've spent on cheap ass shirts, judging from the pile. If only I could go back in time and buy a quality shirt instead, in exchange for everything I've spent on these dingy Php120 a piece T-shirts. I stopped dead in my tracks- at the bottom of the cabinet were three items of glaring green, red, and yellow, all made of 90% polyester.

The first item was a satin-looking (I emphasize the resemblance only, because the fabric was more itchy than luxurious to touch) green muscle shirt, with blue accents around the neckline and sleeves. I remember these- I bought it from the very first Penshoppe boutique at Dynasty Square back in '97. I was 16, and the shirt was a graduation present for myself.

The unfortunate thing was, I weighted about 98lbs at that time- no fat, and no muscles either. Damn, it looked so great on that mannequin at the store window- and since it was a bit pricey (Ok it was 300 bucks, but in 1997, for a high school student in Leyte- that was already more than what one would normally spend on a shirt) I was the only one who had it. I wore it once when my friends and I went out- my collarbone stood out like a couple of trusses, the skin on my arms pale and thin- emphasized by the muscle shirt's color. "You need to gain weight!" Exclaimed one of female friends. From that moment on, I swore to eat two cups of rice every meal and never wear the shirt again.

The red shorts I picked up next looked like the lower half of a basketball jersey (although I never played basketball)- and If I remember correctly, this one was purchased in 2003 when I started going to the gym. I gained weight alright, even a bit of muscle that time. There was a stain in the fabric, which I gather was the reason why I never wore it again.

The last item was a pair of yellow swim trunks. The design was quite simple: plain solid color with 3 red and white diagonal stripes near the crotch area. It was neat- not too plain, not too out there. Even the cut was perfect. So I decided to try it on again to see why it remained for years at the bottom of my closet.

As I slid the stretchy fabric up my legs, I had to wriggle a little bit. It was tight around thigh area- a little bit more and it would have cut off my circulation. As I checked myself in the full length mirror I suddenly knew why: at the front, it looked like one of those low-cut things men with washboard abs wore (so in short, it was unforgiving with my tiny paunch- unless I held my breath the entire time I wore it, it would never work), the back part was obscene. It could only contain half my butt, and it was a major cleavage situation down there. I felt bad discarding it though, since that thing was kind of sexy.

I put my clothes back on and wrapped up the sorting. I smiled to myself- funny how a bunch of old clothes could take me on a trip down memory lane and those errors in fashion judgment. I stood up and went to the storage area where we keep most of the things we don't use. The day ended with 25% more closet space for me after discarding all my old clothes- well, all of them, except the speedo.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Peeling the Carrot

Waking up with an appendage pointing north can be quite exciting for someone with hedonistic tendencies. But instead of shaking the stick I put on my running shoes and shorts(sans the fancy underwear, thank you) and grabbed my phone so I can go jogging. Nice run, except when I got back I still had it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Verbally Incontinent

Judging from the recent surge in posts, one can tell I recently had a lot of free time in my hands. Too much time, in fact, that I felt myself wandering into the forest of my thoughts. All those subconscious longings, fears, and "emo thoughts" have begun to ineluctably rise to the surface. The result is a verbally incontinent me, at least until I get swamped with work again. Bear with me.

Yesterday, to temporarily distract myself (or perhaps halt the imminent madness), I went to Leyte Park to swim a few laps in their pool. Unfortunately a bunch of rowdy high school sophomores were already frolicking ahead of me, so I plugged my ears with earphones and turned the music up to a maximum, and hauled my grown up 26, I mean 27, I mean 28, year-old ass to the farthest chaise lounge.

Inexplicably, I began to feel melancholic. I remembered the conversation I had with my father the night before, he told me I should get back to work, instead of applying for Med school. He told me the most important thing was to help with the financial crisis we were having. I must say I completely understood, after all my father is not getting any younger and the three of us siblings should now be the ones to take care of financial matters. If I had the opportunity, I'd be the one to work there and have our father go home to Tacloban. Once again, it goes back to the matter that has long haunted me: I was the only one among my siblings who was disqualified when Mama had applied for immigration to the states because I was beyond 18 already during that time. What decent job here in the Philippines could earn enough to help out? My brother who is in the Navy already filed a petition years ago, but as far as I'm concerned I'm not holding my breath. Lord knows I've already done the best I could, even trying for a student visa for a US school, but I've decided its time for me to just do my best with what is here in the Philippines. I'm going to just build on whatever I can here, instead of forever working towards getting to the US. If the petition goes through then fine, if not, I'm quite content staying here. Besides, if I go who's going to manage the house here in Tacloban? Who'll take care of our 82 year old grandmother or oversee the needs of my 2 year old nephew?

Oh yes, the days of "Will I go to UP for college?" or "I'm so excited to go to prom!" are long gone. When I was younger I always wondered what adult life is like, and thought it must be pretty cool to be free to do as you please. But I'm nowhere near when I thought I would be- and I've never quite imagined one had to work this hard. As I gazed towards the other end of the pool- those high school kids with stars in their eyes- I remember how exciting those first times are when one is just starting out. Everything is an adventure. Of course, you realize later on that waiting for a promotion takes years of back-breaking work, not to mention enduring the monotony and drudgery of doing the same shit everyday so you can bring home some cash.

But don't mind me and these rants. It's the emo in me talking.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Being gay is fun... When you are young

Stereo blaring, cute guys, that giddy feeling on a Saturday night that is full of promise... And then what? Although being gay nowadays is not as difficult as it once was (even in the Catholic school I study in at present, people's views had started to change and I noticed most Instructors are generally more gender-sensitive and have become more tolerant), I still am left wondering sometimes what would become of me ten, twenty, thirty years from now.

Sure, you're healthy now- active, ready to take on anything, and oh-so-pretty, but what if one day all of that is gone? Perhaps nature did have a point in male-female attraction: their union yields offsprings. I've seen my high school friends get married and have kids, and when we see each other and talk- it seems like they have completely changed their point of views about life. Being a Mom or Dad certainly would change a person's priorities, but I'm surprised even their personalities have undergone subtle shifts. I can't put a finger on it, but even just by looking at them I can tell: they've grown up.

On to the next phase in life: rearing a kid. Of course that is not for everyone, I also know of single straight friends who doesn't necessarily see a baby coming into their lives. As for me, I wonder. Will I live on my own? With a partner? Would I grow old with no kids?

I don't want to be deprived of life-altering roles like being a parent (and therefore also deprived of certain joys of family life). Being gay makes it a little bit difficult- I can't be with a woman, that much I know.

Would it still be cute if I go to clubs and party when I'm fifty? I think not. Someday I'm going to have to put aside those trendy low-rise jeans, but what would become of me? I've always insisted we can become valuable and integral members of society, and that we have as much capacity for happiness as any regular family person, but secretly, I still have my doubts.


1st novel ever read: Doomsday Conspiracy and a string of other novels by Sidney Sheldon (because of the dirty parts hehe) when I was 12.

1st movie ever seen: Una kang Naging Akin with Ate Shawie, Gabby and a very young Dawn Zulueta. I was about 9 when Mama tagged me along the theater.

1st crush: My hunky classmate from DWU.

1st time I cried publicly: this incident.

1st time I kicked ass, literally: sparring with a neighbor's son at 10.

1st fantasy: Our hunky neighbor who I accidentally (daw!) saw wearing tighty whities in his room.

1st kiss: Jon.

1st BF: Jon. Length of relationship: 2 months.

1st you-know-what: My friend Dale. Hahaha!

1st tattoo: Egyptian Scarab on my right tricep, now lasered off.

1st time I got scared because of a movie: The Ring (Japanese Original Version).

1st time I cried because of a movie: Brokeback Mountain, then Bangkok Love story and The Love of Siam.

1st time I cried on a date: we watched Passion of the Christ.

1st time I kissed a girl: on a drunken 27th birthday.

1st job: Customer Service Representative.

1st extravagant purchase: a digital camera I bought in cash for Php21,000.

1st vacation: Puerto Galera, Mindoro.

1st mountain retreat: Sagada, Mountain Province.

1st hair-raising experience: my first time assisting a delivery.

1st OR Case: TURP (Transurethtral Resection of the Prostate), with the male patient spread-eagled before us, while the surgeon inserting a long instrument through his peen hole. The Fates might have been playing a joke on me.

1st article to ever get published: Bullfrog Battles.

1st short story: this was included in a literary folio.

1st blog: The Emancipation of Thadie!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Gastronomic Challenge

I once read somewhere that one of the greatest things a woman finds fulfillment in as a wife or mother is being able to prepare food for her family. I never thought about it as a big deal- for example, my grandmother, standing beside the range looks at me expectantly as I sample the dish she is cooking. I would impatiently take a sip from the spoon and try my best to come up with a good reply that would please her. The problem was that I wasn't really particular with food. Just give me anything edible, and I wouldn't mind munching on it, sans the fancy china and table cloth.

My Mom also persuaded me before to learn how to cook- my brothers can whip up a meal or two. I, on the other hand can only heat things on the microwave. This proved quite a disadvantage when I left home for college- my dinners consisted mainly of Instant Noodles (that was the only thing I knew how to make).

One of our Clinical Preceptors actually opened his own cooking school for the summer, and I'm thinking if I could perhaps find the time to enroll. My very first anniversary with N. is next month- wouldn't it be great if I could come up with a great dinner from scratch? I'd better start looking for a cookbook...

Love of Siam

Before the sex, before the fantasies, before that unexplainable attraction to my hunky high school classmates, there was that pure, steady, mutual dependence with my boyhood best friend. That’s why when I watched Love of Siam, I couldn’t help but think of Nathan- my best friend who I met when I was eight. We had a different ending though, I did not fall in love with him, and he didn’t say he couldn’t be with me as my boyfriend- his family simply migrated to the US when we were in high school. But so unlike Mew who kept the wooden toy his best friend gave him before he left, I did something else with the keepsake Nathan gave.

The scene in the clip shows the sweetest kiss between the two teens, after Mew sang the song he composed for Tong. How romantic sitting under the stars while lip locking- unlike some people whose first kiss was in a cramped Wendy’s restroom.

Seamless and poignant, Love of Siam is a family drama that transcends language barriers, cultural differences, and gender. Sigh. Sana may part two- curious ako kung ano yung nagyari sa voodoo princess extraordinaire na si lola Ying.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pêuan ... Goo rák Meung wâ

I just saw Bangkok Love Story on an impulse as I stumbled upon it in an online video site. It had no subtitles and I did not understand a word of what the Thai actors were saying, but I suppose the gestures and nuances were enough to tell the story.

Certainly a quality gay movie (as opposed to most of our “indie films” here, which usually is just an excuse to bare and fornicate on film so aspiring actors can get their 15 minutes of fame), reminiscent of Brokeback Mountain. The cinematography romanticized the otherwise dreary surroundings in urban Bangkok, and one particular scene was my favorite: This scene is now officially included in my all-time favorite love scenes, bumping From Here to Eternity’s famous romp on the beach.

It had all the elements of a Greek tragedy, although I think it may have gone overboard. I was hoping the movie would end with the scene where Chaiwat Tongsang visits Mhek in prison. It was bad enough he went blind, the following scenes were even more depressing- Mhok hanging himself, Mhek’s eventual release from prison, only to be shot. Enough! I don’t want to cry a river for this movie.

But like all past relationships I’ve had, I always return to the good times and not dwell on the tragedy. So, I moved the cursor and clicked on the scene where the assassin and his prey first made love with the world seemingly all to themselves.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009



Youth. This was embodied in the demigod standing on a pedestal, talking with his followers. Even from afar, I could relish the sight of his soft, almost feminine features- if not for that strong jaw and that masculine aplomb.

I was seated at my station, taking calls. While the eight hours of non-stop chatter was immensely dragging, I would console myself by stealing a glance at the Queue Desk to see Larry and his pale face beaming.

I’ve been at my job for about a year now, and his, even less. I belonged to an earlier training batch, but even so, he got promoted to Workforce Analyst in a short period of time.

I felt the need to go to the restroom, so I had the chance to call Queue to inform them (I hoped he would be the one to pick up instead of the girls).


“Queue desk, Larry here.”

“Ah, ahm this is Thad. Break...”


“Ay, washroom break pala.”

He laughed.

Great. Nice, going Thad.

I got up from my seat and hauled my ass to the restroom.

Looking at the huge mirror, I adjusted the black sweater I bought a few days back from ukay-ukay.

Heaven and earth.

No, heaven and purgatory, I though wryly.

Larry the 5’8 demigod, with his perfect teeth, ruler-straight nose, and sharp fashion sense. Me, (all 5’6 of me) with my tragic outfit that once belonged to someone else, my less-than-sophisticated sensibilities, and timid demeanor.

Ok, so I wasn’t exactly bad looking. I tried smiling at the mirror- open and friendly. Ugh. I looked like a high school kid on meth. I ruffled my hair and tried to look sexy. Fat chance.

I finally exhaled in frustration and went back to my station.


Is it just me?

I could’ve sworn he was looking my way. I turned slyly to my side and pretended to write something on my notebook. Don’t look!

I looked. Yup, he’s definitely looking.

“You’re imagining things, weirdo.” I chided myself.

When it came to my one hour break, I opted not to go to the drop-off like the rest of my mates who went for a smoke. The 12th floor was recently opened, and the new facilities included a billiard table, a foozeball table, and a very cozy couch. I wanted to nap for a bit at the new Rec Room before returning to my toxic calls.

I sat down at the edge of the couch, alone. The recreation room was dark (it was 2:00am) and chilly, so I wrapped my sweater around me and drifted off to sleep.

I had this feeling of something warm next to my thighs. I realized, there was someone who sat beside me. My heart pounded.

The person shifted, causing his thighs to rub against mine. Curious, I stole a glance to his side. The room was only illuminated by the faint glow of street lights below- and his silhouette was unmistakable: short spiky hair, sharp nose, and tiny bow lips.

It was Larry.

His eyes were open, but I couldn’t really tell if he was looking at something. He just sat there beside me in that couch, as silent as he was still.

Eventually I had to get up and get back to work. When I sat down, I still could not shake the feeling that someone from Queue desk was watching me.


“There’s this guy.”

“Uhuh.” My seatmate nodded.

“He… well he doesn’t really do anything like talk with me, but he keeps doing things.” I confided.

She raised an eyebrow.

“He passes by my station on purpose on his way to the restroom, even though it would take him longer versus going straight from the Queue desk aisle to CR.”

“And then I catch him looking at me during the shift.”


“Alright, let me ask you this, do Workforce Analysts have fixed breaks?”

“I don’t think so.”

“That’s the other thing! Whenever I take my break- even when it was moved repeatedly during schedule change, he is always at the Rec Room the same time I’m there!”

“Maybe it’s just a coincidence.”

“He sits beside me even when the couch is empty and he could’ve sat on the opposite side.”

Now my friend leaned over in interest.


Our conversation was interrupted by our supervisor who signaled we should leave the locker area and prepare for calls.

We hurried to our stations. I took a seat in a station hidden from view from the Queue desk. Just as I guessed, Larry passed by and spoke to the manager whose station was closest to mine. I tried not to look at his face as he stood there with his hands on his waist.

It was the third night of us playing the you-look-at-me-and-I-look-at-you game.


I made up my mind. I was going to gather up my courage and speak with him. Make friends, or beg him to stop sitting beside me at the rec room (like a piece of delicious pie I can never have a piece of), anything but this torturous silence of not knowing.

I took calls for an hour, and kept glancing at Queue desk. Larry wasn’t there. Perhaps, he swapped with another Analyst, I thought. Maybe he is to come in an hour later.

At 2:00am I went to take my one hour break. I slept alone in the rec room. When I got back, I tried to casually ask my Team Manager:

“Karen, isn’t Larry supposed to be in tonight (I knew he wasn’t off till the next evening)?”

“I’m not sure Thad.” She said.

But Larry did not show up during that shift. Or the next.

The pantry was abuzz with the latest news. HSBC was hiring, and Larry was among those who were pirated. It was rumored that they offered almost double of what they were earning.

I slumped back in my chair, feeling like I’ve lost something precious. I know it was silly because we never even really talked- I never really knew if my crush also took a liking in me.

When my shift ended I lethargically stuffed all my things into my locker, and walked to the elevator. The door slid open and the handsome chinito inside smiled at me.

“Yes.” I said, revived and smiling like an idiot.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Good news, Bad news

1.78 (about 87-88% equivalent) at 175 total units- that’s my current standing. Seems a little heartbreaking that my 1.6 cumulative GWA had slipped since the last collegiate year.

Sayang, kasi it would have mattered when applying for a good school for Medicine next year, aside from NMAT scores. The good news is that I have about 57 units to go starting with the Psychiatric affiliation this summer. Kaya pa kaya ang 1.75 overall average???

I guess I need to try a little harder.

Two Cents from an Older Me

Dear Thadie,

This is you from the future, and I’ve wanted to stress a few points to help you get by. First off sweetie, cute as you are now, stop hoping you’d grow taller. Enough with that Xiang xiang herb or jumping up and down on New Year’s. Hopeless. Your epiphysial plates have long closed, and it’s time to give it up. Being tall is so overrated anyway.

Second, move away from that Shampoo-in Haircolor- your black hair looks fine on you! If you continue, your hair will fall off from damage (gulp!) and you’ll look like a tired Japayuki with brassy brown hair.

Unless one is a Panda, the color of the face should match the color of the décolleté. Remember that as you methodically massage your moisturizer each night.

Stop buying contacts ‘cause your eyes will never be blue! Except maybe, if you develop cataracts later in life. (Not good.)

Keep swimming every weekend because that’s the only thing that keeps you from becoming fat. At your height, you’d look like a teddy bear, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

Be nice, be generous when you can. Quit being a bitch, sweetie. Being a doctor/ writer/ resort owner won’t happen by magic. I’m still working on it, and you should start working on it because those things won’t happen by magic. Look in the mirror, you’re no Cinderella.

Go to church every Sunday, no excuses. That’s the only thing that’ll keep you sane.

Cherish your friendships and relationships- they’ll keep you persevering. Stop being shallow! Being vain is ok, unless you spend your last cent at Debbenhams with a scarf you can’t afford.

Thadie, just do your best, don’t overuse shampoo, and take it easy.


YFYOS (your-fourty-year-old-self)


It’s spelled Debenhams you dumb bitch!


Friday, March 6, 2009

Thong Torture

I had on my new Adidas running shoes, and was feeling quite good. It was early in the morning, and I just simply threw on my shorts and white T-shirt, XpressMusic phone, and started jogging to the bayside avenue from our house (the distance approximately the length of Ayala Ave.).

In my rush I forgot to bring money- in case I wanted to get a ride back or perhaps buy pandesal from a bakery; I also neglected to bring a bottle of water. The twist, in this otherwise regular Saturday, is that underneath, I was wearing a thong.

I don’t really know what got into me. It was black, 15% Lycra, the style entirely unforgiving (unlike modest trunks that can still flatter a less-than-sculptured shape) - with a few hairs that don’t normally see daylight, peeking. Not to mention my family jewels slightly being squished. The back part was no more than strings that formed a “T”. I felt kind of sexy and silly, having this little secret concealed inside my shorts. I smiled to myself.

Midway to the Astrodome, I felt a little uncomfortable, like having this pronounced, perennial wedgie. A wedgie, that unfortunately cannot be fixed. “Don’t mind it, keep jogging!” I told myself.

About three fourths to my destination, I was forced to slow down. Oh my, it felt like it was beginning to chafe. Drat! I couldn’t keep still, I kept turning my butt this way and that. Shit! I have no money to ride a jeep back home, which means I have to walk back- and in my condition, it seemed like the Bataan Itch March.

So anyway, I waddled home muttering under my breath. “Never wear a thong when jogging, got it!” I went straight to my room as I got home. As I tossed it to the laundry basket, I made a mental note: thongs- excellent for foreplay, bad for horseplay.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Room with a View or Fastfood with Greasy Fries

For the record, I’m allowing myself the luxury of 20 minutes of guilt-free blogging as a way to blow off steam. I have two more Final exams tomorrow, and I haven’t slept in two days- I know I shouldn’t waste my time but screw it…

Woolf said a woman needs a room of her own if she is to write fiction, Thadie says he needs fastfood junk to study Curative and Rehabilitative Nursing! Oh but I don’t limit myself, no Sir. Sometimes you’d find me taking a bite of Chickenjoy at the Jollibee on Zamora overlooking the pier, with notes in hand, sometimes sipping hot coffee and scanning a four inch thick book, or dipping greasy salted fries on a tub of ketchup at Mcdo at 11pm. My veins need caffeine to function, and a whole lot of grease to oil up what’s left of my working neurons.

It is a desperate attempt to cram everything inside my head. Otherwise, we don’t want to resort to the same monkeyshines other students are into. I remember once during a 70 item long quiz, some instructors made a simple mistake of having a section take the examination earlier than everybody else- by noon not only did everyone know of the exact coverage, students actually had all the answers! Students who were brave enough resorted to the classic codigo, but chicken shits like me got torn between going through readings and looking at the answers. In the end, I decided to memorize 50 items by clustering them by fives, (and adding a tune) and answer the rest. So when the exam started, I was humming to myself bdcca-bbcaa-addcb… in three minutes I had but twenty more items to answer. In the end, we all got busted not because someone got caught but because the scores were simply unbelievably high. Imagine, the delinquent suddenly having a near-perfect score, when in comparison, his short quizzes (if at all he attended class) were below passing. Ok, so lesson learned, shenanigans are out of question, and that’s why I’m still at this spot, in this table, at midnight.

Looking around me is like gazing into a mirror: all tables are filled with students and their respective mountains of photocopies and risographed readings, faces distracted, munching on a donut, with earphones firmly in place and wires dangling from their faces. This place is a virtual school canteen in the wee hours of the morning.

Drat, my 20 minutes is over. Adieu!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Yosi Boy

His legs were as thin as bamboo stilts propped on putrid waters,
His skin as dark as burnt clay,
His gait unsteady,
His face impassive as the late afternoon traffic passed him by.

I gazed in mock pity
As his dirty hands touched the glass window,
His eyes pleading,
The boy who sold cigarettes on Avenida begged for a bite of my burger.

Photo: Sidney Snoeck of My Sari-Sari Store

Monday, March 2, 2009

Blood, Needles, and Vajayjays

I acted like a complete ass (or as the British would call it, “arse”) during my first time to assist a delivery.

There I was, looking so important in my grass-green scrubs, gazing intermittently at the glass partition between the delivery room and NICU, making sure my hair was in place. The clinical preceptor was giving an orientation and final instructions, and I just nodded my head and joined murmurs of “Yes, Ma’am!” We were finally out of the classroom and laboratory, away from plastic mannequins and simulated environment. We were finally let loose into the clinical area.

“Gravida 2, 5 cm, her bag of water ruptured already!!” An orderly was wheeling in a pregnant woman in labor, her face contorted in pain.

“Vital signs and FHT now!” Barked our preceptor.

I felt like I was in the middle of Grey’s Anatomy episode (or Scrubs, more like it) as we scrambled to assist the woman to her bed in the labor room. One student took her blood pressure while we get a blanket to cover her lower extremities so we could expose her swollen belly to do Leopold’s maneuver. I could finally hear the baby’s heartbeat through the stethoscope; I counted, then marked the spot for future monitoring.

“BP 130/80 mmHg, the FHT is 130 bpm, contractions regular.” I said, wiping my brow.

“Another patient for C Section! I need two of you to scrub now!” Another patient came in a stretcher, and two students from our group scrambled for their OR gowns and start preparing.

Just as we thought it couldn’t get any worse, our preceptor screamed again. “Multipara, 10 cm already, I need you (pointing at me) and you (pointing at a friend) with me at the delivery room NOW!” The rest, stay with the other patient and monitor the progress of her labor!

“, Ma’am she’s not my patient, my patient is the one at the labor room.” I stammered nervously.

She just glared at me and walked hurriedly to the delivery room. I followed.

“Where’s the whiteboard marker for recording the time of delivery at the whiteboard?” She asked loudly while the patient was being assisted into the Lithotomy position.

My classmate and I looked at each other. “You didn’t tell me about any marker!” I hissed.

“Where is the Methergine ampule? Where are the sutures for the Episioraphy? Where’s your BP ap?”

“Uhmm.. ah.” I looked around in panic.

“Prepare those things NOW!”

And off we went. “Where were you during orientation?” My classmate demanded. “Oh shut up let’s just find those things.”

“Crowning!” The midwife and our clinical preceptor were instructing the mother how to push. Then the midwife did something that would take weeks to disappear from my mind: she took a sharp Mayo scissor and cut the woman’s perineum to widen the birth canal. The woman screamed in pain. Blood oozed.

I felt faint, I thought I’d collapse into the big bucket where they dumped the placentas. I wanted to slide the woman to the side so I could lie down for a while. Kidding.

The baby came out faster than I expected. No observable “internal rotation”, “extension” and all that cardinal movements we memorized in the classroom. The birth itself took no more than a few seconds. Just like that a person was born into this world.



“Inject Methergine 1amp.”

I prepared the medication and administered it via intramuscular route. The woman was almost delirious; she did not even notice I stuck a big needle on her arm. The neonate was brought to the NICU for cord care.

We assisted the woman into her clothes and did the after care. As we watched her being wheeled away in a stretcher, my clinical preceptor asked me:

“Ok, so did you learn anything new in this exposure?”

“Yes Ma’am,” I said as I fanned myself.

“…Listen to instructions.”

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My city, myself

It was a bright, dewy morning at DZR Airport the day I arrived in the city where I grew up in, after a nine-year stay in Manila. Tacloban wasn’t exactly a cosmopolitan city by any stretch of imagination, which was why I was perturbed, returning to a place that seemed entombed in a time capsule where nothing ever changes.

The Tacloban I remember was a noisy, hot city center with shops that sold plastic wares. It had rusty jeepneys and tricycles traversing its veins. It was the city of my younger days, simpler times, and blissful pre-adolescent life free of worries and filled with the thrill of fresh experience and endless possibilities.

I remember I was about eight when we rented our first run-down apartment near Real street. I liked living here better than my father’s hometown, which had even less to be desired. My mom usually tagged me along when she ran errands: a visit to the post office, to PNB just in front of the lovely CAP building with Mc Arthur’s statue up on a podium (back then I thought it was really Mc Arthur’s dead body which they’ve coated with bronze so I usually avert my eyes so I don’t accidentally look at the statue’s impassive face), and later get refreshments from one of those restaurants with formica tables.

I loved growing up here. The first time I ever ate Kiamoy (and hated it) was from Mama’s favorite deli- Lee’s, owned by a myopic old Chinese man. My first hospital duty was with my Mom. Or more accurately, she was on duty while I tagged along. My Mama was a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse at Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center- the biggest hospital in Tacloban at that time. Here, I also met my first best friend, had my first communion at Sto. Nino Church, danced at my first prom at People’s Center, and had my first brush with opulence at Leyte Park during its heyday.

What I remember the fondest were the weekend trips to the beach. The seafood was abundant and cheap. Grilled squid, fish, mussels- they were easy to purchase from the pier which doubled as a market. At sundown outrigger boats, filled to the brim with loud men, would dock and display their catch on huge platters.

As the van I rode from the airport neared home, the first thing I noticed was the skeleton of the new Robinson’s Mall just across our subdivision. The massive structure stood out amongst its neighbors. As I made my way downtown later that afternoon, I passed by several structures that had seemingly sprung out of nowhere: the “Astrodome”, a few glass and steel buildings mimicking those in Cebu and Makati, and a sprinkling of new establishments…

I could not see the pier for outrigger boats, for in its place was a huge Mc Donalds, and right across it, a two-storey Jollibee. Gaisano had a new mall at the heart of the downtown area, and there seemed to be twice the number of people roaming the streets.

I was wrong when I thought the city would never change. In a way, the new, bustling Tacloban is comforting- I rarely get to think about my old life in Manila anymore.

I nearly bumped into a group of young students as I stared at a shop window of one of the new malls. The last time I was on this street, I was a senior high school student. The reflection showed a much older guy dressed differently. My wanderings may have etched a few lines on my face, and I may have lived in different places for some time, but at that moment I knew, I was home.


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