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Archive for July, 2010

As early as I could remember, I knew for a fact that I was gay. As a young child, I never liked toy cars or balls or GI Joe figures. I would always have to put up a smile whenever I tear the wrappings of the gifts away and find out someone gave me an RC car for goodness sake. I didn’t care if it was Ferrari or that I am the only one in the neighborhood who has it and that the person who gave it to me (which was my dad) had it even imported from the States. I just did not find the joy in those toys. But after all the guests have gone home, after all the dishes have been washed and stashed away in the cupboard, my favorite tita and ninang would give me her gift inside her bedroom – a box full of glossy, crisp paper dolls! Now, that was what I called a gift!

One of my mom’s friends weren’t able to attend my 7th birthday party then so instead he took me and my mom to SM Cubao’s toy store. He told me he’d buy me anything I want. I verified whether he was sincere and he said he was. So without thinking twice, I went straight to the Barbie section! In front of the towering stack of Barbie in pristine boxes – Barbie in wedding gowns, Barbie in haute couture, Barbie as cowgirls – I chose what I want. My first and only Barbie.

But you’d definitely say that some straight boys play with girl toys, too. Yeah, but no straight boy would feel something romantic towards another boy. I did. I had. I do.

My crushes ranged from cute cousins to basketball players to Rustom Padilla (pre-Bibi days) to Lee Brennan. I fell in love with straight men. I wore make-up and semi-fit blouses to school. Ang pagdadalaga ni Scott Andrada.

Then one day, I grew tired of girl toys. I grew tired of running after straight men. I grew tired of wearing make-up and colorful blouses. Before passing the board exams in 2004, I looked totally different. I looked less gay but gay just the same.

Today, I no longer admire straight men and can be perfectly objective with them around. I now admire my own kind. Gays. Cannibalism nga raw. Today, I am living the life of a gay yuppie – always working, seldom playing, persistently dreaming.

In the future, mag cu-cut na lang ako ng ribbons for gala premieres, will sponsor charity dinners for animal welfare groups. And ensure that one gay, one Scott Andrada, once stood on this earth and left his mark, his legacy, to the next generation of young badings!

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I had a friend in primary school who was very good about capital cities and we called him the ‘Walking Atlas’. The other was very good in math and he was dubbed as the ‘Walking Calculator’. The titles as the ‘Walking Encyclopedia’ and ‘Walking Dictionary’ were ferociously fought over by two persons vying for the valedictory address – a girl and a gay. The girl is now an architect. The gay is a Certified Public Accountant. And the owner of this blog.

Of the two titles, I know I am the walking dictionary. A lexicographer. Not because I am very good with English words, but because just like what a dictionary does to a word, I provide meaning to every single event in my life.

I was already in love with James then when we were still in college and I really had a genuine feeling he had the affection for me based on the way he looked and talked to me. But one good friend (who looks like Cogie Domingo) told me I was imagining things. James was just being nice to me. I was giving ‘meaning’ to something meaningless. That was when I started to be conscious of what I am doing.

James and I are still together now so the ‘meaning’ I thought back then must’ve been correct. I thought there was a meaning to my boss’ treatment of me when she gave me triple an auditor’s workload. She would later on promote me.

But oftentimes, Cogie was right. I gave meaning to things which are basically senseless. A smile was thought to be an appreciation – but in fact, only a facial contortion to take out a morsel between two teeth. Super delayed FX meant only a magical escape from accident when you were just meant to be late.

It is tiring to even try to understand why a person does what he does, says what he says. It is tiring to read between a blogger’s lines and find out the beautiful person beneath. It is tiring to look for the one peso that is causing your Cash Flow Statement to not agree with the Cash portion of your Balance Sheet.

But I think it is worth it. It is worth to give meaning to everything. To find meaning in being. To understand what it truly means.

By the way, the girl graduated valedictorian and the gay as salutatorian in primary school. In secondary school, another girl graduated valedictorian (she is now a computer engineer) and the same gay as salutatorian, again. In college, the gay thought he would graduate Magna Cum Laude, only to graduate as Cum Laude. Is the gay only born to be a trying-hard, copy-cat, second-best?

There is a meaning why he never got the first prize in school. Perhaps in life he will. I am still looking for the word to best describe it, though.

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My mom always said that she doesn’t have any material riches that she can give us but if there is one thing that she is proud to have given me is the love for books. My mom is a college undergraduate but she is very smart about science, math and current events because she reads a lot. So for this Wednesday, allow me to share with you my top ten most favorite books of all time.

1. Cost Accounting by Barfield – a very thick accounting book that I think is the only accounting subject I excel in.
2. The Brothers Bishop by Bart Yates – a story of two gay brothers and how their love for each other would keep them sane after their mother’s death.
3. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy especially the Two Towers – almost blinded me for the text was so small, the words were so old English and the names so hard to remember!
4. Kept – a story of prostitution, love and misery of a lady escort
5. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown – the details of objet d’art and architecture brought me to those places.
6. A Memoir of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle – I read the shorts from time to time because it gets to be a little too predictable but enjoyable just the same
7. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – I remember this story whenever I get to feel any discontent with whatever I have
8. Malate by F Sionil Jose – a perfect story of rising from poverty and taking revenge the classy way
9. Harry Potter Series especially The Half-blood Prince – do I need to say more?
10. The Bible – it softens even the hardest hearts, it solves even the most profound problems, it inspires even during the darkest hours.

Now, I would have to get a reservation for Ilustrado by Syjuco!

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A so-SONA

Before anything, let me put forth that I am no fan of the Aquinos and that I consider Marcos as one of the leaders who gave true development to the Philippines. I say this so as to be clear that no matter how much I try to see the good in Noynoy and his State of the Nation Address (SONA) to appear at least a tad objective, I still fail.

So while most people were glued to their TV screens yesterday, I opted to go with my work and wait for a transcript that I can read in peace minus the sip-sip applause from his allies. And good thing I did not waste my time hearing it live for again, he is a disappointment.

He spent almost half his SONA telling people how depressing the fiscal status of the Philippine government was upon his ascension to the throne. He mentioned that people in GOCCs were paid much more than even the more burdened laborers. He said that a big chunk of the calamity fund was diverted to a lone district in Pampanga. He even went on to discuss the per diem of each director during meetings. As I read his speech, I was asking myself – am I reading his very first SONA or the latest management report of an amateur auditor? I believe even a junior audit associate can present a better, more effective report.

But what I was really asking was why he was spending almost half his speech time showing how bad the previous president has performed. Again, mudslinging. The very thing he did during the elections. “Vote for me because the others are corrupt never mind if I am really not a leader!”

Was he saying all those things to get sympathy? To send the message that in case he does not deliver on his promises he has the past administration’s wrongdoings to blame? Was he again creating division among the people?

He mentioned in his speech that we should be vigilant lest some people get back to power. Am I looking at an insecure president whose term would be plagued by ghostly coup d’etat or imaginary plots? The people would watch your every move Mr. President because when GMA was sworn into office after Erap stepped down, she was revered, as in revered, by many as the icon of truth, of transparency. And then what? She was the total opposite. What would you be after six years Mr. President? A puppet of your vice-presidential partner who lost and would probably use your ‘friendship’ to review null votes and place him as your second-in-command? Or a president who always wants the people’s sympathy so critics would stay back and love your term like some telenovela your sister is fond of doing?

Another question I asked was ‘where were you Mr. President when all these alleged anomalies were made?’ ‘Have you done anything to curb the then continuous ‘reign of corruption’ at least in the GOCCs? Or it took you this long to realize these?

He mentioned steps to alleviate the poor status of the country but unlike his allegations, his plans lacked the quantitative information we can use to objectively gauge his performance until his next SONA.

He mentioned filing of cases against individuals but fell short in mentioning when can we expect justice to be served? Or would their cases be like that of his father who still has to see the light of justice, or is it really the case?

I can go on forever criticizing every single point he made (I was not one of PUP’s grand debater-speakers for nothing) but allow me to cite the Truth Commission as my last argument. As Fidel Ramos was quoted in saying ‘puro na lang ba tayo imbestigasyon?’

Cory did not deliver true progress because she was stuck with the past. She took the whole nation in that limbo for the investigation on Marcos. I hope Noynoy would not prove to be an apple falling not far from the tree.

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Have I shared before how much I just love the rain? For some, rain gives them the gloom, for me, it gives me the pure happiness as the cold wind touches my skin, as the raindrops fall on the roof, as the water refreshes the earth…

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Last Saturday, while playing with my dogs and waiting for my afternoon siesta sleep to kick in, I heard the long, guttural voice of a man that whatever he might say, that voice surely means one thing – taho!

Taho, or soycurd pudding for the uber sosyal, has been part of Filipino culture. No one, I mean no Filipino can ever say that he or she has not had tasted taho ever. Even those living in super-rich villages where Manong Magtataho is not allowed to sell his goods, would have grown curious of the wonderful snack (or breakfast when I was still in audit – yeah, so while some yuppies in Ayala back when I was still a junior associate were holding cups of Starbucks coffee and drinking while walking, I was holding a cup of taho, gulping while walking!) and tried it as some specialty stores sell it.

When I was a kid in San Juan, Manong Magtataho was an elderly Chinese man who was still strong enough to hold two containers of taho – taho on one side, sago or tapioca, and caramel on the other, balanced by a thin but sturdy piece of wood. He would always stop by our house because me and my two siblings would be ready with our mugs for our morning’s supply of taho. My brother would always have the taho, just the taho, he said the caramel would ruin his teeth. Whatever! My sister would have the taho and lots of sago. And me? You guessed it irght! Half taho, half caramel! I would always eat the taho from the top until I reach the pure caramel at the bottom (it settles as it is heavier) as opposed to others who mix the two together with a spoon.

Then one day, Manong Magtataho no longer came. The news was he was too old to carry the heavy stuff. We also grew out of the taho, favoring what was trendy then – the fruit shakes with sago.

Then last Saturday, I remember the familiar taste. The familiar sweetness. Before, my mugfull of taho would only cost my mom P5, now it cost me P30! And Manong Magtataho in the Village no longer carries his tubs – he now has a bike!

Let this post be a toast to one of the greatest childhood experience of every Filipino, a salute to the industrious, enduring and well-loved magtataho!

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I had been very fond of M. Night Shyamalan (Manoj Nelliyatu Shyamalan in real life) and his movies until The Last Airbender. Sixth Sense was his first movie that I got to watch and that kept me on the edge of my seat. Next was The Signs and after that I was very afraid of looking at a turned-off TV screen! I was still in college when I saw The Village and it was so scary but what was disturbing was the community’s way of life in the middle of a nature reserve. Then there was The Lady in the Water which I think somewhat resembles M. Night’s directing style in The Last Airbender. Then I saw The Happening and though I thought it was not as good as its predecessor movies, I liked it because its story was unique. Who could’ve thought that plants can take revenge at such a large scale? But TLA is the biggest disappointing movie of 2010 for me, so far.

Primarily, the actors’ acting skills were misplaced. The casting crew should’ve thought better than to cast Dev Patel as Prince Zuko. Was he inducted in that character solely based on looks because the firebenders look as if they are of Indian-Arabic descent? This is another facet I did not like because again, it has a subliminal message to the young. Nicola Peltz’s Katara was superbly…OA! Noah Ringer’s Aang showed a face that was trying its best to imitate the fluid movements of the cartoon character. Yes, yes, the material was based on cartoons but the main audience of the movie were young adults and professionals who are looking for a bit more mature rendition of the Nick’s series.

Aslo, the guards had poker faces! As in I felt Lady Gaga would soon come out (and her costumes would really fit the movie!) and sit her well-loved song! It was as if watching one poorly made Pinoy action movie where the policemen were placed on the scene solely for the purpose of delivering a line or two without any minute effort to act it out.

Worse, the action scenes were so poorly choreographed you can see how the actors stopped and waited for the other actors to start throwing them around! I thought the effects would be enough to mask the otherwise dismal acting but it was not enough!

I have heard very poor reviews of the movie but just the same I wanted to see it for myself. For P170 ticket at Greenbelt 3, good thing I did not choose to watch it in the P300 3D theatre. That would surely hurt.

To M. Night, I really love your work. Everyone goes through a stage when you do your poorest performance (that was usually on my second grading period) but I hope you can put your acts together and give us something worth trooping back to the cinemas.

TLA only showed the First Book : Water. There are other books I suppose. Would the series get better like The Twilight Saga or would the project just be shelved like the others?

Well, TLA’s done with. Now excited to see Salt. Anyone up for a movie trip?

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