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Archive for the ‘drama’ Category

Metamorphosis

We will be having a party this Saturday at home – for my nephew’s baptismal and my favorite cousin’s 8th birthday. My mom has been preparing for this for months now, buying the needed additional wares one by one and deliberating on the menu.

As part of the preparation, James and I moved the big potted plants around the garage to have some space for the additional tables and chairs for the party. Then I noticed that several leaves of my beautiful heart-shaped leaf gabi had been torn. I suspect that a caterpillar ate the leaves and I was right. With the use of a tingting, James carefully got the caterpillar and placed it on the leaf of a banana plant in a vacant lot beside our home.

I am afraid of caterpillars as once I saw a classmate suffer from allergic reactions to its hair when he tried to collect it for a science project. Valuing my skin, I dare not touch any caterpillar.

But these awful-looking creatures would soon turn into beautiful butterflies. Like some people I know. Or once knew. They started out really awful – spoiled brats with big attitude. Like caterpillars, they devoured money and other persons’ happiness. Now, they’re no longer the bratinellos and bratinellas but they turned out to be mature, kind individuals.

In my case, it is the reverse. I was born very beautiful, cherubic if I may say so. My skin was milky white, my curly locks were golden, my eyelashes very long, my stare very affectionate, yearning. Then the cherub grew to be a falcon. The same milky white skin gave way to thinner built, the golden locks turned deep brown and got straightened (for reasons I do not know), the long eyelashes now outline the sharp eyes that has long cut the throats of annoying people who deserve this falcon’s glare.

But that is just superficial. I used to be very kind. Very timid. Very shy. I was the butt of jokes and I accepted and forgave all pranks against me. Until one day, I got out of the cocoon, with fangs and claws, moving swiftly to strike the person who has the guts to go against me. Words and intelligence became my power. My thoughts moved from the innocent longing for sweet things to hunger for revenge.

I was born a butterfly. And then I turned to a maggot.

But my plight is far better than some. Born as wriggling maggots, feasting on rotten flesh, only to turn into flies, harboring diseases, instrumental to the non-stop cycle of metamorphosis. The people who was born to inflict pain on others, only to grow worse, and give birth to next generation of tormentors.

But my cycle is not yet complete. After passing the board exams, the less-than-100-pounds frame grew to a normal 150 pounds. Muscles were starting to form. The fangs are slowly but surely being fixed by expensive orthodontic devices. Skin is still milky white with support from the latest creams in the market. The hunger for revenge is slowly being replaced by the hunger to help. To be of relevance to the society.

The nights of plots becomes the nights of prayers. And sometimes, of some good loving.

As the cycle never stops, my transformation shall continue, moving from the cherubic baby I once was, to the harpy villain of my school days, to the graceful maturing towards the late twenties.

Be there when it happens, when I unveil the new me. The new Scott Andrada!

Dumbbells: “Bubuhatin mo ba ako o mage emote ka dyan sa salamin buong araw!”

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Limbo

I used to have lots of friends when I was a lot younger. Or at least I considered them as friends. As a popular kid in school, anyone who’d call my name and smile at me was automatically my friend. Everyone in my class, averaging 40 students, was my friends. I even have friends from all year levels.

As my friends, they got to enjoy certain privileges such as answers to tests, different versions of essays on the same topic, access to my notes and assignments, class excuses for programs of clubs in which I was president, forgiveness from the school director since I was the school’s poster boy of academics.

Then one day, as if waking from a dream, they were no longer there. My friends of almost 200 (and those were of pre-Friendster and pre-Facebook days) dwindled to around 2. It was my 18th birthday and a freshman in college. Back when were still in primary and high schools, I would always be the organizer of birthday surprises – from balloons to dedications in colorful cartolinas to cakes which were the fruits of some measly contribution. I thought it would be special on my 18th birthday. Debut ko kaya yun.

But only two came to my classroom on that day. I though the rest would be at my house, ready to surprise me. But I was the one surprised when I got home, no friend was there. I could hear the sounds of crickets in the night.

On my 18th birthday, I woke up from a dream in which many friends love you. Many friends adore you and support you. I woke up to a reality that says your best friend is yourself.

I went through a struggle. I was like a black hole – my own regrets and self-pity sucked all my being into the void. I managed to forget other people’s birthdates, on who was the crush of who, of what color one likes. I focused my energy on myself and myself alone.

I got to meet many people in college but I was always cautious of my feelings for them. No longer can I just fall in love with the idea of friendship. I was once burned by that love. I was once betrayed by my so-called friends. I was abused so many times.

It took a while before I finally admitted to myself that some of my classmates are my friends. It was a relief to finally see the rainbow after the rain, to see the sky after being entombed in a cave. But the light was too much. I was afraid I was being blinded and would later on fall in a trap disguised as friendship.
But I was wrong. My college friends are still my friends even up to now. I even have friends from The Firm. I got accustomed to the light so much that I can see if someone is trying to get close to me for some reasons other than friendship.

The stench of ulterior motives is so strong; I can smell users from afar, like a wildebeest of rain miles away.

I am now in a new group in The Bank. Some of my friends left for greener pastures, the others remained in the other group. Sometimes, I feel lonely that it seems I am a man of no country. I am no longer part of my old group, but I am having hesitation with my new group.

I was lucky to have met my college and Firm friends but I may not be so lucky now. The stench might just be paranoia, my defense walls are always on red alert, my fangs are always ready to hit the jugular.

But it is tiring to be always on the lookout for predators, for user-friendly people.

But I am happy I still have a good number of friends. Though small, my friends are treasured. And I know they treasure me as well.

I am in paradise when I am with them.

But now I am in limbo. In the middle of the sea, senseless if I should continue the journey or come back to shore. I am on Wednesday mode. I am in a middle dream.

And someone, something, has to kick me out of it. For I know, deep inside, this limbo, is not my home.

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The Game

Kahit anong langoy mo, aanurin ka ng agos

Kahit anong kayod mo, di ka makakaahon

Kahit anong pagmamahal gawin mo, di ka naman mamahalin

Kahit anong aral gawin mo, di mo naman maipapasa

Kahit anong ensayo gawin mo, di ka naman mananalo

Kahit anong pagpapaganda gawin mo, di ka naman papansinin

Kahit anong kasipagan ipakita mo, di ka naman pupurihin

Kahit anong paliwanag gawin mo, di ka naman maiintindihan

Kahit anong laban gawin mo, matatalo at matatalo ka rin

Dahil ginawa ang batas ng laro hindi para manalo ang karapat dapat kung di para matalo and mga tulad mo…

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One of the worst, emotionally-challenging moments one like myself can ever get into is to be present when someone accepts an award you know, and some people know, should’ve have been yours.

There is this party where a sort of a beauty contests for male and female employees of the department. Technically, I should not be involved considering my preference but after knowing that some of the ‘male’ contestants are sisters from the confederation, I was excited to jump in.

For a week, I’ve been hearing comments from people I come across in the lobbies and hallways telling me they are excited to see me on stage and that they are very sure I would win not only the Mr Party but also the Ms Party award!

Let me summarize the competition. The best looking guy-gay in the office is one of the organizers so with him out of the contest, I have 70% of winning as we are always compared with each other. Then the second best-looking straight guy, though joined the photo shoot, would not be attending the party. Suplado to the max. I am no longer sure of the next position but I am confident I belong to the upper 5% in the good-looks department. And with my question-and-answer skills, the pageant would just be a walk in the park!

Unfortunately, none of the organizers invited me. Some people were surprised not to see me in the shoot and some people were actually telling me to go to the venue at once for the shoot. But they’re not the organizers. I did not even see the email that supposedly included my name.

These are the same organizers who once invited me to host last year’s Christmas party but only gave me the final program three days before the event! I know, a good host can whip up a good party within seconds of being told, but I saw that gesture as very unprofessional. I also organized parties before and I made sure the hosts and performers are treated like stars – especially if they’re doing it for free. Fast forward, I backed out of the engagement. I take my craft seriously just to be taken unseriously.

This time, was it another show of unprofessionalism at work, or was my beauty not really considered?

Well, this is better than standing in front of your whole school, with only one person beside you, while the Chairman of the Honors Committee was taking her time in announcing who would be the class valedictorian. And it was not me.

Feel me standing there, trying to fake the most genuine smile after it was announced that after all my best grades and co-curricular activities (I was president of 8 out of 10 clubs in that school), I was just not good enough to give the valedictory address. And feel me as I did not know what to do while the valedictorian was beside me then, crying in complete joy.

My consolation – no one in the audience clapped. It was as if they felt my pain. My agony in losing.

I college, I was proclaimed as the University’s Best Debater and Best Speaker. In one debate tournament, I was awarded the 4th Best Speaker in NCR. In my fourth and last year, our college sponsored an awards night where students who are good not only in accounting but in other areas as well would be recognized.

The nominees for the college’s best speaker of the year were announced. All my classmates and friends were shouting out my name. And another debater won the award. The reason – he joined a national debate tournament. He did not win any recognition whatsoever. The organizers just focused on that national tournament he did not even win. The only good part – he is a friend so technically I was happy for him.

Now I know better. I can walk away from the groups who gingerly talk about the pageant. I can focus my attention to other good things that I have. The many blessings I was given.

But I know, no matter how I try to see the glass as half-full, my mind is sarcastically laughing at myself and shouting that it is actually half-empty! Who am I fooling?

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Four people. Four farewells. Four journeys ended. Four journeys started.
—-

Batman, my best buddy in The Bank, has resigned exactly two months ago and today is its effectivity. Batman has always been very nice, extremely nice to me. We were introduced by our boss during my first day in The Bank exactly one year and eleven months ago. He showed me where the four communal printers/photocopiers are located and how to use them. He introduced me to the rest of the team. We were of different clients then and really have not much to talk about aside from the fact that we use the same roads when going home so the usual topic was the traffic.

When I joined his group for lunch, only then did we become close. Also, it was almost the same time when I would be moving to his sub-team and we will be handling the same set of clients. I have known him to be very professional. He is always ready to help, to answer questions without hesitation even if you’ve asked the very same question thrice already and you just didn’t remember the answer! He has decided to move on professionally and join another big company in Libis. He has always been fond of that place.

I am always lucky for all the friendship that I have and thus I cherish them very much. Especially with straight men who doesn’t mind being friends with gays like me. There was nothing romantic between us, but I would always be very grateful for his support! May the Batman never be in the dark. We wish him the best for he deserves it.

The Nightingale joined us a little after my 6th month in The Bank. She replaced a colleague who resigned. Her job was to perform the functions of several people in several locations with different systems, but all within the same time frame. She was the pioneer in this kind of set-up. She stumbled and fell along the way, but she continued to stand up and get going. Soon, she was an authority in her processes. Her knowledge spans many locations, so many systems, even professionals who had longer stay than her ask her questions and she was able to help all the time.

She should have been recognized for her achievements. For her contributions. Without ever showing remorse, she continued to perform and deliver. Until she decided it was time to move on.

Today is her last day, too. But as expected, she is still busy helping her colleagues.

I am a very competitive person which sometimes leads to a very insensitive, brutal me. I never thought there could be someone who is so genuinely nice. So perfectly kind. I believe I just met that person. And fortunate enough to be her friend. We wish her all the love in the world.

I mentioned in a previous entry that I have no religion but I definitely believe in God. James is catholic and both of us regularly attend masses every Sunday. In our village’s parish church, one priest always preside during the hour we usually attend. I did not like him at first. I always commented that his speech did not give justice to how important his homily is. I always considered him a poor public speaker.

After some months, I noted changes. Big changes. His speeches are now very concise, direct to the point, digestible. The priest is growing on me. I began to laugh at his jokes. To smile after his every speech. But last night, he said that it would be his second-to-the-last mass as he is going back to the US. I felt true sadness. I clapped my hands after his announcement – that is my best way to thank him for helping all of us, spiritually. He will definitely continue his work and we wish that may he be able to help more people with his preaching.

Last night, James and I watched Probe : Ang Aming Kuwento. I thought it was a documentary of how the Probe Team started out and been around for decades. Then we noticed that the names of the persons speaking show their positions in Probe and some of them had their tenure ended June 2010. I asked James if Probe Team is wrapping up and he said probably they will just have a new format or something. I also thought so. The Probe Team is an institution. Cheche Lazaro, a legend. An icon. They will never close doors.

But I was wrong. Even the longest written epic had an end.

Before taking up accountancy, I first wanted to do Mass Communications with Cheche Lazaro as my supreme ideal. I took up a business course instead and I still look up to her. One day, I would be able to help my country in a big way and leave my prints in the country’s history – just like what Cheche did.

Cheche said she would like to be a full-time grandmother to her grandson. Finally, she is turning her back to one of Philippine media’s greatest career history. She is saying goodbye to the limelight, in exchange for time. Time to be with her family.

Where is the good in goodbye but only in the journey that is about to start…

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I had experienced opposite feelings towards my family this week. This entry would be made up of two short servings of my complicated family tree.

Last Thursday, I received a rare text message from my not-so-dear brother asking me if I could give in to his request to have me as a co-maker of a loan he was applying for. Without intentionally bragging, my credit standing is far better than his considering that the only enforceable financial liabilities I have are my credit charges, which are kept within limits and settled promptly; as compared to him who was almost brought to court due to his inability to settle his credit card bills on time. Social climber to the max kasi. In fact, I took out my very first bank loan to help pay a portion of his debt and it took me a year to pay it! He never paid me back or said thank you. Ganda diba? Going back to his text, my quick answer in my head was ‘no’. James told me to sugarcoat it a little by lying that I would be getting a loan myself soon, etc. I do not owe my brother any explanation. I did not reply and completely ignored his message. My silence means no.

Saturday morning, I asked my mom if brotherhood of evil mutants was suffering from financial incapacity, again. She answered no and I told her about the loan. She said it was because brotherly was getting a car! At may condo pa sya na binabayaran sa Pag-ibig (I’ll post another story about this soon) so I said that I would not be his loan’s co-maker.

The price I paid – nagdabog ang nanay ko buong araw and obviously she was hurt by my decision since she was cold to me the whole day.

—-

The same Saturday, James and I went to Galleria to get new prescription glasses for him. Before we went home, we dropped by a newly-opened café in the middle of The Village. The place was very nice, with ambience better than Starbucks, with more items in the menu but sadly, lesser varieties of coffee. I shouted this out in my Facebook account and then Tita Zhang Ziyi (my father’s first wife) commented that she knows the place. I started to chat with her and learned that her youngest brother is part-owner of the café and that her family, my dad included, would be there on Sunday for the blessings ceremony. Wow! What a small world. I am happy that I still have communication with my dad’s family especially with Tita Zhang.

Tita Zhang has always been very kind to me especially during my teen-age years when I spent more time with them. She even apologized to me for hating me when she learned of my existence and asked for my understanding for she was hurt with my dad’s betrayal. Soon, she realized, it was never my fault. There was no reason for me to hate her, though. In fact, I think, I am more attached to her than with my dad. Probably because Tita Zhang was very motherly to me. I told her the next time they visit; it’s going to be my treat!

Just barely a week, I suffered from opposing poles of emotions. I wish my brother would start acting like an intelligent human being and huwag lang puro tambay sa sauna ng Fitness First! Sorry at badtrip lang talaga ako pag ako ang nagmumukhang kontrabida. And I wish The Café success for our experience was fantastic. We will bring Samantha and Contessa, our dogs, there next time.

On the record, this is my latest, or earliest, or latest, blog entry I ever posted. Signing off at exactly 12.35 Sunday morning.

Good night and good morning everyone!

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Salamat salamat musika!

I believe there three most powerful sentences in the world – ‘I love you’, ‘I am sorry’ and ‘Thank you’. But of all three, the most used but the least meant, I believe, is ‘Thank you’.

Whenever I pass the coins of a fellow passenger in jeeps or FX, I yearn to hear those words. Some even push the coins so hard on your palms or shove the bills in your face, as if passing the fare to the driver is but a responsibility the non-performance of which can be held as a case in court thus the neglect to say ‘thank you!’ Or say it but sounds as if the words came out of their nostrils rather than their mouths. Sabi ko baka French kasi nasal. Di naman.

But of course, all of us have different ways of saying it. I remember X-Men: The Animated Series episode where Professor X helped Juggernaut recover and the latter left without thanking the good man (or mutant) and Professor X said that Juggernaut’s not fighting back is his way of saying thank you.

I am not a Catholic nor do I belong to any religion. But I believe in God, the Holy Trinity. I am greatly indebted to the Good Lord in many ways, one of which was for my CPA license. When I was reviewing, I felt the need to pass the board not for myself, but for my family. The license, together with honors in class and my fluency would help me land a good job and be able to help my family. He helped become what I am now. And I am very thankful to Him. Aside from telling Him my gratitude every chance I get, I show how I appreciate the blessings by helping others – helping my family live as comfortably as I can.

My family in turn is very thankful for this. They never fail to thank me for all that I can share. I give more than half of my pay to my mom to take care of household things; I think I even give more than what my dear brother does despite the large disparity in our salaries (he is a manager so I expect his salary to be at least three times that of mine). Sometimes I question the arrangement. At my age, I am not used to going to bars or other party places. Not because I do not want at first but because my budget would not permit me to therefore I started to dislike the idea of partying as normal gay guys of my age enjoy doing.

I ask that how come I no longer buy shoes when I moved to The Bank as compared to when I was still with The Firm despite the increase in my salary. Answer: I spend it on other things like appliances, higher utility bills, infant milk.

I fear that I am not enjoying the fruits of my labor in a way I really wanted it to. I fear that when I grow older, like turn 40, only then can and will I start to do things which are no longer appropriate for my age. I fear that I am running out of time, and resources, for myself.

After posting those questions, I think of how our lives have been better compared before. That my mom no longer have to work and can cook everything she wants without thinking twice about the ingredients and materials. That my sister does not have to put it up with her useless husband for I can provide for her and her two kids. That my nephews do not have to salivate whenever they see things they like to eat because with so much food at home, they sometimes even shy away from snacks.

I thank the Lord for blessing me with a license. I always say without being blasphemous that the Lord decided to let me pass was because – ‘kawawa naman tong baklang to pag hindi nakapasa, di na ito magtatake ulit, kaya ipapasa ko na to!’

Hay,

I am thankful that I was born in a gay-friendly era. Imagine kung pinanganak ako ng panahon ng hapon. Can’t imagine!

Thank you for the rainbow. Thank you for the fairy dust. Thank you for music

I thank you! Bow!

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