Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Ze Blanc Party!

Had a busy day and that will be the pattern for the next few weeks traveling to Mindoro, Isabela, Bohol, Negros and South Cotabato. I will have a very busy (a BIG understatement) July and there's no salvation... except my Coron trip on July 15 to 18. Looking forward to it so much that I want to look for Murphy and lock him up before those dates. Haha!

The White Party in Malate was a lot of fun last Saturday night. Seeing all those non-heterosexuals, I made a joke to my friends that at this rate humankind will be extinct in a hundred years!

I never really "dressed up" for any party before nor wear a costume and this time I decided to uphold the theme of the party and, as suggested by my friend Sarah went as a Seaman. Yup, gay men and women love seamen. Pun intended!

Marilyn, a Seaman and Two Mermaids in fishnets!
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Sarah was simply stunning, divine and a head-turner in her Marilyn Monroe costume. Don't you think so? Everyone (man, woman, gay, lesbian, young and old; you name it!) just couldn't stop staring at her and say:

Oh.. Marilyn!
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A Pride Celebration will never be complete without a "Drag Show" or Men Dressed as Women (but more gorgeous, hehe!) or Women's Clothes with Men Underneath... Haha! This is fun! Anyway it started with a repertoire from the movie Chicago and the crowd cheered the performers on! What crossed my mind was: "These people are very talented and brave. Are those in the audience, like me, (who have never been in drag) applauding because of the great show or because we won't be caught dead being in drag. I think it's both: I lack the talent and the guts to do it!

Them Gurls!
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Diana Rose (get the drift?)
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Marilyn and a Gurl
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Me and a Babe (told you they love seamen)
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Boys united, cannot be divided! On the bottom or the top when we go we go pop! (Boy Pop by Book of Love). This song kept playing on my mind while watching the gogo boys strutting their bodies on the stage. This fallen angel rocks! I wouldn't mind falling with him! Ha ha!

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After a whole weekend of partying, it's time to work and then next weekend: Dive and Windsurf.

Life could be fair sometimes. Hehe.

Thanks Sarah for the camera and some of the pictures.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

A night of confounded recollections...

The THX cinema proved to be a disappointing venue for the big Pride weekend celebration, dubbed as the Circuit Asia a'Manilahhhh party. I really don't know what went wrong but it felt like people seem to be more interested in posing than partying. Scott Bolton's performance was okay but everything was not as expected when DJ Joe Gauthreaux started spinning those heart-thumping beats, at least from my perspective. In my case I achived my goals: dance, dance and enjoy the night :)

In the blur of laser lights, smoke, sweaty bodies, abs, flabs, muscles and the pounding music my mind drifted to thoughts of love, death, sacrifice, patience, tolerance, despair, frustration, hope, happiness, contentment and so many other things. Or was it someone else having those thoughts?

Tonight on to the WHITE PARTY!!!

Party people: Leif, Aris, Al, Rei and our ultimate fag hag Maan!

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Sherwin, Me, Scott Bolton (the Stud Muffin and a very apt title!) and Aris
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Me Tarzan and him Buds
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Friday, June 24, 2005

Celebrate your sexuality!

I still believe in ever after, with you
Cause life is a pleasure with you by my side
And there ain’t no pourin', in this rainbow weekend ride
I still believe in ever after, with you
- EVER AFTER by Bonnie Bailey

It's time to let your hair down, wear your dancing shoes and leave all worries behind. Tonight starts one of the most awaited celebration of gaydom. The Circuit Asia a'MANILAhhhhh... party will open the Pride Weekend.

Suggested mantra for tonight: I got my pride and no one's gonna take it away.

Can't say more but say it loud and proud:

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

I wanna be where the boys are but I'm not allowed...

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This is the opening line of the song Boy by my favourite band Book of Love whose music is described as synth-pop and new wave.

Struggling with my sexuality in the 80s, I found refuge in Book of Love's songs that most people would say was "gay-oriented". I used to toy with the Boy's chorus: I'm not a Boy... which was fun knowing that people around me would just remember me singing the chorus of a song that was popular at that time. What's even more funny was most of them just thought it was a woman's song about wanting to go to a boy's bar but she can't. Back then, deep inside me I knew it was referring to a woman's frustrations of falling in love with a gay boy without any hope of reciprocation. Perhaps the funniest conclusion the song has is that the woman accepts the fact that she can't be loved by a gay guy as reflected in the last stanza of the song: "... now it's alright without those boys, I stay at home at night and I play with my toys..." Poor girl!!!

Their song Pretty Boys and Pretty Girls heralds the age of awareness, society's (both heterosexual and homosexual) acceptance that AIDS/HIV is something serious and awareness is the first weapon we have against it. Book of love performed in a big celebration for AIDS charity in New York and this was part of their repertoire.

One of their songs in the same album called Witchcraft contains the ingredients for a love potion. I wrote the words on the board once and got a scolding from my Theology teacher in UST. I can still hear her: Do you practice witchcraft? The devil works in deceiving ways, you should pray! That would be one of my funniest and most memorable experiences in college. Hahaha!

In their last album Love Bubble (1993) you can use your wildest imagination why this title was chosen and what most of the songs are about. They even have a song called Boy Pop with the chorus: On the bottom or the top when we go we go pop!

But book of love is not all about sex and sexuality. They do have a lot of songs dealing with love, ambiguity of feelings and generally sunny songs. I still listen to them and, after all these years, they still rock!

Rainbow weekend

Thursday... a day before the much awaited A'MANILAhhhh... Circuit Asia Party (hope I got that right) in celebration of Gay Pride.

I remember the first ever Manila Gay Pride Celebration which turned out to be my big coming out party. Walked around with my boyfriend Jörgen and we were interviewed by local and international television. To make the long story short our interview was shown here and abroad which elicited various reactions from family and friends. It was fun though, and LIBERATING!

HAPPY PRIDE to everyone!

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I was quite disappointed waking up this morning and finding myself in Manila instead of in Anilao or in Donsol. I was dreaming of diving last night from seeing nudibranchs to swimming with mantas and whale sharks.

The experience I had with the mantas and whale sharks a few months back was surreal, even karmic. I could still picture in my head the turbid waters of Manta Bowl and the raging currents that make you HEAR the rush of water while you try to stay put. I could still see the mantas gently and gracefully flapping their wings without much effort at all to stay in place. I could still remember the biggest one which glided and inspected us from above. The pictures speaks for itself, enough said.

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Seeing the whale sharks though require a lot of waiting, jumping off the boat, swimming as fast as you can, looking into the silty waters and waiting for the unmistakable silhouette with white spots, swimming faster to keep up with these gentle giants, getting on the boat and more waiting. I had to wear a weight belt to be able to go underwater easily to take pictures. There was a time a 9-metre whale shark was obviously investigating me with its eye. I felt so much of an intruder then, bothering his or her morning feeding. How would we feel if somebody takes pictures of us while having our meals without asking permission?

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Next year, I will try to visit Donsol and Manta Bowl again. Any takers?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Emotional rollercoaster

"Well it's not for me to say, but I can't see what you see in him anyway. But such righteousness in me is not a nice thing to display. Who am I for Christ's sake anyway, to judge a life this way when my own's in disarray?" - TWO STAR by Everything But The Girl

Wondering why I decided to be nostalgic now... maybe it's the food I ate.

Before I continue with my incoherent musings, I have to say I enjoy writing here. Aside from the fact that I type faster than I write, I guess it's the fact that my thoughts are shared to other people in one way or another.

Everything But The Girl

One of my favourite bands. Most of their songs have been part of my emotional upheavals while some have been part of my celebration of love, life and relationships. This song has been a personal favourite, not because I have too many broken relationships (because I don't) but because the song looks inward as well. I have to be honest that this was my song for a very long time since I had to convince myself that I should get on with my life after I broke up with someboady.

I guess most of us who just broke up with somebody feel that we are victims. Yet when we take a second look, the person we loved might be feeling that way too. WAIT! I am not trying to be a therapist here so I should not really elaborate on this further.

Now that I've started about relationships and love, let me continue a bit more. The question "Why do you love me?" always puts me in an awkward situation. It's cliche but love is not something you explain. I could probably recite Elizabeth Barrett Browning's sonnet but I would be like my father who used a compilations of sonnets and poems to court my mom (obviously he succeeded, hehe!).

I know a song from Everything But The Girl describes the feeling of being in love without saying what love really is:

"Now I don't have to tell you how slow the night can go, I know you've watched for the light. And I bet you could tell me how slowly four follows three, and you're most forlorn just before dawn. So if you loose your faith babe, you can have mine, and if you're lost, I'm right behind, cause we walk the same line. When it's dark baby, there's a light I'll shine, and if you're lost, I'm right behind, cause we walk the same line."

I guess this song tells most of how one feels when you're in love. It seems like time is being stretched so long when you are waiting for him/her, you will always be there for each other and you will eventually reach a compromise about most things.

I hope my boyfriend Buds gets to read this. I love you Buds, don't doubt that.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Adrenaline Withdrawal

Centred, calm and collected... something I am feeling right now after a long day and a big activity. Now I can focus on less troublesome topics such as favourite books and unusual characters in them; maybe I should just say non-mainstream? Hehe

The Last Herald Mage of Valdemar

JRR Tolkien is the prime mover of the fantasy adventure genre. I am so glad that the Lord of the Rings Trilogy was filmed in this generation when there's a very thin line between fantasy, films and reality. For those who've watched the films, need I say more? For those who have not seen them, find 9 hours of your precious time and watch them!

Another trilogy that I recommend is the Last Herald Mage of Valdemar authored by Mercedes Lackey. One can always say that the LOTR trilogy was too macho. However, this "other" trilogy is exactly the opposite. The lead author, Herald Mage Vanyel Ashkevron is not actually heterosexual but that's not the reason I am recommending it. The plot is really good and the three books are easy to read. I will refuse to say more about the book other than the fact that sexuality and preferences play a major part in the book as well but was intellegently and seamlessly incorporated in the story.

Wind to thy wings ashke!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Whipping currents and Excellent Dives

In the office, preparing for a "big" activity tomorrow...

The weekend was excellent, superb, wonderful... I could use all the superlatives I can grab from a dictionary but they won't be enough to describe the dives I made this weekend. It was meant to be another weekend of "work" dives since Tony, my buddy aka dive instructor/good friend, has 4 openwater students who need to complete their checkout dives. Due to unfortunate (now I doubt that; sorry buddy!) circumstances, he had to cancel the trip because of a bad cold.

I was joined by Aris and Lief, a wonderful couple who inspire me about how a relationship is about tolerance, acceptance, understanding and (of course) LOVE. A friend of Lief's, Jeff, joined the dives (a lovely guy BUT married AND heterosexual) while Sarah (a lovely woman...) joined the trip to windsurf and, like me, to have a weekend that would keep her sane for another week of work.

Jeff has not been diving for four years so we had to start with a "sissy" dive, pun intended. We dove at steps, not a spectacular site but good for beginners like Aris and someone who needs a refresher like Jeff. Jeff just needed a few minutes to remember how to be a fish and soon we were exploring the "steps" at STEPS, the dive site in front of Vistamar Resort where there's a hull of a ship and two blue ribbon eels under it. We saw a lot of puppies aka tame fishes who have been fed by unethical divers, a school of small barracudas and some nudibranchs but that's about it.

After lunch we did Sepoc Wall, another "sissy" dive and saw a lot of colourful corals, sponges and other organisms on the wall. Our last dive for the day is Lief's favourite: Layag-layag. This dive site actually branches into three possible other dive sites depending on the current: Kirby's Rock, Bahura and Bahura Kanto. The latter is where I usually want to go to see the adult white tip reef shark. As always this dive site has a mild current but no white tip shark. However, we were greeted by colourful corals, lots of fishes and a school of small tuna! There was even a big Titan triggerfish and we had to avoid it. The light was not superb since it was around 5:00 pm already but it was still a wonderful dive.

At this point I knew Aris is becoming a good diver, his buoyancy skills are good and he has the "eye" to see a lot of peculiar marine organisms despite the need to wear correctional glasses. Lief has been a diver for so long and is very comfortable underwater. He's my fellow underwater comedian :)

I was exhausted when we returned to the resort since I was at Bed dancing the night away with my boyfriend Buds the night before and did not have any sleep. I went to bed early and woke up after 7:00 am the next day. This was embarrassing since we agreed to dive at 7:00 am.

Since we wanted to do Mainit the day before, this time I know it would be possible since we are early. Mainit is not for the chicken-hearted hehe. It is at the tip of the peninsula and currents there are quite tricky. However, this place is known for big fishes and a lot of nice coral formations. There was even a time I saw a metre-long grouper! Upon arriving at the dive site, it was obvious there was a strong current on the surface and possibly beneath it also. I asked Lief and Aris if it was okay and they agreed we should try it. I gave the briefing and emphasised the need to stay together AND try to make it to the bend where the current is not as strong.

Upon hitting the water, we were carried by the strong current past the rocks jutting out of the water and into a very beautiful blue backdrop of colourful fishes! First we saw schools of rudderfishes and snappers. I pointed out thousands of bright red/orange fishes called Basslets being carried around by the swirling currents. Around the bend, we saw a big school of barracudas each at least 2 feet long and numbering more than 50. After that a school of Giant Trevallys/Jacks were swimming around obviously waiting for prey to be carried by the currents. Then we got into the "quiet zone" and started investigating nooks and crannies more closely. Aris saw an adult female banded sea snakes and I lifted its tail to show that its tail is shaped liked a rudder for swimming. Lief pointed at the head which was sticking out from the other side of the coral head. It was beautiful!!! We came out of the dive smiling and awed by the whole experience.

The next dive was at Twin Rocks Sanctuary which is not normally a remarkable dive but good enough. However, this time it was such an overload for the senses. Lief found a big cuttlefish and started chasing it. He found another one hiding under a small coral head and it blended in so well! Would've been nice for a picture. Then when I was playing "I Touch Roses" with some crinoids, Lief spotted a Blue-spotted stingray beneath the coral. After that we saw a mantis shrimp near a Blue ribbon eel which was joined by an Emperor Angel. We saw two more big angelfishes, Six-banded and Semicircular which used to be very rare in Anilao because of the aquarium fish trade. Now they're making a comeback! We saw so many things during that dive that now I can only remember some of them.

The nicest thing about the weekend is that there are far less divers in the water which could be the reason why our underwater friends are more relaxed and visible. These dives will keep us sane until we go back again and join them for more underwater adventures in a week or so.

Next weekend: Party time! It's time to be Proud boys and girls cause it's PRIDE TIME!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Brothers Posted by Hello

Incoherent Thursday

Something about Thursday always makes me feel that I am somewhere between salvation and damnation. I guess knowing that this day is a day before the day before the weekend makes me yearn that the day is over and it will be the weekend again... (beat that! you can only use the word day in a sentence so much hehe)

Just recovered from flu, yes I was under the inFLUence. Took two long years before the bug got me and, as always, it feels like you're over 100 years and life is so unfair. But then again, flu or no flu, life can be very unfair. No fair! So who's complaining?

Karmic Ties. Finished preparations for my meeting at 3:00 pm for my big activity next week so spending time to clean up my hard drive. Saw pictures of me and my good friends Jan from the Netherlands and Joren from Belgium. Met them at the induction for new Greenpeace staff in Amsterdam last November and kept in touch. It was strange that out of more than 30 participants, we hit it off immediately and spent time together like we always did. We had a reunion in Ghent, Belgium upon the invitation of Joren who showed us around his picturesque and historical town. We went to the Torture Castle to look at implements of war and human confessional tools as I would call them. You could almost feel and hear the pain from ages ago. This is where we sat down and started talking about so many things including our personal lives. Jan concluded we were brothers or probably good friends in our past lives. Why?

- we belong to a families were there are four children
- the three of us were born second
- we all have older sisters
- only jan has a younger sister and brother, joren and I have younger brothers

Coincidence? A definite NO!


Friday, June 10, 2005

Friday Blues

A bit under the weather but on the other hand very excited to go back to Anilao tomorrow. I always say going there keeps me sane and it does.

Sometimes I wish I could stay longer in Anilao again, like when I used to work there for 6 years. But time changes you and you change with time. When I started working for Greenpeace full-time September last year, I didn't think I would last a month of being Manila-based again. Now, it seems my system has adjusted to the fast-paced life of the BIG city again.

Looking forward to my dives this weekend and windsurfing on the side. The season has change making windsurfing difficult. Lots of garbage in the water and hitting them with your board's fin. GARBAGE shouldn't be in the sea!