Wednesday, June 20, 2018

May Joke Sana Ako Kaso

This is what happens when you’re waiting for the shuttle to arrive, but the line at the station is long, it had just finished raining so hard, and it was rush hour. And you read the meme in someone’s FB wall. So….

May joke sana ako tungkol kay Bong Go,
Kaso inunahan niya ako.

May joke sana ako tungkol kay Harry R.,
Kaso ambaboy.

May joke sana ako tungkol sa Scarborough Shoal,
Kaso ibabaliwala lang.

May joke sana ako tungkol sa Ang Probinsyano,
Kaso di matapos-tapos.

May joke sana ako tungkol kay Sass, Nieto, at Mocha,
Kaso nakakainis eh.

May joke sana ako tungkol sa ating dalawa,
Kaso malabo eh.

May joke sana ako tungkol sa PCOO,
Kaso palpak.

May joke sana ako tungkol sa Supreme Court natin ngayon,
Kaso....

May joke sana ako tungkol kay APC,
Kaso nakakabobo eh.

May joke sana ako tungkol sa mga tambay,
Kaso baka hulihin ako.

May joke sana ako tungkol kay Duterte,
Kaso bastos eh.

May joke sana ako tungkol sa cheddar,
Keso....

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Really Now?

I believe that romance, while good in general, can be a negative force in excess. And frankly, I think it's reached epedemic proportions in pop culture, especially in movies and television. The thrill-of-the-chase leading to the kiss-at-the-end-of-the-movie is the stuff of most romcoms and cheesy paperback romance novels. And it's easy to see why. It's the most exciting part of the relationship, and it climaxes with a happy ending. Structurally, it's sound.

It's also the reason why a lot of people have unrealistic notions of love and romance. And no amount of "my parents are separated/divorced/not together anymore" is enough to counter the power of beautiful actors and actresses falling for one another at a click of a screenwriter's keyboard.

I've been thinking I should start a movement. It means I need my own production company and/or my own publishing house, so yeah, it seems it'll be capital-heavy. But I want to start coming up with anti-romance romance movies. Yes, I know, it's contradictory. I'm just using that label cuz it's easy to remember. Okay, maybe it's more accurate to say that I'd want to produce a slew of romantic comedies that are more realistic, more grounded, and doesn't always end on a happy note. It could be sad, hopeful, ambivalent, or a mix of several. Whatever. But what it should do is not lie to its audience that there's a "happy ever after." There is no forever. There is only what you have, when you have it. And when it's gone, you appreciate it for what it was. And move on.

I'm thinking of calling it Get Real Productions, even though it sounds like I'm going to make a reality show.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

A Tale of Two Tweets (and Two Mothers)

On this Mother's Day, let me talk about two mothers.


True, Miriam may be the one who could have given the SC the tongue-lashing they deserve for the ouster of Chief Justice Sereno via quo warranto. She's someone who will not hesitate to speak her mind; in fact, she'll even relish the attention she'll get.

And there's the rub with Miriam. The reason why I didn't vote for her is simple. I don't agree with her on several things, most glaringly, her stand on the Marcoses. She was willing to allow them back into the country and back in to power, thinking that the law and civility will be enough to keep this greedy family in check. Now I understand why sometimes compassion should tak a back seat to justice, and that Filipinos should learn to be less accommodating. This is where the oft-praised "Filipino resiliency" fails us. Forgive? Give them another chance? Do leaopards change stripes? 


No wonder Delamar left The Morning Rush (TMR) after years of keeping the morning drive bearable for a lot of commuters. From her tweet, we can surmise that some higher-up from the station didn't want her to be a role model for single motherhood. Someone must have a real problem with strong, independent women. So I applaud her move to leave.

While it's unfair to ask Chico (and to a certain extent, Gino) to make a stand on behalf of Delamar, I wonder why the boys of TMR allowed this to happen. Yes, the boys' livelihoods are at stake, and they have much to lose--aside from a regular salary, they most probably will be not allowed to bring their show to another station, as per contract. Given Chico and Del's popularity, RX93.1 will be foolish to make the duo (or even trio, if Gino joined them) leave their stable. 

We may never know yet the full story behind the departure of Del, but with the surfacing of this tweet, I can't help but feel a bit disappointed by the boys. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Irony (It Has Happened To Me)

Rain on your wedding day, a free ride when you’ve already paid, a black fly on your chardonnay—as rightly pointed out, these are more of a bummer than ironic. You know what’s ironic? Leaving your call center job for an ad agency, but only to leave said agency for a writing job—at a BPO.

Now isn’t that ironic, don’t you think?

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Re. Start

Ever since I left my cushy job at CNN Philippines, I have been hopping from one job to the next for two years now.

First I tried going back to an advertising agency but it turned out to be more of an events agency, so the fit wasn’t great; I stayed there for only half a year. When I left I told myself, that’s it, no more advertising agencies for me. After several months of burning whatever savings I earned from there, I was desperate for a job, so I applied for a job at a call center seven minutes away from our house. My schedule was turned upside-down (our client was US-based), but at least there was no traffic going to and coming back from work. The work itself was demanding and stressful—it’s no joke to be in that line of work, so I learned never to say, “He’s just a call center agent.” But despite that, the pay was not enough to even cover the cost of paying for my car. So when my friend Louie called me out of the blue and offered me a higher-paying job, I immediately jumped at the chance. I didn’t even give my call center employers a month’s notice; I gave my resignation letter around 9am; by lunch time, I was cleared by their HR (it helped that I was there for less than two months). I left the call center even though Louie’s offer was for an advertising agency position. What helped me convince myself were two things—the much-higher pay, and the fact that this was going to be an in-house creative agency for a ginormous multinational client. “An ad agency with a twist,” I told myself.

One month into my new job, I knew there was trouble brewing for me. I can see the reasons why Louie got me, but after a month of knowing more the job and my teammates, I realised that I was not the best fit for my position. Someone else with other qualities more suited for the job should be there. If I were to stay and be good at my job, I really needed to grow into the role. Luckily (or unluckily?), Fate intervened.

Let’s go back several months ago, when I had just left my job at an advertising/events agency, and way before I took on the call center job.

Even before my last day in at the agency, I was already looking for opportunities outside of the advertising industry—and outside of the country. Yes, I was very much okay with being away from the Philippines for the next six years. I saw a job as senior copywriter for an online marketing company based in Bangkok. Even better, I knew someone, a Filipino, who currently works there. He assured me it was a good, stable company. So I immediately applied, took their online tests, and forwarded to them some of my published works. Then I waited.

And waited. And waited.

By December my funds were non-existent; and it was Christmas time! I asked my friend in Bangkok what the status of my application was. He assured me that I was being seriously considered, but unluckily, December was also the time when most of the decision-makers there were on leave.

I took the call center job, thinking that it’s temporary.

By January I asked my friend again. He said it was just a toss-up between me and a local Thai girl. I though, “That’s not good. A local girl will cost less compared to an expat.”

When Louie called, I snapped up his offer. And in my mind, I shrugged off Bangkok.

January faded into February, and I was getting a better handle on my new role. In fact, I had decided that I would need to step up and evolve for this job. I even started hunting for places to stay near our office in BGC, so I don’t need to wake up at 4:45am to get to BGC by 7am so I can have a spot in the parking lot.

Towards the end of February, I received an email from Bangkok.

Apologies for the delay, they said. But the reason why they took so long in getting back to me was because they were busy setting up an office—in Manila! Specifically, in Ortigas! Then they asked me, “Are you still interested?”

Weeks of interviews and negotiations later, I told Louie I was resigning. I told him on Good Friday.

Tomorrow is my last day of work in BGC. On Monday next week, I start in Ortigas.

This was two years of jumping from one job to the next, grabbing whatever was available. The Bangkok-now-turned-Ortigas job was something I wanted. As my friend Leigh said, everything else was out of desperation; this was out of desire.

(Of course, there are no perfect jobs. So good luck to me in this new journey.)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

My 10 Favourite MCU Films

Now that 10 years of Marvel Cinematic Universe is culminating with Avengers: Infinity War, I decided to take this opportunity to come up with another list of my own—My 10 Favourite Marvel Cinematic Universe Films.

For this list I’m sticking with the ones produced solely by Marvel Studios. This excluded the Spiderman movies, which Sony Pictures still owns and has final creative control over the films. (As an aside, I prefer Tom Holland as Spiderman over Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.)

Note too that I said “favourite” which means that while excellence in film craft factors in my ranking, I also take into account a movie’s over-all impact—how much did I like it? And reasons for liking a movie can go beyond filmmaking brilliance.

One last caveat: I also excluded Infinity War because: (1) I feel it’s too soon; and (2) it doesn’t feel like a stand-alone movie. It feels like the first of a two-parter. So I’m holding off on ranking it until Avengers 4 comes out.

With that, let’s begin:

[10] Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

7 out of 10 movies in my list are the “origin” movies. I think I have a soft spot for the movies that are tasked with setting things up. This isn’t one of them. Ragnarok’s achievement is in infusing new life into what seems to be a boring, problematic Marvel character. Thor started out as a Shakespearean-sounding god who, despite having a complex family backstory, is more interested in fighting, drinking, and whoring—in that order. With Ragnarok and Infinity War, Thor has evolved into a funny but tragic figure, his pride and arrogance his double shield against everything that the Fates have thrown against him. No wonder his latest solo caper was so hilarious—he really could use some levity.

[9] Thor (2011)

This movie starts with the grandeur that is Asgard, and quickly reveals the drama underneath all that pomp and circumstance. And from a Shakespearean tragedy, this movie shifts into a tale of a fish-out-of-water who finds love against impossible odds. This story of how the God of Thunder grows up to deserve his hammer also has the distinction of showing Thor shirtless and in jeans. No CGI can hold a candle to Chris Hemsworth’s most special effect.

[8] Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers assemble for the first time to fight off Loki and Chitauri. It takes a while to get everyone on the same side (Agent Coulson’s fake death galvanises them), and the final battle in New York, on hindsight, now feels smaller and more lightweight. But the way the characters play off one another is still a joy to watch (the “Puny god!” scene of Loki and the Hulk is as hilarious as ever). And after pulling off that kind of assembly, the possibilities for the Marvel Cinematic Universe seemed endless.

[7] Ant-Man (2015)

Bigger isn’t necessarily better, and this origin movie proves that many small joys put together can equally pack a huge wallop. A hilarious script, great casting (to me, Paul Rudd is the most “I didn’t expect him but it works!” actor working for Marvel), and the best dubsmash storytelling sequences all make this a huge personal favourite.

[6] Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

Of all the Marvel characters introduced in the movies, the Guardians were the ones I had absolutely no clue whatsoever. I mean, I knew of Black Panther even though I never read any of his books. But the Guardians? Who were they? What were they? But that cool trailer (using “Hooked On A Feeling” by Blue Suede) was just a preview of the seriously hilarious mayhem that’s present from beginning to end in their origins movie. Hooga-chaka, hooga, hooga!

[5] Black Panther (2018)

When I first saw this groundbreaking film in the moviehouse, I didn’t have any inkling of the cultural impact that this movie was about to make. I was just in awe of the world-building skills of the filmmakers in pulling off a living, breathing Wakanda. I did take note the many strong females of colour, which was refreshing to watch (Shuri is surely one of the biggest breakout characters from the film, and I can imagine her and Okoye as having a spin-off of their own). I was actually not that impressed by the men in this movie (while Killmonger’s motives make for a compelling case, the way he and T’Challa duke it out in the falls was so-so for me). But the more I watched the movie and read/watched the audience reactions (especially among African-Americans), the more I realised that this is a Hollywood game-changer.

[4] Iron Man (2008)

The movie that started it all. I have no idea if Kevin Feige, Robert Downey, Jr., Jon Favreau, and company realised or were aware that they were creating what would become the winning formula of an MCU blockbuster: awesome effects, kick-ass characters (preferably with complications but not too much that they end up navel-gazing), and healthy doses of humour. What I liked most about the origin story is that Tony Stark uses his own ingenuity to defeat the weapons his own company makes. When Iron Man swoops down on an Afghanistan village and defeats the bad guys armed with Stark Industry weapons, Iron Man makes me want to be Tony.

[3] Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain America begins as a simple all-American goody-two-shoes soldier who is ever-loyal to his government and his country. Throughout his three stand-alone films, the Captain transforms into a lone wolf who’s distrustful of the very government that created him. Winter Soldier marks the beginning of Captain’s transformation into an “it’s complicated” hero. Magnificent set pieces, a more-complex-than-the-usual-superhero-movie story line, and awesome SFXs elevates the superhero movie into something akin to a spy movie.

[2] Doctor Strange (2016)

Here is where the caveat “favourite” kicks in—I am a sucker for the mystical arts, and for huge, flowing cloaks. I love its visuals; this is the kind of movie that’s perfect for IMAX 3D. Benedict Cumberbatch is also one of my favourite actors, so to have him play the Sorcerer Supreme is a major plus for this film. The plot and the characterisation of the main villain aren’t as sharp as in the other MCU movies, but the moment those rings appear on the Doctor’s wrists, I’m so there.

[1] Captain America: Civil War (2016)

The best Avenger movie that’s not an Avenger movie. I love it that there are no bad guys; just friends who are on opposite sides of the issues. Both Steve Rogers and Tony Stark have personal tragedies that inform their choices in this film. When it is revealed that Bucky a.k.a. the Winter Soldier was responsible for Stark’s parents’ deaths, the stakes become very personal even to us viewers. Civil War succeeds in mixing blockbuster spectacle with moral complexities that are not usually present in Hollywood big-budget movies. This is The Dark Knight of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

* * * * *

What are your Top 10?

Friday, April 13, 2018

Bluer Than Blued, Sadder Than Sad

Normally I maintain a certain level of equanimity in my engagements online. But I am human, and I do get triggered—sometimes from unexpected displays of, uhm, carelessness.

Recently I have been meeting some of these careless peeps online in the hugely popular gay social network site, Blued. It is a Chinese social network, but a lot of Filipino gay men are on it, which makes me wonder if hordes of ka-DDS’s are going to migrate there after deleting their Facebook. I’m waiting for the Presidential Spokesperson and Thinking Pinoy to appear there—and be promptly fat-shamed by Mr. Desperate-For-Your-Clicks Franco Mabanta. Anyway. Within a series of a few hours this morning, I received three messages from three different guys. And I don’t know what came over me today, I don’t know if it’s something I ate for breakfast, but I seemed to be extra triggered this morning. Or I was just unlucky to get three in a row.

To wit, see the following (my replies are in blue on the right).

Exhibit A:


Exhibit B:




Exhibit C:


A few more of these, and I will make Blued my online venue to practice my comedy-bar host routine.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

If The Shoe… Nga Naman!

After several weeks on the job, my officemates and I realised that there were no cute guys in our office—or at least on our floor. Which was a bummer, because we had hoped there would be male eye candy while we slogged through the day’s tasks.

Until one day when I went to the pantry to get a cup of coffee, and there he was, seated near the entrance, talking to a female officemate. He looked like he was in his mid- to late-20s, handsome, very put together. He was talking animatedly to a girl whom I assumed was a staff of his, because she looked fresh out of college. His voice had a manly yet thoughtful tone, like he would think first before speaking. I thought, “Looks good, sounds good, hmmm, good enough!” I was excited to go back to my officemates and tell them to go to the pantry and check him out.

He was talking to her about a fellow officemate; I and the few others in the pantry knew that because he wasn’t whispering. It seems that his staff member was having a difficult time dealing with that officemate, so Cute Guy was giving her pointers.

Then he said this: “Look, look. Put your shoes in her shoes, okay?”

I almost dropped the coffee cup I was holding.

*cricket, cricket*

When I got back to our room, I asked out loud to no one in particular, “Wala bang guwapo at okey sa opis na ‘to?”

Friday, March 30, 2018

Fare Thee Well, Richard S. Cunanan

Back in college, Richard always played second-fiddle to his best friend, G. It was G who got the girl, who got the lead part, who grabbed more attention. He also became my ultimate college crush; I fell hard for him while Richard became the “best-friend barrier” I had to overcome. Meanwhile Richard was contented with playing his wing-man, making sharp observations and snide comments along the way. That was first year, when we were all classmates in our English homeroom section.

By second year the two besties were separated because of their chosen courses. G and I became inseparable during our Communication Arts classes, while Richard had to attend his Psychology classes. I thought I succeeded in bumping him off. But then we all joined the college theatre company. There I realised that while I could potentially replace Richard as G’s constant companion, it will take more than proximity to get him to fall for me.

Of course neither guys knew what I was up to. To them, I was just a close friend. In fact, Richard was very gracious in acknowledging that I was spending more time with his best friend than him; not once did he take that against me.

On our fourth year I decided to tell G about my feelings. Needless to say, I crashed and burned.

Eventually we graduated from college. Because I never hung out with Richard in school, we didn’t seek each other out after college. G eventually moved away from me both emotionally and physically (he got married and moved to the US). Richard was someone I’d often bump into again and again. He became very involved in local theatre, appearing in different productions of various school-based and professional companies. Even onstage, he was rarely the lead. But he was truly the epitome of a supporting player—someone who ably did his part to make sure that the others and the entire play would shine as a whole.

He extended that attitude offstage. The rare times we’d bump into each other he would always be genuinely curious about how I was and what I was doing. And while he was sharply funny, Richard had an easy laugh which he’d let loose anywhere to show appreciation of a good joke or two.

Richard was physically huge, but he never let that stop him from acting. And directors kept getting him in spite of, or maybe because of, his massive frame. At least every Christmas he had a sure gig playing Santa Claus.

His huge frame couldn’t hide his big, generous heart—but it managed to hide the sickness that was inside him. He was unhealthy for years, but his joie de vivre successfully masked his deteriorating health.

Two weeks ago his cold and cough developed into pneumonia, and he was brought to the hospital. His kidneys failed, but doctors managed to stabilise his condition. On Friday, March 23, he suffered a cardiac arrest and breathed his last.

Because Richard was a freelance actor, he worked and became friends with many members of the different theatre companies in the metro. His wake managed to do the near impossible—unite these diverse companies. For one night, Richard was the lead.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Chamorro! Chamorro! I Love You, Chamorro!

He messaged me on Grindr: “Bottom boy here, visiting.”

I asked him where he was staying. Belmont Resorts World Manila, he replied. He then sent two pictures, one showing his face (though the file was low-res) and the other showing his naked ass for the camera.

“I’ll go there after work,” I told him.

He said he was 28 years old. He revealed that he was already married with a kid. But they were back home while he was here on business.

“I’ll definitely go there after work,” I told myself.

*****

When he fetched me at lobby, I was struck by how tall he is. He also looked Pinoy, so I assumed he was from the province.

Turns out, he’s from Guam. He’s Chamorro (the indigenous peoples of the Mariana Islands) and while he looked Pinoy, his height didn’t. His cock size also was American in its size and uncut glory—at least a 7, semi-hard.

He sat in his hotel bed and stared at the TV that was showing some stupid US reality show. So I decided to start things by sitting beside him and rubbing my hand on his thigh. Sensing that I was waiting for him, he took off his t-shirt, then, in one move, stripped off his shorts and underwear. He lay down on the bed and watched me take my clothes off, looking expectingly at the hard on I already had.

He clearly preferred that I do the moves while he happy lay in bed, although he liked running his hands all over my back, even cupping and squeezing my butt. With the way his hands stroked my body I could tell he missed touching another man’s body.

I loved how his cock grew thicker and harder as I swallowed it whole. He loved how I licked his cock, balls, and perineum… and when I flicked my tongue on his hole, he let out an audible moan. After I tongue-fucked his hole for a few minutes, he couldn’t take it anymore. He grabbed his tube of lube on the bedside. I grabbed the box of condoms from my bag.

I placed his legs on my shoulders and moved in closer. When I entered him, he let out a sigh, grabbed his hardened cock, and started jacking off. I matched his strokes with my thrusts. Eventually we were moving as one, breathing and panting and sweating in unison. And when I felt I couldn’t take it any more, I gasped through my teeth, “Oh god, I’m close, I’m close!” He quickened his pumping. And just before I exploded, I saw his milky white cum shoot out of his cock.

*****

Afterwards we chatted a bit.

He asked me what Filipinos do for entertainment. I said, “During weekdays, ManileƱos like to eat and shop.”

“Same with us Guamanians,” he said. Noting my puzzled expression, he added, “Guamanians and Chamorro, they’re the same.”

“Aaaahhh,” I said.

I asked him what he was doing in Manila. He said he was taking his annual physical here instead of in Guam, because it’s cheaper here, plus we have more skilled doctors than back in his home.

“So what do you do back home?” I asked.

“I’m with law enforcement,” he replied.

Ooooohhh. I was speechless for about half a minute.

“You’re a cop?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “Probations officer.”

I must admit, I was slightly disappointed. I wanted him to don his uniform, but he didn’t have it with him.

But at least, man-in-uniform, check! Fucked a Guamanian for the first time, check! Two down from my sexual bucket list.

Maybe during his next annual medical, we’ll hook up again. Same time next year?

Friday, March 9, 2018

Excuse The Occasional Political Post

I have two long-time friends who, whenever we talk about the current Philippine president, they say, “But the surveys say that many Filipinos are still behind him. I don’t get that, but there you go.”

To them and to those who use his popularity as a reason to say “Wait, let’s see what else he will do,” I offer you this article by Krip Yuson. It’s a long read, but ultimately it boils down to something that adults believe in: Wrong is wrong.