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Monday, November 15, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
We always say that respect is earned. By this standard, OFWs have earned more than they have been so far given.
Some may say that it is in their role in country's economy that has also earned them the moniker new economic heroes. While the more commonly used basis for such a tag is the remittance OFWs send, this should also include the billions more infused in the national coffers through the shopping list of fees that the government charges from them, the mushrooming of businesses related to sending off workers abroad, as well as the increase in financial capacity of their respective household.
Respect accorded to them can also be from their strength of will to brave new places and culture. We all heard of harrowing experiences of OFWs and we all know that it takes courage to face the unknowns when one becomes a migrant worker.
It can also be from the sacrifices they made. Choice is really not a luxury for OFWs. In the first place, given a genuinely free choice, most OFWs will probably say that they still prefer to be home if only decent jobs exist. If only education and health services are accessible. If only ….
My respect for OFWs includes but also goes beyond these.
It is in the easy camaraderie that usually springs among OFWs. It is in the care of the 'manangs' who do not seem to run out of food and other comforts to offer while sitting in their 'tambayans'. It is in their sincerity to give help if they can. It is in the stories they are willing to share. It is in the tales of their everyday life that are sometimes funny, oftentimes sad, and always bittersweet.
It is in their drive to maintain their dignity. Many of them have been battered and bruised in more ways than one but eventually, they can learn to fight. Their remarkable endurance in facing hard work is matched, if not surpassed, by their commitment to right wrongdoings done against them as workers and as human beings.
It is in the likes of Agnes Tenorio that OFWs earn respect.
It is time cash this out and make Labor Attache to Hong Kong Romulo Salud pay.
(Written as part of the Respect OFWs Blog Action Day that stemmed from the verbal abuse and neglect that OFW Agnes Tenorio experienced from Labor Attache Romulo Salud)
Saturday, September 18, 2010
One doesn't have to go the distance to like "Going the Distance". It was simple, romantic, with just a touch of drama and loads of laughter – the perfect relationship … err, romance flick.
While the film is about a long distance relationship, the underlying question is really how far one can be willing to go the distance for love. Yeah, each and everyone – well at least everyone who has fallen – will have an answer. Myself, it all depends on what you are ready to do or what may be the risks and consequences you are willing to take.
So my friends and I decided to watch the movie out a whim to see what it has to say about LDR. With most of them having been or are in an LDR and I, well, just tagging along, we headed out without any real expectation on the film.
It was a hoot and a half.
Believers and naysayers can head butt on the question of LDRs and its complexities. I won't. It's 1:30 am!
(Though between the two, I lean more towards the latter group. Now don't treat this as a spoiler, but the film did not convert me to the former.)
Drew Barrymore and Justin Long were so sweet onscreen and their chemistry was so evident. It probably pays to also be together off-screen to get the viewers all syrupy while the two exchanged I-love-you's or got even more intimate. Incidentally, I didn't know that Long could have that one hot body.
The supporting casts were a riot. Especially Cristina Applegate. It was my first time to hear someone talk about dry humping in vivid details.
Notwithstanding my position on LDRs, I enjoyed the film. I guess it is really what the film just wants. It does not want the viewer to have epiphanies on LDR or the other questions that may arise from the story. It doesn't want anyone to decide whether to "fuck the miles" or stop fucking with the miles.
It just wants the viewers to enjoy the love story as it unfolds. And boy, I did.
Just go the distance and find out why.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
At the risk of playing into stereotypes, I will dare consider coming out as the most macho thing a gay guy can do.
For coming out is not a leisurely trip in the park. It is an agonizing process where one tries to weigh in and balance various factors from the personal to the social. Scenarios are built and most of the time, they are all grim and we cringe at the thought of one of them happening.
Myself, it took a broken heart, the not-so-holy spirit of Jack Daniels, and the knowledge of the political correctness of my colleagues to make me finally say that the "phase" I was in was for keeps.
Coming out is more of like a gauntlet thrown out by knights to pose a challenge. We say that we come out when we are ready and this readiness means we stick with dicks no matter what happens. Through thick or thin … or small, medium, large or extra large.
We come out expecting to get riddled with questions, to be met with amazement and even be ridiculed. Still we do so. Our coming out of the closet is a challenge we pose for others to come out of their own closeted existence where gays should, well, be in the closet.
The first people I came out to just said "OK". When I came out to my sister, she just warned me not to get a boyfriend before she does. My third coming out was on Facebook. It did result to some comments but definitely not to a discussion page.
Whether they did accept what I said or understood what it meant did not really matter. At the very least, it probably got them to think that from then on, they have to deal with a gay guy whenever I am around.
To paraphrase a quote by Mao, revolution is not a dinner party or embroidery. So is coming out though we do love parties and have nimble fingers for needlework. If a revolution is about creating a new society, coming out opens one up to a new way of life.
It takes a lot of nerves to man up and be gay. In the kind of society we are in, once you come out, you have to come out again and again to defend your choice, banish prejudices and smash stereotypes. It is like a perpetual ejaculation with no real orgasm immediately in sight.
However hard it is, I still prefer to be out.
In any case, something hard is not always a bad thing, right?
(Written as a contribution to the theorg-y. At dahil matagal na rin akong walang post.)
Sunday, July 18, 2010
I went around doing my usual Sunday stuff with a big pimple on my nose. Yeah, it's its favorite place to make an appearance and I sometimes think it always feels proud to be red and prominent. The diva!
Of course, I got the usual "uy, in love!" or "sino naman yan?" Frankly, if there is one, there's no way he'll be named Pimple.
As it turned out though, the pimple gave way to a talk with a friend who's on the verge of falling.
Asked about what she's going to do about it, she gave a litany of why she doesn't really dwell on it now: the other person is still recovering from a breakup, there's a consideration about family, the other person may not be ready, and they are friends, yadda yadda yadda.
But asked about her state on this matter, she got stumped. It did make me think that when we think of another person so much, we sometimes forget that it is good to start with the self first when you want to have a relationship with someone.
Kind of self-absorbed one may say. But then again, when you don't really know who and what you are when you think you are already on the verge of falling, how will you know if you fall standing up or with your ass flat on the ground?
Unromantic? Maybe. But who said that love should be a free fall?
When you are on the precipice of love, I think it is worthwhile to stop for a while and ponder on what you got so far before taking the plunge. Therein lies what you got to offer to the relationship. The rest are still promises. Who knows, maybe you'll come up with an even better you before making the move.
And when you finally give in, at least you'll know what you are giving. Pimple and all.
Friday, July 16, 2010
While taking a needed break from chanting and blowing whistles, a trade unionist remarks:
"Only nine members voted for the amendment. As a Hong Kong citizen, I feel sad and ashamed."
If someone who is not directly affected by the exclusion of foreign domestic workers or FDWs from the statutory minimum wage can feel that way, what more for those who are the ones excluded.
After over a year of discussions and lobbying it can now be said again that for all the hoopla of Hong Kong being liberal or a wonderful city for foreign workers, discrimination against those who are already at the gutter of this society is institutionalized.
In a society like Hong Kong that treats free market capitalism like a god, a successful campaign for a legislated minimum wage is a significant victory for the worker's movement. It could have been sweeter if only FDWs – numbering around 250,000 – are not sidelined.
The FDWs chant "we are workers, we are not slaves" encapsulates the various reasons why they assert their right for inclusion to such an important law. Their labour is as important as any worker in Hong Kong. Their labour also builds Hong Kong. Their labour makes it possible for these high and mighty LegCo members to sit in their plush offices and halls and debate how best to marginalize in law those who already have less in life.
Considering though the composition of the LegCo – majority coming from the business sector, some from a trade union who doesn't deserve its name, some more from "democratic" groups whose concept of democracy is quite selective – we were already uneasy on how the vote will go. When it came, it was as appalling as we thought it would be.
Good thing there was this unionist – and there are more of them – who felt the same as the FDWs.
Hope, indeed, still floats.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
It is not because there is a new president installed that I am blogging again.
Though of course there are already a number of things I could blog about him. While this is still supposed to be a honeymoon period, it does not mean that one cannot already form an opinion on what he does, what he says and where he may be leading us. Even in honeymoons, the foreplay is still an indicator of how the climax will be like.
It is also not because of any life-changing experience or any epiphany of sorts that I am having a new post.
I am still an OFW working in a job I enjoy doing. Still an activist taking on issues from the overpriced e-passport to the exclusion of foreign domestic workers in the statutory minimum wage that is soon to be finalized in Hong Kong. Still marching. Still struggling.
It is also not because I am having an emotional
moment that I again am writing.
While indeed there have been a couple of them in the past months, none has been heart-wrenching enough that a major laugh trip could not jumpstart the moving on process. Besides, a moment is supposed to last only for a moment.
So why am I blogging?
Maybe because I got some more moments to process and the recent laugh trips have not been major enough. Or because an activist's work is never really done and there is a host of OFW concerns – old, new and mutated ones – I do care to write about. Or because the new president is yet to banish the nightmares induced by GMA and really work on the dreams he built his campaign on.
Or maybe simply, I am blogging because it is 4 o'clock in the morning, there's a steaming mug of coffee on my desk, and a fresh pack of cigarettes is just too inviting.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
I wanted to sleep early tonight but a most bothering FB message from a friend, prompted me to write this short note.
Even if E didn't turn out to be a friend, the sheer nastiness of what was done to his person was spiteful, malicious and downright mean.
I may not agree with E on some scores – we still have a pending discussion about the Marcoses and Mike Defensor – but on this matter, I am with him.
To the one who did the unthinkable, reflect on how out of bounds you were.
While you're at it, reflect on how you made me lose some of the sleeping time I needed.
Maybe, just maybe, you'll lose some of yours too.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
He's my Valentine's date. And he's a demigod.
I haven't seen the film yet. For reasons too complicated to explain, I decided to forego watching it with friends yesterday and instead spent the rest of last night finishing the first book. I just spent the past few hours including dinner on the second book of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and I can say I have mixed thoughts on how it is going so far.
The plot: Perseus Jackson is a young boy who's the son of one of Big Three Greek gods to a mortal woman. Dyslexic and with ADHD, he goes around having summer adventures with fellow demigod Annabeth and the satyr Grover while for the most part of the year, he goes to school and lives a relatively normal life with his mom or what can pass for as normal for one sired by Poseidon. I am not yet sure if there'll be a twist in the next three books but so far, the story leads to a final confrontation with the titan Kronos and his plan to destroy the West. (I'd like to think that it is beating imperialism to a pulp but then again, it is presented as an "evil" design so probably it is not the same.)
On one hand, it does interest me to read about how one can fight a god, or gods for that matter. Throw in a modern-day setting – with US playing host to rampaging 'gods' – and it further piques my curiosity. Throw in further a magical pen that becomes the sword Riptide, a clash with Medusa affectionately called Aunty Em, and Hades' domain just in the underbelly of Los Angeles – it does arouse the fantasy-buff in me.
However, so far, I cannot say that it is at par with The Sword of Truth, The Belgariad or the Shannara series as fantasy epics go. Or even Harry Potter for that matter. Sometimes the fusion of Greek mythology to the modern adventure is too much. For someone to whom Greek mythology is, well, Greek, I lose the thread of the story when a new character is introduced and keeps me wondering if it was really how the Greek myths put it. It does help from time to time when the writer creatively put a narration to explain what has happened or about to happen but it takes a while to get me back on track.
Still, I will finish reading the series. It still has good moments enough to while away time.
I'm reserving my final judgment until I read the last book. Like my thoughts on Valentine's Day, it is still under process.
Friday, February 12, 2010
I am not a health buff. This blog's name attests to that.
What I am is a human rights buff and the illegal arrest, detention and torture of 43 health workers just makes me sick.
Two doctors, one nurse, one midwife and a host of community health workers were arrested last Saturday in Morong, Rizal while they were in the middle of a health training conducted by the NGO Council for Health and Development. A cursory glance at their website reveals that that is exactly what they do – train community health workers and build community-based health programs to provide the needs of communities where people get sick or die without even seeing a medical professional.
Consider these: forcible entry to a private place of domicile, a search warrant that was only produced after the operation and was issued by a Cavite court for a person that the house's owner – a respected consultant at the Philippine General Hospital – has never heard of, finding a grenade under a pillow, a so-called witness who miraculously came out and pointed fingers to his "comrades". It gets more incredulous every day the arresting military unit tries to stick the "NPA" tag to those they are currently holding that even include two pregnant women.
As relayed by one of the detainees, Dr. Mia-Clamor, they have been subjected to mental and physical torture just so they will be forced to admit to fabricated membership to the NPA and even more fabricated crimes.
Their only membership is to humanity that cannot be said to those who trample on human rights. Their only crime is to deliver one of the most basic of social services to the poor that the government has long denied.
In the face of what happened to the Morong 43 or Health 43 as activist groups call them, smoking one pack a day, drinking coffee by the buckets, and missing out on my workout for two months now (and counting!) is not as unhealthy as the culture of impunity that has grown like a cancer in our society for the past decade.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
I posted the question a few days back in my FB and sure enough, different folks have different strokes.
Kiks: kapag nilaglag ka.
Mandaya Moore: kapag nawawala na gana mo sa kanya pwede rin kapag inunahan ka nya. segurista.
LA: Pag offline ka na.
SB: Pag di mo na natiis...or baka pag feeling mo mauunahan ka.
PT: Paglasing na lang para you can deny everything the following morning.
RC: Basta sabihin mo na lang. sigurado namang sasagot iyon. alinman sa dalawa gusto rin o ayaw.
MdG: kung ako ang nasabihan ng ganyan i would expect that the person who said it is also expecting an answer: yes, no, maybe, in what way, or can i phone a friend? etchos.
EB: right away...it worked for me
MMA: While the two of you are laughing after someone cracks a really good joke?
OBB: pag ngayon mo lang nakita o nakilala, huwag muna. Nagpapacute lang siya sa iyo. Pero kung matagal mo ng nakilala.... hindi ka dapat nag-aaksaya ng panahon.
So how do I say it's the right time for me?
When I am sure of it and when I am prepared to follow through or suffer the consequences.
Probably next week. Or not.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Dahil lang siguro sobrang hectic ang nakaraang mga buwan - byahe sa mga bansang hindi pa napupuntahan, byahe sa mga karanasang hindi ko pa napagdaanan. Hindi talaga totoo na only the destination counts. Pwede ka ring bumilang during the trip. Two-way.
Marahil din ay dahil nagkasama-sama ulit kaming pamilya pagkatapos ng walong taon na pagkahiwa-hiwalay. I don't really have to look far to know about the Filipino diaspora. Nasa Cabuyao lang sya.
Pwede rin naman na dahil palaging nariyan ang mga gawaing hindi maiwan.
Siguro din ay may mga bagay lang akong pinagmu-munian. At mga pangyayari na nilalampasan. I like to think that I will come out of them unscathed. Para lang one-night stand.
Pero kahit hindi ka nasugatan, mayroon ka pa ring pag-iisipan.
Para ngang one-night stand.