gay and great

Disclaimer: This is a repost from one of my best friend’s blog. He was my first debate partner and one of my closest confidants in college. His post was disturbing and frankly, I just wanted more people to be aware of his struggles. For those who have been (or are) in the same shoes, my support and prayers go to you. Trust me when I say I know it’s tough. I hope this cheers you up or at least leads you on.

I am GAY, and that is not wrong.

Yesterday I have heard the greatest insult I have had in my entire existence – all because I am gay.  And to make things worse, it was from a woman whose professed faith seem to have the monopoly of truth and right. (nothing against those who come from her dominion, it was just the impression made yesterday)
I was asked this, Brent, alam mo nman diba ang tama sa mali? (Brent, you do know the difference between right and wrong)
It was asked after a friend and I talked about my current ‘dating’ status. As you know, I am dating a gay guy, a university teacher, a performer, a Catholic – basically a decent member of the society. Both of us don’t cross dress, both of us have decent lives to live, both of us are educated in catholic institutions. Both of us are choosing to be honest – and true.
The question alone was not offensive, but what followed after was way below the belt. Considering she did simply bat in, in our conversation. In a nutshell, she was telling me that I was born a man, thus I have a ROLE to ASSUME. She further continued that a relationship between two men is a sin, and that we should be punished – by death. That was quoted from Leviticus.
As a writer, I do know subtext. And with what she said, she nullified my very existence. That as if, all of me, all because I am gay, is wrong. That my very ‘being’ is as if a dirt bag. Mali ang buhay ko (My entire life is a mistake), to put things in perspective.
Ouch. F*ck Yeah!
It was uncalled for, and it was insulting.
But I shut up, all because I know better about RESPECT.
But it disturbed me so much I decided to share my piece here.
I am GAY, and that is not wrong.
Let’s put it this way. Following her line of thought that man is made in the image and likeness of GOD, it is therefore innate in man the ability to LOVE and to be (and do) good. In such premise, is it wrong then to HURT after falling for a man and realize that he is not in love with you? In the context of love, if I love someone (and granted I do not do anything all because it is ‘wrong’) but my heart feels pain because it is suppressed, it is hurt; WHY THEN DOES IT FEEL AFFECTION, for the first place?
 

God has made every being in his image and likeness, thus, by nature we tend to choose what is RIGHT and GOOD. The society, granted the biases that culture and practiced religion have imposed upon it, has a notion of what is right. BUT GOD KNOWS BETTER. HE gave us a heart – for which we can listen to, when in doubt.

I have served, during my Ateneo years as a head for my organization’s personal spirituality formation. And I did pick up something from there. That our relationship with GOD is within, that it is a personal relationship. Though there exists structured religion, it is not the foundation of truth, nor is the bible (which was written and construed by man). TRUTH is within us. It equates peace and contentment, and it is found after journeying within. I felt so insulted when she said those things because she did not even recognize my formation, my personal discernment, my personal relationship with GOD. She talked liked it was way apparent that I was wrong – and she was right.
Lastly, I would like to stress that no one person in this world has the right to know what is right for you. Guided by whoever you conceive your creator to be, HE(she) would never let you go on a wrong path. There is so much the world tells us, but for those who know better, society is never a perfect structure – and so is religion. So there are no definite ROLES that one being should assume to. Being a man, a woman, or gay (bi, transgender or what have you) is something that we are called to be. And no one has the right to tell another who he should be.Society is flawed; take for example those that dictate that women ought to be owned by men. Religion is flawed, talk about those faiths that promise the monopoly of salvation. These can be used as guides though – but there is one thing that our creator has had given us. It is something that, no matter your race, your religious affiliation, your educational attainment or spiritual formation, remains untainted by evil. GOD gave us our hearts, the foundation of our freewill and rights, it feels pain when wronged and delighted when listened to, thus it is through which we may know RIGHT and the TRUTH.
My heart tells me that I am wonderful, that I am beautiful – and yes, that I am a sinner, that I am flawed and imperfect. But it tells me that GOD loves me – and it is okay to be gay.
 
I just hope though that others could afford every gay guy the respect he deserves; that since not one in this world is perfect enough, may we find peace in our own hearts that there is a greater reason behind why we are the person that we are.

 —

This was my comment to Brent’s post.

It is not wrong or selfish to seek affirmation and respect from others because we are social beings and we value relationships and image. However, I know (because I’ve seen it) that you are stronger than your worst critics. You know you’re great. You know the people who love you, love you regardless of your orientation. It matters less what she thinks, I love you B. Gay or not, you are an amazing person. In the words of Carrie, “If being gay is you then it must be good because YOU ARE GOOD.”

PS To the girl who clings to the principles of the old world, know when to change. Understand your compass to right and wrong then get back to me. 🙂

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On Beauty Pageants

To say I cringed every time the contestants try to muster up a response is an understatement. At first, it was funny because the crowd cheering and people throwing questions at you can be rattling and the best you can do is calm yourself down and laugh at your own mistakes but as it progressed the answers just got worse. Bb. Plipinas and any pageant for that matter is a platform to elevate not only ones self but what you represent. With those answers, it’s like saying that the country represents beauty but not wit. It’s a 2 hour marquee saying we support what’s superficial, what’s physical and ignore what’s intellectual.

The questions were current and personal. They do not require a masters degree from the fanciest universities to at least solicit a decent response. I felt obligated to rant because for as long as I remember I have been defending pageants as a legitimate avenue to embody empowerment, bearing and class. This is where we portray role models who are yes, beautiful but are intelligent and opinionated as well, to the rest the Philippine populace and later on to the world. How could we do that when my twelve year old sister tweeted about having the applicants play “Who’s Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” before they qualify for the pageant. The pageant shouldn’t be the center of mockery because it’s degrading not only to the contestants, who obviously also did their best, but also the audience who make fun of other slip-ups. It shouldn’t be that way but it is because it really was a disappointing sight.

crown

Nevertheless, all the criticism should encourage the winners and all the other contestants to work on what they know they lack.

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the first few pages of summer

In my previous entry I told you about how fun summer is (or should be for those who haven’t had their summer fun yet). Here are few of the pictures my dad, sister or I took over the course of the summer.

caramoan

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caramoan2caramoan3

These were taken from the white sand beaches of Caramoan. Yup, the site used by Survivor Philippines and Survivor Caramoan hosted by Jeff Probst. Although the islands are already popular with the tourists, they’re not as crowded. You can definitely catch up on that divine summer tan without getting stepped on. Hate it when that happens. If you wanna get away from the comfort and luxury of your hotel room in Gota (one of the islands), you can opt to have lunch with the locals in one of the other islands. They’re very hospitable and you’ll definitely enjoy their company. It will be a unique cultural experience and a more sociable way to spend your summer.

For those who are wondering how to get there, there are a couple o f ways depending on which one you are most comfortable with. By plane, the closest airport from Manila is Naga City. The flight will take around an hour. From the airport, you can take a bus to Tigaon then a jeep going to Sangay. That will take around 2 hours depending on the number of stops the bus takes and the congestion of traffic. Some tourists prefer to take a cab straight to Sangay. It’s less hassle and it definitely shortens the travel time. From Sangay, you’ll take a bigger boat (bigger compared to the rest of the boats for island hopping) to Caramoan for about an hour.

According to my dad, since he’s been there so many times, you can also opt for a shorter sea travel time that’s via the Sabang route. It does however make your land travel time longer. If you can’t stand traveling by sea, this is a better option. There’s also the purely land travel option. It’s rough road all the way and it takes around 5 hours. You can either rent a van or transfer from one public transportation to another. Again, that depends on your budget and preference. I’ll research more about the other means to get there on my next visit. (BTW, we did a couple of medical missions there before. The locals will really appreciate it if you can also help out while you chill out.)

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 Caramoan is composed of a few islands, each one with its own charm. You can visit other islands through this bangka (boat). You’ll have to the rent it for the whole day but it’s worth it. This boat’s driver won’t only get you from point A to point B but you’ll hear so many stories about the islands as you travel. Good deal if you ask me.

Bucket List: the CHEERful Way

I haven’t written for this blog in a while. Summer brought me so much to do and enjoy that I lost track of my entries, sorry. So here’s what I’ve been up to, I’ve been listing down the things I wanna do the next few years ( a bucket list is what they call it). Here’s what I have so far:

  1. Travel to Africa, South America and the more impoverished parts of Asia as a humanitarian volunteer.
  2. Be an ambassador for the United Nations (Seriously, it’s been a lifelong dream.)
  3. Meet the current UN SEcretary- General and the world’s transformative leaders
  4. Study another language. (French or Spanish)
  5. Get my own written work published. 
  6. Hit a thousand followers on one of my blogs. (I wish, right?)
  7. Improve my drawing and painting skills.
  8. Fill a gallery with pictures I took, artworks I’ve made and drafts of literature I wrote. (This I could share with my sister who pursues the same hobbies.)
  9. Pursue my love of cooking.
  10. Design clothes and accessories made from local materials or a start a restaurant with a modern Filipino theme
  11. Set up my own foundation in the Philippines
  12. Buy then design my own house (somewhere overlooking the ocean). 
  13. Build a library (not with my own 2 hands of course). Hoard more books and meet their authors.
  14. Get a tattoo (with my dad). (Of what? I haven’t made up my mind yet. Where? I’m thinking Japan or Hawaii.)
  15. Go on a trip without a plan, with only one backpack, no phone or any means of communication for a month.
  16. Travel around the world then settle in a foreign country for a year. (I’ll make another bucket list for each country I visit.)
  17. Have a meaningful religious experience through a pilgrimage
  18. Test the adrenaline junkie in me. Try skydiving, surfing, bungee jumping and drag racing.
  19. Have a passionate, romantic summer with a hunk in the Maldives
  20. Learn self defense, preferably the less obvious ones like Kray Maga.
  21. Get toned! Abs everything. 
  22. Rock out to a Maroon 5, The Script or Lawson concert and get invited to the after party. (Tickets for Joe Brooks, Chester See, Colton Dixon, Alex Goot, Tiffany Alvord and Sam Tsui concerts, also a must)
  23. Watch as the models walk the runways of Paris, Milan and New York fashion week.
  24. Get a make over every year.
  25. Plan ADVENTURES with my closest friends like watch a Lakers game with Erwin or visit the Hogwarts castle in UK with my little sister.

I know I’ll have crazier additions later one but for now, I’m happy with this list. I read somewhere that writing them down, visualizing your goals and dreams make them more likely to come true. So here it is written and posted.

*PS The CHEERful way may be a little confusing if you’re not aware that my close friends call me CHEER. 🙂