Sunday, March 25, 2012

Makiki-Hunger Games

September of last year nang magkayayaan kami ng mga kaibigan ko sa opisina na manood ng Abduction kung saan bida si Taylor Lautner. Siguro nagtakaka kayo kung ano ang connect ng Abduction sa Hunger Games? Ganito kasi yun, pagbili namin ng ticket nagulat kami lahat nang binigyan kami ng tig-iisang kopya ng libro ng Hunger Games. Bilang hindi naman kami mga palabasa ng kaibigan ko, walang nakakaalam sa amin kung tungkol saan ba tong libro na natanggap namin. Naisip namin na siguro wala tong kuwenta kasi bakit ipapamigay ng libre. Ang iba sa amin, tinapon lang ang kopya na natanggap nila. Medyo hassle daw dalhin kasi may iba pa kaming lakad nung gabing un. Ako naman, pinili kong itago ang libro na natanggap ko. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, ilalagay ko 'to sa CR para may babasahin ako habang sumasagot ako sa tawag ng kalikasan. 

Ang kopya ko ng Hunger Games kasama ng ibang magazines sa CR
Madami naman akong nabasa. Siguro mga 3 pages. Mas madalas kasi ako mag Facebook pag nasa trono ako. Nalaman ko lang sa blog ni Chico Garcia na sikat pala ung libro na natanggap namin at katunayan nagawan na ito ng pelikula. Agad ko namang ibinalita eto sa mga kaibigan ko para ipamukha sa kanila kung gaano sa ka-tanga manghinayang sila. 

Nauna ata ang premiere ng Hunger Games sa Pinas at ang dami nagpopost sa Facebook na maganda nga daw ang pelikula. Dahil dito, pinanood namin eto last Friday. Ang masasabi ko, maganda nga! Hindi din naman ako mahirap i-please. Gusto ko kapag ang pelikula ay dinadala ako sa ibang mundo at matagumpay itong nagawa ng Hunger  Games. Hindi ko namalayan na mahigit 2 oras pala ang tinakbo ng pelikula dahil talagang kaabang-abang ang bawat eksena. Hindi tulad ng John Carter na dinala nga ako sa ibang mundo pero nainip naman ako at gustong gusto ko na tapusin nila ang pelikula. Medyo twisted lang ng unti ang plot ng Hunger Games. Bakit kailangan mga bata pa ang kailangang magpatayan sa istorya? 

Dahil dito sinimulan ko na uli basahin ang libro. From CR dinala ko na sya sa aking kuwarto. Sa unang kabanata pa lang ng libro naintindihan ko na kung bakit ganun ka-twisted ang plot ng pelikula. Inexplain naman kasi dun. Medyo premature 'tong post ko kasi di ko pa maiikumpara ang libro at pelikula pero baka abutin naman kasi ako ng ilang buwan bago ko matapos ang libro. 

Narealize ko din na ang sosyal ng promo ng pelikulang eto. Mamigay ba naman sila ng libreng kopya ng libro. Sana gawin din nila eto para sa Catching Fire at Mocking Jay. Asa naman ako. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Aftermath

October 27, 2011

I thought I was already okay 2 months after the break-up. In fact, I got back with Mark and we were on holiday in London, eating lunch at Wagamama when I received a text message from Paul.

“Alex, I need to talk to you asap”

Thinking Paul had a problem I gave him a ring then and then. I found out he didn't have anything urgent on his side, he just wanted to speak with me. However, when he learned that I was on vacation during that time, he changed his tone and told me not to worry. I told him to just leave a message on Facebook.
I went home the day after. I have this weird habit of checking my phone, my email and my Facebook account in the wee hours of the morning. Paul actually left me a message and what I've found out is so shocking that I wasn't able to sleep again. Paul’s message occupied the whole screen of my phone but these are the words that popped out:
Jordan tested positive for HIV.
Jordan had a business trip in US and visited Trevor’s bf who is working in New York. Apparently, the free HIV testing centers are everywhere in New York and it wasn’t hard for Trevor’s bf to convince Jordan to take the test when they ran out of things to do. Jordan was so devastated with the result and he sought comfort by telling it to Trevor’s bf. Of course, Trevor's bf broke the news to Trevor.  Being Jordan’s most recent ex, I was the first person in Trevor's thoughts that’s why he had to tell Paul. That’s how Paul gathered the unfortunate story.
I called Paul and he made me talk to his bf who happens to be a doctor who quickly assured me that there is little risk for me being the "top". However, that didn't stop me from doing my own research using the internet. I've realized how naive I was to believe that a "top" wouldn't get the virus. I had some unprotected encounters with Jordan despite Paul's advice to me to always use rubber. 
I had to wait for 3 long months before I can get the test for a more accurate result. I decided to have myself tested when I'm back in the Philippines in December for my Christmas holidays. 
I had so many questions in my head. What if I have the virus? How will I tell Mark? When will I die? Before, HIV for me is something that I watch on television or read in Manila Gay Guy's blog. I never thought that I would come face to face with the virus. I also hated Jordan for putting me in this situation. 
I prayed that night to God and somehow found comfort and relief. I asked Him to save both me and Jordan. 
December 27, 2011
Paul decided to take the test with me on this day. We thought of doing it after Christmas to give ourselves time to enjoy the season. Of course, there were moments when we hesitated to push through the test but we convinced ourselves that "knowledge is power". There was nothing to lose as the virus could already be in our blood streams due to our past lapses in judgment but knowing whether we actually have it or not would help us re-assess our plans for the future. 
With the help of the internet, I found Manila Social Hygiene Clinic which offers free HIV test with rapid results. Myself and Paul met at the Tayuman station of LRT and walked to Quiricada street where the clinic is situated just right in front of San Lazaro Hospital. 
The clinic looks like a public elementary school inside. The signs brought me and Paul to the HIV testing site where we were asked to register first. The registration site is the same site where the results are released and there was actually only one other guy in the area waiting for his results. We noticed that he was called in to the health worker's room to receive the good or bad news. We saw him crumpled the paper containing his results when he came out of the room. Myself and Paul pretended that we didn't see anything and avoided to show any reactions. 
We filled up a one-page form which asks about personal information and sexual activities. 
"What is MSM?" Paul asked.
"Men who have sex with men! I thought expert ka na dyan!" I even joked to Paul. 
Myself and Paul decided not put our real name in the form. We tried to make the situation lighter by joking about the code names that we will use. 
Paul was called to the health worker's room first when he was done with his form. I went in after Paul's turn. It was a sort of a counselling session where the senior health worker will ask you about your sexual activities again just like in the form and the reason why you want to have the test. She freaked out when I honestly responded to her that my reason was because I had sex with a person confirmed to be carrying HIV. She told me that I need to come back after three months if ever I tested positive for the virus for a confirmatory test. I felt scared because of her reaction. 
We were then assisted to the laboratory for the actual test where two nurses waiting for me and Paul. I thought they will just prick our thumbs but it turned out they needed syringe to obtain our blood samples. We were then asked to go back to the registration site where the results will be released. 
Myself and Paul attempted to draw our mind away from the result by chatting about different things. After 10 minutes, we then saw an old man who signaled us that he already had our results from the laboratory. Paul was called in again to the health worker's room. While waiting for my turn, the old man already revealed to me our results. 
"Matutuwa kayo pareho! Pareho kayo negative!" he exclaimed. 
"Seryoso po kayo?" I asked with an excited tone.
"Oo naman. Sasabihin din sayo ni doktora. " the old man replied.
As expected, Paul came out of the room smiling and I was immediately called to go in. I was already smiling when the health worker handed me the piece of paper.
"Thank you po doktora!" I said with a big smile on my face.
"Iho next time gagamit ka ng condom ah" the health worker reminded me.
"Opo. Actually ayoko na po!" I replied to her.
"Ano ka ba? Di mo naman maiiwasan yan. Basta gumamit ka lang ng condom!" she reminded me again.
The whole process took only half an hour. Myself and Paul were so happy and thankful and we headed out to Trinoma to celebrate. We invited some our PLU friends to share with them the good news.
The result. I decided to use my bitch name "Vince Reyes". hehehe
This is me in a coffee shop in Trinoma. Di muna namin tinanggal ni  Paul ung bulak natatakot kasi kami  baka dumugo. 
I realized that indeed things happen for a reason. In my case, that God didn't really plan for my relationship with Jordan to work out as He didn't want me to get the virus. Who knows what could have happened if I stayed longer with Jordan. I have also learned to forgive him. I asked Paul and our other PLU friends to support Jordan as what he is going through is not easy and also to encourage him to start the treatment. I've began to reach out to Jordan as well and we are in the first steps of developing a friendship.  
I consider this as my second chance and I promised to myself that I wouldn't compromise my safety again. This is a closed chapter of my life. The nightmare is over and I can honestly tell that I have finally moved on completely. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Look

I decided to start personalizing my blog. From the previous emo-ish, all-black design, it now has a background photo. It took me more than an hour to accomplish that as I had to refer a lot to Google and Youtube.

By the way, I'm the guy in the photo reading a newspaper while waiting for my brunch. At least medyo may connect sa name ng blog ko. The photo was taken by my stalker/date, Mark.

Pag medyo nainis ako baka palitan ko but for now ganyan na lang muna sya.  =)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

In the name of love (Final Part)

"Hindi mo na ba ako mahal?", I asked him directly hoping for a positive answer.

"I don't know... I don't know anymore", Jordan replied.

Things suddenly dawned on me. It was like being doused with cold water. It was a quick realization.

Jordan was trying to explain things but I'm not interested anymore. All I know at that point is that our relationship was over.

"Fuck off! I don't want to hear a single word from you". I told him.

The pain in my chest was throbbing but no tears were falling. 

"I'm ready to leave Jordan. Actually naka-pack na ung bag ko" I told him calmly.

"You can still stay here I'm not asking you to leave. You don't have anywhere else to go"

Jordan was actually right. My family didn't have a clue that I was in the Philippines during that time. I felt so powerless but I didn't see the point in staying at Jordan's place. I had to call Paul.

Paul was shocked with the unexpected turn of events between me and Jordan. He told me to book a room in a hotel near Trinoma and he will keep me company there.

"Alex I'm so worried. Don't make any decisions now. I'll make the decisions for you. The rational part of your brain is not working at this moment. Just go to that hotel and I will be there shortly" Paul assured me.

When I got myself together. I calmly talked to Jordan.

"I didn't know what happened but somehow I expected this with the way the things are during the past days. Minahal kita. Actually hanggang ngayon mahal na mahal pa din kita but we both know that I have to go".

Jordan was crying the whole time and gave me one last embrace. It was as tight as the hug he gave me when he picked me up at the airport but this time for the different reason. He helped me hail a taxi cab.

When I got to the hotel room it was when I realized that I was all alone and that I failed at another relationship again. I cried. Paul got there after an hour.

"Alex, you have three options. First option eh book an earlier flight and bumalik ka na sa UK. Second option is to find a cheaper place to stay at dun ka na lang until your return flight . The third option is sa amin ka na lang mag stay."

I didn't like the first option. Not only it was expensive but I felt that I wasn't prepared to board another 21-hour flight carrying all the emotional baggage The second option didn't sound good either as I didn't want to feel alone and miserable in a cheap apartelle. The third option might be the best but Paul lives with his mother and for sure she will ask me questions that I don't know how to answer.

"Paul I think I need to go home. I need to see my family. I will call my mom and dad first thing tomorrow and I will tell them everything. For sure they will still accept me, I am still their son right?". I told Paul.

"No. I think there is a right time to come out to your parents. Not at this situation. Matanda na sila and they will be hurt to see you at this situation. If you need to go home we need to fabricate a story" Paul rebutted my suggestion.

Paul invited Trevor one of his and Jordan's PLU friends to help console me. Trevor was equally surprised with what happened between me and Jordan.

"You need drug, alcohol and sex!" Trevor quicky prescribed.

"Sorry I don't do drugs. Alcohol and sex puede pa." I replied to Trevor.

We went to O-Bar in Malate that night and it was my first time at a gay bar .

"Parang kanina lang magkasama pa kami ni Jordan. Look where I am now. I'm at a gay bar drowning myself with alcohol" I told Paul and Trevor.

I didn't really want to hook up that night and I'm sure Paul wouldn't allow me to as he never left my side. He even stayed in my hotel room overnight to make sure that I'm fine. He however had to leave in the morning for work. I told myself it's time to come home.

"Oh bakit ka umuwi? Anong nangyari sayo?" My dad asked me in a surprise but worried tone the moment he saw me at our door step.

"Dad napromote ako sa office and they gave me 1 week holiday kaya nagdecide ako na umuwi muna ng Pinas". I told my dad while trying to fake a smile.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

In the name of love (Part 2)

After 3 flight connections which took 21 hours, there I was at the NAIA. Jordan immediately recognized me from the sea of people in the arrival area and gave me the tightest hug as what he had promised not minding everyone else.

The first two weeks with Jordan was the happiest. During the first week, Jordan still needed to report for work leaving me home alone at night. But one thing I can vividly remember was the way he kissed me on the lips to wake me up whenever he comes home from work.

We followed the itinerary Jordan has prepared. We had lunch and dinner at his favorite restaurants. We met his close friends which included his boss to whom he outed himself just so he will be allowed the 3-week vacation leave. We went to the gym. We had spa and facial treatment. We watched "Wedding Tayo and Wedding Hindi" because we both had high expectations of Eugene Domingo and Star Cinema. And yes, we had sex every night.

At the start of the third week, the only activities left in our itinerary were: the dinner with Jordan's PLU friends which includes Paul; the meet up with Jordan's brothers in Nueva Ecija to formally introduce me; and the trip to Boracay to celebrate our 5th monthsary. However, it was during that week when I noticed something different from Jordan. He became easily irritated of me even when I try to make lambing and started to smoke. We also stopped having sex. I thought it was just pressure from work as he keeps on receiving calls from his subordinates even though he was on leave.

It was during those times when I started to question my decision of going all the way from Europe to the Philippines just to be with him. I remember it was Thursday of that week when Jordan went to the gym and I decided not to go with him. While he was away, I started to pack my things. I was ready to leave but my love for him prevailed. When he was back I acted as if nothing happened. We even watched "Here Comes the Bride" using my laptop. I was faking my laugh the whole time we were watching while Jordan seems unaffected by the funny scenes of the movie. After the movie, I went straight to the bedroom as I was trying to avoid any tension between us and I was hoping that I could just sleep things off my head. Jordan followed me in the bedroom.

"Hon, we need to talk", Jordan said.

I stood up and asked why but Jordan refused to answer but I can see that he was fighting his tears.

To be continued...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

In the name of love (Part 1)

I met him through Paul a year ago. I think Paul shared our story to his PLU friends and that's why Jordan became interested of me. He added me up on Facebook and we exchanged messages. Jordan is a good looking guy with a nice physique. I remembered that when Paul was showing the photos of his PLU friends, it was Jordan's photo that caught my attention. The next thing I knew is that I found myself flirting with him. During this time, I was still with Mark, my bf for 4 years but after what happened between me and Paul, I realized that I'm too sheltered and that I need to consider other possibilities as well.

At first, I kept my guards up, telling myself not to fall for him. Paul also warned me about him as he knew about his previous escapades and relationships. Jordan told me that he wanted a serious relationship and that I have all the qualities he was up for.

One day, I received a package containing three portraits of myself all the way from the Philippines. It was from Jordan and I learned that he grabbed some of my photos from Facebook. Needless to say, I fell in love with him. We became a couple a month after we've met online and I dropped Mark like a hot potato.

It was long-distance PLU relationship. Thanks to the technology, we were able to use all means of communication. The time zone difference was barely a factor since he was with a call center company working on a night shift. Jordan also started to "out" himself to his closest friends and even to his older brother as he said that he was too proud of me just to be kept a secret. It seemed perfect and the only thing that was missing is for us to finally meet physically.

I always go home every December to celebrate Christmas with my family and in fact, I've already got a ticket even before I met Jordan. Jordan suggested that since I have some unused VL credits, I could have another trip to the Philippines earlier than December and live with him without my family knowing about it. I was 50-50 with the idea. The other half of me was excited that we will be able to finally meet and that I can be a "husband" to him even just for a month. The other half of me was sad that I couldn't see my family who meant the world to me. But when Jordan offered to pay for everything, I realized how badly he wants to see me which made me decide to finally book another flight to the Philippines.

To be continued...