Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm But A Runner-Up

Did you say my spirit was laudable for displaying such positivity and for still finding the humor amidst everything I am currently experiencing?

Wait till you meet my friend, Japs.

We chatted briefly tonight on Facebook and this is how it went:

Rye: psst.. japs! japs!
Japs: maghintay ka kc baguhan plng ako mangalikot ng bago kong mac.. mwahaha
Rye: ang laki ng boobs mo! (...wala lang. gusto ko lang sabihin. baka kasi nakakalimutan mo! hehehe)
Japs: since birth! kaya siguro tsugi ako kc wala cla lahat suso!!! hehehe cheka!!!!!
Japs: bakla ala una na! ipahinga na natin ang katawang tao natin!!! gudnyt!!! mwah!

Mabuhay ka, Japs!
Mabuhay ang iyong katatagan!
Mabuhay ang iyong boobs!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Afloat And Sailing

The universe didn't even give me enough time for catharsis. It didn't give me ample time to cry at the thought of me being physically away from the people I had spent every single day of the past 3 years with. It just wanted me to look forward and brace myself for the exciting ride ahead --- to the world outside of what has become my comfort zone; a world that is a vast sea of limitless opportunities. Even before I woke up on Wednesday, there were already 2 job offers in my inbox, and they just keep coming until now.

What's even more enriching about this whole experience is the overwhelming love and support that I continue to receive from people around me. It breaks my heart, until now, whenever a colleague gets sentimental and tells me I will be missed. At the same time, it gives me joy knowing my presence is appreciated. It stupefies me everytime somebody says, "Why you?", in disbelief, because even I, do not know the answer. At the same time, it gives me pride that people respect my talent and work ethics. It makes me smile whenever I receive a message from someone who has read my blog, or has heard about it; because more than the concern that they show, it is in knowing that by being resilient, I was able to touch their lives, that makes the experience worth going through.

It is through this blog, though my entry, "Broke Often But Can Never Be Broken", that I was made to feel how so many people love me and trust my potentials. Allow me then, through this very same medium to thank every single soul who took the time to read my thoughts and share a kind word to me --- whether as a posted comment, a private message, an email, an sms, a phonecall, or an in-the-flesh confabulation. There are just so many, I can't even begin to enumerate your names in this post. Rest assured, each one of you will remain indelible in my heart. You have all made this experience a very empowering one. I will keep your messages in a safe place and pull them out whenever the tides get rough and my boat starts to lose its balance.

Being resilient is a value that only we can find in ourselves. Innate or instilled? There's really no way of telling. One thing's for sure though: if one doesn't have it in himself and he only borrows other people's outriggers to keep himself afloat in this sea of opportunities and misfortunes, not sinking will be a Herculean, almost impossible task. Sooner or later, he will have to build his own, lest he decides to discontinue the journey.

On the other hand, no matter how strong one's outriggers may be, without a sturdy sail, he will not go very far.

My biggest gratitude to all of you for being the sail that keeps me going. Every word and every little gesture of support that you have shared means so much to me. Every little ounce of hope and every message that says, "You're young. You're smart. You're talented." shows me how much love surrounds me and makes me stronger. Every single person that said, "You're beautiful.."

Uhmm.. well, nobody ever said that. Thanks, nonetheless.

"Love always finds a way
When the clouds have no silver lining
She comes thru shining
Love always sees the light
Through the darkest night
In a small way
Love always finds a way."

-Love Always Finds A Way
Peabo Bryson

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Broke Often But Can Never Be Broken

Unlike the previous years, I stepped into the conference room today without feeling remotely nervous or anxious.

Unlike the previous years, my contract meeting today was brief and didn't end with a tear-jerking thank you speech.

Unlike the previous years, I walked out of the meeting today without a contract in my hand.

I should be sad. Depressed. Crying.

I should be questioning my bosses' decision. Questioning my self-worth. Questioning my talent.

I should feel useless. Humiliated. Remorseful. Bitter.

I should be all that and more. But I'm not.

So what's next after this?

I don't know. Don't ask me today, for I have no plans yet. All I know is that there's a world out there waiting for someone as hungry for something new as I am, to grab everything it has to offer and make them his own. A world that doesn't need a fairy godmother for dreams to come true. A world that doesn't need another superhero but has enough space for personal victories. A world less magical and more risky. A world less familiar and more trying. A world less candy-colored and more chaotic. A world not-so-small but more real. A world where not everybody smiles and people kill. A world where the faint-hearted do not survive. A world where make-ups are not free and meals are more expensive. A world that doesn't give away free ice creams on scorching summer days. A world that I am cut-out to survive.

I'd be lying if I said I'm too strong to shed a tear. I wasn't that strong. I did shed a tear. It was after I saw my friends and colleagues get misty when I broke the news. And that's understandable. In that little world that became our foster home, the bonds that we have forged and strengthened will be too difficult to part from. Especially when leaving is not a choice that one has made on his own.

But when you're crying inside a comfort room cubicle, and the person occupying the one next to you lets out a potently odorous fart; and then you wipe your eyes dry with cheap toilet paper and you see your eyeliner getting smudged, you know it's time to stop crying and ask yourself the real question:

"Will I leave head down with much regret
with my chin up, ready to face what lies ahead?"

I choose the latter.

I am Rye. Unemployed in a foreign country starting September 25, 2008. Often broke, but can never EVER be broken.

A toast to the future!

Monday, July 21, 2008

About A Boy And The Visitation

The boy woke up to an sms that read:

"Hey mister! I'm seeing a potential client in your area. What are you doing?"

It was from Neo.

He replied:

"Just sitting here at home, wondering where my spare phone charger might have gone."

Then Neo called, asking whether he could swing by, to which, the boy graciously said yes; and three hours later, Neo was standing at the boy's gate. He let him in, offered coffee and they started to talk about everything but the past week.

After mustering enough courage to raise his issue, the boy cut Neo in the middle of his speech about why he had reservations on taking on the job being offered by his potential client, and asked bluntly, "So why did you suddenly disappear?"

"Because I got scared, I was getting into something I wasn't ready for. I'm not ready for a relationship," Neo admitted.

"Did I, at any point, make you feel like I was pushing you towards that direction?"

"No. But it was organically evolving towards that. And I know I had initiated that growth to begin with, and I chickened out when I started seeing it blossom."

"I was scared too, you know. But I fought it. Because it would be unfair for you if I just chickened out, just like that. I have no intentions of forcing you into anything. I just wish you had spoken before you disappeared," the boy confessed. "But everything's settled now, right? We both know we're just hanging out and there's nothing to be scared about."

"Yes," Neo answered with smile of relief.

"But are we still allowed to have sex?", the boy asked without any sign of bashfulness.

"Of course. Isn't that what we do when we hang out?"

Friday, July 18, 2008

About A Boy, A Rabbi And A Certain AJ.

It was a Sunday, a day for the boy to visit the synagogue and give praise.

Unlike the previous Sundays, he decided to come casually this time around. Dressed in a simple black crew-neck, shorts and sneakers, the boy entered the synagogue and was greeted warmly by familiar faces and the even more familiar scent of the place --- his Sunday home.

While he was standing in the middle of the room, relishing the feeling of just being there, the boy was spotted by the rabbi, who, without delay walked up to him and gave him a paternal welcome kiss. "How are you?", the rabbi asked.

"I'm good," the boy eagerly replied with a smile. But he was lying. And the rabbi knew.

"We'll talk later," the rabbi assured him.

By later, the rabbi meant, after he has greeted every single member of his congregation and given them his blessing, which, didn't take long. Few minutes later, he and the boy started their counselling. Halfway through the boy's bickering, he paused, quite alarmed of the expression on the rabbi's face. The rabbi was surprised. Baffled even. He had never seen the boy so agitated. Maybe it was the fact that the boy refused to talk about it for a while and kept it bottled up inside. Or maybe it was whatever he took that made his hormones go berserk.

"I'm sorry," the boy tried to calm himself down. "I have never felt this way. Ever."

"Because you've never experienced this before?"

"Never. Not with Erick, not with William. Not with any other fling."

He was wrong. In his process of recollection, he missed one person.


They met sometime in 2004: the boy and this AJ.

Somewhere in the middle of "Absolutely Not", while the boy danced in oblivion, AJ saw him. They were in a gay club. AJ was alone, while the boy was with his friends. AJ was quietly sipping his beer in one corner, while the boy was partying like there was no tomorrow. AJ was observing the boy, while the boy was trying to get the attention of the guy he had slept with the previous week, who wasn't paying much attention to him because he was with his boyfriend.

When the music changed, the boy grabbed his Absolut Vanilia from where he had parked it before he conquered the dancefloor and headed to the john. Normally, he would use the ladies' room. He was a VIP of the club and VIPs were allowed to do that. But there was a line to the ladies' room at that moment. There was only one porcelain god for women and there were about 7 women waiting to use it.The boy decided to use the urinal.

The club had two long urinals strategically placed against each other so that if there were two customers using each of them, they peed facing each other. A solid waist-high cement divider stood between the two urinals. From the waist to the ceiling stood a thin aquarium. On one side was the boy, forcing to entertain himself with the fishes, trying to fight the urge to check out what package laid uncovered on the other side of the fish tank. Somehow he succeeded in resisting the temptation. But the stare from that person on the other side of the fish tank was too strong to resist. The boy's eyes met his. And they smiled at each other.

Later on, the other person introduced himself as AJ. They exchanged numbers, and promised to call each other the following day. Little did they both know the promise was unnecessary. Just before the club played its last song for the night, they left together and headed to the boy's home. They didn't need to call each other the following day because 24 hours after they've met, they were still together, naked in the boy's room. The boy wasn't working that day and AJ decided to call in sick. They were mad about each other. For a whole week, they were together whenever they weren't working. The boy would rise at 6am every single day to have breakfast with AJ who worked the graveyard shift. Then they'd head to the boy's and make love like rabbits in heat, nap for a while, wake up in the afternoon, have a quick round, have an early dinner, then AJ would bring the boy to the theater where the boy did a performance from 8 to 10. Then the boy and his friends would go for drinks after the show in a bar that would be easy for AJ to go to on his "lunch" break.

Exactly a week after they met, the boy went to their usual breakfast place at 6:30am. AJ was nowhere in sight. He called AJ several times until he got pissed of the woman that repeatedly answered his call, almost mockingly. His temper was starting to blow but the woman said the same thing over and over with the same, unaffected tone.
"The subscriber cannot be reached. Please try your call later." Finally, the boy decided to go home.

As soon as he hopped in a cab, his phone beeped. The message was from AJ, and it said:
"I was watching you the whole time. Sorry I can't do this. I get stupid when I fall in love and I don't wanna get stupid ever again. Sorry."

Just like that, AJ fled. The next time the boy heard from him, via YM, the boy was already living in another city. AJ messaged: "How are you?" The boy ignored the message and blocked AJ from his list.

And just like that, the boy fled.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

About The Other Version Of The Story

After a friend finished reading About A Boy And A Test, he sent me the following message on MSN ---

Avalo sent 7/14/2008 8:29 PM:

add this: "The boy was confused and was willing to trash himself, knowing it would ease the situation for the moment, but make it worse the next day. He should have known and considered that he has friends, where he could have stayed, just to calm down, to let his emotions go and to spend a night in an environment that would not constantly remind him of the last few weeks!"

Somewhere, he had a friend, his "Big Cat", who couldn't afford to be too angry with him because he thought the boy was sufferring enough already. All he could say to "
Little Kitten" --- the boy --- was, "NEXT TIME MOVE YOUR ASS TO MY PLACE INSTEAD OF THINKING OF TRASHING YOURSELF !!!! what a silly kitten! no need to travel in a train alone!"


And the boy gave out his biggest, most heartfelt smile; for besides lessons that he learned, re-learned and re-evaluated, the biggest realization this experience has brought him was how much he was loved-- truly loved-- by the people he chose to be his friends.

Monday, July 14, 2008

About A Boy And A Test

Reeking of alcohol, the boy stepped into the train that would bring him back to the boonies where he lived. He hadn't even decided where to sit when he heard a woman's voice calling his name. It was an acquaintance from one of the parties he went to, sometime in the past. "You're drunk, honey. On a Sunday night! Is everything alright?"

"It is now!", the boy replied with a heartfelt smile. And he wasn't lying.

Things weren't okay three hours earlier. He was upset, frustrated, and feeling a bit insecure. Luckily, he took the train and spent a few hours with his friends, who, by the way, are judgemental, opinionated, harsh, tactless and are capable of slapping anyone with cold, harsh realities when they are at their most vulnerable state. (That's why they're friends, after all. They're the stereotypical "birds of the same feather".) But this time, his friends weren't so vocal about their thoughts. They knew very well he knew for himself what he was going through. They knew he knew how he got himself into all the drama and what he needed to do to resolve it. They trusted his judgement and just allowed him to vent. They had him drink as much alcohol as he needed to open up to them, and when he did, he was unstoppable. And they just sat there, listening --- being the kind of friends he needed at the moment.

When his self-imposed time limit to be a drama queen was up, he was gentleman enough to shut his mouth. Then his friends left. The next rounds of drinks that followed were more for him than for his sadness over the spilled milk --- over the disillusionment; over the bad date that spanned for roughly two months; over the guy that his mom was convinced was "the one". (And it was a herculean task to get his mom to even consider the guy. She was, until the guy prepared the grill for her birthday barbecue, still rooting for the boy's ex.)

By midnight, the boy ordered his last pink martini for the evening. When the bartender delivered his drink to him, he made a toast to himself --- for the lessons that life had been throwing at him since he first got himself into a romantic relationship, but which he kept ignoring, thus making his subsequent break-ups more difficult to bear. He wasn't going to ignore that lesson again. Not tonight, not ever.

He IS not afraid to love again. Or to have another heartache. But he promised himself, the next time he does, it will be for a whole new lesson. Not a refresher of what he's been taught 11 years ago.

The boy sat there on the train, smiling. He was delighted that he passed the test; and was content of the fun that he had over the past few weeks. Although it ended too soon, it wasn't bad at all. It was disgustingly delightful while it lasted. The guy wasn't an asshole; he was just not what he needed. With a clearer head (albeit alcohol-soaked), and his earphones plugged in, the boy sang to the melody that his Itunes played over and over.

"...I want the real thing
Or nothing at all
I need someone that I
can be sure will catch me
If I should fall
Someone who'll be there when I call
Then I'll know that it's the real thing

I want the real thing
To warm me each night
Someone to love me over and over
Making the future bright
Someone who'll be there when I call
Just give me the real thing


I want to know for sure
That I can feel secure
Knowing I've found an everlasting love
And once I get that under control
Then I won't let go..."

(Real Thing, performed by

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Stop it, stupid! You are acting silly.

Read a book. Watch porn. Crochet. Do anything. Anything at all. Just stop acting stupid.

And stop singing that fucking song! It's annoying!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Happiness Is..

original words by B. Anderson Jr.
sung by Gerard and Lea Salonga
additional verses by Ryeness, inspired by the recent events in a friend's life

Happiness - Lea Salonga

Happiness is two kinds of ice cream
Finding your skate key, telling the time
Happiness is learning to whistle
Tying your shoe for the very first time

Happiness is playing the drum in your own school band
And happiness is walking hand in hand

Happiness is five different crayons
Knowing a secret, climbing a tree
Happiness is finding a nickel
Catching a firefly, setting him free

Happiness is being alone every now and then
And happiness is coming home again

Happiness is morning and evening

Daytime and nighttime, too

For happiness is anyone and anything at all
That’s loved by you

Happiness is having a sister

Sharing a sandwich

Getting along
Happiness is singing together when day is through
And happiness is those who sing with you
Happiness is morning and evening
Daytime and nighttime, too

For happiness is anyone and anything at all
That’s loved by you

Happiness is hearing him whisper "You look amazing!"
to your ear while you're standing in the middle of a fashion show hall that's
swarmed with beautiful people and gorgeous models.

Happiness is realizing that he does care for you,
because he got upset when you did something nasty.

Happiness is seeing him make an effort to get to know your friends;
and seeing him make an effort so you could meet his.

Happiness is finding out that he took a picture of you
while you were in drag without you knowing
and that he uses that picture as the wallpaper
for the same phone he used to photograph you.

Happiness is receiving an sms from him,
just as you were dreading the thought that
the night would go by without you seeing him,
saying "Please come over."

Happiness is brushing his hair with your hand
as you sit on the couch and he,
on the floor, between your legs, while watching a movie.

Happiness is sleeping on the same bed with him,
skin to skin, without feeling the obligation to have sex.

Happiness is waking up in the arms of someone
who doesn't fall under the category of one-night stand.

Happiness is receiving a call from him
in the middle of the day,
just because he wants you to hear how good his day is going.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Have A Heart. Party For A Cause.

Hey, partyphiles and rockstars!

It's time to give back to the community and show some lovin'! Come party and get smashed for a cause tonight, July 4 (Friday) at Club JJ's Grand Hyatt (1 Harbour Road, Wanchai).

For the $280.00 that every person pays at the door, he gets 1 complimentary Cointreau drink and donates $100.00 to AIDS Concern. Not bad, right? See, if you come in a group of 5, then your gang's accumulated group donation will be $500. Do you know how much help that will be to the organization's cause? I don't. But I'm pretty sure it will go a long way. Now imagine if there were 500 of us who came. 500 x 100? Steve, please do the math.

And as if that cause is not worthy enough of your money, Club JJ's tapped DJane Jennifer Lopez (Sweden), DJane Martina Kaiser (Austria), and live percussionist ALDO to turn up the beats.
See you there! It's gonna be fun, fun, fun! And good, good, good! Good music, good environment, good deal, and, oh dear... good points in heaven! ;-)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

REPOST: The Unbearable Lights Of Christmas

Rems and Mai at the HK Disneyland, 29 June 08

"The Unbearable Lights Of Christmas" was originally published on December 19, 2007

I walked over to the other theater from ours at half past 6 tonight. Halfway through, the lights all over the park went dim and a male voice came booming from the speakers. "Ladies and gentlemen, Maestro Mickey!", he said. Or something to that effect. Then his announcement was quickly followed by the Putonghua translation.

It was time for the lighting of the castle. The music faded in and went up and Mickey sliced the air with his baton. Fireworks. They shot up and lit the black evening sky and sprinkled like gold, shining confettis way up in the air --- like pixie dust --- and disappeared quickly, one confetti after the other, as if they had been swallowed by the mysterious blackness of the sky.

The music segued to a full-orchestra arrangement of Carol of the Bells and went to an overpowering crescendo. The tower of the castle was briefly covered with bright lights. When its lights died, another part's lit. And it went on and on and the lights seemed to be dancing to the music. Catching every poignant note, and keeping silent in the rests of the music.

I remembered our family Christmases during my childhood. My cousins, who grew up in the middle of the ancestral rice fields from Nueva Ecija, would come to Manila every year to celebrate the holidays there. We'd bring them around Cubao. They'd be so mesmerized with the lights that hung in every building and every tree in Araneta Center, and we'd just spend hours walking and walking, stopping every 5 minutes to take pictures of almost anything and everything there was --- SM Cubao, Ali Mall, the giant Araneta Christmas tree, Fiesta Carnival, Araneta Coliseum, the street vendors, the food, the streets themselves... Then we'd wrap up our little holiday trip by buying fried dried squid and park ourselves in front of C.O.D. to watch their annual Christmas mannequin show.

photo credit: larawan

Once, on our way home from Cubao, as we were all packed in my uncle's red Ford Fierra, one of my cousins exclaimed, "Ang ganda-ganda ng mga ilaw! (The lights are very beautiful!)".

Then my mom said, "Para ka na ring nasa Disneyland, no? (Almost feels likes your in Disneyland, doesn't it?)"

My dad, sitting in front, beside my uncle who was driving protested. "Hindi ah! Mas maganda ang Disneyland. Pag nagtatrabaho na yung mga anak ko, pupunta tayo dun! (Of course not. This doesn't compare to Disneyland. When the time comes that my sons are already working, we will all go there."

It must have been 20 years ago. I don't exactly know when this happened. But I do remember that episode so well until now because that night, I promised myself I will someday bring them to Disneyland. I kept quiet and didn't tell a soul about it, because I wasn't sure I could ever fulfill my promise.

As we grew older, Cubao somehow lost its charm to us. Eventually, our family reunions were moved to Baguio. Though those Christmas trips weren't the slightest bit less fun, none of them compared to our Christmases in Cubao. In August of 2002, dad passed away and our family reunions became more meaningful. It was the time of the year when mom would see her brothers and sisters and reconnect with them, alleviating her sadness and depression. But still, none of those compared to our Christmases in Cubao.

This will be my third Christmas away from family. My brother's second. Our family's 6th Christmas without Oca. While Remi has enjoyed so many times (and will continue to do so) my Disneyland promise to them, Oca wasn't able to wait 3 more years. He would've loved to be walking around the "happiest place on earth" with Remi. And I would've loved performing, knowing that he and she and Mai were in the audience. He passed away without ever seeing me or Mai perform professionally. His diabetes was already in a bad stage when we started doing professional work. He'd always have wounds in his feet and could not wear shoes. He was afraid of being refused admission because of his footwear so he never dared. But here, in Disney, he could come in wearing anything in his feet. He could see my show in flip-flops with Mai and Remi, and no one would mind.

photo credit: jacky

I stood there in the middle of the crowd tonight, my senses totally oblivious of the people around me. Slowly, the sound coming from the crowd faded as if they were all very, very distant from where I was standing. All I could hear was the melodious sound of Carol of the Bells. All I could see was the castle and how, little by little, it got totally covered in what seemed to be millions of tiny, bright lights. All I could smell was the crispness of the winter air. And all I could feel was my family, standing with me in front of the majestic castle they once dreamed to see.