The Wheel and Axle

The Gray Space

by on Apr.04, 2014, under Books and Literature

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I see you.

I see you.

One of the more difficult things in being a genre fiction writer (horror, fantasy, sci-fi, action-adventure, etc.) is how to write believable and three-dimensional antagonists, i.e. villains. Genre fiction, after all, are usually good vs. evil tales at the core.

It’s then rather easy to fall into the cliche trap of the obvious villain: evil is as evil does, and evil does as evil looks. They are identifiable by their cackle, their rants, their singular evil motives, and so forth. Many of them revel in being evil, so much so that they may as well have t-shirts printed proclaiming their evilness.

But if one wants to ground characters in well-rounded reality, one must remember that – in real life – very few (if any) people view themselves as evil. Most real-life “villains” see themselves as misunderstood, even righteous in whatever ends they have set their eyes upon. Do we really think Hussein, Bin Laden, and Marcos thought of themselves as  Saurons, or Voldemorts, or Wicked Witches of the West?

Ra's al Ghul: Good or bad?

Ra’s al Ghul: Good or bad?

Like real people, the best and most complex villains, after all, are those who think they are actually doing good. The likes of Ra’s al Ghul and Magneto in the comics, for instance, or Akasha from The Vampire Chronicles have rather noble intentions – but their evil simmers underneath as their means and motives come into question.

So it is a continuous challenge to create and sustain interesting gray antagonists. Even I am still learning along the way.

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Thirty Things I Learned From Jessica Zafra’s Writing Workshop

by on Mar.09, 2014, under Books and Literature, Wordsmith

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Pre-workshop Meet and Greet

Last year, I was lucky to have been chosen to participate in Jessica Zafra’s first writing workshop, “Write Here, Write Now.” We had a meet-and-greet in November, which Jessica featured in her blog. In the succeeding weeks before the end of 2013, I also met up with some participants to get to know them and prep ourselves up. It was nice to have like-minded folks getting ready to dive into a workshop with one of our most famous local authors.

We started the workshop in January – four non-consecutive Saturdays until March 8th. Held in the Ayala Museum, it was sponsored by the Ayala Foundation.

SYTYCW Mesa

Alin, alin, alin ang naiba?

Now, the workshop is over. I’ve finished the first draft of my novel, but looking at the revisions I need to make is rather overwhelming. So pen (okay, keyboard) in hand, I need to roll up my sleeves to get things moving along.

That being said, I learned a lot from the workshop and made new friends with whom I can talk about literature, writing, and gossip. And to nobody’s surprise, about 75% of the class (or at least, those who actually made it) turned out to be… of my persuasion. Let’s leave it at that.

Some things I learned:

  1. Take a break. Having finished my first draft, I’ll let it breathe for a few days and write other things. I’ve been writing a horror/fantasy novel and, although the characters are living animatedly in my mind, I need to leave them for a while so I’ll have a fresh perspective. I’ll be re-writing some short stories in the meantime.
  2. Focus and write. I’ve started to really discipline myself to write something everyday. True, life can be so busy, and it might never be a perfect routine, but having that sense of structure can help. Of course, it will vary from person to person – this works for me now, but it doesn’t necessarily work for others, as I’ve seen with some of my new mates. The important thing is, find your personal process… and stick to it.
  3. Try not to get stuck. We’ve all been there, including me: make that first chapter perfect! I kept on going back and going back to rewrite and perfect the first few chapters, until I realized I wasn’t moving forward. Once I got over it, I just decided to write and write. This helped me finish my first draft in less than two months. There will be time to revise afterwards, perhaps even with the help of a fresh set of eyes who are willing to be constructive first readers. No matter how good your idea is, if you only have one chapter, it will just be one chapter unless you get over it.
  4. Don’t aspire or claim to be the next “Filipino XXXX.” You’ll just set up expectations – possibly unrealistic – that can disappoint you. Instead, aspire to be yourself as a writer.
  5. Read, read, read. Keep on reading. Not that I didn’t need to learn this, per se, but it’s good to be validated as a reader as well.
  6. Experience the world. Everything can be material for your work, including those strangers chatting in the other table in the coffeeshop. Experience Quiapo. Mingle with the rich. Understand human nature. Stories should never just be about plot; characters should be those you can also root for.
  7. My gaydar still works at 99.5% accuracy levels.
  8. Lloyd’s gaydar is more powerful than mine.
  9. It is interesting to watch a debate between a Paleo guy and a vegetarian. Popcorn is a must when there is a battle of wits between Reg and Evan.
  10. Think of Russia not as a European country but as an Asian country. Then some of their politics will make sense. Props to Mike C for that perspective.

    Session 3: Dulcinea Dinner (Dennis Trillo off-screen)

  11. Older queens, those in their 70s or so, apparently have a fantasy: tapis, laba sa batis, “Andyan na ang mga Hapon!” Then it becomes a Seiko films ouvre.
  12. Sid Lucero likes to play video games. If only Momelia had asked for his number.
  13. Jen, Tal, and Lea are great names for three sisters. As Angus accidentally found out.
  14. I fear walking through the minds of Deo, Jovan, Patrick, and Ryan. Well, Patrick, do the Arnel Salgado route!
  15. 15K Pesos and $200. Kelangan nang pag-ipunan! Kung hindi man, pwede namang tumambay na lang sa Mr. Jones.
  16. PJ was impressed that I knew Starro the Conqueror. I didn’t think anyone would be impressed by that. Well, we need to go to Quiz Nights, then.
  17. Dry-variety Friskies are best for kittens.
  18. Crime-Fighting Call Center Agents is hilarious. Noel needs to mass-market this. I’ve only read snippets, but I need to see more.
  19. White ladies (or perhaps diwata) in Mt. Makiling dislike noisy radios. Next time, magpatulog ka kasi, Roni. Or write more porn. Este, erotica.
  20. I must read and watch Never Let Me Go.

    First pre-workshop meet-up: the late CBTL in GB3

  21. Apparently, I am not the only writer who has not read The Great Gatsby. I now feel less low on the food chain.
  22. I have confirmed that a certain politician is bisexual.
  23. Sam Milby has a twin brother.
  24. Jaime has unusual ambitions. Support!
  25. There are still people out there who have no idea about Talong, Pilita Corrales having a son with Eddie Gutierrez, and why the movie title Cristina Moran is funny.
  26. It would’ve been nice to have known Mike D, JMe, and Butch more. Well, Charlene, too – but I’ve known her since the late 90s so I know how her crazy mind works already. Well, nowhere near mine.
  27. Draft in Greenbelt 2 is a great place to drink beer.
  28. I now know what free-range beef is. I have no idea why legumes are supposed to be bad, but I still eat them heartily. Meanwhile, I did not know chocolates were a gift from aliens.
  29. Dennis Trillo looks even better in person.
  30. New friends are always just around the corner. #sepanx as one of them said. Well, the workshop is done, but we’re not. I’m sure we’ll all get to hang out regardless. It’s always nice to have people to discuss writing and these things with; always stimulate the mind (and the gossip brain centers). Besides, we still have a June deadline. Nothing better than fellow writers to support you over a cup of coffee, tea, and cake.

Some other blog articles by Jessica Zafra about our workshop:

Worked All Weekend

Workshop Reading Lists

Workshop Snippets: Novels-In-Progress

Our first workshop series is over. Now finish your novels, and they’d better be brilliant.

Last Session Dinner: Mr. Jones (grabbed from Evan Tan)

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What’s Funny About Rape?

by on Dec.03, 2013, under Commentary, Film and TV

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I recently watched “Slumber Party,” the Cinema One Originals / Origin8media / One Night Entertainment / Outpost film. Despite very minimal publicity, I was eagerly anticipating this comedy based on a viral trailer I saw on the internet. I also had high expectations because two of the studios have produced a lot of quality films in the past, including one of my favorite aswang movies (“Yanggaw,” Cinema One Originals) and one of the most hilarious movies in the history of ever (“Zombadings: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington,” Origin8media).

Slumber Party

Slumber Party

Now, while “Slumber Party” over-all was not so bad, one thing left a very sour note: that male rape was essentially played for laughs. After the fratboy-wannabe intruder was captured by the three protagonists during a sleepover, one of them (Archie Alemania) secretly went and forced a blow job upon the hogtied, struggling eighteen-year old (to his credit, actor Sef Cadayona effectively conveyed his helplessness, anger, and terror at being molested).

Moreover, towards the end, it almost happened again, with Markki Stroem being the near-perpetrator until he was caught by RK Bagatsing, resulting in a rather melodramatic sequence about the secret resentments of all three. You know, because never mind the boy who was almost raped for the second time within 24 hours. Priorities.

I tried my best to see what the filmmakers would do with this. I waited patiently if there would be some kind of payoff in the end – such as the perpetrators getting their just desserts, or at least a stronger acknowledgement of the implications of the incidents. While rape can be depicted in art, literature, and media, there needs to be meaning to it, a purpose. Rape is so sensitive a topic that it needs to be handled with care if it is to be used at all.

However: Nope. Not even a sorry from the perpetrators. In the context of the entire film, there was no purpose to it as it was glossed over and ignored.

Does this happen in real life? Of course it does. Men, women, gays, lesbians, trans – there have been rapes committed by members of these communities. It is not that we disallow the portrayal of a social reality, but what we do with such a portrayal is the question.

There is nothing funny about rape. Even worse, this film perpetuates the myth that male rape is “okay,” that because the victim is male then nothing is lost, that the victim may have even secretly enjoyed it. It doesn’t help in this case as the guy develops a mild case of Stockholm Syndrome with one of his captors, albeit the only one who doesn’t attempt to rape him.

And no, even if he is the intruder in the first place (which is of course still wrong, albeit a frat prank), it still doesn’t make it right. Rape as punishment is not right.

This is the kind of depiction of male rape that makes it even more difficult for male victims of abuse to come forward. That somehow, it’s nothing, that it’s just a funny thing, a rite of initiation, that it’s just a “macho thing,” that being raped is a sign of virility because all the women and the gays and the trans desire him, that he is an alpha god.

Let me ask you: if that scene had involved an eighteen-year old girl hogtied to a chair, and a straight man comes in to pull down her panties and molest her, and all this in the context of being played for laughs, how do you think people would react?

And yet, because it is a boy tied to that chair, probably a horny one for he is a teenager after all right, people actually thought it was hilarious.

It is a sexist double-standard that is unfair to both men and women.

Worse, this further demonizes the bakla as nothing more than a molester. Even if it is to the film’s credit that the third bakla is decidedly not so, when two-thirds of your primary beki protagonists are molesters, then you are not doing the community a favor. Instead, you are reinforcing the myth that all bekis are predatory.

The rest of the movie actually had its good parts. Sef Cadayona, Markki Stroem, and Nino Muhlach cameoing as a “gay auntie” were comparatively effective in their roles, whether on the comedy side or on the dramatic side. There were of course some internal logic and plot hole issues, such as – exactly what were the three bekis planning to do with their captive, keep him there forever? Medyo hindi napag-isipan ng tatlong sisteraka ang plano nila. Also, as a friend put it, the movie fell quickly into the stereotype of the “effeminate, transgender freak as the primary comic relief” (not to mention the most vile of them, having been the rapist).

“Slumber Party” could have been a great effort. The trailers and premise showed a lot of promise. There were a lot of nice scenes and heartwarming sequences. It could have been used as a vehicle to promote good LGBT cinema.

It is unfortunate that it had to be marred by an unwarranted rape scene played for comedy.

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The War on Education

by on Oct.02, 2013, under Books and Literature, Commentary

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I cannot help but sometimes think there is a conspiracy against education. Whether here or in the USA, education is one of the first institutions that tend to take a hit when budget and planning come into play.

In the USA, it seems the budget for the war chest takes precedence over education (which is not surprising, I guess, considering how many enemies the USA has and how many war profiteers there are in that nation). In the Philippines, education keeps on getting budget cuts, straining state universities and causing a deterioration in quality schooling, while the pork barrel of unscrupulous politicians just keeps on growing.

It is as though we are at war against education, and our leaders want to raise morons. This, of course, may not be that far-fetched because a world full of idiots is easier to control and manipulate.

Recently, it was reported that – in the new K-12 educational system being rolled out for the Philippines – the Department of Education is looking to downscale Literature and Humanities in the curriculum. This is despite the fact that the K-12 program seeks to add two additional years to the basic education of Filipinos.

(Do not get me started on the uselessness of adding two years to basic education. At this point, quality, not quantity, is needed. All that we will accomplish with two years of additional schooling is that even more of our poor countrymen who have no means will end up not finishing school.)

Needless to say, the proposal to downscale Literature and Humanities was not met with open arms by writers, Literature teachers, and anyone who actually has brains. And why should we meet this with open arms? As the article notes, it is strange that while two more years are being added to basic education, Literature and Humanities are getting the shaft by being subtracted from the curriculum.

One of the more preposterous ideas is to collapse 21st Century Regional Literature into World Literature. One is the study of Philippine Lit in regional languages, while the other is the study of works from other nations. It would be akin to these DepEd idiots collapsing Chemistry and Biology into one subject (and not in the sense of a true Biochemistry course).

Now, while the value of Literature may not be as easily apparent in daily life as, say, basic Math or Grammar, the value is nonetheless significant.

Literature helps develop critical thinking in people. People need to read more and more, not less and less, especially in this day and age where Twitter and Facebook have become the norm in feeding us ideas not always filtered with intelligence or the sublime. Mind you, social media has its value, but it should not replace true education, especially when there is so much garbage that needs a critical mind to be filtered out by impressionable young people.

“There are magazines, too!” I hear naysayers cry. Right, because there is so much depth to learn from reading Cosmopolitan and FHM.

The fact remains that, without Literature, people will not learn to think critically as they could and will not understand more about the world around them in ways that Math, Science, or even History cannot provide. I say this as a person who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and who is a self-professed Math nerd. These disciplines show us logic and teach us about the objective; Literature and the Humanities show us emotion and teach us how about the subjective.

Literature and the Arts are about humanity. These teach us to understand and learn the human experience from all around us – whether it be through the local experience, the national experience, or the global experience.

Devaluate Literature and the Arts, and you risk devaluating how we learn to be more human.

Source: http://www.northernsun.com/7314.html

 

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The New Overseas Filipino Worker

by on Sep.11, 2013, under Commentary, Snark

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I have been in the industry I work in for over a decade. Through various companies including the present, I have experienced its various iterations: call center, back office, insourcing, offshoring, global service center, global solutions. In all cases, it has shown me how world-class Filipino talent is.

Thus, it irks me no end when I hear an arrogant moron telling an agent, “Operator ka lang?” or when I hear a sneering ignoramus say, “Fad lang ‘yang offshore-offshore na ‘yan!

(By the way, being a phone operator is nothing to be ashamed of. It is an honest living.)

Fact No. 1. Save perhaps for our heroic OFWs, often in jobs they are overqualified for, this industry has brought in more money to the Philippines than any other. Through many crises, we helped save the economy. It is no coincidence that, after the 1997 Asian crisis, the Philippines came out (relatively) unscathed because the late 90s was when outsourcing started gaining traction. It is no coincidence that we improved even with a USA recession in the late 2000s.

Source: http://www.remotestaffrecruit.com/

Source: http://www.remotestaffrecruit.com/

Fact No. 2. Offshoring is not limited to the call center industry. It is by far the most well-known of the business, and certainly one that has helped boost awareness of our capabilities, but it is a small percentage of the industry. Non-voice work such as healthcare and medical transcription are strong businesses, and definitely IT/web development is a powerful driver of the industry (or did you not know that a lot of the technology beyond our borders were actually created here?).

Fact No. 3. Offshoring is not limited to outsourcing. Many companies have started to “insource,” meaning, they set up “captive” offices in offshore destinations and utilize these sites as service centre hubs. It is the set-up of a multinational company, basically.

Fact No. 4. This industry requires brains. While certainly it is not rocket science, jobs in this industry require excellent communication skills (verbal and written, English or otherwise), strong analytical and problem-solving skills, and high computer literacy. Ever wonder why many people still do not pass screenings for these companies?

Fact No. 5. This industry requires high EQ. People skills are important, whether it be to provide empathy for customers or to deal with difficult clients. It also requires a strong sense of character, as most multinationals have very strict codes of conduct, compliance, and ethics. Resiliency and dedication are also key, for where others will crumble at the mere sight of floodwaters, workers in this industry brave such torrents in order to continue serving the world.

Fact No. 6. Training and professional development are given more importance than any other industry. Management training is also a key factor in the success of these companies. Note that many of these companies are run by people who do not always have management degrees; heck, my degree is in Biology. Most of my colleagues do not have MBAs, but they will run rings around those with MBAs if they were placed in a traditional company.

Fact No. 7. The average income in this industry is higher. Modesty aside, we earn more than most, thank you. Our international counterparts save a lot of money in labor arbitrage. They can fund companies here at a fraction of what it would cost to keep the work there. However, due to exchange rates, that fraction is still significantly above our cost of living, allowing employees here to be paid above the average income of local companies. They save money while we earn more. It’s a win/win situation and one of the main reasons this industry thrives.

Source: http://bpoindustryphilippines.blogspot.com

Source: http://bpoindustryphilippines.blogspot.com

Fact No. 8. The industry supports globalization. Those who refuse to see the value of an industry intimately tied to globalization will be left behind. Our advantage is unique. We provide cultural compatibility with most international markets given our strong Western influence, our Eastern heritage, and Filipino hospitality. Our workforce is strong in English, and we also have a good percentage that can support Spanish and (to some extent) other languages such as French, German, Korean, and more - a key differentiator that our competitors such as India and China do not always have. This allows us to support other markets and not just the USA, as incorrectly perceived by many.

Fact No. 9. What we do impacts not just ourselves, not just our country, but also the world. We are part of a bigger picture, and what we do moves not just our country, but also the world. I speak not of just mere customer service, but also how our work has spanned various markets such as government, trade, shipping, finance, economy, and more. We are movers and shakers of the world. Nevertheless, despite our global service…

Fact No. 10. … we  serve our country. I do not have anything against people who migrate because they perceive a futureless Philippines, and with the bizarre circus we call Pinoy politics, who can blame them? However, I have always found it sad that they have given up on this nation. I am doubly-saddened by people I know who, after having been given the privilege of state-subsidized education, decide to take their skills elsewhere.

(I believe it was Winnie Monsod who suggested that those who gained state education should serve locally for X number of years before they migrate. Pay the country back and be grateful for what it gave you. I do not disagree with this sentiment; it is basic delicadeza. Do not complain about lack of Philippine progress if you will not do anything at all to help it. But I digress. It is a topic for another day.)

In any case, there are still those of us who believe there is hope for this nation, and the hope is in its workforce. There are opportunities here. If you work hard and have the right skills, there is no reason to leave and not serve the country right here. The only way for our nation to have a future is for us to trust and work for its future (them politicians be damned).

People complain about brain drain. We have people lamenting that our countrymen migrate, and yet the same people look down upon the one industry that can bring those same opportunities right here at home.

At the heart of it, this industry is basically the same as that of the OFW, except that instead of us going to other countries for work, other countries bring their work to us. We are the new OFW, laborers who support overseas markets but who do not have to leave their families behind to earn a substantial income.

Is that not good? We bring in the “dollars” without having to sacrifice being with our families. We are work-from-home OFWs.

And to those poor, uneducated souls who still refuse to see this reality and continue to question the validity of this industry, I ask you:

Has your work been crucial to the welfare of consumers around the globe, wherein if you don’t do your job, people the world over would have no support for what they have put their money in, whether it be utilities, products, or services?

Has your work involved the resolution of banking fraud, wherein if you don’t do your job, the risk to international banking will increase?

Has your work resulted in the creation of a technological infrastructure, wherein if you don’t do your job, governments could fall?

Has your work affected healthcare in other countries, wherein if you don’t do your job, doctors and hospitals do not get paid and medical services can be stalled, jeopardizing human life?

Has your work impacted global trade, wherein if you don’t do your job, import and export between countries can be aversely affected and international economies could potentially be destabilized?

No?

Then please, shut up.

(And learn proper grammar and spelling while you’re at it. No wonder you’re bitter.)

Source: http://www.outsource-force.com

Source: http://www.outsource-force.com

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Sham Versus Infidelity

by on Jul.05, 2013, under Film and TV

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The FB page of “My Husband’s Lover” recently asked a simple yet ultimately (as the comments section showed) divisive question: Kanino kayo pumapanig: sa babaeng pinakasalan, o sa lalaking unang inibig?

My initial reaction, swooning over #tomden and typical of the “follow your heart trope,” was to say, “Eric!”

Then I realized: If we want to look at this in a healthy manner, then the answer is, “Neither.”

The common response of the pro-Lallies is, “May pamilya na sila. They should stay together for the kids.” Often, there’s also the added rhetoric of the sanctity of marriage, blahblahblah. They fail to remember that the marriage was built on a lie. The sanctity was never there to begin with. It is not a marriage; it is a sham. Just ask Carmina Villaroel.

Sino?

(Image courtesy of MHL’s Facebook Page)

The common response of the pro-Erics is, “True love!” They broke up years ago. Please move on. It’s actually pathetic, when you think about it. Sure, there was no closure, but only the desperate would not have moved on a decade later. Moreover, he is rekindling the relationship under the shadow of infidelity. True love is not always right. Besides, “How you get him is how you lose him.”

Also, a response to my comment on the post bothered me. “Paano ‘pag tanda nya?” (I spelled that out because the textspeak used will make you want to hurl large objects.)

If the only reason for you to get married and have children is to have someone to take care of you in your sunset years, then you have a selfish notion of what marriage and family are about.

You marry someone because you love them, not because you need a caregiver.

You have children because you want to share the world with offspring that you love. If they come back when you are old to take care of you, then great. If they want to be independent of you, then they have that choice, and it’s not bad, and you have no right to make them feel bad about it. Only selfish parents will expect their kids to be their crutch in old age.

This is why I respect my parents dearly. They have often told me and my brother that they want us to live our lives independently of them because they will not be around forever. If we take care of them in old age, they will welcome it; however, they do not expect it. It is easier to love and care for such parents as opposed to those who squeeze every last drop out of their kids – even if those kids already have their own families.

Love is giving and expecting nothing in return. If you think your children owe you every last minute to your dying day, then you should never have children.

Also, parents “staying together for the kids” will not always work especially if the marriage is broken irreparably. An environment of conflict or distrust can do more harm to the kids. Of course parents should always try to work things out, but if it is an intrinsic issue like the sham of Vincent and Lally’s “marriage,” then that marriage was never a marriage to begin with – just a piece of meaningless paper. Sometimes, parents who are separate but who nonetheless jointly provide love and support to their kids are the better option.

The healthy choice for Vincent is to get an annulment, especially since this is a valid annulment situation – not just legally in the Philippines but also ethically and morally. Then he should start anew with neither Lally, whom he lied to from the very start, nor Eric, with whom infidelity would have been the foundation of a renewed relationship.

This doesn’t mean Vincent should remain single forever, as the same brain-deficient simpleton commenter I noted above extrapolated from my initial statement (hence her question, “Paano ‘pag tanda nya?”). He can live a new life, seek out new lovers – whether men or women or both, whatever he is most comfortable with – and maybe along the way find a companion with whom he can start a clean slate based on honest love… and perhaps even grow old with.

Let’s face the facts. What Vincent has with both Lally and Eric are broken.

So start fresh. Be single for a while. Find someone new… and begin a new life based on love and not selfish reasons.

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The Husband, The Wife, and The Lover

by on Jun.30, 2013, under Film and TV

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Is that my husband?
(Image courtesy of MHL’s Facebook Page)

Today, on the Philippine Online Chronicles (http://thepoc.net), I talk about the unexpected phenomenon that is GMA 7′s “My Husband’s Lover” and why it is a phenomenon.

No, in my article, I don’t extol the virtues of the beautiful creature that is known as Tom Rodriguez.

However, I will extol his virtues here and say that he is one of the most beautiful creatures on the planet, isn’t he? I mean, just look at him. Ever since I first saw him on “Here Comes The Bride” emerging from the sea and into that beach, I knew he was something special.

Well, now is his chance to shine… and shine he does with Dennis Trillo.

Yes, #tomden is officially a love team. You know it’s official when their love team portmanteau is a hashtag.

Read my thoughts on “My Husband’s Lover” here in the article titled “The Magenta Maleta.”

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Question and Answer Portion

by on Jun.30, 2013, under Books and Literature

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In 2012, UP Babaylan celebrated its 20th anniversary. Two decades are quite the milestone for the first and most influential student LGBT organization in the country, and to further celebrate the successes of the organization through the decades,UP Babaylan worked hand in hand with the UP Center for Women’s Studies to publish and release a beautiful coffee table book entitled, “Anong Pangalan Mo? at iba pang tanong sa mga LGBT.”

The book, which was launched last 25 June 2013 in the Vargas Musuem, is basically an artistic photo journal wherein fifty alumni and resident members answered fifty questions commonly asked of LGBT. It is inspired by Weingarten’s “A Series of Questions” and attempts to unravel the realities of LGBT life in a series of black and white photographs accompanied by answers to those oft-asked questions.

And quite the answers they are! Ranging from the serious to the tongue-in-cheek to the oh-snap!, the answers help demystify the LGBT experience for the heterosexuals out there. Of course, it is neither a comprehensive nor a singularly correct collection of responses, and it is never meant to be. Responses, after all, span the spectrum of fact, opinion, and the non-response. It is, in essence, a slice of the LGBT life – a life that is, like that of the heterosexuals, uncontainable and cannot be boxed into a mere set of queries.

The questions have a life of their own, for these questions are a mix of the serious, the naughty, the innocent, the patently absurd. The questions are both hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time, for they reflect a lot of the misconceptions and misunderstandings that heterosexuals harbor about the LGBT community. Some are valid questions for the uninitiated but willing to learn, while other questions can be downright offensive.

Still, these are real questions that many LGBT people get, and the answers reflect the joys and the pains of the LGBT community in its struggles to influence society to raise its standards when it comes to tolerance and acceptance. It is, at the heart of it, a reflection of  the community’s soul laid bare.

The photographs, taken by current Punong Babaylan Rod Singh, are gorgeous. These photos tell a story on their own, and behind every subject’s serious, unsmiling visage is a story.

It is quite a lovely visual journey into the psyche of the LGBTs.

Come and see what it’s like to be us.

Anong Pangalan Mo? at iba pang tanong sa mga LGBT

Now available at the UP Center for Women’s Studies for only Php250.00.

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The Authority

by on Dec.11, 2012, under Commentary, Snark

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photo courtesy of chucksblog.emc.com

Who do you think are the true experts, the undisputed authority, when it comes to men having sex with men?

Find out by reading this article.

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A Long-Awaited Sequel

by on Dec.11, 2012, under Commentary, Snark

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Don’t miss it.

Coming soon to a theater near you…

… based on a true story.

 

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