27 February, 2009

Boy Meets Boy [you're gonna love this one...]

Watch [K-Movie]Boy Meets Boy  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Oh, the barefoot baklesa will sleep happily tonight...
Finally, someone was able to upload the video at veoh!!! Whotooo!!!
I'm sharing this here for you guys to enjoy...

here's my blog post about this here

26 February, 2009

crushing on: Ikuta Toma [really bad, i tell you...really bad]

I'm going to credit my latest Japanese delight obsession to a dear, dear fifteen year old named Aria; a kindred soul that shares my Jdorama [that's a pop culture name for these Japanese dramas or series] addiction. Not until Friday last week did I learn of Ikuta Toma when I finally had the chance to watch my copy of Hanakazari No Kimitachi E, known popularly as Hana Kimi in the Philippines. There was a Taiwanese version that came first, but I just found that horrendous. Aria told me to watch Toma in the series

Ikuta Toma plays Nakatsu Shuichi, who struggles with his attraction towards Ashiya Mizuki who disguises himself as a boy to get inside an exclusive boys boarding school to follow another guy. Well, we all know how these cross-dressing shows go...

Toma, for me, has mastered the art of the voice-over-soliloquy [that's what i call it]...trust me, he's just sooo cute when he does it. Oh yes, here I go again with the lips!!!

As far as I can tell, Toma-chan has quite a range; can't wait to watch him in the live action version of Honey and Clover

why do i feel like Mario Maurer is giving me that look again? oh well...

24 February, 2009

Bi-Polar, Manipulative, and Suicidal [something to burn with dried fronds on Ash Wednesday]

"Hello darkness, my old friend..."

I have but an hour before Shrove Tuesday ends and Ash Wednesday heralds the start of Lent. As I was watching this thing on teenage suicides on television, I started remembering something that really grinds my bones and boils my blood... I had to stop myself a while back there and started to make the sign of the cross; but somehow halfway, I just couldn't do it. I didn't see why I had to waste sending good will via a religious gesture for someone who just does not deserve it. But then, I got to thinking about the other dimensions of self-sacrifice, and I just gave out a sigh... Maybe writing about it, will stop me from making snide remarks and jokes about this person in the next forty days and nights. I think that's one thing I can define self-sacrifice and abstinence with.

You see, a few years back, I was introduced to Alice Jae Mastro [not her real name, but the clues are in the sound of the alias] by a friend which we shall call Female Falcon [Falcon, i believe is "lawin" in Tagalog -there's another clue]. Female Falcon had been a classmate of mine for some time already, and since Alice Jae Mastro shared my interest in the Theater, I connected with her and we became good friends... Or so I thought.

I enjoyed her company tremendously. She was an intelligent person with quite an impressively acerbic take on almost anything. We were able to manage mounting a musical against certain odds, we had a blast while working many a late nights, and I thought I found someone I would call a friend for life.

Who knew that a dark shadow follows one such as her. She admits to be suffering from a Bi-Polar Disorder and is considered a Manic Depressive prescribed with certain meds to avoid suicidal tendencies. I understood her, to say the least. But I never knew that she could use that shadow to manipulate people to get the results she wants, one way or another.

The trouble began when after doing the show, Female Falcon started hanging out with another girl, let's call her Pia, she played keyboards for the band that did our live music. I really don't know if it was jealousy on Alice Jae Mastro's end or some freakish lesbian obssession she has with Female Falcon, but I got caught in the middle of it trying to see if I can be of help to not further the rift between them. But Alice Jae will have none of it, and proceeded with manipulating me to take her side.

Don't get me wrong, she's not entirely evil, just twisted. She was capable of gathering a few friends to wish me well before I took a deserved break in Panay Island. She even watched one of my shows and praised me for my performance [but now I doubt if there was any sincerity on her part]. I can't really figure it out, but we just grew apart and saw each other less and less. Maybe it was because I felt 'caught in the middle' and my sincere gestures and acts towards her situation were but products of her manipulations to see if I would run to her side.

Later would she hate me for working with a common friend named Myrna and take it against me just because she wasn't in speaking terms with her [a fault that is Alice Jae's entirely]. Imagine, while inviting her to a Valentine's dinner, she utters, "Why don't you invite Myrna, you guys deserve each other." After that, I never bothered to speak with her again.

I thought I had heard the last of her until about September last year when she had posted quite disparaging things about me at her friend Okie's blog.

Well, you want to hear a funny story? Alice Jae Mastro actually said this about Okie, "You know naman Okie is not the most talented actress and would rarely get considered for a lead role. So, she takes advantage of it when no one is available. E, no one wants to work under Dindy Damndador, so she had no choice but to cast Okie as Belle in Beauty and the Beast." Doesn't that speak a lot about the kind of friend she can be? I pity those that keep her in their company. They can't really be sure about her...

I confess, I had half a mind to pack a box filled with a hangman's noose, razor blades, rat poison, and other suicide implements and send it to her as a Christmas present with a note that says, "Get it over and done with. Spare us your drama." But the better part of me won, or I was too busy dealing with people dying, my grandmother getting sick, and the Christmas rush.

Now, as Lent approaches, I vow not to entertain these thoughts about her commiting suicide [though I admit to derive a sick pleasure in doing so when I remember], I shall avoid the usual suicide jokes at her expense [for forty days and nights at least], and I will pray for her at mass this Ash Wednesday [I hope I remember since there are people in dire states who deserve our prayers more].

...thus spake the barefoot baklesa

23 February, 2009

the barefoot baklesa ponders: Another Year, Older and...

the barefoot baklesa ponders: Another Year, Older and...

Peque Gallaga sent this; how fitting:
"We do not change as we grow older; we just become more clearly ourselves."
~ Lynn Hall

To be honest, I have not been the type that has celebrated my birthday with the importance some others have given theirs. I think it was around college when I stopped giving my birthday any significance. I reckon, since none of my classmates knew about it, it wouldn't make much difference. In fact, I avoided even writing the date in the size four sheets of paper we had to submit to our professors when the semester began. Thus began my disinterest in such trivialities, I thought.

For the record, I'm not being a cheapskate about it. One look at the stuff I spend on, you'll be the first to hit me with the ubiquitous "that's too much" line with the look of disapproval. What am I getting at? You see, here in the Philippines, when it's your birthday, you're somewhat obliged to spend to take your friends out or have a party to celebrate. "You're expected to turn it into a soiree", my friend Mitch
-who wasn't raised here- once commented.

Anthropologically speaking, Filipinos have a penchant for celebrating two events in the cycle of life: birth and death. A fact that the Spanish have used in the Christianization of the islands. Ergo the emphasis on Christmas and Lent:characterized by the devotion to the Christ Child, and the dramatic and bloody remembrance of the suffering Christ through processions, flagellation, and in some cases mimicking crucifixion. But I'm being the insufferable know-it-all again... Let's get back on track.

The last time I actually celebrated my birthday was back in 2007 when I took a select group of newfound friends to Omakase [my beloved Japanese restaurant] for dinner after rehearsals for "Once On This Island". That was the first time since high school that I bothered. Needless to say, from that company I found great friends who, by next year, unknowingly were treated to a late dinner come my birthday.

I think I may have developed this thinking that if people put some value to it more than I do, even by a simple birthday greeting, then you will know they are worth their weight in friendship.

You know who you are: I send thee my profoundest thanks for remembering.

After I came from church yesterday evening, Micko [theater colleague and good friend] sent an SMS asking me, "How was your day? Be honest!"
To which I responded, "I really did not do much today. Just lounged around watchin episodes Hanazakari No Kimitachi E the whole day. And I have a newfound appreciation for _ _ _ _ _ _ _[name witheld, subject of another blog soon]."

It was a day of surprises to say the least...

Later that evening, my friend Jakie made her way to our house in Santa Rosa from Alabang to visit me and drop-off quite a practical gift. She stayed for a while to catch up and talk about stuff which got us so engrossed for like three hours.

And when Jakie was about to leave, the last surprise of the night pulled into the driveway. Well, it was half a surprise since he announced his arrival a while before.

Glenn, in a nutshell, was my first love; we were classmates all through high school. But you see, that was the 90s... and nothing defined the gay 90s better than "Loving the Straight Guy You Can't Have" ~but that was fourteen years ago, and now I'm one of his daughter's godfathers and he's been a great pal time and again. Glenn stayed for a drink. I knew he was tired, since I noticed he dozed off a bit while we were talking. It was a sweet gesture; being visited by the first person who spoke to me when I moved to our high school. As Sondheim put it, "Most friends fade or they don't make the grade...But us, old friends -what's to discuss, old friend?" Ah, nostalgia...

Sunday, the day after, I had the local kids over to pray the rosary as a thanksgiving, thus the photo above...

...thus spake the barefoot baklesa

21 February, 2009

my limit is: 5 Gay Guys in a Room [no, it's not about an orgy]

Okay, let me put this out there since it has been popping-up during my recent conversations with the heterosexuals lately. Someone once asked me why I rarely frequent places where the rainbow flag hangs or in plain terms, gay-oriented clubs and bars?

Well, the Barefoot Baklesa is not necessarily what they call a Scene Queen -defined as one who frequents the gay scene and "where it doth play" -a little Elizabethan English there for you. I'm not being an elitist about it but when I was studying at the Ateneo some years back, when we had the time to go out, I never sought to go to the places where people like us [PLUs] frequent.

Back then, Eastwood City at Libis was the farthest most of us could go, and often out of necessity; to find a good place to eat. Tanghalang Ateneo rehearsals would normally last until midnight, therefore dinner would be after that. Between academics, the theater,a part-time job in the live performance industry, and whatever is left to spend time with my family, a gays-night-out was just an impossibility.

On the other hand, I don't really have a lot of gay friends, nor did I seek their company. The amount of homosexuals in Tanghalang Ateneo was the right amount of gay I could handle. I did prefer hanging out with the breeders, truth be told. I thought I had the obligation to be the token gay guy; and also because the Doll House Bench by the side of the Rizal Study Foyer facing Kostka Hall where all the effete homosexuals of my day converged wasn't really my crowd. Although some of them were pleasant acquaintances, it was just a matter of preference.

If any Doll House gays are reading this, I mean no offense. You see, I also had a bench where only a select bunch of gay guys hung-out: the second set of benches after the vending machine at Kostka facing the quad. But strangely enough, there were only five of us there. Even in Tanghalang Ateneo, when the Alumni leave, there were five of us from the usual stock. So, I reckon five became comfortable for me. If under these consequences, I have developed that kind of comfort zone, then so be it.

When I was working with Circuit Asia for an event before, I felt so awkward inside Club Government and at Bed. I just wanted to get it over and done with! An entire club of gay men was not my thing. I read somewhere before that it's called "homophobia from a homo", but I do protest that term. It's not that I can't stand my own kind, but one thing that adds to this is the elephant in the room that is out and about when a lot of gay men are around:the gay brand of competitiveness.

It's like when a group of girls are competing for the attention of the attractive guy that walks into the club, and all the claws are out. Men, being naturally competitive are much more complicated when they are gay. Ergo, I can't stand it when the fangs of our kind are bared. Gay people have defined the word MEAN for quite some time now, and we know what we are capable of. I don't want to be caught in the middle of that one...

Is it just me? I really don't know... Tell me what you think.

thus spake the barefoot baklesa

18 February, 2009

Tanghalang Ateneo presents: Lysistrata

Beware the Greeks bearing... Wait!!! Ooops, this is not about those Trojan Women...

And victims these wives are not. Tired of having their husbands go off to war all the time, Lysistrata leads this band of wives to take a vow to achieve peace: deprive their husbands of sex until peace reigns. The husbands, unable to dip their wicks -so to speak- suffer the deprivation of their carnal needs and attempt to have their wives break this most inconvenient vow with disastrously hilarious results.

Nothing like the Greeks, I tell you...

Tanghalang Ateneo, in its 30th Season present Aristophanes' comedy about sex, war, and peace: LYSISTRATA

Directed by Ricardo Abad, dance and movement by Dexter Santos, with sets by Gino Gonzales, costumes by Marlon Rivera,
lighting design by Jonjon Villareal, and sound design by Dino Concepcion & Reamur David

LYSISTRATA runs from February 19 - 21, 24 - 28, and March 3 - 7 at 7 PM, with 2 PM matinees on February 21, 28, and March 7.

Contact Bea Gulinao (0917-826-9686) or Bettina Santos (0906-241-1509) for tickets and inquiries.

Do spend an evening in the theater, will you...

the song in my head: Death Cab for Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into The Dark"

-this song really digs into my soul...

"I Will Follow You Into The Dark"

Love of mine some day you will die
But I'll be close behind
I'll follow you into the dark

No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of a spark
If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the NOs on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

In Catholic school as vicious as Roman rule
I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black
And I held my tongue as she told me
"Son fear is the heart of love"
So I never went back

If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the NOs on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

You and me have seen everything to see
From Bangkok to Calgary
And the soles of your shoes are all worn down
The time for sleep is now
It's nothing to cry about
'cause we'll hold each other soon
In the blackest of rooms

If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the No's on their vacancy signs

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark
Then I'll follow you into the dark

17 February, 2009

crushing on Okada Masaki [just love those lips]

I'm currently addicted to this Japanese series called Homeroom by the Beachside [Taiyo to Umi no Kyoshitsu] because of this boy...

Here I go again... A friend of mine once pointed out I had the worst case of "Japanese Envy" -defined as a love for anything Japanese that borders on obsessing over every aspect of their culture... And here I am, with my latest crush,Okada Masaki.

My knees turn to jello at the sight of those lips...

...and the way he stares at you

... and here he is with a little edge

or just being plain cute...

more about him here

Scenes of a Rainy Nature: Valentines Day 2009

It was a rainy Valentine's Day afternoon when I got off at Quiapo Church to pray a little before I went on my way to my friends' play. To those of you unfamiliar with Quiapo Church, words fall short in describing this amalgam of Filipino religious, historical, economic, and social traditions; you really have to be there and see for yourself. At the heart of it, is the Basilica of the Black Nazarene [an image of Jesus Christ bearing the cross that devotees flock to by the millions on its feast day], yet by its shadow lurk sellers of talismans, charms, and herbs -remnants of the animistic old ways. But that is another blog...

So by the historic square called Plaza Miranda, located in front of the Basilica, there were flowers stalls with their sellers busy for the day's trade of roses and bouquets... It was a sea of pink and red as even the balloon sellers were out with heart-shaped ones [but I don't think these photos do it justice].

What I found odd were these caucasians dressed in the fashion of those polygamist families I saw on television recently: ladies in dated blouses and skirts with hair white coverings like that of nuns while the men in collared shirts tucked within their trousers. The thing is, the guys who looked like they were in their 20s were really cute! But then again, they give me the heebie-jeebies. The only thing I could make out from their assembly was that they were members of the Philippine Mennonist Church [Whatever that is]. I thought how futile was it of them to seek converts in the stronghold of Roman Catholic faith in Manila. Oh well...that's typical Quiapo for you.

16 February, 2009

the song in my head: Light Up the Sky by Yellowcard

There's something about this song that energizes me when I hear it. I guess it's that promise of the impossible... lighting up the sky...

15 February, 2009

Ateneo Blue Repertory stages BARE: the musical

What will the Jesuits think about this one? [insert image of the barefoot baklesa with a curious grin on his face]

So, what do you get when a school's golden boy's greatest secret is in danger of unravelling and destroying the fragile wall of appearances he's kept all this time? In the mix: his secret love affair with another boy, a smitten and persistent co-ed, and the impositions and expectations of the straight and narrow path on a young man's heart. The classic dilemma of "appearance versus desire" takes on the musical form in Ateneo Blue Repertory's staging of BARE.

directed by Ana Abad Santos, the show will raise curtains this 17th of February 2009 at the Fine Arts Exhibit Hall, 3rd Floor Gonzaga Hall, Ateneo de Manila University.

Full run: February 17-21 and 24-28

For tickets and other inquiries, contact Alexa Yupangco,09177220805

Do spend an evening in the theater...

dating puppets on Valentines, guess who?

so, who do you think i should go out on a second date with, huh?

14 February, 2009

crushing on Aaron Johnson [oh those green eyes]

Just before Valentines Day draws to a close, here's me wishing this guy was my date... I recently came upon a copy of this movie called "Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging", where Aaron Johnson plays the 'sex god boyfriend named Robbie...Oh man, for a monent there, Mario Maurer seems to have been erased from my consciousness. I guess my penchant for cute english guys and their accent is surfacing again.

Here he is as Robbie the 'sex god' who plays the bass guitar in the movie...drool...hahahahaha!!!

12 February, 2009

curious indulgence: the ubiquitous gold box from Godiva Chocolatiers

One of my favorite indulgences is fine chocolates...

I make a mean hot chocolate drink from native cacao tablets or 'tablea' [ground up coco beans] they make from my ancestral province of Antique [pronounced 'ahn-tee-keh', located within Panay Island in the Visayas]. The really authentic way of cooking it is in a brass pitcher/pot with a wooden whisk aerating it by hand as it boils. One of my great aunts bequeathed her brass 'batirol' [local name] to me not long ago. The same 'batirol' they used to cook the hot chocolate they served me as a kid. Ergo, I was raised in this culture of chocolate consumption.

Thus when it comes to other chocolates, I'm quite particular about the ones I love. So, when the ubiquitous gold boxes from the Godiva Chocolatiers arrive for the holiday season, the barefoot baklesa makes sure his boxes don't get snatched by the likes of Evil Opportunistic Erna and Fat-Ass Cousin Jocelyn... They can have the ones tainted with Melamine for all I care... Hahahaha!!!

This blog is my tribute to the many times the contents of that ubiquitous gold box put a smile on my face. Now all I need is to find someone to gift me a box this Valentines... Anyone?

10 February, 2009

Lovin' Latter Days [the barefoot baklesa review]

Lovin’ Latter Days [The Barefoot Baklesa Review]

“Do you ever read the Sunday comics? The comic page? When I was a little kid I used to put my face right up to them, you know, and I was just amazed because it was just this mass of dots. I think that life is like that, sometimes. But I would like to think that from God’s perspective, life, everything, and even this, makes sense. It’s not just dots. Instead, were all connected. And it’s beautiful, and it’s funny, and it’s good. From this close, we can’t expect it to make sense right now.”

-Aaron, Latter Days

A little more than two weeks ago, while my friend Sandro [check out his blog Jesus Jokes] was parking his car in front of Owee’s house which was located across a Mormon church, I noticed that there were guys playing basketball at the court located within the Mormon compound. And I went like, “Oh, Mormons playing basketball. I wonder if anyone’s cute?” To which he responds, “Oh come on, Niki. You don’t like Mormons, you’re just saying that because of that movie with that guy playing a Mormon.” Giving out a laugh, I opened the car door with my eyes having one last look at the guys across the street before proceeding to Owee‘s birthday party. Looking back on that, the barefoot baklesa thinks it best to share this movie for those who have not seen it yet.

Latter Days holds a special place in my heart; I call it my lucky movie. Back in the day when I used to frequent the pirated DVD stalls at Makati Cinema Square around four years ago, I asked my usual supplier if she has a copy of Latter Days, and she was nice enough to go up the upper floors to a friend’s stall to find one for me. As luck would have it, they only have one copy left. Back then, the pirated copies were as good as the originals with all the menus and features intact; and I treated that copy like it was the holy grail of my gay cinema collection. After acquiring that copy, less than an hour later, I received a call from Peque Gallaga about an interview for a production design job for a television fantasy series later that afternoon. Needless to say, I got the job… Lucky me! [fast forward to a few months later at the virgin megastore in new york, in the quest to have an original copy, the store had to have a copy shipped from somewhere so the barefoot baklesa could have the original DVD....thanks, ate carol!]

I think the introduction has gone on long enough, let’s get to the movie review. Latter Days is the brainchild of C. Jay Cox, writer of the comedy hit Sweet Home Alabama [which also happens to have a gay character played by the loveable Ethan Embry]. Latter Days is the story of Aaron [Steve Sandvoss], a handsome Mormon missionary who just began his ministry of going door to door to talk to people about his church; and Christian [Wes Ramsey], the definition of a West Hollywood party boy who moves from one sexual conquest to another without the heart for commitment. These two could not be any more different, and you know what they say about opposites; they do attract.

Of the four Mormon missionaries that moved next door, one of them turns out to be sexually conflicted. And when Christian [the writer had to name him that, huh] takes a bet with his friends that he can seduce the tightly wound Mormon neighbor, the seduction goes a bit awry. Christian does find out that Aaron is attracted to him but it got a bit complicated. And you’re going to love these lines [personally I thought these made it a gay movie]:

Aaron: I’m saying I know how retarded you think I am, okay! You’ve found me out, alright -my worst secret- Now, I’m humiliated so your work is done here.

Christian: Wait, I don’t think you’re a dork. But if you know how ridiculous you look, why would you-

Aaron: Don’t you believe in anything?

Christian: Yeah…

Aaron: Then tell me! Tell me one thing in your life, beyond the shadow of a doubt that you really believe.

Christian: I believe that Ann Margret has never been given her due as an actress.

Aaron: Duh! For Tommy alone…I mean, did you see it when she was -But is that something you can build a life on!?! Look at yourself. You’re so pretty and colorful on the outside but on the inside, you’re nothing but fluff. You’re like a walking-talking marshmallow peep.

Christian: That’s not fair!

Aaron: It doesn’t matter when it’s true! I can’t believe what I was just about to do when there is nothing, Christian, nothing about you that is not skin deep.


I admit, I have been staring at the computer screen for an hour now -not knowing how to proceed with this- while the movie is playing on my DVD player. It’s not that I’m distracted but more like if I put it to words, Latter Days is the kind of gay romance drama that you have to experience for yourself. It’s one of those movies that I have seen without the swirling mist in my head conjuring the sentinels of movie critiquing to shoot down the mediocrities that come across the screen [wow, this sentence is soooo me].

…and we’re back.

From then on, Christian begins this quest to prove that he is not as shallow as Aaron thinks he is. It’s like the tables turned on him for a bit when he volunteers for this thing called Project Angel Food; that delivers meals to people living with HIV complications. There’s that twilight zone freakish bit when Keith, the guy he delivers food to says, “Snow… It’s all just snow.” after he accidentally grabs Christian’s arm. The writer’s intention here was to point out that there’s still -call it- magic or miracles that happen in our lives that lead us to where we are.

Way before I went gaga over that kiss in The Love of Siam, I was raving about the kiss between Aaron and Christian in this movie. There’s that vulnerability that I saw in Aaron’s character that I feel in love with [Now that I think about it, I feel as if the Steve Sandvoss is giving me that “I feel so betrayed by you” look for replacing him with Mario Maurer… Steve Sandvoss just defines the Abercrombie and Fitch type… drool… Hahahaha!!!]. But that kiss would cost them dearly as they are caught and Aaron had to be sent away in shame to be tried and excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints for the ‘grievous and shameful sin of homosexuality’. Yeah, that still happens at this day and age.

So, in true spur of the moment fashion, Christian runs after Aaron and finds him at an airport somewhere, outside, where it was snowing. I remember this movie for these lines which I have quoted over and over when we have had conversations about religion and being gay and finding a balance to it:

“You want revelations engraved in gold and angels trumpeting down from heaven. What if this is it instead, me telling you ‘I love you’ right here in the snow. I think that’s pretty miraculous.”

I mean, come on, who wouldn’t fall for a guy after he says that, right? Well, unfortunately the movie does not end there. At the risk of me narrating the film scene by scene, let me just say it gets a bit more messy. Someone gets left behind, there’s a brief but disastrous affair with a sharp object, and we’re treated to what happens to people inside those “Christian Change Ministries”… But trust me, the roller coaster ride is worth it.

The supporting cast boasts of performances from the likes of screen legend Jacqueline Bisset, Mary Kay Place [Sweet Home Alabama], and Joseph Gordon-Levitt [Third Rock from the Sun, Mysterious Skin] as well as Erik Palladino and Rob McElhenney [It‘s Always Sunny in Philadelphia]. There are no pretentious camera shots here, nothing too epic to make an effort of, but I think the movie was held together by the acting next to a really great story about love.

Latter Days also came into my life when I was clinging on to a love I know was not mine to hold on to for long. Yes, I did have a heart once… it was one of those movies that I cried to many times over. Later would I find out that that particular love of mine would enter the service of God and I found that a bit -say- ironic now. But what I’m getting at here is that which was engraved in the silver pocket watch Aaron was carrying around and it reads: “And the greatest of all these is Love 1 Corinthians 13-13”

So, Valentines is just around the corner, and if you just plan to stay in and watch a good movie, try this one.

08 February, 2009

paranoia much?

Have you ever had moments when you are reading something and your consciousness spaces out but your eyes are still going through the words? It's like I'm a college freshman at Ateneo all over again, reading Doctor Cuyegkeng's Chemistry handouts...Hahahaha!!!

A few days ago, I received my biopsy results the same day they drew my blood for an entirely new battery of tests and profiling. And it read thus:

"Sections of two slides of the specimen showed compact orthokeratosis...
...and superficial perivascular lymphohistiocytic infiltrate."

It's quite lengthy so I just took the first few words and the last ones out of that paragraph. Where's Jesse Spencer [aka Doctor Chase in HOUSE] wearing his usual perriwinkle shirt with the striped maroon tie under his doctor's coat when you need him? But I reckon neither a handsome Aussie TV doctor's words nor his presence is comfort at this time when the real ones are still figuring their way around this...

They say at times like this you get to really know the company you keep; and you learn something new when you reach out to people and share your fears... My cousins have been more paranoid about my medical appointments than I have. And I love them for it. Like what they've been ramming into my head late last year, it's the year to get well.

05 February, 2009

The Love of Siam [the barefoot baklesa review]

sinverguenza!!! i'm still not over this movie...i'm reposting my review because there's so much i want to share about this movie...[insert image of friends goin, "here we go again"] oh well...

I just couldn't shake it off... I have been watching this movie or a part of it,everyday this past month...

I've written some sort of review on The Love of Siam a while ago, but I felt that it was a bit inadequate with the kind of impact it had on me. I would like to thank joey torres for the mp4 file and strangerinsiamsquare for sharing the musical score and OST.

So, here we go...

I first learned about The Love of Siam [ Rak Haeng Sayam] after seeing another film called Bangkok Love Story. I think it was at the G4M Forums when they were discussing the latter that i stumbled upon it. I really didn't have anything to do that night, and thank the gods for wireless technology, I was able to watch it; and there was no turning back since.

I will have to admit, at first, I didn't really like it that much. I felt it was too melodramatic at times. But it does hit some chords right as per the emotional key of the scenes in the storytelling.

On the outside, seeing the way the movie was promoted in 2007, The Love of Siam seems to be one of those run of the mill teen romance movies. But at the core of this film lies a love story between two boys. Much to the surprise of the Thai audience a year ago. Well, I guess the Filipinos and the Thais really have the same mindset that gay characters must be effete, cross-dressing, and funny. Notice that every gay role commercially viable gay role written has to be the animated effeminate and people will find that amusing [ and don't use Brokeback Mountain as an example to the contrary because that i just plain crappy ].

But unlike the usual formulaic teen romances that only want to sell the "kilig" moments, LOS bears a sort of balance to the other relationships and subplots that are woven around the two leads.

LOS is the story of Mew and Tong, who were neighbors when they were young boys. Mew, a stubborn and introverted child living with his grandmother, finds a friend in Tong who is as a boy their age should be; playful and outgoing.

At what seems to be their happiest as children, Tong makes Mew hunt for his Christmas present, a woodblock sculpted christmas doll, which by some unfortunate circumstance would be missing its nose.

What I also found appealing in the storytelling is the dimension and contrast of their family structures. Mew lives with a spinster aunt and his beloved grandmother while across the street Tong is part of a Catholic household with his teenage sister Tang and parents Korn and Sunee [not what you would normally expect from a predominantly buddhist population]. I remember going, "Oh...they're catholic..."

For there is a tendency for some gay themed films to abstain from the parental dimensions of their relationships. Because perhaps, in this reality, having distant and un accepting parents reflect the cinematic view that their story is not worth telling.

When Tang goes missing during a trip in Chiangmai, Tong's family is forced to deal with the loss when there seemed to be no hope of finding her by moving away. Goodbyes are tough, and Mew would rather not deal with it. And as stories must, time passes...

But a chance encounter reunites Mew and Tong some years after during their late teens. Mew [played by Witwisit Hiranyawongkul] is now the composer and lead singer for an upcoming band called August [which to my surprise is a band for real] while Tong [played by Mario Maurer] typifies a boy his age: with a pretty girlfriend, and is part of a somewhat popular clique.

But Tong's home life is far from typical. His father, Korn, depressed, then wastes himself into drinking after Tang's disappearance leaving Sunee to hold their family together.

As the boys' rediscovered friendship progresses, Mew's strong attachment towards Tong inspires him to write love songs. And the lyrics to one goes:

"If I say that I wrote this song for you,
would you believe me?
It might not be as well
written or beautiful like other songs.
I want you to know that a love song can't be written
if you're not in love.
But for you,
I can write this song so easily"

After hearing it for the first time, Mew tells Tong that without him in his life, that song would never be. Tong responds with a kiss -probably the most innocent and the most heartfelt kiss i have seen on film in my existence.

[and the music...oh the music in this movie needs to be commended. Whether it be the songs or the musical score. I don't know a word of Thai but the i have been humming the songs in my head -indeed, if it be the food of love, it's been blasting out of my earphones to a glutinous extent]

But in discovering themselves Mew and Tong find out how their own smalls worlds and the fragile hearts they bear would collide: Sunee asks Mew not to make Tong take the wrong path, Tong faces coming out to his friends, Mew at odds with his band endangering their debut, and Tong's father's deteriorating health.

And even against Sunee's insistence, you will love Tong for running out at night and screaming at Mew's window to let him in, but to no avail.

And when all seems lost, they learn that as long as there's love, naturally there's hope.

Perhaps the line that will define this movie is when Tong tells Mew,
"I can't be with you as your boyfriend. But that does not mean I don't love you."
Then Tong hands Mew the missing piece of the wooden doll he had gifted him when they were kids [one which he had a hard time acquiring]. And it hit me, just a few moments ago what that meant! That wherever life leads them, Tong leaves Mew with some hope...That perhaps it may take a little longer for them, and like that wooden doll missing its nose, somehow Tong would find a way to complete it, to complete their love.

And I can't believe I'm using this Theology 131- Marriage & Human Sexuality lesson to prove a point. "A genuine loving relationship must be able to exist with other relationships."
Tong and Mew take a step into their maturity by accepting that they can't take a "you-and-me-against-the-world" stand on their love. If indeed what they have is true, it will be a love that they shall be able to share with their loved ones, friends, and all.

LOS does not take into account the typical requirements of what makes up love story. It doesn't give you that "dancing under the starlight" ending expected of the genre nor does it leave you with a heavy heart even if the last you see is Mew in tears [The love I know well is this: "it does end in tears." And the writer/director, Chookiat Sakveerakul presented that with no romantic pretenses]. But LOS does leave its characters with a glimmer of hope.

And that "Love", whether it between boys and girls, boys and boys, girls and girls, parent and child, friend and friend, between you and your god, is transcendent and unending.

And to answer Mew's question, "If we can love someone so much, how will we be able to handle it the one day when we are separated?"
I would tell him this, something that Gabriel Marcel said, "To say 'I love you' is to say 'thou shalt not die'..."

03 February, 2009

the barefoot baklesa reviews: Just A Question of Love [Juste Une Question d'Amour]

The Barefoot Baklesa Reviews: JUST A QUESTION OF LOVE

I’m going to take a break from my usual Japanese movie reviews to focus on two French films I enjoyed viewing most recently. The first of which, is this movie I have been dying to have a copy of for years now: Just A Question of Love. I think I saw a trailer of it years ago when with my copy of 9 Dead Gay Guys; and have been looking for it but was too cheap to pay $29 for it… Hahahaha!!! At this point, I would like to thank the underground economy for supplying me with movies I would rather not spend retail and taxes for. Moving on…

I have once commented on how some Filipino movies never tackle the issue of parents coming to terms with having a gay son; they either make it funny or absurd. I have yet to see a Filipino script that presents a somewhat believable portrayal of what happens to a family that has to deal with loving someone gay. And don’t throw “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros” [translated as The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros] my way to say otherwise; because until now, I still can’t find what the world fell in love with when it came to that movie. On the other hand, maybe I should watch it again to give it a fair chance. Maybe…

Just A Question of Love [JAQOL] presents a contrast between two gay men and the relationship they have with their parents in terms of their sexuality. Laurent [played by the Cyrille Thouvenin] is a senior finishing up in agricultural college, much to his father’s disappointment who had expected him to take up pharmacology to follow in his footsteps and continue the family business. Laurent is what one would call the worst closet case. His masquerade includes his roommate named Carole who poses as his girlfriend. Laurent decided to keep his sexuality a secret after seeing the way his cousin Marc get disowned and left to die by his aunt and uncle after learning that he was gay. After Marc’s death, Laurent’s academics have taken a downward spiral in his senior year.

Advised by his dean to take on some required apprenticeship to graduate, Laurent gets assigned to work under Cedric [played by Stepan Guerin Tillie]; an agricultural researcher for the government who also runs the garden center left to him by his deceased father. Not wanting to leave his mother to handle the business alone, Cedric does his scientific research in his private laboratory located within the compound. His mother Emma, who knows about his sexuality and has learned to live with it somehow… I guess by now you’ve figured out the complications. Eventually, when Laurent and Cedric become romantically involved, Cedric becomes frustrated with Laurent’s insistence on keeping up with his masquerade.

Cyrille Thouvenin, who plays Laurent, is just right for the role with the proper mix of boyish charm and sexual appeal. I have to admit, the movie takes me back when I saw Laurent wearing a green shirt with the word SOUNDGARDEN printed on it [I‘m a production designer, I notice these things]. While Stephan Guerin Tillie as Cedric has this attractive maturity about him that when mixed with the passion in his performance of the role isn’t hard to fall in love with. Okay, I better stop myself there…but they just look good together to say the least.

Essentially, what JAQOL treats upon is that when it comes to love, parents must realize that their children need them [Well, that’s just me if this were an ideal world…]. Emma had it right when she said, “Don’t listen to people! We don’t live with them but with our children. When your son is gone, they won’t fill in for him.” I like the way JAQOL injects the points it wants to make through the characters without being so obvious which for me makes up a well written script. Then again, I have yet to see a horribly written French film.

I recommend JAQOL to all you gay guys out there who are still living their double lives -it’s not a judgment against your choice but more of a push to the OUTward direction- for to quote the movie, “It’s terrible to carry around so much useless suffering at your age.” As for the parents seeking to understand what their gay offspring are going through, this would be a good movie to start with. Because “It’s not a question of gay or straight. It’s just a question of Love.”

02 February, 2009

Celebrating Candlemass with Gratitude

Simeon's Canticle featuring Celia Uy from the album HANGAD

Our Lady of the Candles [Nuestra Senora de Candelaria], miraculous image from the cathedral of Jaro, Ilo-Ilo City, Philippines

Today, the 2nd of February, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Candlemass -represented by Our Lady of the Candles [Nuestra Senora de Candelaria]- and "The Presentation of the Child Jesus". For me, this is the official end of the Christmas season [i got that from the mexicans and actually, it's also an excuse to keep my christmas decorations and displays mounted for an extra month].

As a child, I learned about an old man named Simeon who was told by God that he would see the chosen one, the Messiah, in his lifetime. Years would pass, and Simeon faithfully waited for that child to be brought to the Great Temple at Jerusalem. Then a couple arrives bearing their first-born to presented to God with nothing but two turtle doves as offerings[thus the famous two turtledoves in that ubiquitous christmas carol]. And upon seeing this boy, he utters:

Luke 2:29-32

29 Now lettest thou thy servant depart, Lord, According to thy word, in peace;

30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,

31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples;

32 A light for revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of thy people Israel.

It's late in the afternoon here where I'm composing this blog; and in places where the Lady of the Candles is venerated, the celebrations have begun as early as 4:00 o'clock in the morning. This year, i am unable to come to Jaro Cathedral where I keep constant pilgrimage. But it's not a matter of being there physically, but more of a matter of faith.

But I'm going to add to that faith, an amount of gratitude. Gratitude for the fierce friends that have stood by me, for the life i am living, for the love i am receiving, for the family i am given, and for the many things that have been bestowed upon me and those which i shall look forward to receiving. I have no complaints, not everyone has the life I'm living.

So here's to you, Catholic, Christian, Buddhist -whatever your denomination is or even if you have none at all, I wish upon thee the blessings of this day. And may you find the opportunity to share it.

the barefoot baklesa gets wasted for the first time this year!!!

this one is for the books!!!

You know what else is good about getting wasted? Getting wasted with a great friend around at a great friend's birthday bash!!! I'm like the last person one would expect to pick up a karaoke/videoke microphone; but at Owee's house, i held on to that microphone like there was no tomorrow...thanks to Char, who accompanied at the microphone that night; until next time, dear.

My friend Sandro and I took a ubiquitous "wasted at the party photo" -posted above- just in case the world needed incriminating evidence against the expectation that the barefoot baklesa doesn't get wasted...hahahaha!!! Someone even asked Sandro and I if we were related, I guess that's saying a lot about how genuine a friendship is. Indeed that is one thing to be grateful for.

On the other hand, I haven't been this wasted in like... forever!!! It's nice to let loose and let your guard down in a place where you know you're safe and in great company [that's the third time I used the word 'great' in this blog...wait, let me count...okay, four, including the one within the bracket]. I guess that's how cautious I have been lately...