Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Theater Cruising

Have you visited a moviehouse not to check out the movie being shown but to pick up or be picked up? Have you had encounters in a dingy cinema which features movies out of current circulation?

I would admit, my very first encounter has been in a moviehouse in Quiapo. I was a late bloomer. I was strictly guarded by my parents and I would just be travelling from the house to the school and vice versa. It would not be until I got to college that I got to explore. I have heard of the old moviehouses in Quiapo and after a long period of mere curiousity, I got to experience it myself.

Back then, there were a lot of these moviehouses near Quiapo Church that show "bomba" films. Two were along Quezon Avenue at the same side as the church while another two were on the other side of the street. Three were nearer Isetan, along Recto while there were another two along Rizal Avenue. Many of these have already been closed or demolished but back then in the 80's, you can take your pick.

For the uninitiated, what would expect if you do take the excursion. Guys will normally be in the foyer area or near the comfort rooms. When you enter the cinema proper, it would normally be very dark, with hardly any track lighting so you really have to grope your way when finding a seat. The best seats for me is near the electric fans. The place can get hot and unless you have a spare shirt with you, you can get drenched with sweat.

If encounters in movie houses is not your peice of cake, various motels are located nearby but there is not assurance that they are any less dingy than the moviehouse you came from. Back when I was young and naive, I let others lead the way and take me where they wanted me to be but now older, and maybe wiser, I would rather be in a comfortable place. I have heard some modus operani that people get cornered by their hook ups because the owner of the motel conspire with the conmen.

It is a gamble when meeting people in these kind of places so always be careful. You don't have anything to hold against them - no picture, no identification. It might be safer to chat and start with a date then progress from there. However, if anonymity and the possibility of danger is what brings you thrill, then these encounters will probably give you a boost.

Though there are still moviehouses like those, even in Cubao, many have opted to cruise in more upscale cinemas like SM North Edsa or Megamall where staying in the backrow now would probably yield a hook up.

If you plan for an adventure, take care of your belongings. If possible, don't bring a watch or a cellphone. Don't bring a large amount of money and always be mindful where you drop your clothes because the floors can get sticky. Be happy but safe guys.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ManJam / Downelink / Tagged

Friendster and Facebook are the most common social networking websites people use worldwide. Even during the reign of Guys4Men (G4M), other such websites were available that allow PLUs to meet and connect with others of the same sexual orientation.

Some websites are used as a means to share pictures - Facepic, Pic-Link, Picturetrail; while others serve a similar, if not an exact function as G4M - that of acting as a personal ad to get acquaintances, friends, lovers, and/or partners. At one point it was so confusing maintaining a lot of accounts that does the same thing. From those that I have used, three websites still remain on my list - ManJam, Downelink and Tagged.

Manjam is nearly similar to G4M where you can post one's pictures and provide information including appearance and likes and dislikes. A search function is available to filter out what you desire. One can advertise services, businesses and properties in their website, similar to what PlanetRomeo now has. It has the usual messaging and chat but is limited when one is not a paying member of the site. A friends and favorites list can be set up and one can choose now to share it to people who will be viewing your page.

Downelink is the friendster for gay men and women. It contains options for blogs, bulletins, videos, pictures, messages and chat. Like G4M, it has forums that allows for various discussions on entertainment, arts, sports, health, travel and business. Similar to what yahoo and friendster, even PlanetRomeo, it provides the option to join groups where one can search for others who may have common interests. Unlike most gay social networking websites, this does not center on finding the next lay.

Tagged is one of the more famous sites to meet and hook up. Unlike Manjam and Downelink, Tagged is not exclusively for gay men and women. Similar to friendster, an individual can personalize their profile with music, backgrounds and other widgets. Recently, they have added features that maximize on the networking aspect of the site, infusing games that have been well accepted in Facebook and MySpace.

Whatever website you use, it is with the maximization of the tools for you to get the results you want. The tool only works if you use it properly. The tool is just a tool. If you are looking for a serious relationship, these websites are only a means to be introduced to people of the same interests; it is still up to you make the relationship work.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Part of why I was out of commission was I was on a week-long vacation in Boracay. It had been planned well in advance and despite the weather not cooperating the previous weeks, we had to push through. We had reservations for our accomodations, had our vacation leaves filed and had booked our flight so all we needed to do was pack our bags and go to the airport.

The trip from Manila to Boracay was uneventful except for the 3 hour delay of our flight to Aklan. We arrived via the last trip of the ferry from Caticlan to Boracay so it was already dark and we were all hungry. I admit it was my first time in Boracay so I have no memories to compare it to how it was before and how it was now. It is similar to Puerto Galera in some ways and different in others. The beach itself is as highly commercialized but Boracay takes it a notch higher.

Even during the weekdays, the island seem to be on a weekend mood. The weekends felt like being in Malate except you're by the beach. If you thought that one week is too long a stay, I beg to disagree. There are a lot of things to enjoy and activities to do. No night is the same. It's fun, fun, fun from dawn to the next dawn.
Again, spending your vacation with friends would definitely make the entire trip fantastic. But if your looking for some peace and quiet or are taking a romantic vacation, make sure to get a hotel farther from the beach so you are forced to stay indoors or near the vicinity of the hotel. With more people in your entourage, it would be easier to get discounts. Was it worth it? To a degree yes. If you are on a budget, Boracay may not be the place for you because besides the accomodations, airfare is another consideration. To save on costs, plan a vacation during their off peak (usually May to December) and if you are getting a hotel room, get one with complimentary breakfasts. Food along the beach are not too pricey but if you can cook your own food, may save you on costs. If having a hard time to decide what to eat, there are several Eat-All-You-Can's that allows you to have more food choices.

If you are a camera whore, Boracay is a great place to build up your portfolio. The sun and the beach go well together here, bringing out the best lighting and angles. It might be best to go to Boracay around December since at this time green moss covers most of the shores. If you want to go to a moss-free location, take a boat ride to a nearby island. If moss is your thing, then Boracay is the place for you. Towards the end of our stay, it was raining hard but Boracay being Boracay, it was no hindrance for parties.

The beach in Boracay is a very long stretch of resorts and bars, allowing for a lot of choices. Whether you stay on Station 1, have dinner in Station 3 and party hard in Station 2, everything is accessible. Just bring an umbrella. The sand feels good under your feet though so walking along the shore can be pleasant. Building your own sand castle can be one leisurely afternoon activity that you can enjoy with friends while waiting for the nightlife. Besides getting a tan, you can get your hair braided and your skin tattooed, so that whenb you get back to the city you have some proof that you just came from a vacation.

Cruising in Boracay? Fortunately it exists. A lot of gay guys were still vacationing. You can meet fascinating people in the bars or even just sitting by the beach. Amazingly, I found out I am still attractive to straight women. Having your own room is a plus. The beach itself was a little lit to have any sort of private time together. Compared to Puerto Galera in Holy Week, this was a subdued weekend.

It was a fun adventure. I would recommend taking a trip to Boracay at least once in your life. Remember though that it is you who makes the trip memorable not the places you visit.

Have a great day everyone.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Careless Whispers (aka Hayden Cameras and the Internet)

I inadvertedly went on a blog holiday without notice and I for that, I apologize. My computer was on the fritz and I went on vacation. I have drafts of blogs but was not able to publish them. So, in the next weeks, I would release them one at a time.

A lot has happened in the past month, to me (been to Boracay), to the people around me (lay-offs and resignations), to fellow bloggers (break ups and people leaving the country) and to society (American Idol, ConAss). Nothing can surpass though the controversy that grips everyone's attention than the talk about Hayden Kho's personal videos.

Hayden and his hidden camera. What's the big fuss? People have kept diaries of their exploits, black books. Some have naked pictures of themselves or of people they have slept with. What's the difference? These are private, for one's own consumption. Hayden never meant for it to be public. He did not have those videos in order the public to see his private parts and its performance. Yes, there are those who would find it a thrill to have their nakedness all over the net or bluetoothed from phone to phone. Some are paid to perform in front of the camera. In this case, the videos taken were for his own library, maybe view them once in a while when he is all alone with no one to help him with his libido. Maybe to him it is also some sort of trophy room of the conquests he had. Is it a crime to keep such? I don't think so. Is it a sickness? I don't think so. We all have our own idiosyncricies, things we do or collect that others may find weird. In Hayden's case, what made it a scandal is it involves a familiar personality and that media is blowing it out of proportion.

With the senate joining the band wagon, media mileage for the people involved is assured. What's the point why they have these hearings? Obviously not to prosecute. They claim that it aids legislation. From what they are saying, it would be a criminal act taking pictures or videos of people without their consent. Really? That would be the day. So, we won't be seeing news reports and pictures in our magazines, newspapers and on television now. Surveillance cameras should also be prohibited unless everyone being filmed consents to being monitored. For me, these senators are merely grandstanding, exploiting the limelight so that they shine and are fresh on everyone's mind when the 2010 election rolls in. Tell me. What legislation has the senate pass with all the high profile hearings they have done? And if ever they did pass such legislation, did these hearings make an impact on the law and are we seeing and feeling these laws changing society?

Why are we making a bigger fuss than we should? Just because these are known individuals. Are we alarmed because our sisters, cousins, children, friends or others we may know may be placed in a similar position? I believe what we should be angry with is not Hayden taking personal videos but the people who spread it. These people are heartless. Would they be spreading these if their own family were put to shame with their distribution? If these were criminal acts, why not? Expose them for the world to see but these are private moments and not some pornographic material. One can sympathize with Katrina Halili in this area since these are unguarded moments. And as she stated on her opening statement in the Senate, these videos will live on beyond her acting career and her existence.

Unfortunately, the fault of Katrina's compromising position is her own. I agree there wouldn't be an issue if there wasn't any video but there wouldn't be a video that people would be curious about if there weren't any people involved that were in the video. If they were unknowns, if they were Inday and Dodong, the neighbor's maid and driver, this would not be a hot topic. It would not be news-worthy. Hayden and Dr. Vicky Belo's relationship is a public relationship. You mean, everyone else knew they were an item all except poor little Katrina? She knew what she was getting into. He may not be married but it was public knowledge that he and Vicky were an item. Whether there was drugs involved or not, I believe that is a moot point. She had consented on being on video on her underwear with Hayden singing the now immortal "Careless Whisper." What an appropriate song.

To parrot Boy Abunda, what learnings do we get from the scandal? For me, the primary lesson is: if you know that a person has a partner, don't get involved. Second, ensure private files are stored where no one can retrieve it but yourself.

That's my two cents. Til next time.