Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Status Quo

Imagine relationship (YOUR relationship) in a scale of One to Ten.

We all know that we want a relationship that is a TEN(or as close as possible). Then again, that is ideal, specially when it concerns Mr. Unavailable.

Well, thats the case. All you can hope is to be able to make it work.

So how the hell does this all work?

At the beginning, Mr. Unavailable blows hot to reel you in. At times you will feel like you are approaching the holy grail of ten.

Then the novelty will wear off for him. He’ll think you’re getting too close or that you want too much, so he starts blowing cold and lukewarm to bring the temperature of the relationship to Magic Number FIVE. He is simply managing down your expectations so that you learn what you will be getting from him.

Mr. Unavailable’s (emotionally unavailable men) like to keep the relationship in the comfort zone of Magic Number FIVE.

His blowing hot and cold is about managing your expectations of him and the relationship, but it is also about bringing the relationship back to FIVE The Status Quo.

You, being the ‘Accidental Drama Seeker’ and  the 'Fall-back', will be forced to come out of the hazy glow of the relationship and all of his charm, and you’ll be brought back to earth with a thud. You will either pull some serious drama that will either take it below five or you will throw just enough drama into the mix to force him to blow hot again and take things a couple of notches above FIVE.

When it gets below Magic Number FIVE, you panic. When it gets below Magic Number FIVE, you’re in you’re drama seeking comfort zone. YOUR Status Quo. ‘Accidental Drama Seekers' are always scared. You don’t trust it when it’s good so you’ll sometimes act up a bit just to prove he’s the assclown that he is, which pushes the relationship below FIVE.

Of course, when things go below Magic Number FIVE, he either blows lukewarm by saying just enough to re-establish The Status Quo and gets it back to Magic Number FIVE or he’ll blow hot to take things above Magic Number FIVE and buy himself some peace and quiet for a while. And then blow a little cold or lukewarm to ease you back to Magic Number FIVE.

However, when it is above Magic Number FIVE, you are likely to be suspicious and to be fair, despite your penchant for drama, you actually have good reason. You know the drill. You know the score. You know the pattern. You know he’ll say just enough doo doo to shut you up for a bit and then it’ll be back to same sh*t, different week.

The process simply goes on.

Now, pardon my oversimplification. I am simply having my drama moments.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Advocacy: Fully Finance the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) was established in 2002 to respond to public health and human rights crises caused by the ever escalating global HIV, TB and Malaria epidemics.

Since its inception, the impacts of the Global Fund on the health and well-being of communities across the globe has been unprecedented, having mobilised USD19.3 billion to support access to life-saving HIV, TB and Malaria treatments, and prevention and education initiatives in 144 countries. This investment has saved 4.9 million lives, and continues to prevent 3600 deaths everyday.

The Global Fund currently provides for communities affected by the three diseases across the world – mothers, fathers, children, young people, women, sex workers, men who have sex with men, drug users, migrants, prisoners, amongst others – their best chance for access to life-saving drugs and commodities, and the creation of contexts where vulnerability to the three disease is reduced.

The Global Fund has enabled the development of health and community systems the world over, providing many millions in the developing world a chance to realise their fundamental rights to access improved health services, and to health and life.

2010 marks the Third Voluntary Replenishment Process. The replenishment process is critical not only to the future of the Global Fund, but also to many millions whom depend on it for life-saving treatment, commodities, support, and services. The replenishment is not just about money.

It is about LIVES.

It is about PEOPLE.

It is about JUSTICE.

It is about EQUITY.

The Third Voluntary Replenishment Meeting will be held in New York, from 4th to 5th October 2010. International leaders, governments and donors will come together to ‘pledge‘ their financial commitments to the Global Fund for the coming three years. The replenishment MUST raise USD20 billion (find out more about the 3 scenarios here) if the hard earned gains of the last eight years are to be sustained and accelerated.

Anything less will mean lives lost – today, tomorrow, and for many years into the future.

We can not allow for this to happen. Enough is enough. Fund the Fund.

What will YOU do?

Here are some suggestions:
Please change your profile picture on facebook to the “No Cap No Gap” logo available from the dates of 15th September to 10th October to show your support for the full replenishment of the Global Fund available at

Sign on to the letter to show your support for international leaders to fully finance the Global Fund at, available in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.

Find out what you can do in your country by organising a Day of Global Action, or collaborating with existing activities during the Week of Global Action, for further details please visit

***This is completely reposted from except the photo.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wrong(?) Yet Feels So Right

Ever had a feeling that things are wrong yet feels so right?

I just got home. Tired yet unusually happy. I just came from a late afternoon spent with J. Sure, we have been going out for weekend late afternoon lunch and coffee, casual talks or a stroll for a while now, but today's meeting feels rather 'special.'

Well, it was almost the same thing. I mean I came to meet him for a late afternoon lunch (although I just had coffee creme brulee and drinks since I just came from a heavy lunch with a friend in UP) at Greenbelt, as we usually do. Everything is almost the same, except that this time, his boyfriend joined us.

Yes, he has a boyfriend (lets call him M). They have been together for a while now, and they are going strong. I knew J has a boyfriend when we met (again after not having seen each other for a long time) in April. I had no problems with that. I never found that a reason to stay away from J, however, with the constant reminder to myself at the same time that I wouldn't do anything to cause them trouble in the relationship. 

I like J. OK, I admit, I more than like him. To a certain extent, I can say that I love him. I have never felt a strong emotion toward someone (aside from my ex-bf) like how I feel with J. But at the same time, I know that I cannot push further as I might just blow everything we have now.

I am happy with how things are going on with J and I. I am content with the Sunday brunches we share-- the coffee talk, the late afternoon walk, the silent moments, the text messages-- I couldn't complain. Of course, given a choice, I would gladly have him as my boyfriend, but I know that's not going to happen, at least not now.

I also don't think its ever gonna happen. Not to be pessimistic whatsoever, but J and I already resolved many times that we are not compatible. Aside from some common interests as intellectual conversation, arts, love for 'finer' things, we jut can't seem to fit. We are like the same magnets with the same polarity, and we repel each other, at least romantically.

We have managed to maintain a very good relationship throughout the time we've been together. We have gone even closer when I disclosed to him my sero-status in August. However, just like any relationships, may it be romantic or otherwise, it  isn't perfect, I would say, as we have some moment of misunderstanding. But we always try to resolve.

Anyway, I  came to see J today with M. It felt a bit awkward at first, more than to my part, it is to M's. I sense it the moment I entered the room and sat by the table. I tried to shrug it off and remained as casual as I can. J and I talked like we normally do. We shoot random thoughts and take a good laugh at times. M, on the other hand, would whisper to J once in a while. 

This wasn't the first time that M and I be together at the presence of J. We've been in a party once and was able to talk to each. M knew my thing with J. He is also well aware of my story with J even before they became boyfriends. He said he is OK with that, but I am thinking that at the back of his mind must be some thoughts. I also tried NOT to decipher M's thoughts anymore.

I also have to admit that I am not certain about J's thoughts. I don't know how he sees me, or how he feels for me.I can't tell if he feels the same way for me as I feel for him. I chose not to find out. I am more than happy knowing that we are OK together.

With regard to J's relationship with M, I also do not know details of it. I don't ask. I don't inquire. I will leave everything to them.

This now makes me think if this is what we call 'wrong yet feels so right'

When my close friend found out I was seeing J, he told me to go out of the equation. Other friends also are in disapproval about me sticking around J with him being in a relationship. Despite all these, I remain. I decided to go on and keep whatever I have with J.

Everything feels so right whenever I am with J. He never failed to make me happy, to make me see the better side of things, to remind me of things I neglect, to make me think and rethink about things. He is always there to inspire me and keep me going. And most importantly, to always believe in the kindness of hearts and to Love.

This may sound wrong, I know, but my heart says this is right-- I love J and I will stick around, and I hope I make him feel the same as he does to me.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

(Un)Fit to Work

Its my second day with my new job.

After a long break from the corporate set up, I decided to take on a new job. It is not necessarily my dream job.  But I think it is a good job, nonetheless. By good job, I only mean a 'very' attractive compensation package, a 'normal' working schedule, and less toxic than my previous (I assume). Though I had hesitations about taking it as I am afraid and might get bored and would look for a more challenges, I decided to take on the new job anyway. I was more concerned about earning more and getting less stressed this time.

Just when I am all set on my new job, I was called by the company HR earlier today and advised me to re-take my blood test as I was found to have low platelets count. I haven't gotten a "Fit to Work" certificate and would require a second test. I was like "futch!" (that's fuck + bitch = futch) I wouldn't want my job jeopardized because of this. At the same time, the bigger worry I have is having to disclose my sero-status.

I had my medical exam last weekend, and I never remember being asked about my sero-status. I remember being asked about "other known diseases", which I answered "None" to. Honestly, I didn't know how to respond properly to the question. Everything seemed like a blur at that point.

I know there are some legislation in the Philippines about discrimination among people with HIV/AIDS and related disabilities. Of course, there is Republic Act 8504 which states that "The State shall extend to every person suspected or known to be infected with HIV/AIDS full protection of his/her human rights and civil liberties. Towards this end...discrimination, in all its forms and subtleties, against individuals with HIV or persons perceived or suspected of having HIV shall be considered inimical to individual and national interest".

For a while I thought of disclosing, but fear sat in and have decided to come up with 'mental' justification for my answer. I convinced myself that the question is not really about my sero-status. Whether that is acceptable or not, I thought that the whole point of medical exams is (simply) to determine fitness to work, and I thought my sero-status doesn't really make me unable to perform essential functions of the job, and as long as I am able to perform my job well, then there wouldn't be a necessity to disclose, well, at least at the moment.

Of course, I have also considered the possibility of me being required to take some time off work for some reason such as (another) infection or complication or when I require medical appointments, or experience (some) side effects should I decide to take some medications soon. I know I cannot compromise these things as they are more serious than a day's worth of my salary. But until then, my viral secret remains.

Anyway, I am going to have my blood sample taken and tested again for a complete blood count (and not HIV) on Saturday. I am not sure if my platelets count will go any better in a few day's time. I remain hopeful. However, in case results prove to be otherwise and further probing on the cause of my low platelet count be done, I am already psyching myself up for a possible discussion of my sero-status.

I know disclosure is just the apparent issue at the moment. I know there is more. I know I have to check on my health again very soon, but I'll take things one by one.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Barking Up the Wrong Tree

HIV/AIDS and related issues need to be everyone's business today. With the recent scare on the rapid increase of HIV cases in the Philippines in the past few months, it is nice to know that both private and government agencies are acting on the clamor to address the issues. But I have to admit that what I find most inspiring are the individuals who take an active role in whatever ways they can to contribute to this herculean task of combating the epidemic.

I have to say, however, that some efforts, although laudable, are not without fault. A (not-so) recent article was shared in my Facebook wall got me to be a bit critical and question some of these (supposed) campaigns. Like most issues, the facts of the matter become considerably less simplistic upon further scrutiny. published an article that attributes the "rise of internet usage" to be (one of) the main "factors that were found to contribute to the rapid spread of HIV in the country." Entitled "HIV patient warns vs. internet sex sites," the article took the story of Wanggo Gallaga as an example to warn the public to NOT engage in sexual relations with people met via Internet (Sex Sites).
"MANILA, Philippines - Magazine editor Wanggo Gallaga, a person living with HIV, warned the youth against having sex with strangers they meet through the internet.

Gallaga, who has openly talked about his sickness since 2008, said in an interview with ABS-CBN News that he engaged in casual sex with random strangers met through "internet pick-up sites."

He says this may have been why he was infected with human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV), a disease that damages the immune system...

...After graduating from a prestigious university and experiencing a tough breakup, Gallaga said he frequented several gay "pick-up" sites on the internet...

So what seems to be the problem with such campaign? Although the intention may be pure and noble, and that is to disseminate information, this campaign clearly commits some fallacy-- ascribing a false cause. To put it idio(ma)tically,  barking up the wrong tree. If we are to follow its reasoning, then everyone who have had sexual relationships with people met online would have had acquired the virus. Of course I am exaggerating!

Looking at the anecdote above, one doesn't have to be a genius to recognize that what gets people to get infected by the virus is the fact that the sexual act was UNSAFE, and the fact that the sexual partner was found online is just an antecedent, merely accidental. The fact remains that the virus can and will be acquired in risky sexual behaviours, regardless of whether the sexual partners are met via the internet, a drinking party, a simple visit at the church and so on.

Furthermore, it may be true that it is easier to find sexual partners via the internet. The whole sexual act can happen in an instant and with very few inconvenience. At the same time, one can have as many sexual partners as one pleases with just merely repeating the process-- send message,swap information then decide to meet up for sex. But it also must be recognize it doesn't really take a lot to get infected. It only takes one unsafe sexual act, and anyone is already opening himself up to the entire possibility of acquiring it.

Admittedly, this approach does little to address the problem right now. Let us address the real issue. It is not where we find our sexual partner, but HOW the sexual act is done. Although we may grant that chances of getting the virus from strangers we find online, the fact remains that the virus can still be caught anywhere, and the only way to avoid contracting it is a safer sexual practice.

Wanggo's heart might be at the right place-- he wants to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS infections. However, while his attempt to combat HIV/AIDS with information, I also believe that what the public needs is NOT simply information, but CORRECT information.

PS: Article in review is found at

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

No Take-Back Policy

I used to have a “never take an ex back” policy. It stopped me from getting into some trouble  like the awkward feeling of the-morning-after-sex-with-an-ex, dropping cash for (un)necessary gifts, headaches from planning dates, and becoming the victim of sheer drunken douchebaggery.

A point needs to be told-- there are some guys you just get over and there’s simply no need for a do-over. You may consider having them as friends, or friends-with benefits if you must, but engaging in another romantic relationship with is simply out of the equation. I have been close to being tempted to taking my third boyfriend back, but decided to stick with my 'policy'.

But as they say, every policy must have an exemption. I, too, have once tried to embrace that 'excuse'-- I have gone through 'an exemption' and decided to give my last relationship a second chance. Lame as it may sound, there are times when we simply give in, for whatever reason it may be, but we just do it.

For those who hasn't followed the story, I was in a very good (live in) relationship with my then boyfriend for seven months until slowly, everything seem to have become a blur. I broke up with him. I sent him out of the condo and we decided to live separate lives (although not quite, as he decided to move in the same condo where I was, only in a different unit. Darn!). We didn't see each other for a while. Neither did we exchange messages via e-mail or text, aside from the few times that we had to to settle 'which-goes-to-whom.'

I 've gone dating during the time that we weren't together (this is when I met J) and I think he dated a few guys too. However, although I have dated a guy, I wasn't so sure if I was ready to hop into a new relationship. J is a very nice guy, and a very good boyfriend material, but at the back of my mind, something is holding me back. I couldn't make my advances to (J) the guy I am dating because I knew there is something left unfinished. I don't know how, but I knew I just knew it.

Then comes the opportunity. The guy am dating (J) decided to go back to his ex-bf, and by sheer and odd synchronosity, I saw my ex bf in the compound the same time J (dumped) me. That was the first time I saw him since the break up. We exchanged greetings but never talked, but I felt a breath of fresh air upon seeing him.  I went back to my unit and saw him online in YM. Finally I sent him a message: "Dress up. Lets go out", and he politely obliged.

We started seeing each other again after that. We were like first time lovers again. We did the same things as we did the first time-- dinner dates, movies, visit to my place and me to his place until we were once again sleeping over at each other's place. The next thing we know, we were lovers, AGAIN!

Our second shot at the relationship went well in most part. It was further strengthened (I think) by the incident of us knowing that we were both HIV positive. I even had a thought for a while that we are gonna be 'forever' until I started to mess up. The culmination of which is the second break up.

We weren't in speaking terms for a few months after the break-up. I decided not to care. I took the conscious effort not to hear from him, nor know what has been going on in his life. But just when I thought everything will just remain like how they were, I took my last chance at somehow fixing my mess. Not for any reason such as guilt or anything like that, I was forced by some friends to attend to his birthday party. I also thought that that might be the last time I am going to see him since I know he will be forced to leave the country any time soon. So with the most casual tone I can, I asked him on his birthday: "Do you hate me?". Then he replied, "No, I do not hate you. I cannot hate you. It took some time for me to absorb everything, but I do not hate you".

We have started talking to each other after that night. I am now comfortable talking to him again, and seeing him once in a while. But at the same time, I refused to break my own childish rule— "no take-backs."

Now I’m left with “what if?” questions. What if I’ll never love any other man as much? Or what if I'll never find any other guy who will love me as much as he did (or he does)? What if I never have sex as good again? What if he is THE ONE? And my personal favorite: What if I’m going to die alone now?

Even more excruciating and existential is the other side of the coin: Am I inflating who he is and what we had? Has he been martyred because he was the one that got away?

Not giving myself another chance is like opening a Pandora’s Box of second-guessing my self. OK, so I kept my pride, but what now? It don't have—him. And all I had to lose was a little bit more time spent trying to figure things out between us.

Unfortunately, now I’m stuck in a moment wondering “what if?”


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Back To Basic

This week was a return to basic, literally.

I am out of town for a week now and my laptop charger broke down so I've nothing better to do (I am thankful that I was able to get a replacement after 5 days). In addition, with just the local channels available on TV, I am left with no better choice but to pick up a piece of paper and a pen to write. I had to revive my lost love affair with writing as I knew it.

I really didn't miss writing. I think I have fallen out of love with the physical act of writing. For a while now, I never had to use a pen and a paper aside from the few times I had to sign a greeting card or have my signature in some documents, a few post it notes to remind me of a few things, and in exceptional circumstances when I had to give my number to some cute guy I meet in some places where no electronic device is available to save my number(i.e, E, O-bar ). Other than that, everything has been done electronically.

My love affair with the physical act of expressing my thoughts and emotions through an ink etched in a clean sheet has been atrophied from the sheer lack of use. Everything these days is done electronically. I write on my very handy laptop, and eventually modify and edit everything, until my thoughts and emotions reach their written form. Which brings me to a realization that the little innocuous technological innovations have totally changed my habits and views more than I can tell, and not just in superficial ways.

Come to think of it. Writing these days seem to be as simple as a work of magic. You essentially have the first draft that simply morphs into a final material through constant tweaking-- a little cut and paste to move one paragraph to another, insert or change the words to whatever you feel is appropriate, scrap a large part which you feel atrocious without the traceable paper trail of the evolution of your piece . In short, your first draft can be as good (or as bad) as your final. What we get it one big blur of revisions.

The same goes with how we live these days. I have to be honest that I have been consumed by the convenience of living a fast paced life, recognizing nothing but today and what today presents. It is of little to no importance how things came to be, but what matters is that things are what they are. I didn't care how my laundry goes from my hamper until it is picked up and all the process involved until it reach my closet ready to be worn. What matters is that I have nice clothes to wear  for a meeting or a night out.

My last conversation with J before I went out of town points to more or less the same lesson-- we only see what is presented to us, and what happens along the way is almost always, if not forgotten, taken for granted.

After finding out about my HIV status earlier this year, I have been mostly caught up with the idea of just going along. Nothing mattered to me more than the fact that I am HIV positive, and that I am limited to the label. I won't exaggerate though, like as if I have gone helpless and all. That will be mad! Just that all the decisions and outlook have mostly been influenced and brought by the recent fact that I am HIV positive now. Everything I knew seemed to have been of less to no significant. It has presented me with a final draft-- a half-baked prose.

As we enjoy an afternoon sun for a Sunday tapa treat in Greenbelt, I told J about my plans, and how I would like to live my life based from how I know my life now. I told him about how I see my life in the next few months, my immediate plans, my aspirations, but all in no more than five years. I didn't want to tell him how I see things after five years. I was afraid they are not going to happen. I was afraid that five years may come too fast and as much as I would like to still do things, I may prove to be already incapable.

I know the picture of HIV has alienated me from myself. I have gone myopic.

Looking back at the things I shared with J, it looks like something is wrong. I have only seen the revised writing of my life without the realization and the reminder how I got a picture of now.

I know I have tried to change and correct a few things to adopt to the current situation. For sure, I have made some bad choices before in the same way that I have had bad choice of words. I have scrapped and revised them as I found convenient. I have also tried to rearrange my life with a little cut and paste. In the same way that I have tried to revise my life based from what I know now, the whole (re)writing seem to have been nothing but one big blur of revisions.

I got into thinking that it is sometimes interesting to go back and see the scratched-out phrases with the red pen to correct my errors and go though the actual act of checking words after words for possible misspelling. The exercise may prove to be more tedious, but at the same time teaches us to become more honest and careful should we decide to rewrite. Honest as we can look back at our original idea and do not simply replace any equivalent no matter how conveniently shift+F7

The red marks of my previous experiences need to be more apparent as I (re)write my life this time. There are things I would like to revise, and the red marks hopefully guide me as they have guided me along the way.

The leanness of off-the-cuff writing of our lives may easily and conveniently be replaced by the soulless, bland pap of over processed writing, but it is always nice to try and go back to the basics.

**PS: This entry is drafted on my niece's 2nd grade paper, those with wide red and blue lines, and a Mongol 2 pencil.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Of Rain and Playing God

On my way to my mom's place for a visit last Sunday, it rained.

I always love the rain. I always find the rain cathartic. I love it when I see the droplets hit a surface and explode like little bombs and scatter into smaller pieces, until they become unrecognizable individually as they join other 'annihilated' droplets and form into something else, maybe muddy water, which will eventually gets flushed down the sewer. I like to see how they self-destruct. That's the morbid part of me. I find beauty in morbidity.

Do not get me wrong. I am not the 'other-step-sister' who would deliberately wish and cause someone else's demise. I do not necessarily find happiness in the helplessness of others, but the realization that I am better off is a consolation in itself. C'mon, basic human instinct!

I know they are nothing but molecules and are not really annihilated. There really isn't any life in question, otherwise I wouldn't have been sounding half the evil guy I am now. That's will be another story altogether if a 'life' is concerned, of course. Anyway, seeing them fall from the sky pure and intact, and eventually disintegrates without resistance from them (selves, if they can at all be attributed selves), is like me having more power than they have. The sense of me having more control of things more than the droplets makes me feel good. The sense of having control of things in general makes us feel good.

I can reach my hand out of the window and end a droplet's way even before it reaches the ground and play god for a while.

This is because at the back of my mind, I realize that I am not a god and that I cannot have things my way all the time. I can try and take control of things around me, but I can only take control of my life as much as I can. There will come a time that somewhere, somehow, a god, though not necessarily the white haired, blue-eyed Caucasian nor the omnipresent eye in a triangle, would at some point can decide to extend his hand out of his window and end my own godliness.

I may not necessarily have to get shattered into pieces or be flushed into the sewers, but definitely, just like the little droplets, I will always find my end.

I hope it rains when it has to happen.

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