and we're back

been gone 3 months and a lot's happened.
having no access to the blog in restrictive china, i couldn't read the latest news on the 4j front.
i'm surprised bob has been writing, rj's got a baby (i always thought he was a closet queer) tc had a real US style costume party, and tini finally has an entry.
hey jim, did you get the present for my godson? it's with my mom.
jay t, palawan tayo!
anyway, i'll be writing blog-worthy posts soon, when i get around to it.


Birthday Appreciation

Based on what was tentatively planned during the 4J Christmas party at Jay Tan's house last 26 December 2004, Rhochie, RJ, and yours truly would be celebrating our birthdays together on the 29th of January 2005. However, there was no discussion about it anymore after that day. And so it was somehow correct to assume that there will be no more 4J get-together on that day.

I never really celebrated my birthdays with big parties. In fact, I remember of only one time when I celebrated my birthday with a party -- that was when I turned 23. That was the time when most of the 4J guys were just beginning to enjoy their first year in living out their professional lives. When free from work, the so-called 4J partners would be next on their priority list. (Of course, I did not have my very own 4J partner yet back then -- not until 6 months later. As such, my priority list contained going out on gimmicks or playing basketball as being next to career). I hope you guys understand why, when I turned 23, no one from 4J was "invited".

To celebrate my 30th birthday yesterday, what I had in mind was to simply go out and have a quiet intimate dinner (followed by a birthday sex ... hahaha!) with my girlfriend Conci. Yes, you guys read it correctly! After 3 months of break-up, Conci and I are back together again. (Love is sweeter ... and stronger ... the second time around). And we got back together 2 days before I turned 30. So I would say that I had a wonderful birthday gift in that sense!

To my surprise, Conci had planned something for me on my 30th birthday. I really did not have any idea until I began to wonder, as I drove on the way to Araneta Center (where Conci and I were to have dinner together at the newly-openned Oyster Boy branch in Cubao), why Jay Tan kept on texting and giving Conci a call. Eventually, Conci's surprise for me was brought out into the open. No thanks to the difficulties encountered with the venue (where Marvin Agustin, a part owner of the new Oyster Boy branch, was holding his own private birthday party).

Conci planned a little get together with the J-Boys. Despite the last minute change in venue (Katips Bar and Grille eventually), I really had a great time. So, I would like to thank all the 4J guys who were there: Jay, Jel, Jigs, TC, Rhochie, Ching, Philip (who was even sick but still dropped by), and R-jay with Leslie (congrats on the baby girl dude!). AA, although unable to attend, called to greet me as well. To the rest who were not able to make it, I know that you were there in spirit to celebrate with me.

To everyone who made my 30th birthday yesterday simple yet memorable, thank you very much! I really appreciate it guys!



Do you guys remember P.G. Pahutan?

Well, his sister (my Godsister) is one of the candidates for the Miss Hawaiian Tropic Philippines title. She invited me to the awards night on March 10 and was asking me to spread the word for people to vote for her. You could check out her page here and see the other contestants here.


Let's Here It for the Girl(s)!

And here's Sara!

Night out with the boys
(by Sara V.)

Spend last friday night hanging out with these two MEN. They approached our table, introduced themselves, and bought me a drink. The cute one in stripes even asked for my phone number!

Haha, just kidding! Jay approached these guys (which honestly, looked too old for me anyway) to have my picture taken with them under the pretense of wanting to make Bob jealous. Which he shamelessly admitted after, "SOrry Sara, ginamit lang kita!" He just wanted to introduced himself to the hot girl the guys were with. Well,Jay, I have to apologize too for telling the truth-- gotta avoid bloodshed. We wouldn't want for a certain someone to jaunt all the way to Bangkok for some pretty girls, then get his ass kicked when he gets home.

4J boys got together for some reason (apparently NOT because Mia's pregnant) and invited me to join them, probably because they wanted to cheer me up. Either that or they clearly enjoy my company especially when I relentlessly tease RJ about being gay -- something they also wanted to do, am sure.

Highlight of the night (more appropriately, of TC's night)

I stayed for only about an hour, but it was fun nonetheless. Wasn't able to finish my drink -- some strawberry flavored something drink which tastes good, I admit, but I was afraid to get tipsy when I'm driving myself home. Am sure we'd get to hang out there again anyway. Especially after the boys enjoyed feasted their eyes on a lot of hot girls ... and some hot guys too, for RJ.


And on a side note, I just heard from the news that "Spongebob Squarepants: The Movie" is generating controversy because it's supposedly promoting a gay lifestyle! *gasp*

Reasons for this:
  1. Spongebob is always holding hands with Patrick
  2. Spongebob is always watching "Mermaid-Man and Barnacle Boy"
Hmmm... I suppose that explains RJ but what about TC?


"Out" on the town

Last Friday, some of the boys got together for dinner and drinks in Makati. TC, Joey (and Mia), R-Jay, Ching, Aljay and myself first met up in Bistro 110. Beer was buy one, take one and the food was good. We then moved to Belissimo in the Fort for a nightcap. Joel, Sara and her friend joined us there. Major things that happened:
  1. I used Sara to meet a girl (Kai Rodriguez from the Close Up commercials). Too bad she's married.
  2. TC got up the guts to walk over to Amanda Griffin to ask for a picture. Once there, all he managed to sputter out were "Fleeble, flobble, doobie fan." Buti na lang, she understood and obliged.
  3. R-Jay was recommending the movie "Blade:Trinity".
R-Jay: "Napanood nyo ba yung Blade Trinty?"
Jay: "Di pa, bakit?"
R-Jay: "Hayop yung katawan ni..."
TC: "Jessica Biel?"
R-Jay: "Di! Si Ryan Reynolds!"



Miko’s clues were November 1 and Halloween.

Philip almost immediately came up with the right answer, Orange.

We were playing Taboo at the Rjay and Leslie’s place. We just had a casual dinner of Shakey’s pizza and chicken. The nominal reason for the get-together was a send-off for my trip to Jakarta. To be honest, we never really needed a reason, but just a quick invitation and the time and place. An occasion only meant that one or more were free from paying the bill.

Jay A mentioned to me once, about ten years ago, that he was looking forward to the time when we could just have dinner together with our girlfriends.

That last part was important. Hardly anything new about us guys hanging out together.

While playing the game, I had this feeling of stability. Looking around the room, I thought that we could do this for years more.

It was like I felt that we've all really grown up together, and I don't think it's only because we're all closer to or just at thirty.

The previous weekend, a bunch of us attended a mass in the high school chapel. Originally intended for Woowoo, we also included in our prayers other schoolmates who are critically ill or have passed away.

There were about a dozen of us guys and a girl at the service.

There was a cocky but eloquent priest, who said he was once the toughest math teacher around and that we were lucky that we weren’t around to be his students. I have no idea how he came to that conclusion by just looking at us, but he was probably right.

Rhochie was the one who hooked us up with the priest. When Rjay and I asked Rhochie how he came to know the guy, Rhochie replied “Tatay ni Mickey.”

After exchanging a confused glance with Rjay, our collective answer was “Ano?”

“Kakilala ng tatay ni Mickey sa prayer group niya. Bakit?” said Rhochie.

I clarified “Ah, akala namin na iba na yung pagka-Maria Clara ni Mickey.”

“Ang labo niyong dalawa.”

Rjay and I just exchanged another look and apologized for being slow.

The priest wasn’t bad, as it turned out. He set up the high point of the mass by giving our lector TC a chalice of wine to finish off. His sour expression at the podium was enough to reduce Sonny to strumming his guitar to the rhythm of our laughter.

With the guitar, there was singing, liturgical songs voiced with much more passion than melody. Almost all of us sounded like we had three chalices each or more ourselves. Philip held up the songbook after and remarked “Hindi na natin kailangan ng Song Hits habang umiinom. Ito na lang.”

No, he didn’t take the book with him. He put it back down and left it in the chapel.

Afterwards, we took a walk around the school. There were a lot of people, mostly students. At the covered court stage, there was a class recitation rehearsal going on. There was basketball being played, and we played a quick game ourselves. Jim was an animal underneath. Sandy didn’t want to shoot the ball. Philip was playing in bare feet.

Rjay was happy passing the ball, though.

The ball went out of bounds just as the rehearsing class broke for lunch and was on its way to the cafeteria. The ball went towards one hapless kid, who, through no fault of his own, received a mixed chorus of “Hoy!” and “Amin na iyan!” He didn’t even look our way and neither did his classmates.

We would’ve been surprised if we did get a look, considering that they probably haven’t yet been born when we were students there ourselves.

"Ang gulo niyo", commented Leslie. I said that it was because we were home.

We had lunch at Shakey’s, certainly a place to continue our trip through our memories. That included the food, thin-crust garlic and cheese, and pitchers of root beer. Sonny and Sandy even produced a reality show out of who was the better student, AA or Tini? They went through our subjects, English, Religion, Filipino, and even had some time-out interviews with the two contestants. Ching kept butting in to everything so we ended up voting him the winner.

We didn’t just keep it in the past, though. Sandy introduced us to the Shakey’s self-serve ice cream sundae bar. He, Jay T, and Ching came back with a glass filled with a few hundred grams of candy and what looked to be a liter of ice cream. Between spoonfuls of ice cream, Miko asked Sandy “Pwede mo ba i-bangko si Tenorio?” A tough question, Sandy looked down and thought a moment before answering “Oo, kaya ko gawin iyon, pero ako naman yung tatanggalin pagkatapos.”

We went on to the cemetery to visit Woowoo’s grave. We said hi and a few words then just hung out by our cars for a while. None of us planned to linger, but then Rjay said “Sinong umalis, isang taon siya ang pangit.” That kept us together for several minutes more, till Sara gave up on us being mature enough to just go on and leave. I had the unfortunate task of raising my hand and saying “Sige, una na kami.” That was answered with goodbyes of “Sige, pangit, ingat,” or “Kita tayo ulit, pangit.”

With that out of the way, everyone left pretty quickly.

And the next weekend, during the party and during the game, it was the same. Home.

During a pause in the game, Philip asked for a lighter.
Tini got up, "Tara!" and moved towards the balcony himself.
Philip graciously replied "Sabi ko sindi, hindi kasama."

It's so easy to see that we're all older.

We certainly haven’t gone in the same pace or path. For the past decade, we've been successes, husbands, fathers, lovers, seducers, liars, cowards, victims, and failures, quite a range of human experience.

While there are so many things that we do not have in common, we do have to acknowledge a shared beginning. This acknowledgement maintains a certain respect for one another, whatever our opinions. To deny this respect would be to deny a part of ourselves.

It can be a real wonder, or a definite struggle, to hear and comprehend stories of how each of us has gotten to where he has. But because we know where we all began, we can easily see in each other, for better or worse, where we can go.

That's why we can get that Varsity, Event, and Nine quite simply refer to Decathlon.


The Gang at Woo-woo's grave.

At Bob's Birthday Party.

At Bob's Despedida Party.