Monday, December 26, 2005

'Top & Bottom'


A SPECIALTY store selling sex toys, lubricants, skimpy underwear, apparel, gay movies and videos, and other novelty items for both the straight and the gay (but mostly for gays, of course), has opened shop recently in Manila's gay and bohemian area.

Named Top & Bottom, the second-floor store opens from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m., and is strategically located at the corner of Ma. Orosa and J. Nakpil Streets, in Malate, Manila's answer to New York's Greenwich Village.

Santa in Speedo


TWO good friends of mine migrated to Canada a couple of years back, and have been writing to me since. Their last being was in early December, telling me no end of them looking forward to watching the 2005 Toronto Santa Speedo Run.

Done on Yorkville, Toronto's fashionable area, on December 10, this inaugural Speedo run featuring participants dressed in skimpy red underwear, Santa-signature hat and running shoes raised at least $7,100 for the Toys and Games Fund for sick children.

The original target-amount was only $2,000, with the organizers asking each participant for $50 as joining fee.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Holidays!


I HAVE nothing much to share with you this holiday season, save for some photos of this hairy hunk.

I was prowling the most exciting part of Malate last night when I met a young Arab (with those soulful Bedouin eyes) in a bar.

We just talked.

I figured, however, that had he taken off his shirt, he most likely would have looked like this Middle Eastern guy.

May you all have a sexual (not sexy, take note) Christmas and an orgasmic New Year!

Global (Pinoy) Kid

Magno and her WTO-winning artwork


SEVEN-year-old MARY Loise Magno, a Filipino student in China Hong Kong, stood tall amongst world trade experts and negotiators as she bested more than 3,000 other grade-schoolers to win the Welcome Card design contest sponsored by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Used in postcards and cards to welcome the trade ministers from 149 economies to the sixth WTO meeting in China Hong Kong on December 13 to 18, Magno’s artwork shows clasped hands encircling the flag of the former British colony where she and her parents are based.

Magno’s artwork started out as an assignment in school. She is a second-grader at the Sir Ellis Kadorie Primary School, a semi-private school in Causeway Bay.

Her father, an architect, has been working in China Hong Kong for the past 11 years while Magno and the rest of the family relocated there only two years ago.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Pink Screen



ANG Lee’s lyrical drama about a rodeo cowboy and a farmhand falling in love topped the Golden Globe Awards—with seven nominations from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA)—last week at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Los Angeles.

“Brokeback Mountain,” which I wrote about earlier on this blog, earned nods for Best Motion Picture (Drama), Best Director, Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama), Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, Best Screenplay (Motion Picture), Best Original Score, and Best Original Song (Motion Picture).


Starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, “Brokeback” is a heart-rending love story between two men set in a Wyoming ranch in the 1960s. It is based on a short story of the same title by Annie Proulx.

A group of international journalists that votes on the Golden Globe Awards, the HFPA said the final event will be held on January 16.

Gyllenhaal and Ledger

Vatican Illogicians

The Vatican Square


JUST how do you find out when and if someone has clearly overcome his homosexuality for at least three years? And this assuming if gay-ness can be overcome, in the strictest sense of the word, like doing away with the habit of smoking or drinking.

This was my first reaction when the Vatican published weeks ago an instruction approved by Pope Benedict XVI banning bishops across the world from ordaining homosexuals into the priesthood.

I absolutely have no quarrel against the Vatican ban on gays, since the Catholic Church is an organized religion (this fact has become so obvious for some 2,000 years that people tend to regard it as one directly installed by God) whose edicts are made by men (though, of course, they wear purple robes).

If you can’t follow the rules of the church, you are not welcome to the priesthood. That’s fine. It’s just as simple as saying that if you can’t tow the line, you have no business being in the Cabinet, or be amongst the President’s men—and women.

What disturbed me, however, was the Vatican edict saying the church still welcomes gay men to the priesthood if their homosexuality was only “the expression of a transitory problem—for example that of adolescence not yet superseded.”

(Hello, is homosexuality some kind of a juvenile aberration?)

It added that would-be gay priests must first show that their homosexual tendencies had been “clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the dioconate.”

Just how are you able to evaluate such?

Frankly, this edict is so bereft of logic that it has made me consider entering the priesthood just so I could test my acting ability. It seems like all that the Vatican wants are gay priests having good training in theater.

How can so intelligent a people trained in the ascetic dogmatism of discourse and reason be bereft of the simplest of logic, I do not understand.

Inside St. Peter's Basilica

(Photos via

Pinoy Movies



LAST month film enthusiasts were aghast to know that copies of most films made by the legendary Filipino director Lino Brocka could not even be found in the Philippines.

This prompted Roger Garcia, Torino International Film Festival’s program consultant for Asia, to turn to Cinematheque Francaise, in France, to acquire four of six Brocka’s works for the festival in Turin on November 11 to 19.

With the help of Pierre Rissient and Alain Jalladeau, Garcia got copies of “Insiang,” “Anak” (Child), “Bona,” and “Bayan Ko: Kapit sa Patalim” (My Country: Hanging By the Blade).

Hilda Koronel as Insiang

Garcia got the two other Brocka films—“Tinimbang Ka ngunit Kulang” (You were Considered but Found Wanting) and “Ina, Kapatid, Anak” (Mother, Sibling, Child)—from the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and Unitel’s Tony Gloria, respectively.

But even the CCP’s 35mm copy of “Tinimbang” came from the British Film Institute.

Unitel’s Unico Entertainment, on the other hand, is releasing some of Brocka classics on DVD (available online at

Garcia (born in Hong Kong and now based in the United States), who has been a staunch supporter of Filipino movies, lamented that there is no longer a copy of “Angela Markado,” another Brocka classic that won the 1983 Best Film Award in Nantes, France.

Rissient introduced Brocka to the world when he brought “Insiang” to Cannes in 1978 while Jalladeau, director of the Festival des 3 Continents in Nantes, has also championed Brocka’s works.

Aside from the Brocka classics, Philippine movies by present Filipino directors Lav Diaz and John Red were also screened in Turin, a northern Italian town where the 2006 Winter Olympics will be held.

Garcia said Brocka’s films are important because they are a reference point for the new generation of Filipino filmmakers.

Reporters quoted him as saying that “Brocka’s oeuvre [is] ‘a cinema of opposition that challenges the state of things and paints a terrible picture of a society in total desperation.’”

Birthday Suit

UP Diliman's Quezon Hall


THE 28-year tradition of the annual “Oblation Run” was breached December 15 when two young women showed up naked moments after 20 male streakers did their ritual “Dance of the Brave” in front of the Oblation Statue at Quezon Hall of the University of the Philippines Diliman campus.

While the 20 hooded male students belonging to the UP Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity carried placards bannering the most pressing issue (denouncing government move to cut the state university’s budget) of the day , the two women demanded equal rights for women.

Wearing masks and long curly wigs of reddish brown hair, the women emerged from a car in the parking lot and raced toward the Oblation Statue (a naked man with hands thrust to the sky), prompting the clicking of camera shutters. They posed for photographers amid a cheering crowd and fled toward a waiting car, which sped away.

Saying it felt insulted, the UP APO stressed it had no idea who the women (who didn’t look like Filipinos but had Oriental features) were. It also said the incident was not part of the Oblation Run, adding that it would conduct an investigation into it.

My campus friends and I were saying that what the heck! The UP APO itself deviated from tradition in this year’s run as members graced Quezon Hall, upon the request of newly-installed UP President Emerlinda Roman.

The first Oblation Run was done in 1977, with five masked members running on campus to promote the UP APO-sponsored play “Hubad na Bayani” (“Naked Hero”), a political satire on the iron rule of strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

It has since become an annual campus event attracting hundreds of students, teachers, office workers, visitors, and the media.

The acacia trees on campus

Cervantes’ ‘Don Quixote’


ITS productions of “Fame” and “Little Shop of Horrors” did disappoint me, but Repertory Philippines’ take on “Man of La Mancha” was indeed a blazing mix of artistic genius and theatrical conviction.

Directed by Baby Barredo, the Rep's staging of this Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion’s Broadway musical based on Cervantes classic, “Don Quixote,” was requested by Zenaida Amador, the Rep’s founder and artistic director for 38 years, before her death last year.

Amador (Barredo’s long-time companion) herself was said to have dreamed the impossible dream when she founded Repertory Philippines during the time when having six people in the audience in a given night of performance was already something to be proud of.

The Rep people must have reached the unreachable star, prompting critics to declare “Man of La Mancha” (staged at Greenbelt 1's On Stage, in Makati City) as this year’s best musical.

Crack-brained heroes are indeed an esoteric way to making us lesser mortals happy amid election cheating and wiretapping scandals and rising graft and corruption cases facing the Arroyo administration.

Pinoys at Sotheby’s

Mario Parial's Tres Marias, 2002, acrylic on canvas


MARIO Parial was among the 10 top Filipino artists included in the 20th anniversary auction of Sotheby’s in Singapore in October, joining the ranks of national artists Fernando Amorsolo, H.R. Ocampo, Ang Kiu Kok and Arturo Luz, and such masters as Juvenal Sanso and Romeo Tabuena.

Arturo Luz's White Temples 3, acrylic on canvas

While still a student at the University of Santo Tomas in 1966, Parial won first prize in the Shell art contest and the grand prize at the Art Association of the Philippines graphic art competition.

Critics say Parial’s paintings are unique renditions of women, vendors, fiestas, kite-flying, and Mother and Child.

His Marian works have been included in two international books on the subject, along with masterpieces by Michaelangelo, El Greco, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael.

Ang Kiu Kok's Yellow Table with Blue Bowl, 2001, oil on canvas, 61x81cm
Selling price: $35,000

Coming of Age

Nathan Lopez as Maxi


AURAEUS Solito’s “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros” (Maximo Oliveros’s Coming of Age) won Best Film at the Asian Festival of First Films (AFFF) held in Singapore late last month, topping 22 finalists and picked from 233 entries from all over the world.

This is the inaugural year of AFFF, which counted among its jurors National Geographic executive Bryan Smith of Australia, writer-actor Teddy Chen of Hong Kong, and filmmakers Pan Nalin of France, Sudhir Mishra of India and Peter Friedman of the United States.

It would be unfair for me to fully comment on “Ang Pagdadalaga” since I haven’t watched it yet on its entirety. The first few parts that I did during its screening at the University of the Philippines Film Institute at Diliman, however, made me look the other way.

Lopez and JR Valentin (as Victor)

I left the theater even before I reached across one-fourth of the movie, as I found the scenes and screenplay very unrealistic for a movie that supposedly deals with social realism. I just couldn’t sit through the scene wherein the policeman (who rescues Maxi from bad boys in the streets) piggybacks Maxi home to his family, despite him not being injured or distressed.

Well, as a late friend of mine said, “You can’t argue with success!”


Pinoys in Lion City


FILIPINO stars from GMA-7 shone brightly in the Lion City late last month as they bagged major accolades in the Asian Television Awards (ATA) held at the National University of Singapore.

Nonie Buencamino won the Best Dramatic Actor trophy for his work on “Magpakailanman” (Until the End), a drama series on GMA-7, the Philippines’ second biggest television network.

He played the role of Jaime, husband of AIDS victim Madel (played by Lorna Tolentino, who received a commendation from ATA), in “Magpakailanman: Sa Kabila ng AIDS” (Until the End: Despite of AIDS).

For his part, Michael V brought home his second Best Comedy Actor trophy from ATA for his work on “Bubble Gang,” a GMA-7 gag show.

“Bubble Gang” was not able to win again as the Best Comedy Program this year because the jokes were not translated well into English. Que horror! But ATA still found Michael V funny. Muy bien!

The Best Social Awareness Program Award was bagged by “I-Witness: The GMA Documentaries” for Kara David’s investigative report, “Buto’t Balat” (Skin and Bone) while the Best Entertainment Special went to GMA-7’s “Eat Bulaga” (Hey, Gotcha), the Philippines’ longest-running noontime variety show.

King of the Hill



FILIPINO Efren “Bata” Reyes had made the right decision when he opted not to represent his country in the 23rd Southeast Asian Games and instead went to the United States with the desire to likewise bring honor to the Philippines and make himself an instant millionaire.

At 50 years old, this billiards icon became “king” and $200,000 (P10.8 million) richer December 4 when he downed defending champion Mike Sigel, 8-0, 8-5, to rule the IPT’s King of the Hill Invitational 8-Ball Shootout in Orlando, Florida.

Reyes, who had undergone laser eye surgery to correct his failing vision, reached the final of the $1-million event at the expense of fellow Filipino Marlon “Marvelous” Manalo, 8-4, who suffered his first loss to compatriot Francisco Bustamante, 8-7.

It was Finnish Mika “The Iceman” Immonen who beat Bustamante, 3-8, in the event which guaranteed each participant $10,000 (P540,000).

Reyes 'The Magician'

The Champ


THREE Filipino athletes have risen to stardom and catapulted the Philippines to becoming a regional sports powerhouse, as the country bagged its first-ever overall championship, in 46 years, during the 23rd Southeast Asian Games, in Manila, on November 23 to December 5.

Swimmer Miguel Molina, a student at the University of California Berkely, won three individual gold medals, a silver and a bronze in the relay, leading all other Filipino athletes in the country’s final gold-silver-bronze medal haul of 113-76-91, in its third staging of this biennial sportsfest that drew 11 nations.

Shiela Mae Perez, on the other hand, dove for two individual victories and one in the synchronized event while Benjie Tolentino, who saw action at the Athens 2004 Olympics, rowed for a gold medal in the singles and two in the pairs (with Alvin Amposta) categories.

Except for some irresponsible charges of cheating from Thailand, the Philippines’ hosting of this year’s SEA Games went smoothly, with nary a breach on security.

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra claimed that there had been cheating in the games, a charge seconded by Bangkok’s chief spokesperson Surapong Suebwonglee.

This diplomatic faux pas (as Thaksin hurled accusations without basis in fact or in law) prompted officials of the Thai delegation to Manila to apologize to host Philippines. Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suwat Liptapanlop also readily came over as part of damage control.

Well, it turned out it was Thailand that cheated, with some Thai officials (according to witnesses) giving wads of dollars to some boxing committee personnel to rig a match or two, at the University of St. La Salle Coliseum in Bacolod City, central Philippines, in favor of the Thai pugs.

Two Thai aquatics officials had also been sacked by Fina (international aquatics federation) for “shady judging,” among other things.