Saturday, January 2, 2010

2009: my year in pictures

as i look back to the year that was 2009 . i thought of many ways do a year-end post.

i decided i'd make it simple - just share with you some significant things that happened last year.

the first thing will have to be celebrating new year in sagada. going back there after 9 years (when G & i celebrated the turn of the millenium), i had a chance to see how much the place changed and how much of what was important remained the same. much like the people i reconnected with when i got back from africa.

i also spoke of the role of civil society (that is, the non-profit sector) in development in the asean people's forum in bangkok in february. living it is one thing, trying to discuss it with people who are non-profit development workers themselves was like, well - selling nips to the kids in charlie & the chocolate factory. tough crowd.

here i am signing an agreement in washington on behalf of some network to facilitate a civil society campaign project in asia. in one of the schmoozy dinners some of the representatives from other countries had an animated discussion whether we (the non-profit sector) have indeed made it to the negotiating table of powers in the world. i somehow spoiled the fun when i said - 'personally, the issue of whether or not we have the power is incidental. the more important question is whether what we are doing is contributing to preventing a labour leader from being killed or a women's group activist from being discriminated or a HIV activist from being ridiculed.' they were silent and looked at me reproachfully. (i am thinking they were thinking - there goes the 3rd world activist again with his dream world) oh well. my dinner was gourmet inedible anyway.

i had the opportunity to visit prague for a conference - the most beautiful place i have ever been (imagine a vineyard in the middle of the town!). most gay boys wondered if i stumbled into the bel-ami boys. sadly, errr, no. but the absence of the smooth gay porn demigods did not take away anything from the lovely, lovely city.

for a while, i volunteered with task force pride representing rainbow bloggers. here we had a die-in in the middle of BED's ledge in commemoration of the international day against homophobia (with the rest of the clientele thinking we have gone stark raving mad). unfortunately, the demands of my day job made me opt out of the TF later. thus dousing my hopes of being the philippines answer to harvey milk. just kidding.

in may, jp and i celebrated his birthday by going to the crater of taal. it was his first volcano while it was my first crater. we also ziplined in picnic grove. i have many fond memories of sharing many firsts with my life partner in tagaytay.

one of the most memorable places i've been in last year was the bencab museum. in august 3 gay couples made a road trip to baguio. very chilled getaway. we spent the time in the road discussing whether we think harvey keitel is fuckable enough... (or maybe that was just me justifying my lust for the bad leiutenant?)

in september i finally travelled overseas with my longtime friend E. i have always imaagined it will be a blast to travel with her and i was right. stockholm was memorable not because it was pretty (which it was) but because i was there with her. here we were pretending to be interested in some british guy's talk of human rights situation in colombia (while there were colombians in the audience. absurd? don't ask!) our pretending only went too far as 20 minutes and then we left our dinner tables in favour of cam-whoring.

en-route back to manila, E & i stopped by a couple of days in amsterdam to do 'tourist-y' stuff. we enjoyed shopping most of all (H&M is god's gift to the budget shoppers wanting to still look up to date). we also spent almost a day in the street market (they have tiangge's in holland!) but realised that the things that we want there were beyond our budget. it was fun to compare the stalls with the ones we had in the philippines, anyway.

early december, i finally landed in paris (which every self-respecting gay boy should visit) for a series of meetings. meetings that lasted much shorter than the travel (this is the story of my life, by the way). i was with E again and it was fun. we went all the way to paris to walk the fashionable champs elysees only to find.. mud. (i swear i am not making this up). but the significant thing about paris is that the friends i met in south africa almost a decade ago flew in for a night out (!) - one from chad, the others from canada & london. here we did our obligatory group pic inside a ID photo booth in the paris metro. i love these guys.

and then, (despite my resistance) i turned 40. here - i am flanked by my former girlfriends who managed to accept (even celebrate) my sexual preference transition and remain friends. G & jp threw the party for me. bff & bf wanting to make you happy - what more can a guy ask for?

for christmas i rented a resort of some sort in quezon city for my whole family. the kids (these include my brothers, mind you) had a blast playing games in the swimming pool. it was a good way to reconnect and re-affirm ties that bind not only because of blood and shared history.

speaking of shared history, the gang had a party between christmas and the new year. we all had a rough year and it it was a comfort that friends you had when you were young remain to be there.

and then for the new year, G threw a 2010 countdown party in his condo. fun and gay. perfect way to toast 2009 and welcome the new year.

so what's the verdict for 2009. it was a tough year of transition and finding my feet. it was challenging to balance a relationship, keep my friends, hold on to my job and maintain my various involvements. over-all, i have to say, it was a pretty good year.

so 2010, hit me with your best shot.

i'm ready.

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