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Showing posts from March, 2008

Men crying

Danton Remoto
Remote Control

Posted March 25, 2008

Jun Lozada started it all. In the porcelain dawn of a February morning, he held a press conference at De La Salle Greenhills, telling the whole world he had been abducted by men sent by the government.

Deriving courage from the army of nuns around him, he said that the country is not only one family, driving a spike straight into the heart of the ruling family. And in words echoing that of his hero, Jose Rizal, he said that sometimes, it’s worth taking risks for one’s country. His voice broke, and then he wept copiously, for all the world to see.

He would do that again during the first Senate hearing that he attended. I was sitting a few feet away from him. Before he started, he embraced a nun, one of around 20 sitting behind him. Then he drank from a bottle of mineral water, wrung his hands, and put his head in those clammy hands. And then he spoke, haltingly at first, then later, the words flowing like water.

Tears a…

How Good That Friday Was

Philippine Star
March 24, 2008

How Good That Friday Was
(An excerpt from Iceberg, a novel

When the temperature began to rise it threatened to make the barometer explode, trust that Holy Week was here.

That morning, my mother gave me a palaspas, the young leaves of coconut folded and woven to form small globes and arcs, even fingers tapering to the sky. The palaspas would always be yellow green, the color of lemon.

We all went to Mass. The churchgoers were more hushed then usual, striking dutiful poses of piety. A woman was worrying her rosary beads behind me, her eyes tightly closed. Her eyelashes seemed to flutter, like the wings of a butterfly coming out of the cocoon, and I stopped the impulse to touch her trembling eyelashes. My sexy classmate Mariani was standing on the next pew, her fingers forming a steeple. Any moment now, I thought Mariani would raise her hands, spread them apart, and shout “DARNA!,” turning her lacy white dress into Darna’s red silk bikini.

The long sermon …

Still in the Running by Karla Maquiling

Note: I am re-posting this interview done by Karla Maquiling and posted in last August 7, 2007. Karla did a three-hour interview and cut it down to manageable size. This will partly answer the very few but very venomous e-mail from closeted and bitter members of the gay community who are asking me in another site why am I running again when 1) I lost in the last elections; 2) I have no money; 3) I am just full of "delusions" and I am just a "glamorous mendicant." I love that last phrase, but I think it comes from a gay painter who became a has-been before his career peaked, and is now reduced to paying his neighbors' gardeners south of Manila for a . . . posing session?

Happy Easter ;-)


Filipino voters must have thought gay rights advocate and award-winning author Danton Remoto had come out of nowhere when he showed up at the Comelec office earlier September of 2006 to represent the party-list group, Ang Ladlad, in the May 2007 elections…

The Heart of Summer, a short story

On the first day of April, we moved to a row house in a subdivision carved out of the Antipolo hills. A row house is a nice word for houses that somehow managed to fit into 120-square-meter lots. They looked like matchboxes, really, built near the riverbank. The larger houses, of course, stood grandly at the center of the village, in front of the chapel. We’d be renting the house from the mayor’s mistress, one of three houses she owned there.

The living room of the house spilled over into the kitchen. The house only had two tiny rooms, but it was enough for us. The owner of the apartment we had been renting in Project 4 wrote to us (in pink stationery with the letterhead “Dr. Antonina Raquiza, Ph. D.”) to say that she’d raise the monthly rent to five thousand. If we couldn’t agree to her new terms, we’d have two months to leave. Mama glared at the letter, then said something obscene about our landlady’s father. A day later, she began poring over the ads, looking for cheaper rent in …

Photos, videos and spelling checker

It is Holy Thursday and I am home in Fairview. I like it because the housemaids cook, the aircons are in full blast, and it is so quiet in here.

Also, I am happy to know that I can, actually, post photos and videos in my blog. I just discovered it now. And I can even check the spelling! See what you learn during Holy Week?

Thus, I will post photos and videos here, and check my spelling from now on.

Regarding the Erap 2010 bumper stickers, the camp of former President Estrada said it did not come from them. Okay, all right, as Ate Vi would say.

The presidentiables are just resting for Holy Week, but their April schedules have been fixed down pat. It means more visits out of Metro Manila, to give speeches at commencement ceremonies, or attend the birthdays and anniversaries of the political giants in the provinces, or crown fiesta queens.

Why not attend the crowning of Miss Gay Beauty Contest winners as well -- and be surprised how prettier they are that the so-called queens you are used to …

Political powwow

I saw Adel Tamano going to the holding area for speakers after he spoke. Pau, the transgender with me, said Adel was so cute and maybe we could take photos? That is easy, I said. I waited for the hubbub to die down around Adel, then I called him.

He left he people swarming around him and sat down with me. I think the pink delegation was impressed :-) Adel and I have known each other since our days at the Ateneo: I as a very young teacher, and he was a student. I am friends with some of his relatives in Mindanao.

I pushed him to run for the senate. He pushed me to do likewise, and said he would be happy if he both ran under one party. Uh-oh. I said that is one thing I cannot guarantee. Have to talk to all of them first.

The intensity of our conversation on 2010 could be seen in my crumpled, avocado-green bag and in Adel's piercing look.

If Adel and I would not be running as senators in 2010, we would be extremely happy just teaching (he is president at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila…

Signs of the signs by Jessica Zafra

Have you seen those tarpaulins attached to the pillars under the MRT? The ones with the portrait of MMDA Chair Bayani Fernando looking sternly at the motorists? Is this supposed to be a deterrent to traffic violations? Will Manila’s drivers observe traffic rules and regulations because an authority figure/bureaucrat/father substitute is standing there in a barong tagalog glowering at them? Is this anywhere as effective as, say, knowing that if you break the rules you will certainly get caught and penalized, and that if you get pulled over it’s for a real, actual violation?Note the words printed at the bottom of the tarp: “Mere possession of this sign is punishable by law”. Meaning the MMDA is aware that these reminders for motorists will likely be stolen. So maybe there should be a second tarp of Mr Fernando glaring at the culprits who intend to steal these signs. These tarps are government property. They belong to the people. Stealing is wrong. But then you’d have to put signs everyw…

Loren's edge, from a Manila Times column

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The Manila Times

By Marlen V. Ronquillo

Loren’s edge

Young Filipino voters can be broken down into two types. The first one vote for leaders. The second type vote for saviors.

The youth leaders who reportedly picked their presidential preference several days back and named Mar Roxas and Manuel Villar as their number one and number two choice definitely belong to the first type. They voted for their kind of leaders and role models.

Career-oriented and success-oriented young men and women obsessed with upward mobility tend to go for Roxas and Villar. Roxas and Villar are rich, relatively young and they move in the circles of the rich, young and powerful. Appended to their names are impressive corporations and holdings, which they or their families own.

They are, undeniably, ideal role models for young men and women that have high aims and big ambitions. Who would not covet top-of-the-line SUVs?

The problem is there is not much in the country’s current dem…

Patuloy ang paghahanap ng katotohanan

Column in Abante
by Ellen Tordesillas

Sa rally na in-organisa ng mga estudyante noong Biyernes sa Liwasang Bonifacio, marami sa mga speakers ang nanawagan na sa kanilang pagbalik sa kani-kanilang probinsya ngayong bakasyon, ipagpatuloy nila ang paghanap ng katotohanan at hustisya na siyang pakay ng mga kilos protesta nitong mga nakaraang linggo at buwan laban kay Gloria Arroyo.

Sinabi rin ng mga batang mga speakers na huwag masyadong magkampante si Arroyo at ang kanyang mga opisyal na libre na sila sa kanilang krimen laban sa sambayanang Pilipino. Sa kanilang bakasyon, ipapaliwanag nila sa kanilang mga kamag-anak at kaibigan ang pinaglalaban dito sa Maynila.

Ipapaliwanag nila na ang kurakutan ng mag-asawang Arroyo at dating Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos ay nakaka-apekto sa bawat mamamayan, kasama na sila dahil ang uutangain para sa proyekto ng NBN/ZTE ay babayaran natin. $200 milyon o P10 bilyon yun ang mapupunta sana sa bulsa ng mga ganid na barkada nina Arroyo.Hanggang kaapuhan natin…

Editorial Note from Inday Varona, Philippine Graphic editor-in-chief

Dear daughter of the old rich.

I’m willing to ignore your simpering and posturing. If you want to act like an overaged debutante, that’s your call. I’m even willing to overlook a level of hubris that dates to place your December 7 meeting with JLo [Jun Lozada] and Romulo Neri in the realm of Pearl Harbor.

But, you have no right, absolutely no right, to blackmail Neri into coming out by threatening to drag his personal life into the public eye.

You’re mad at Neri’s insinuation you allegedly offered P20 million in patriotic money? Just tell it as it is. Call Neri a liar if you will, but do not attempt to drag him into the muck with your prurient threats. You want to wallow in that sty, be our guest; don’t drag others into it.

Bottom line: We do not care about Neri’s sexuality. We’ve never cared about yours, have we?

How Good that Friday Was

(An excerpt from Iceberg, a novel)

When the temperature began to rise it threatened to make the barometer explode, trust that Holy Week was here.

That morning, my mother gave me a palaspas, the young leaves of coconut folded and woven to form small globes and arcs, even fingers tapering to the sky. The palaspas would always be yellow green, the color of lemon.

We all went to Mass. The churchgoers were more hushed then usual, striking dutiful poses of piety. A woman was worrying her rosary beads behind me, her eyes tightly closed. Her eyelashes seemed to flutter, like the wings of a butterfly coming out of the cocoon, and I stopped the impulse to touch her trembling eyelashes. My sexy classmate Mariani was standing on the next pew, her fingers forming a steeple. Any moment now, I thought Mariani would raise her hands, spread them apart, and shout “DARNA!,” turning her lacy white dress into Darna’s red silk bikini.

The long sermon of the now white-haired and semi-senile Padre Pelagio made …

typos + adel tamano + speech reception

sorry for the typos in some of my blogs. it must be the arthritis in the fingers, or the failing eyesight.

before i spoke, i saw my friend adel tamano joined our group of lgbts in the holding area. photos were taken, and even the lesbians said adel was cute. o di ba, crossing gender divides yan. i told adel he should run as senator, and he said: i will run it you run. i told him i will run, and he laughed so loud, drawing looks from the people around us.

adel and i updated each other about the presidential, vp and senatorial candidates' slates (plural) for 2010. we even traded jokes about some of them. adel is bright, witty, warm and wise. he is also a funny guy. but since i am not at liberty to divulge the details of our discussions, let me just say that my previous blog entries seem to be on the right track.

adel invited me to speak at pamantasan ng lungsod ng maynila, where he is the president. then i was called to the wing of the stage. when i was called, i took three deep breath…

Sppech at March 14 Interfaith Rally, Liwasang Bonifacio

Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat. Ako po si Danton Remoto, ang Chairman ng Ang Ladlad. Kami po ay organisasyon ng mga lesbyana, bakla, bisexual at transgender sa buong Pilipinas.

May kasalanan po sa amin si dating Comelec Chairman Abalos, also known as the BURJER KING ng Pilipinas. Sabi po niya, kokonti lang kami at hindi namin kailangan ng representasyon sa Kongreso. Hello, heller! Ang dami-dami po namin, no. Tingnan na lang ninyo ang mga nakapaligid sa inyo!

Eh ngayon, kumusta naman siya? Sino ngayon ang nag-resign dahil nangongotong pala sa ZTE deal? Sino ngayon ang hindi makatulog pag gabi dahil ginugulo daw ng mga alegasyon sa ZTE deal? Teacher po ako sa Ateneo for the past 22 years. At sinabi nga ni Shakespeare sa dulang Macbeth, ang mga kasalanan ng tao ay dala-dala nila hanggang sa kanilang pagtulog. Kaya siguro hindi makatulog ng mahimbing si BURJER KING at ang kanyang pamilya, may abracadabra na nangyari.

At kumusta naman si Romulo Neri? Kapatid, lumabas ka na! Iladlad mo na …

i told you so, part 2

i said it last year and i will repeat it now. erap is running again for president. last night, in one of his tuhog-tuhog tours in bulacan, he said that civil society and the businessmen have admitted it was a mistake to oust him in 2001. and then he added, in a low voice with dark undertones: "Nagkamali pala kayo, ba't di n'yo ako ibalik?"

And then the turn around: his previous statement was that he would just unify the opposition. After that, he said he might run if could not unify the opposition. Since no opposition has been united in this country since 2,000 years ago, last night his statement was he might run IF the people ask him to do so. I told you so.

I am sure the 30 percent of voters who belong to this constituency would ask for it. If we have 40 m voters and 30 percent belong to him, then that is an astounding 12 million votes. Already. But that might be split several ways, if more of our presidentiables would just open their eyes and see that, really, the m…

the youth vote

i got some notes from you that the youth vote for the 2010 presidentiables would go to mar roxas. i think so. but we are talking about the middle and upper-class youth again, which might indeed go to him.

the youth vote is a big vote -- around 70 percent -- and it will also be split between mar and loren. loren, i think, will get the votes of the CDE youth.

like you, i hope that erap will not run in 2010. but i have it on good authority that he would. oh, yes, he would, if only to clear his name.

i will appear in anc tomorrow, thursday, 6-7 pm, for a forum on homosexuality in media. they asked me to wear my pink barong. ok, i said, even if rey langit abhors it.

and on friday, the united oppposition has invited me to speak at the anti-gma rally between 5-7 pm at liwasang bonifacio. a three-minute speech.

this should be exciting.

column in, 2010 elections

the moment i have finished checking my students' final exams, i will start a new column at the column will deal with education and culture, mostly. they also asked me to write about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. i wonder why.

my radio show with dzrh is still in the works. i think they want to have a full list of advertisers before we start. the show will run during prime time, and will reach the whole philippines. the thing to do is to be just patient, and wait. paying for a radio show costs millions every month; i am being offered one, for free. the least we can do is to wait.

mar roxas might be the choice of the middle classes. but they only constitute 10 percent of the voters. 90 percent of the voters are poor, belonging to the CDE; of this, 60 percent did not finish high school or even elementary school.

and yes, the four presidentiables will have to fill 12 names for their senatorial slates. That is why there will be a mad scramble for the top s…

as for the senators

lakas-kampi will field their jurassic candidates, three-termer candidates that nobody has heard of outside their provinces. the following are the strong ones:

1. pia cayetano - if she does not move to the opposition. but why should she? siblings always run with opposite parties, to preserve the territory.
2. ralph recto
3. ace durano -- do you wonder why he's on tv touting tourism, kuno, all the time?
4. cesar montano

the rest can go home and plant camote.

and the opposition, as usual, will be split. the old ones like maceda, tatad, etcetera will still attempt a comeback, pero good luck na lang sa kanila, ano? the following are strong:

1. adel tamano
2. darlene antonino custodio
3. koko pimentel -- if he does not kick the senator from maguindanao, migs zubiri, in his perch
4. riza hontiveros baraquel

5. franklin drilon (comeback kid)
6. jun magsaysay (comeback kid)
7. serge osmena (comeback kid)

8. and of course, the one and only, our former student at the ateneo: kris aquino.

the senate will do…

vice president

and for the vice president?

just listen to the rumblings, the voices of the young.

it is going to be chiz escudero by ten thousand miles away from his nearest rival. i see a landslide here.

2010 combinations for president and vice-president

like numbers in a rumble for the P150-million lotto, we can also juggle names for the president and vice-president candidates for 2010. there will no single and unified opposition ticket that will comprise the so-called Genuine Opposition. everything will be split, like the pieces of a bibingka.

as of today, my pink crystal ball sees the following combinations:


president - noli de castro
vice- president - bong revilla

nacionalista party:

president - manny villar
vice-president - alan peter cayetano

liberal party:

president - mar roxas
vice president - noynoy aquino

nationalist people's coalition:

president - loren legarda
vice-president - chiz escudero

united opposition

president - erap estrada
vcie-president - jojo binay

laban ng demokratikong pilipino faction:

president - ping lacson
vice-president - jamby madrigal

Who will win? I do not know. But if elections were held today, monday, march 10, 2008, this would be the fearless forecast of my pink crystal ball:

1. Erap Estrada and Loren …

Song of the New Politico

“Make it new.”
-- Ezra Pound

We have turned our backs
on offers of jute sacks
filled with millions of pesos
in denominations of twenties, fifties, and hundreds

so, as the imperial messenger
of the donation would say,
“You, Sir, could buy the votes
of the squatters down there.”

We have turned our backs
on offers of Fortuners which,
at first blush, we thought
meant “fortune tellers,”

and why would we need one
to read our futures when we know
deep in our bones
that in the end we will get the thrones?

We have turned our backs
on offers of lawyers
glittering with their golden tongues,
working in the shiniest skyscrapers,

whose motions of consideration
and non-consideration
could always swing decisions
favor of our petitions.

We have turned our backs
on offers of agents and operators
who would spy for us,
wiretap for us, even dig

the deepest, darkest secrets
of our enemies—
from non-payment of taxes
to housing of several mistresses.

We have turned our backs
on offers to massage the results
of the elections,
as if the body po…

Awit ng Bagong Politiko

Awit ng Bagong Politiko

“Gawin itong bago.”

--Ezra Pound

Tinalikuran natin
Ang alok na mga sako
Na puno ng milyun-milyong piso
Na tig-bebeinte, singkuwenta, at isandaan

Para, ang sabi nga ng mensahero ng imperyo
Na nagpadala ng donasyon sa atin,
“Kayo, Ginoo, ay makabibili ng boto
mula sa mga iskwater na nakatira doon sa ibayo.”

Tinalikuran natin
Ang mga alok ng Fortuner na,
Sa unang tingin, akala nati’y
“fortune teller” ang ibig sabihin,

at bakit naman natin kailangan pang basahin
ang ating hinaharap gayong alam natin,
sagad sa ating mga buto, na sa bandang dulo,
ang korona’y ipuputong sa ating mga ulo?

Tinaluran natin
Ang alok ng mga abogado
Kumikintab sa kanilang mga dilang ginto,
Nagtratrabaho sa gusaling matataas at makikinang,

Ang kanilang mosyon para sa rekonsiderasyon
At walang-konsiderasyon
Ay laging magpapaling ng desisyon
sa direksyon ng ating mga petisyon.

Tinalikuran natin
Ang alok ng mga ahente at opereytor
Na mag-espiya para sa atin,
Magtiktik sa telepono ng kalaban, maghukay


Statement of Lesbians And Gays Laban kAy Gloria (LAGLAG)

We, the individual members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, have banded together to call for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo based on the following points:

1. Failure to answer for the extra-judicial killings of more than 800 human-rights activists and journalists;

2. Electoral sabotage in the form of the Hello Garci scandal and the P720-million fertilizer scam;

3. Failure to stop the $329-million NBN-ZTE deal of whose anomalous nature she was already appraised of;

4. Abduction and attempts to silence the whistle-blowers in cases of graft and corruption; and

5. Executive orders that prevent government people from serving as witnesses in Senate hearings, curtail the people's right to assembly, and infringe on the people's right to complete information.

We envision a society that practices non-discrimination in all forms, especially that of sexual orientation. We envision a society th…

Column for today

Danton Remoto
The Philippine Star
March 10, 2008

The Muse of History

In an essay of the same title, Nobel Prize winner for Literature Derek Walcott said that the writers of the Caribbean have to forge literature from the ruins that was their colonial history. Only through this could their texts be called muses – lodestar and light for their readers across the ages.

Legends & Adventures, the latest opus from Carmen Guerrero Nakpil, is written in the same vein. This is the second part in her much-awaited trilogy of memoirs. The first – Myself, Elsewhere – which I thoroughly enjoyed, shot up on the bestsellers’ list of National Bookstore and was lionized by reviewers and critics. Fittingly enough, it also won the National Book Award for the Essay from the Manila Critics Circle, of which I am voting member.

Legends and Adventures has an Andy Warhol-like series of the young war widow – seven photos with the colors of the rainbow, to correspond to the seven incarnations she has had since that…