Yes, I'm gay. I probably was since the day I was born. On my 21st birthday, I sort of had my debut. I came out to my parents. A little drama from mom, and some indifference from dad. An above-average coming out. Almost perfect.

Nine years later, two weeks before my 30th birthday, I found out... I'M HIV POSITIVE.

And so my story begins... I'm BACK IN THE CLOSET.

Saturday, June 06, 2009


It was Thursday, and I’d just gotten home from work. I headed straight for my room as usual, but was surprised to find an envelope on my little desk. Hmm, I got mail? Not a very common occurrence. Just from the envelope, I sort of had an idea of what it was. And I was surprised. And excited.

Welcome to a privileged lifestyle! it said on the envelope. We find ways. O... M... G... it’s something from BDO!

It was a BDO Rewards card! I admit, I’m an SM loyalist, along with its affiliates which include BDO of course. I have been one ever since I was a child. Back in the day, I even had what I think was called a Junior Saver’s Account. In fact, I started so early with them that I needed to reopen my account because I could no longer mimic my childhood writing signature. So apparently, they’ve now decided to reward me for my loyalty.

I must admit that during the initial stages with this HIV thing, I did fall into the mentality that I should not make any major investments because of the perceived uncertainty of my future. But then, I’ve always been like that. I do want a lot of things, but it takes a real need before I buy things. I don’t shop a lot. I hate shopping. I’m not rich either. But I live within my means.

What I am able to do though because of this, is put aside a part of what I make into my savings account with BDO. Despite having to pay bills and spend on daily living, I still try to put aside around half of what I make every month. So, I do believe they’ve noticed the movements in that savings account, and that’s what prompted them to think of me as a potential Rewardee.

This HIV thing has also been more than enough inspiration to put aside for in-case-of-emergency moments. I just think of it as taking responsibility for myself. A lifeline, so to speak. Just in case. And along with this BDO Rewards thingy, came exactly that, a Lifeline. The Lifeline Rescue Program, that is.

With the coverage of SM’s Lifeline Rescue Program, P150.00 assures me of a quick connection to Lifeline Rescue’s medical emergency hotline for a whole year. As a Reward, I save P850.00 from the regular rate of P1,000.00. Not bad, diba?

This covers free ambulance service during medical emergencies. The membership provides free access to Lifeline’s medical emergency quick response service, but covers only from the time a member calls for an ambulance until proper endorsement to the emergency room of the receiving hospital. At least you stand a better chance, right?

Quick-response services are available within the Greater Metro Manila Area, including Antipolo, Cainta and Taytay in Rizal, Bacoor in Cavite, Meycauayan, Obando and San Jose del Monte in Bulacan, and San Pedro in Laguna. More than enough, I think.

The membership also covers around-the-clock phone consultations during medical emergencies. You also get free use of ambulance equipment and medicines... aba, dapat lang.

Though membership is non-transferable, I actually noticed that the form I filled up had several more spaces available for other names or beneficiaries if needed. My mom already had her own so I didn’t need to include her in mine. Now that I’ve paid, all I need to do is wait for and fill up the membership enrollment form which they’ll be sending.

Sooooo, friendly friends, if something bad happens to me... knock on wood... call Lifeline Rescue Services’ hotline at 16-911. Other hotline numbers are 839-2520 to 30.

Pusit or not, maybe you wanna get something like this for yourself, too? For me, it’s just one thing less I need to worry about. At least for a year. Now that’s a reward in itself.

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