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.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Livin' La Vida Aida

Trese had the contacts and got us tickets. Our Sunday evening was set. February 21st, we were going to watch Live AIDS. I know... if it were all up to me, I wouldn't be the type to go out on a Sunday evening. I mean we would be out late, and there would be work the following day. But this was Live AIDS. And I would be with my pozzie friends. AIDS with HIV friends... who wouldn't want that?

Sunday afternoon, we had agreed to meet at 4:00 pm at the local mall. I was there around 4:00 pm, and met up with BFF. My mobile was ringing off the hook, as I became the voluntary coordinator for the event yet again... seemingly, I'm the root of all lakwatcha lately. Shortly, O and ex-BFF-in-law (Oi, a long story... and not mine to tell) showed up. Then a veteran pozzie but a newbie to the group joined us... this was a friend of E, GreenMan and mine.

Soon, I got a text from the real newbie, advising what he was wearing and where he was... this was actually someone who had just found out he was HIV positive about a week before... But he was adjusting well, having been able to start a blog of his own, and eager to meet others like him, so I invited him to join us. Let's call him by his blog, LivingWithHiv. Finally we had met. My soon to be "bunso", as we had planned that I'd accompany him on his first trip to RITM sometime soon. Wee!

Trese and the not so Lil Jenny brought up the rear. Again we were a formidable bunch. Eight of us to be exact, coming from everywhere from way up north to down south. We were so many that some of us had to take an extra cab, lest we plan on ruining the suspension trying to fit into just one vehicle. It just wasn't going to happen. Eight pozzies. I'd say wow to that. Or maybe the DOH would declare us an epidemic with our viral density in such a small floor area. What brought us together? Friendship... definitely, fun... absolutely, HIV... to some extent, and AIDS... Live AIDS to be exact.

Live AIDS? People who have never heard of Live AIDS might think it's some programme or campaign about the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. And at least eight of us positives being there might reinforce that thought. But nope, it's nothing like that actually. The AIDS in Live AIDS stands for Ang Istoryang Dinebelop ng Samaskom, literally translated, The Story Developed by Samaskom. Samaskom is actually an organization of Mass Communication students in the University of the Philippines in Diliman. And coming from Mass Comm, it could not be expected to be anything but fun.

Simply put, Live AIDS is an annual tradition and pride of Samaskom, a show where the members are able to showcase their talents in performing. We're talking about dancing, singing, and acting, but for me, the one distinctive thing about Live AIDS that people watch out for are the comedy skits and monologues that Samaskom develops, each one being very relevant to the times. It's like one huge standup comedy stint. I had watched Live AIDS just once before, years and years ago, back when I was still in college. Oi, ancient history, I know. Back then if I remember right, skits were about showbiz, politics, and pagers. Pagers?! I know! That should give you an idea of how long ago this was.

So this year, I got the chance to watch again. The long lines that wrapped around the corridors of the UP Diliman College of Music, where Abelardo Hall, the home of Live AIDS, was, were testament to how anticipated this show was. This was to be the last show of the year, unless they stage a repeat, so expectedly, most of the kinks and flops of previous stagings, if any, should've been worked out. This was going to be a fun night.

While in line, or even before, Trese kept saying he had a surprise for me that evening. I had no clue what it was. Lo and behold, he finally revealed that one of the newbie positives with whom I had been chatting for some time now was also there to watch. And having been told that that person was standing somewhere in line in front of us, I tried my hardest to try and guess which one it was. Fruitless of course. It's not like I have some sixth sense to figure out who looks like a walking virus. Bwehehe. I soon gave up trying to guess.

After wrangling with a long wait in a long line prior, we finally made it into the theatre, luckily able to grab the last few seats left. I remember the first time I watched years ago, I was seated in the aisles the whole time. So regardless of whether we were in the rearmost of the theatre, and seated in different rows in pairs, it wasn't all that bad. Of course, I had BFF beside me. While waiting for the show to start, I had my mobile phone in hand, awaiting word from the newbie I was yet to meet. I was not disappointed. He called me in a bit, asking where I was. I stood up, asked him to look back, and waved at him. That made at least nine positives in that little hall. Contact. Bwehehe. That would be enough for now.

So anyways, the show started in a bit. Live AIDS 2010 entitled Circusmaryosep! started off with an amazing monologue by its "ringmaster", by the end of which LivingWithHiv struck gold when he found himself holding the winning ticket for the one and only raffle prize. I can say nothing but that the prize was hot, hot, hot! That lucky bastard. Hehehe.

One after another, the puchlines were rolled out. A Showtime spoof entitled "Shorttime", amazingly with the actual Vice Ganda seated in the audience. A parody of the Pacquiaos, complete with Manny, Jinky, Krista and Mommy Dionesia shopping for a pair of limited-edition-Coco-Chanelas slippers. A political skit complete with the 2010 presidentiables losing out to finalists Philippine president Gloria Arroyo and U.S. first lady Michelle Obama. And my personal favorite, an Avatar-inspired twist on the phases of homosexuality entitled "Avakler", complete with audience participation, specifically pulling a poor gay guy out of the closet and toying with him to the audience's delight. Body shot, Bonding, Booking, Bromance. LOL... Laugh Out Little. Yes, yes, yes, sans the shimmying females that hardly interested me in between sets, the show was a blast indeed.

A ten minute walk out to Philcoa meant we were starving. Well, actually, having not had dinner and it already being past 10:00 pm really meant we were starving. We had dinner at Chowking, and two of us went off their own ways. B.I.T.C.H., BFF, Lil Jenny, O, Trese and LivingWithHiv. The six of us left decided to have a nightcap at a not-so-far-away coffee place in the city.

I was glad newbie LivingWithHiv was still there to witness a whole spectrum of emotions, from bawling with laughter still from the Live AIDS punchlines, to giggling at the sexual undertones dropped every so often, to ogling at hot guys in the vicinity, to some serious talk about love lives and the challenges that come with them. If that didn't convince him that we were still a normal bunch of guys, then I don't know what would. It was a pretty excellent initial immersion in the positive world, if I could say so myself.

All that said, it was around 2:00 in the morning, and with it already being a Monday, a workday shortly for some of us, it was time to go. Fine I was going to be hungover from lack of sleep on that Monday, but really, I wouldn't have traded it in for anything... that one little evening of Livin' la Vida Aida.


eclinik said...

I would like to invite you and your friends to my home in San Pablo City, Laguna. We will be discussing what could be your best option to finally get out from the closet again. You can call me at 0908 183 9555. Thanks for your positive response.

PinoyPoz said...

Interesting. Thank you for the offer. Although really, I believe coming out of our "closets" is a personal thing, and not really a requirement. And it will always be a case to case thing. Anyway, I cannot speak for each and everyone in the group, but maybe I'll try to get in touch with you and you can tell me what this is all about. Or you can e-mail me at Thanks!

Trese said...

at this point, i dont see the dire need to come out.

first... being gay. i never really had a formal "coming out" thing with my gay-hood.

second... i guess me being out as an HIV-infected individual is personal. i will be "out" only to those who i think i need to be out.

i'll pass on this one. im happy the way things are.