Suspension of Disbelief

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Rediscovering Binondo Church

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Outrage Magazine | 28 March 2013




If you’re in the mood for an Oriental feast – may it be food, culture, arts or, yes, the men – then Binondo is the place for you this Holy Week season. And while it may not be on top of your list, it may be a good place for you and your friends to meet someone who is in touch with their inner faith. And… who knows, you might just find your next significant other within the area of Binondo.

Located at the heart of the famous Chinatown in Manila is the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz, also known as Binondo Church. It was built during the mid-1590s by the Dominican priests, to mainly cater to their Chinese converts to Christianity.

Even before the Spanish occupation, there was already a number of Chinese community members and traders in the Philippines, with the majority of them most notably present in Binondo. And when the Spaniards colonized the Philippines, the number of the Chinese people flocking to the country increased because of the substantial need to barter and trade.

The Domincans felt the need to convert the Chinese community to the Christian faith – hence, the building of the Binondo Church was commissioned.

Throughout the years, the original structure of Binondo Church was torn down a few times during the Chinese revolution in the early 1600s. And during the 1760s the original building of the church was destroyed because of the continuous bombing during the war. The present granite structure was completed during the 1850s, but the only thing that was left today of the 16th century structure is the Chinese inspired five-story bell tower.

It was once again destroyed when it was burned during the British invasion of 1872, the re-building of the Church was finished quickly after the occupation. But due to a natural disaster, the structure was once again destroyed by an earthquake in the early 1860s. It was rebuilt once again, and the structure is the one we see today.

And then again during the American occupation, the church was also affected, when most of the interiors and its archives were destroyed and burned. The only thing that was left standing was its shell – the stone walls that hold the majestic design of the Church. The Chinese community in Binondo endured a roofless church for several years, until it was finally restored during the 1950s. Throughout the years, the church and the convent were continuously renovated. And even today, the Chinese community has been funding the renovations and maintenance the church.

“For the longest time, the Chinese community has been taking care of the church. And just like most of the Catholic community, they have been very active in all our projects and celebrations. Every day, before they go to their respective businesses or to their work, they pass by Binondo Church to attend mass or to pray for a few minutes,” Leonida Recto Aranda, planning and formation chairperson of the Basilica Pastoral Council of Binondo, Manila.

A notable change and improvement of the Church from its original structure is its interior. The ceiling is entirely covered with massive detailed religious paintings – from the mysteries of the Holy Rosary to some of the famous stories lifted from the Bible like the stations of the cross.

The grand altar on the other hand holds a number of patron saints – this was done mainly to cover the damages the church suffered throughout the years. And as a result, it gave an added beauty to the magnificent structure of the altar. The Statue of the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary is also seen in the middle of the grand altar, being one of the patrons of the Binondo Church. On the left side of the altar stands the image of San Lorenzo Ruiz, the patron saint of Binondo Church – he was a missionary born to a Chinese father and a Filipina mother, and was executed in Japan for being a Christian; he was the first Filipino saint.

“Every feast of the Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary and San Lorenzo Ruiz, we bring the two patrons out for a procession, and we hold activities for the parishioners so that they can not only pray to them, but they will also get to know them. It is through education that people will nurture their faith and their belief in the religion. People from different areas of Manila go to Binondo Church to pray for our patrons,” Aranda said.

Think disco, but every time there’s a Mass, all the lights inside are turned on – you will see the beauty of the interior and the structure of the old sophisticated columns.

On any given day, the church is open to give way to the Chinese-Filipino community to attend mass before they go to their respective businesses and work.

“This is not only a church for the Chinese community, most people think that Binondo Church is for them only. No, that’s not true. They might have the perception that because most of the parishioners they see are Chinese, this church is only for the Chinese community. This is a church for everyone, in fact, the Chinese community encourages other people to attend the regular celebrations of our church to be part of our thanksgiving,” Aranda said.

This only proves that the church can not only make anyone’s faith stronger but also make the ties between two different cultures, that is the Chinese and Filipino communities, deeper and more meaningful.


(Outrage Magazine remains the only publication for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Philippines.)



Battle of the Drag Queens

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June 19, 2011

Taken by Erick Castro














Outrage Magazine (Issue 18)

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Written by Patrick King Pascual

August 19, 2010 at 6:53 am

Under Pressure

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Published in Outrage Magazine | 01 November 2010



In a city like Manila, where everything is available and up for grabs, why are we experiencing scarce in available men to be with in a relationship with?

For more than 3 years, I was single. I go out like any other gay and party until the break of dawn. I had promiscuous sex with different men. I shared the same false hopes and broken expectations with my friends. But all of it changed a year ago.

It was the usual Maundy Thursday night in the island of Puerto Galera. Everyone was half drunk, dancing and cruising and I was about to enter an orgy party. I was playing with my phone, after sending a message to my friend, I heard a voice, “You can’t use your phone inside.” I nodded and entered the room. I stayed near the door, waiting for my eyesight to adjust in the dark.

The door opened again. I saw a guy, topless and walking very slowly. I liked him. I walked towards him, but he walked away. I ignored him. After a minute, I felt someone touching my arm, I looked, and it was him. We went out of the room. We talked and got to know each other much better. We went back to Manila… We’ve been together for a year now, and still counting.

A month before Holy Week back in 2009, my friends and I met for our usual Saturday night-out, we conversed and planned Galera, but in the course of our discussion about the endless men we’ll meet in the island, the unlimited drinks we’ll enjoy, the clothes we’ll bring for the 4-day trip, we thought of one thing; are we following a pattern?

A pattern; every time we go out, with friends or alone, we’ll meet someone and go out with that person a couple of times and maybe have sex with him a couple of times and then he’ll just disappear for no reason.

We all shared the same sentiment for years and years, we’ve been in relationships, but everything ends up to nothing. It seemed like an endless and painful trail in finding “the one”.

Maybe I was one of the lucky ones who finally found him, but a year ago, I was following the same pattern, and feeling hopeless.


In a recent conversation with my friend, Bernard, he told me that he’s dating someone and it seemed to him that this guy might be “the one”. I told him, “Don’t you always feel that way every time you date, that the guy you’re currently sharing more than three meals a day might be “the one” for you?” He didn’t reply to my pessimistic remark.

Bernard is 24 years old, an aspiring designer; he gets his monthly income as a call center agent. His parents’ works abroad, he lives with his grandmother and his brother. He looks Chinese, a bit cute and have an almost gym developed body. He dreams to be with a man who will love him for who he is, like how he experienced with his recent ex.

Bernard has been going out with the call center agent trainor for more than three weeks; they shared stories about their past, and related to each other’s works and hobbies. Bernard sounded happy and hopeful about the guy he’s dating.

After a week from our conversation, I texted Bernard and asked if he wants to go out and check out this place near my house. He replied, “Okay, let’s meet around 1AM. I’m bringing him. Be nice to him, I really like the guy.”

My phone beeped, it was Bernard. I went to 711, our meeting place, and saw them. We went to this small-scale bar, a not so pleasing bar. We entered the place and we laughed when we found out that it was a “hosto” bar.

I attempted to start a conversation with the call center agent trainor, while I took a humble sip to my half finished San Miguel Pale Pilsen. He answered my question with a “Yes”, a smile, and a puff on his Winston Red, maybe he was still trying to get use to the fact that I’m his date’s friend and that we’ve only just met.

You see, judging from Bernard’s ex; cute, clean-cut type of guy, who have a job anyone would want to have, from the 14 guys he had sex with last July 2008 in Puerto Galera, and from the casual partners Bernard had – he follows a certain standard.

Bernard described the trainor perfectly; matured-looking, moreno, have a trasherish long hair (‘till his waistline), have a beer belly. I didn’t have expectations when I met and greeted them before we entered the bar. He was definitely not Bernard’s usual dates, but I don’t oppose the fact that he’s planning to be serious with the guy.

It’s just that, this is the first time I saw Bernard with someone who doesn’t fall in any of his categories. Maybe he’s really the kind of guy Bernard has been looking for in a long time.

Or maybe, Bernard was already numbed by the unconscious on-going pattern; the non-stop repetition of meeting someone, go out for a few dates, have sex with the person and when you start experiencing a nice time with him, he suddenly disappears –instead, Bernard plans to settle with someone who can relate to his work, someone who he can talk about anything, but really, someone who doesn’t fall under his categories.

We parted around four in the morning. I made my way home, as I opened the door of my apartment, it made me think; are we willing to believe anything even if we know deep in ourselves that it is not what we hope for in the first place, to have a one-way ticket ride away from the reality of being single?


Like any of us, we have categories and standards we unconsciously follow in everything we do. And when it comes to dating, we have endless categories that we strictly follow and keep an invisible checklist for it, so at the end of the night, we count the checks and the x’s and decide what to do next.

But every time we feel desperate, we forget we have categories – which unconsciously, we want to strictly follow. And when we meet someone who doesn’t meet our “category”, we allow ourselves to believe anything and look things differently just to experience being with someone for a week, a month or up until we wake up to reality.

More often than not, we easily get carried away by what’s happening around the community, like when we go out and see someone wearing a four-thousand pesos white sneakers from Aldo, the thought of owning one will be playing non-stop in our minds the whole night until we get the chance of owning one.

It’s more of pressure that we consistently feel, every time we want something so bad – just like relationships, everyone wants to be in a relationship. There’s like a hidden cult that spreads a secret propaganda, and recruits everyone – to continuously look and date everyone that come along our way until we find the perfect guy to be in a relationship.

And it’s all up to us to take precautions and not cross the thin line between socio-pressure and being desperate.


(Outrage Magazine remains the only publication for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Philippines.)


Ms. Gay

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What’s the best way to steal the attention of the audience and convince the judges to give you high scores in a gay beauty contest where all 19 contestants were as beautiful like those you see in Ms. Universe? 


  1. National Costume. Pick the most controversial country at the moment. A country that’s been in the headlines for weeks because of the devastating earthquake it experienced. Haiti.   

And it wouldn’t be a politically correct Ms. Gay beauty pageant without a punch line. Bring a prop or an object that represents your country – a piece of hollow block.  


And here it is. 



When you get on the stage, say your spiel. You need to be as catchy as possible to get the attention of the audience and the judges. Pick a song that everyone can elate to. After singing few lines, introduce yourself in the most fascinating way you can. 



This was her line. 


“Mga tambay lang kami sawa sa babae, mga babaeng manloloko 

Pineperahan lang kami. Kaya ngayon bakla na lang an gaming iibigin 

Masarap magmahal ang bakla, ohh kay sarap…” 


Maayong gabii! Naimbag a rabii! All I want to say is Good evening. My name is Sophia Yambot, hayaan niyo pong pakilala ko sa inyo ngayong gabi ang babaeng nagpatibok sa puso at kumabit sa pambansang kamao, Krista Ranillo! Na nagmula sa bansang inalog-alog, kinadyot-kadyot ng lindol, Hai! Haiti!  



2.  Casual costume. Everyone will wear something sexy, for sure, something usual, like a cocktail dress or something revealing.


You need to stand-out. You don’t want to be ignored by the audience and the judges; prostitute and magbabalot. 




3.  The swimsuit segment is the most awaited by everyone, it’s the part of the  

     pageant where the contestants flaunt their beautiful and feminine like bodies.  


     Again, stand-out! Use a prop that will catch everyone’s attention. And make sure that your swimsuit is as outrageous as your prop. 


     See for yourself. 






    4.   Finally, the evening gown competition.







She won “Darling of the Crowd” Award.
She wasn’t chosen to be one of the top ten.

She was sad but she was not disappointed. 


It was a fun and memorable night for everyone. 




Ms. Gay is not about winning. I know all gays will contradict this. Ms. Gay is an art form. Being on stage, modelling, representing different countries and impersonating different celebrities – is an art. Ms. Gay contestants are like canvasses. They are being colored, dressed and changed into a whole new different person – to look like the pre-conceived “model” celebrities and personalities of our time.   




with 2 comments

Hayden Kho’s collection of sex scandals was not the first to hit the Philippine public, after being overly sensationalized by the media, senate and by everyone who have mobile phones with video playback capability, let’s look back to the first episode of private videos being made public. The best way to start every list is with a very disturbing sound, an audio tape sex scandal. The long list of sex scandals began with President Ferdinand Marcos’.

1970’s in the heat of the First Quarter Storm, the Philippines was scandalized when a tape was played in the university station of UP Diliman.

It was President Marcos. He was singing an Ilocano love song to American actress Dovie Beams while they were making love. Beams hid a tape recorder under a bed while making love to the President and later revealed the recording to the public as a “protection” since there were many threats to her life.


Writer Sterling Seagrave on the broadcasting of tapes said, “Student protesters at the University of the Philippines commandeered the campus radio station and broadcast a looped tape; soon the entire nation was listening in astonishment to President Marcos begging Dovie Beams to perform oral sex. For over a week the President’s hoarse injunctions boomed out over university loudspeakers.”

1980’s had its own share of scandals when a Betamax tape made public and have been reproduced. It was a recording of sexy actress Vivian Velez and a well-known politician in the North, Fariñas’ sexual act. But the video did not spread as there were lack of proper medium to carry it, like the internet or the cheap vcd’s and dvd’s.


In 2001, in an interview with Velez, she said that she has move on with the issue already, “I just put my chin up and say it can happen to a lot of people.”

1990’s, the whole Philippines was scandalized when a series of videos of talent manager Jojo Veloso made public. He was fondling and playing with the private parts of his talents. One very well-known talent of Veloso that was victimized by the scandal was Hans Montenegro.

JOJO1     JOJO2     JOJO3                                                                                                                          JOJO4

There been senate hearings about the scandal. And it was entertainment journalist Joubert Sucaldito who exposed the whole hanky-panky of Veloso.

Like the 1980’s there still weren’t enough technology to pass, recopy and send files, and so Velos’s video remined in the vaults of authorities.

Come year 2000, file sharing have improved, the internet have been very accessible to everyone and the birth of mobile phones with video playback capabilities gave a whole new meaning to sex scandals.

There have been tens and tens of sex scandals that made public; one of it was from a popular sexy actress Criselda Volks. The video were showing Volks having sex with an older man. It made a whole new different noise as everyone can check out the video and use it as an entertainment between their friends.


Volks later admitted the she was in the verge of committing suicide after the video made public. It was like an outbreak, everyone had a copy of her video, whether in their mobile phones; download it somewhere in the internet or in a USB drive.

Hayden Kho’s sex scandals quickly emerged to everyone’s hands as the improvement of technology; the videos were quickly shared, through Bluetooth and USB drive. HAYDEN1   HAYDEN2     HAYDEN4 HAYDEN5         HAYDEN3

Like any other sex scandals that surfaced before, Kho’s numerous sex scandals with different popular women will be soon forgotten. It maybe the headline of the week, the story of the month but it will soon die, when different news emerged in the media. The story of sex scandals will again come if there will be an outbreak of series of sex scandals by another prominent personality.



 Photos courtesy: TV Patrol World, ABS-CBN

And Then We Kiss…

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It was February 2, around 2:20 in the morning, when I received an SMS from Matthew, asking if we can still meet.




His name is Matthew. I dated him back in 2007. He’s an I.T. Specialist, who naturally spends more time at work than to himself or to his social life.


We met in the chatroom. He went to my place for a simple one-night only thing. And so we did. And after having sex for several minutes, he stayed to talk, something unusual for a one-night stand. We ended the night with a hug and a really memorable kiss, and the promised we will meet again.


It took him several weeks to contact me again.


I was with my group mates one night, still back in college, shooting a short film for a school project, when I received an SMS from him. He asked me if I want to meet, and I replied “Yes” to him.


After that night, we continued exchanging messages while flirting to each other. By that time, I knew to myself that I was madly in-love with him.


I discovered that he’s a Thespian. He is a member of a choir group, and been with the CCP umbrella for several years. He’s an artist, a classical artist. He loves opera. And he’s been single for a long time.


We continued to exchange messages for weeks and weeks, but we don’t meet, because of his work schedule and my wanting to finish college as fast as I could.


Along with our exchange of messages and the seldom calls, I realized that we’re both not ready to enter a relationship that time and what’s been happing between us is just an electric shock to remind us the reality of things, that  it’s not easy being in a relationship.


We reached the point that we became really good friends, good friends who have good sex with each other. From then on, it seemed like we signed and unwritten contract, that we’ll meet at least every 2 or 3 months, to catch up or do anything. The set-up has been like that since then.


Until he moved to Singapore…




I was out with Jeff, Nicole and Bernard that morning, walking around, killing time. I replied to his message, “Sure. What time will you be here?”




One of the reasons why I went to KL last January 1st was to meet Matthew halfway.


The last time I was in KL was October last year, we’re supposed to meet in Singapore but I was too busy helping my brother with his errands, and so it got cancelled.


Last December, Matthew was supposed to visit Manila to spend his Christmas here and to finally make-up for the “lost” chance we had last October, again, it was cancelled because of his work.


I spent the whole first week of January in KL, waiting for Matthew to come to KL, like what we agreed before the New Year. But as the first weekend of the year approached, he sent me an SMS saying that he was checked-in the hospital because of some infection


I was really frustrated. It seemed like every time we plan a meet-up, something will come up and so we’ll have to cancel our meeting again and again.


I managed to control myself and replied, “Oh, too bad, I was looking forward to spend time with you. Take care.” He replied quickly with, “Baby, I’ll be in Manila by end of January. I will definitely meet you no matter what happen.”




Around 2:40 in the morning, he sent a message saying that he’s already outside my house waiting.


I was still with Jeff walking our way back to my house. I started to panic. This is like a wild card moment for the two of us. We planned to go out and have coffee somewhere to catch up that night.


Jeff and I arrived in front my house 2:42AM.


He was standing outside his car with his arms fold.


“Is it you?,”  I asked. He smiled and walked towards my direction and gave me a big hug and then he kissed me. And he said, “Nice haircut, I really like it.”


Jeff went inside of the house to get his stuff and left.


I asked Matthew to go inside my house first to wait for me, because I still need to change.


We entered my room, he sat on my bed, the way he acted – it seemed like he’s very comfortable and familiar with my room. While I was going through my closet, looking for a nice shirt to wear for our coffee date, he asked me to sit beside him on the bed. So I did.


He pulled me closer to him and hugged me. “How are you?” he asked. “It hasn’t been that nice these past weeks, ‘because it seemed like the universe has been playing with us. Three of our scheduled meetings got cancelled because of silly reasons. But you can’t paint the happiness I feel now.” I smiled.


“I’m going to kiss you now Matthew, can’t help it.” I said. Matthew smiled and answered, “Okay.”


I leaned forward and kissed him.




We had sex for more than an hour and a half. It was exquisite. It was euphoric. Like nothing I’ve felt before.


We showered together after.




We continued to catch up with each other after we showered.


I discovered that he knows The Curator. He dated him back in 2003. Matthew warned me to be careful with him, because everything The Curator does is just knee-jerk.


Our conversation seemed like forever. And when we checked the time, it was already 5 in the morning. He fixed himself and I lead him down to the gate.


Before he went back to his car, he hugged me really tight and gave me a kiss, a kiss that I can still feel.


He started the engine and left. I closed the gate and went back to my room.


The next day, he went back to Singapore.










I have to admit, I’m still in-love with Matthew, but to a different level now. If before, I was attracted to him physically and emotionally, now, I’m attracted to him intellectually along with the other two factors. It’s a deeper level now. And no more expectations this time.


It’s like we both signed another unwritten contract, that let us feel what we’re suppose to feel when the other is around, and feel what we’re suppose to feel when the other is not around. My very own Brokeback Mountain story. And I’m sure it’s not just because of my new haircut, but something more profound.


It’s the kind of love that can make you smile, that can make you think. It’s an unusual kind of love most people don’t want and refuses to feel. But it’s something euphoric, something to complete your day after a harsh day from work, before you close your eyes, and when you wake-up the next day. It’s not like a long distance kind of love. Something more profound. Something only the people in the kind of relationship understands.








Written by Patrick King Pascual

February 12, 2009 at 2:42 pm

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