MY FATHER grew up firmly believing he was going to be a dentist someday. As a child, he was stubborn, albeit ambitious — determined not to follow the missteps taken by his father and grandparents in squandering their wealth. He is a go-getter with a tongue that cuts through steel, more often that not speaking without regard for tact, or hypocrisy for the sake of diplomacy. A typical alpha male, with a quirky sensibility devoid of superficial desires for keeping up appearances. What you see is what you get. I look up to my dad, but this entry isn’t about him so he will have to wait. Haha.

MY MOTHER, on the hand, is a somewhat different story. My grandparents weren’t rich, but valued education, and made sure to give their children the best they could. Owing to diligence (and good genes), Mama always got top honors throughout her elementary and high school years, and graduated cum laude from dental school in 1984. Her parents didn’t even need to push her to achieve; she was an innate go-getter. Unlike my father however, Mama always had a certain finesse about her, always careful with her words. She speaks eloquently and with tact, never being deliberately offensive or insulting. I wish I could say the same for myself, but I am undeniably more like my father in that regard (see photo below). Mama’s post-graduate studies in Orthodontics gave even more accolades to her name, garnering ALL seven “Best in-“ awards — a feat unmatched before OR even after her in the history of that Philippine orthodontic organization.

I am still in awe at how I, a stereotypical slacker, could be the daughter of such an achiever.

Mama didn’t always want to become a dentist, though. She grew up aspiring to become a nurse, and then a doctor — not surprising considering my great-grandfather who was a physician, helped my lola give birth to her. My great-grandfather, Felix Amorsolo, was a doctor who graduated at the top of his class in UST and did his postgraduate studies at Georgetown University before WWII broke out. He was brilliant at his craft, and could’ve made himself into a very rich man, but chose to serve in the barrios of Davao Oriental instead (for what reason, I don’t know). I suppose this inspired my mother to seek the same path, always carrying a sense of altruism (and I’m not just saying this to sound patronizing), but it wasn’t meant to be. My lolo wouldn’t let her, citing her (then) thin frame and weak health. She acquiesced and studied Accounting instead (she’s good at math too!), before shifting to Dentistry.

While studying Dentistry in Cebu, she would save every penny from her monthly allowance after buying groceries and other essentials, while her sister (who studied dentistry at the same time) would blow her allowance on clothes and trips out of town. It was often the case that my mother had to feed her younger sister for weeks after every trip because by then, my Tita had already spent every last centavo of her allowance. Haha. It’s a funny story my mom relishes to tell us every now and then (to my tita’s ire, I presume). A similar, albeit not-so-funny, symbiosis worked with my mother and her older brother as well. For a long time, Mama used to lend money to my Tito to get his family through hard times, mainly due to his alcoholism and gambling (we all have our family hang ups). As a child, I was well-aware of this “arrangement” and often chastised my cousins (my Tito’s children) for it. I was mad at them for taking Mama’s money which could’ve been spent on me and my brothers. Admittedly, I was a selfish young brat. Growing up however, I saw the wisdom in Mama’s actions and began to feel a newfound appreciation and gratitude for having a mother as generous as mine. 

She is simply one of the most selfless people I know.

Mama rarely goes shopping. Although she can very well afford it, she doesn’t spend a lot on herself, choosing to dispense her hard-earned money on her children’s needs (and whims). And unlike most women, she shuns wearing make-up (no kidding) and avoids shopping for the latest fashions unless absolutely necessary. At this point, I will even go so far as to say that she is the epitome of simplicity. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to paint my mother as a saint — she isn’t. Like most people, she has her indulgences as well. Household renovations, furniture, food and cookware are her guilty pleasure of choice (which drives my uber thrifty and stingy dad crazy). With that said, I guess she isn’t that simple after all, but it doesn’t make her any less of the awesome person I know her to be.

Wife. Mother. Dentist. Chef. Architect (she designed our house). Accountant (she does all the accounting for our businesses). Daughter. Sister. Friend… et al.

*photo taken with patient’s consent

She is a very complex woman; more complex than I can ever give her justice. To me, she is inimitable. A jack of all trades, and a master of all as well. And I’m the proudest daughter in the world for having her as my momma!

Happy 50th Birthday, Ma! 😀

(Sorry for divulging your age, lol).

 

P.S. We don’t say “I love you”s in our family. Eewww. Like I said, we all have our family hang ups. 😉

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The Search is Over by Survivor was pretty epic in the eighties, and it still is today, for good reason: it’s timeless. This live performance by the one and only Jimi Jamison is a KILLER (goosebumps alert @ 0:56!) and it’s a good summation of the last five years of my life since I came out.

Not to sound hedonistic, but every single word of this song speaks deeply to me, as I’m sure it does to some of you as well. This is why I cannot imagine a world without music. It weaves into soulful melody our everyday struggles of existence.

Music lives and breathes through us.

How can I convince you what you see is real
Who am I to blame you for doubting what you feel
I was always reachin’, you were just a girl I knew
I took for granted the friend I have in you

I was living for a dream, loving for a moment
Taking on the world, that was just my style
Now I look into your eyes
I can see forever, the search is over
You were with me all the while

Can we last forever, will we fall apart
At times it’s so confusing, these questions of the heart
You followed me through changes and patiently you’d wait
Till I came to my senses through some miracle of fate

I was living for a dream, loving for a moment
Taking on the world, that was just my style
Now I look into your eyes
I can see forever, the search is over
You were with me all the while

Now the miles stretch out behind me
Loves that I have lost
Broken hearts lie victims of the game
Then good luck it finally struck
Like lightning from the blue
Every highway leading me back to you

Now at last I hold you, now all is said and done
The search has come full circle
Our destinies are one
So if you ever loved me
Show me that you give a damn
You’ll know for certain
The man I really am

I was living for a dream, loving for a moment
Taking on the world, that was just my style
Then I touched your hand, I could hear you whisper
The search is over, love was right before my eyes

 

*photo taken at Mt. Buller, Australia in July 2007

Bette Porter is my hero. Take that with a grain of salt if you must, for not everything I say should be taken seriously — or should it? Beneath the satirical facade I always try to put up, those who truly know me, may very well scoff at this sad attempt at masking true emotions — just as I always have. Because anything that comes out of my potty mouth always bears some weight of the truth, albeit often wrapped in sarcasm or perceived indifference.

Romance and all its strategy
Leaves me battling with my pride
But through the insecurity
Some tenderness survives

Mistakes were part and parcel of Bette Porter‘s existence, as they were/are in mine, and often with uncanny similarities I cannot divulge. She may be a fictional character, but through her, I felt my everyday struggles were given validity — that they weren’t just shallow trivialities of lesbian existence.

I’m just another writer
Still trapped within my truth
A hesitant prize fighter
Still trapped within my youth

Like most fictional protagonists, Bette and Tina’s story was prettily summed up in a happy ending. And as much as I wish all stories could end up like that, the truth is, they rarely don’t. Because most real life relationships end up way past the breaking point, beyond repair, where a resolution just isn’t possible anymore. But underneath all this, is an unspoken truth, a lesson which tells us that we’re not just pawns in the game of life. We can take control if and when we wish to, but vulnerability is an essential part of the process. This is why Bette Porter is my hero. She’s fiction, but at the same time, she’s as real as can be, because she showed me that even strong women can and will feel pain.

She taught me that women, no matter how tough, still need to have a good cry every now and then before they can pick themselves up again.

 

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Yesterday, I woke up from a deep slumber, reinvigorated for the series of holiday parties lined up for the days ahead. As per routine, I rolled over to the left side of my bed to where my laptop was, and clicked on Yahoo PH’s current events. I couldn’t believe my eyes: “Storm floods in south Philippines kills 200” (update: total number of deaths is now at 437). It was the shortest headline that sent shivers down my spine. The southern Philippine cities of Cagayan De Oro and Iligan were being swallowed by a tropical storm so severe that Mindanao has never seen anything like it in the last 25 years.

Just a couple of months ago, my own beloved city of Davao went through a similar ordeal which made national headlines. Body count: 25, injuries: hundred, collateral damage: millions of pesos. That event was particularly close to home, literally, as the houses severely ravaged by flooding were a mere 10 minute walk from our own house. That should’ve been a wake-up call, but for some reason, I never took it to heart. After the frenzy has died down, I went my own usual merry way and never took a look back. It is both embarrassing, and disturbing. I guess, life as we now know it, has a way of making people jaded to the screaming realities of calamity and devastation. Our world has become so engulfed in negativity, we don’t even bat an eyelash to crimes and disasters that have become facts of our existence. Sometimes, even to the point of rendering us incapable of feeling empathy, which is the most unfortunate of all.

Speaking on that note, it surprises me how little posts there are on my Facebook news feed regarding the Cagayan de Oro disaster. Most people seem to be oblivious to the situation at hand, still going on and on about what they’re eating, where they’re going or what they’re buying, and who they’re fucking (or not fucking). Newsflash: The world isn’t just about you.

I do not intend to lecture here for I know how difficult it is to keep our priorities straight in a world where sex scandals or the latest iPhone releases are counted as top billing. So I apologize if I am coming on too harshly. But let us not forget that it is our responsibility as Filipinos, and as humans, to not lose sight of our humanity. When empathy is lost, all is lost.

Tsunamis, typhoons and hurricanes can destroy towns, cities, and even countries — yes. At the rate our earth is deteriorating, devastation of varying degrees is inevitable, but when people lock arms and join together to rebuild the devastation, that is when miracles start to happen. Because the fact is, humans have always had a way of adapting to the trying forces of nature, that is, if we don’t lose our humanity in the process. To borrow an excerpt from William Ernest Henley’s ‘Invictus,’ we are the masters of our fate, we are the captains of our souls.

 

*photo via skyscrapercity

My favorite lesbian high fashion couple are BACK by popular demand(!) — as evidenced by consistently high stats for THIS previous Frejzona post.

As much as I love fashion models, I am no fan of magazine editorials, so I shall only be posting my favorite CANDID shots (mostly from PFW 09/10 & 10/11). All the better, ‘no?

I thought so.

FYI: Freja Beha Erichsen and Arizona Muse are the world’s no. 2 and no. 7 top runway models, respectively, according to models.com

There’s no denying ‘Freja Beha x Arizona Muse is rocking everyone’s socks.

And I’m loving every.single.minute.of.it.

Bonus: Here’s a three-month old video of Freja and Arizona for Doctors Without Borders.

 

You’re welcome. 🙂

 

Always,

*all photos link back to source

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