A personal reflection

It’s not my practice to be particularly personal in this blog, but since the main subjects I cover are politics and history, the personal must necessarily inform the political and historical thoughts (and positions) of a person.

I am a writer. To write is my primary calling in life; I write different things. I write speeches and manifestos, which are varieties of propaganda. I write essays, which, if not necessarily achieving the level of art, aspire to be artful while avoiding excessive artifice. On the whole, however, the write pursues his craft -requiring perpetual honing, and constant learning, and most of all, means and vehicles for publication- only when the writer is free to write what he truly believes, in his own voice, while also earning his daily bread, which requires assuming the voices of others. What does this mean? To write my column and this blog, other essays and pieces in various publications, I must be free to say what I want, in the manner I prefer. At the same time, there are times I write in order to help express the views of others, for example in speeches commissioned by others, in manifestos expressing the consensus arrived at by groups, in editorials defining an institutional position. If there is no freedom, none of these things is possible, particularly when it comes to the kind of writing in which I specialize; if there is a price to be paid, for writing either what I believe or others want to express, I will be among the first to pay that price, either due to attempts at censorship, restricting expression, or silencing those upon whom I depend to earn a living. To write requires the ability to inspire, provoke, offend, denounce, praise, vilify and question. Anything that attempts to impede the reason for being of the writer -to put pen to paper, to create- is the enemy of the writer.

I am adopted. This means my identity has been given me not by accident, but deliberate choice, which means in a sense, a stronger, but also more fragile, identity. I am who -and what- I am, but I am more and often less, than who others think that I am. If I were patient enough for philosophy, the many questions of being -as defined by myself, as defined by my family, as defined by others who would impose their views as to the insufficiency, even improbability, at times, in their views, the unsuitability, of the identity defined by my family and myself, would make for a fascinating exercise. But I am not philosophical by nature. My primary experience has been the nurturing of family, the supportive identification made by my family, my own personal search for meaning and heritage that has been more questioning and at times, more complicated, than the experiences of my family members. The cocoon of family nurturing has been punctured time and again by the harsh judgments of outsiders, who would not grant to me, what is only my family’s to give. It has been a constant, and at times painful, though as I grow older increasingly less painful, lesson how fleeting and transitional people’s identifications can be, how superficial they often are, and how one person’s, and even a family’s, reality is so easily either accepted or denounced by others. Anything, anyone, who would deny someone adopted what is only their adoptive family’s to define, and give -is the enemy of the adopted child.

I am Gay. This makes me a member of a minority judged, vilified, misunderstood, and persecuted by those who claim to possess the right to judge others and impose their judgments on others. To live and love as a Gay person is to resist, fight, and denounce those who would deny you the ability to pursue your own ways and means of finding affection. In the realm of religion, this requires the defense of a secular society that accords me the rights and protection religion would deny me; and yet, having experienced both the good and bad that religion can inspire in others, it requires of me a healthy respect and desire for dialogue. Anything and anyone who would restrict the human and political rights of a Gay person, is the enemy of the Gay person.

I am a former drug addict. The preeminent lesson this teaches someone is that weaknesses and cravings are monumental aspects not only of the human condition, but of individual experience. To experience addiction is to realize there are false and true friends; that in the end, one’s best friend and enemy is one’s self; that one is neither a basket case nor superhuman, and that life is sometimes best lived out one day at a time, and at other times, lived with a conscious effort made to neither flee the past, or shrink from the future, and that embracing the present is only a good thing when one’s judgment is not impaired. Those who would judge, rather than assist, who on the other hand, condone but do not strive to correct, are unworthy to be called people.

I am a burn survivor. I have been near death; I have suffered injuries; I bear the scars of that experience. I must carry through life both physical and mental traumas, but also the experience of having received compassionate help from people: friends, family, even strangers; much more so, the knowledge that pain will pass, suffering will abate, but also that there are life-defining moments for each one of us. This means a healthy appreciation of the role both human science and inscrutable fate plays in the lives of individuals and whole societies. Anything, or anyone, who does not promote compassion, and who thinks this shouldn’t be one of the most cherished and creative forces in society, is someone I cannot fully respect.

All these things make it clear to me that there are certain things I hate: I hate, most of all, the tyranny of the majority, the dictatorship of ideology and religion, most especially when its dogma is aided by force of arms and the mob mentality. History teaches me that neither fascism nor communism has ever made room for my kind; experience has demonstrated to me, that those who do not think, or who think they have the answers to everything, as every bit as cruel -and crueler still, in many cases- than those they claim to dislike as either morally, politically, or socially inferior. While I admire the powerful force for good that organizations, parties, religions and states can be, I loathe the force for oppression, persecution, destruction and exploitation that by nature, they also tend to be. I have seen the best and worst all walks of life have to offer, and do not trust those who would impose change by force -but I recognize that change is not only inevitable, it is healthy, it is necessary, it must be encouraged, for to thwart change is to begin its mutation into a force for evil and not good. I recognize there is good and evil, that the evil may become good, and the good often fail to realize when they have become evil. To me, debate, discussion, an abiding curiosity and a discomfort with certainties, are what, in the end, help to achieve the only real goal we should have in life: a society where compassion between individuals rules, and in which certainties, that lead to inflexible moral and political hierarchies, do not.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

89 thoughts on “A personal reflection

  1. Please refer to : Edd Castro/Rauel Naval
    Landline 4387963

    In solidarity with the CBCP’s Call for a Day of Prayer and Conversion,


    at the People Power Monument, (EDSA Cor. Temple Drive)

    September 12, 2005, Monday at 6:00PM
    a Prayer Vigil
    Prophetic Courage
    in the fight
    Truth, Justice
    Deep, Genuine and Peaceful
    Social Transformation

    Candle Lighting
    (65 Candles to be lit to mark 65 Days of KUBOL PAGASA at People Power Monument),
    Holy Rosary
    Indigenous Music
    and the

    (to be concelebrated by about 15 priests from Dioceses around the Philippines)


  2. The truth shall set you free. By confronting the truth and your demons, you will be a better and stronger person. Whatever anyone may say, you have carved a niche for yourself by your own efforts. Be true to yourself, just stay the course. You’ll be alright!

  3. You have my highest admiration. I have not seen someone in the public eye as brave and honest as you are. Thank you for setting an example and showing the way out for many who are shrouded in an unwarranted sense of shame. I know many great things await you. Mabuhay ka!

  4. …A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME NOR FORM STILL SMELLS AS SWEET…sabi nga ng lolo ko dati, mas madaling aminin ang isang katotohanan o pagkakamali kaysa magsinungaling ng isandaang beses at talikuran ito…

  5. All your experiences make you the extraordinary person you are and your writings even more meaningful for so many people.

    I personally hope you will keep writing and celebrating your identity and life in general. Always know you have the support of your peers and your fans.

  6. admittedly, i get cracked up easily with homophobic jokes especially when they are witty…i, however, do not mind having a gay superior, be it in the office or in school…my point is, the reasons why i drop by the best blogsite in the country will not be affected by the sexual preference of the person who runs it

  7. I have been sitting here for around five minutes thinking about what I could possibly say about your current entry.

    And here it is. You rock dude.

    Ok. I know that might not be the most intelligent thing to say.

    But those really were the only three words that came to my mind when I read it.

  8. Past Mistake will be an issue for those who are stagnant. Sexual preference will only be an issue for those who cannot cope up. Believing that aside from oneself, there are also people living in this world. Each vary and different from one another, and accepting them no matter what or who they are is the highest form of respect one can give.

    I will always think highly of you.


    Respectfully Yours,

  9. I still wonder why there are a lot of people who think that being homosexual is abnormal. Homosexuality is not a disease and needs no treatment. 10% of men and 5% of women are homosexual. The etiology is believed to be related to alterations in levels of prenatal sex hormones (increased androgens in female and decreased androgens in male) resulting in anatomic changes in the hypothalamic nuclei in the brain. There is also a genetic component since there is higher concordance between identical twins vs.fraternal twins. Social Factors are not associated with homosexuality. 80% of males and 60% of females have homosexual tendencies (which means that without social taboo, they will probably try it but not as a sexual preference.) The only treatment homosexuals need is to make them comfortable with their sexual orientation and help them cope with psychological problems that arise due to social pressures. And by the way, I am straight.

  10. Frankly, I have no problem with gay people. My first encounter with them was when I was growing up seeing them when my aunt would bring me to
    their houses of fashion. They were decent, creative and very compassionate people.

    My close friends were gay, closet and open.
    So when I talk I am also gay.

    Some of my associates here in the States were gay.
    How I love them, talk to me about their love affair. Nakakaiyak din. How I love meeting some of them who have worked as Peace Corps in the Philippines and then having long distance affair with someone they love.

    The problem in the Philippines is that this gay thing is always associated with screaming, cross dresser faggots. When in reality, there are people who can be gay and turn out to be more sincere, responsible members of the society.

    Everything about gay is looked upon as something that is dirty. Toink toin toink I make pukpok to this people who believe that there is no other gender created by GOD.

    Don’t worry of bringing out the skeleton. More people have something in their closets which are worse than skeletons. Decaying corpses. Yuck.

    With regards your drug dependency in the past, as Cicero had quoted, any man may make mistake, but none but a fool will continue in it.

    No man become great without comitting many great mistakes for the lessons from them are wisdom to treasure.


    So what. It is one thing that you should be proud of. Imagine, a great family adopting you and giving you the name. Wow.

    Ako kung may mag-adopt lang sa Pusang ito, magpapaa dopt na ako. Walang taker eh.

  11. mlq3. I only know you from what you write and how your readers respond to this on your blog.

    Last month I read an illuminating article about you in the ABS-CBN site which was inspiring and also made me wonder if you’re gay. I’d like to quote to you what I wrote in their board last week:
    “I envy and admire Manolo. I envy his youth, his talent, and obvious charisma. How I wish I possess these attributes myself. I admire his idealism, his patriotism, his sense of purpose to serve our country, and his almost innocent view of government and politics in our country that never fails to give me hope.”

    Because of your hopes and dreams for our nation I’m with you.

  12. Manolo. For me this post is a phenomenally succinct and powerful expression of a personal philosophy that clearly has been tempered like steel through adversity.

    That you are able to get it out and into a blog, within the constraints of blogging such as timeliness, speed, and under the sunshine of immediate mass exposure is a both a craft and a level of courage that I rarely see together.

  13. Life is a mystery…

    ..to be true to oneself is a beautiful endeavor; being a GAY is not an issue in my opinion, the ‘inner-self’,experiences are true assets in writing…

    ..anyhow, thank you for the information!

    ___I had blues because because I had no shoes until upon the street I meet a man who had no feet! …a reflection too

  14. _____internet____

    Salamat, salamat
    dahil sa ‘internet,
    mga kaisipan
    ang daling hanapin

    Walang magagawa
    kasakiman natin
    dahil kahanginan
    gamit ng internet…

    Hiwaga ng hangin,
    na biyaya naman–
    ng mahal na Poon!
    sa tamang gawain!
    sa tamang paraan!

    Ang hangin hininga
    ay tunay na libre
    ‘di mo kailangan
    ni ‘ga singkong duling!
    dahil pag nagdamot
    ang tunay na Ama,
    putol ang hininga–
    patay kang bata ka!

  15. Your generosity in sharing these things with us, not to mention your honesty, is what makes you great, Manolo. (It’s also why you’re becoming one of my favorite sources, hehe.)

  16. FOR ….. M.


    or is it DAZZLED?

    Actually, I didn’t know what to say. I was lost for words last night.

    I CRIED because I felt the pain that goes on with the revelation.

    THANK YOU for telling. At least now you are free of that which haunts you. You think the world is against you because of what you are. Wrong! There are people who know better than to condemn that which is good and great.


    GOD BLESS, dear One
    and May Your Lines Inspire More People
    Around The Globe.

    from cory

  17. Awesome post, Manolo! Thank you for sharing a part of yourself with us. I am touched by your honesty, and blessed to know you, even if it is only virtually!

    God bless you and more power in all your endeavors 🙂

  18. Now if only they’d be humble enough to read and heed. The INQ’s formidable cast of writers is just impregnable (wonder who’s the exception). Bravo Zulu !!!

  19. So when do you run for President?

    Drug Addict.. Gay.. A Writer well you had to do something creative..

    The only reason i have ever liked you was not for any of this or your aliances.

    But for your brains your ability to think, Sit back and look at the whole picture. Which i think this statement was all about..

    Taking the time to sit back reflect and know who you really are without the trappings of the clothes, the friends the family. By yourself being yourself..

    I think it was you that said it last night since Cory no president has had a majority (over 51% voted for it).. Look about you are not in the minority in any of these things you belong to the majority of humankind, a Human to start with..

    The only minority you may belong to is the minority who has a real heart….

  20. Manolo thats why someone asked you long ago why you arent married yet. Being gay is cool. I have gay friends too and i hate those parlor gays. Being gay is not an issue because it is accepted in ancient rome. it just went bad when the religion of christ prospered. Being a former junkie is an eye opener. Me being used to be hooked on meth can relate. being an addict can really show you who really are your friends. after the addiction you will finally see the light.

    Manolo you are still cool. At least when you grow old you can say You did it your way

  21. I am so proud that I am among the very first posters in this blog. You have always been a good man mlq3 and while I was not always in agreement I have found your thinking full of humanity and compassion….qualities sorely lacking in the other local blogs….you are a good man and stay that way my friend.

  22. It’s nice to know the man behind the message. But I hope even more that Pinoys can learn to know the message delivered by the man. 😉

    In any case, what one did or was in the past does not matter as much as what one IS and PLANS to be.

    We Pinoys are so busy being titillated by one’s past transgressions (or so we so readily judge these to be as such) as to miss what one IS and COULD be just as we so readily knock prosperous civilisations today for what they did in their barbaric pasts. But most of these advanced societies today at least have a vision for what they want to achieve and are visibly and concretely working towards achieving as many points of said vision as they could (even as they fail to do so perfectly).

    My hope is that the Philippines will be a nation that one can be OBJECTIVELY proud of. One that puts its track record of mediocrity and errors in judgment in the PROPER PERSPECTIVE, is clear about and willing to face REALITIES about itself, and can use these REALITIES to frame whatever vision it resolves to pursue.

  23. your great manolo!!!!
    and your column today was super!
    really very eloquent
    well writen, congrats.the Ratzinger there must be the popes brother, right?
    i think it’s really very important well read and well informed and have a philosophy in life. it really helps to understand things better.
    i just hope the church in the phillipines may have the wisdom to transmit the teachings of the church that do not take sides or are judgmental but that are food for the soul so that we may be better people.

  24. Manolo:

    I cried reading this and all the comments that came after; I am mababaw ang luha and this is not your first post where in you made me shed tears – I cried because your honesty touched me; I cried because of everything that this post stands for; I cried because I am overwhelmed by the bravery it entails to come abreast to all these. You are one GREAT and BRILLIANT INDIVIDUAL and all of us here agree: being you and being what you are dont make a lesser person out of you.


  25. i think each individual in the eyes of God is recognized w/ a name, just like you are Manolo.
    it’s the eyes of man that is full of malice.
    i really think that insted of protesting endlessly or just being spectators. we must focus much on education, philosopies tested in time and are universla.our being an island nations at times does not give us enough exposure and we seem to get drowned in so many details.
    nga pala manola, when i wrote that you have so much to give, i really ment it, but now i’m also sure of it!

  26. To MQ3 The church for once has not cast.. anything at this stage.. nothing is cast in stone at this stage.. They have asked for Sobriety and the calming of the waters, they have also asked for the truth, but as you noted the truth will not come from a public Prosecution (Execution) by your alies.

    You must start somewhere and the truth can only start with what we have in the public information, There were phone calls and the President said she had not comitted a crime.

    Listening to a single phone call and not knowing the entire story is assuming lots of things. First the whole tape is real? That the intent (Remember law) was there ..

    If i called you and mentioned we should wack someone it does not mean either of us will do it.. Even if you said that you would do it but had higher morals and did not do it then. Does the fact that we talked about it make it true..

    We must also realise that as you said less than 50% has voted in any president since Cory. Thus the polls will always be stacked against her..

    I respect your views but may not always agree with them that is freedom.

    With the church they should always lead the flock to heaven, not by sending them to be killed in riots, or demonstrations. But by teaching them the right path..

    Just standing in a crowd one can be trampled like in QC on the weekend.

    We should keep the faith and forgive and realize that the truth comes in many flavors and toppings. We should try all the flavors before deciding vanila or strawberry is the best..

    If GMA resigned this would not bring an end to the Protests or politicing but would cause more, and hurt more people tomorrow..

    Sometimes one must look at the better good than the little indiscresions people make in life.

    Just like your time with drugs this did not make you a bad person it made you better by teaching you something new…

  27. from a former drug addict: hi! classmate.

    life’s expediencies, have made, unmade humans but to those who strive to make life worth living despite the pain and agony of their past, i say GOD BLESS…


  28. i’m glad that the armed forces has told bro.luistro to mind his own business!!!!!because of things that he has said.
    the armed forces is being smart by not joining politics and bro. luistro is agitating. just asking is he someone to entrust your childrens education too????????
    it’s obvious that bukluran is courting the military for them to get their “katotohanan”
    bro. luistro is to give quality education to the people intrusted to his care,people are paying him serious hard earned money! and he still has time to play politics!!!

  29. intimate and eloquent. now i see the person, not just his incisive political analysis.

    i agree with everything you wrote. you already earned my respect a long time ago. now, you just earned my adoration.

  30. This is a tear jerker, mlq3. With this revelation i am ashamed of myself for discouraging my son from his gay tendencies.

    the overriding message is honesty. thank you very much and more power to you.

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