Gilbert Anthony “Gil” Abaño, 29, and Chris Rey VIII “Khing” A. Herrera first met in a bar in Mango in Cebu City. Born and raised in Ormoc City in the province of Leyte, Gil was in Cebu at that time to accompany a sibling to the airport, as she was leaving for New Zealand.
“It was 12:00AM, when my Cebu friends invited me a nightcap,” Gil recalled. “I saw a long time friend, Angel, who was with Khing, I thought they were a couple. Khing was the typical ‘straight-acting’ guy all clad in white polo shirt and straight cut jeans; he was dashing at that night.”
Although Khing was already caught staring at Gil, Gil said he did not give it too much meaning. “I wasn’t really paying attention,” he said. And then “our common friend told me that Khing wanted to dance with me. I was hesitant at first; thought he was just toying with me. But I gave in. And the rest of the night was magical. We suddenly clicked; no words even came out of our mouths. It was a mutual understanding that it was indeed love at first sight/dance.”
Gil, a self-described hopeless romantic, thinks that their meeting was fated. “You see, I’ve been single for seven years before I met Khing. I must admit I had couple of dates, but none of them were serious. He was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Gil added: “I knew we were inseparable the moment our eyes met. We were stealing glances at each other, and I figured we were into each other. I also think you don’t need fancy dates, romantic dinners, (or watch) movies together to call (what you have as) serious. Believe me, if love comes to you, unconventional things happen. We became a couple a day after that magical dance. We don’t need an official date to call us a couple; we agreed that we were one because we both knew we were in love at that moment.”
Technically, though, that was on March 14, 2012 at 12:10 AM.
Gil is a restaurateur, club owner and a registered nurse, who took his bachelors degree in nursing at Southwestern University of Cebu. He made a big leap in the field of cooking when he opened his first café in Dipolog City, Zamboanga Del Norte.
“That was when Khing and I decided to live together in his hometown for two years,” Gil said.
Khing, meanwhile, is a registered nurse, currently working as human resources associate at a commercial banking company. He was born and raised in Dipolog City. He lives with his “very supportive family”.
“In fact, we used to live together with his mom. I call her mom ‘Nanay’, and she treated me as her son. In fact, her FB relationship with me (states) ‘Son-in-law’. I know they are supportive of our budding relationship,” Gil said.
There are times when Khing expresses discomfort when attending big family gatherings/dinners because he feels awkward every time one relative would pop the question: ‘Are you two an item?’
Generally speaking, though, “I’d like to think I’m kinda lucky to have his family; they’re one of a kind, very supportive all the way. And I’m glad we have friends that are very understanding. On the eve of our second year together, they secretly connived and surprised us with cakes and balloons. You know you’re blessed to have friends like that. It’s not easy being a couple especially when you live in the province.”
While Gil’s family is also supportive, he said that “there people in (my) hometown who are not accustomed to this kind of relationship. Some still consider this a taboo because they still opt for heterosexual relationships. We just brush (them) off and stay positive throughout.”
After years of being together, Gil is appreciative that Khing taught him to be “more patient, kind, understanding, and most of all, trusting. When you trust someone, you give it wholeheartedly, and you know the relationship will sail smoothly. I’ve been hurt before, but it’s true that love is always a risk and you wouldn’t know the true feeling unless you get hurt. Khing is the sweetest guy I know; he wakes me up with soft kisses and breakfast in bed. He knows how to put my sweetest smile in the morning and I love him for that.”
While the two are now looking at traveling the world together (to satiate Gil’s fascination with different cultures, and Khing’s love of photography), other plans include “building a house of our own, and hopefully (running our own) bistro/resto in the near future.” Since they are both registered nurses, they are also looking at working abroad, “probably in the US, where gay rights and equality are accepted.”
For now, they’re just appreciative meeting that night, and making that dance that led to a partnership in life.