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Men’s University Cebu: To be a group with a purpose

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Sometime in 2013, Men’s University Cebu (MUC) was founded as a Facebook-based group mainly as a form of “lingaw (fun/enjoyment),” said Regi Manabilang. In this manner, it was “not that different from other stereotypical clans*.”

However, the number of those who wanted to be part of the group soon ballooned, with the members actually “predominantly professionals”, so that “having some form of structure was necessary,” Manabilang said. And so, while “in the past what we had was just a Facebook page maybe to connect people like us (maybe for booking**), now, we have a real structure.”

This “structure” meant having recognized people who run: 1) MCU’s Facebook page; and 2) MCU as an organization. MUC also has by-laws, “so everything is very defined,” said Manabilang, who now serves as the organization’s VP for external affairs.

This “structure” also meant diversifying the organization’s activities. If in the past the focus was solely on EB (i.e. eye ball)***, “we’ve gone beyond that,” said Milo Ceralvo, MUC’s prexy. Yes, EBs are still done “for our members to get together; but we have activities to respond to the desires and even needs of our members.”

MUC, for instance, partnered with Generika (a chain of drugstores) in holding a feeding program to impoverished children in Cebu City (the partnership was done with the help of one of their members who works for the company); attends workshops – e.g. HIV 101; and helps out in coastal cleaning efforts led by local government units.

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Online, there are now over 1,600 MUC “members”, and among these members, approximately 300 are active, said Manabilang.

And to ensure that everyone is served, “we have 12 committees inside MUC; as well as eight mini-groups.” Meaning, “we have groups for just about everyone – those working in the BPO industry, students, et cetera.” Ceralvo is proud to say that “we have members from different religious denominations, who have families (and are closeted, so they do not know who else to speak with), mature aged (e.g. 50 years old), young (e.g. 13 years old), and so on…)

Additional activities to specifically serve the desires/needs of the mini-groups include school-based activities, DOTA competitions, and sports festivals.

For Manabilang, “we’ve long realized the importance of having a group to belong to,” he said. “So when we gather, it’s not solely for that; instead, it’s for a purpose. I’d like to think of us as a group with a purpose.”

And with this, “we’re not just a group,” Ceralvo said. “We’re a family now.”

*Clans are informal groups of (mainly) men who have sex with men whose main ways of staying connected is by using technological advances – e.g. mobile phones/gadgets and the Internet.
**Booking is a colloquial term used to refer to picking up to get laid.
***EB is the gathering of members mainly to socialize.

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For those interested to join Men’s University Cebu, visit the Facebook page of the organization and request to join. Once the request is approved, you will be sent the organization’s code of ethics, which will detail what are expected from you.

MUC, at least for now, only accepts men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly those who are “straight-acting/looking”. This is because there are many members who are closeted (e.g. married with kids), and who are not yet ready to mingle with other members of the LGBT community. There are steps currently being considered to broaden the understanding on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE) of MUC’s members.

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