Marlon Felipe met Rev. Ceejay Agbayani through a common friend from the now defunct Guys4Men.com, a gay/bi/MSM-related social networking site. “Truth be told,” said Marlon, “that ‘friend’ was supposed to be my ‘booking’, who happened to be his ‘booking’ too,” he laughed.
That was in 2006, prior to the existence of the Metropolitan Community Church-Quezon City (MCCQC), when Marlon said he was brokenhearted, and Rev. Ceejay – out of the seminary for a year – was “in the market” for a partner.
“After the initial meeting, we exchanged messages via cellphone almost every day. We become good friends, and eventually became a couple,” Marlon said.
“Basta nabighani ako sa kanyang magandang ngiti noon,” Rev. Ceejay recalled. Then, with a smile: “Madilim kasi.”
The relationship may be said to have been based in knowing that they’d both be there for each other, no matter the situation. “He had a problem with his ex (when we met). At ako naman, talagang naghahanap na ng partner noon,” Rev. Ceejay said. “(And then) nawalan siya ng pera sa kanyang tinitirhan, at doon yata kami nag-bond. Nagkaiyakan kami. Mabuti na lang at ako noon ay may pera pa. Since then, lumakas na ‘yung aming pagsasama. Kahit saan kami nakikitulog, kahit walang pera, basta magkasama lang kami.”
Now, Marlon is an educator, while Rev. Ceejay helms MCCQC.
“For a same-sex couple it is very hard to declare publicly that you are in love with each other. It is not easy to show your affection, your love and how much you care for each other,” Marlon said.
He has, however, a couldn’t-care-less attitude about this. “Deadma,” he said. “Ano ang paki (i.e. pakialam) nila; in-love ako, e. Besides, wala kaming inaapakang tao. We respect people because we want them to respect us too. We are kind and good to them because, in the same way, we want them to be kind and good to us.”
For Rev. Ceejay, “malaking challenge sa amin ‘yung acceptance ng family namin, siyempre. Lakasan lang ng loob sa magulang ko na dalhin ko siya sa bahay.”
However, yet another issue is “‘yung socio-economic (worries) namin. Siyempre, hindi lang sa pagmamahal ka nabubuhay, kundi sa kung saan kayo kakain at kung saan kayo matutulog,” Rev. Ceejay added.
The solution, for the couple, is in finding the solutions together.
COMPLEMENTING EACH OTHER
That “I have someone to talk with, to laugh with and to cry with” makes the relationship great for Marlon.
Rev. Ceejay added that, for him, “the best thing in our relationship is we complement to each other; we compromise; we talk; we love each other no matter what. Perhaps, mahirap talagang mag-isa, nakakatakot mag-isa. Masaya kapag may kasama ka sa buhay.”
“Give and take ang relationship namin. Lahat napag-uusapan.”
While Marlon is looking forward to that day when “we will have our own retirement house with an adopted daughter,” he smiled, Rev. Ceejay is looking at when “we tour Asia – we plan to do that, travel and see the world. Kaunting ipon pa siguro.”
Rev. Ceejay seconds Marlon in wanting to establish a retirement house. “Meron na kaming (bahay) sa Project 8 (sa Quezon City), pero siguro aayusin pa namin ng bonggang-bongga,” he said. “Kung tatatanda kami, nais ko sa Quezon City manatili para makita ko ang pagbabago ng lipunan na kung saan nais kong masaksihan ang pagbabagong ito.”