Harold H. was 14 when he first had sexual relations. “Fourteen years old ko atong una ko naka-sex ug baye (I was 14 years old when I first had sex with a girl),” he said. “Dili to tinuyuan. Uwagan baya ang laki. Nag-inon-inom man mi ato. Human iya ko gidala sa dulom. Ma-o na to (It wasn’t intentional. Guys are horndogs. We were drinking then. And then she took me somewhere dark. That was that).”
Harold H. was also 14 when he had an “encounter” with another man. “Sa laki, dili man to sex, tsupa ra (With another man, I don’t consider it as sex as it was just a blow job),” he said. Apparently, he was with a friend, and “nag-tan-aw mi ug bold. Unya iya ko gihawiran. Sulti niya, kissan lang daw niya – iya man gi-lamon. Then ma-o na to, BJ lang (we were watching porn. And then he held my penis. He said he’d kiss my penis – but then he swallowed me/put my genitalia in his mouth. That was that, he gave me head)”
In both instances, “heaven ang pamati (it felt like heaven/good),” Harold H. said. “Lami jud siya (It really felt good).” And “pareho ra man lami ang baye ug bayot (it felt good with both girls and gays).”
Now 18 – and a student of a university in Cagayan de Oro City (where he takes up Electrical Technology Management) – Harold H. said he continues to see sex as “a goodie”. “Magamit kung kinahanglan (It can be used when needed),” he said.
GAY FOR PAY?
When Harold H. was 17, he had a 38-year-old gay boyfriend.
“Nagsakay lang ko jeep. Summer man to. Pagnaog niya iya gihatag calling card. Ako gi-textan. Diretso dayon siya: ‘Type tika. Mag-dinner ta unya.’ Nanguyab man siya (I was riding a jeepney. It was summer then. When he got off the jeepney, he handed me his calling card. I texted him. He was straightforward: ‘You’re my type/I like you. Let’s have dinner later.’ He wooed me).”
After a date, “nangutana siya nga kami na. Sulti ko puwede man pud. Nag-char dayon (he asked if we’re already an item. I said we could be. We had sex immediately after).”
The relationship lasted for around three months. “Ga-BJ ra; pero panagsa lang, one month ka-tulo (He just gave me head; but it wasn’t frequent, thrice in a month),” Harold H. said.
And then, breathing deeply: “Lisod jud ning pobre ka (It’s really hard/difficult when you’re poor),” Harold H. said. “Kadto nga time, gipit kayo ko (at that at that time, I was in a really tight spot).” And so the gay guy gave him “P300 kada mag-meet mi (P300 every time we met).”
And in hindsight, “daghan kayo siya natabang sa ako – example sa iyaha ko muhulam ug sapatos pag-graduate nako (he helped me a lot – for example, I borrowed from him the shoes I used for my graduation).”
While he was with the gay guy, though, Harold H. also had a girlfriend. That girl used his Facebook account and posted their photos, which were seen by the gay guy. “Nagselos siya, nibulag mi (He got jealous, so we broke up).”
NOT AN EASY LIFE
Harold H. is actually the youngest of seven siblings. His family, though, do not live together anymore. “Broken family,” he said. “Ako ginikanan, naa na lain-lain pamilya; nangibang buhay na (My parents now have their own different families; they have different lives now).”
Harold H. lived with his father, along with three other siblings.
But his relationship with his father isn’t good.
“Nalain ko sa akong papa tungod sa iyang istorya sa akoa; gi-pa-feel niya sa ako nga wala ko pulos. Feel niya sakto siya sa tanan (I feel bad towards my father; he makes me feel useless. He thinks he’s right in everything),” he said. Worse, “kakakita ko , ga-drugs. Galikay pud ko madamay ko (I saw him use drugs. I’m also avoiding getting involved).”
After a falling out with his father, Harold H. decided to run away. “Gipangita ko niya pero wala na ko nibalik (He looked for me, but I didn’t go back with him),” he said.
Living alone isn’t easy, Harold H. admitted. Because he had no earnings, “gi-prenda nako ako phone. Wala man kuwarta, so wala na pamahaw – paniudto na lang dayon; P20 busog na ko (I pawned my phone. And since I don’t have money, I skip breakfast – I just eat lunch. With P20 I’m already full),” he said. Mainly, “mga classmate sa school ang mutabang (my classmates at school help out).”
Harold H. added: “But-an man ko sa ilaha bai (I’m nice to them, buddy).” However, “wala ko gasalig uy. Mangita jud ko trabaho. Ma-o gani nag-stop ko; mag-TESDA na lang tingali, mutigom [I don’t depend on them. I’m really looking for a job. That’s why I stopped schooling; maybe I’ll just study at TESDA (vocational school), I’ll save money].”
ONGOING SEXUAL ARRANGEMENTS
And while he’s finding his footing, sex – again – came to his “rescue”.
“Mga friends nako, mag-recommend sa ako-a mga bayot (My friends would recommend me to gay guys),” he said. Invite-invite sila. Aron dili pud masulti nga easy to get. Naa man gud manyakis ba; gilikayan nato na (They’d invite me. That way, they won’t also think I’m easy to get. There are sex maniacs; I avoid them).”
Harold H. set some “limits”. “BJ lang man tanan. Dili ko mutsupa; kaya lang magpa-BJ. Kaya pud mu-lubot (All of them involve fellatio. I don’t give head; I just let them give me head. I can also fuck).”
One time, a kagawad (local government official) wanted Harold H. to suck him. “Dili jud ko. Sulti ko sa iya: ‘Bali man na imoha kagawad’ (I really didn’t want that. I told him: ‘What you want is the opposite of what I can offer’).”
Harold H. is also, “as much as possible jud,” safe.
However, for someone who is – for all intents and purposes – already doing sex work, Harold H. is not familiar with “pricing” the services he offers. Instead, he said, “wa ko ga-demand; kung unsa lang ihatag (I don’t demand; I just accept what they give me).”
Told that he’s prone to being (more) abused, he just smiled – albeit wanly. “Pasagdi. Sex lang bitaw (Just let them be. It’s just sex, anyway).”
Harold H. now has a girlfriend, and “kahibawo man siya sa tanan (she knows everything).” He thinks that “seryoso na tingali ni kay lahi siya, bai, babaye nga muapas sa imo. Bisan ani na ko, dawaton ko niya (perhaps this is already serious because she’s different from the others; she’s a woman who chases after you. Even if I’m just like this, she accepts me).” However, “dili ko ga-assume pero pasa sa ako-a siya na (I still don’t assume, though I think she’s the one for me).”
For now, though, particularly since “wala pa ko naabot sa kinabuhi (I haven’t done anything in life),” Harold H. said, “padayon sa sa ginahimo (I’ll just continue what I’m doing).”
For Harold H., “katabang man kakaon (it helps me buy food).” And, “usa pa, dili man pud luod; lami gani, so enjoy lang (one more thing, it doesn’t disgust me; it even feels good, so I’ll just enjoy it).”
Then laughing loudly, Harold H. said: “Kinsa kahuna-huna nga katabang diay ang sex, no (Who would have thought that sex can help you)?”