I want to take this opportunity to thank my editor for giving me the special privilege of writing articles confined not only about show business but also about events in my surroundings. Information that may help others to know the serious-ness of issues they may or may not be aware of. I am sure many of us know the alarming proportion between the rich and the poor, the poverty and hunger experienced by some of our brethren but we are too busy with our own lives we may not have time to dwell on these.
Perhaps I am lucky to have a pair of observant eyes that see these glaring and disturbing phenomenon and a pulsating heart that aches at the sight of the under-privileged. But, sad to say, I am not blessed with a largesse that will enable me to extend to these people a helping hand and thus alleviate, even through a small measure, their deplorable living conditions.
On an ordinary day in July of 2003, the dear departed Walter ‘Markova’ Dempster Jr. (who was portrayed by Dolphy and his son Eric Quizon in a film), confided to me his dream of putting up a home of older gays somewhere in Metro Manila. I agreed but mentioned it will be costly putting up a home for older gays. He suggested that I write the second part of his life story and sell his rights for a second film. The film will recount the men in his life. I told him to choose five of the most important and special men in his life he can never forget.
That would have been his second bioflick and it had already a title then—Ang Mga Lalaki sa Buhay ni Markova. After reading the script I labored on for several days, he said that the payment for his rights will be used to start his home for elderly gays project.
The first film on his life was Markova, the Comfort Gay which was produced by Dolphy’s RVQ Productions. Walter offered me to write his story. I hemmed because I saw no point then to make a film about the experiences of a comfort gay. I just read in the tabloids one day that Director Gil Portes was already filming it somewhere in Batangas.
Walter later asked me to become his manager and he expressed his desire explicitly that no one would be allowed to write his life story for films, television, the stage or any other medium of entertainment without my permission. But some unscrupulously deceiving people wrote and presented it as a play at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. And then another digital film was made on his life.
Almost everyday during that time, I met Walter at the Wow Philippines area in Intramuros which featured entertainment fares from the country’s different regions. Once he complained of poor eyesight due to cataract. I brought him to the Ospital ng Maynila for an eye operation. Walter stayed there for over a month because of complications. I took care of him and his medications. He was soon released from his hospital confinement. But tragedy suddenly struck! Late one night in Intramuros, Walter met a bicycle accident that claimed his life. That was June 24, 2005, Araw ng Maynila.
Two years after his death, a good friend of Walter, Vic Celeridad Jr., tracked me down in my Quiapo residence. He urged me to continue with Walter’s dream project of putting up a home for elderly gays. He stressed there are other interested persons. I agreed but insisted that the home must also benefit old lesbians and even just old men and women who have no families to take care of them. I specifically mentioned old folks practically living in the streets. In Manila,
I often observed street dwellers and homeless people.
There is really a need to put up an institution for these elderly folks, homosexuals or not. We discussed the need to register the organization with the Securities and Exchange Commission. But we needed some seed money.
Consequently, the Department of Agrarian Reform announced its DAR Komiks Contest last June. I decided to join and recruited an illustrator. I had to finish the comics script (for a 16-page komiks issue) in three days since illustration will require a longer time.
Before I submitted the finished komiks to the Public Affairs Division of the DAR, I passed Quiapo church and prayed hard to the Black Nazarene to let me win even the consolation prize of P10,000 which I can use to register the The Good Shepherd for Elderly Gays and Non-Gays, Inc. with the SEC.
July 16 was the day for the announcement of the contest winners. I again passed by Quiapo Church and prayed that I win even the consolation prize. During the announcement of winners, I was discouraged when my entry was not included among the eight consolation prize winners. There were two third prizes and I was not that lucky to hear my name. But when the second prize winner was announced, I was pleasantly surprised that my entry Gantimpala won for me and my illustrator the P30,000 second prize—including a bonus of P10,000.00 for best illustrator. It turned out that we were the top winner because no first prize winner was announced. Finally, I came up with the seed money to register our home for elderly gays and non-gays to the SEC.
Winning in the DAR komiks contest would hopefully be a big boost for my writing career. Actually, it was the first award I received in many years of writing movie scripts, articles amd other literary materials. But I know I won the award because of my promise—addressed to the miraculous Nazarene–that I will work very hard to make The Good Shepherd for Elderly Gays and Non-Gays, Inc. a reality.
Honestly, it is really a formidable task to set up the home. There are many things to worry about—financing such an ambitious undertaking, finding a place where we can house the older people, take care, nurse and feed them. Then there will be times we would be ready for such eventualities as assuring a last sacrament and a decent burial. There are many matters to cope with–beds and beddings, food and clothes for the old folks, toiletries, medicines for the sick and many other small requirements.
But those with me in this home for gays and non-gays project could only trust that the Lord will always be around to make things easy and possible for us. There are good Samaritans in our midst who will be willing to extend helping hands and bankbooks. I know a lot of people who will be happy to assist us.
For now, we have organized a group of 13 people working for this. I was appointed the Head Shepherd and we are all aware of the great responsibility now in our hands. All of these because we want to realize a dream our dear departed Walter left us like an inheritance.
I feel I am at peace with the Lord now after finally deciding to devote my time to the care of older people. There is a feeling that I am not overburdened with problems. Though I am not earning a steady income…though I have never successfully sold any of my scripts…I still believe that the Lord will provide.
For the past two months, I think I had been amply provided. People have approached us and they offered help sincerely even without our asking.
I have submitted my life fully to the Lord and I have stopped worrying. I may sound crazy or something, but this is true, many good things are happening to me and I am not discouraged anymore by my failure to sell my scripts. If God give me a sign to stop writing movie scripts and instead concentrate on helping needy people, I will not hesitate and harbor a second thought. I will do it for Him. No qualms.
Through this article, may I appeal to your hospitality and sense of charity to give us the chance to build up this home for elderly gays and non-gays. Help in any form or kind will be most welcomed. Just remember that God blesses those who are selfless and unselfish and God returns good favors tenfold.