Thursday, June 16, 2011

Spit Roast: The Mysterious Lady From The Bukid (Barrio)


In February this year, the world was stunned when the mysterious lady from the barrio vanished leaving behind only these solemn words "And she lived happily ever after. Alone."

Her millions of fans panicked. Where did she go? Why did she leave?

Rumors were flying around and people were gossiping; did she get depressed over her ex lover? Perhaps she found a new one and eloped with him? Where in the world is she? Nobody knew the answers so I decided to pack my bag and hiked to the countryside to find her.

Lo and behold, I did, and luckily, I was able to persuade her to sit down with me for an interview.

It was my first Spit Roast with Rudeboy that led me to the blog of this writer who spins funny, sometimes touching, and often poignant stories about life in the barrio. As someone who lives and writes about life in the city, her stories were an eye-opener about how different and enchanting gay life can be in the province with their beauty contests, and straight boyfriends, picnics by the river and basketball games.

I backread every single one of her stories. Yep, that's more than two hundred tales she has written since 2007. She writes about lovers and friends, but if you're observant you would notice that this writer rarely reveals herself. We only see her through the eyes of the characters in her stories, and it is through this that we come to get to know her. But always, it is like seeing a lady through a veil.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you … Mandaya Moore.

Why do you blog? When did you open your first blog and how long did you keep it? In one of your entries, you said you closed it because someone revealed your identity.

It started with two journalist-friends who tried to convince me to blog. There were bloggers too. I initially said no because I didn’t know what to blog about.

But the thought of being able to write in literary form again excited me. After days of thinking about it, I gave in. And Mandaya Moore was born in 2006.

I didn't have any audience then. One day, Las Tres Estrallas mentioned me in their blog and linked me. I won the comment of the month contest thrice. Thanks to them, I gained traffic.

Why did you focus on life in the bukid?

I didn’t want to write about my politics or work. Other than those two things, there’s nothing else except my life in the bukid.

What's the story behind your blog name?

Davao Oriental, the bukid is home to the Mandaya tribe.

And? Are you connected to that tribe?

Does fucking a Mandaya man count ba?

Hahaha. I guess it could. So tell us how you closed your first blog.

It was an accident. Kulot’s ex read it, commented and even mentioned my real name. My plan was to delete her comment. I clicked the “delete blog” button, instead. Everything’s lost. No back up files. I don’t write drafts. Now, I do comment moderation.

Lesson learned huh. Why did you blog again? Was it because you wanted to write about your relationship with Kulot?

While Mandaya Moore was on “vacation,” I opened another blog — Maui Pacquiao — just a few posts. But it wasn’t the same as Mandaya’s. Maui had a different set of friends, it was about city life.

While I was Maui Pacquiao, I traveled around Mindanao and wrote about the places I'd been to. Then some friends who didn't know I had a blog started telling me to check Mandaya Moore's blog. A Baguio City-based friend, who's a multiple Palanca winner, wrote a tribute to Mandaya on his blog. He also didn't know I was Mandaya.

That's when I realized people actually read my blog. I had to go back to blogging as Mandaya. So it wasn't because of Kulot.

I became Mandaya Moore - Orlis. I returned to blogging with a hyphen - my way of explaining why I did not write for months. I had gotten married. We went on a honeymoon. We tried to have a baby.

Ahhhhh. What happened? Did you have difficulty conceiving?

I wasn't anatomically prepared.

Oh. That must have been quite a surprise. (Grins) Do you remember the most significant/memorable blog post you've ever read?

That would be from the The Red Horse Gallops. It was about a guy who prepared an anniversary dinner and waited for his lover who never arrived. I think the lover had a motorcycle accident or something like that.

But I've since stopped reading that blog. It is now closed.

What is the most significant/memorable blog post you've ever written?

Two posts in the old blog. “Leche Flan,” which included a recipe on how to cook it.

At that time Kulot and I broke off. It was the day before the town fiesta and there were orders for leche flan. He volunteered to cook it in his mother’s house. As he was leaving, I reminded him of our secret on how to make “melts-in-your-mouth” leche flan. Slow fire and patience. And I thought it was also what our relationship needed.

The other would be “Johnny.” It was about me having a drinking session with our friend Johnny, whose five-day old baby had just died. He cried before me and I was thinking who’s feeling worse: “He losing his five-day old baby or me losing my five-year old relationship with Kulot.”

That “Johnny” post got a comment from the great writer Wilfredo Pascual.

I suppose there are no copies left of those two stories. Do you ever consider writing those stories again?

I rewrote the two blog posts for someone who wanted to show them to a filmmaker. I have the rewritten posts (printed form as my MacBook crashed), but never sent them to that person who requested the copies.

Who are your favorite bloggers and why?

1. Mugen --- I would kill for him. The words, the sentences, the paragraphs -- perfect. His topics vary, yet he is still consistenly good.

2. Buquir --- An underrated writer. More people, not just call center agents, should read him. He's really funny.

3. Rudeboy --- because he is Rudeboy.

4. McVie --- Simply one of the best. Gay writing but not the loud kind. I've been reading him for years. We exchanged links only last year. Suplado sya. Hahahaha!

5. Yes, you Kane. You were one of the bloggers I've read outside my so-called "circle." I'm still not through reading back your past posts.

You and Mugen remind me of a journalism professor of mine in college who said writing is the art of choosing, choosing the right word, sentence, paragraph for a story.

Do you read a lot of blogs? I noticed you rarely comment on others peoples' stories so I was wondering if you read only a few blogs.

I used to comment a lot, but only to the “circle of bloggers” that I read when I started blogging. When fellow blogger Kiks started the “Theorgy,” I began reading blogs outside that “circle.”

My fault, I haven’t been going beyond my links. There are a lot of good writers. I felt like I was being rude not to at least have the courtesy of commenting on their blogs or link them back.

What I don’t usually do is comment on a comment on my blog. For me, it’s like reading a book. The author doesn’t answer back to a marginal note written by the reader. This isn’t interactive. But then again it happened several times— the readers’ comments influencing my decisions in life. I may not comment on the comments, but I do read them, I consider them.

Do your friends from the "bukid" read your blog? How do they feel about it?

They do and they are crazy about it. When I’m not around they share their stories, photos. They even want photo-ops for the blog.

Can you share with us what you do for a living? How old are you?

I would be lying if I tell.

Ahhhh... ever the mysterious one. I have read with great fascination your story with Kulot. How are you both now? Are you friends? Do you see each other / talk to each other? Is he still together with the same girl? Is he married? I read your last story about him, and I really loved it. It was so tender.

Kulot is now somewhere in Northern Luzon. We're friends. He regularly texts to say hi. He calls, too. He's no longer with the “Bilat.” They broke up when Kulot was here last December. The reason - Kulot didn't want to give his mobile phone to the suspecting girlfriend. I, the suspecting ex, believe that Kulot didn't want the girl to know that we were texting.

The Bilat, after graduating from high school, now works for a bakeshop. I have since stopped buying bread from that bakeshop.

Do you still think of him, sometimes? Do you miss what you had? How do you feel now?

I still do. Good thoughts. Happy thoughts. No regrets. I loved the guy. I probably still do love him.

Ahhh... is he the biggest love of your life (so far)?

Yes he is. But for me, the greatest love of all is easy to achieve. Learning to love your self is the greatest love of all. And if by chance…

Are you currently single?

Nope. I’m having a relationship with my DVD player and “pirated” M2M films. HAHAHA!

Well... I am seeing Bimby -- a 20-year bukid boy. He's too cute for the bukid.

How cute?

Like this.

Oooohhhh. Isn't he rather young? (Grins) What attracts you to a man, the sort you look for in a boyfriend and not just a fling?

He should have this parochial feel. I’m tired of dating men (and most of them are gay) who can’t have a conversation without mentioning “post-modern.”

AHAHAHAHA. You're baddddddd...

I like straight men, not straight-acting gay men.
I like construction workers, tambays, adiks, schoolboys, not from the Ateneo but from colleges that have dilapidated buildings.
I love farmers, fishers, bus drivers, even balut vendors.
I love the AFP. I love the NPA. I’m still trying to hook up with an MILF rebel.

How many "meaningful" romantic relationships have you had?

Your “meaningful” is in quotes. Please expound. Hahaha

Well, hahaha. Relationships that mattered, you know. That changed you.

I had one with a businessman (who made me a kept partner because he was married), a law graduate (he still has not passed the bar), a Shell Philippines engineer (also married) and Kulot. Four.

Have you had a relationship with a gay man?

A lot. Loved them. It’s just that I’m more into straight guys now.

Why is that? Do you think a relationship between a gay man and a straight man can last? I'm curious.

I just got tired being a top so I shifted to being a bottom. HAHAHA!

Kane, dahlin, nothing lasts forever.

Hahahaha. Really? You were a top? Uhm... no, you don't have to answer. (Grins)

As your blog description states, you write a lot about life in the province. And I think that is what fascinates most of your readers who are based in the city. You give us a glimpse of how life is in the barrio.

How different is it being gay in the barrio as compared to being gay in the city?

Life is simple in the bukid. No rush, no traffic, no pollution. We gays there can live with our small earnings from cutting hair, rebond, hair stretching, even eyebrow enhancement.

I can go to the palengke (market) without taking a bath. We have drinking sprees outside a sari-sari store. No dressing up, but definitely fully made up.

In the bukid, we don’t have gay-to-gay relationships. It’s a mortal sin. You won’t receive sacrament if you do that. Why do it with another gay guy when there are straight boys?

Hahaha. Well… sex with gay men is different compared to straight men, right?

An ocean of difference. When a straight man fucks you, you can shout “inangkin nya ako” to the world. When you do it with another gay man, you can shout “nag-angkinan kami” to the world.

When you go to the city, do you go clubbing?

Sometimes. When my sushal friends invite me.

What are your favorite cities and why?

Davao City. Inexpensive. Safe. Clean.
Dapitan City-- boys, beach and bitch (me).

Do you think you'll ever live permanently in a city? Or is your barrio home?

The city is not for me. Too crowded. Too Avril Lavine (Complicated). In fact, I want a bahay kubo for a house.

Do you read your old stories? How do they make you feel?

I do. The old posts make me laugh. And the comments make me laugh even louder. They make me realize that, yes, I can write.

Why do you write in Filipino?

Because I can express better in that language. Let's just say that I'm a frustrated literary writer. I want to join Palanca but never had the guts.

Why did you stop writing? Will you write again? When?

The last post wasn't meant to be the last post. I was planning to introduce an “interactive” kind of blogging. The plan was to have the “mahiwagang shorts” go around blogger-friends and readers who can have their photos taken with the shorts and i'll have it posted on the blog. But then something happened.

In February, we discovered that our father was sick with cancer --- stage 4 prostate cancer. The doctor gave him two years to live. So I became busy with a lot of things.

He's doing fine, for now --- thanks to that uber expensive monthly IV shot for his decompressed spine-- where the cancer cells had spread.

Oh... I am sorry to hear that. I can only imagine what you are going through. It is never easy to take care of a loved one.

Funny thing is that despite having been told that his days are numbered, our father still insists he's a victim of “kulam” (witchcraft). We just let him be with his denial.

What do you think will happen to Mandaya Moore? Will she find her happily ever after?

Mandaya Moore will be back.
Happy ever after? That would be a long shot. There should be no timeline for happiness – this will be my first line for my comeback blog post.

Thank you Mandaya for sharing your stories with me, with us. I was really surprised you agreed to an interview. I've always had an impression you were rather... aloof. And I have always been curious about you. I think a lot of us are.

As you may know, every guest gets a chance to ask one question. It can be anything in this world.

Mandaya: What's the one thing you hate about blogging?

Hahahahaha. You bad, bad girl. You could have asked me about the joys blogging gives me, but nooooo... you had to pick the opposite.

Whew. This is a rather difficult one, Mandaya. Hate is such a strong word, but there are certain things about blogging that I find a little uncomfortable. I write very personal stories so sometimes I feel weird that some people really begin to know a lot of information about me.

Don't get me wrong. It was my choice to write the kind of stories I write, but the unavoidable consequence is that some people will recognize me and sometimes I'm surprised by the amount of information they know. I guess there are really observant readers out there, and it can be a little frightening.

To be so naked... so exposed? I guess it is something I have to live with.


^travis said...

Kudos for this awesome scoop, Kane! I hope Mandaya Moore knows that she is sorely missed.

new follower to your blog.

Mugen said...

Being acknowledged by someone I look up to is a great honor. Mandaya was there when I was just starting.

I promise to stay, and write and wait for Mandaya's return. After all, I owe much of my acceptance, my respect for diversity, my realization that being gay is normal because of him.

Pipo said...

Best spit roast so far. And I don't even read Mandaya.

the geek said...

"I want a bahay kubo for a house."

me, too. me, too.

Jepoy Dee said...

i so love this interview. i miss Mandaya Moore. sana bumalik na sya soon.

Kudos Kane!!! :)

Anonymous said...

i so miss ms. mandaya moore! thank you sooooo much for this kane. let us all say a prayer for him as he stands by his ailing father.


Ms. Chuniverse said...

This is WOW!!!

I thought Mandaya will never resurface again so thanks to the author for 'tracking' her down.

She is one my inspirations why i blog. Mandaya knows i'm a FAN. I hope she'll write again.

And thanks Jepoy for the link to this blog!


Momel said...

Aww, Kane, thank you for letting us know that he's coming back. I love that blog and how he writes it. Be back soon, Ms Mandaya!

Galing, Kane. Haysowlavet!

blagadag said...

this post reconnects us to our most missed blogger. thanks for letting us informed on her. bimby is cute. and mandaya is so right about Mugen. Mabuhey ang Spit Roast! Ang tangkad ni Mandaya, ano?

Désolé Boy said...

Oh Kane, of course, I know Mandaya. I love here kaya!
And even if I wasn't able to persuade you to post the continuation of your "story" this is, still, an awesome treat.
Come back soon Mandaya. A lot of us sure miss you ;D

engel said...

i must admit, i have never read any of Mandaya's posts except for the last one.

but i have heard about her alot. from my officemates and fellow bloggers.

but it's nice to get to know the person more.

Jj Rodriguez said...

that's quite a comeback... love it tho...


Mac Callister said...

very nice!!! upclose and personal with one iconic blogger out there!!!

napangiti at natouch ako sa mga sagot nya sayo...i hope someday ma meet ko din siya.he is something :-)

sana laging may ganito,interview interview...naaliw ako hahaha

orally said...

enjoyed this one. good job kane, as usual.

DSM said...

oh. my. effin'. geez! this is a major coup, Kane! so sad about Mandaya's dad but I'm so happy to hear that Mandaya will be back. one of the things I learned from his posts is to end a post with a bang, preferably with a witty one-liner.

kudos señor kane.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to have read the old blog of Mandaya. It was the first time I read great writing in a blog. And to understand the cebuano language nuances was such a joy. Sulat pa gihapon igat!

Anonymous said...

idol ko na kayong dalawa!

greetings from dubai

MANDAYA MOORE: Ang bayot sa bukid said...

Maraming salamat Kane!

Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat!

Anonymous said...

Great interview! I've missed "hearing" Mandaya's voice.

Nice one, Kane!

- buquir -

Sean said...

great interview kane. glad to know that mm will be back soon.

bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wandering tsinelas said...

Thanks for this. :) Hats off to you, Kane.

To Mandaya, teh lumabas ka na sa kung saang singit ka man nagtago. Bilis bilisan mo lang at tigang na tigang na ang kabukiran.

- wanderingtsinelas/bobrevisited

Peter said...


Anonymous said...

Haven't heard of Mandaya for quite sometime. Thanks Kane!

rudeboy said...


Long-time coming, but the Mandaya Moore Spit Roast interview was well, well worth the wait.

As others here have already pointed out, Ms. Moore-Orlis was sorely missed; hence, it was a wonderful treat to "hear" his voice once again. And intertwined with yours, dear Kane, it's like strawberries and cream.

A little sweet, a little sour, and definitely yum.

P.S. Thanks for the shout-out, Ms. Moore. It was unexpected but a thrill, nonetheless.

Nate said...

you already!! you're like the Oprah of Blogsphere..

i'm a new follower to your blog..

Kiks said...

mandaya on spitroast? delish!

citybuoy said...

I was wondering what happened to her. I so love her at siya lang ang blog ba nahihiya ako magcomment. and ang galing niya nag-English. these spitroasts of yours, tama sila. you'd give Oprah a run for her money. haha