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On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school.

I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit.

They both live in Tondo, among the informal settlers there. Binalita niya sa akin na nakuha na niya ‘yung HIV test niya, at positive siya (She called me at eight in the morning. She told me she got the result of her HIV test, and that she tested positive),” Jeng continued. Hindi ko siya kayang pabayaan kasi ang dami na namin pinagsamahan. Asked about Pride, and the annual march/parade, she looked confused: “Pride March? Bata palang ako,barker na ako (I’ve been doing this for a while now. Okay na rin, na-celebrate ko namanbirthday ko (This is all I can afford. But it’s okay, I was still able to celebrate my birthday),” he said. When he was 16 years old, he went to Manila to look for work. But after three weeks, he lost his raket at the pier. Mabuti rin ito, at least tatlo kami nagtutulungan sa buhay (There’s nothing wrong with having three people in a relationship. It’s also good since we’re all able to help each other out),” PJ ended.

Each day, they share meals together – with the kids and other family members. Noong ako ang nagkaproblema dati, nandun siya palagi sa tabi ko. I was just a child, I was already a barker).” She did not finish college because her family could not afford to send her to school. As long as I’m with my family).” Of course, if given a chance to do a different work with a better pay, “tatanggapin ko ‘yun! He celebrated his birthday with two of his closest friends over a bottle of Red Horse Mucho and Chippy while walking at Plaza Divisoria. In just a matter of two days, he got a job at the pier. “Pero wala akong tinutuluyan ‘nun, doon lang din ako sapier natutulog. Kadalasan isang beses lang ako kumakain sa isang araw (But I was homeless then. And since he did not have a place to stay or know anyone in Manila, he saved up – from paid sexual encounters – and went back to CDO. THE FATHER AND THE SON “Dati akong construction worker, pero huminto na ako ngyaon. His gay son is only 16 years old and they live in Quezon province.

I ask him how he got infected, but he doesn’t tell me.