More than nine months after my last entry, I began to stir. My eyelids began to twitch. My fingers began to move. My breathing changed and became more regular, more consistent. And then, my eyes opened to a blur that gradually cleared up.

I awoke from my long coma and the first thing I saw was… Wait, I need to get the back-story straightened out first.

Almost five years ago, after breaking up with my on-and-off ex, I considered that my last best chance to have a meaningful romantic relationship. Good thing the universe surprised me by proving me wrong with her.

Before my maternal grandfather Ingcong Ben died earlier this year (more on that in a future post), I recall that in his last years he had always wanted me to have a girlfriend. He was of the traditional thinking that a proper man would never be complete without a proper woman in his life, and he was naturally crazy for grandchildren and great-grandchildren. While I would dismiss it as mere ranting and an odd sort of impatience, he would ask that question over and over each time we were together. At one point (having a reputation for being the ladies’ man since his younger years), he tried setting me up with a saleslady he met at SM City Pampanga by introducing me to her while taking a stroll with him one afternoon. Feeling embarrassed and shocked by his gesture, I apologized to the woman and grabbed Ingcong before continuing our way. I made it a point to stress to him that I was not going to  find a girlfriend in such a way, and that if the universe would conspire to leave me in my solo pilot state, I would do my best to be contented with it.

It had been nearly five long years since my last relationship ended after six on-and-off years (click HERE for the full story) and despite my struggles on many days, I was actually getting by fine as a single guy. I enjoyed the new-found freedom I had with no romantic partner to always bug me about when I was coming home or where I actually was. And with each day, week, month, and even year that passed, I somehow felt I had accomplished more than the last and I was actually ready to spend the rest of my days in solitude if meant to. I had even survived a potential “one who got away” scenario despite my deep disappointment and managed to keep going as I had for the past years.

And then I met this girl. Well, before I met her, I actually met her friend Annie who happened to be a member of some community page on Facebook, who eventually introduced me to Bianx (her real name being Bianca Marie Teodoro). We got along very well due to our love for pro-wrestling (particularly WWE and TNA) and sports such as basketball, our wide knowledge and opinionated view of historical and current events, our strong humanistic ideals, and our beliefs which ran contrary to our upbringing (with Bianx being an atheist in a born-again Christian family and I being an agnostic theist in a Roman Catholic family).

We were soon regular chatmates on Facebook and we talked about all and sundry almost everyday. And because she was celebrating a personal milestone and we had yet to meet in person after two-plus months of knowing each other, I proposed to meet up with her one weekend and have a one-day road trip to Pampanga so that she could try the food in my neck of the woods. She agreed and on a Saturday in late April, we met for the first time at the Five Star bus terminal along EDSA to take a bus to Pampanga. Our first stop was Robinson’s Starmills in San Fernando City, where she enjoyed the unique Kabigting’s Halo-Halo (due to its usage of carabao’s milk and pastillas made from the same as toppings). We then headed to Aling Lucing’s in Angeles City, where by a stroke of misfortune, they had run out of their famous sisig forcing a change of plans. I took her to my favorite haunt Didi’s Pizza nearby, where we had some tasty homemade pizza and sisig. We then headed back to town and I took her to Susie’s Cuisine, where she got plenty of treats for her family and friends. We then met up with my dad over at the nearby McDonald’s, where he had offered to bring some of his manggaditas (tarts filled with fresh mango jam) since the stores nearby had run out. We dropped by Jun-Jun’s Barbecue and Bibingka in San Fernando as a last stop, and she immensely enjoyed the special sauce created for their pork and chicken barbecue, before heading home.

We met again a couple of weeks later at a coffee house when she aired her frustration with some recent issues that had arisen, and she greatly appreciated the time I offered so that we could talk. But it was a simple SMS sent during my stay with the family at a beach in Dasol, Pangasinan that served as a catalyst for what would happen next, as I simply told her:

“I am having a great time here at the beach. I wish you were here to see it. I miss you.”

So, she stated, it made her giddy with excitement to the point that she was “squealing like a schoolgirl”. I felt a unique closeness to her that I never had with almost anyone before, but I was hesitant to act on it and felt it was best to leave it as a friendship for the meantime.

The following weekend, we were chatting on Facebook as usual, when she popped this message:

“I don’t quite actually know how to put it but here goes… we’re getting to know each other and all, but are we doing it as just friends or are we shooting for something else? I know you’re a sweet person so this is kinda vague for me. I’m still in the getting-over-someone stage and at the same time I think you’re a really great guy and I love spending time with you, but I’m not sure how this question would change things, you know. Like the other day, when I posted the Ipagpatawad Mo lyrics. One of the people we know (I’m not going to say who) asked me if we were dating kasi he/she saw our conversation. I answered, “I don’t know.””

I told her that we were in a platonic relationship at the moment albeit with a special closeness, and then she also went on to say this:

“I mean, yes, we really aren’t “quite there yet”. But we basically admitted to each other that maybe we’re almost there. Otherwise we probably won’t consider talking about it. I probably would have shrugged it off if it’s just pure friendship. Here’s the supposed reserved bluntness. I don’t think we are “friends” per se. I mean of course we are, but we have to admit there’s more to it than that. And I’m not just saying it because I’m sad, or that I feel insecure or something. I don’t know. I hate saying I don’t know. We are dating, as far as I can tell. We are getting to know each other, in that direction. Correct me if I’m wrong but we sort-of “reserved” ourselves for each other today.”

“I’m not saying we should recognize each other as boyfriend-girlfriend, but at the very least… man, this is not platonic. Or maybe it’s just me… in which case I will be ready to bury my face in the ground later”

I then admitted that with the special closeness we had, we had to make sure to know each other before we acted on whatever we felt. She then replied with this:

“That’s fair. But here’s a rebuttal. I actually like you. Look I’m not saying we should be an official couple. All I’m saying is.. why the hell are we talking about this if it’s nothing?”

So we started opening up about our pet peeves, our fears, our hopes, our dreams and what-have-you. And we then made plans for our first romantic date ever the following Friday, where we would spend the evening over at Glorietta shopping mall.

The evening started out nicely with a dinner at Burger King, and after going around the mall for a bit we ended up at her favorite haunt Chocolate Fire Cafe in neighboring Salcedo Village. She mentioned that she loved the cafe for two reasons: Their wonderful chocolate-based items and that she could torture herself seeing happy couples in the shop every time. We had agreed to behave like a couple to see how things would be like, and we started out holding hands, hugging and even kissing at various points. It was such an enjoyable evening that by the time we got to the cafe and got comfortable on the couch after we ordered our drinks, we started making out like crazy. At one point, a patron passed on a note to Bianx before leaving, wherein she expressed her disapproval of our overt PDA (Public Display of Affection). We then decided to call it a night, and after a walk to Ayala Avenue where we exchanged tender kisses in between, I helped her board a cab home and rode the next available bus. Ironically, I forgot I had to cross the street to take the right bus home and ended up going in the opposite direction. I got down at the corner of Taft Avenue and Buendia (near the LRT Gil Puyat station) and took a bus the right way home.

Just a few days later, I asked her to be at Market! Market! early the next morning where I was assigned to the night shift due to recent changes at the office. I  was with my friend J-Mee and I let her in on my plan to make our relationship official. When Bianx showed up, I told her we were now an official couple. It was May 27, 2013, and nearly five long years after I had decided to resign myself to my version of solitary confinement, I was freed from this internal prison by a woman I never expected to meet in my travels. And while my long solo pilot flight may have ended in a rather whirlwind fashion, I can say that finally I know what the rest of my life should and will look like.

I have had the privilege of meeting her family and friends in the weeks since, and they have shown a largely overwhelming approval of our relationship. I am now working to get her to meet my people from my side of the fence, after receiving great reception from my sisters, niece, nephew and a few of my friends. But whatever happens, whatever reception she gets, whatever storms life chooses to blow our way, I can finally say that I have found the one that I can share my sunsets with.

With her being a big fan of sunrises, however, I can say in all fairness that a new day has indeed dawned for us. The adage stating that “Anything worth it will never be easy” has never rung so true.

To the one who now holds my heart, thank you for loving me as no other girl has before. I love you so much, and I promise to be the best and only partner you’ll ever have and need.

And so, for only the second time ever, I’ll post something from YouTube as my way of putting a lid on my blog entry. This scene from the movie Fools Rush In (1997, starring Matthey Perry and Salma Hayek) simply says it all. Cheers!