BAKLA AKO, MAY REKLAMO?! I remember the first time I browsed his website baklaako.com when I was still based in Dagupan City. He is considered as one of the real influential bloggers in the Philippine Blogosphere and he somewhat inspired a lot of people (men and women) to come out of the closet. He blogs about his interests and at the same time, write heartwarming stories about his own experiences and he actively participates in activities supporting the LGBT community.
I met him for the first time at the iBlog4. Cai, Maki and I had a crush on him and secretly wished that he was straight LOL. Later on, we would bump into each other in blog events and Plurkfiestas. He supported me too in some events I organized for the company I used to work with. He is a certified head turner as people would take a glance as he enters the room. He is also a fashionista and he carries his clothes with style.
He may be frank, but he is fun to be with. He is willing to do crazy things and he wants to live his life. We used to chat about random stuff. From showbiz to chismis to live in general. He truly lives up to the ‘Happy and Gay’ description.
I am lucky enough to be paired with him at the iBlog5 two years ago, where we were tasked to talk about Blogging 101 – the Basics of Blogging. We met up at CBTL at GB3 two days prior to the event and we didn’t really talk much about our slides. Instead, we discussed about my birthday and updated each other with what’s new in our lives. He even encouraged me to pursue my passion for filmmaking and even suggested that I make a different kind of LGBT-themed story. Being the workaholic that he is, he even shared some tips on multitasking and how to balance work and life. What an independent person this AJ is!
Clip from our intro talk found here
As expected, our not-so-prepared talk at the iBlog5 turned out to be a learning yet funny one. What a nice day to start a blogging summit! He did the slides a few hours before our talk as we chat via YM. To make the talk a bit more lively, we decided to put some funny lines while onstage. It has something to do with me having crush on gay gays (like him LOL) and him being firm saying that he will never be straight hehe =P
Ang Tunay na Lalaki ay hindi natutulog. Eh di straight ka? Laging kang puyat, eh!
Sorry, hindi talaga ‘teh
The next day, we attended the Enchanted Kingdom Olympics and he is really competitive LOL =P . He is the type of person who knows how to have fun but when he wants something, he will work hard to get it. Mas lalaki pa siya sa iba r’yan.
When we arrived in Manila, Winston, Van, Bryan, Jason and I had a ‘grown-up’ talk with AJ. You know, us still being idealistic individuals hehe 😀 He shared us stories about the difference of life being dependent to your parents and making ends meet as an independent individual. His statements lightened us and made us think about our own lives. I admire his personality like most bloggers who know him do. May prinsipyo.
The last saw him at the Wordcamp 2010. We managed to exchanged hi’s and hello’s, but we didn’t really get the chance to just sit down and talk. We would say greet each other on FB and on Twitter though. Hay… nakakamiss.
AJ Matela passed away last night. Two days before his 29th birthday. I know that he is happy wherever he is now and I am praying that his family will be able to surpass this.
To AJ a.k.a. Bakla -> You will always be remembered. I will always picture you as an image of a proud gay man who is optimistic towards life. May God bless you. Mahal na mahal kita.
A Facebook group called 1000 Volunteers for AJ Matela was created to help collate funds for AJ’s hospital expenses. You can donate via Paypal by sending it to fundsforAJ@gmail.com (thanks to Faith Salazar!). Rest assured that the donations will be given to AJ’s family. You can also contact Mrs. Matela at 0908 570 1555/0927 984 8142 or deposit it at BPI (Kidapawan) SA#8669-0851-93 of Eric John Matela.
AJ Needs Our Help Now by Migs
Adieu, AJ! by Faith Salazar
Five on Friday: AJ in Photos by Markku
Photo Credits: AJ, Ada, Drew, Nina and Van
I’ve read a few weeks ago that he was extremely sick and it’s sad knowing now that he wasn’t able to make it. But still, he is at rest now so may he rest in peace.
I can’t quite remember our talk in Makati (after EK). All I know was that it was a good talk-slash-debate about growing up. I less participated but I was listening then. Also, AJ paid for the dinner hehe.
AJ reminds us how short life can be. I hope he’s happy wherever he is now. 🙂
i will miss AJ….naalala ko tuloy na ka group ko sya sa Enchanted Kingdom “amazing race”. He was the one who strategized our every challenge..
you know mica, that night we had the dinner with AJ was the most unforgettable memory I had with him. He truly is a good friend
I can’t help but my heart is weeping now. I may not be AJ’s close friend, but I’ve been following his story since I started blogging. When we first met in person, he was the one who approached me first. What a good soul he really is. I will also miss him.
The last time I saw AJ was nakatalikod sya at naglakad paakyat ng office from Mcdo Gil Puyat corner Chino Roces, Makati… that was 3 years ago. O__O… we’re not that close but somehow I missed this guy…
His blog was one of my favorites in the LGBT community. I remember feeling so empowered reading about his views on anti-discrimination. I feel sad about his loss. I’m also aware of how long he has been suffering. You wrote this beautifully, Mica. 🙂
He’s terribly missed. 🙁
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AJ was a colleague at West. He’s a very good person. I joined West in 2004, and I left in 2005 to serve my ecclesiastical mission in Bacolod. I went back in 2008 and he was one of the very first people who really made me feel welcome. I haven;t had the chance to work with him in one department but I heard great things about him, and what’s really good was he remembered me after almost 2 years of not working there. He called me by name one night I was getting my APE and said hey Jen! He welcomed me back. I will never forget the smile on his face, I was truly grateful to him that night. It made a great impact on me. He was such a talented individual, and he will be missed. I know wherever he is right now, he is in a better place. He will also welcome us back when it would be our time to go back to our Heavenly Father’s presence. I pray that his family will find the comfort and love that they need at this time. Life is short, so let’s follow the good examples of AJ and do what is really meaningful — cos in the end, that’s what really matters anyway. God be with you til we meet again AJ! And may God bless everyone.
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I just learned about him at this blog I follow, and in his elegy he said we should go around the blogosphere to read what is being said about AJ Matela. So I did…I found your post and was so happy to see pictures and read your memories. My thoughts are with you young people in the Philippines who admired him and considered him a friend. It is so very difficult to lose someone with such promise at such a young age.
Keep those happy smiles in his memory!
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I never met AJ but looking at the numerous messages and blog entries about him… I can see that he is well loved… He’s in a happy place now.. Rest in peace AJ!
That’s really unfortunate about your close friend. It sounds as though he lived quite a fascinating life that can be used as an example for others.