It was my first time. I was young and inexperienced with the ways of the world. She was a few years older than I was. Beautiful, stunningly beautiful. She led me to the room. She told me to relax as she slowly pushed me towards the bed. I sat there frozen as she started unbuttoning her blouse. I could see the excitement in her eyes. She started to breathe heavily. I saw sweat beads forming on her chest…
But that’s not how my first time really happened, and that’s not the first time I wanted to write about…
Sunday. 30 January 2011. Starbucks, Ansons Ortigas. The third Filipino Freethinkers meet-up of 2011. My first time.
I’ve been coming and going different online forums for years and years already but around 2009, if I’m not mistaken, a group sprung up from the forums and decided to meet up: the Filipino Freethinkers. I’ve always been interested in meeting the group since I was once part of a similar group back in college, the UP Atheists’ Circle in Los Baños. I regularly receive Facebook event invites to their meet-ups, but I never seemed to find the time, or when I did have time, the thought of driving all the way to Ortigas just killed it for me. (I live in Las Piñas.)
Anyway, I finally went to the meet-up. I was early so I got my usual Venti Soy Latte and grabbed a seat. The FF people then started coming in. I recognized Red Tani since we were FB friends, so I approached him and introduced myself to him and the group. We started to grab chairs and congregated. There were several of us newbies that day and there was even another Jason, an Australian Jason. We introduced ourselves first. Then the “veterans” followed suit.
It was a large group so we were split into two discussion groups. It was a fairly structured group discussion. There were four topics, and everyone had the chance to put in their two cents. I’d rather not delve into the details of the discussions since I do think a thread on the FF forum should take care of that. I think it would be important to note that you don’t have to worry if you’re unfamiliar with the topic, because there will be someone more than willing to put you up to speed on the issue being discussed.
After the discussions and the picture taking, the members invited us to join them for drinks at Congo Grill. There the talks became more informal but fun and intellectually stimulating nonetheless. I had to leave ahead of the group but I would have stayed longer if i could.
I ‘m glad I made the trip to Ortigas. It was worth it. For an atheist living in the Philippines, it tends to be frustrating not to be able to freely share your thoughts and ideas with others since there’s always that big chance you’d hit a nerve when it comes to others’ beliefs. We’re living in a predominantly Christian nation, and Christians are usually sensitive when it comes to their faith. At the FF meet-up, I was among like minds. Not all were atheists, but what mattered was that it was a group of people with open ears and open minds. The discussions made you think. Some may have different views, but that didn’t matter. That’s the beauty of being among freethinkers. We know that there is no absolute truth and that we’re all entitled to our own truths, ergo, there is no need for conflict during discourse amongst freethinkers. Basically, you’d get a healthy exchange of views and ideas.
The FF people were also very welcoming. I could see that many of them have already formed tight bonds, but they never make you feel left out. And of course, nothing beats conversations over alcohol. Twas a fun first time and it will surely not be my last.