Monday, November 4, 2013

APCOM Training in Bangkok and a Bit of Nightlife

The training in Bangkok was for 5 days. Now I am not exactly sure what I can post here, for security reasons, so in a nutshell this is what we did while we were in Training.

Basically, it was a training on Communications and Social Media and how we can use them to effectively help the MSM, LGBT and PLHIV community. We had speakers from UNAIDS, Being LGBT in Asia, Youth Voices Count, AIDS Positive Network, etc.

It was an eye opener for me. For those of you who don't know, I have been volunteering with LoveYourself for the past year (which kind of explains the lack of blogposts) as part of the Communications team. But being in the training with APCOM, I was exposed to different cultures, their stories of struggles and victory when it came to helping their community.

We spent 5 days discussing not only how we help our respective communities but also our plans to do more. We learned how to effectively use social media to get our message across. Being in a room full of gay men with such big personalities meant that at some point, there were debates and points that had to be made. But at the end of the day, we were all fighting for the same cause.

Of course, after a very busy day full of lectures and activities, we had to unwind. I arrived in Bangkok Sunday at around noon. At night, we who came from overseas all went out for drinks in Soi 2, one of Bangkok's gay districts.

This is a sight I enjoyed while walking around at night. I did not feel homesick because the traffic reminded me of the traffic in Manila. The only difference is that the traffic in Bangkok are caused by a lot of cars. In Manila, it's caused by a lot of buses and jeeps.

On the second day of training, we had dinner at SOMTAM in Siam Square Soi 5. I swear, they had the most delicious fried chicken I have ever tasted. One bite and I feel like I have died and gone to heaven.

This is how they serve coke in Thailand. With an ice-filled glass. Don't let it sit for very long or you'll be drinking coke-water. Refreshing because it was humid when I was there.

On the third night, we went to Asiatique. The guys from APCOM bought us dinner. As usual, I had fried chicken haha.

We took a boat to get there. It was amazing. 

We're missing about 5-6 delegates in this picture but it's because they didn't join us. Too bad.

Being there and being surrounded by a group of amazing people was an unforgettable experience. One thing I learned is that, we may come from different countries and from different cultures, but we all want the same thing and that we are passionate in what we do because we love doing it. I also learned that we are not so different from one another, despite our cultural differences.

I don't know when I will meet them again, and the chances of us coming together as a group is unlikely, but I am happy that at one point in my life, I got to meet these people. These truly amazing people.

"It well may be, that we will never meet again in this lifetime so let me say before we part: so much of me is made of what I learned from you. You'll be with me, like a handprint on my heart." - For Good, Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz

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