Ace was born and raised in the humble province of Aklan. Both of his parents are farmers. He's a middle child with one older brother and twin younger sisters. They were extremely poor. As a child, he experienced an assortment of hardships to survive. He herded cows on his past time; he often walked barefoot for miles with a sack of vegetables on his back; he used to rise up very early in the morning to till the fields. Their food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner were usually the same; sometimes, they don't even have anything for dinner. At school, he was very envious of his classmates who had almost everything they need. He didn't have a single pair of underwear until grade 6. The first time he tasted ketchup was in high school; the first time he had chocolate was in college.
In spite of the unfortunate circumstances in his life, he was lucky to be blessed with intelligence and perseverance. He was constantly a scholar and a model student, graduating valedictorian in elementary and high school, while cum laude in college. He passed his engineering licensure exams with flying colors, landing as the 20th top examinee nationwide. Afterwards, he flew to Manila, began his career in Cavite, transferring from one job to another, until he ultimately found a stable one with a competitive salary and good perks in an American company based in Laguna. In his 6 years (and counting) of working for that company, he was able live the life of luxury, traveling on official business for at least 4 times a year to different countries including USA, India, Spain, Germany, and China, while staying in high-end hotels. Coincidentally, Ace is a relative of Jonathan Yabut from 'The Apprentice Asia', so I wasn't surprised when Yabut won the competition; they were very much alike in terms of intellect and reasoning. Success really flows in their blood.
Even though blessings keep on pouring, his feet is still planted firmly on the ground. His parents and his experiences taught him how to manage his finances well. He was able to purchase a house and lot in Cavite, where he is currently staying. He bought a large piece of land in his hometown and made it into a farm. He invested his hard-earned money in the right things, like the stock exchange and mutual funds. He's against the idea of buying a car, saying he doesn't really need it and that it was a depreciating asset. He never spends his money recklessly and for naught, unlike other people who had made it big. I learned a lot from him.
Together with Ace, I was able to visit Kalibo for at least once a year. All my visits to Boracay, he was with me. I met his family a couple of times. They are indeed nice and humble people. I became very fond of his parents. They are supportive, loving and they had raised their children well. His older brother, who worked for years in Dubai, already has a poultry business. One of his twin younger sisters has her own successful chicken meat shop in their town market, while the other one is now a nurse working in Saudi Arabia. They started at the bottom, with almost nothing to be proud of except for their love and respect for one another, but now, they have so much more than what they need. His parents still do farming, since that's the only thing they know for all their life. But nowadays, they are only doing it as a hobby, to keep them busy. This is one more thing I liked about them; they still live humbly in spite of their overwhelming success. Because of my love for Aklan and his family, I decided to study their local dialect, Aklanon. And it was no easy feat.
Based on all of the things mentioned above, I can say that Ace is an incredible person. There's no doubt about it. As a friend, you
wouldn't help but be fond of him. He was very friendly. He easily acquires new ones while keeping the old ones still intact. As a partner, you'd surely love
him deeply. Because of him, I decided to come out to my mom, while he, on the other hand, came out to some of his friends and cousins. We did this so that our relationship would have more room to breathe, for it not to be limited between the two of us alone. We often spent our time together just chilling at home, watching movies and U.S. TV shows. We seldom go out on dates, like for every two weeks tops. We took out-of-town trips twice a year, either alone or with friends.
On October of 2010, approximately one month into our relationship, I was diagnosed with gallbladder stones. I had been enduring the symptoms for months, so a removal was already necessary. Since my dad was working overseas, my mom needed to stay at home for my siblings, hence no one could look after me once the procedure was done. Fortunately, Ace volunteered. However, he was sent to Taiwan for a supplier audit a week before my operation. His day of return was also the day of the surgery. So he went straight to the hospital directly from the airport. When I woke up after being transferred from the recovery room, he was the first thing I saw, with his luggage and all. He took care of me until I was discharged.
On our first anniversary, we celebrated it in Marriot Hotel Manila. We strolled around and dined in Resort's World, spent a little cash in their casino, and watched a play in the Newport Performing Arts Theater. It was a very romantic weekend. For our second anniversary, we traveled out of the country. In a span of a week, we visited 3 countries: Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, and Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in Cambodia. It was an exhilarating adventure, having the opportunity to marvel at the grandeur of the Merlion statue and the Marina Bay Sands, learning about the rich history of Saigon from their museums, touring the majestic Angkor Wat temples, and experiencing firsthand other cultures very much different than ours. These were the things that added color into our relationship. I was glad that it was with Ace when I did all of these.
Well, like everybody else, Ace also has a dark side and a shadowy past. Before he met me, he prowled around the complicated world of PlanetRomeo; he had countless generic and emotionless one-night stands with strangers whose names he barely even remembered; when he stayed in the US for 6 months, he used Craigslist to search for numerous hook-ups; he had cheated with his former partners several times; a foursome, in which he was included, once took place in his house; he had experienced paying some friend a hefty amount of money just for a blowjob; and he once took advantage of a drunk office mate at his hotel. Because of these, I had a very hard time trusting him at the beginning. He was not committed for a long time, so he found it very difficult at first to break these bad habits he developed. Fortunately, he agreed to work on it. Through our joint effort, he became a devoted partner. As far as I know, he never cheated on me. I learned to put my complete trust in him, keeping his constant assurances in mind. We had fights, yes, usually because of petty things. It wasn't very long before our anger subsides, so it never took us more than a day to reconcile.
My relationship with Ace felt like I was up high above the sky,
flying with the birds, looking down at the beauty of the world. He let me experienced new things, both tangible and intangible, which,
until now, I treasure dearly. I'd been with him in places I didn't
expect I would be able to reach. We got the love that we were both waiting for so long, the companionship that we both deserved, and the passion that we had reserved for the right one.
However, halfway into our 3rd year, everything ended because of one fateful night.
To be continued...