024CD: About Brusko Pink

Tobie, Louie, and Rocky at O Bar

Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 193

I first met Louie Cano at the original Bed. He was one of the guys who'd mostly wait on the stairs and sort of watch everyone in the bar. It was the best vantage point, admittedly.

Louie was pretty intimidating to meet since friends mentioned that he was a published author. And you get this guy who is like super muscular and tough looking and he'd look you over from head to foot with laser focus. But then he'd open his mouth and he'd surprise you with what a gentle and kind person he is - truly, he was the embodiment of Brusko Pink.

He was the kind of guy who would love to joke about measuring everyone's dick sizes based on their bulges. He would have no shame and start at your jeans and then either nod approvingly or tease you. He had few inhibitions about what to talk about and that was very important to me as a young gay man who had just left home to live his independent gay life. He was...an inspiration. He was a gay man who didn't give a fuck what other people thought and he'd say whatever he wanted to say but in a manner that still made him sound like the most endearing guy. 

My partner at the time (now ex, obviously) was the sort to go dancing on his own on the ledge and that would leave me...watching him. When Bed expanded and my default spot became the area beside the DJ booth, a lot of times I'd end up finding myself beside Louie. And because he's such a nice guy, he'd talk to me and we'd watch my ex dance from afar and he'd praise us a couple and all that. 

I used to quip that you could tell the time at the bar based on whether or not Louie was still wearing a shirt or tanktop. Because come 3AM or so it was almost guaranteed he'd take off whatever he's wearing and dance his heart out. And you know what, he'd dance with chubby little me because he was that kind of a guy. And I always appreciated him for that.

When that relationship ended and I stopped going to Bed in favor of O Bar, I kinda accepted that I had given up most of my friends from those circles because...well, these things happen when you break up. But Louie was the sort to go everywhere and the first time I saw him again at O Bar was...surprisingly nice.

I don't remember the specifics, but our conversation generally started with him confirming that my ex and I were no longer together. Then he took a good look at Tobie and subjected him to his usual head to toes examination with those laser eyes studying Tobie's crotch carefully. Then he said he approved and was happy for me. And given how many of my (former) friends from the past relationship had stopped talking to me once I had left the ex, this was an odd sense of relief? And it was nice to have a connection to that earlier part of my gay life.

We'd see Louie at O Bar regularly after that and I always made it a point to walk over to wherever he was and be sure to say hello and give him a big hug. He'd always be happy to see me and we'd swap stories, quip about guys and he'd say something crass like making sure I had a good sex life or something. But that sort of discourse went a long way to shape the gay man that I am now and how comfortable I am with my sexuality and being sexual and just being proud. 

In recent years something happened and we became a lot closer and I earned the honor of sharing his confidences and I offered what support I could. We'd talk about what was stressing out and what are fears were and general sentiments about getting older and shit like that. I hope I did right by him as I did my best to keep his spirits up and keep him focused on the future being a good thing. More than a few tears had been shed at the bar but those are moments between me and Louie that I'll treasure forever. 

He had stopped going to O Bar over the last year or so and we were all looking for him. I had tried shooting him a private message once or twice but my messages wouldn't even get tagged as seen and I got pretty worried. I was hoping he'd show up for my birthday celebration last year or something or even for the O Bar anniversary in December, which is always a sort of reunion for the old Malate friends. But we didn't see or hear from him.

Last night, we found out that he had already passed away last Sunday. Details are limited but it was just so sad to hear because he was so loved by so many. Louie Cano was a dear friend of mine and I will miss him forever. I love you, mahal. I will always remember how beautiful you are. I will always think of you on those steps or dancing shirtless with me because I know that's how you expect all of us to see you in our minds. I wish we had gotten a chance to see each other the last time or that we had gotten to talk more or something. But life will always feel too short and I know you would want me to continue living my life, dancing when I feel like it, and saying whatever the fuck comes to mind because we should be proud and free and fabulous.

Rest in Power, Louie. I love you. I cannot stress that enough. I love you, dear friend. I miss you, mahal. I love you, I love you, I love you. And I'm so terribly sad that you're gone.

Aware Campaign Image


  1. He was truly someone whose presence made the night so much more special. We will remember him and cherish the memories. He will live on in our memories and in our hearts.

    Rest in power, Louie.
    Kisses and love.


Post a Comment