Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Volunteer Spotlight: Miggy Obina and Gino Osic, Finding Each Other Amid The Noise

By Gian Geronimo

LoveYourself volunteers Miggy and Gino share how their self-worth and love for one another drive them to give their best for the organization.

Miggy and Gino first set eyes on each other inside a dark, noisy and crowded motel room in 2013, where people were so busy enjoying a night of drunken reveling. That room that night was a frenzied place, and wasn’t exactly the most conducive backdrop for a budding romance. But sometimes the most unlikely meetings are the ones that lead to the most pleasant surprises, a place where, surrounded by noise and chaos, two people meet in a pocket of silence, and a love story begins. That was the first of several encounters that would ultimately lead to the two becoming one of LoveYourself's power couples.

Miggy, a vice president at  a local bank, first became involved with LoveYourself in 2012 while assigned in Cebu, after a friend who is also a volunteer told him about the group and its advocacy.  He officially joined the Manila chapter in 2014. . Meanwhile, Gino, who currently works as a payroll analyst while pursuing his undergraduate degree, learned about the group in  2011 and has since been helping to further the cause.

Miggy and Gino’s paths first crossed  in 2013, at a birthday party  organized for a couple of  LoveYourself volunteers, in one of the branches of a popular motel chain. Miggy initially didn’t want to go; Gino, on the other hand, came to have fun (even if he didn't really know a lot of the people in attendance). Little did the two know it was a meeting that would eventually change their lives for possibly, well, forever.

Upon arriving at the venue, which was already filled with bodies energetically dancing, with inebriated souls laughing and having fun, Miggy saw Gino quietly taking in the scene around him, and was immediately attracted. "I saw this young man sitting there all by himself," Miggy says. "The very first time I saw him, I said, 'Sh*t, this guy is good-looking! !'"  Miggy proceeded to chat up Gino, who was busy people-watching at the party.

Gino recalls his thoughts that night: “Who is this person and why is he asking me questions like, ‘Are you okay with the idea of being in a relationship with an older man?’" (Miggy was 40 then, and Gino 23.) But he also fondly remembers thinking of Miggy: “What a high-bridged nose!”

Not meant to be (at first)

The two had a great time talking to each other during the party, which eventually spilled over to days of texting one another after that night. Alas, there came a time when the two abruptly stopped communicating, due to work and other personal entanglements.

"The time came when he was no longer replying to my messages. I was somehow saddened because I thought there could have been something more between me and Miggy," says Gino.

They would see each other once again during a LoveYourself event at the end of 2013, when Miggy was already in a relationship. "I really thought that  was a sign," Gino recalls. "I resigned myself to the reality that we would never be together."

That relationship would turn out the be short-lived, however. Miggy confesses how difficult that period was: "I had my heart broken twice in a row. The first was with a guy with whom I had a brief relationship. My colleagues in the bank saw how devastated I was, how hard I cried.

"The next person I met before Gino broke my heart, too. I expected more, but he could only offer a very sincere friendship, though we are still friends up to now," he also says.

Fast forward to June 16, 2014, when TLY had a general assembly and where Miggy was a lecturer. Miggy, who was already single by that time, remarks that his thoughts were already drifting towards Gino before that day, and was only waiting for them to meet again.

"For the longest time I've been wanting to have a partner who won't let go of me," Miggy says. "I would catch myself thinking, ‘I wonder how Gino is? That guy seems so sincere. If he were my partner, maybe he'd appreciate me.’"

Meanwhile, Gino was busy with work, and didn't have any romantic entanglements between the time he met Miggy and their fateful meeting on June 16 -- because it was Miggy his heart was pining for since their initial encounter and subsequent conversations.

"If you only knew how long I've waited for this moment," Gino said that time, according to him. "And now that I have you, I won't let you go.

During the general assembly, Miggy was talking with friends when he saw Gino walk in the door.

“Hi, Gino!”

“Hi, Miggy!”

Miggy notes just how sweet Gino’s smile was that day.

“Where’s the restroom?” Gino asked.
“Want me to accompany you?”

“If it’s no problem.”

And so Miggy walked Gino to the restroom, where, immediately upon getting inside, he started kissing his future boyfriend.

"Why did you kiss me?" Gino gasped.

"Why, didn't you like it?" asked Miggy.

"…. I liked it," Gino confessed. Cue Miggy kissing him again.

The plot twist?  Gino confesses he deliberately asked Miggy for directions to the restroom -- even though he already knew where to find it.

Loving one's self, each other, and everyone else

In any case, the two consider that pivotal day their anniversary. From then on, their relationship has blossomed. Among other significant relationship milestones include moving in together. "We have an adorable pair of dogs that we love so much!" says Gino. And, perhaps the most important factor of all for any relationship, introducing one another to their respective families.

This doesn’t mean, though, that there haven’t been bumps along the way. Late last year, Miggy confesses he wanted to end the relationship because of the age factor. Miggy went home to Dumaguete to take some time to think, and while Gino says he wasn’t obviously happy with what was happening that time, he wanted to Miggy to go ahead anyway and find some peace of mind. In his home, a distraught Miggy sought words of wisdom from his dad to help him sort things out. He says he will never forget what his father said: "When you feel that emotion is gone, remember the first time you fell in love with him, and it's going to be magic. That feeling will come back, if you allow it to.”

“I thought of June 16, that moment when I kissed him and I thought to myself, “I think I am in love with this guy,’” Miggy says.

Following that biggest problem of Miggy and Gino’s relationship, things have been sailing smoothly since. But how else does the couple’s dynamic work? Miggy says it’s simple, really: “We don’t enforce. We allow each other to move and breathe.” Gino, meanwhile, offers a similar take: “We have vast amounts of patience and understanding. I have my own life, he has his.”

The two of them share something else in common, too. As members of LoveYourself, Miggy and Gino say their relationship also brings out the best in one another, which in turn benefits the organization and its goals.

The two men say their love for each other drives them to give their all when participating in LoveYourself events. Miggy is a former head of the group’s Learning and Development committee. He still gives lectures for some activities from time to time.

"While I'm giving a lecture, for instance, someone's taking care of me, giving me coffee that's prepared just the way I love it," Miggy says. "It's nice to feel when you're taking care of others, the one you love is also taking care of you." He says Gino would be with him during these lectures, even if it means sacrificing a bit of sleep.

Gino, meanwhile, shares his talent for dancing, preparing choreography for several of the organization's events. For these, Gino would, say, badger Miggy to drive him to Divisoria and help buy costumes. "I love feeling how I have someone with whom I devote time and effort for a group that we are so dedicated to."

The last time

Talking to Miggy and Gino, one can immediately sense the passion they have for one another and for the things that matter most to them, LoveYourself included.
"When you feel true love, when you feel sincere love, you want to share the effects of that love with the people surrounding you," Miggy shares.

For other couples out there, the two have pieces of advice they want to share in order to maintain a happy and fruitful relationship. Gino shares: “Do not limit yourself in loving your significant other. Just love the way he is. Whatever flaws that he has, love them. Always cherish the moments you have with each other.”

Meanwhile, Miggy says: "First, no rules. Second, be yourself. Third, respect each other. When you respect each other, you will not do something that will hurt the other, you will not do something that will ruin the relationship. Fourth is trust. Lastly, be there for each other.”
He discloses that before meeting Gino, he used to find it hard to sleep on a bed with others (even with his significant other, or during the early stages of their relationship, at least). Now that he’s found comfort and stability in Gino, however, Miggy now realizes how easy it is to drift into a peaceful slumber, with his lover by his side.

“I can no longer sleep without him,” he confesses.

Miggy is certain Gino is truly the one for him. The duo thoughtfully shares their theme song, "The Last Time" by American R&B singer Eric BenĂ©t. For Miggy, the lyrics communicate his exact feelings  regarding his relationship with his significant other, his life partner:

"The first time I fell in love was long ago.
I didn't know how to give my love at all.
The next time I settled for what felt so close.
But without romance, you're never gonna fall.
After everything I've learned;
Now it's finally my turn.
This is the last time I'll fall... in love."

LoveYourself Volunteer Spotlight is a monthly feature on the cause- and service-oriented members of LoveYourself. We will be chatting with volunteers from all walks of life – all united in one cause. Keep checking every month to meet the different faces of LoveYourself.

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