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Tired from his hospital duties, David was excited to escape from downtown and make friends with a foreigner. ” The one afternoon they spent together was comprehensively captured and captioned on David’s Facebook page.
“Aidan made quite the impression when he arrived to pick me up,” he recalls. Today, they keep in touch only via the occasional greeting or like on Facebook.
The absence of ceremony with made it an achievement twice over. In order to prevent exploitation and abuse of power, humanitarian agencies have traditionally imposed strict guidelines on sexual relations between staff and beneficiaries, even between foreign and local employees.
However, aid workers interviewed for this article said there were grey areas, especially when it came to relationships with more well-to-do locals who are not the actual beneficiaries of aid – such as the middle-class-skewed demographic facilitated by Grindr in tech-savvy Tacloban.
In Tacloban, these laid-back drinking spaces are often regarded by agency workers as among the best brainstorming and networking venues, forming the personal bonds carried through in formal cooperative work.
Disaster as opportunity The stories of Jericho and his friends are the inspiring stories of gay Filipinos who discovered – and seized – the opportunities that arose out of disaster.
Beside it stands an al fresco burger joint with boho trappings: reclaimed wood furniture, snacks served on cutting boards, even vegetarian options.
The owners claim they were inspired by the hipster food scene in Maginhawa, Quezon City, but after a glimpse of their global clientele, Brooklyn, New York seems like a better comparison.
Jericho’s main frustration was that his hook-up app of choice – Grindr – kept coming up with the same five familiar torsos, which didn’t really count in his opinion as a proper gay scene.“Before Haiyan, all we had on Grindr was mehhhh – four or five people. ” Jericho*, 28, finds it hard to recall much of a social scene in Tacloban before Typhoon Haiyan.A senior manager at one of the Filipino city’s most expensive hotels, he recounts a routine that consisted of going to the gym in the morning and walking home along empty streets after dark in a city where “everyone knows everyone.” Out to his friends but closeted at work, he would escape to Cebu or Manila to party at gay clubs, where his babyface features with gym-buff arms got him attention.“Overnight,” Jericho says, “my Grindr became the United Nations.” Disaster dating Jericho and his friends – a convivial cohort of film-school creative types, community leaders and offbeat local entrepreneurs – have met and befriended many humanitarian workers over the past year.In the immediate aftermath of Haiyan, patchy mobile phone signal notwithstanding, survivors longing for intimacy turned to Grindr to arrange discreet meet-ups with aid workers, who themselves sought distraction.