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John & Paolo: A love story that defies time and distance

JOHN Raspado (left) and his partner Paolo de Silva.

JOHN Raspado (left) and his partner Paolo de Silva.

By ROBERT R. REQUINTINA

Be patient and trusting.

These are two of the golden rules which former Mr. Gay World titleholder John Raspado and his partner Paolo de Silva have embraced for six years now despite being in a long-distance relationship.

It’s really a test of patience and discipline to make the relationship health, said John.

But the former pageant king believes that he and his partner have withstood the test of time and distance and grew as responsible and patient partners.

“This relationship is so special to me considering long-distance relationship is one of the hardest relationships there is. We withstood the test of distance and time,” said John, in an exclusive interview for Tempo.
John, 38, keeps himself busy with two jobs in Baguio City. He is a brand marketing specialist for Psalmstre New Placenta and an account manager for Naturehope Sewerage and Wastewater Treatment Solution.

He is also an advocate/counselor/motivator for HIV/Aids Awareness and conducting community-based HIV Screening in cooperation with Metropolitan Community Church of Baguio (Northern Sanctuary) “I am also an incorporator for a non-government organization for mental health (Keep Going Baguio).”

Paolo, 42, of Lucena City, works for government mental hospitals in Sydney, Australia as demand manager/nurse. “He is also an aquarist and pursues painting as a hobby.”

John recalled the first time he saw Paolo. It was on social media and he got attracted to his hairstyle.

“On social media, I added him as ‘suggested friend’ on Facebook. Nakita ko lang sa FB same kasi hairstyle namin sa profile pic. So I added him. I added him January of 2014. We didn’t start any conversation until Feb. 14, 2014 with a silly picture (bouquet of chicharong bulaklak) then the rest is history.”

John said that he and Paolo are opposite in many ways that is why they are attracted to each other.

“Actually, we are complete opposite when it comes to qualities. Maybe opposites do attract. Hahaha! I guess iyong kabaitan niya (ang nagustuhan ko) at never niya ako napag-buhatan ng kamay,” he revealed.

John said that he tries to fight temptation by keeping his relationship visible to others. Communication is also key in keeping his sanity.

“I keep myself busy with work, hobbies and advocacy activities. I keep my relationship status visible to everyone.

With our constant communication, kasama na doon iyong mga video calls and there, we do our businesses. hahaha!

Wala man physical contact pero puwede na rin. Bawi-bawi na lang kami if nagkita in person again hahaha,” John said.

CONSTANT
COMMUNICATION

He added: “We meet once or twice a year. We keep ourselves busy as we partake shifting work schedules. Constant communication plays a vital role in our relationship. Any arguments or misunderstandings are talked about and settled before we sleep.”

John said that they never had any major issues that almost destroyed their relationship. He thinks that the challenges in their relationships are meant to make them grow.

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JOHN Raspado (left) and his partner Paolo de Silva.

“We wouldn’t grow as a couple if there are no hurdles along the way. Pero wala namang major na away, mga usual lang like tampuhan at selosan pero naaayos din naman agad,” he said.

John’s relationship with Paolo is his fourth and on Feb. 17, the partners will celebrate their sixth anniversary. Their parents, he said, are supportive of their special relationship.

“Before, the relationships I had were ‘live-in’. I can say I did not grow as much as I wanted or needed as a partner or as a person. So I thought, being in a long-distance relationship will be different and that it taught me to be patient, to be reserved and to have faith and trust,” he said.

John has one piece of advice for those who are into gay relationship.

“There is no perfect relationship. You just have to look for the type that works for you. Take a leap of faith and let it take you to there,” he said.

John and Paolo also plan to seal their relationship by getting married soon.

“We do plan to get married. We want to migrate and live together in Australia. My relatives also live in Australia so it won’t be that hard to adjust and be homesick,” John said.

The partners also bares the possibility of adopting a baby. “If given the chance, why not? Or should it come from a surrogate mother, it would be better.”

John has one promise to his partner Paolo on Heart’s Day.

“What I can promise to him – iyong pangakong mamahalin at sasamahan ko siya hanggang sa pagtanda. Sana forever.”

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