Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

March In December

It was my first Pride March ever. I’ve always wanted to go, but only to watch and party afterwards. But when AJ of BaklaAko, May Reklamo? organized the Rainbow Bloggers group, I now had a group I could join in the march.

I came prepared—SPF15 with moisturizers on my face, and SPF45 on my neck and arms. Vanity is a form of pride, right?

AJ had a tarp made, plus colorful balloons of phallic proportions. While waiting for the march to start, we laid them down on the ground first. The cement was so hot several of the balloons burst; thankfully, the march started before the heat could wipe out all the balloons. They were a big hit, especially among the street kids and their mothers who kept begging for one. Even when we were walking, adults would use the kids’ names in vain (“Para lang sa bata po!”) just to get a balloon. Jeez louise.

One of the funnier sights was this group of anti-gay protesters led by a Caucasian guy who kept spewing Bible passages; I assumed he’s a minister. A very dark foreigner with short curly hair (can’t tell if he’s African-American or Jamaican or from some dark continent) was also with the group and carried a sign that read, “Only Jesus can save ME from Hell.” We yelled at him, “Good for you!”

It was a short but sweet march, covering about two or three blocks only. The weather was very cooperative. And thanks to the protesters, the representatives of each group that marched had some ammunition to fire up their introduction speeches onstage. Most pointed out the logic flaw in their argument: God hates sinners. It’s a sin to discriminate. But you’re discriminating against us gays. So God hates you.


One of the most hilarious and well-applauded intro spiels was from this Amnesty International (AI) guy. He delivered his speech in true beauty contestant mode (he introduced himself as Angel Locsin), with matching intonation, lilt, and the kilometric run-on sentences said in one breath. (I suspect our skill at giving blow-jobs trains us to hold our breaths for long periods.) Prior to the introductions, he performed a dance number in the middle of the street.

(The Go-Go Boys of Bed on top of a flatbed—what else?—truck easily upstaged the protesters when they arrived.)

Early on I greeted Danton Remoto who managed to be everywhere despite stopping to be interviewed by TV crews. I bumped into him again during the intro speeches, and I said, “Oh, here’s our future senator!” He whispered conspiratorially to me, “Number three na ako sa surveys!” Can he milk the surveys into votes come election time? We’ll see. Then he told me about the African member of AI who was in the country for the first time. He marveled at the speech of the local AI guy. “The guys in Amnesty New York are so serious and stiff,” he told Danton, “while here, you have a beauty contestant. I love your country!”

(Having a ball at the parade.)

(The Library contingent. On the left-most is their Joey de Leon look-alike.)

I wasn’t surprised that only four bloggers attended. A lot of them are from out of town. And most are actually anonymous online. Only a few gay bloggers are out enough to slap their faces onto their blogs. What’s funny is that I’m not officially out to my family. And there I was, proudly holding the tarp of the Rainbow Bloggers in front of numerous photographers and TV crews. Good thing my mom doesn’t watch the weekend news.

(The pro-gay Metropolitan Community Church.)

(The gay priest leading the crowd to shout at the protesters at the back, “Would Jesus discriminate?!”)

I decided to skip the actual beauty contest (there was one after the speeches) and headed off to explore Robinson’s Place Ermita and have dinner. When I came back past 10pm, the street party was just about to start. By 11:30pm the party was warming up, and the usual Malate crowd was pouring in. By midnight I ducked into Bed.

Before I left for home, I checked out the street party again. A group of guys had commandeered the stage, dancing as a group and putting on quite a show. It’s obvious they’re a barkada who loves to dance; they had well-executed choreographed moves for certain songs, and they didn’t hesitate to vogue in front of the crowd. Their palpable joy at performing for themselves and for appreciative strangers contributed to this infectious, collective feeling of happiness and joy for that night. They let themselves loose, and in turn the crowd loosened up and cheered them on; some even joined them onstage.

It was pride at its giddiest.

15 comments:

palma tayona said...

too bad i was unable to catch the march in the afternoon. come to think of it, i've never been able to catch any of the pride marches. :-( oh heck.

i find it crazy seeing in these pictures that group of anti-gay protesters being led by a foreigner. they are actually more curious-looking than any form of gay parade i have ever seen. i wonder how he'd fair if his group protests the numerous gay parades pasay puts up for its local pink populace. especially during the may flower parades where gay people are actually more beautiful than the real women. hahaha, am pretty sure they'll be shooed away by the policemen lovers of some of the prettier trannies here or to simply keep a respectable distance and shut up.

Ming Meows said...

What a day! Thanks joel, at least im given an idea of what's happening there.

Mugen said...

Just as I imagined things to be. Pride March then Party afterwards. Those were my thoughts a few years back. At least, it happened this year.

Too bad, I wasn't there.

joelmcvie said...

@PALMA: Some of the burlier female baranggay tanods actually made sure the protesters stayed a respectable distance away from the march. Maybe they had girlfriends marching.

@MUGEN: Malate is Malate, a street party is mandatory. =)

fried-neurons said...

Good! Fun!

Harinawa, balang araw, Metro Manila Pride will be in the same league size-wise as SF Pride. Okay, maybe not. LA or Chicago, then. :)

jamie da vinci! said...

sabi na nga ba that my spirit would get lost somewhere over SLEX! :) what probably made it worse was that it got weighed down with the bulalo we had for lunch! ahahaha!

daemon said...

hey joel...

belated pride...

if theres such a thing...

as always, twas nice to bump into you in Bed...

=)

btw... just a reaction... cant really help not to...

those protesters... they think they're clean too ei... funny and ironic...

sinners warning sinners...

hahaha

joelmcvie said...

@FRIED-NEURONS: AJ and I were talking about how reportedly there were more lesbians last and this year. Our theory is that Metro Manila society is more aware of the many variants of gay men. (Notice how there are still more indie films about gay men than lesbians.) However, it's now the lesbians' turn to make their presence as known as gay men.

Because of that, I suspect that the marching crowd will not necessarily increase in size. The straight-acting gay men will still not lend their presence to the march (they'd just appear for the party--when it's already dark, they can get easily lost in the crowd, and no TV cameras are pointed at them). Only the militant and the visibly out will bother to march.

@JAMIE: Don't blame the bulalo. Blame Piolo's billboard on SLEX. =)

@DAEMON: Well... you know...
we're all sinners...
don't they realize that...?
it was fun seeing you having fun...
well, at least...
you guys looked like you're having fun...
o sha, fade out na muna ako...
=)

ruff nurse-du-jour said...

damn! i missed the parade... again. well, there's 2009, right? i could join the rainbow bloggers group naman diba? :-)

(made a similar post in mine, too!)

happy pride mcvie! :-)

john stanley said...

happy pride joel!

maybe someday i can also march my first pride just like michael (qaf) with all the thumpa thumpa.

now where did i put that gloria gaynor cd?

Quentin X said...

Thanks for the photo Joel. It gives us an idea of how fun the day was. Here's me wishing for bigger one next year. Bigger event that is.

thebaklareview said...

oops, guilty. i'm one of those anonymous gay bloggers. go pride.

Angelo said...

hey joel. thanks for sharing this. i'm a bit surprised that there were protesters. were there protesters in previous Pride marches?

joelmcvie said...

@ANGELO: I don't really know, this was my first Pride March ever. In previous years I'd just show up for the after-march street party--by then, if there were any protesters, they'd have left by then. =)

joelmcvie said...

@ANGELO: Apparently this is the first time there were protesters in the Manila Pride March. Check out this news item in Fridae.com: http://www.fridae.com/newsfeatures/article.php?articleid=2349&viewarticle=1