Connect with us

In the Scene

O Bar: Settling for less?

A close look at O Bar – and what may be the (sad) state of clubbing in the Philippines.



Not everyone will agree with me on these observations.
And, truthfully, that’s fine.
In fact, that’s how it should be.
We all could benefit from discussions, even if (or particularly because) we have contradicting points of view.
But I still feel that honesty will best serve Metro Manila’s partying crowd best when rendering reviews, instead of giving out PR-ish statements, or even half truths.

And so here goes…

To contextualize, after the demise of Joy Club, then Mint, and then Bed (at least in Malate, since it eventually re-incarnated in Mandaluyong), it was O Bar that – in so many ways – took over as the must-visit venue for self-identifying gay and bisexual party-goers (and their friends, too). And, truth be told, the place deserved the patronage it got. After all, it had many merits – it was open seven days a week (so those who wanted to party on weekdays, particularly after working the night shift; it’s drinks are cheap (the used to charge only P150, with three free drinks); it was accessible (at the very middle of the then LGBT center of Metro Manila); and the crowd (in some ways) were not bad looking at all.

It had its… drawbacks, of course.
Gay-bashing reportedly happened right inside the venue, and pickpocketing happened in it more frequently than should be acceptable.

Because of the success of O Bar in Malate (it initially attracted those that Bed Bar failed to attract; and then when Bed Bar closed for renovations, swallowed much of the party crowd), a branch was opened in Ortigas. The drama for the branches in Malate and in Ortigas was the same – i.e. offer an alternative party venue for those unsatisfied with what became of Bed Bar while serving those who would not be seen dead in the likes of Palawan (in Quezon City’s Cubao).

After years of serving as the (most) LGBT-welcoming venue of Metro Manila, Malate (in not so nice a word) died.

Not surprisingly, O Bar’s Malate branch eventually folded, so that its Ortigas branch – for a while – became the “it”place. It became so popular, in fact, that they had to move to a bigger place (much like the direction taken by Bed Bar before it crashed in Malate).

And so we closely look at the new O Bar.

Look-wise, the venue is very different from the older version – with this one, the focus is on the performers, so that at the very front of the venue is a HUGE elevated stage where the drag acts happen, and where the go-go boys (before and/or after the drag acts) shake their asses. No, you may NOT climb on the stage (to dance); it’s only for the performers.

Similar to the past version, there are numerous cocktail tables on this one, too – generally segregated into two portions (the “main” and the “VIP” sections). The prime spot is, obviously, the table at the very front of the stage (even if it’s on the non-VIP section of O Bar) – and it becomes the “ultra-VIP table” as needed.

Similar to the old version, too, the DJ booth is atop the bar, which – in turn – is beside the toilet (segregated by speakers and what-have-you’s). No, the sound system still isn’t… pulsating; but that it plays music (usually pop and dance tunes) is more than enough for many…

And similar to the older O Bar, too, this newer bar has LOTS of go-go boys, performing before, between and after the drag shows (the older ones were nearing phenomenal, by the way; these new ones, just passable). And so, in not so many words, what we have here are hetero baits for the homo market…

And here is where my discontent with O Bar lies – i.e. that considering it’s supposed to be a “gay space”, it is not exactly the most empowering place to be in.

When ultra-VIPs are in the bar, for instance, not only are they given their separate space, but they are also given their own “guards” (bouncers serving as guards), and I actually saw them push and shove non-VIPs who “invaded” the VIPs’ “spaces” (that is, by dancing too close to the VIPs’ table). This “invasion” of spaces is something that is bound to happen since O Bar DOES NOT have any REAL dance area, so that the clubbers just move and sway where they are – meaning, bumping into others is bound to happen.

Even seeing someone get pushed simply for partying is not at all fun – particularly since the club charges P400 (on weekends) door fee, quite high in a country with many only taking home around P8,000 every month (if at all). And yeah, I recognize that those who do not earn (much) are not the target markets of O Bar, yet I can’t help but feel sad that so many of us put up with what should not be thrown our way. After all, if you cough up money, shouldn’t the (appropriate) service come with it?
(As a side note: Don’t get me talking about the pickpocketing that continues to happen inside the bar…)

Maybe I’m banking too much on what others may just dismiss as a “gay bar”. And maybe I am. But for as long as we can’t even feel safe in places supposedly made for us, then we – as members of the LGBT community – need to reconsider why we have a problem as far as demanding what we truly deserve is concerned.

I know people will continue flocking to O Bar.

And truth be told, I don’t think I can blame them.

Because when we run out of places to go to, even the unsatisfying will… suffice.

And that’s a sad state to be in.

O Bar is located at Food Street, Home Depot Complex, Julia Vargas corner Meralco Avenue (across XRoads Bar), Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

"If someone asked you about me, about what I do for a living, it's to 'weave words'," says Kiki Tan, who has been a writer "for as long as I care to remember." With this, this one writes about... anything and everything.

In the Scene

5 Reasons why you should watch (plus 5 sources of apprehension about) PETA’s ‘Under My Skin’

Consider this an “educational play”, where we get the dramatic narrative interspersed with statement of facts. Now, does this work? Yes… with limits.



HIV-related productions aren’t… rare. “Angels in America” (by American playwright Tony Kushner) and “Rent” (a rock musical with music, lyrics, and book by Jonathan Larson) easily come to mind. Even if experiences re HIV transcend geography (e.g. issues with access to testing, and treatment/care/support; stigma and discrimination; et cetera), these are, of course, still very… Western.

It is, therefore, refreshing when this issue is tackled using a localized lens; and this is what the staging of Philippine Educational Theater Association’s (PETA) “Under My Skin” is aiming to do.

As written by Rody Vera and directed by Melvin Lee, “Under My Skin” is part of PETA’s 52nd Theater Season finale, said to reflect PETA’s advocacy for raising awareness and starting conversations towards pressing issues – e.g. HIV in this case in particular.

As FYI: “Under My Skin” is a collection of stories of Filipinos living with HIV (said to be based on people that Vera personally knows). Their stories are woven together by an epidemiologist, a certain Dr. Gemma Almonte, who provides background info re HIV in the Philippines – e.g. what CD4 means, how HIV is transmitted (and how it’s not transmitted), the number of Filipinos infected with HIV (at least as of 2018), et cetera.

Consider this an “educational play”, where we get the dramatic narrative interspersed with statement of facts.

Now, does this work?

Yes and no; and here are five reasons why you should watch “Under My Skin”, plus five other reasons why you may opt to skip it…


  1. That there are now 34 new HIV cases in the Philippines every day is a reminder of how bad the local situation is. In 2016 (only four years ago), the number was just 16. So… yes, the situation is getting worse.
    Talking about this (in whatever format) is, therefore, necessary; and “Under My Skin” doing exactly this, making it commendable indeed.
  2. This is a somewhat big production – e.g. to start, it’s produced by PETA; and it stars the likes of TV, film and theater artists Cherry Pie Picache, Roselyn Perez, Miguel Almendras, Mike Liwag, Anthony Falcon and Dylan Talon.
  3. The approach – which attempts to be as comprehensive as possible – is noteworthy.
    HIV activists are the first to stress that HIV is NOT just a medical problem; this is a social issue that needs a holistic response (e.g. we have to deal with the medical concerns, yes, but we also have to deal with social issues that touch on HIV, from stigma and discrimination, legal protections and failures, et cetera).
    For “Under My Skin” to want to cover as much as possible is – at least – commendable.
  4. This is an issue that affects us all; and to be given a glimpse about this THIS way is good, indeed.
    There was a time when (less informed) people thought HIV only affects gay men (it was even named as “gay-related” infectious disease when the epidemic/pandemic just started). But we know better now – i.e. HIV does NOT discriminate, affecting children, rich, poor, Black, White, Asians, differently-abled, employed/unemployed, and so on and so forth…
    As an issue OF everyone, knowing about HIV is important; and the glimpse given by “Under My Skin” is commendable.
  5. That open forum at the end of the play.
    Now, exactly because HIV-related performances remain rare in the Philippines, and “Under My Skin” is a relatively “new” attempt here, there’s this seeming want to be “everything for everyone”. Alas, even this isn’t possible, with core issues still not (properly) tackled (see below on this, too). Because of this, it is good that there is an open forum at the end of “Under My Skin”; an attempt to further discuss the issues that those watching may still have.


Now this isn’t exactly a “perfect” play (but then again, what is, considering that even “Rent” has issues with tackling PWID/people who inject drugs, among others). And for me, there are a handful of things that could help better “Under My Skin.”

  1. Outdated data, thus less emphasis on science-backed truths re HIV (e.g. U=U).
    Onstage, you’d be shown HIV-related data from 2018. That’s… AGES when talking about HIV. Because, yes, while some facts remain (e.g. HIV transmission), some info that even HIV activists share need to be updated (e.g. U=U).
  2. Half-truth/s.
    There are some “facts” PLHIVs in the Philippines are being told – e.g. that meds in the Philippines are “free”. And this needs to be confronted because: A) of the false narrative, and B) for giving PLHIVs “false hope”. Specific to “free” ARV, let it be stated that a PLHIV needs to pay PhilHealth before he/she can access the life-saving meds.
  3. Over-emphasis on gays.
    During the Q&A of the performance I watched, one of the questions asked was: “Why the over-emphasis on gays?”. This is a question that’s worth highlighting because, yes, this play is… over 80% about gays and HIV. The tackling of heterosexual people/relationships vis-a-vis HIV isn’t extensively done (see 4 and 5 below). And in the move to make people understand that HIV is everyone’s issue, this is… detrimental.
  4. Stereotypical narratives – e.g. serodifferent couples won’t work, one has to stay with a poz lover because “you only have each other”, “thank God I’m negative”, and so on.
    As early as 2010, 2011, a friend who has HIV already stated to me how it’s sad that HIV-related stories almost always focus on the drama, often ending in something tragic/sad (for instance, the death of the PLHIV). This immediately negates the experiences of many PLHIVs – e.g. those who find love even with non-poz.
    Because yes, many of the issues that the HIV community encountered before remain relevant now (e.g. people are still dying from it, there are still issues re access to treatment), but stereotypes need to be revisited (related to #1 above).
  5. Pahapyaw touches on… a lot of things.
    U=U was “mentioned”; the law was mentioned; et cetera. It’s like “Under My Skin” wanted to cover everything, but ended up not giving these aspects the merit they deserved. And exactly because of this approach, the play needs to be “tightened” because many of these issues have to be emphasized.

To start talks about HIV, this is a commendable effort. But that’s just to start; because much more needs to be done as we continue battling HIV.

“Under My Skin” will be showing until March 22 (Fridays at 8:00pm, Saturdays/Sundays at 3:00pm and 8:00pm) at the PETA Theater Center, #5 Eymard Drive, Brgy. Kristong Hari, New Manila, Quezon City. For tickets and showbuying inquiries, contact PETA at or 8725-6244, or TicketWorld at or 8891-9999.

Continue Reading

In the Scene

Clubs and bars must support women by cracking down on sexual aggression

Women practicing ‘feisty femininity’ overtly resist unwanted encounters and this approach can arguably play a role in ending gendered violence. However, such responses may expose women to risks and place the labour of managing unwanted incidents onto women directly.



Photo by Nick Fewings from

Nightclubs and bars must create a supportive environment that cracks down on unwanted sexual attention and allows women to enjoy their nights out, according to a new study.

Increasing numbers of women are prepared to speak back to sexual harassment while enjoying a night out with female friends by confronting the men responsible and telling them clearly and robustly that their behavior is unacceptable.

But researchers say that such a response – which they dub ‘feisty femininity’ – is complex and can result in backlash. It, therefore, needs businesses within the Night Time Economy to take seriously unwanted encounters in order to foster safer venues and help to end gendered violence.

Researchers from the Universities of Birmingham and Liverpool worked with colleagues at Liverpool John Moores University to explore women’s navigation of unwanted sexual attention when in bars and nightclubs. “Unwanted Sexual Attention in the Night-Time Economy: Behaviors, Safety Strategies, and Conceptualizing ‘Feisty Femininity'” by Clare Gunby , Anna Carline, Stuart Taylor and Helena Gosling is published in Feminist Criminology.

They conducted focus groups with young women in Liverpool and discovered two broad forms for unwanted sexual attention when women went out: ‘the pick-up routine’, which men used to start sexual encounters; and ‘showing off for the lads’, where males engaged in undermining and abusive interactions with women for the purpose of impressing their male friends.

Encountering ‘the pick-up routine’ tended to prompt the use of ‘diplomatic’ rejection responses, which were carefully constructed in order to manage a potentially aggressive reaction. In contrast, ‘showing off for the lads’ approaches were more likely to spark a robust ‘feisty’ rebuttal from the targeted woman.

Article author Dr. Clare Gunby, from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research, commented: “Young people, globally, are starting to demand accountability for sexist structures and norms, partly due to the re-emergence of feminism and activism on University campuses and beyond.

“Women practicing ‘feisty femininity’ overtly resist unwanted encounters and this approach can arguably play a role in ending gendered violence. However, such responses may expose women to risks and place the labour of managing unwanted incidents onto women directly.

“Indeed, our participants felt that staff in nightclubs and bars did not take their concerns around safety seriously. Hence, women’s informal strategies for dealing with unwanted attention become especially important because more formal lines of recourse often remain unavailable.

“Venues must, therefore, play a key role in creating a safe environment that makes it clear that unwanted sexual aggression will not be tolerated. There must be a multipronged approach across the Night Time Economy to addressing sexual violence.”

The study sheds light on women’s navigation of unwanted sexual attention when in bars and nightclubs – about which little is known, especially in the UK context. In addition to ‘feisty femininity’, the researchers found that women had developed three other risk management solutions:

  • ‘Emotion management’ – offering a tactful and diplomatic explanation for their lack of interest (in order to mitigate negative reactions when rejecting men).
  • ‘Men as protector’ – specifically going out with male friends or using a boyfriend (actual and mythical) to reduce the likelihood of an unwanted encounter.
  • ‘From individualism to camaraderie among the girls’ – cutting an evening short, moving to another venue, laughing off unwanted attention or stepping in to stop men from exploiting drunken friends and strangers.

“There was a shared reticence to report unwanted incidents to venue staff or police as women felt that any report would be shrugged off and that no one would care due to the perceived normality of such practices when out in bars and nightclubs,” Dr. Gunby notes.

“The lack of formal sanction for such behaviors could arguably play a role in their maintenance, prompting women to fill this gap by taking it upon themselves to monitor friends and strangers.”

Continue Reading

In the Scene

UP Repertory Company to focus on LGBTQIA stories in opening of 47th production season

UP Repertory Company opens its 47th production season with DADA: The Chika Minutes¸ a performance of LGBTQIA stories.



This November, the UP Repertory Company opens its 47th production season with DADA: The Chika Minutes¸ a performance of LGBTQIA stories. 

DADA: The Chika Minutes is a documentary theater performance of various narratives from the LGBTQIA community, exploring documentary merged with the company’s own art form, tula dula (a poem written in verse, acted out in mime). With 16 segments of a spectra of LGBTQIA narratives, DADA will be tackling the real life experiences of kids to OFWs to pageant queens to sex workers to community builders and activists. 

“In this period of intense hate crimes, controversies and fake news about SOGIE, we bring the stories of the LGBTQIA you might have missed,” UP Repertory Company stated. 

With the dramaturgy of Ligaya Sinfuego, additional choreography by Michelle Alde, and choreography and direction by Jasper Villasis and Malvin Ramos.

DADA: The Chika Minutes will be staged this coming November 28 and 29 (7pm) and November 30 (3pm and 7pm) in UP Diliman.

For details on tickets and show venue, contact Hillary Guevara at 0906 626 0900.

Continue Reading

In the Scene

5 Reasons why you should consider watching PETA’s ‘Rak of Aegis’

We take another look at “Rak of Aegis” to see what makes this iteration worth it…



In the later part of 2012, PETA’s artistic director Maribel Legarda had a chat with Liza Magtoto about making a musical using the songs of Aegis (the group that gave Filipinos the can’t-be-escaped “Basang-basa sa Ulan”, among others). We know the approach re making of such a musical, of course; overseas, “Mamma Mia!” has been making waves (and lots of money) by using the songs of AbBBA; ditto “Across the Universe” that uses the songs of The Beatles.

Though that chat was – in a way – partly a joke, Magtoto said that the musical that “had a Pinoy soul in it” eventually came to life because: 1. if you’re a Filipino, there’s really no way to escape Aegis (Hello “Halik!”); and 2. if you listen closely to the lyrics of Aegis songs, you’d eventually understand why they “click” (e.g. “Basang-basa sa Ulan” has a line: “Ngunit hero, bumabangon pa rin”).

And so – eventually – “Rak of Aegis” came to life (the title a play at “Rock of Ages”).

That was around 2013, when the “rock comedy musical” was (first) rolled out. And now, for the Nth time, PETA is rolling it out again…

We take another look at “Rak of Aegis” to see what makes this iteration worth it…

1. Providing a “current” look at current issues…

“Rak of Aegis”, for me, remains relevant because it tells a story that’s valid on our times.
To start, there’s climate change, and how this particularly affects poorer places (say, a country like the Philippines).

“Rak of Aegis” tells the story of Aileen (and the people around her) who lives in Barangay Venizia, a place submerged in flood waters for two months already. The flood has already affected the livelihood of the locals (e.g. shoemaking); and is affecting other aspects in the lives of the locals (e.g. her mother has leptospirosis, a disease spread by contact with water contaminated by the urine of infected animals).

Though she works (as a saleslady, a contractual worker), Aileen falsely and blindly believes that their way out is for her to be famous (I’d say: “Welcome to this famewhoring generation”). So she kept trying to make a YouTube video to make some “noise”, hoping that the “likes” she gets will save her, her family, and the entire barangay.

Aileen eventually gets her wish, forcing the cause of the flooding (i.e. absence of a sewerage system in a nearby subdivision development) to surface; the enterprising spirit of people (e.g. holding a concert in a flooded area) to become apparent; and opportunism to be seen (e.g. surfacing of other wannabe celebs to follow Aileen’s footsteps)…

All these issues are “now” issues; and kudos for PETA for being able to roll them into a “rock comedy musical”…

2. A glimpse at intersectionality.

Yes, there are poor people. And poverty is NOT (only) because people are lazy. Their contexts need to be considered – e.g. access to education, access to opportunities, et cetera.

Yes, the Internet can help popularize issues; but keyboard activism – on its own – is NOT the solution. Being proactive in developing efforts offline/in the real/physical world is just as important.

Yes, opportunists abound (e.g. real estate developers that don’t give shit for the environment so long as they get ROI); but “kaput sa patalim” (that “opportunism” because people are left with no choice) is also existent (e.g. we put up with shitty proposals from those in power because… it’s not like we really have any choice).

All these – and more – are tackled (lightly or in-depth) by “Rak of Aegis”…

3. Worthy production…

PETA – being PETA – is expected to produce good shows; and this is no exemption.

Take the set design (by Mio Infante) that may look simplistic; but gives life to Barangay Venizia as a water-swallowed place (i.e. with an actual “flooded” canal in the middle).

The lighting (by Jonjon Villarreal) more than helps set the atmosphere of the scenes; it also – for me – highlighted specific moments/people worth highlighting. Think of the character Tolits (Pepe Herrera in the production watched for this review), who had more than one, two or even three breakout scenes; all of them emphasized by how well he was literally given the spotlight.

PETA’s facilities aren’t as big as, say, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). But that it was able to make the most of what it has is praiseworthy…

4. The cast, the cast…

When I first saw “Rak of Aegis”, somewhat-celeb Aicelle Santos was the lead (as Aileen), supported by the likes of Jon Santos (Fernan, the real estate developer); Kakai Bautista (Mercy, the mother); Isay Alvarez-Sena/Bayang Barrios/Jenine Desiderio (as Mary Jane, the barangay captain, and former GF of the father); and Robert Sean/Noel Cabangon (as Kiel, the father of Aileen). That this is a star-studded affair is… a given; so for stargazers, this is an opportunity to see these celebrated thespians performing.

Santos is still with the production, though Shaira Opsimar was the Aileen seen for the review. Adept in the role, Opsimar is unlike Santos; with Opsimar, she is easily “swallowed” by her bigger-named co-performers (e.g. Sweet Plantado-Tiongson, the Mary Jane in the production reviewed). This is not necessarily bad as it creates that sense of naïveté. But those wanting Aegis-like “birit” will remember more the co-stars Tolits (Pepe Herrera), Kiel (Renz Verano), and yes, Mary Jane (Sweet Plantado-Tiongson).

Others seen in the production reviewed were the somewhat tamed down Vince Lim (as Kenny, the former BF of Aileen); and eye candies/ensemble and scene-stealers Gio Gahol and Carlos Matobato.

As a unified whole, though, the cast of “Rak of Aegis” deserve to be seen.

From the comedic timing of Jewel (Ron Alfonso), to the agaw-eksena/secene-stealing singing of the likes of Mary Jane and Kiel, you have here a definite winner…

As FYI: The “older” cast members (e.g. Aicelle Santos, Kakai Bautista, Isay Alvarez-Sena, Bayang Barrios and Jenine Desiderio) are still performing; so if you’re extra picky, you may want to know beforehand who’d be going onstage…

5. Aegis songs – of course!

And then there are the songs of Aegis – e.g. “Halik”, “Luha”, “Basang-basa sa Ulan”, “Christmas Bonus”, “Munting Pangarap”, et cetera.

Ogie Alcasid – yes, the hubby of THE regime Velasquez – the president of the Organisasyon ng mga Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM), once said that “a show like ‘Rak of Aegis’ is an embodiment of what we have to do as Filipinos – suportahan, tangkilikin at ipagbunyi natin ang ating sariling musika.”

And he’s right.

Some may say that Aegis songs can be… baduy (slang for “in poor taste” or “unfashionable”). But that they tug at the hearts of those who listen to them is a fact. Though they may tackle of heartbreak, for instance, they also talk about getting back up; of resilience.

And this speaks so much of what makes us Filipinos.

In “Luha”, Aegis famously sang:
“Gulong ng buhay | Patuloy-tuloy sa pag-ikot | Noon ako ay nasa ilalim | Bakit ngayon nasa ilalim pa rin | Sana bukas nasa ibabaw naman.”

This is everyone’s hope, I suppose.

And with “Rak of Aegis”, well… you can get some sense of trying to be on top…

Rak of Aegis” runs July 5 to September 29 at PETA Theater Center, No.5 Eymard Drive, New Manila, Quezon City, 1112 Metro Manila.

Continue Reading

In the Scene

Vienna comes to Manila to celebrate pride, diversity and equality

Under the theme “LGBTQIA+ Greatness in Leadership and the Arts” the Austrian Embassy and its partners Frontrow Philippines and Love Is All We Need bring together Austrian and Filipino equality advocates from the disciplines of photography, visual arts, fashion and makeup, performance art, film and music in a celebration of diversity, unity and equality.



Photo by Ylanite Koppens from

Austria stands together with the Philippines against gender-based discrimination and violence at its first-ever MNLxVIE Equality Fest, a five-day campaign championing the LGBTQIA+ community through creative activism.

“On this 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Austria continues to take a strong stance against isolation, hatred and discrimination, while honoring self-affirmation, dignity and equality: We are more than our borders. We are more than the languages we speak and the color of our skin. We are more than our gender and who we want to love. This was the mission statement and message that EuroPride 2019 hosted in Vienna this Pride Month successfully delivered. Today, we look back on a great deal of progress, but all along in the sober realization that there is still a way to go. And our ambitions are not restricted to just one country: because LGBTQIA+ rights are human rights – and as Austria we will always stand up for them all over the world,” said Austrian Ambassador Bita Rasoulian.  

Under the theme “LGBTQIA+ Greatness in Leadership and the Arts” the Austrian Embassy and its partners Frontrow Philippines and Love Is All We Need bring together Austrian and Filipino equality advocates from the disciplines of photography, visual arts, fashion and makeup, performance art, film and music in a celebration of diversity, unity and equality.

On June 25 the festival opens with a launch party at Tarzeer Pictures, Makati, by Amb. Rasoulian and equal rights advocates RS Francisco and Queenmelo Esguerra. The launch is accompanied by the photo exhibit “RECORD, RECORD” on Austria’s LGBTQIA+ history and excerpts from the book “Anong Pangalan Mo Sa Gabi?” by UP Babaylan, Babaylanes, Inc. and UP Center for Women’s and Gender Studies,  as well as works by renowned and upcoming local LGBTQIA+ photographers. Flying in straight from Austria to join the festival are Austrian intersex rights activist Noah Rieser, filmmaker Gregor Schmidinger and drag queen Tamara Mascara.

On June 26, the Intramuros Administration unveils a Pride-themed public mural. Situated across Museo de Intramuros, the art work is a collaborative project of the Austrian Embassy, Austrian artist Katharina Kapsamer and Salzburg Global Forum fellow Ralph Eya.

On June 26, drag queen Tamara Mascara, heading cosmetics giant MAC’s Viva Glam online campaign for Pride month in the Philippines, performs at Tomatito, BGC with Filipino queens MC Black, Precious Paula Nicole and Queen Viña! Don’t miss Tamara on June 28 as DJane at XX:XX’s Elephant Night closing party.

On June 27, intersex activist Noah Rieser leads the panel “LGBTQIA+ Greatness in Leadership: An Equality Talk” on Austria’s recent legislation allowing for a third gender option in legal documents. Joining him at the De la Salle-College of Saint Benilde are Myla Escultura of Intersex Philippines, 2018 bar topnotcher Sean Borja and Filipino artist fellows of the Salzburg Global Forum Reymart Cerin, Mark Salvatus, Andrei Venal and filmmaker Cha Roque.

On June 27, Austrian filmmaker Gregor Schmidinger in cooperation with the FDCP premieres his film “NEVRLAND” in Manila at the Cinematheque Centre.

On June 28, Schmidinger and renowned Filipino filmmakers Joel Lamangan, Moira Lang and Samantha Lee discuss LGBTQIA+ films in a Q&A at the UP Film Institute.

On June 29, the MNL-VIE Equality Fest culminates with the Metro Manila Pride March, where Amb. Rasoulian and all festival participants and partners march with The Red Whistle campaign #FuelTheLove and #ExtinguishTheStigma.

MNLxVIE Equality Fest 2019 is supported by the UP Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, UP Babaylan, Babaylanes, Inc., Benilde Hive and The Red Whistle; with the support of EuroPride Vienna 2019, MAC Cosmetics Philippines, Intramuros Administration, Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), Digi Ads and Think Big Events; and venue partners Tarzeer Pictures, Tomatito Manila, UPFI Film Center – Cine Adarna, Cinematheque Centre Manila, SoFA Design Institute and XX XX.

Continue Reading

In the Scene

‘Kasarisarian’ LGBTQIA community cultural event slated in Lucena City on July 21-26

To “elevate the discussion about LGBTQIA Pride”, QZN Bahaghari and Guni-Guri Collective are hosting the 2018 iteration of “Kasarisarian” a cultural event, from July 21 to 26 in Lucena City.



To “elevate the discussion about LGBTQIA Pride”, QZN Bahaghari and Guni-Guri Collective are hosting the 2018 iteration of “Kasarisarian” a cultural event, from July 21 to 26 at the ESPASYO ART GALLERY, Quezon Avenue corner Trinidad Street, Lucena City in the Quezon Province.

Particularly for this year’s event, “we’re trying to elevate the discussion and the perspective on the current situation of the LGBTQIA people in the country,” said Aaron Bonette, co-organizer of the event. “We want to make Kasarisarian 2 a non-hierarchal exhibition invested in grassroots community organizing, and focused on radical queer narratives, visioning and politics. This means that the curated works will tackle and represent queer lives and struggles based on the current and past experiences of LGBTQIA people that are skeptic – from the looming commercialized cooptation of Pride to the glitter industrial complex to the failed political myth of equality through law, violence against LGBTQIA people and class hierarchy.”

The event will feature 15 artists based in the Quezon Province and two artists based in the Netherlands, including: Lans Lans, Elvira Bvlgari, Aaron Bonette, Syeril Powsa, Catsoup, John Van Vallesterol, Annita Remoroza, Aann Reynales, Jaymar Valdoria, Alliza Beth, Joma Importante, Skimmi Shimmi, Beatriz Rogas, France dela Paz, and Brian van Niehoff. Documentaries from Outrage Magazine’s #KaraniwangLGBT series will also be shown; as will Sunugin ang Aparador by Gio Potes, and Mark & Lenny by Gio Potes.

Outrage Magazine launches #KaraniwangLGBT

Bonette added that the annual Pride month celebration has just ended, and yet – over 20 years since the first such gathering in Metro Manila “the LGBTQIA movement does and spends more on branding rather than coalition building, with the mainstream LGBTQIA movement focusing on soliciting funds from corporation to run our cause; it’s almost like our rights have been bought, paid for and sold to the highest bidder no matter how anti-worker or neoliberal policy upholder that corporation is.”

In this sense, “the metaphor of being ‘treated like a piece of meat’ is valid, as if our bodies and identities are there to be exploited in the free market of commodification and oppression.”

Bonette said that they are cognizant that “corporate money also do some good for the community”, but that awareness is needed so LGBTQIA people also recognize that “there is something antithetical about a movement for equality and justice funded by the forces in the world that is also most responsible for widespread economic and social inequality.”

In the end, “we’d like to use this event as a venue to ask LGBTQIA people: What’s the future ahead of us? When our community is not yet united as a social movement that addresses the issues facing the most marginalized LGBTQIA people, with those fighting against systemic poverty, are we really making any progress? Or has the LGBTQIA movement, our movement, already hijacked by power elites advocating for their own interests?”

“Kasarisarian” is a term coined from: “Kasarian” which means gender, and (2) “Sari-Sari” for variety and diversity. It aims to provide queer (and straight) artists a non-commercial and an uncompromising space to tackle and explore various queer narratives, identities and politics.

This is a free event (yes, there’s no admission fee); though it is open for donations (during the event). Door will open at 1:00PM on July 21 and the program will start at exactly 6:00PM with a welcome reception, followed by the Artist Talk, film screening and cultural performances. This will run until July 26.

For more information, head to Guni-Guri Collective; or contact Aaron Bonette at or 0995-085-3664.

Continue Reading


Most Popular