Shiela Sanchez, a hairdresser in Angeles City for over 20 years now, always identified as a woman. She remembered being always called “Bakla! Bakla (Faggot! Faggot)!” in her youth, but she said there were times when even hit those who mocked her.
Shiela is a firm believer of love.
Her first real love was Ian.
“At first we played together in a tongkingan (a card game). I would often force myself to lose just to befriend him. Then we laughed constantly because of how bad I was. We then always tag-teamed against other players,” Shiela narrated. “Tas makanta megseryosu (That’s how everything turned serious between us). We were friends until our friendship blossomed into something more.”
Shiela and Ian were together for 14 years. Sadly, “medtudtud ya kagising na ala nah tas sinugod de hospital. Ian mete ya keng aneurysm inyang 2010 (I remembered that he was just sleeping and then they brought him to the hospital. Then he was gone. Ian passed away in 2010 from aneurysm).”
For Shiela, “Ian iya parin ing kaluguran ku. Kahit marakal pang dumalan a lalaki, Ya Pa rin! Ala nang aliwa (Ian is still the love of my life. Many men have passed in my life. It was always him. There is no one else other than Ian).”
She added: “Misan kapag ikang dilu mun aisip mu na itang ila atin forever na atin kaaybe ing keka mo aisip mubat bigla yang mawala. Wala na ka man pagkukulang (At times, when I’m all alone, I always think that some people have their ‘forever’. They already have someone with them. Then it hits you, this sudden realization that yours was taken away and is gone forever. You’ve had you chance).”
Shiela’s advice to all those people who are in love?
“Luguran de pa sarili da. Isipan da pa ing sarili kasi dang alwa ngeni lulugad la mabubulag la. Bibiye de ngan kahit ide kailangan biye (You have to love yourself first. Prioritize yourself first, because some people are too blinded with love. They give everything even if they do not need to).”
Shiela doesn’t have any regrets in her life.
”Kasi yaku kung nanung damdaman na ning pusu ku at pagkatau ku apin na ita. Atsaka masaya nakuman (I always think what my heart and my whole being dictates my life. That’s all there is to it. I’m very happy right now),” she said.
And Shiela is not only grateful for everything God granted to her, she is also thankful that she was able to help her family and also other people. “Mas matimbang pa ita kahit makanini ka pagkatau (This weighs even more than your identity),” she ended.