If there’s one thing (aside from the penis) that is common to all Filipino gays, it’d be this: PAGEANTS.
All Filipino gays either:
* Have joined a gay beauty pageant.
* Have dreamed of joining a gay beauty pageant.
* Have watched a gay beauty pageant.
* or detests gay beauty pageants because they think it’s beneath them (but in reality, they just want to join one but know they couldn’t possible pass as “beautiful”)
I’ve only experienced joining a beauty pageant once - when I was in 2nd year college. I used to study in an all “boys” school from my second to tertiary education. Our gay alumni had formed an under-ground gay beauty contest called “Lion Queen”. There were 14 “out” gays in our batch (and heaven knows how many were closet cases). We decided to hold a mini-pageant so that the winner and the 1st runner up will represent our batch. We thought that if we did not have an official pageant, a lot of our batch-mates will join. If this happened, support will be scattered, ergo, we will have lesser chances of winning. With our pooled creativity, we named our mini-pageant ... “Lion Princess”.
We invited our straight friends and headed to a resort in Laguna to hold our event. I thought then that the pageant we were going to have wasn’t going to be serious so I went there not being so prepared. When I got to the resort, I was astounded with the fact that all of my friends had wigs, gowns, a couple of shoes, and tons of make-up. Two of them even brought their personal make-up artists, whereas I, only had a pair of bra, a pair of shoes, and a run-down pair of stockings.
I told them I wasn’t going to join anymore. They insisted that I should and they’ll supply the things I needed. I thought - “what the hell, this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing” so I went ahead. Since I didn’t have a gown, and my friends did not have any spare, I used a plastic wrap (yes, the same one you put in your food containers so that your food does not spoil). I wrapped the plastic around me splattered glitters all over, and voila! .... I had a couture gown. Luckily, I made it to top 5.
When it came to the Q&A, I heard the questions given to my friends were a walk in the park. They got questions like: “If you were to talk with the Pope about homosexuality, what will you tell him?” or “How did you tell your parents you were gay?”.
When it was my turn, the judge (a gay beauty contest expert from UST) asked me:
“If you were a cockroach, what would you do to help humanity?”
I though I just didn’t hear him correctly so I asked him to repeat the question for me. Surprisingly, what I thought I heard was really what he said. I thought he was joking so I asked if he were serious. He said yes. I faked a laugh then answered:
“If I were a cockroach, I’d ask all my cockroach friends to eat all the non-biodegradable garbage in our planet to save the world. Thank you.”
Because of my perfect answer, I landed 3rd runner-up (I failed big time from my judge because he said he wanted me to commit suicide as a cockroach). Suffice to say, my loss was our batch’s gain. Our representative bagged the Lion Queen title.
Back to the present ...
3 days ago, I got a txt message from my “kids” saying that two of them were going to join a gay pageant in a far-flung part of Zambales. I haven’t watched any gay pageants for quite some time already so I joined them.
Going there was like hell. We rode a bus that didn’t have an air-conditioning system. Thanks to the tropical storm Feria, it was hot, humid and stinky inside the omnibus because all the windows were closed. The bus was also full so we had to stand up for our dear lives for an hour and a half.
When we arrived in Cabanggan Zambales, we thought the pageant was in the town’s plaza. Our friends who went ahead of us texted that we had to ride a tricycle going to San Juan. When we got there, we had an inkling that it was going to be a disaster.
The t-ramp where the contestants were supposed to walk on looked haphazardly done. There was a temporary roof built to cover the “VIP Guest area” but the strange thing was, the part where the t-ramp is located didn’t have any roof (the middle part of the roof was missing).
My friends invited me to go to the “Green Room” where all the contestants were prepping. It was my 1st time to ever get a backstage experience on a real gay beauty pageant. The place reeked of sweat, make-up, smoke and hair spray. The good thing though was that the gays who were there to compete were friendly and everybody seemed to be happy.
The pageant went on and these are the most memorable quotes I heard ...
Contestant Number 7, Winner of Darling of The Crowd Award on his introduction:
* “Nagmula sa langit, bumagsak sa lupa, basag ang mukha. Narito po sa inyong harapan ang magpapatibok sa inyong mga puso, BABY Gandang Hari.” (From the heavens, I fell down to earth and smashed my face. In front of you is the person who would make your hearts beat, BABY Gandanghari).
Contestant Number 7, Winner of Darling of The Crowd Award on his casual interview:
* Q: “Do you think you are beautiful?” A: “Alam ko po na pangit ako. Pero sa loob ko po maganda YATA ako.” (A: I know that I am ugly. But I MIGHT be beautiful inside.)
Contestant Number 1, on his introduction, before backing out from the competition:
* “Sabihin n’yo nang ako ay baklang batu-bato. Sabihin n’yo nang hindi ako kasing ganda ng nanay n’yo, o kasing talino ng mga ate n’yo. Pero mag ingat kayo, dahil baka natikman ko na ang tatay n’yo.” (Tell me I’m a muscular transie. Tell me I;m not as beautiful as your moms nor as intelligent as your sisters. But beware, I might already have had sex with you fathers.)
There were a lot more but since it was raining during the pageant, I was concentrating on holding my umbrella so as not to get wet rather than listening to the crappy answers to the judges’ crappy questions. Aside from this, my ears went into total shut down as soon as I heard some of the contestants resorting to using quotes to make themselves the laughing stock of the audience just to muster some extra points from being the crowd favorite.
Like any other gay pageant, there was politics involved. All the special awards were given to the “local” contestants. My friends went home empty handed, even though they were the only two contestants from the top 5 who answered in passable English.
While waiting for the Hell Bus to bring us back home at around 4 in the morning, I started to think:
Why do FIlipino Gays love joining gay beauty pageants? If they joined the pageant to showcase their beauty, wit and glamor - then why do most of them resort to making themselves the comic relief of the audience by saying things that make them look stupid?
When will they realize that unless they take these things seriously, gays and transexuals who join these types of pageants will forever be seen by the public as mere jokes? Unless they do, people who watch the pageants will not see them as they are, inside and out - beautiful, witty and glamorous.
Some pictures from the event: