#30DayWritingChallenge: Something that made me angry.

Day Twenty-Nine: Something that made me angry.

For a few years, I helped organize the Metro Manila Pride March. It’s called Metro Manila Pride now because it expanded beyond the marching. It was, at the same time, the best, the worst, and the craziest thing I ever did.

What a lot of people, even those who attend the parade, don’t realize is that the organizers often don’t have a lot of money for the whole thing. Not counting the program that is set after the parade (where participating organizations expect to give a speech on whatever that org stands for), the permits, the publicity, the registration materials, and all those stuff people don’t notice but are needed to bring about the entire thing cost money.

Every year is a miracle.

Needless to say, organizing the entire parade is stressful work. And that’s not unsurprising at all. But there are some things that needlessly add to the stress. Sometimes, you just wish you can punch some people in the face.

Pride March 2012 by Bardo Wu

Read the rest: It was the first time we’re doing the parade in Makati.

Let’s make this year different. Help Pride March 2012.

This was originally posted by Lanchie, the FinCom head of Task Force Pride Philippines:

Every year the Metro Manila Pride March is made possible by volunteer individuals and organizations who make up Task Force Pride Philippines.

Every year we start from scratch, no funds and no list of sponsors.

Getty Images - Manila Pride March

This year is no different. It’s a few weeks before we march for equality, we barely have any budget to hold what is supposed to be the biggest LGBT event of the year.

This year if 1,000 people donated P150 each, you’d be helping us make sure we have lights and a sound system and generator for the program; food for the people who will be performing for free; rent for band equipment for the band members; tokens for our speakers, etc.

This year show your support for the LGBT community and our continued fight for equal rights and better representation in government. Any amount would be a step to make this event possible.

You can forward your donations here:

Paypal: http://bit.ly/HelpPrideMarch2012

BPI Savings Account
Account Name: Christopher Allan Abanco OR Jonathan Villaroza Caalim
Account Number: 4359-1177-50

Help us spread the word.

Let’s make this year different.

As part of the TFP Working Group, this will not end with us begging for money year after year. Being part of the working group for the first time, it made me realize the changes needed in how the Metro Manila Pride March is organized.

From the lessons learned this year, we could ensure a better Pride March in the following year. If there is one thing Lanchie, Juna, Rocky, Bern, and I would like to be PinoyG4M‘s contribution to TFP, it is laying out the foundation for how future Marches will be organized.

This year is our challenge and already we’ve seen a few small miracles come our way. But we need a few miracles more to pull this off.

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Why we (and probably lots of other people) were peeved by the Pride March after-party.

After the initial post-march program, people were asked to leave the stage area and pay for entrance so they could come back in. My group of friends were already inside one of the bars when people in the outdoor tables were shooed out so were not aware of that happening.

I would like to congratulate whoever thought of thst procedure for driving away a lot of march participants away from Malate. It’s the perfect way to throw cold water on a crowd that was likely still high and giddy from the Pride March. They will definitely know how the after-party organizers felt about the march participants.

A more troubling aspect of it was how there was hardly any mention that the party area will be charging for entrance in most of the Pride March advertisements. Was that an honest lapse among the organizers? People probably would not have minded paying for an entrance fee if it was mentioned earlier. At the very least, it would not have come as a nasty surprise for those who stayed for the after-party.

2011 Manila Pride March

Image source: Karapatan ng LGBT, ipinagdiwang sa Pride March

Blah blah blah. In other words, the Pride March after-party.

The post-march program was already halfway done when I arrived in Nakpil. Exhausted, I accompanied Bern to a food stall. At least I already got to eat; Bern hadn’t eaten anything all day.

It was sad seeing so few people in the program. Most of them were probably the same people who attend Pride March every year, enjoying the photo ops. A perimeter was built around the Nakpil-Orosa area; the event charged an entrance fee when the actual program highlights started.

Shortly after I arrived, our group went into one of the bars for karaoke and beer. Later on, I was told that many of the people who were already in the party area were asked to pay the entrance fee outside the gates. We missed that because we were already inside a bar which was conveniently inside the venue.

So the Pride March boiled down to simply another means of making money. That was not unexpected. But the attempt at exclusivity to the area tasted of gross commercialism, I could feel it clogging my cynical gay arteries. Ironically, the bars probably would have had more people coming in if the organizers did not put up a stupid wall around the venue.

I was watching go-go boys doing poi while they danced on elevated platforms and thinking: What would Maoi warriors feel watching their fire-dance performed by go-go boys? It’s that side of gay culture I am not comfortable with: the gaudy sexuality, the trashy hedonism, the garish excess. Not that I think it should be part of gay culture. If other people like it, that’s their thing.

Maybe I just don’t like the idea of sugar-coating it with labels of advocacy.

After we left the venue with Lanchie, Juna and Alex, we were talking of what we felt about the Pride March parties. We felt like the organizers may be missing a point in gay advocacy. Most people attending parties are just there for the parties; they don’t care if it was for a cause. They won’t even remember what the cause was. I won’t dwell too much into it because if I was asked, so how should it go, then? I won’t know the answer either. Only that I think if you wanted to support an advocacy, you do it because you believe in the cause. Not because you’ll have friends joining you. Not because you’ll have people taking your photos. And not because there will be a party later with half-naked go-go boys dancing with their crotch at eye-level.

The Quiapo amazing race. (Or, how I missed joining the Manila Pride March for the second time.)

This morning, friends I was with last night sent several text messages thanking everyone who joined them in their first Manila Pride March. Ain’t that sweet? It was my second. I mean, the second Pride March that I missed for some inane reason and just when I was already on my way to Malate. I don’t know why, but I’m prone to these: Pride March, friends’ weddings, special movie screenings.

Actually, I do. But it feels so much better to adapt a state of put-on bemusement.

The actual reason I missed the march was because I was in Quiapo, waiting for buttons I had made for our group in the march; the rest will be distributed to other people afterwards. I really couldn’t complain about the delay. It was a rushed job to beat other rushed job: I only commissioned them and submitted the design that morning. There was really no way they could create 500 buttons in 3 hours. But the man in the shop accepted my order and I was pretty desperate.

In hindsight, I should have split the 3 button designs between 3 shops instead. Realizing things in hindsight only adds further frustration to an already frustrating experience. I don’t know why I still indulge in it.

It was past 4 o’clock and they were still not done with the buttons. The shop owner’s mother, a salt-of-the-earth woman who was amiable enough to talk of the things they do in the shop, was still placing safety pins in the buttons. I decided to help them to speed up the process. It was easy; all I needed to know is learn the proper orientation of the pin as it’s placed into the holes in the back. We finished the last 100 button in 10 minutes. The woman probably sensed that I have not yet eaten all day so I was told to get myself something to eat and wait for an hour more.

The day wasn’t going that well for me. Blame procrastination. After several days of not getting enough sleep because of one thing or another, I realized we are totally unprepared for the march. I woke up early on Saturday morning to design three buttons, headed to Quiapo before lunch, tried to find someone to make a banner for us (no luck there), and ordered for balloons for the march instead. I learned that one could order 20 pink balloons to be ready in 30 minutes. That was pretty amazing.

Bern with balloons

I didn’t even had time to had my nails done. Bern got a haircut, Markee had a foot spa, Gelo had his nails manicured. I smelled of Quiapo, midday sun, panic, and mostly Quiapo. Bern was very kind to bring the balloons to Malate and have a little bit of adventure of his own. I had to go back to Manila to claim the buttons. While in the train, it hit me that the entire day felt like joining the Amazing race, except that I was not treated to those flashy editing to remove all the boring bits between challenges.

It was already 6:30 and a hundred butttons for PinoyG4M arrived at the shop. The shop boy said there were still 100 buttons ready in the next 30 minutes, which most likely mean at least 45. I told the shop I’m picking the rest tomorrow and was good with the 400 buttons that were already done.

At least most of the pins were popular. Several people kept asking for some. Except those for the Home for the Golden Gays, unfortunately. That was my fault: the design I did looked very politico-like, as if someone was campaigning for mayor. Which is a shame. The idea for the pins started as a way of promoting their website.