Monday, September 9, 2019

Metro Manila Pride photos from X Lahorra

In my previous post, I shared my photos from Pride.

The photos in this post were taken by X Lahorra. You can find him on Facebook here and here, on YouTube, and on Instagram. I decided to make these photos a separate post because I had a tough time narrowing down my favorites.

You can view all my “Philippines Trip 2019” posts by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019


In my last two posts, I shared photos from the Venice Grand Canal mall and Manila American Cemetery. This post is the rest of the photos I took during my day trip to Taguig.

SM Aura Premier shopping mall

Market! Market! shopping mall

You can view all my “Philippines Trip 2019” posts by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Metro Manila Pride

One of the most exciting parts of my trip to the Philippines was attending the Metro Manila Pride, even though the weather didn't cooperate.
I'm going to break this up into two posts. This post is photos from my camera, and the next post will be photos others took. Excuse the blurriness of my photos; I am having trouble getting used to editing photos with a new program and on a retina monitor.

The Philippines is an interesting place to attend Pride. In a 2013 study, 73 percent of Filipinos agreed with the statement that “homosexuality should be accepted by society." Yet, gay marriage is still not legal in the Philippines, and in a 2018 study, 61% of Filipinos said they were against same-sex civil unions. One of the Filipino agents described the culture as gay is only okay in the abstract (that people are only okay if it isn't their son, sister, friend, etc.). This all left me unsure of what to expect from Metro Manila Pride.

We arrived at the venue rather early as our company was in the parade and we had a section in the bleachers assigned to us. At that time, the line to get into the Marikina City Sports Center ended not far from where the line started (wrapping completely around the arena). A record-breaking 77,000 people attended this year's event. That is over three times the previous record (25,000 last year). Unfortunately, they were not prepared for that many people attending.

An hour and a half after the parade was scheduled to start, we had not moved from our position in the parade line-up, so, our company decided to leave the event two hours early (without marching). We found out later that they ended up having to stop the march for security concerns (I'm not sure if that was before or after we left). Additionally, the venue reached capacity around 4:00 PM, so thousands of people waiting outside could not get in.

I inadvertently matched the buses taking us to Pride.

Rainbow grilled cheese

Parade line-up

The non-stop heavy rain and hoards of people made things quite muddy.

I am stealing my own caption from Instagram for this next photo: Three hours after we decided to leave the parade, we realized that we were still *directly* outside the venue. The traffic was that ridiculous, that our bus had just been driving around outside the venue.

One of the agents opened his backpack where he had 3-4 bottles of water, a half-eaten chicken dinner from breakfast, and some other snacks that the venue somehow didn't see during their bag checks 🤣. He passed his food around the bus. Someone else had an individual bag of corn chips left from the ride there that he shared with the bus.

I felt like it was all the perfect illustration of Filipino culture (or at least, how I've interpreted it). No matter how frustrating the circumstances, they find a way to be positive and have fun. They always look out for others. And even when someone doesn't have much, they will happily share with others.

Lastly, two videos from Pride.

You can view all my “Philippines Trip 2019” posts by clicking here.

Manila American Cemetery

After the Venice Grand Canal mall, I decided to stop by the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial since it was across the street from the mall. What I didn't realize is just how big it is (152 acres) and that it only has one entrance. Despite it being across the street from the mall, it was 1.2 miles to the memorial. While that doesn't sound too bad, keep in mind that the "feels like" temperature was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit most of the time I was in the Philippines (including on this day).

I had never been to a war memorial before, so, I wasn't prepared for the list of rules, dress code, and checking of my ID. Luckily, they accepted my Illinois driver's license (since my passport was in the hotel safe), and what I was wearing met the dress code.

There are 17,058 people buried at the Manila American Cemetery.

The Tablets of the Missing memorial contains 36,286 names.

The state seals are carved in the floor of the memorial.

You can view all my “Philippines Trip 2019” posts by clicking here.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Venice Grand Canal mall

My second full weekend in the Philippines, I decided to venture out on my own. My first stop was the Venice Grand Canal mall in Taguig City.

I shared my gondola with a lovely couple who were also tourists.

You can view all my “Philippines Trip 2019” posts by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Meeting Damen

While I was in the Philippines, I got to meet Damen in person for the first time. Damen and I have been online friends since around 2000. I never thought I'd get the chance to meet him since he lives in the Philippines. I met him while I went out with one of the training classes for a night of Karaoke at Rufo's in Alabang (I will post those photos once I receive them).

You can view all my “Philippines Trip 2019” posts by clicking here.