Thursday, August 29, 2013

Manila top5 prettiest / Pork Barrel protest

I was looking forward to last weekend. Saturday night was Manila top 5 prettiest pageant and on Sunday was the Pork Barrel protest. 

Kate invited me to the Manila top 5 since the 1st time we've met because she was just being invited to be the judge for the event and i was looking forward to it. So last Saturday she came and fetch me at Greenbelt with 2 others from the community. We arrived at the place quite early around 730pm ish and was invited to eat dinner together with the organizers, i was introduced to other mak ayam besar who's under her are younger transwomen or 'anak-anak' the same word we have in Bahasa or in KL we call 'Anak ayam', the venue was at The Star theatre near the Star shopping complex not far from Makati area. The event starts at 930ish pm with a parade of colourful costumes extravaganza just like any other big pageant shows from Las Vegas to Thailand, they come with big accesorries some with wings some with additional extensions that help them look so mega-diva like in a good beautiful way.

Same thoughts ran through my mind looking at these beautiful women where in a country you could fully express yourself at a younger age and grow up gracefully into a beautiful woman without a hint of tostesterone-puberty-suicidal-phase attached to them mostly, there are some who went through the male puberty phase but not many. I was just gawking and scanning a hint of maleness in them but mostly failed. Bone density after male puberty is permanent if you don't have testosterone blockers at a young age to block them or else you'll get the bigger brow-bones, bigger feet and hand, shoulders and this is really important for us trans women to pass, and incase of some transwomen not just pass but become extremely beautiful & extremely passable. In Malaysia we have both small built and bigger built transwomen. Besides the face-scan for brow-bones, higher nose bridge and bigger jaw, i was really really amazed of their rib cage. Seriously. Its as if they stop growing since theyre 8 years old. Its impossible not to feel jealous of these girls. I only can admire their beauty and femininity from the front row seats. Some of them who are the crew of the event all participating besides taking care of the stage, being mcs, tango dancing, fashion catwalk showing the latest design from the community themselves, swimsuit design, night gowns, singing, everybody's participating in this event.  

Maybe i was a little tired i thought the event was a bit too long from 930pm to 2am but also maybe i was tired form travelling and walking around. The one i attended in KL before was slightly shorter i guess. The costume design was amazing, clearly they've taken a lot of time to assemble them, the swimsuit was ok as well i just like 2 designs and the fabrics used, evening dress was ok, some are outstanding some normal, singing performace by a cute guy, not sure wether he's MSM or just straight, the tango dance performance was so awesome. I already spotted 2 transwomen that i admire that night. She was wearing a black dress with a bareback and her skin and her ribcage is flawless. I think i have a ribcage fetish now. First she's taking care of the stage area, then she tango, then during her catwalk that everybody's just clapping to her the way she walk and struts she was full of charms and confidence blown over the rooftops, i want to be her goddamnit. There was another girl as well when she walk people just clap, these 2 girls was really inspiring. Seriously. It has something to do with her confidence, beauty and charms. I said charms because they use their facial expression as well not just catwalk. Clearly these 2 girls have their fans there. 

Earlier before the pageant started, they were introduced to all the judges including Kate, and also Kevin Balot!. I was quite surprise that she came and everyone's attending to her since she's the hot stuff at the moment since winning the Miss Universe Thailand last year. 

So after the event ended, i met Chloe that i knew from the beginning when i met Kate and Dindi from the Association of Transgender Women of the Philippines (ATP). We wait for a while until Kate was ready to go and the community there works very fast dismantling the props on the stage. Before we left at around 2:30am it was already drizzling and i left my little-girl-goth-payung at the theatre. I think this is the 3rd time i'm in local's car in the Philippines. This is big deal if you're traverse by train, tricycles, cabs and Ex everyday. It was quite a distance from the place to Kates house. When we reach Kate's home it was still drizzling,i felt sorry for the driver (forgot her name), as she has to drive back home in the middle of the rainy night. Met Erica again, Kate's cat for the second time, chit chat and i slept around 430am. I think Kate slept around 5ish. 

I woke up the next day around 12ish noon, play Subway Surfers on the phone and waiting for Kate. Played with Erica for awhile. Later Kate scolded me to make the place like home because i didn't touch anything including her food for lunch. I'm shy like that. We went out in the evening and stopby at a small local groceries and eat our dinner. They're selling soup-porky stuff and also like the Malaysian Ramly Burger stall, i ordered 2 egg burgers and chomped down vigorously. Then we walk to the nearest SM mall just outside the main road i didn't know it existed before. Bought some foodstuff, biscuits and mineral water, walk back home and stop over at Kate's friend's Saloon and i ended up going for hair treatment and chop off the half end of my damage but so sayang hair. In Philippines they say the same thing like Malaysian, "Sayang" if they missed or regretted something. 
So i stay over another night at Kate's and looking forward to attending the Pork Barrel protest tomorrow. Oh, Kate ended up didn't sleep for the whole night as she's busy with her Psychology test online. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Ganda Filipina

So yesterday was another looong journey. 2 mission, 1 to Escolta artmarket then to meet Naomi and the group Ganda Filipina. Woke up early in the morning and, took the train to Escolta for the art market. First there was a bit of complication of switching train from Line2 to Line1, but manage to reach destination safely via huffin' and puffin' and sweating all over like a bloody river, it wasn't attractive. I took out the cheap fan that i bought in Kuching and fan the face vigorously despite people left and right staring. 

The Escolta art market reminded me of Arts for grabs in Kuala Lumpur but they have it in an abandon building which have the nice feel of post-apocalyptic to it.
Most of them are selling their own product design. Some are quirky, some edgy and cool. Not sure what to buy, i ended up buying a used Picasso book for 200pesos. There was another attractive book titled 'American artists' which contain a collection of American artists from previous time, i was torn between these 2 books but i might come back and buy it the next time if its available.

So i left the place at 12, after lunch at this local fastfood, as usual rice with Bangus, i really wish they're put more greens on their menu, but that will be like praying and hoping. The rain's getting from drizzling to medium and brave through the rain. So from Carriedo station i went to the most front which is for women's section(that's right, they have it here as well) and hop on and off to Dorateo Jose station and walk passing through the slums on the left side back to Line2 of Recto Station,this is one end of the station and i'm going to the other end of the station which is Santolan station. That is why it is advisable to only choose 1 destination per day here. But i just noticed these 2 destinations last minute in the itinerary but just went for it. I had slight headache probably from yesterday and the rain water. Reach Santolan station took awhile to realize that i need to take a jeep or the big van taxy not Jeepney. in the middle of heavy rain looking for cab. Ask for direction from the van-taxi driver, yes to the right mode of transport, paid 30 pesos, cram in the passengers like sardine can and off we go. Stop at Metroville and walk in the rain with a tiny-gothlike-cheap-711 umbrella about 1.5 km before reach the house. It was owned by this beautiful TS name Lovely, she reminded me of the actress Monica Belucci, really beautiful. All the girls here or their group name 'Ganda Filipina' are what we TS community from Malaysia says 'Tak Pech Lobs'. They're all small size, petite and even their bone density and structure are small, the privilege of living in the country where Transwomen are free to be themselves from a very young age. Besides genetic, they must have taken T-blockers or start HRT at a very young age. I'm jealous of their bone structure. They all look like 15 year old girls despite the age. Some of them already gone through SRS, some from Dr.Thep from Bangkok, and one from local doctor which is the 1st time i heard about this, the name is Dr.Jorge. Then i find out this beautiful women, Justine Ferrer is actually a famous local TV celebrity for channel7 JMA and she share the same manager as Kevin Balot, another local TS celebrity whose keep using confusing terms like homosexuals, and gayboy instead of her obvious Trans self. I notice i kept staring at Justine, Lovely, Naomi and the rest of them one by one evaluating their bone structure of their face, their nose, their browbone, what have they eaten since they're young? Obviously no trace of FFS, only one girl i notice still have a cut besides their nostrils. I guess this is a normal scanning procedure for for a transwoman when meeting another transwoman. I noticed Lovely kept staring at my face as well, I found out later that day on the train back Britney told me they themselves couldn't believe i'm a transwomen, they thought i'm a cisgendered women, the reason why they stare/scan me the same way, i scanned them. Ganda Filipina girls are ready to go for their photoshoot at the nearest mall. I'm glad they have cars, or else i have to camp on the roadside. 

So Justine is driving her car and this is my 2nd time having a ride in a local's car, its quite comforting compares to long hour journey on a train. At the mall i manage to get an aspirin for the headache and minutes away its gone. Doing this photoshoot activities is what brings the girls together once a month, they're all busy with their own daily work and lives so this activity is like a bonding and share their stories. They're quite fun and there's a lot of laughter just like the other community from ATP. Just like my community in KL. Loads of gossip, laughter and gila-gila time together.

After that they brought me to a famous Philipino resto called Lydia's something something i forgot the name, which mostly western food, they really have a nice pizza and i ordered an anchovies/olive oil Spaggheti. Was alright, i tried better one at Makati mall. Talk about lotsuv things some about Japan and also my experience here in the Philippine so far and Justine's neighbor a gayguy who's been tagging along with us becoming very manja to me and testing me on my tagalog. I notice on the way back people in the resto are staring at us probably because of these sexy people probably same when i'm with friends in KL. I felt comfortable with them and i ask several questions before like so far i tried not to dress too feminine when going out or taking the train, there's still fear being taken advantage of or worst *knock on wood you know. I'm still blending in and tone down the dressing. But amazingly some people here thought that i am American which is quite interesting. The guards here, the fruitseller lady near where i'm staying, people from the university ask me the same thing, Which state of America you're from? I was like Ha~!?  

The experience with Ganda girls wasn't enough, i'm looking forward to meet them and talk more about stuff and interview them. There's going to be a well-known beauty pageant on 24th this month and i was invited by Kate to be the guess at the event, i can't wait. It's another opportunity to meet more of the community from here and to get to know them better. They ask me before a couple of times wether i've something to wear, good thing i brought the tailor-made dress that Fazilah did for me and a kebaya that i use like a jacket. Phew~

Friday, August 16, 2013


Captain's log, stardate: August16th 2014, P.Tuazon, Project 4 Quezon City Metro Manila. 

So today or last night was my 1st diarrhea case here fuck i dont know what kind of combination of food that made me stomach swirls and twirls, i slept early around 9pm woke up again around 12, good thing there's Plant vs Zombie2 i just downloaded so it keeps me to pass the time amd forget the stomach twirls. Slept again maybe around 4am and woke up around 9ish to 10. Went out in hope to see any shops around here for breakfast, but none, so i head straight to "Save More", a small convenient store or mall with a small pharmacy just down at the main road, convenient. "pause" while taking out the medicine and pop 1 now....." , Ya, the pharmacist told me to drink Gatorade for dehydration but after looking at the labels, they contain Tartrazine. A cancer causing agent that's been banned in European countries. So i end up with Pocari Sweat, japanese drink i think. Still bad but less evil.  Bought a Hainanese rice with Fish Dumpling for lunch. So so only. And now farting and somethings brewing inside alright, and it wants to come out, URGH~!

****few hours passed after some lying down and plant vs zombie2*****

Ok so last 2 weeks ago, Saturday, i followed Riza to her artist talk at 98B gallery and at the same time there was a talk on Yayoi Kusama work somewhere in Makati which one of my trans friend is going and unknowlingly my fellow Malaysian artist is attending coming straight from KL. I only find find out later from his instagram and facebook. By the way Riza's work is about people in transit like the immigrants or people displaced by war torn countries for example from Africa, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia etc. She work with mostly women and their stories and some of her work also depicting Philippino women who's working abroad and their challenges. It was a very good and compact. Her video help with translating the stories into raw and emotional human experience. 
She also collaborate with other artists from different practise. Its amazing how i get to know her from the Isis hostel and became friends probably because of us being artist, then move here to Project4, P.Toazon. She also help me navigating the city and teach me how to take the train.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Looooooong day

Captain's log, stardate: August8th2014, P.Tuazon, Project 4 Quezon City Metro Manila. 

Yesterday August 7th2013 is our last day at Isis international hostel around Matalino st. area. We woke up early in the morning around 6am, pack up all the stuff and get ready to leave. After breakfast, we're outside with all the heavy load and with my giant slab-pyramid-brick size luggage. Walk out to the main street and manage catch a big van type taxi, he drove us back infront of Isis, we're ask them to wait for us, we run inside the hostel and went back outside and find the van taxi disappeared. Its because of the construction side infront of the hostel that makes the taxi cant stop there because of the tricycles go in and out often in that area. Pissed and then calm down, manages to catch the normal car taxi and he's ok with our heavy load, and went straight to the BKK hostel without any fuss. 

I agree to follow Riza to catch a cab together straight to Makati, went to our separate room, throw our heavy loads, i manage to speed-pack for one night stay over at Kate's place tonight. Off we go. Stuck in traffic because its still morning rush-hour. Jump out at the next MRT station to Makati. Reach there and eat lunch at some Italian's cafe, some green looking spaghetti with olive oil and some neatly sliced bread + mango juice, while Riza meeting her acquaintance. Then we separated.

i plan to meet Eva at the Valentine Willie's gallery in Manila called Manila Contemporary but the big building that house the gallery is called Whitespace , sms her and get directions. Jump into a cab and go. While in the cab the driver tried to strike a conversation, like asking where i'm from and stuff. Too much question from cab driver can destroy your cover, that youre not local, previously i can blend in well, people here talk to me in tagalog all the time, i just nod my head and say hmmf, hmmf but 2,3 questions and that's it, i response in English and you're not local anymore which open to opportunities of being ripped off especially by the cab driver like my first experience taking cab from the airport to the hostel. After some getting lost and found the location, i blew 200 pesos.

Met Eva and Valentine Willy and chat a bit here and there. Eva have to leave for KL tonight so she has to settle some stuff and can't hang out or chill that long, i manage to grab a nap in the gallery for a bit. Then my next destination from that area Pasong Tamo extension, i have to go to Kate's house which is at Park Homes around PACITA. Eva manage to get her colleague Chris who used to be a local cab driver and help me to get the direction to Kate's home. Chris thought i'm local and keep talking to me in tagalog as well, i really enjoy it you know, i wish there's a subtitle underneath my sight, until i give up and told him i'm Malaysian. He apologize and help me with the direction. Stop a cab for me and he guide the cab for a bit along the way to Passay road, direction to South Bound (this moment and some few other moments of other surroundings here in Philippines always reminded me or gave me the impression of Mexico eventhough i've never been there, probably the Spanish language used everywhere+Jeepneys art). The bus stop have this huge mural, like a fine art mural, not sure what is it for. Bus came, hop on the bus, and cover blew up again when conductor ask questions,i just repeat Park Homes a dozen times, i don't even know how much is the ticket, but i think he took the fare into his own pocket, he didn't even gave me the tickets. Manage to ask an auntie where to stop couple of times i ask her so i won't miss the stop. Got down safely and took the tricycles into Park Homes and Kate's infront of her house welcoming me. 

She has a very nice home. Reminded me of a Japanese home. 3 stories but the dimension is a bit small. She have a cat name Erica which just gave birth to 3 kittens but 1 died yesterday. During chit chating there were few local trans dropping by, i suppose its her anak ayam. We talk and exchange stories just like i met Dindi's anak ayam/community before. Then off we go to another district for their trans beauty pageant, which Kate was invited to become the judge.

So this is my first time sitting in a local people's car in the Philippines. It was a smooth ride,on the highway and then enter a district if im not mistaken called Barangay Sukat. Then we're led to a small road that look like they're preparing for a fiesta and we went down at this small stage where they're preparing for the event. It look like a big event here in this small town, everyone's waiting for the girls to come out. It reminded me of my hometown during the early 80s where there's always funfair around town and there's a show called paperdolls where the trans sisters will show their beauty to the public, its like a beauty pageant but for smaller town folks. I guess paperdoll shows disappear when the fatwa came out during the 80s and the government owned media becoming more and more transphobic. 

After dinner, i was shocked when they force me to become judge as well, i laugh so loud inside because i've never expected this at all, nevah! but i was laughing hard inside im not sure why because it was a long day today since i woke up around 6 am to move to a new place this morning and the night's ending is like amazing. To watch this in a small town and the people the community here are so supporting and work together for the event, they were all cheering up and participating the event. There were slight misused of words to portray the transwomen but they can always learn and i was really surprise at all these girls how good their English were because some of them taking or graduating in the mass communication and they are like 21,20, 20 something years old. I am really proud of them, a country of struggling people, massive labour exporter and they're really open to learn about anything to excel. 

Later that night we left around 1am, if there are extreme word to describe fucking tired, that's how i feel the whole night from the long journey that starts early. The best part also we left the event in an ambulance, people from the community send some of the people out of the district back home so me and Kate took the ambulance back home, i was joking lite-lite "So which hospital we're going" and they lols, sometimes the driver press the siren to inform the people on the streets to make ways for us, or make way for the Queen Kate, but actually the driver drive quite slowly despite the urgency of the ambulane blue red lights. Then we walk back to Kate's house, the night was full of stars so pretty. After reach home we talk and talk of Kate's life experience comparing here Philippines and Japan. She was there for almost 10 years and have a boyfriend there, i forgot to ask what happen to him, he's good looking, like Bruce Lee. Then we're decided to sleep finally around 3am.


This morning i woke up around 11 and Kate's around 2pm, she made for me an instant noodle breakfast and a coffee and we continue chatting. Then i heard she mention that she's taking class on Photoshop software and i offer myself to teach her and doing that for about an hour before i left her place around 5, she accompanied me to the main street and wave a bus to Ayala. The bus can go further to Cubao station but i think it will reach Cubao for another hundred years so we think since its rush hour its best stop at Ayala and take the MRT back to Cubao.
The bus that i'm riding on had an accident with another bus just 500 meters aways from Ayala station, few people rushing down the bus and i was quite scared because of the driver was cursing at the other bus driver for his broken side mirror, i asked an auntie beside me again if that's Ayala station ahead of us, she said yes and i hesitantly walk down and ask the conductor on the street again, to make sure i don't just get down in nowhere. I walk rapidly towards Ayala station thinking of the rush hour madness while looking back from the station, the buses was still there not moving in the middle of the road, while other buses taking over, the smoke from all this vehicles was quite bad.

The think about travelling in Philippines, to travel from North to South and the other way around you'll need to time yourself like give 1 or 2 hours earlier before the appointment time, and there's plenty of walking, more than in Singapore. Tons of walking around and sweating, and huffing and puffing and wrestling. I was at Ayala station infront of the entrance contemplating should i stay at Greenbelt enjoy dinner until 8 oclock and go back after that or join in the fuse with other humans on the train and stick together closely with other sweatie human body like an ice molecules. I bought a chocolate for the energy and a mineral water, and go for it. While queing i purposely missed the first 4 trains because of the que infront of me and with my pink backpack i join in the horizontal moshpit. I thought Cubao station was close but it took around 4 stations before destination and i made it in 1 piece. I even survived a breathe on a neck it was disgusting. Called Riza and she's at the hostel and she told me that there's a local shop nearby that can make vegetarian noodles, lotsuv vegetables and can ask for extra spicy! Wohoo!.I stop over at this Singaporean resto 'Rasa', had a Malaysian mee goreng, goddamn oily as fuck trying to imitate the mamak mee goreng but this can clog or permanently close any holes inside your body and balancing it with a mango juice. Survived taking a cab back home. Sort out everything and this new place here comes with a set of their own problems as well compare to Isis. Here with 8000pesos, free internet and electricity and airconditioning but have to buy own mineral water, caretaker sometimes played the music loud and not as homely as Isis. I was told by Riza, most shops and resto here are using the tab water for the ice and cold water, her partner and her experience the extreme stomach ache caused by bacterias so she learnt her lesson and only buy distilled water. But since the 1st day here, i've already laced myself unknowingly with the cold water for a dinner and so far seemed ok. My stomach bacteria can moshpit with the local bacteria i far....touch wood.