Thursday, November 28, 2013

Workshop on Gender-based Violence for Legal Advocates

Yesterday i woke up at 530am and meet Naomi at Matalino street, PureGold at 630am we took a cab straight to LRT1 station, i think its called Balintawak there are 2 new stations that connected to the Line1 lrt neat the MRT3 North Avenue. This is also considered my first time taking the LRT1 from the starting point until the United Nation avenue.

Had a breakfast at Jolliebee, just a pancake and coffee. Walk to the Bayview Hotel and Naomi preparing her presentation.  She was invited to present at this 'workshop on Gender-based Violence for Legal Advocates' and it was attended by 5 judges, Undersecretary, State Prosecutor, 15 Attorneys, a Reverant, a doctor, some women rights NGOs, and also another transwomen NGO's STRAP.

Naomi did her presentation by showing some photos of well-knowned transwomen and man from the US and explaining excellently about trans people are about and also presenting her case of discriminatory laws that exists in the Philippines towards transpeople and some existing cases before that she and her organization wrote some protest letters. Touching about the cultural roots of Philippines regarding transwomen and also the term Bakla as well.

After Naomi, Ms.Tam Maguad presenting her slides about hate crimes involving LGBT people, discrimination that LGBT and trans people are facing and also the legislation protecting the LGBT community. What interest me also from Ms.Tam presentation is the city and provinces that have Anti-Discrimination Ordinance in the Philippines so the LGBT community are protected.

After we left the place, i felt good what the workshop is doing inviting trans organizations and explaining what's going on about the discriminatory laws, legislations, Anti discrimination laws that was filed 3 days ago at the Hearing Committee and other issues face by trans and LGBT people overall here. The judges, attorneys are very open and listening, understanding the issues. I hope something good will happen out of this. Seriously.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Went to the travel agent today and try not to feel anything, there was a slight anxious feelings but tried to ignore it. Reach the place around 1230, take the number and waited around 10 minutes, went to the counter and pick up the passport. Flip open and was told to double check, maintain a concrete-no-feeling-face, but inside here you have no idea, no idea how happy i was inside. Its equivalent to ear to ear smile that i try no to show on this face. Huge relief. Thank you. Congratulated myself by having lunch at the Spaghetti factory. Huge selection of spaghetti and munch down the delicious Dutch spaghetti made of cream sauce, olive and Salmon and also a brewed coffee naturally. Took the train back and get an idea for an illustration. Today is awesome. Y_Y

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Anti-Discrimination Bill

Today i tag along Naomi to attend the House of Representatives (Lower House of the Congress) for the Committe Hearing on the Anti-Discrimination Bill.

First i was introduced to a transwoman who work in the congress office Daria, a long time friend with Naomi, they went to the same college before, i was blown away to see that she's working in such a place, which is awesome. Recently we have a transwoman Ezlin who works for a politician in Penang as well but i cant equate or compare because Malaysia and Philippines have very much different politics.

Then we waited for awhile when all the congresswomen and men gathered they discus about the bill, the Anti discrimination bill, Everyone has come to a consensus and before that they're sharing about how all of them have friends of LGBT, including transwomen and men and were sharing how trans people should be treated equally, one of the congresswoman was saying that the Philippino spirit is resilient but our transwomen/men are the root of it because they face discrimination more than the average people and how theyre here and overcome the everyday obstacles. Personally my spirit was very high and i could feel most of them feeling empathetic towards most of their family members and friends who belong to the LGBT family, i think i almost cried. There was one muslim congresswoman from Mindano area. She was wearing a headscarf and i already have this pre-consumption that she will go against the rest but no. I was proven wrong as she's as well fully supported the rights of LGBT people and transwomen and men as well. I was so amazed. So so amazed by the positive spirit of these congressmen and women, it was positively inspiring seriously. I talk a bit to the muslim congresswomen from Mindanao how transwomen in Malaysia have it bad and our government are totally against us openly, occasionally, daily on all the mainstream media that they owned. But she understood and aware of the situation in Malaysia as she is also connected to Sister in Islam. What amaze me more is she's also interested to learn more on why trans people always have contracted urinary tract infection often because of the toilet issues. Another congresswoman was also suggested wether it help to have a 3rd gender toilet but another spokeperson fron an NGO called Rainbow Rights explaining that 3rd gender toilet or solution will only bring in the hierarchy issues in this context so its better to have the unisex toilet like most of the toilets in the Starbucks or some fastfood places in the US or other countries.

The meeting finished quite nicely at 3:15pm without any drag, it was compact, intersting and knowledgeble for the congresswomen and men who were discussing about the issues. Then we're took some pictures together with them for memories. It was for me quite a new experience. Very interesting and empowering experience. The transwomen here know their issues very well, they want to do something about it, they did it, and i wish the Anti  Discrimination bill will be passed in the upper house by the senators. It all comes from each member of the congresswomen and men, the activists, NGOs, the people here who most of them have in contacts with the LGBT people, they understand us well. They know our struggle. We're in their family members, close friends, everyday people they met and know and they care enough to coming to a consensus to push for the bill. They don;t want any of their friends that they know from the LGBT community to get hurt, discriminated. Very very positive energy indeed. I know its impossible but i really wish we have something like this in Malaysia. Where the government will stop all this insulting, blaming, criminalizing, people like us. We are people, we are real, our existence is real. Get to know us and our issues instead of judging and blaming. With all the positive mentality like this i think the Philippines is much, much, much more humane, than in Malaysia. Since last time if you're in Malaysia we're already been spoonfed not to questions anything, divided by race, class, economics,  all this dividing people will only bring back bad things to the people in power. Now the system didn't work anymore, its broken and crumbling away. One thing i envy here is the spirit, i was in that Committe Hearing room and finally i understood what they mention many times before the Philippino spirit.
I left wondering until now, all this bad things back in the country like Government cracking down on traffic offenders and soon will implement the GST, do we ever rise from the ashes and have what we called Malaysian spirit? I don't see it, people still get by and maybe the situation could be compared to the boiling frog scenario. Put the frog (Malaysians) in the pot of boiling water and boils it. The frog won't do anything until its too late to realized and dead. Another question also is like how us trans people especially the one that close to NGOs and do activism can help make another trans person to empathized and understand how bad their situation are and what can we do about it. Its a real challenge. Even if it look like there's no hope but i hope this story will in a way inspire others especially our Trans or LGBT people back in Malaysia to do something about their situation. Because we're divided to the core real bad. Divided not just by race, economics, class but also the trust for each other is not really there at all. The challenge is to make the transpeople understand their issues, their surroundings, their perception of reality.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


so today i plan to go to Makati to do my visa, the nearest Travel agent that i can do the visa is all in Makati (from my place Project4, Ptoazon, its like from Batu Cave to Seremban taking train), while Japanese embassy is even further south. Today i locked the day i thought i go this week is better to avoid the December Christmas Shopping frenzy. Left the house at 10am, reach Ayala station at 11am. Good thing the Travel agency which is inside a Thai hotel just next to the station. Submit all the documents and finish around 1230. Had lunch, and took the train back to Cubao/Araneta. Then walk like 3km to Daily, bought McDonald's coffee, took the tricycle back to Project4 P.Toazon. Reach the room, took off my sweaty shirt, pee and the phone rang. It was the Travel Agency, i need to back there and pass back the official invoice so they can reimbursed back my money.

Took awhile for reality to sink in, wore back my sweaty tshirt, called Euly the fruitseller auntie but her phone is dead. Walk straight to her store and ask wether her friend the cab driver is around but his not available. It was very hot today, it was scorching. Then she called her daughter's boyfriend who owns a car that is use to send people like a cab but not registered, he called his son, since he's free and he use to drive taxy and so he can make extra money. I agreed with the prize P500 to drive me all the way to Makati and back here to Project4, P.Toazon. Drove all the way, traffic was ok, a bit slow because of the jam at Edsa, the straight road that leads all the way to Makati. He drove into the wrong lane, got stopped by police and got the ticket for P300. Then to the hotel. They told me that the embassy is no charging money anymore for visa application, im not sure why and return my P3000. Phew, at least i felt good a bit coming all the way here and get some of the money back. Wait around 10 minutes and then walk back to Joseph and he drove me back all the way to P.TOazon. On the way back the traffic was abit more worst then just now. But i felt relief inside, its settled for today. Saw a very long mural on the wall maybe after Ortigas station until near P.Toazon.
Took some pictures, ask Joseph to stopby at the SaveMore supermarket and bought him a RedHorse beer. Actually i just need to break the money so i can pay him. Got back and feel so so so terribly tired. I hope everything goes well. They will only update me next Friday at the latest about the Visa.
I can't even have energy to draw for the 18 ways to become TransAlly now, terribly tired. Will start tomorrow morning. Magandang Gabi and schweet dreams world.

Monday, November 18, 2013

meeting Strap

on 3rd Nov, last Sunday was quite interesting. Since came back from Singapore/Malacca/Malaysia decided to go to the Strap meeting at Isis. And i walk all the way from the station to Isis at Matalino/Marunong street and ended up soaked with sweats. It was really a hot afternoon. 
I met Rika outside Isis and i thought yes, this is it, first time meeting the women from Strap. It took me awhile to dry up it was so embarrassing. 
They greeted me and ask me questions why am i here and stuff. Met Ava and Patty and told them i'm on a grant and doing research, then i get to know Brigite who the only practicing muslims in the group. She's originally from Mindanao but left the place for the city for better life opportunity and recently she's just finish acting in a film which most probably about her since its about the strugge being a transgender woman and also being a muslim. We just exchange numbers because i want to interview here. I can see that her life experience is more or else i think can relate to born Malay transwomen in Malaysia. 

I saw inside the fb page that they have this event debating about Stop Patholigizing trans kids....interesting activity as they discuss about the issues and its related to the International Day of Action for Trans Depathologization 2013 and the focus is on the slogan "Stop Pathologizing Gender Diversity in Childhood" 

Here's a description from the Strap page:

The Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP) supports International Day of Action for Trans Depathologization 2013.

The International Day of Action for Trans Depathologization 2013 focused on this year’s slogan, “Stop Pathologizing Gender Diversity in Childhood”.

STRAP had an open debate as form of discussion to understand the importance of depathologizing Gender Diversity in childhood.

This was attended by fellow STRAP friends and allies Atty germaine Leonin, Doc JM Chu and Beauty Queen Princess Manzon who helped as jurors for the said activity.

This activity aims to help better understanding for the depathologization of trans gender expressions, trajectories and identities.

"The Call to Action 2013 of the International Day of Action for Trans Depathologization was launched under the slogan “Stop Pathologizing Gender Diversity in Childhood”, with the objective to express concern regarding the continued diagnostic classification of gender diversity in childhood and the presence of 

Some of the activites are like screening of a video of young kids acting like beauty pageant and ask the 2 groups, 1 group labelled 'Affirmative' is supporting whatever issues tabled and another 'Negative' which disagree with any issues discussed…

what i find interesting is theres 1 nyah look like Yaya, 1 nyah look like Haruka hana from rumah api, 1 look like Maya Lobo thinner version, hahaha i see like a pattern here …

btw i think this group isnt so active like they use to be, 

good thing i join them yesterday & get an impromptu interview with the older member of Strap, their struggle is the same like ours, they couldnt find a newer younger member to step up, its always the same ol faces, 1 of them name Joy know Thilaga, and the captain Rika is a tv personality, or used to be, she like other trans who join the reality tv show Big Brother Philippines before, and the one look like Yaya is a muslim and shes also acting in a movie about the struggle of being trans and a muslim called 'Model Citizen'....which was shown in NY, Oregon and other cities film festivals in US...
Strap also i think mostly consists of middle to upper class and also some are from teh streets and sex workers, theyre trying to reach out for more trans from the streets
i think in the Philippines ATP are the most active ones but as oldest trans org Strap members are also branching out and form other groups like ATP, Ganda Filipina, TAO etc...
ok, i just need to let it out, thanks hahahaha
and last night they took me to this place who serve Vegan and Vegetarian food which is awesome, last minute baru tau, but the place a bit isolated, have to take cab, urgh, but nciely decorated...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Yesterday was a full day, went out from the house around 11am and came back around 11pm, Totally flat battery but i woke up this morning feeling superfreshed.

As usual taking the Mrt3 line to Escolta, switch to Carriedo station which is very hot, people there always fanning themselves with pocket fan, reach Escolta there around 11ish, walkaround, cool down the sweat and met Pabo again, we were so excited to see each other. I told him i gave his artwork on vynil to my friends at home in Malaysia. He got a this idea, he was projecting his canvas on the wall so you can see his hands and his son's drawing but he will ask his friends or audience to sit on a chair so as if his doodles are coming out from the person silhoutte who's sitting on the chair, i think it was a brilliant idea. Maybe i want to do the same in the future. As usual i was so impressed how he keep pushing his son's artwork and talent to people, i think he really is a cool father. Then i stumbled upon his another work which is a collage, a cut up pieces from a Black and White photography book but he reassemble the cup up pieces together as a superhero figures and scan and reprint them as postcards. which is another brilliant ideas for me. i've been contemplating using collage but not the usual cut and paste but he just pushed it to another level, and was just using the clear cellophene tape to put together the figures.

When i was walking around the market i can't help but thinking maybe the ideas come from the necessity or wanting to re-create,recycle, upcycle or repurpose things around you because in Manila some part you can see trash everywhere while some part are the opposite depends on which area.

Another stall i find interesting is aptly named 'Junkshop' because where i stay in P.Toazon or Manila for that matter, there are many Junkshops around. It's a place where people bring in recycled things that they've found everywhere in the city. And i see a lists in the shop where they'll divide the trash into smaller groups like metal parts,wires,carburetors,engines etc etc.
But this stall that i saw was so apt because they recycled,upcycle and repurpose the trash into art or somethings that we will use again like bookmarks, earrings,pendants,hair bands,colourful electrical wires into necklace and so on. I wish i have lots of ideas for this kind of things, they look so arty and pretty. Bought couple of bookmarks made form McDonald's coffee stirrers. and there are also some re-painted bottlecaps made into rings, earrings, headband which is so so creative. Was really inspired by these people.

I've also found a collective of artists who selling their zines, which i bought a few which is so superb. I never thought of Photography zines could be so beautiful. Usually the photocopied version was so so but i think because the artist got sponsors and use good quality papers but definitely his skill and photos tells a lot of stories as well.

Then i met Anjo, i knew he's going to be there to do portraiture of people and you just pay around 300 pesos that goes to the Yolanda's relief effort.

All in all this is my most inspirational Futuremarket events i've attended, some ideas from the artists here i feel like i would want to do it back in KL in next year for ArtforGrabs. And later in the evening we had a good dinner at a chinese resto nearby and after that we went to an exhibtion somewhere near Quezon city, im not sure where and dont know the artists but the only thing that attract my attention was a real ganja plant and the ganja leafs wall paper next to it. I was like ???? This looks real and ask around is it legal here to have this? hehehe

Ah well...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Yesterday i went to the 98B Futuremarket event at Escolta, maybe i think for the 5th or 6th times already, there wasn't much people as the previous ones but this time i was inspired by some things, first i met Pabo again, i like him because he totally nurturing his son to become an artist and sell his son's work as well at the market. For yesterday, he use projector, and ask his friends including me to sit at the chair facing the wall while he draw on big piece of paper projected on the wall. It was a good idea for live drawing performance i told him, and after that i saw his other artwork he's selling, a collage, cut our from magazine, put together to form a series of superheroes. I was really impressed. And he scan the original and reprinted on a card and sell as postcards. Brilliant.

Then as i walking around, i stop at Junkshop which sells recycled/upcycled trash into earrings,bracelets from colorful wires, repainted bottlecaps and turn into ring and pendants,recycled mcDonald's coffee stirer into bookmarks etc etc, was totally impressed, how come i never thought of this before, i think over here i already consumed McD's coffee and totally look past the stirrer and only started to collect them today, the production/artwork of the upcycled stuff was good, and furthermore on that day all donations 100% go to the Yolanda's victims.

I already know Anjo is there to draw portraits and you have to donate 300 pesos for your portrait and i did, Some friends commented 'Pretty accurate' from the instagram photo. and i was jokingly ask him to make me prettier, just joking.

Night ends well, with nice dinner at the Chinese restaurant and went to this art opening near Cubao area. Was good. Spotted a ganja pot/plant and also the wall was decorated with the ganja prints. I hope people noticed it. But there was no name and description of the artists and statements.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

post SG Biennale

i remember one of interesting moment during SG Biennale was this women from South Korea dropping by and told me they're friends of Harisu, and showed me her photo during a party they attended last week, she said Harisu going to be active again with the trans community after a long hybernation, and i told her to pass my zines to her and she said definitely....


Finally, yesterday i went to the Strap meeting or their activity. I knew this from their facebook page. Which i find or seem inactive since i came to the Philippines, i mean not much activity for me to join. Yesterday is about Stop Patholigizing trans kids....interesting activity as they discuss on the issues, showed a video of young kids acting like beauty pageant or local slang 'Bakla' (in a way comes with negative connotation towards non-heteronormative ppl) and ask the 2 groups, 1 group labelled 'Affirmative' is supporting whatever issues tabled and another 'Negative' which disagree with any issues discussed...
good thing i join them yesterday & get an impromptu interview with the older member of Strap Rika, Joy and Dawn. Their struggle is the same like ours, they couldnt find a newer younger member to step up, its always the same ol faces, Rika is a tv personality she like other trans who join the reality tv show Big Brother Philippines before, and the one look like Yaya is a muslim and shes also acting in a movie about the struggle of being trans and a muslim called 'Model Citizen'....which was shown in NY, Oregon and other cities film festivals in US...
and last night they took me to this place that serve Vegan and Vegetarian food which is awesome, last minute baru tau, but the place a bit isolated, have to take cab, urgh, but nicely decorated with art, repeated stamped art on canvas which is beautiful, will definitely come again and try all the other vegan and vegetarian dishes here