Boxing day in Nalu-Oyan
26th December 2005
Nalu-Oyan is the furthest barangay away from the Dumangas town proper. As a consequence, it tends to be one of the more neglected barangay's as far as local government funding goes. The captain of the barangay, Captain Narsing, seems like a fairly progressive captain and a good guy and is slowly bringing Nalu-Oyan into the spotlight. Having volunteers in the barangay helps a lot.
Nalu-Oyan can't afford to stage an expensive Fiesta Queen pageant like Tabucan did, and had to settle for a Macho Man/Macho girl competition. This had girls dressed as guys and guys dressed as girls competing in a Miss World style competition. Categories included things like: Best Formal Attire, Best Beachwear, Best Interview and Best Talent Item.
This got a lot of laughs from the local crowd, but it seemed just a little strange to me.
Ciaran, who is a resident in Nalu-Oyan, was a guest judge in the competition. I arrive with Ciaran and he was shown to the judging table. I was invited to the judging table as well as I "was their guest in Nalu-Oyan." So I started flicking through the marking sheets trying to work out how to mark a cross-dressing competition. Captain Narsing returned and said that a couple of girls has offered to sit with me. Score! So I sat with the girls (one of them with the terrible name of "Juicy") and someone else took over my judging seat.
Now the point of this story, yes there is one, is that it shows the awkward knots that you can get tied up with Filipinos sometimes. Now I was never meant to be a judge. It was always going to be someone else. But Captain Narsing (I assume) didn't want to offend me so he offered me the judging seat. I didn't want to offend him, so I took the seat and tried to make sense of the marking sheet. But of course he didn't want to offend the guy whose seat I took, so he had to get it back from me, without offending me. So he organised these two lovely ladies to sit with, so that I wouldn't be offended.
I used the word "offend" 5 times in that last paragraph. A lot of effort is taken to not offend guests, but sometimes it just gets awkward and a bit silly.
Gay People in The Philippines
Some of the other places I have been are a bit more extreme. When I went to Guimaras, there were a whole heap of gay people strutting around in bikinis. Someone made the comment that one of them wasn't so much a man in a girl's body, but a man in a man's body with the mind of a ten year old girl.
I've gotten to know some of the gay people in Dumangas. They always say hello to me. For some strange reason the always add "gay" to the end of their sentences. "Hello Malcolm, gay". "I am good thank you, gay". "It is hot today, gay". Weird.
2005 and 2006 Malcolm Trevena.