Re: 2015

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Photo taken and edited by Jean Pagtalunan

Some people say that it’s not healthy to look back because we can’t control what happened in the past but it doesn’t apply in every situation. Oftentimes, we need to look back in order to learn and grow which is why in this post, I will be listing the biggest news that occurred in the Philippines and the world from June 2015 until March 2016. Let’s start!

1. Raise your rainbow flags because love FINALLY won! 

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Members of the LGBT community were surprised and overwhelmed by the legalization of same-sex marriage in the U.S.A. (Photo not mine. All credit goes to its proper owner.)

June 26, 2015 – An amazing 5-4 decision took place in the United States on this fateful day. After decades of fighting for equal rights, the US Supreme Court finally granted the right to legalize same-sex marriage all over the United States.

“They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law,” says Justice Anthony Kennedy who made the deciding vote “The Constitution grants them that right.”

Due to this hard-earned fight, married same-sex couples can now have the same benefits and legal rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. Furthermore, their marriage will be acknowledged in legal documents like birth and death certificates.

Although there were still a lot of negative comments on this issue, supporters and members of the LGBT community did not let it affect their celebration. In fact, right after the US Supreme Court’s announcement on legalizing same-sex marriage, #LoveWins already reached an incredible feat of 6.2 million tweets.

2. ALDub, breaking the afternoon heat

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Maine Mendoza (also known as Yaya Dub) and Alden Richards having the time of their lives in the Philippine arena during their first ever meeting. (Photo not mine. All credit goes to its proper owner)

July 16, 2015 – The loveteam which first graced our television sets started on this day as a little joke. When the cameramen from the Eat Bulaga main studio turned the camera to Alden during one of Yaya Dub’s dubsmashes, the supposed ‘snooty’ role of Maine was suddenly forgotten. Entranced by Alden’s charms, Maine bashfully smiled at him towards the split screen. Noticing this, Maine’s co-hosts which composes of: Wally, Jose and Paulo began to tease the two.

From then on, Eat Bulaga producers decided to make a series entitled, “Kalye Serye” were Yaya Dub, Alden Richards and Lola Nidora, Tidora and Tinidora are the main characters. The mini series revolves around the lovestory of Yaya Dub and Alden.

It became such a big hit that the loveteam even overthrew Fifa World Cup’s semi-final match between Brazil and Germany which gained 35.6 million tweets. During the charity concert hosted by Eat Bulaga wherein it was promised that the two would finally meet in person, the #ALDubTamangPanahon hashtag raked 39,522,300 tweets as of midnight.

The ALDub phenomenon is so huge that even international news sites such as BBC and CNN wrote about it. Until now, the loveteam is still popular especially in the Philippines where their faces are all over the country–from newsstands, magazine covers, tv ads and billboards.

3. INHUMANE: Lumad Killings

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Several relatives and Lumads seeking for justice and help. (Photo not mine. All rights reserved to its proper owner.)

September 2015 – Another issue surrounding the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Several Lumad leaders were brutally killed in Mindanao which were said to be done by the AFP. Naturally, AFP denied the issue and said that the killings were due to a tribal war and that some of the murdered Lumads are part of the NPA.

But according to Pinoy Weekly, a total of 53 Lumads were killed under the Aquino administration ranging from children to adults. It was also revealed that there are a total of 68 extrajudicial killings of indigenous people since 2010.

4. The hotheaded general conquered the cinemas

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One of the famous lines in the Jerrold Tarog film (Photo not mine. All rights reserved to its proper owner)

September 2015 – A historical biopic film made by Jerrold Tarog, conquered not only the cinemas but also the hearts of its viewers.

Locally released on September 9, 2015, the film was ignored by the people at first but when several posts on social media sites proved that it is a must-watch, people flew from their homes to the cinema to catch the honorable General Luna.

This resulted into the film reaching the P240 million mark within just five weeks of its stay in the cinemas which was considered as a ‘break-even’ since the cost of production was P80 million.

Besides the film being such a huge hit, it was also chosen to be the Philippine’s entry at Oscars for the Foreign-Language category. Unfortunately, it did not make the shortlist in the said awards but it was still considered as a breakthrough.

5. Outrageous Laglag Bala Scam

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Different travel bags that went popular due to the “tanim-bala” scam. (Photo not mine. All rights reserved to its proper owner.)

November 2015 – It started with several social media posts about NAIA personnel leaving bullets in innocent-looking passengers and in turn forcing them to secretly pay a settlement money to the officer just to not miss their flights.

This became a hot topic not only in social media sites and in the busy streets of the Philippines but it was also reported in international news sites making NAIA one of the worst airports in the world.

6. Countries as one: Pray for Paris

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The universal symbol of peace was altered by the iconic Eiffel Tower in France, in lieu of the terrorism attacks in the country. (Photo not mine. All rights reserved to its proper owner.)

November 13, 2015  On the night of this day, 120 innocent civilians were killed due to terrorism attacks launched in the City of Lights, Paris. There were also 130 injured people who are still suffering the after effects of the heartbreaking event.

The attacks were believed to be organized by an Islamic State militant group and it occurred in three major places in Paris such as Stade de France (a stadium where a football game was currently on play), Rue Alibert (a place full of restaurants and bars and most of all, people) and a concert hall.

After hearing the news, netizens from all over the world began to tweet words of strength, anguish and sympathy. The news instantly went viral along with the #PrayForParis and once again, the world were brought as one due to the horrible news.

7. Overspending? APEC knows it all 

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Several world leaders wearing their own Barong Tagalogs. (Photo not mine. Credits to its proper owner.)

November 18-19, 2015 – Tight security, closed roads and delayed passengers due to the heavy traffic–that is APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) for most of the Filipinos who were greatly affected because of the said event.

The Philippines hosted the summit due to the belief that the country will gain more investors if they get to see the Philippines with their own eyes. However, a total of P10 billion were allocated for the week-long activities which is according to former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno was a little too much.

“Our job is hosting the annual meeting, make the leaders as comfortable as possible and make them secure. That’s all. We don’t have to spend billions of dollars for APEC,” said Diokno.

8. Confidently beautiful with a heart and a prestigious crown! 

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Eyes wide and hands on her chest, Ms. Universe 2015, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach still couldn’t believe that she won the title. (Photo not mine. Credits to its proper owner.)

December 20, 2015 -“42 years of drought and now it finally reigns,” said Ms. Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach on her Instagram account after winning the title “Ms. Universe 2015.”

After the unfortunate mix-up with Steve Harvey incorrectly announcing Ms. Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez as Ms. Universe 2015 when it should have been Pia, the crowd and different social media sites went wild. The Philippine flag soared wildly just as every Filipino’s hearts roared with ineffable joy.

It is truly a historical win.

9. Flee to be free: War Refugees’ stories

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Innocent eyes of Syrian refugee children who are too young to have experienced war and death. (Photo not mine. All rights reserved to its proper owner)

This is probably one of the most heartbreaking news that caught the people’s attention in 2015 and until this year. Several families from Syria are braving the merciless deserts and harsh oceans just to arrive at a safe place–something that their home was before the war.

The most saddening part is, there are only a handful of countries who opened the doors for them. According to CNN, there are 4.1 million refugees abroad while 10.6 million people are still in their homes where so much as a breath is a risk.

Currently, the refugees are scattered in countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Europe. The United States of America have also opened their states to the Syrian refugees seeking for a new home by President Barack Obama’s orders, despite of the many people telling him not to do so.

“Slamming the door in the face of refugees would betray our deepest values. That’s not who we are. And it’s not what we’re going to do,” says Barack Obama in one of his speeches about the matter.

Although there are mixed reactions about the issue, a handful of Americans were happy for their President’s choice and even welcomed the refugees’ stay in America. In fact, the President even read some of the letters that he received from several Americans about the refugees.

“One woman from Pennsylvania wrote me to say, ‘Money is tight for us in my household … But I have a guest room. I have a pantry full of food. We can do this.’ 

10. Always turn to page 394

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The renowned actor and director, Alan Rickman in his legendary smile, one last time. (Photo not mine. All rights reserved to its proper owner)

January 14, 2016 – Many hearts sank as the news reached their front doors, that the beloved English actor and director, Alan Rickman, passes away due to cancer.

Rickman, who was just 69 years old, was popularly known as the strict professor in the Harry Potter franchise series named Professor Snape. Potterheads from all over the world showed their deepest condolences through leaving mementos for Rickman in different Harry Potter sites located in the world. In fact, fans even held an emotional memorial on the famous Platform 9 and 3/4 in London’s King Cross Station.

The actor was famous for his one of a kind deep voice and amazing villain portrayals which according to his close friends and family, is the opposite of him.

Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who portrayed Harry Potter, expressed his grievances in a long post about the incredible Alan Rickman.

“Working with him at such a formative age was incredibly important and I will carry the lessons he taught me for the rest of my life and career,” said Radcliffe.

“I’m pretty sure he came and saw everything I ever did on stage both in London and New York. He didn’t have to do that. I know other people who’ve been friends with him for much much longer than I have and they all say ‘if you call Alan, it doesn’t matter where in the world he is or how busy he is with what he’s doing, he’ll get back to you within a day.'” 

The film and stage industry lost one of its finest gem with the death of the actor but rest assured because he will always live in the hearts of his family, friends and fans.

 

 

Portraits of a Woman

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.

-Jane Eyre

During our younger years, we were only educated about the difference between a boy and a girl, a man and a woman. We were never fully introduced to those words hence, it became a kind of a dissonance, a boundary.

We live in a society where even before we understood the As and Bs, we were already taught to compete against our opposite sexes. We learned that in music, there should always be harmony but ironically, we grew up not knowing what it truly meant.

It is not a secret that the society views men as the dominant sex and women as the submissive, weaker one. One might argue that the world is rapidly changing, that this is not the case anymore, that women and men are now equally free, but it’s not true.

There are still countries and cities were women are treated like objects or possessions. There are still places in the world were women still doesn’t have the same rights as men. There are still many cases wherein a woman’s circumstance is disregarded or looked down simply because she is a woman.

Being a woman in this harsh and complicated world is definitely not easy which is the reason why we should salute all of the women out there who are living the life they want to live.

Meanwhile, this post is for the women who are still trying to find their way. If you are not busy or if you have time to reflect, ask this question to yourself, “What does it take to be a woman?” 

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“A great sense of courage to face any odds. Courage that also comes with a pure heart.” (Photo taken last March 14, 2016 – BulSu)
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“It takes a never-ending strength to be a woman.” (Photo taken last March 14, 2016 – BulSu)
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“Para sa akin, iyun na yung pagiging totoo mo sa sarili mo.” (Photo taken last March 14, 2016 – BulSu)
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“Being a woman is to be free under certain circumstances that society set for them.” (Photo taken last March 14, 2016 – BulSu)
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“All you need is yourself, you don’t need anyone else.” (Photo taken last March 14, 2016 – BulSu)
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“I think for me it’s productivity…as a woman, you need to be productive because in today’s generation, in today’s society, kapag hindi ka productive, you’re nothing. You’re useless. And as a woman, being productive is one of the most important thing that we have to do… If we are productive, we can do imaginable things and even unpredictable things and as a woman, I believe that we are capable of doing something beyond our limits.” (Photo taken last March 14, 2016 – BulSu)
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“Kapag hindi mo tinitignan yung kahinaan mo as a woman, at naniniwala ka na kaya mo ring gawin yung mga nagagawa ng mga lalaki, yung ikaw na mismo ang lumalaban sa discrimination.” (Photo taken last March 14, 2016 – BulSu)
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“Para sa akin, confidence. Yun lagi yung unang bagay na makakapag-build sayo bilang isang babae kasi kung wala ka ‘nun, wala lahat. Hindi magkakaroon ng foundation yung sarili mo dahil kapag hindi mo kilala yung sarili mo, mas hindi mo sinusuportahan yung sarili mo.” (Photo taken last March 14, 2016 – BulSu)
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“To be a woman is a responsibility and a never-ending learning process…women nowadays are stronger and bolder and I am more than proud to be that woman today and in the future.” (Photo taken last March 14, 2016 – BulSu)
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“What does it take to be a woman? Siguro kapag matured ka na mag-isip, kapag malawak na yung pag-iisip mo.” (Photo taken last March 14, 2016 – BulSu)
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“To be a woman is to be you. There’s nothing else greater than this. To be a woman is to be you, despite the sick images the media portrays and the usually misguided expectations the society dictates” (Photo taken last March 14, 2016 – BulSu)
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“Ang isang babae ay mahinhin, malambing at maalaga tulad ng isang ina.” (Photo taken last March 14, 2016 – BulSu)
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“To be a woman you need to be strong but full of grace, independent yet soft, flexible yet stiff with decisions.” (Photo taken last March 14, 2016 – BulSu)
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“Ang pagiging babae sa kasalukuyang panahon ay nangangailangan ng sapat na pandama sa lahat ng struggles, sa lahat ng presence ng mga bagay na nagco-constrict sa pagiging babae.” (Photo taken last March 14, 2016 – BulSu)
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“A woman is comfortable in her own skin. She is not afraid to break boundaries beyond her limits. She does not conform and does not succumb to mediocrity and to her comfort zones. She empowers people and encourages them to be the best version of themselves- rather than bringing herself up just to look powerful and to belittle others.” (Photo taken last August 8, 2015 – Pasay)
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“Just be yourself. Be the woman who is you…Don’t let the unwritten standards of the society dictate the woman you should be. The real woman will emerge from the real you, because being true to yourself is enough to create a domino effect–bringing the best woman any lucky guy could find.” (Photo taken last December 5, 2015 – Manila)
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“Being a woman means disentangling yourself from discrimination and inequality. It means being strong as a tidal wave and as sturdy as a rock. Being a woman means learning how to say ‘no’ to the right people and understanding the need to respect not just your physical self but also your mental and emotional selves. Being a woman means being you, the deepest, strongest, kindest and prettiest you.”

 

 

 

Play Review: Pinocchio and the Strings of Lies

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Photo not mine. All rights goes to its proper owner

Created by PAD-Theater Arts’ senior students as their “exit production,” Pinocchio and the Strings of Lies is a unique re-telling of the wooden boy puppet that we all love. The said play was opened to the public last March 10 and 11, 2016 with a price of 100php per ticket and was seen live at Bulacan State University’s Valencia Hall.

 

STORY

Written by Princess Anne Jacinto and Pauline Martinez, Pinocchio and the Strings of Lies revolved around the overwhelming desire of Pinocchio to become a real boy which the main villain in the play, Ursula, used to trick him into doing her evil deeds.

Opinion:

First and foremost, I must say that I had a huge expectation towards this play since the last play that I’ve seen (ZsaZsa Zathurna) which was also made by PAD-TA was downright hilarious and fun. Unfortunately, this one didn’t meet my expectations.

Honestly, I love the idea of combining all of the greatest fairy tale villains into one story and I really thought that it was such a good idea. Well, it is a good idea but it wasn’t executed the way I imagined it to be.

The story runs in patterns which may not seem like a bad idea especially when you’re writing multiple characters in a story but the pattern that they created resulted with the audience not anticipating the hero’s next move since they already know what it would be.

All throughout the play, we watched Pinocchio lie his way through the most wicked villains in story books just to make his dream come true. I have completely accepted the pattern in the story even though it became boring towards the middle part of the play but if there’s one thing I can’t accept until now was the ending.

Every writer knows that it is not wise to end a story with a character waking up and realizing that it was all a dream or when the director says cut and it was revealed that it was all acting. Nine out of ten writers failed their audience whenever they use those kinds of endings. Oftentimes, the reason for this is that the writer cannot resolve the conflict that he/she created.

In spite of that, I like the shifting of the characters with only the naughty Pinocchio connecting all of them, making him a literal and figurative string.

 

MUSIC

One thing that I always liked about PAD-Theater Arts’ plays is the music and I must say that once again, I am amazed by how talented they all are. The music is originally written and composed by Joash Isaac Santiago who also played the role of Pinocchio.

Opinion:

I have nothing to complain about the music because I like every part of it. In truth, when I first heard them singing it during one of their room-by-room promotions, I could actually imagine Pinocchio dancing in the air with them. It was bright, bubbly and naughty just the right mix of the beloved puppet.

 

TECHNICALITIES

This is where the real problem actually starts. I know for a fact how difficult it is to manage the technicalities of any event. It is a tiresome job since half of the play depends on you–from the music and the lights to the overall look of the stage.

Opinion: 

I couldn’t believe that the play is going to be held at Valencia Hall since almost every BulSuan knows how the acoustics of the place is so loud that you can’t barely understand what the person in front is saying.

I think it is one of the reasons why I did not enjoy the play because more than half of it, I couldn’t fully grasp what the characters are saying. Me and my friends kept on asking each other, “Ano daw?” and “Ano na bang nangyari?”  during the entirety of the play. Due to this, we were forced to depend on the visuals to understand what was going on.

 

SET DESIGN

Since the whole play is set in different fairy tale settings, there’s an even greater need to establish a ‘dream-like feels.’  For each of the character, they created their setting highlight. For example, they made a tower for Mother Gothel (Rapunzel’s ‘mom’ in the film Tangled) and a mirror for the Evil Queen in Snow White.

Opinion:

I’ve watched how the Theater Arts’ students put up together all of the props needed for their play and amidst the nails and wood chips, paint and brushes, they managed to create fascinating props that matched the whimsical setting of the play. Overall, they did an incredible job in the set design. From the props, makeup and costume–it was all flawless.

 

Rate: Good (***) 

 

 

Of lines and Shapes: Unpopular Stories

Fourth Photojournalism theme: P A T T E R N S

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Twist and Turn. With every twist and turn, a new road is found, a new memory is filed. It may be hard to find out whether you’re going to twist right or turn left, but always remember that wherever your wheels take you, there’s always a place you’re going to go back to: H O M E (Taken last February 11, 2016 – BulSu) 
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Upwards. Dear friend who lives in the skies, is the view from above worth the risk of leaving your home behind? (Taken last February 11, 2016 – BulSu)
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Hallways and secrets. I’ve made a home in this five story building, spilling my secrets on the walls, running my dreams on the polished floor. (Taken last February 11, 2016 – BulSu)
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A circle of plastic. Don’t change yourself for the sake of the people around you. It’s hard enough to live in a world full of lies, don’t let yourself be a part of it all. Remember, it’s better to have a heart full of scars than a heart made of plastic. (Taken last February 11, 2016 – BulSu) 
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Climbing routines. One, two, three. I count as I make my way up to you. Four, five six. Every day is the same old routine of climbing, thinking, climbing, thinking. Seven, eight, nine. When will I reach the top? (Taken last February 11, 2016 – BulSu)

 

LGBT members marches bravely at Baguio’s 9th Pride Parade celebration

By: Jean Robbie Pagtalunan and Ma. Thea Panganiban

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Courtesy to Amianan Pride Council Facebook page

Sketching Rainbows in the Mountains

With a theme of “Out and Proud. One Pride. One Celebration,” members of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community of Metro Baguio together with other LGBT groups from various places in the country and religious organizations, harmonically raised their rainbow flags last December 5, 2015.

The said parade which also concurs with the International Human Rights Day and World AIDS Day was organized by Amianan Pride Council, an organization which aims to unite LGBT communities in Baguio and Northern Luzon.

Gregory Rugay, spokesman for Amianan Pride Council, explained that the parade is a reminder of “Pride fought and Pride won.” Furthermore, the one thing that they aspire is for all of the sectors of society who experiences discrimination to unite and fight their battles in order for the government to implement laws that will help in preventing abuse.

“More than celebration, pride is a protest” said Gene De Jesus, a 19 year old student of University of the Philippines Baguio, who attended the Pride march. Along with strengthening the ties of the LGBT community in the form of the parade, is the continuous condemnation of a system that gives way to injustice for transsexual people like Jennifer Laude, explained De Jesus.

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BANNERS UP. The members of National Council of Churches in the Philippines’ (NCCP) banner for the parade. Courtesy to Outrage Magazine.

Closed Hearts Opens to Color

“If you are surrounded by people who don’t understand the concept of human sexuality, every day is one day in hell.” Bea Velasco, an open member of the LGBT community, shared. According to her, in this patriarchal country, the members of the LGBT are forced to hide their true sexuality and it’s really suffocating for them.

But the tide has shifted a little and some people of faith have opened their heart to them. One of the visible proofs is that in this year’s parade, members from NCCP, clergy and youth of the Regional Ecumenical Council of the Cordillera, Episcopal Church in the Philippines, and United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), joined in marching.

De Jesus, who attended the parade for the first time, is glad that nowadays, even religious organizations are open for people in the LGBT community.

“It mirrors the true responsibility of any religion which is to organize and mobilize not divide. I hope that this will turn into a concrete action that will truly help the fight of the LGBT community.”

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FIGHT WITH FAITH. The people of NCCP waving their banners during the parade. Courtesy to Outrage Magazine.

Continuing the battle against discrimination

Amianan Pride Council, the organizers of the parade, gave importance to the word “unity,” they explained that the only way to win against inequality is to unite and work together.

According to De Jesus, the LGBT community already has a strong alliance but it is only the first step in achieving their goal which is for the society to hear their needs and to create laws that will support their agendas.

Meanwhile, when asked what she can contribute as a proud member of the LGBT community, Velasco said that once she graduate in college and find a stable job, she will officially join LGBT organizations.

“As much as possible, I try to live the kind of life I want to live…I try to embody a full recognition of who I am. I believe that if one bravely voiced out their true self, it will echo to those people who are afraid of coming out and afraid of accepting their selves until now” Velasco ended.

Despite of the challenges faced by the LGBT community, they will continue to fight against discrimination and broaden the knowledge of the Philippine society about them and it can be counted on that they will remain to march loud and proud.

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BE PROUD OF THAT COLOR. Waving the banners of rainbow, members and supporters of the LGBT community walks the streets of Baguio. Courtesy to Outrage Magazine.