It’s a Saturday afternoon and for the first time, unlike the other Saturdays that came before it, silence is nowhere to be found at the Plaza de los Alcaldes in Marikina City. Instead, as what I have come to find, music and revelry reign supreme: men holding hands with men and women holding hands with women sing along to loud anthems preaching uniqueness and individuality while throngs of drag queens touch up their makeup and brush their wigs and adjust their gowns as members of the crowd — some straight, most, queer, all of them curious — look on.
The sun is high, the skies, clear. Rainbow flags fly unbowed in the steady wind while boys and boys and girls and girls stroll around, checking out the merchandise at the fair’s booths. Members of various civic organizations make last-minute adjustments and additions to their colorful arsenal of placards and signages, with some reading “It’s brighter outside the closet” and “If God hates us, why are we so cute?” Others are far more somber: “LGBT Rights are Human Rights,” one says, “Makibaka para sa tunay na pagkakapantay-pantay,” says another.
A quick glance at my watch reveals the time: it’s 3:30 PM and even more people are streaming in. A rainbow flag is draped on the steps in front of the imposing Marikina City Hall, while placards and banners stating “Here Together” are hung around the venue. The event’s hosts call for everyone to assemble in front of the venue: the floats have been assembled, various groups have put their contingents together, and last-minute preparations have been finished.
The date is June 24, 2017, the time is 4:00 PM and the 23rd Metro Manila Pride March is about to begin.
Here are some photos: