5 Things I Learned at the Metro Manila Pride Festival

I found out about this festival a year ago and the feeling of joy still hasn’t faded. I hope I get to go again for a third time next year and that I get to bring more people along with me. I learned a lot last year, and this year as well. So I decided to share some of it with you guys.

1.  There Will Always Be Protesters

It hurt and broke my heart a little when I saw people waving signs that said “Bawal Bakla, Tomboy, etc.” and a cross that said “Repent” and the like. The people at Pride only wanted one day a year to celebrate their, well, pride. And as aggravating as it was, I realized that the world will never share one belief and that’s okay. What pisses me off though, is that some people have to ruin other people’s fun.

2. It’s A Safe Space

What I love about Pride is that anyone is welcome. I bring my parents along and we always have the best time. No one’s there to judge you or to tell you your way of life is wrong. You’re surrounded by strangers and yet you feel safe. Everybody can just express themselves whatever way they want, whether you’re into flamboyant costumes or casual festival wear.

The Pride Festival was held in Marikina, which is known as the Shoe Capital of the Philippines.

3. Love Trumps Hate

I saw so many happy couples holding hands in front of the protesters and having a good time. They had no time for the negativity and just filled the space with their love.  It was a beautiful sight, and something I’ll never forget.

4. You Don’t Have To Be LGBT+ To Join The Fun

As I mentioned before, everyone is welcome. Allies, family, and even pets! I saw so many cute dogs all dressed up and smiling (yes, even dogs were smiling). Me and my parents didn’t feel out of place at all while looking around and buying some merchandise.

5. It’s A Party!

Nothing beats the fun festival vibe that was felt all throughout the day. There were people in loud costumes, amazing performances by drag queens, and a parade with great floats and people marching. My parents and I were singing and dancing along. We even had our picture taken for free. But the best part was while people were celebrating, a rainbow appeared in the sky and everybody cheered!

Rainbow!

What the Metro Manila Pride Festival does every year is amazing. The amount of hard work and dedication the organizers possess is just so awe-inspiring that you want to support them. They are filled with so much passion, which is palpable throughout the event. I can’t wait to go again next year, and hopefully it’ll be bigger and better.

I still can’t stop smiling!