#HERETOGETHER: The 2017 Metro Manila Pride March and Festival
The 23rd Pride March and Festival Draws its Biggest Crowd in New Host City, Marikina
24 JUNE 2017, MARIKINA CITY. The 23rd Metro Manila Pride March and Festival is the oldest-running Pride March Celebration in South East Asia. This year, finding its way to Marikina City to create a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community, the Metro Manila Pride March and Festival drew its biggest crowd yet: 7,718 attendees–more than 3,000 from 2016–flocked to the Plaza de los Alcaldez at the Marikina City Hall to celebrate love and diversity with the theme #HereTogether.
As a call to everyone–both to the LGBTQ+ community itself and to its many allies–to stand in solidarity in the fight for equality, #HereTogether outlined a program that showcased passion, dedication, and fire for both policy and solidarity on-stage and off.
Opening around 12:00 noontime, the Proud Street Fair showcased various LGBTQ+ themed-and owned concessionaires, as well as supporting sponsor booths. Companies such as Victoria Court and Moonleaf Tea shop campaigned for their products and services that offered support for diversity and the community, while youth activist groups such as the Temperamental Brats called for donations for the victims in Marawi as a further call to stand #HereTogether, in solidarity not just with LGBTQ+ people, but with other minorities and victims of oppression and injustice as well.
Throughout the afternoon activities, hosted by Erick Habijan of Marikina City and Superstarlet XXX, various performers, groups, allies, and personalities took to the stage to share messages of solidarity and perform for the eager, growing crowd. Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro gave a simple, heartfelt welcoming speech to the attendees of the Pride March and Festival. Later, Senator Risa Hontiveros–a fervent LGBTQ+ ally and champion of the SOGIE-based equality bill–gave a rousing, empowering speech on the fight to push the 17-year-old Anti-Discrimination bill. “We assert the safe space of your community and celebrate the struggle under the banner of equality,” Senator Hontiveros proclaims to a now-packed plaza, as she ends with a reminder that “love is the currency of our struggle… Mga kasama we will win.”
As the program nears the March proper, Celebrities and musicians stood their ground on stage as they celebrated art, music, and poetry with the LGBTQ+ community, including veteran actress, Superstar Ms. Nora Aunor, spoken word artist Trisha O’bannon, writer Wanggo Gallaga, and musicians Matthew Chang and Ja Quintana.
At around 3:00PM, as the geared to walk the streets of Marikina, the organizing committee executed a community-driven large-scale rainbow drop pin–the symbol of the Metro Manila Pride March’s theme #HereTogether–as a signal for the march proper to begin. By around 4:00PM, with the weather graciously sunny despite the predicted thunderstorms, the participants of Metro Manila Pride March mobilized to parade around the host city.
A total of 7,718 people marched around Marikina City, along Shoe Avenue, on to Sumulong Highway, and turning at Gil Fernando Avenue to land back at the Plaza de los Alcaldez. Apart from individual marchers, various groups and corporations sent their contingents to join the march, parading in full regalia and celebrating on floats that promoted inclusivity, battled homophobia and discrimination, and campaigned for issues such as safe sex and HIV awareness.
As the sun set around 5:30 PM–and with a rainbow appearing in the clouds with a soft drizzle–hosts Erick and Superstarlet XXX welcomed the proud marchers as they turned over hosting duties to Renzo Blanco and Noelle Capili for the evening program.
A string of performances kept the audience in high spirits: Drag performances by Divalicious Mariah, Gorgeous Dawn, Lady Gagita, and Lumina Klum; dancers TFX; spoken word performances by Words Anonymous and Ampalaya Monologues; musicians and singers Rita Martinez, Philip Palmos, and The Sun Manager; and finally, to a set by all-girl punk rock band Flying Ipis to round off the night’s performances.
The Pride March and Festival ended on an even higher note–as DJs Madamme and Julianna Force played tunes from High School Musical Hits to Sarah Geronimo numbers to a cheering crowd eager to dance. Marchers and participants took to the stage voluntarily in impromptu dance battles performances to everyone’s wild applause, showing that everyone–LGBTQ+ and allies alike–truly was #HereTogether in the safe space that is the Metro Manila Pride March and Festival.
ORGANIZATIONS PRESENT at the 23rd METRO MANILA PRIDE MARCH AND FESTIVAL:
2030 Youth Force in the Philippines
Akbayan LGBT Collective
Alexander Mann Solutions
Amnesty International Philippines
Art Rally MNL
Atheist Republic Metro Manila Consulate
Bisexual Confessional Files
British Embassy (Including US, Australia, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, EU, and UN)
Cat Lovers Co
College of Arts and Letters Student Council
Commission on Human Rights
Elite Ultimate Alliance
Humanist Alliance of the Philippines International
Iglesia Filipina Independiente
Lady Gaga Philippines
Lakanbini Advocates Pilipinas
LGBT Pinoy Confessions
LGBT Special Interest Group of the Psychological Association of the Philippines
LGBT students network
LGBTs Christian Church Inc
Love Yourself Onc
My Prince Charming is a Princess
National Council of Churches in the Philippines
National LGBT Students Network
Office of Dinagat Islands Rep Kaka Bag-ao
Office of the Vice Mayor Cainta
One’s True Nature
Pinoy Deaf Rainbow
PLM UNESCO Club
Project Red Ribbon
Retro Rainbow Project Philippines
Royal Carribean International
San Beda Manila Senior Highschool Student Council
SAP philippines + Concur Philippines
Shine Soccsksargen Inc
Student Council Alliance of The Philippines
The Makati LGBT
Transman Brotherhood Philippines
Twink Guys Philippines
UP Diliman CSSP Student Council
UP Diliman University Student Council
White Wall Poetry
Willis Tower Watson
Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau
Youth for Mental Health Coalition
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