Monday, November 28, 2011

UP Babaylan x Harlequin Theater Guild - Unang Ulan ng Mayo

The DLSU Harlequin Theater Guild presented an LGBT themed play last November 27 at the Enrique Razon Hall. UP Babaylan was invited to watch the event together with notable national LGBT organizations and student LGBT organizations from other universities. This play explores attraction in a very refreshing way with the most interesting characters. The play celebrated two notable gay characters, the flamboyant and always happy Pita (this character is so lovable) and the reserved and insecure Victor, who in time will learn to understand the happiness of love that does not discriminate. You should never miss this.

Watch the trailer here.

Friday, November 25, 2011


UP BABAYLAN has ALWAYS been there for the LGBT community. 

19 years of raising awareness and utilizing education to advance gender equality and end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We never took breaks and vacations from campaigning for the ACCEPTANCE of the LGBT students of the University. We have always been loud and proud. We will never be silenced by discrimination and bigotry. We will remain to be the leading LGBT student formation who will empower through education. We are one big family. We will forge bonds. We will change lives. We live for the LGBT community of the University. 


UP Babaylan Book Drive for LGBT section for UP Main Library

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2011 Manila Pride March

Task Force Pride, a non-profit network of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) groups will organize the 17th Annual Pride March in Manila. The aim of the march is to gather different LGBT groups, allies and individuals in solidarity, as well as provide positive visibility to the community.

This year's theme, “Pride of the Orient”, recalls the community's achievements with regard to advancing LGBT human rights, such as... organizing the first pride march in Asia in 1994 and the formation of Ladlad party list, the only LGBT-oriented party list in the world, and extensive HIV/AIDS Awareness campaigns nationwide .

“Pride of the Orient” calls on LGBT Filipinos to reclaim these milestones and look forward to more victories they've yet to achieve.

For Organizations, please confirm in this link:

For Individuals, please confirm in this link:

Registration begins at 1:00 pm at Remedios Circle, Malate, Manila, and Pride March contingents that arrive early will be greeted by a brief program until 4:00 pm. The hosts will explain the event's concept and encourage contingents to come up with a cheer for the march.

The march will begin at 4:15 pm and will end by 5 pm. During this time, the second half of the program will commence. The program will feature LGBT performers as well as brief solidarity messages from prominent LGBT individuals.

Please check the TFP page regularly for updates on the program line-up and the venue. Thanks, and see you all on December 3, 2011 at the Pride March!

For more information you can visit this FB Event Page:

Visit the official website:

email us at:
or SMS us at 09163089903 (Globe), 09333049795 (Sun)

Yours with Pride,

Raffy Aquino
2011 Membership & Participation Head
Task Force Pride

Saturday, November 19, 2011

UP Babaylan x Home for the Golden Gays

An outreach program was organized by PinoyG4M and Akei. UP Babaylan was invited to join the outreach program. The experience was fun and very insightful. Since most of the old LGBT individuals who stay there did not marry and have kids and they are really neglected by their own families, no one really takes care of their needs. The outreach program raised goods and monetary assistance which were then provided to the elders of the home. The program included singing, dancing and yes, even a beauty pageant. Food and drinks were served throughout the program.

We encourage everyone to help out in providing for the needs of our aged LGBT community. To find out how you can help, you may want to visit their official site.

the winners of the pageant. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Transgender Day of Remembrance

221 is the loneliest number.

November 20 is observed internationally as the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Founded in 1998 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender activist, this occasion honors the memory of those were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.

The University of the Philippines Babaylan is one with the transgender community in mourning for our brothers and sisters who died this year. As we light our candles for the 221 names in the Trans Murder Monitoring Project's registry (corresponding to one trans person killed every other day), as well as for the countless other undocumented cases, we remember the passion, courage and strength with which these individuals lived their lives, even in the face of hatred and indifference. May they have eternal peace.

UP Babaylan also observes this occasion to raise awareness within the UP community of hate crimes against transgender and gender non-conforming people. Over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender-based hate or prejudice, and the trend shows no sign of abating. There have also been reported cases of transgender (as well as gay, lesbian, and bisexual) killings in the Philippines; this makes our concern for our safety alarmingly real.

We are appalled that innocent people have been beaten, stabbed and shot because they were honest enough to be themselves.

We are indignant at how some people, because of ignorance and hate, can stone, strangle or burn others to death.

As the State University's primary LGBT student collective, we urge the UP administration to strengthen its safety measures to ensure that all of its students, faculty and staff are able to study, work and live securely on campus, regardless of their gender identity/expression and sexual orientation. This measure should ultimately include an anti-bullying or anti-discrimination policy explicitly covering gender identity/expression and sexual orientation. Without this policy, UP's LGBT constituency will continue to remain vulnerable to bigotry, hostility or violence.


The list of of the 221 reported murdered trans persons from November 20th 2010 to November 14th 2011 can be found here:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

USC Gender Committee

USC Gender Committee Head, Councilor and UP Babaylan member Ms. Heart Dino presented her accomplishment report for the past semester. We in UP Babaylan are proud of the accomplishments of the USC Gender Committee, which has continuously made efforts to make UP Diliman a safer place for the LGBT community and a bastion of Gender Equality. 

UP Babaylan would also like to thank you for placing your trust in our esteemed member at the previous USC elections last February 2011, making her the Number 1 USC Councilor. We will continue to support her in the implementation of the projects she has promised the students of the University.

Let us work together to make the University of the Philippines a safe place for everyone, where there are equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

20x20 World AIDS Day Pecha Kucha Youth Competition

What is pecha kucha?
PechaKucha 20x20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images forward automatically and you talk along to the images. The entire presentation lasts for 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

Sample Pecha Kucha Presentations:

Who is eligible to join the competition?
All Filipino college students (aged 15 - 24 years old) currently enrolled in any educational institution in the Philippines before the deadline for submission of presentations is eligible to join the competition.


UNAIDS World AIDS Day theme is “Getting to Zero - Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Deaths”.

Each student is only allowed to submit one Pecha Kucha video presentation. A copy of the final video must be sent to on or before November 23, 2011 11:59 PM. You should also include a link to alternate video hosting sites where you placed your final video.

The submission email must contain the following contact information:
1)       Name of the Student
2)       School or University
3)       Contact Number
4)       Address
5)       A digital image (photographed or scanned) of your school id
6)       A digital image (photographed or scanned) of proof of enrollment.
7)       Link to alternate video hosting sites where you placed your final video.

The video presentation must meet the following requirements:
1)       The total number of presentations slides must equal 20 slides.
2)       Each slide may only be shown for 20 seconds.
3)   An additional or 21st slide must be placed at the end of the presentation
4)   The 21st slide must contain the following information:
a.      Name of Student
b.      School or University
c.      2011 World AIDS Day Pecha Kucha Competition
d.      The link
4)       The total presentation slides (excluding the 21st slide) must be exactly 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

Criteria for judging
Content of Presentation
Relevance of Information 10%
Interpretation of Theme 10%
Clarity of Information 10%
Accuracy of Information 10%

Execution of Presentation
Quality of Images 20%
Quality of Spoken Words 20%

Audience Votes 20%

Dates to Remember
Deadline of Submission of Entries – November 23 2011 11:59 PM
Start of Online Voting – November 24 2011
Announcement of Winners – Dec 1 2011

Cash Prize:
The winner will be awarded a cash prize of P 5,000.00

If you have questions, you may visit and leave your questions on the wall of the page. We will address them as soon as possible. Thank you!

Calendar of Activities for Second Sem Applicants

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Narrative of Babaylan (part 2) - Jofrey Cubos and Atty. Venir Turla Cuyco

I certainly heard of a Pink Alliance, allegedly an underground organization of gay students based at the Narra Residence Hall. My understanding is that it was largely dismantled by the time I arrived in Narra. The information I have about Pink Alliance was based on second-hand evidence gleaned from residents who lived in Narra several years ahead of me. When we were just starting, I was asked several times by some older students and a few alumni if Babaylan was an incarnation of Pink Alliance. There may have, indeed, been other gay or lesbian organizations before us but, like Pink Alliance, they existed underground.

What makes Babaylan unique is that it sought to meld together a group of students who were made to feel like outcasts in the university because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. There may have been groups in Narra before and after Babaylan was founded, but I don’t know of any other organization in the university that purposely sought inclusiveness on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. From the beginning, we tried to make Babaylan as inclusive as possible because we realized that oppression and marginalization and the need for a welcoming group made for a strong unifying bond that transcended artificial divisions among this otherwise disparate group of individuals.

On a more personal note, the yearning for an LGBT organization reached its apex when a couple of my roommates in Narra became victims of a serious case of gay bashing. For looking through the window of one of the rooms in Narra, my roommates were beaten and threatened with more serious bodily injury, including death. One night, I arrived at the dorm with broken glass strewn on our beds and all over our room, and with my roommates cowering in fear. They were crying and shaking as they recounted to me what happened. I had to call the campus police to report the incident and to ask for assistance in getting them out of the campus. The psychological damage caused by this bashing was such that one of my roommates felt compelled to leave the university.

This incident occasioned a lot of discussions among Narra’s gay residents. There was fear that any of us could be the next victim of violence. There was also despair and a sense of helplessness about the situation of gay students in UP. Moreover, there was rage that anything like this could happen in an institution that prides itself for its liberal traditions. But more importantly, there was resolve that something needed to be done about this. An informal caucus was thus formed among Narra’s openly gay residents.

As so it was that on a particular day in August of 1992, some Narra friends and I went around the campus to post announcements of the meeting we were organizing. The posters were admittedly provocative (e.g., “Bakla ka ba?”) to attract attention, although I remember writing a footnote in the otherwise in-your-face announcements. The footnote sought to explain that we were commandeering words that society uses to oppress us and employing them instead for our own liberationist ends.

We obtained permission to use the audio-visual room at the second floor of the faculty center for our meeting. Around 20 persons showed up for that initial meeting. I noticed that the overwhelming majority of those who showed up were pa-girl, which is not surprising when one considers how the liberation movement in other parts of the world originated. It is always the pa-girl and those who were already out and have nothing to lose with exposure who initiated the fight for equality. The discussion during the meeting revolved around the objectives proposed earlier in Narra.

One of the more contentious issues was naming the organization. Considering the creativity of the members of the group, there was a surfeit of proposals for possible names, ranging from the hilarious to the sublime. With guidance from J. Neil Garcia, a rising star in the English Department whom we requested to serve as our faculty adviser, we agreed to name our group Babaylan in honor of priestesses in pre-colonial Philippines. Babaylanes were influential religious and political figures among tribal groups in pre-colonial Philippines and there was historical evidence that men sometimes took on and lived this female role. In choosing this name, we wanted to highlight our people’s history of celebrating, rather than condemning, diversity in gender roles. Of course, several permutations to the meaning of our name or the reasons for its choice occurred in subsequent years. 

When we finally approved our draft constitution in December of 1992, it was an exhilarating experience that has happened only a few times in my life. It may not be much when viewed from today’s perspective, but it was a heady experience at that time. The experience was so personally enriching that, to this day, I still feel grateful for the privilege of working with that group of intelligent, principled, thoughtful, and passionate people. Certainly, my subsequent professional experience in drafting legislation that passed Congress never matched the sense of fulfillment I felt when Babaylan’s constitution was approved.

We knew that establishing an aboveground LGBT organization in the university would not be an easy task. Homophobia, not to mention transphobia, was still the norm in the UP community. At that time, obviously bakla people can’t walk past some fraternity tambayan without getting catcalls or insulting remarks. Gay people were expected to suffer these indignities in silence. Complaining to authorities was laughed at; confronting these offenders was certainly unheard of. And remember what happened to my roommates. The perpetrators escaped the consequences of their deplorable act with not even a slap on the wrist.

As it turned out, we didn’t have to worry about official recognition. The vice chancellor said one of the reasons she wanted to see me was the filing of an opposition to our use of the name Babaylan for our group. The oppositor (who, incidentally, became a transgender woman several years later) was apparently objecting on supposedly anthropological grounds. The oppositor’s position was that our use of the name allegedly desecrated the hallowed position that babaylanes held in pre-colonial Philippines. I explained that, on the contrary, we were adopting Babaylan as our group’s name to honor the babaylanes and the only way it could be deemed disrespectful was if one agreed with the notion that LGBT people were unworthy of taking on important roles in Philippine society. The vice chancellor seemed to agree with my position, and said that the bigger reason for summoning me was to tell me personally that our organization was welcome in her office. She warned me though that the road ahead would be difficult for a group like ours because homophobia was pervasive even in a supposedly liberal community like UP.

And so when UP Diliman decided to increase dormitory rates, we were at the forefront of Narra residents petitioning Quezon Hall for a rollback. It was one of the first few times that Babaylan was involved in a public demonstration. I was terrified at speaking in public and I desperately wanted Tuting Hernandez, our founding vice-chair, to speak on behalf of Babaylan. Tuting had more experience in this regard and he was a better public speaker. But being a dorm resident myself, I was compelled to speak and so I swallowed the bile rising in my throat and plunged on with my short harangue the content of which I can no longer remember. What I can remember is that, imitating the previous speakers, I had my clinched fist raised throughout my short rant and that there was communal singing of Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” afterwards.

And then there was the issue of the continued presence of US military bases in the Philippines in 1992. We were a loud and colorful part of the UP contingent in the anti-US bases rallies. The ­pa-girl members of Babaylan had to put on a lot of sunscreen to protect their skin from the scorching sunlight and suffered silently while marching arm-in-arm with grimy and smelly marchers. To be sure, there were token protests from them, but I could see pride and a sense of achievement in their eyes at the end of every rally. Our efforts were rewarded when, in recognition of our rather conspicuous presence in those rallies, UP students and other Narrehan marchers lustily chanted: “Bakla ng bayan, ngayon ay lumalaban!”

We decided to further our alliances by affiliating with one of the dominant political parties on campus, SAMASA. The choice was not difficult to make. When the governing council of SAMASA summoned me to appear in connection with our application to affiliate, I was asked why we chose SAMASA over the other party. My answer was simple: there was no choice. SAMASA at the time represented the kind of progressive and inclusive politics that we thought corresponded with Babaylan’s own. Years later, this decision proved providential as SAMASA decided to have my successor to the Babaylan chair, Narrehan Perci CendaƱa, run for the highest position in the university student council. When Perci was about to make history as the first openly gay person to win the student council chair, SAMASA’s Miro Quimbo exclaimed to me in seeming disbelief: “’Langhiya! Mukhang bakla pa yata ang mananalo ah!”

If I have to live my life over, founding Babaylan which has its roots in Narra, would be at the top of the list of things I would gladly do over again.
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