Monday, 30 June 2014

London Pride 2014 w/ Filipino LGBT UK and...Conchita Wurst


It was my first time and definitely won't be the last. 

I joined my good friends on Saturday the 28th for London Pride 2014. Filipino LGBT UK has been joining Pride for at least three years, but I've only enjoyed their company this year. Apart from the dire weather that's more quintessentially Glastonbury, everything else was definitely worth the rainy walk from Baker Street through to Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus, Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square, and all the way to Whitehall. To those not familiar with Central London or have not yet set foot in the British capital, the distance covered was six to seven miles which is roughly a 20-minute drive, with stops and starts. Needless to say, my Converse had a good battering. The crowd lining up the streets went wild with the choreography that further highlighted the rainbow colours the Philippine participants wore. With the US Embassy London behind us, the only way they could have stolen the limelight was to give free multiple-entry US visas to those who've been denied one before. Just saying.

Here's our side of the parade in photos.


Just fabulous! The Philippine and LGBT flag side by side



What goes on in the alley surely spills onto the streets of London



My friend and former housemate Chris (to my readers who've been with me since I started this blog, he's one of the five lovely gay men in the house called Moulin Rouge where I used to live) who flew in from Amsterdam to join London Pride. The social butterfly wore the boots the whole day and could only empathise with us women, who end up limping after a whole day of wearing high heels in the name of fashion and vertical enhancement.



I'm surprised he wasn't questioned at the airport while carrying a bagful of chains, leather cuffs, and whip. Maybe not, when you're coming from Amsterdam.



Yes, the headdress was heavy, and so was the dress after being soaked in rain water. But he, the butterflies, and the flowers on his head fabulously made it to the end of the parade.



Not from the Philippine team, but the UK is also home to me, so I had to take a photo of these two. They gamely posed outside Subway before the parade started. I'm sure I've seen them before :D



Oh, here they are again. This time, with another plumed friend.



Here is where it's ok to stalk people with naked butts and take pictures of them. I could have gotten closer but it wouldn't have been ladylike--the nuns in the convent school where I studied would be gobsmacked.



Nearly ready...


No, it's not a costume left unworn. Just one of the ladies who couldn't hold it anymore, the toilet couldn't wait. Besides, with the size of the skirt and the height of the headdress, he wouldn't have fit inside a regular Central London loo. What happens in the alley doesn't stay in the alley--it appears here on my blog :D



LipGloss ladies wearing the rainbow colours of LGBT. They were amazing!



One of the stars of the parade! Little one almost stole the show







I may have to borrow this hat for next year's Ascot Ladies' Day



Waiving my Philippine flag against a gloomy London skyline



He also joined the parade, in spirit :D










Heard from the crowd during the parade: 'Wotsits, can I take a photo of you?' Love Wotsits and can finish a pack of 12 in one sitting.







My lovely and sweet friend William with his United Nude Samurai umbrella strapped across. The yellow Vivienne Westwood jelly loafers (see the Drag Queen 2014 event) were left at home in favour of Balenciaga-esque trainers.



With Pam Pamintuan, an events magnate (oh yes!), and an old friend, who flew in from Manila for London Pride. We haven't seen each other for a long time and his first dialogue to me was, "You gained weight!" (us Filipinos' way of asking how you are. Haha). I replied with a series of expletives, which he took well. It's my way of saying it was lovely to see him, too.



One of my favourite photos, courtesy of Luke Walker. We're all wearing our Freedom shirt. No, I'm not a fag hag as I'm a straight woman who doesn't use my gay friends' friendship and companionship as a replacement for a heterosexual relationship. I love spending time with gay men as I admire their lack of inhibition, creativity, free-flowing sense of humour, zest for life (energy William, energy!), confidence, sophistication, and fashion credentials. And yes, my older brother is a beautiful (hot, according to some friends) gay man.



Behind every costume you've seen is this man, Madame Arnold. He toiled long hours and days to bring them to life, and he absolutely did a great job! Well done!







Miss flowers-and-butterfly headdress has found a mate in the crowd. Yes, you're looking right at a Sunflower centrepiece









The gorgeous topless butterfly boys. They spread the entire span of their wings! And as you can see, two of them marched with their heels on. Perfection!



Now off duty



. . .and all packed and ready for the next outing. . .



My plumed friend is back






Looks like it hurts. If you're a tourist in London, don't be surprised to see one wearing this on the tubes. We're very tolerant of people's sartorial preferences.


The highlight of London Pride 2014 was the concert supported by the Mayor of London, headlined by none other than Conchita Wurst, Eurovision 2014's grand winner. I couldn't miss this one. With my friend Chris dragging his high-heeled boots, we made our way through the packed Trafalgar Square to catch a glimpse of her. I will never forgive the National Portrait Gallery for throwing us out as we were obviously going in and out to hopefully manage a few shots of Miss Wurst from the museum. She was supposed to be on at 5:40pm. The museum closed at 6pm. Chris and I were back on the street strategising.



Trafalgar Square transformed into a concert arena, with Nelson's Column and Big Ben in the background






Nelson's Column set against London's grey skies



Sir Ian McKellen, or Gandalf to Lord of the Rings fans. The openly gay English actor introduced the headline act, Miss Conchita Wurst



The lady herself. Chris befriended one of the stewards so I can stand on one of the blocks supporting the tents to get a view of her. He allowed me one photo, but I took as much as I can. But of course.





The closest Chris and I could get to Conchita's beard was via this screen. Much better than the TV screen at home between me and her.









Congratulations Filipino LGBT UK and all its supporters for making this year's participation at London Pride another runaway success. Looking forward to the next one! 



Friday, 20 June 2014

That Summer In Dubrovnik, Croatia


It's that time of the year when it's muggy in the morning on the way to work, then the day proceeds to a gloomy, chilly afternoon with no sign of the sun. Plagued by hayfever for more than a week now, my whole body is tired from battling pollen, I dream of a heavy downpour to dissipate the annoying allergen. Or, if I could just pack up and not leave notice at work, I would be off to somewhere sunny right this very minute.

One of my summer trips is coming up soon, but I can't help but daydream of previous ones when my daily issues concerned bikinis, sunblock, topping up my tan, and margaritas, rather than emails, ink cartridge, and rude clients. 

So taking inspiration from Anouka, one of the loveliest bloggers (and Discover Benelux columnist) I read who puts up photos of old trips (the Peruvian one is a must-see), I'm posting some photos from a 2011 trip to Dubrovnik, Croatia. 

I'm aching for some sun-piration; allow me to begin by revisiting Dubrovnik, Croatia.


The breathtaking view from the room atop a hill, en route to the breakfast area. I can wake up to this every morning and not complain that the sea is too blue.








6pm. Poolside deserted. Sunloungers left in disarray. Sun worshippers played hide and seek with the sun











The Little Onofrio's Fountain built in 1438. People were drinking water straight from the jet stream, but didn't try it. This fountain was for the sole use of Christians in the Middle Ages

Big Onofrio's Fountain at 7am (no one getting a free drink yet). Heavily damaged in a 1667 earthquake, what's left is a bare achitectural volume. Read that the Gothic and Romanesque architectural features haven't been fully retained. The structures in Dubrovnik now are mostly Baroque


By Luza Square...





A typical Dubrovnik door



Stairs leading up to the Church of St. Ignatius and the Jesuit College


This must be for the canons...the hole in the wall was looking out into the Adriatic sea...


Breathtaking. . .





Having ice cream in a shop at the Placa


Topping up my tan!


Ahhh lovely...most tourists were probably on lunch...


The view from the dining area at the Villa Ruza restaurant at the farthest tip of Kolocep Island.











The mighty fortress Lovrijenac, one of the defence pillars of Dubrovnik


The Placa at about 7:30am, when the sun was slowly making an appearance and tourists were yet to trample on the polished path


Sigh....

Now back to my work email. For now.


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