Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog

Day 1 in Manila: Unexpected Turns after a full-night’s sleep and enormous long breakfast buffet at Pearl Manila Hotel

Had I not borrowed Ann’s Lonely Planet guide and scoped out this Central Manila neighborhood (called Ermita), I may not have headed out for a walk and lunch with a sense of direction or destination.  Had I not done this, I would not have had an incredible day with leaders of the country’s LGBT community.

Leaving the Pearl Manila Hotel,  I walked a few blocks, crossed busy Wm. Howard Taft Avenue (named after Unitarian, 1st Governor of US-held Philippines, and US President).  Had I not turned up Padre Fauro St. the young woman would not have said, “I saw you last night at Robinson’s Mall.”  I did not engage with her, as this was the area the night before where pimps had invited me into bars to see the girls, and where one had called out three of them in skimpy green dresses. She asked, “Where are you going?”  Just visiting, I said.  She asked again, and I said I’m meeting friends. In front of us were two men in tee shirts.  On the back of one it said Metropolitan Community Church Quezon City.  (MCC is a worldwide Christian denomination with a special ministry to LBGT and other marginalized people.  It was founded in 1968 in LA by a Pentecostal preacher after he was thrown out of his ministry.  Quezon City is a northern suburb which, I learned is more progressive politically and religiously than Central Manila.)

I tapped them on the shoulder and introduced myself as a former member of an MCC (1985-88) and explained why I was here.  “Oh, the UUs!  Yes, we know them.  There are two churches in Manila.  I know Bob (minister of one of them.)”  I said we are going to Negros Island, where we have 29 congregations.  “Yes, the UU’s send a delegation here to Manila’s Pride Parade in October!”  The one in the tee shirt, age 37, is pastor of the small MCC church, named Ceejay.  His lay leader, Mike, works in a call center for an American company.)

“Is this your friend?” they asked about the young woman, still standing by.  I said I never met her before; she just started talking to me. So they told me they were headed to an LGBT forum at University of Philippines-Manila, where the pastor would speak on a panel.  They invited me to go.   The name of the forum was “Vibrate,” and it was sponsored by Pi Sigma Delta, a social sorority made up of lesbians.  In the large lecture hall…



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