Wednesday, December 15, 2010

MAGANDANG HAPON PO!

Walking through the all familiar International Arrivals hall at OR Thambo on Monday afternoon, I think back to a week ago when I left South Africa to travel to the Philippines to launch an initiative by Mr Gay World and its counterpart, Mr Gay World Philippines Called The Red Ribbon Campaign. Like many I thought I’d be able to take a break from all the ‘pageant stuff’, lie on a beach and relax. After all, it was my birthday in just a few days and I was on a tropical island (7101 islands to be exact) so what better way to spend it, right?

After an 18 hour journey I finally arrived in Manila to the warm welcome of Mac, a Producer of Mr Gay world Philippines as well as my dear friend David Bosley, Mr Gay World Philippines 2009, whom I had become close friends with during my time in Oslo at Mr Gay World 2010. I was tired, yet as always when I’m in a new country, excited to see what this journey would bring.  The two hour drive from the airport would be my first real taste of life in Manila. A city inhabited by 23million people (Philipino population is approx 90 mil), the Metropolis of Manila is a hustle and bustle of cars, tri-cycles and Jeepnies (their public transport) all thrown into what I could only describe as organized chaos! I thought Jo-burg traffic was bad…lol….yea right! Yet, the people seem to have an understanding, so you just go along with it. Although I must admit I was really glad I did not have to drive!

After checking into my hotel room it was off to dinner with the rest of the production team at a Brazilian restaurant in a complex called Metrowalk, where they have live music every night of the week. Oh btw, for those of you who don’t know, Philipinos are absolutely crazy about music and their celebs, a few of which are now world famous (Charise and also the dude from Black Eyed Pease). Anyway, after dinner I was briefed about my week and all the activities that would take place and starting in the morning would be a visit to all their high profile radio stations to promote the Mr Gay World 2011 Competition in Philippines as well as the launch of our Red Ribbon Campaign, that was to be held on my birthday. It was clear to me that this was not going to be a time of rest, but a time of advocacy for gay rights in the Philipines especially focussing on the matter at hand-that 3 in every 5 homosexual males were being infected with the virus daily in this country, and while the rest of the world was showing a decrease in infection rates, the Philippines showed a dramatic increase!

This week was going to be hectic, so after a few drinks with the crew it was off to my bed at the Holiday Inn Galeria to get some much needed rest for the week ahead!

END OF PART ONE!


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