The Philippine Normal University (PNU), the National Center for Teacher Education, has hosted its first-ever, in-person Pride event, led by PNU Katalonan, the pioneer and duly accredited LGBTQIA+ organization in the said university. The event was held on June 14, 2023, at the PNU Quadrangle, from 8 AM to 10 PM. (L)AKBAY: Paglalakbay nang Magkaakbay tungo sa Kalayaan ng Kasarian advocated for Safe Spaces, Inclusive Education, and Gender Equality and Inclusivity. It is a benefit concert in which 30% of the event proceeds will be handed to the Home of the Golden Gays Philippines, a Philippine non-profit organization that provides support and care facilities for elderly LGBTQ people.
As the pioneer and duly accredited LGBTQIA+ student organization at the PNU, it upholds an inclusive environment inside and outside the campus and protects LGBTQIA+ rights from hate and discrimination. With this, (L)AKBAY created last has been a long plan to advocate for the organization’s principles. The event was headed by Emmanuel Lasquite, Seliana Galapin, and Daniele Guevarra, fourth-year students of the university and the executive officers of PNU Katalonan, in collaboration with the University Center for Gender and Development and PNU-USC Student Gender and Development Commission and in support with the other faculty and student organizations of PNU namely, PNU NAMI, The PNU Biological Society, PNU Faculty of Education Sciences Student Assembly, PNU Society of Technology and Library Science Educators, PNU Geografika, PNU – University Student Council, PNU Social Science Club, GABRIELA Youth PNU, Anakbayan PNU, PNU USC Freshmen Assembly, PNU Samahan ng mga Tagapagpalaganap ng Edukasyon sa Pagpapahalaga – STEP, Philippine Normal University-UNESCO Club, Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Kasaysayan – PNU, The PNU Math Club, PNU-Kabataang Urduja, PNU The Thespian Society, PNU Green Action Initiative Affiliation, NU SAGA – National University Sexuality and Gender Alliance, Annyeong PNU (Korean Cultural Organization), PNU Student Electoral Commission, and Physical Education Majors’ Society-Manila.
Not limited to university organizations, Katalonan Pride has also collaborated with PANTAY Philippines, Queer Safe Spaces, APOTHEKE Science Philippines, Midoko Philippines, LoveYourself Caravan, and INQUIRER POP.
The concessionaires Jay-san Shawarma and Sisig, Iskrambol Manila, Party Carts Manila, K-Chase Korean Street Food, Tori Food Trading, Curly Chef, Bites & Teas, Comet Collectibles, Ulzzang Official, and YS Glam were also present.
Katalonan Pride was hosted by Radjs San Miguel, Kio Fukuoka, and Conrad Castorico, whose joyful and enthusiastic personalities captivated the audiences from morning to night. The morning session consisted of solidarity speeches from the partner student organizations and speeches from 6 generations of PNU Katalonan Punong Katalonan, from 2017 to now, and allotted time for the organization of the student booths.
Starting at 4 PM, the PNU Quadrangle has closed for non-ticketholders, and the benefit concert has begun, with performances from PNUans and non-PNUans alike. The event opened up with performances from PNU Balingsasayaw and students Ben and Van. Other performances also included Stef Aranas, the bands Jules, and Solace Out The Door.
To start the drag race competition, Twinky Versant, the reigning Drag Superstar of PNU, amazed everyone with her fantastic performance and passed off the crown to the night’s Drag Superstar, Eveounqua. When asked about her experience, she said “I’m beyond grateful to be part of a space in history where queer art is celebrated through acknowledging the existence of aggression and the need for collective action.”
The concert ended with heartstopping and brilliant performances from Drag Queens Gem, Lady X, Collision Course, and Taylor Sheesh.