Queen Things Only: How Filipino Drag Artists Champion the ‘Bayanihan’ Spirit During the Worst of Times

MANILA, Philippines—On the outside, the drag scene as a whole emanates sheer extravaganza and glamazon. However, when viewed in further depth, drag is, and has always been, more than just about the visuals and the performances, but a clear indicator of a political statement advocating for public good and serving as a podium for collaborative endeavor.

Similar to RuPaul’s famous phrase from the main Drag Race franchise, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love anybody else,” that is indeed what the Filipino drag queens are doing, leveraging their vigorous platform in the business of returning the favors.

When the most recent typhoon, Bagyong Paeng, that pummeled the Philippines by the tail end of October and left a significant number of casualties across many provinces, Precious Paula Nicole, the first-ever winner of Drag Race Philippines, organized a prior fundraising event called Precious Gives, where she organized a donation drive aimed at helping out families displaced by the calamity. Of note, she got proceeds totaling to 122,000 pesos in just 3 days, which was subsequently given to the Angat Buhay Foundation to manage and distribute to the typhoon victims. 

Similarly, when Typhoon Karding struck in September, lip-sync assassin and entertainer Lady Morgana contributed her tip money from one of her performances, amounting to 10,000 pesos, to Precious Gives in order to aid the casualties.

As her name suggests, Eva Le Queen also put forth a queen’s effort by organizing a #TampalPUSO birthday drive fundraiser for the typhoon’s victims. By selling some of her wares on Instagram Live and calling for donations, she was able to raise 155,000 pesos, which she then donated also to the Angat Buhay Foundation.

In light of this, Syd Acala’s #DragRaisePH, a fundraiser organized by the Filipino drag community for typhoon victims, has been mobilized last November to officially accept donations, with Precious Paula Nicole, Marina Summers, Eva Le Queen, Brigiding, Viñas Deluxe, Lady Morgana, Turing, Corazon, Prince, and Maxie among drag queens who have banded together to support those in need during typhoons.

It is evident how the drag scene in the Philippines came to light, as well as how this light is being passed on to people whose lives have turned for the bleak in the most trying of times.

This is why it is glum to think that our country still has a difficult time embracing the community that not only makes life funnier, more colorful, and fabulous but also better. Despite this, we continue to hope that the stories and experiences of queens will not only be a pirouette of discrimination and hate crimes, but rather that it will alter into people expressing gratitude to them for their existence and bringing color to the world.

It’s much sweeter to know that all of these acts of benignancy occurred shortly—within a matter of months—and that other queens have carried out comparable deeds in the past and in private. Just imagine what would happen if drag artists received more support? What else is to come? With that, this is only the beginning for Filipino drag.