02B68: Continuing to Celebrate Local Drag

With the birthday girl, Precious Paula Nicole

Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 848

Last night was the birthday show for longtime O Diva Precious Paula Nicole. We knew it was going to be a great show, but man it was an AMAZING show. And I'm super glad that we made sure to schedule ahead of time so that we could be there together with good friends. We always see a lot of familiar faces whenever we go to O, but it's still nice to make sure we get to share an O Bar table with people we love. And it's only fair since we can't assume that all of our O Bar friends are equally free to go every time we're there.

So many stories from last night that I wish I could document somehow, but I guess these are best left appreciated as treasured memories in my head instead. There was everything from names people can't remember, being a wingman, mask drops, and nose jobs. It was a great celebration of many different things unique to the O Bar experience.

It was a big surprise to me and Tobie that we were mentioned in Precious' thank you remarks during the show. As much as we love the girls and have done whatever we can to support them throughout our many years of going to O Bar, at the end of the day we always feel we're still "just" customers. But it's during nights like that that you can get pleasantly surprised at what people appreciate about you to the sort of impact you have on the lives of others. And Tobie and I have really invested a lot of time, effort, and love into supporting the O Divas and many other local drag queens.

This is why we religiously keep going back to O Bar. This is why I take thousands of photos and videos every time we go. It's why we tried to re-share all their Facebook live shows during the stricter lockdown months. It's why we try to tip them when we can, especially for particularly good shows. It's why we even try to recommend songs for them to perform when we come across stuff that inspires us and makes us think of particular queens.

There's a great future for Philippine drag, really, and you can feel things building up to something truly phenomenal. Drag is a lot more popular now versus even just 5 years ago given the greater visibility provided by various TV shows and other live drag events outside of bars and nightclubs. And while we're not going to be all hipster and say that we loved local drag before many others did (although it seems we have), I will celebrate having been able to witness so many local drag artists grow and develop over the years. 

Drag is more than just impersonation after all. And there's a lot of hard work and passion that has gone into elevating drag from just a performance to a powerful method of artistic expression. And things are just going to continue to get bigger and better as the drag community gets greater recognition and (hopefully) greater support as well.