Words and photos by Gerald Gloton.
“Lip Syncing is something reserved for the primetime girls,” I remember my mentor said when I was starting out. However, as drag is becoming more mainstream–most notably after the launch of Drag Race Philippines, more and more people are welcoming the idea of provincial drag queens taking up space and doing things “only reserved for primetime girls.”
This was how Raja Sabido, also known as Kapampangan Drag artist Liberty, recalled her early moments tackling drag in her locality.
The second season of Drag Race Philippines may have culminated as Captivating Katkat was crowned, yet, the platform for drag arts has gradually flourished not only at the metropolitan level but also at the beauty of provincial drag, specifically, in the province of Pampanga.
Coinciding the DRPH2 finale were debut launches and performances from the local house of drag in Pampanga, the Bale De P*ta, or the House of Whores led by the dashing drag mother Liberty.
For Liberty, drag in Pampanga has always been around ever since the art form’s beginning, but it’s in forms that the general RuPaul’s Drag Race audience may not recognize.
“When I started doing drag in 2015, the only choices for me as a drag queen was to go to a hosto bar and do stand-up comedy or sing live,” said the Drag Mother.
As drag came alive in Pampanga, Liberty, together with her drag daughters, Augusta Mood, Psychee Eve, and Sedusa Hex were generally happy, proud, and sincerely relieved. Eight years ago, Liberty had to endure the transportation challenges to NCR for most of her well-paying gigs.
Local queens Serafina Foxx, Cosmic Crocker, and special guest MZ Chronicles pranced and danced on the stage during the event night as well.
Since the big cities have saturated drag arts, the almost non-existent drag scene in Pampanga became more sparse during their struggling times.
“It’s a relief that Cabalen queer creatives and drag artists don’t have to look far for an opportunity anymore, plus, we can even simmer our craft within our own community and make it truly Kapampangan-flavor,” shared the drag performer.
Proving that provincial drag is alive and Pampanga is thriving, the performers stage a strong message of resiliency and a true sense of fun during their gigs at Vanta for The Voom Vading Sa Vanta program produced by Pit Crew Dale Dizon and Ivanilla Cola.
As provincial queens, expect 100% sass and pizzazz every single performance as they have the drive to work twice as hard to get the same recognition as queens from the metro and this translates to the antics they pull off whenever they perform.
Liberty exclaimed, “By the same token, for every effort we put in our shows, we know that this is a step forward to putting Pampanga Drag on the map and this same energy makes us love the fun of drag even more.”
One of the debutantes during the drag house launch was Sedusa Hex who gave a truly asian persuasion and oriental realness through her sickening performances.
“I made them watch out and kept a secret to give my all during my launch. As I did my death drop, I slayed every moment and dedicated my artistry and passion to the community,” shared Sedusa.
The baby drag queen who wowed the crowd with her on-brand antics was also warmly supported by her siblings and friends, most especially her drag family who made her the proudest.
Bale De P*ta, the fine and femme drag house in Pampanga underscored that drag in its truest form, art reflects the necessity of the community it caters to. This environment pushes queer creatives in the area to create strong, albeit relatively niche, safe spaces within the area. You just have to look for them!