Just like the straights or the heterosexuals, our brothers and sisters from the LGBTQIA+ community too have their own inspiring and heart-rending stories to tell, as what we have seen in these five LGBT-related anecdotes featured on Maalaala Mo Kaya last 2019:
Titled “Sinturon,” this followed the story of transgender man Marrz Balaoro, impeccably portrayed by Anne Curtis, who struggled to find acceptance from his father, Martin (Carlitos Siguion-Reyna), ever since he was still a kid. It was also him who discouraged Marrz from fulfilling his dream of joining the Air Force as he wanted him to focus on making himself more ladylike just like his sister. As he set aside his far-flung ambition, he worked as a domestic helper in Hong Kong instead in order to support himself and his family.
There, he got reunited with Inna (Bianca King), the girl he first met in the family gathering of his ex-girlfriend, to whom he later on had a relationship with. Apart from her, Marrz also found the acceptance, love, and support he’d been yearning to have from his employers and his fellow overseas Filipino workers. Thus, he was so determined to establish an association that aims to protect Pinoy LGBTQ+ members based in Hong Kong against discrimination and abuse, as well as to make same-sex marriage possible for them, at least through a ceremony.
In the end, Marrz realized that he didn’t need to undergo transition anymore to prove his sexual orientation after his life got imperiled when he tried to take hormonal pills. In his return to the Philippines, he was finally able to achieve the acceptance he’d been pining for from his father, who also told him how proud he was of him for being able to help not only their family, but many of our kababayans in Hong Kong as well.
Mitch Talao and Dudz Ibanez
The “Pregnancy Test” episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya narrated the life and love stories of Pinoy Big Brother Otso alumna Mitch Talao and her partner Dudz Ibanez. Kapamilya thespians Ritz Azul and Ahron Villena impressed us with their first on-screen team-up and acting performances as the inspiring LGBTQ+ couple.
Even though they had different experiences growing up when it comes to the acceptance they received from their respective families, it was their love for one another that bound them. Mitch was initially reluctant to get involved with him on the first time that they met, but eventually gave in as she felt his sincerity of getting to know her deeper. They got very close, until their friendship bloomed into a romantic partnership that had been relentlessly challenged by various circumstances that almost tore them apart. However, their love for each other kept them strong, especially with the arrival of their firstborn Baby Eros.
Their relationship still went through a lot of struggles and setbacks, but they had remained strong until their dream of getting married finally came true last February 2019 after Kuya allowed them to tie the knot inside the PBB house with the help of her housemates.
Richard “Timi” Salapare
A lot of us were surely touched with the “Salamin” episode as it took us back to the stirring and heart-rending bond of Richard “Timi” Salapare, who’s a gay, with his late lesbian mom Kata. Marking the first-ever collaboration of teen actor Awra Briguela with Soul Diva Jaya, who just had her first-ever appearance on MMK, the duo fascinated us with how they portrayed the inspiring mother-son tandem.
Growing up to a lesbian mom who’s a drunkard and a serial gambler, Timi, who was known then as “Toto”, was compelled to live independently. Instead of being the one being taken care of, what happened was otherwise as we witnessed how he would always attend to her needs while having to take care of his at the same time.
From being a closeted gay throughout his younger years, Toto was finally able to freely show his genuine self when he stepped into college, especially when he became a part of their university’s theatre company – to which his mom was highly against with. That’s when he started his transformation into Timi by taking hormonal pills recommended by one of his org mates, as well as where he met his first boyfriend Carlo (Finno Herrera). Knowing the plight that he’s yet to go through once he decided to expose himself to the public eye, Kata objected his transformation and relationship with Carlo, which ensued to their misunderstanding.
Not long after, the mother-and-son got reconciled after Timi vowed to take good care of his mom who was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis and filled their remaining days together with love and happy memories. Timi was finally able to hear his mom utter how proud she was of how he bloomed into a “strong woman”.
Following the story of a man stricken with HIV Stage 4 named Billy (played by Kit Thompson), we were all touched with how he’s able to conquer the painful events that marred his life from his childhood up to adulthood.
Being orphaned at a very young age, Billy had to live under the custody of his Aunt Samantha, who despite providing his needs still treated him indifferently. Thus, he decided to leave and live independently by residing in a boarding house and working as a part-time student assistant. He then got persuaded to accept the job of a call boy in order for him to make both ends meet. Aside from quenching his physical hunger, it also sufficed his hunger for love and attention as the satisfaction of his customers made him feel needed and valuable, so what supposed to be a sideline only turned out to be his long-term source of income.
Striving to change for the better, he decided to quit and lived with his half-sister Lucy’s (Phoebe Walker) family in Manila, who vowed to “straighten” him from his gayness. He worked in a BPO company where he met Francis (Zeus Collins), who later on became his partner. His adoptive family warmly accepted their relationship and even let them live together under one roof. Unfortunately, their romance got short-lived after Billy caught him sleeping with another guy at their apartment.
Their breakup truly took a toll on him as he went back to his old, pointless life. He then later on learned about the sudden death of Francis due to HIV, which absolutely alarmed him. After undergoing a series of test and experiencing the symptoms, he was diagnosed with HIV Stage 4 that truly changed his life and the way his family and the other people around treated him, except his Ate Lucy who stuck by his side no matter what.
As he got cured from his other illnesses, Billy applied and got accepted in another job where he felt the acceptance and love he’d been longing for. He also became a resource speaker in symposiums or events about HIV Awareness and become one of the staunch champions of this advocacy.
From making us laugh through his remarkable stint in It’s Showtime as one of the contestants of its Miss Q & A Intertalaktic 2019 segment, we saw ourselves got touched by the inspiring journey of Bryan Roy Tagarao, or more popularly known as Brenda Mage, who also depicted himself in the “Kumelavoo” episode of MMK.
At an early age, he’s been already sure of his sexual orientation, yet tried his best to conceal it as his father Romeo (Bembol Rocco) was unwilling to accept it. But he didn’t let that thought rule over him and hinder him from pursuing his dream to become a celebrity, thus, he went to Manila to find better opportunities. He worked on various odd jobs and even tried his luck in Pinoy Dream Academy but failed. He also auditioned and got hired in a theater play and a few indie films. He got discovered in a television program and even became a part of the gag show Banana Nite. As his showbiz bookings continued to slack, a friend offered him to work in Japan as an entertainer which absolutely helped him support his family. At the same time, he was able to garner throngs of followers on social media for the hilarious videos he uploaded, which would eventually become his ticket to be discovered by It’s Showtime.
Just when everything’s beginning to turn out fine, their family faced another harrowing challenge – the death of his father. But before he totally left them, Brenda had the chance to talk to him wherein Romeo apologized for every ill thing he committed towards him, as well as thank him for everything that he’s done for their family.
He might not have won the said pageant, but he’s now reaping the fruits of everything he worked hard for in the past.
Looking forward on mote inspiring and heartwarming stories like this, Maalaala Mo Kaya!