IN PHOTOS: Thousands join 2019 Iloilo Pride March

Carl Don S. Berwin, Rhick Lars Vladimer Albay

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IN PHOTOS: Thousands join 2019 Iloilo Pride March
Organizers say some 5,000 participants from the LGBTQ+ community and their allies took to the streets, smashing the previous record attendance of the 2018 Iloilo Pride March

ILOILO CITY, Philippines – Thousands of members and allies of the Ilonggo queer community took to the streets to voice out their call for genuine equality during the 2019 Iloilo Pride March on Saturday, October 12. 

With chants like “LGBT rights are human rights” and the more playful “Maki-beki, ‘wag ma-shokot (Fight, don’t be scared)!”, participating Ilonggos celebrated love and called for the passage of the SOGIE (sexual orientation and gender identity and expression) equality bill during the Pride March in the City of Love. (EXPLAINER: What you need to know about SOGIE)

According to organizers’ estimates, some 5,000 participants from the LGBTQ+ community and their allies marched along Senator Benigno Aquino Jr Avenue in Mandurriao district – a major Iloilo City thoroughfare – waving rainbow flags and raising political placards while in full Pride regalia.

The turnout smashed the previous record attendance of 3,000 registered participants in the 2018 Iloilo Pride March.

Both city and provincial LGBTQ+ organizations and advocates’ groups, as well as local business process outsourcing groups, a handful of school-based organizations, and even some members of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and the Iglesia Filipina Independiente joined this year’s Iloilo Pride March.

With the theme “Unleashing Love: Hilway Mag Gugma” (Unleashing Love: Free to Love), the event was spearheaded by the Iloilo Pride Team, with the support of the Iloilo City government and hosted by SM City Iloilo Southpoint.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, the champion of the SOGIE equality bill in the Senate, was the guest of honor for the Iloilo Pride March, which is now on its 4th year. (READ: A look at SOGIE anti-discrimination laws around the world)

“A rainbow wave is coming…and it is unstoppable!” said Hontiveros in her solidarity speech during the event.

The 2019 Iloilo Pride March concluded with a pageant and party at SM, where the Iloilo Pride Team also crowned this year’s Mr and Ms Iloilo Pride.

Founded in 2014, the Iloilo Pride Team is a network of Ilonggo LGBTQ+ members and advocates that aims to draw attention to queer issues through social conversations. The founders of the team are Gabriel Felix Umadhay, Russel Patina, Justin Francis Bionat, and Reymark Sustento. –

Rhick Lars Vladimer Albay is a Rappler Mover based in Iloilo. He reports mostly on the local cultural community and art scene.

Carl Don Berwin is a Rappler Mover and a SharePH ambassador in Iloilo City. He is also an economics student at the University of the Philippines Visayas.

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