Ladyboys are like hobbits: travels with a ladyboy

Originally posted 2018-10-04 09:07:50.

Ladyboys are like hobbits; they have big feet. Although, and fortunately, not usually hairy.

My dearest and truest friend, my distant confidante and beloved adopted sister, Andie, is sitting on the brown vinyl sofa in my rented condo in Pasig. She has delicately hoisted the hem of her long floral skirt with one hand and with the other she is holding one of her slippers — flipflops in Filipino — against her leg.

‘Ugh,’ she says. ‘You see? My feet are longer than half the length of my shin.’

She drops the slipper and the hem and takes to regarding her feet with evident distaste, elbow on knee, chin cupped in her hand. She wiggles her toes.

‘I could possibly cut them off,’ she muses. ‘I should cut them off.’

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Pageant Bakla: Memoir of a Filipina beauconera

pageant-bakla

Originally posted 2021-05-07 14:28:41.

I found this story on a Philippines website, from a publication that is now defunct. The name of the author is not known. It gives insight into the gay pageant scene in the country and across south-east Asia, and also reinforces the observation that the ‘gay’ and transgender scenes are closely intertwined.

A pageant can be a small local affair with a stage set up on the back of a truck, or as grandiose as the Miss Tiffany contests, held in Thailand, or Super Syrena, in the Philippines.

books by rod flemingTo read the story, click the Read More link

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Maryhill, Glasgow, May 1974

Originally posted 2018-09-18 07:57:20.

Maryhill, the poor part of Glasgow’s West End, in 1974, was a different world. Looking back on these pictures, forty-five years later, I am still moved.

When I came to the Philippines first, a kind but unaware French friend told me that I would see poverty such as I had never seen before. I had not the heart to tell him; I had seen worse — in Maryhill, Glasgow, for one.

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maryhill glasgow
Maryhill, Glasgow in 1974

Yet on the other hand I have so many memories of Maryhill, Glasgow and most of them are good. I was never robbed, beaten up or threatened there. Nobody ever asked if I was a Catholic or a Protestant — a question I would get used to later. People were poor, yes, many had no shoes; but they had community and mutual respect. I see that today in the Philippines. We lost a great deal when we lost that.

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Plaridel, Philippines December 2016

Originally posted 2017-08-02 18:05:28.

This was my fifth visit to the Philippines and again, I arrived before Christmas, on the 8th of December. I had rented an apartment in Plaridel, Bulacan, which was to be my base for the next four months.

Plaridel

Plaridel is a market and manufacturing town about 30 miles north of Manila. In 2015 it had a population of 107,000. It has an airport.

I’ll let the pictures and captions speak for themselves in this photo diary of the trip. This section goes from my arrival up to New Year. I’ll do another section for the latter part.

To view the gallery, please click the ‘Read More’ link below

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Philippines 2015-2016; a land of surprises

Originally posted 2017-07-27 20:56:35.

I am not ashamed to say that I love the Philippines. Nowhere else that I have ever visited manages to capture so much of humanity’s amazing variety. It’s an incredible place and I am so lucky to have found it. This is a selection of pictures from that trip. I’ll let them speak for themselves.

 

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River ferries, Pasig 2016

River ferries

Pasig River ferries from Maybunga to downtown Manila.

Not many people know about the Pasig River ferries — which are really like floating buses. They’re not very fast but given that Manila road traffic is gridlocked most of the day, the river ferries represent an efficient transport alternative. There are numerous jetties along the river where passengers can alight and the cost was minimal. This journey took just over an hour but I have known the same one take over three in a taxi!

 

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Poor Jelly was suffering. She was recovering from an accident and the seats on the ferries are basic, making her back injury hurt, But as always she just grinned and carried on. Smashing girl.  We had a lot of fun.

patreonThe Terminus is at Escolta, on the other side of the river from the famous Intramuros, the old walled city. The day was very hot and Jelly was clearly in pain so we took a calesa ride and made like tourists. She had never been to Intramuros before and despite her sore back, really enjoyed herself.

The last ferry back to Pasig was at 1630, because the service only operates in daylight – there are no navigation lights! It was a fine day out though.

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Arbroath January 1972

arbroath-1972

Originally posted 2018-09-19 09:00:47.

Arbroath January 1972 . I was living in the house at 9 East Grimsby. My Dad had died the previous year and I was still struggling with it.  But I had a few things going for me: music, a camera and my books. It wasn’t a lot but it helped.

Russ Black, the art teacher at school encouraged me to use its darkroom. I had lost my own a couple of years before when we moved house. This is one of the earliest rolls I still have from then.

The camera was a Leica Model III fitted with a Ross Xtralux 50mm f2, an excellent lens. I used the name ‘Xtralux’ for a band some years later, in Exeter. Film was Ilford FP3.

(Pictures after the Read More link)

poaching

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West Coast Road trip with Charis

Originally posted 2017-07-23 15:55:47.

This was a crazy trip in which the weather did all but defeat us. But we still had fun.

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