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The who’s who of LGBTI influencers in Manila, the Philippines capital, in 12 striking images

The who’s who of LGBTI influencers in Manila, the Philippines capital, in 12 striking images

Photographer and Asia's Next Top Model judge BJ Pascual appears in the new issue of OutThere/Travel

The capital of the Philippines doesn’t come immediately to mind as a gay travel destination. But look deeper and you’ll find a thriving LGBTI community in the city – switched on, vocal, integrated and ever welcoming of the outside world.

In the wake of Geraldine Roman’s (the first transgender Congresswoman) ascent to the Filipino Congress, OutThere/Travel travelled to Manila to explore and find out more about what makes this lesser known Asian city tick.

Manila is a metropolis of 12 million people, compared to the futuristic megacity that Ridley Scott created for the film Bladerunner – wonderful, dramatic and edgy. Gleaming towers pierce the hazy sky, gold tinted windows and brutalist concrete structures photobomb perfect vistas of colonial monuments.

But amid the addictive chaos, there is sublime beauty – in the smiles of the kind Filipino people, in the many anecdotes of its rich history and in the glow of the wonderful sunset over Manila bay.

Spend time here with the city’s LGBTI leaders and you’ll get what it means to be a global citizen. These creative, gay, fashionable Manilenos are involved and engaged in world class culture, contemporary galleries, forward-thinking design, artisan restaurants, edgy bars, concept stores and queer zines – international in outlook, but with a distinct Filipino accent.

The issue in question introduces readers to the locals who make Manila such a vibrant place for the discerning urban explorer to visit, while also highlighting the things to do and the most luxurious places to stay in the city.

Here, we take a sneak peak into OutThere/Travel’s latest issue to meet some of Manila’s coolest LGBTI movers and shakers…


1 Jake Macapagal, OutThere/Travel cover-start, BAFTA nominated actor and Filipino household name


2 Paolo Lorenzana, Editor-in-Chief of TEAM magazine, the Philippines’s leading gay lifestyle publication


3 Omar Ermita, hair and make-up artist to the stars and Manila’s fashion glitterati


4 Ito Kish, one of the Philippines’s most prominent and award-winning design consultants


5 Queen Melo Esguerra, broadcaster, filmmaker and journalist


6 Mark Steven Perez, owner of lifestyle boutique Harver Hill and Empire Designs, forces in interior design


7 Rupert Acuna, Philipines LGBTQ royalty and owner of the only full-time, exclusively gay bar and nightclub in Manila – the O Bar


8 Brian Tenorio, designer, communications expert, coffee bar owner and founder of the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce


9 Congresswoman Geraldine Roman – Politician and journalist, the first openly transgender woman elected to the Congress of the Philippines


10 Go-go dancer at the O Bar, Manila


11 Drag troupe leader at O Bar, Manila


12 BJ Pascual, one of Asia’s greatest young photographers, local celebrity and Asia’s Next Top Model judge

The new issue is available in-store at newsagents and bookstores across the world, and on subscription direct to your door and tablet at

The guys behind the journal also publish a limited edition queer coffee table book Homoculture. Find out info, visit