Not even heavy rain could dampen the festive mood of the Filipino Lesbian and Gay Community (FLAGCOM) friends and supporters who participated in this year’s Mardi Gras parade in Sydney.
Charles Chan, co-organiser of the FLAGCOM float (alongside Albert Prias) said the months of preparation for the big event was worth it.
“It didn’t matter that it was raining. There was a party atmosphere everywhere – the mood was electric,” he said.
When Charles wasn’t handing out the party wristbands to FLAGCOM’s guests or doing last-minute parade errands, he held a placard that said, “Let’s spread love, not disease.”
The message reinforced what FLAGCOM has become known for – a group that champions better education around the prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STis)
Charles also said the Mardi Gras parade is a chance for FLAGCOM to show their presence.
“It’s a way for us to let the gay and lesbian community know that the Filipino gay, lesbian, bisexuals and transgender community is well represented.”
And they did so with flair. At exactly 9.28pm, after waiting at the float’s holding area since 4.15pm, the Filipino float made its way from the main street near Hyde Park all the way to Oxford Street – a good 40 minutes of waving to the revellers who patiently waited along the street, complete with their raincoats, hats and umbrellas.
The Filipino ‘float’, made up of the vintage car and a modified 1960s fire engine truck, drew much waving and clapping from the crowd.
In the car were this year’s 2012 Mardi Gras Queen of the Night winner (Daniella Myer), the Pink Triangle Princess (Chato Fujii) and the Rainbow Princess (Leila Lopez aka Jana Fox, who was recently featured on the cover of Q Magazine) and the Pink Triangle Princess (Chato Fujii) .
Also in the parade were the Filipino GLTB representatives 'The Victorian Secrets' and the lone Adelaide representative, Mariel, plus a whole lot of Flagcom supporters from all over Sydney.
SharLeng Gonzalez and other guests and participants of the Queen of the Night competition also joined the party.
Charles noted memorable floats and participants, including the Google float, those representing the Sydney Football Club and the Surf Life Saving club.
This year’s headline act was Kylie Minogue who performed to eager fans at the Hordern Pavillion after the parade finished.
But Charles, exhausted from running around since early that day, skipped the show and had a relatively early night.
“But I heard from my friends who went that it was worth every cent,” he said.
“I missed out sure but I knew I would not have lasted because Kylie’s show didn’t start until around 1am or 2am.”
Now that is what you call a party.
All photos courtesy of Ramil Balingit except two images at Petersham RSL by Michelle Baltazar.