Twelve seasons of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” one season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK,” two seasons of “Drag Race Thailand,” and an upcoming season of “Canada’s Drag Race” and still, we have yet to see a Filipino version of the iconic television reality competition series. We’ve seen legendary Filipino queens like Manila Luzon, Jiggly Caliente and Ongina but they’re just the tip of the iceberg in showcasing the drag talent that Filipinos have.
A drag competition set in the Philippines with Filipino drag queens front, right and center will be a show that gives you everything—literally. Drag queens from the Philippines are creative, show-stopping and legendary. They perform the house down and give new meaning to lip-syncing for your life.
So to make it happen a little bit faster (looking at you, World of Wonder), here are some of the challenge ideas we had in mind so that all the production crew has to do now is to cast the queens and get the ball rolling.
Stars: The Unauthorized (Pinay) Rusical
A loosely autobiographical musical about the Megastar Sharon Cuneta, Superstar Nora Aunor, Diamond Star Maricel Soriano and Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos, the four pillars of the past generation’s Philippine showbiz industry, will give you star power to the max. Their lives make for good Rusical fodder, from Tita Shawie’s beginnings as the Jukebox Princess, to the Noranian and Vilmanian fandom feud and to Maricel owning the “Taray Queen of TV” title.
There can even be a bit where these queens pass down the baton to the new generation of female showbiz stars—embodying the likes of Nadine Lustre and Kathryn Bernardo, similar to the Jenners’ short scenes in the RPDR Kardashian Rusical. It’s something that the judges and fans would totally fawn over (fan wars strictly discouraged).
Philippine Island Ball
The Ball Challenges in the competition are designed to test the contestants’ eye for style and design as well as their ability to stay calm under pressure. Turning three looks would definitely showcase the talent and nerve of the drag queens who would be competing in these categories: tag-araw realness, where queens have to show their best beachwear look perfect for surviving the intense summer heat, pambahay couture, where queens have to elevate staples like sando and shorts to make it high fashion, and baro’t saya eleganza extravaganza with a possible tie-up with TernoCon can help the winning queen’s look have the chance to see the light of a legitimate fashion runway.
Have the queens warm-up by getting into daytime mall quick drag where they have to survive a swarm of sales ladies asking them what they are looking for in the Women’s Section.
Superhero Teleserye Part Two The Remix
Back in the early 2000s-2010s, fantasy in Philippine television was a genre that gave us iconic shows like “Kampanerang Kuba,” “Darna,” “Marina,” “Mulawin,” “Encantadia” and “Dyesebel.” These shows also blended drama, comedy and action to create fully-fleshed TV shows that ensured quality entertainment for all those tuning in during primetime.
Drag queens stepping into the shoes of Krystala or Volta would be a great way to showcase their comedy, improv and acting chops. Villainous roles such as Valentina and Chuva Chew Chewing Gum would also allow “nice edit” queens to bring out their shady sides. Heck, why not test how well drag queens really work together by casting them as Amihan, Pirena, Alena and Danaya.
Snatch Game is a staple challenge in Drag Race. It’s the kind of challenge that’s difficult enough to weed out the girls who are in it to win or those who are just skating by. For Filipinos, celebrity impersonation is nothing but cake—therefore raising the stakes all on its own.
There are also a lot of big personalities and memorable pop culture phenomena that queens can easily portray to be over the top funny like Kim Chiu, Boy Abunda, Kris Aquino, Ai-ai delas Alas and Eugene Domingo, among others. And because drag is always political, I’d bet my life that a drag queen will follow The Vivienne’s on point characterization of Donald Trump and impersonate Tatay Digong. Fingers crossed!
Ang Pagdadalaga Makeover Challenge
Taking cues from the sweet and poignant film “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros,” the queens will be paired up with young gay boys who they have to transform into their drag daughters. Talk about drag family values. Aside from being an opportunity for the show to discuss the queens and their exploration of their drag beginnings, it can also be a way for the show to take the lead in normalizing the discovery of your sexuality and gender identity from a young age.
Bonus: make the queens and their drag daughters play Chinese garter, to emphasize the roles and responsibilities of a “Drag Mother.” Second bonus: Let the opening performance be “Sirena” by Gloc-9.
Art by Dana Calvo
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