Artist Arvin Quirante is among Pinoys who helped create the first Filipino/Asian boat in the history of the canal Pride at the Amsterdam’s 24th Gay Pride week held recently.
It is inspired by the pre-colonial Filipino boat called Balangay which holds historical and cultural significance as the main transportation of Filipino ancestors. Balangay is also the etymology of Barangay, which refers to a small, closed-knit community.
“Balangay represents the past and the future. It is a reminder of who we are and where we come from; and a symbolic carrier that will bring us together to our goals. For us migrants, it is a symbol of unity and a beacon of hope as we create better futures,” they wrote on their official website. “We also pay homage to our ancestors and historical roots through costumes that showcase our rich culture.”
“The main message of our boat is love, self-acceptance, and unity. With banners and placards we send the message that self-acceptance, love, unity will bring us to a better future.”
The non-governmental organization Filipino LGBT Europe couldn’t be happier when their boat won third place in the Best Design category.
On Facebook, the organization expressed its gratitude.
“What a journey to get to this moment! We couldn’t be more proud of everyone and to hear that we won 3rd place for the Best Boat Design in #AmsterdamPride just tops it all!,” they wrote.
“Thank you to our Boat Design Team for volunteering your time in creating this beautiful boat for us,” they continued mentioning the team behind which are Reds Domingo, Manuel Trivisani, Maurizio Protopapa, Mattijs Brunink, Maurits Mens, Terrence Moy, and Ryan Aquino.
Special thanks was sent to Manuel of Casa Nostra for designing and creating the Sarimanok in front of the boat, and for being the lead carpenter builder of the vessel; while Reds was credited for designing a “very ethnic-inspired looking boat.”
“And to all others who also gave their time to build the boat, Maraming maraming salamat po!” they ended the post.
In a separate post posted four days later, Filipino LGBT Europe claimed Philippines actually won the Best Boat Design.
“We have misinterpreted and announced that we won 3rd place for BEST BOAT DESIGN when in fact we won THE BEST DESIGN (Beste vormgeving) Category on this year’s Pride Amsterdam with the theme of Remember the Past, Create the Future in line of the 50th anniversary for Stonewall Inn Riot that happened in New York in 1969,” they wrote.
“With this comes best in production, costumes, boat design, theme on how you execute your boat which the Filipino LGBT Europe honored the Pre-Colonial Philippines with it’s costumes from four different regions from North to South, accompanied with modern songs and dance moves,” they added.
The Production Team is composed of Arvin (Production Director), Bobby Snijder (Chorographer), Dave Snijder (Audio Editor), Yves Vroemen Music (Voice Recording), and Denis Sebastiaan & Bobby Snijder (DJs).
While sastre group are Edson Swarovski Gonzales, Jessie Restoles, Cris Cuenca Bartonico, Aga de Vega, Jesabado Pagaduan Crisolo, Mary Grace Albaran, Analets Castaño, Yeng Antonio, Nikki Cuaño, Ruby Ann Antonio, Tsing Tsang Mae, Ernesto Medina Alcaraz, Lee Anthony Uy, and Suez Restoles Cuevas.
Arvin was a special mention for “visualizing our advocacy to a great theatrical performance and for creating a fantastic show that Amsterdam Pride will always remember. Thank you for patience and kindness, for coaching and inspiring everyone to do our best as we inspire and represent our advocacy.”
The Canadian model-dancer Bobby was also given a shout-out for “helping us deliver a fantastic show, for choreographing our dance routine, for coaching our drag queens on how to do their makeups and to allowing them to get ready in your house!”
“Mabuhay po kayo and thank you for your love and support to the community! We will always remember this kindness of yours to us,” they wrote. “Grateful for your generosity, not just with your talents but also your time!”