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Joshua Serafin

August 3, 2020

Three years after conducting work on the Philippine gay pageantry as a student in Brussels, Josh Serafin came home to the Philippines to augment his knowledge on pageant culture in cooperation with BAP.

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Josh started his 5-week residency by going to Cebu to observe the country’s most prestigious transgender pageant competition, Queen Philippines, and was immediately awestruck by the grandeur of it all. He went around the pageant including the backstage where he was able to see the disparity between the overbearing appearance of the pageant itself and the politics behind running an event as big as Queen Philippines. He also saw how confident the transgender competitors are in portraying how close they are to being a woman while also playing with the manhood they were still associated with by using it as a comedic tool to supplement their way to the crown.

He went to Bacolod as well to interview the organizer of Lin-ay sang Negros to find out more information about the organization, its ways in choosing potential candidates in a provincial scale, and the training the girls receive. Josh also talked to the latest winner of Lin-ay sang to understand from firsthand experience what it means to be part of the spectacle. He stopped by Manila to interview Tor Torres who used to compete in pageants before the widespread use of the internet and plastic surgery to discuss the differences of pageants then and now. Josh also talked a pageant girl personality development trainer, JV Can, to know more about the process behind pageants. In Bataan, Josh collaborated with Eljay Ricafranca Villafuerte and Siege Sytangco to start his pageant training. Eljay, known as Miss Tornado Walk, helped Josh inject creativity and drama in pageantry by combining elements from other performing arts. Siege Sytangco coached Josh in how to become a “queen” by teaching Josh how to propery stand, walk, and pose.

Josh training with Eljay Villafuerte
Josh and Tor Torres
Josh and Siege Sytangco

Eskwela Workshop

On September 7, 2019, Josh discussed current contemporary dance practices in Europe and Asia in an Eskwela workshop involving a diverse group of dancers and actors. They were taught how to move their bodies in order to design architectural composition that proposes Ideal and Dystopian architecture and to create an alter-ego that will reveal their “ideal identity.”



Josh performed his work-in-progress, MISS, on September 11, 2019 at Bellas Artes Outpost. The performance challenges the rigidness of rural pageantry by incorporating the queerness involved in transgender beauty pageants in the Philippines. Josh Serafin puts into practice the research he spent collating in his 5-week residency at Bellas Artes Projects with the support of Mercedes Zobel.

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