His goal now is to instill acceptance. On how he will receive acceptance in this society with set of rules and standards depends on the fruit of his actions.


[DAGUPAN, PANGASINAN PROVINCE, ILOCOS REGION, LUZON ISLAND, PHILIPPINES] ► Our modern world is existing with diversity. Human brain is unique for each individual. Humans follow a certain set of norms and customs while some follow certain beliefs. Indeed, we are social beings. In the sea of ideas and opinions flooding the dry fields of curiosity, humans were given the power to rationalize, to think what's right or wrong and to make decisions. 

Cultures were born. Some practices are socially and culturally acceptable, some are not. Some are controversial. Some are debatable. But unacceptable, conformable, controversial and well-accepted practices can co-exist altogether forming the interestingly complex society where we dwell. 

From the mountains, the valleys to the cities, social codes are present. The extremist, the non-conformist and the unique will stand out amongst the norm. Their presence may leave one thinking, contemplating and accepting; sometimes, raising eyebrows.

An AB Fernandez Avenue Discovery


AB Fernandez Avenue is one of Dagupan's busiest streets. The norm here is to trade, do business, avail and sell services/goods, purchase commodities and more. An afternoon walk along this avenue would bring your to posh shops, street food vendors, restaurants, a public square and until recently, a faith healer.

Although faith healers and fortune tellers have played a part of the Filipino society, seeing a faith healer stationed at AB Fernandez Avenue is so atypical for the set-up I've personally known about Dagupan.

I've made hundreds (or probably thousands) of steps on the sidewalks of AB Fernandez Avenue since 2010 so this typically jeep-and-car-congested strip is familiar to me. I've never encountered a faith healer doing his activity-based-on-faith thing here unless I just failed to notice one since 2010. If the latter would have been the case, I concede.


I've seen (and interacted with) fortune tellers in Quiapo a few times now but never to a faith healer 'cause it seriously creeps me out. Until I saw someone stationed near an electrical post on a sidewalk in this same street, my relative fear blunted. I turned curious.

A crowd of about eight to dozen random curious individuals, both young and old, surrounded a person with a long curly hair and forearms covered with accessories. Apparently, that person was not the typical Mang Kepweng or Madam Auring sort of a fortune teller/faith healer. He was a woman. She was a man! In Filipino slang, he was a beki (gay).

His hair was fake, so with the curves of his eyelashes. With him was a sculpted imagery of the child Jesus (Santo Niño) dressed in white with its own pillow placed in a tray covered with a dirty, worn out maroon clothe. Sampaguita garland placed around the imagery's neck that eventually rested on its chest made it refreshing to look at. The dirty clothe turned negligible.

Philippine peso notes were placed in the tray with the imagery of the infant Jesus.


A "Beki" Gay Faith Healer


It was my first time to encounter a faith healer of his kind, not even in my dreams and wildest imagination. TV shows, as far as I am aware, never featured his genre, let alone fictional series, so I was interested to approach him and hear the words he wanted to say.

In front of him was a woman who trusted his capabilities, or maybe, for the benefit of the doubt, she at least tried. He said he has healed many patients especially those with breathing problems.


He handled a white stone he used as tool for his healing and in identifying the illness of his patient. Curious onlookers had different points of view. Many were mum. Some didn't believe him. A woman even told me that he could be a mangkukulam in disguise. Like what I said above, this happens when someone becomes extreme, doesn't conform or acts uniquely. He would stand out and catch the attention of some members of the public but he should face the clashing opinions of his spectators. His goal now is to instill acceptance. On how he will receive acceptance in this society with set of rules and standards depends on the fruit of his actions.


Did he ask for donations or fee? That, I didn't know. I never asked but several pesos were present in his tray. The crowd was growing and with a suspicious woman insisting (implied) to see my photos, it was a social signal for me to distance myself. I'm not judgmental. I just don't trust clingy street strangers. I had to leave this faith healer although I wanted to hear more of his stories.

Should I believe his healing power anchored in faith? Honestly, its doubtful. And like what I said, clashing opinions on what is right, wrong, acceptable and doubtful in our society is expected to arise when someone breaks the thin lining of the norm. But I don't judge him on what he does. I know he has a purpose, and if his purpose is overt, much better—it would be easy to understand and help him. The only thing that I wish is for him to find contentment and happiness in life. I'm praying he'll soon find the true road to happiness and success, unless, this is already his definition of success and happiness.

As I left the crowd, he held the hand of his patient in the gesture of a woman. His fingertips compressed altogether and his hand flapped like a feather. The nail polish on his finger nails has faded. He needs to put new layer of colors, or maybe a nail art. There were doubts on his healing power but there is one thing I was sure about him: He was a man pushing his right to become/appear like a woman in the midst of a judgmental society that challenges the morality and acceptance of the smaller community where he belongs—the LGBT. | end |

Map Showing the Location of #Dagupan

MAP OF DAGUPAN
► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

[1] This post was filed under the category "People." There is a section below where you can see other related posts from this category. 

[2] The maps I used on this post are from maps.google.com.ph. 

[3] All photos are mine. 

[4] The insights, condition and name of places or properties I mentioned here are based on the facts and situation on the day of my visit. Take note that you may have a different experience when you try or see the properties or places mentioned here. Names of places and properties may also change by time so it's not my responsibility to update all the information on this blog because once published, I already consider it an archive and I won't update my narratives because I want them to become my references of what have happened in the past. I'm very particular of the dates because I want my amazing readers to understand that I am writing stories based on my perspective and insights on the day of my visit. You can see dates almost everywhere on this blog. Exempted from this rule are my travel guide posts that need to be updated.

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EDMAR GUQUIB

Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano. Genuine Bigueño. Sucker of Long Land Trips. Loves the Highlands. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For sponsorship, advertising, event invites and collaborations email me at edmaration@gmail.com.

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