Bonggang Tribute: Pinay Drag Queens of Rupaul’s Drag Race

Last month, Filipinos from different parts of the world rejoiced when Janine Tugonon placed first runner-up in the Miss Universe 2012 Pageant. The truth is, a lot of beauty queen enthusiasts feel that Miss Philippines should’ve won.

Pinay Drag Queens

While most fans were busy rooting for their favorite beauty Β queen, I was drafting a tribute post for the Pinay Drag Queens who made it in Rupaul’s Drag Race. No, the show is not about the risky drag racing. It is a show where drag queens are given the opportunity to showcase their talent for the world to see!

I first heard about Rupaul’s Drag Race when an online friend shared the music video ‘Hot Couture’ by Manila Luzon. I instantly feel in love with the video and look for information about this drag queen. Apparently, she placed 1st runner-up in Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 3. She lost to Raja Gemini, who is also Asian (Indonesian). Love the fact that the gaysians invaded the third season!

I admitted on my YearEnder post that the latter part of 2012 was quite rough for me. Instead of traveling or doing something productive, I end up watching Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 2, 3, 4 and the All Stars edition. It is fun to know that the Pinay Drag Queens who were introduced on the show continues to make their loyal fans happy with their gigs!

While beauty queens like Venus Raj, Shamsay Supsup and Janine Tugonon get all the mainstream media attention they deserve, it seems that our internatinally-acclaimed Pinay Drag Queens don’t. Oh well. Let me make the first move and introduce some of the Filipino guys who made it to Rupaul’s Drag Race!

Ongina of Rupaul's Drag Race Season 1 / Rupaul's Drag U

Ongina of Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 1 / Rupaul’s Drag U

Let’s start with Ongina, the only Gaysian who made it to the first season of Rupaul’s Drag Race! Her real name is Ryan Ong Paolo and is based in Los Angeles, California. She was eliminated on the 5th episode, but was able to make a mark on the show. She is famous for her natural sweetness and headpieces. She rarely wears a wig, but expresses her artistic side through the colorful hats.

^ Ongina performing Christina Aguilera’s ‘Beautiful’.

^ Ongina showcasing Britney Spears realness! Werk!

She publicly admitted that she is HIV positive and even participated in a number of HIV Awareness Campaigns. It is her encouraging personality that earned her a slot as one of the drag professors in Rupaul’s Drag U. She is also the inspiration behind Rupaul’s pop hit ‘Lady Boy’ and won the ‘Best Addictive Reality TV Star’ of NewNowNext 2010.

Manila Luzon - The Asian Glamasaurus

Manila Luzon – The Asian Glamasaurus

Another Pinay Drag Queen won the hearts of the televiewers in the third season. She is no other than Manila Luzon! She is known as ‘The Asian Glamasaurus’. She is Karl Westerberg in real life. During his pre-RDR days, he worked as a graphic designer and part-time drag queen. What I love about Manila Luzon is her personality.


There is a big stereotype on Asians in mainstream media and I’m glad that a Pinay queen stood up with pride and she isn’t hesitant to speak her mind. She is quite controversial during her season particularly in the episode where she ‘made fun’ of the Asian stereotype. Funny how the real Asians were cool with it while the others used it as a tool to put her down (Halleloo!)

^Manila Luzon: The only person who made me purchase stuff on CafePress and CDBaby! Also, I created this simple tribute vid πŸ˜€

Even if she lost to co-Heather Raja Gemini, I can say that she is a winner in her own right. Her right blend of camp and glamour caught the attention of fans worldwide. As of writing, she released three pop songs (thank you, auto tune!), had a number of endorsement deals and is unstoppable! 2012 was a tough year for her, but I’m sure she’ll use it as a drive to succeed in the biz! Go Girl! Make ’em Eat it and GAG!

Jiggly Caliente in Rupaul's Drag Race Season 4

Jiggly Caliente in Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 4


Next is Jiggly Caliente. I first saw her in Manila Luzon’s ‘Hot Couture’ video and Sahara Davenport’s ‘Go Off’ video. Why is this drag queen everywhere?! LOL. I browsed in a number of forums and some viewers didn’t like her attitude on the show. When I searched for interviews, I found out that she can speak tagalog! Jiggly Caliente is Paulo Arabejo in real life.

In her stint in Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 4, she managed to survive a number of elimination due to her awesome dancing and lipsyncing skills. She may be plus size, but she can work it onstage!

My favorite performance of Jiggly is her Missy Elliot impersonation in the Drag Cruise. She’s trying to project a b*tchy attitude, but people who knows her personally claim that she is a sweetheart. May I call you Jiggly? She is a TFC subscriber too lololol.

Phi-Phi O'Hara - The PHierce Queen!

Phi-Phi O’Hara – The PHierce Queen!

Phi-Phi O’Hara. If you’re asking on who is the Most Controversial Star from Rupaul’s Drag Race is, you can give the crown to her. I’ve seen Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 4 and I can’t help but admire Phi-Pho O’Hara’s drive to succeed on the show. She is talented, beautiful and PHierce! (always with a PH lol). She wants to win so bad and I can say that she is misunderstood. That’s what reality tv editing can do.

I can say that Phi-Phi learned her lesson and she is moving on! Post Rupaul’s Drag Race must have been tough for her… Anyway, her debut album is coming out this January and the carrier single is entitled ‘Bitchy’. Hmm… I can’t wait!

To be honest, I want Jaremi Carey to perform more! He is a cutie! πŸ˜›

Rupaul’s Drag Race fanatics are excited because the 5th Season will premiere on LogoTV on January 28. Guess one? Another Pinay Drag Queen made it to the list!

Vivienne Pinay in Rupaul's Drag Race Season 5

Vivienne Pinay in Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 5

Meet Michael Donehoo a.k.a. Vivienne Pinay! She is a New York-based drag queen and honestly, I can’t find much information about her online. All I know is that you can find some of her make-up tutorials on YouTube and that some Filipinos might find her ‘Meet the Queens’ video a bit awkward. Let’s just support her. πŸ˜€ U better werk! Magtrabaho ka! πŸ˜›

Ongina, Manila Luzon, Jiggly Caliente, Phi-Phi O’Hara and Vivienne Pinay = Pinay Power!

Some of my friends find my drag queen obsession a bit weird. Fag Hag na nga raw ako, ngayon mga drag queens na talaga ang hilig ko? I don’t care. I love these queens! I love them in and out of drag! Expect more drag queen-related posts from me in the coming weeks!

Are you a fan of Rupaul’s Drag Race? Who are your favorite drag queens? Don’t be shy, post a comment below! πŸ˜›


8 thoughts on “Bonggang Tribute: Pinay Drag Queens of Rupaul’s Drag Race

  1. amaya

    great post on our representative on RPDR, can i ask where do you watch the RPDR all strars? link maybe? heheh thank you πŸ˜€


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