A ‘Wonderland’ Halloween party for the LGBT community

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The queer-centric Halloween shindig zapped guests into a magical world right out of Lewis Carroll or Hans Christian Andersen. Illustration by JL JAVIER

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — What a lot of people tend to take for granted about Halloween is its spirit of freedom and identity. You can be anyone you want to be — most of all, yourself. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in a world entirely different from your own, without a care or inhibition. And when paired with the celebration of Oktoberfest, which is all about coming together and partaking in merriment, the possibilities of Halloween are endless.

This year, the country’s own San Miguel Oktoberfest stepped up its game and widened its reach with the theme #DiverCity. A portmanteau of diverse and city, it seeks to celebrate the many ways Filipinos like to have fun across different cities, as well as the varied ways they like their beer. More importantly, it acknowledges a larger spectrum of identity by focusing on and specifically catering to the LGBT community.

Instead of one grand event, the San Miguel Oktoberfest took place throughout September and October all over the country. Live bands and all sorts of entertainment dazzled attendees, whether they’re at a concert, a festival, or a raging party. It didn’t matter if they were alone or surrounded by their closest friends; it didn’t matter if they liked rock music or EDM. Everyone was welcome as they are.

One such party was Red Rabbit’s Wonderland: Once Upon a Time, held on Oct. 28 at Bugsy’s in Salcedo Village. A variation on the club’s weekly Rabbit Hole Saturdays event, the queer-centric Halloween shindig zapped guests into a magical world right out of Lewis Carroll or Hans Christian Andersen, with mermaids and Mad Hatters and even levitating playing cards. The best part? Admission was free and drinks flowed freely until 11 p.m.

co (1).jpg The Wonderland Halloween party was an outrageous experience filled with colorful costumes and the sense that absolutely anything could happen. Illustration by JL JAVIER

Dressed up in their fairy-tale best, from classic Alices to cheekier Darnas, guests danced until daylight to grooves from members of Kosmos, a local DJ collective that advocates for LGBT rights. The playlist included Deej Diaz’s club anthems, Arrjae Puno’s Afro-Tribal electro, DJ Tien’s disco and progressive house, and MGCBLLT’s eclectic mix of trance and pop.

Also performing were the Addlib Divas, The Rabbit Hole Drag Bunnies (Jona, Lumina Klum, Andy Gaga, and Monica Adams), and the Hunky Rabbits. It was time to get wicked and spooky, after all.

Since it was no ordinary mad tea party, in lieu of questionable potions imploring people to “Drink Me,” party goers enjoyed their favorite San Miguel beer. Particularly adventurous types may have gone for the premium all-malt beer or the Cerveza Negra. Of course, you can’t beat the classic Pale Pilsen and San Mig Light.

“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” is all about enchantment, growing up, and discovering who you are. For those who wandered down the rabbit hole, the Wonderland Halloween party was an outrageous experience filled with colorful costumes and the sense that absolutely anything could happen — but it was also a safe space where they could just let loose and live their truths.

As “Saturday Night Live” Weekend Update correspondent Stefon would say, this party had everything.