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I hasten to admit that I’m an obedient son but, for the recently concluded Malabuyoc Central Elementary School Grand Centennial Homecoming—sorry, Mommy—I made no bones about disobedience.

Slip of the tongue caused my mother to shudder at the thought of me wearing an evening gown to the said event. “Don’t you ever do that here in Malabuyoc. You may strut your stuff in the city but not in our small town where everybody knows everybody,” she warned me, gently, though.

And I reasoned, “Mom, please leave me alone. I’m turning 40 next year. I don’t wanna regret this opportunity and then blame you when I’m already old and short of oomph. Do you think I’m a fool to come out there if I don’t have this good waistline, this great height, these soft arms, the time to shave my mustache, the skill to conceal my masculinity . . . or if I’m not beautiful? Of course, I’ll be the last person to embarrass myself!”

For Mom’s and my own peace of mind, I yielded to just make her believe that I’d changed my mind: I was going to wear slacks and a long-sleeved shirt. I told her so, because I was afraid that she might sneak into the reunion and then bludgeon me out of the party once she caught me decked out in a gown, wig, and makeup. “I’m going early to cousin Alma’s place because I’ll do her, Jenny Ann’s, and other attendees’ makeup. I’ll just see you in the morning and text brother Ramil to open the door for me later. O.K.?” I lied.

The following morning, neighbors went abuzz with talks about my total transformation. And then, in front of Mom during breakfast, my ever supportive cousin-cum-brother Ramil teased us about it, saying it’s just as well that she didn’t wake up when her son—er, daughter—came home; otherwise, she would’ve fainted in disbelief. She might not have fainted the night before, but I was afraid that she was going to, while holding a cup of coffee, as many kibitzers dropped by the house to say how bewildered they were upon seeing me transformed from head to foot.
Makeup & Styling: Ariel Allera
Gown & Earrings: Alma Allera Pimentel
Belt: Jenny Ann Pimentel
Scent: Ramil Allera Villaruel
Makeup Tools: Relatives & Friends from around the world
Photographer: Jenny Ann Allera Pimentel
(A big thanks to Raquel Vildosola Ygoña and Krystel Olivo for assisting me in the dressing room of Alma Allera Pimentel’s abode. Many thanks to Almira Allera Baginski and Janusz Baginski for my digital camera by which I’m able to capture my life’s most significant moments.)