When I dropped in on for a few minutes at the Pacific Queen 2014 talent competition two Saturdays ago, Angel Marie Madrigal, one of those former colleagues whom I miss having postshift chitchat with, begged me to do her makeup and styling for the finals. Because I get off from work at noon and the pageant was slated at three in the afternoon in far-flung Mandaue City, I declined, no matter how much I’d love to, but promised to introduce her to one of Cebu’s veterans, June Sy.

I went anyway, only as a mere spectator yet a big supporter of Angel and my other friends Joanna Carla Lisen and Inday Sita. While she was having her hair and makeup done at the dressing room, I couldn’t help giving random remarks as to how fabulous June’s masterpiece was, while she kept thanking me for the promise I kept and fulfilled: both to get her a good artist and to come.

During the preliminary interview competition, Angel Marie Madrigal was asked if she would still choose to be a transgender if she were to relive her life. The honest-to-goodness response she gave earned for her a big round of applause from the audience: “I would still choose to be a transgender. Why? Because in my twenty-eight years of existence, I’ve been very happy with how my family raised me. Since I was a baby until I became a blooming lady I was taught a lot of good values. I never had any issues of acceptance in my own home, and I’ve had friends who never discriminated against me for my sexuality. As they say, why change something that’s working, right? So again, I would still choose to be a transgender.”