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It was a hot Saturday afternoon on July 22, 2023. We paved our way through the chaotic street of FB Harrison in Pasay City. Two minutes later with sweat-drenched faces, we found ourselves standing in front of a narrow alley.

We were welcomed by two lolas with heavy eyelashes and full makeup. The lolas introduced themselves as Patricia Javier and Cherry Pie. A couple of the volunteers unloaded the 10 boxes full of food supplies and 19 bags of 5kg rice, while the lolas guided the rest of us to their 2-story apartment. It had a green door, an LGBT flag pierced halfway through the left side of it, and a curtain with rainbow tassels hanging across the doorway. Photographs of live shows adorned the inside walls of their humble abode. This was the Home for the Golden Gays.


The numerous trials of the lolas

The Home for the Golden Gays was first founded by former Councilor Justo Justo in 1975. As a Filipino columnist and AIDS activist, he voluntarily opened his home to the grandmothers, or lolas, of the LGBTQI+ community who were over 60 yrs of age.

When Justo passed away in 2012, his family was not as accommodating. The members of the Golden Gays were thrown out and forced to find another place where they could still be together. Following their eviction, many of the lolas had no place to stay and were forced to return to the streets.


The pandemic lockdowns of 2020, further complicated things for the indignant lolas by putting an abrupt end to public gatherings. With most of the members already in their 60s, they were forced to stay at home with no expected income. Adding to that, lola Rica, one of the 20 members, became a hit-and-run victim, leaving her with a crushed leg. Having no help at their disposal and taking strain financially, the other lolas sought help from NGOs and got lola Rica’s leg amputated.

Though she survived the incident, she passed away 2 years later, leaving the remaining lolas with the added woes of giving lola Rica a proper burial. Fortunately, they secured financial support from fans and a couple of NGOs to have lola Rica cremated.

Once the banning of social gatherings were lifted, the lolas were excited to get back to entertaining. Fortunately, with further help from NGOs and special fundraisers, the Golden Gays were able to get back onto the stage, hold performances, and host shows or pageants to make ends meet. This was not only what they were most capable of doing, but also their forte, their passion, and their opportunity to be themselves. Joining gay pageants and performing in drag, empowered them to finance their daily needs. By using their talents, they were able to rent a small apartment in Pasay.


Lights, camera, action

The Golden Gays are slowly getting back on their feet again, performing as drag queens with one goal: to someday have a sustainable long-term place of residence, a permanent senior facility that will last for generations.


“Favorite namen ang kanta na If We Hold On Together by Diana Ross, kasi maganda yung message, pang pamilya, walang iwanan” said Ramon Busa, the now president of the Golden Gays organization, who goes by the name lola Monique de la Rue on stage. 

On the day of our visit, the group of Boldr volunteers donated groceries from Puregold to each of the 19 members of Home for the Golden Gays, then spent the day with them. Laughter filled the house and conversation flowed. Our outreach program served as an eye opener for all of us. Age is just a number. What we saw changed our perception about what the human spirit can achieve beyond its youthful years.

Family isn’t always about blood. It’s about the people in your lives, who want you in theirs. We were given a chance to meet wonderful people who, despite their age, were full of energy and charm throughout our engagement with them. We encountered no hint of sadness or helplessness, just warmth and happiness.

It was a humbling experience to share Boldr’s advocacy of giving back. This type of outreach demonstrates how Boldr as a business supports social change, as well as arts and culture initiatives, that benefits local communities, while upholding the B Corp standard. In so doing, we strive to actively contribute to the betterment of communities in all the countries we operate in.


Luzette Necio is Sales Delivery Representative at Boldr, as well as a rising digital creator who enjoyed doing vlogs and meeting new acquaintances.

Rhiena “RJ” is a Shift Lead at Boldr who also loves cooking, baking, reading books and watching documentaries on Netflix.