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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Dec 29, 2021


MARKKI STROEM is remembered as a movie actor for his role as the macho Spanish husband in “Amor y Muerte” and as the villainous Spanish official in “Hermano Puli”. 

As a theatre actor, we recall his good performances in such musicals as “Jersey Boys”, “Side Show” and “Next to Normal”. He also did teleseryes like “Dyesebel” and “Doble Kara”. 

None of these shows prepared us for his new series, “My Delivery Gurl”, written and directed by Carlo Catu, who did the award winning indie films “Ari: My Life as a King” and “Kung Paano Hinihintay ang Dapithapon”. 

This is the first series offering this year of Cignal Play, the streaming platform of Cignal TV, where Markki plays a drag queen. 

We’ve seen the pilot episode and it opens with him in a blonde wig and a sexy girl outfit singing and dancing to the tune of “Watcha Gonna Do”.

 As Bingo aka Bianca D, he’s a struggling online performer but, sadly, no one watches his show. 

Meantime, he has three wards who depend on him:  EJ Panganiban as Rayver, Pipay Kipay as Dyosa, and Sky Teotico as Joey. 

Their landlady is threatening to kick them out as he has not paid their rent for sometime as all of them are jobless.  

He then decides to go home to his native Baguio which he left many years ago because his parents cannot accept that he’s gay. 

He tries to apply in drag clubs in Baguio, but they’ve all closed down, so he then gets a job as a delivery driver. 

In Baguio, he meets his former flame, Jakoy (Rocky Salumbides) and also meets a new prospect, Boss Sam (Victor Basa), the owner of the delivery company he gets to work for. 

Eventually, Rocky and Victor will fall for Bianca D and they will be involved in an intriguing love triangle.

“Abangan nyo kung sino sa kanila ang magiging Prince Charming ko at the end of the series,” says Markki, laughing.  

What does he think is the reason that the role of a drag queen was offered to him? 

“I don’t know what they saw in me. I’ve done another LGBT show kasi, pero iba naman yun, e. Actually, when Direk Carlo offered this to me, I was skeptical at first, kasi I’m not sure if i could give it justice. 

"But when I accepted it, I gave it my all. Mas nahirapan ako rito kasi hindi naman ako drag queen in real life. I had to really train hard for the role.”

So how did he prepare for it? 

“Una, I have to practice walking in high heels kasi I do my work as delivery gurl in high heels, so naka-heels ako lagi kahit nasa bahay lang ako. 

"I also trained with the two top drag queens in our country. Tinuruan nila ako and I watched a lot of RuPaul’s Drag Race, ‘Paris Is Burning’, a docu on gay communities in New York, and other queer content online.”

You’d be surprised when you watch him in his drag persona. 

“Yes, kasi here, I’m completely transformed. Naka-corset ako, may hip pads, bra, stockings. My pegs are Madonna, Beyonce, Julia Roberts. 

"Doing drag is a whole art form in itself. Nagbunga naman kasi they got me as a model in the recent Arab Fashion Week where i walked on the ramp in high heels, sporting an androgynous look.” 

Isn’t he worried he might be typecast in such drag roles? 

“I really like our show kasi it delivers hope and happiness. Kahit maraming hindi magandang nangyayari sa paligid natin ngayon, mapapangiti ang viewers while watching this. 

"Siguro naman, I won’t be exactly typecast, but for me, okay lang to do character roles like this. Pero kung papatok ang series na ito, and I hope it will, okay na rin sa akin to be typecast. 

"I want to carry the flag for the LGBT community. I want to show na kahit lalaki ka o bakla o lesbian ka, you can wear whatever you want to wear and you’ll be completely fine.” 

But he was surprised when there were vehement reactions after his photos in drag came out. 

“Before, when I was masculine, may offers sa akin sa instagram ng up to P50,000, mag-sex daw kami. But when I posted the drag photos and they saw me in feminine clothing, biglang nagalit sila sa akin.

"They said, Bakla! I realized then that there is so much internalized homophobia even in the LGBT community itself.”  

Doing the show is an eye-opener for him. 

“I realized there’s so much oppression in the community. We tend to put people in boxes, either you’re gay or straight. 

"In doing Bianca, I learned to understand that we all have the yin and yang, the feminine and masculine side in each of us. There’s a huge spectrum in the LGBT community. Hindi lang siya bakla o straight as there is so much else in between, like asexual or intersex and you just have to embrace it and love every second of it.  

''We have to understand all the colors of the rainbow. We all need to be loved and accepted kahit sinuman tayo, in any shape or form. If you loved someone, dapat mahalin mo yung kabuuan ng pagkatao niya. 

"And if you loved yourself, you can conquer the world and not give a damn about what people would say about you. Just keep on being you. As for me, I’m now demisexual, non-binary.  

"I’ve lost interest in sex. It’s hard for me now to get aroused. What we need is to just love ourselves for who we are.”

“My Delivery Gurl” is arriving this January 1, 2022 on Cignal Play, the home of Cignal Entertainment. Register on www.cignalplay.com and download the app for free via App Store or Google Play. 

Upgrade to premium for only 75 from GCASH, Lazada, Shopee and more to watch #MyDeliveryGurl. For updates, follow Cignal Play on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Youtube.