Brown and White: a preview

Nearly 50 and a student again. That’s one way I describe myself these days. I am working full time and yes, I’ve also decided to take a couple of courses from the University of Toronto’s Continuing School. Foundation of Digital Communications Strategy and Social Media is one of the courses, the other one is Foundations of Project Management.

As part of my course requirements, I am writing this blog that will be the home of a new web series that I will be producing.

Brown and White: Inclusive not Exclusive. Is a web series – a vlog — that explores the lived experience of an interracial gay couple who lives in Edmonton, Alberta. Boyd and I met in Edmonton 18 years ago. We have been married for nine years. We have lived in the two big cities of the province – Edmonton and Calgary. We love to travel when we’re able and we’ve had several of trips to several European countries, the United States, Mexico, Cuba, and my home country the Philippines.

As an interracial couple, we have had our share of stares, puzzled look, and suspicion simply because we are a gay couple. Add to the mix that we are an interracial pair and those stares could quickly intensify. Although we also have had a funny experience in a public transit in Rome back in 2014.

Here’s what happened:

Darkness had enveloped the capital city. The evening rush had subsided. Hopping on a streetcar with a couple of pieces of luggage wasn’t a challenge. It was more of a problem to figure out what street to get off so we could walk to our Airbnb reservation. We didn’t download Google maps on our phones. Our phone data were turned off – something about not wanting to pay exorbitant fees for roaming in Europe. We were going to do it old style i.e. navigate the city using a paper map. After hours spent on planes from Calgary to Munich to Frankfort, and then to Rome, we were both exhausted and not in great humour in spite of the promise of a crippling walks around the ancient Italian city.

A somewhat boisterous pair of women were having a lively banter a couple of seats from us. I heard a familiar inflection, something I’d normally hear on the buses in Manila. With no inhibitions, I approached the women to inquire if they could tell me where we should get off if we were going to such and such address.


They were friendly and helpful. One of them even promised to stop the streetcar at the appropriate spot. We continued to shoot the breeze and then one of the women asked me in Tagalog,

Lagi ka bang isinasama ng amo mo kapag nagbiyahe siya?

“Does the boss always take you when he travels?”

A woman in the streetcar

I smiled and pretended I didn’t hear the question.


Boyd’s physical attributes and mine don’t necessarily scream that we’re a couple. His 6’2” frame and my 5’4”, his fair complexion and my brown skin, don’t always elicit such a conclusion. Unless we were purposely affectionate in public, we often have to tell people. And it’s fine to do that. It’s part of the opportunities and challenges of being an interracial couple. Mixed, if you prefer.


Producing a vlog can be taxing. Unless one is totally into the critical work of conceptualizing, shooting footage, doing interviews, editing, sourcing music, and other visual requirements, it can become a chore.

I’ve shot the first episode of Brown and White: inclusive not exclusive. And now here’s a 35-second intro.

The whole video was shot on an iPhone and edited using iMovie.

The music is courtesy of http://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music

Watch this page for the launch of the first full episode.

2 Comments

  1. Adong

    The manner by which this blog was written screams that it was Renato Gandia’s creative mind at work. Always the best mentor I ever had way back in high school, my Kuya Toah.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Epiphany Dober

    Wow, what a thing to hear from a person on transit. There are so many layers to that boss comment – internationalities of race relationships, colonization, heteronormativity, internalization. Thank you for sharing that experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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