About 500 gays and lesbians marched through the streets of Manila on Saturday to celebrate \"International Gay Pride Month\".
Colorful and outlandish costumes characterised the parade which calls for a stop to discrimination against non-heterosexuals.
It was a first for the Philippines, a turnout of about 500 people for a march in support of the country's gays and lesbians.
Demonstrations have been held here before, but in a predominantly Catholic country, few people attended.
Gays in colourful and outlandish costumes led the march along the streets of Manila to mark \"International Gay Pride Month\".
Drums were beating as the marchers held streamers and raised placards to demand equal rights for non-heterosexuals.
The message was to urge the Philippine society to stop discrimination against gays and lesbians and accept them as normal people.
\"We're parading, we're trying to be proud of ourselves, we're celebrating our being gays and lesbians, we're fighting for equality, we're trying to fight for indiscrimination and we're here to party.
SUPER CAPTION: Tonette, Lesbian
Many of the marchers waved rainbow-coloured paper ribbons associated with the gay movement.
Some of the marchers belonged to the five-year-old Metropolitan Church of Manila, which advocates same-sex marriage. The rite is condemned by the Roman Catholic church.
In a bold gesture, one participant was wearing a priest's robe with a rosary dangling on his chest. He was holding a crucifix as he paraded along the streets. He said it was his way of winning the attention of the church and compelling it to recognise and accept gays.
\"I know a lot of people there that they feel...they hide themselves although they are gay but they will not tell about themselves that they are gay, you see because they are so afraid about it, because they are going to be discriminated they are gay, but I'm asking for in behalf of all the gay community, they should be respected and they should be treated equally.
SUPER CAPTION: Joshua, Gay
The marchers say that lesbians and gays face discrimination at work and within their families. Some of them have been kicked out of work when their employers find out their sexual orientation.
But others who have been successful in show business and other professions, are generally tolerated by Filipinos, though they are often objects of ridicule.