Let your BL binge-watching commence
When the pandemic hit our country and everyone was encouraged to be indoors, a lot of people tried countless ways to keep themselves busy while staying safe. This is when online streaming platforms thrived. I remember back in March, I was quarantined in a hotel in Cubao, Quezon City because I was at work when the lockdown was enforced and our office is still figuring out how we can start working at home.
It was traumatic being confined in a hotel room alone during that time. The only thing keeping me sane was watching Thai BL series 2gether on YouTube. It was my escape from the post-apocalyptic imagery of the city. About halfway through its season, the series trended on social media in the country.
BL, short for Boys’ Love, is a new romance genre that breaks away from the clichè the boy-meets-girl plot—a take off from years of usual romantic comedy (rom-com) flick and new way to shed some light on a tale that is close to the LGBTQIA+ community.
With the series’ success in the Philippines, I thought to myself that maybe one of these days we will have our own. And after a couple of months, I saw a lot of teasers of different Filipino BLs. My heart was in full gay paradise. Truth is that there is more to Filipino LGBTQIA+ than being the comic relief in shows and movies. It is about time for people in my community to be seen through a different lens and tell their own story. These BL shows do just that. In the Philippine entertainment landscape, it was a bold move, and a right one.
Today, there are countless of Filipino BL series you can watch. Unfortunately not all are worth watching as many just joined the bandwagon for likes and views. As a part of the gay community, it is highly offensive to use our narratives and not give justice to them. Just like every good story, a BL show should have a strong beginning, pure middle, and logical ending. If you are about to start on your BL journey, here are some Filipino titles that are worth binging for.
Ben x Jim
Most of Filipino BLs are set in a time when enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is enforced in the metro and only essential workers are allowed to travel beyond checkpoints with a quarantine pass. That is how Ben x Jim starts. The characters are encouraged to stay at home, and watching this during the pandemic felt all too real.
It is a typical “my best friend/first love comes home and I am afraid to tell him I love him” kind of story. The best thing about this series is how it highlights that even though the characters are gay or straight, it is never right to be involved with someone new and then lie and cheat on your current partner. Coming out should not be an excuse to hurt someone. The ending is not that memorable, but maybe because they are going to do a movie about what happens next. It is quite exciting to see how their relationship will unfold.
For those who want a lighthearted series, this is what I recommend. Just like Ben x Jim, Hello Stranger is set during ECQ but plays with the theme of online classes. Coming out stories are never the same, and this one makes those who are still in the closet not feel afraid or scared. I love how natural the actors’ portrayals are. Every character has a unique personality that is relatable on so many levels. The innocence of love is what I think this series is all about. The show will definitely leave you wanting more. Fortunately, they are already filming the Hello Stranger The Movie and I can’t wait to see them kiss!
Oh Mando! and Ang Mga Batang Poz
These series can be streamed through the iWant App. Oh Mando gives you that teleserye vibe and I love how it also tackles about characters being bisexual and coming out as transgender. The plot thickens when Mando falls for his girlfriend’s older brother. This series is so good with its funny scenes that are sure to crack you up, and others that will make your eyes water. Acting is spot on. With only six episodes, I can’t wait for season two.
Ang Mga Batang Poz, on the other hand, took risks for the sake of educating people and raising awareness about HIV. “Poz,” in gay lingo means “positive,” is the common denominator between the four main characters. This series is so powerful that it should be shown to break misconceptions about people living with HIV.
At first, I’m kind of skeptical about watching this series. When I watched its first episode, I assumed that this is going to be some corny unrealistic rom-com. I was proven wrong.
This series is not just about a love story, it is so much more. The acting is superb. The “kilig” I have felt watching the show is nostalgic because they make it so natural and sometimes annoyingly realistic. You’d know a series is good if a major streaming platform decided to add it on its library.
Gaya sa Pekikula
I don’t even know where to begin. Let me start by saying that is a masterpiece. This is so good that it will also be streaming on Netflix. With only eight episodes, it managed to take me on a roller coaster ride every single week. I have watched it so many times that I stopped counting. The story seems simple and yet has so many layers. You can watch it multiple times and still be surprised with what you will find out, from the smallest details to Easter eggs.
The series is not just about love and coming out. It is about taking back what we are deprived of and making our story a reality. It is about being brave and taking risks so we can be free.
I remembered one time, I cried so much on an episode that I messaged the writer on Facebook, thanking him for creating this BL series. I didn’t cry because the episode is sad. In fact, that episode is like the climax of the story and it is going to make you smile. I cried because it was so relatable that it brought up so many personal memories. He responded with a thank you and I cried even more.
This series is on the top of my list because it is not just a feel-good series. It aims to educate people about the LGBTQIA+ community, microaggressions, etc. I believe all future BL series should be like this.
About the author
Apart from being a sucker for BL series, Pippoy Torreon works as a marketing manager who loves spending his time singing, binge-watching, playing video games, and traveling.