who is chingay || a photo-biography

 Chingay at age one.

          I was conceived on Valentines' Day-- February 14, 1977-- or so I would like to believe, when my frigid and sickeningly naïve mother finally decided to put out. Eight months and fourteen days later, I made a most undignified entry unto to the world with no name to put on the father section of my birth certificate. The sperm donor, dashing and gallant as he had been in the beginning of their bittersweet romance, quietly disappeared.

Before he vanished from my life forever, though, he went back to Cebu to retrieve some of his belongings all the while promising my mother he would return and marry her. While there, he was supposedly cornered by an old lover into a shot-gun wedding. As polygamy is not legal in the Philippines, he could not return and fulfill his vow of marriage to my mom. So that's the end of that.

Their love affair ended just as my life began. With a fatherless child, my mom was thrown back into the cold, hard world. With the support and encouragement of friends and family, however, my mom and I managed to survive. She continued to work while Mama Iyay (my grandmother) took care of me. This went on the first few years of my life.

 Possibly the only time you'll ever see me nude.

It is difficult enough for single women to find husbands in the Philippines, let alone for single moms. My persevering mom, confident that the two of us would manage regardless, thought nothing of her predicament but the conservativism that prevailed during that time period made the situation look really, really grim.

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