MEET my new neighbor Janet. She’s of average height, has long, shapely legs, and sports a wavy mass of black hair that stops just short of her pert derrière—definitely head-turning material. She’s one in a procession of similar beauties who pass by in a steady stream. She and I exchange recipes: it turns out she is also a fantastic cook. We have become firm friends, and I wait to see if I will receive an invitation next door, but it never comes.
Baklas are effeminate men who dress in women’s garb and consider themselves in every way to be female. You may occasionally see them in other Asian countries, but their sheer numbers here, and their widespread acceptance, is what sets the Philippines apart.