Movies & TV

Everything We Know About Drag Race Philippines (So Far)

We finally (!) have a host, judges, and a release date.
IMAGE WOWPRESENTS

RuPaul's Drag Race is coming to the Philippines with WOW Presents Plus as its streaming partner. The World of Wonder series aims to look for "The Philippines Next Drag Superstar," as reiterated in the casting call. The long-running reality series for drag queens in the United States is home to iconic fashion, lip-sync battles, and lines we've definitely seen or used around on Twitter at least once in the show's 13 seasons.

Drag Race Philippines is the newest addition to the franchise that also made waves in other countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Chile, Holland, Thailand, and down under in Australia and New Zealand. Here's everything we know about Drag Race Philippines so far.

Who's attached to the series?

We finally (!) have a host and judges. Paolo Ballesteros will kick off the race to the crown. The actor and host shared the announcement on his Instagram with the caption: "MABU-HEYYY! Meet your HOST of @dragraceph: @pochoy_29! ???? ???? Start your engines, #DragRacePH premieres August 17th on @wowpresentsplus worldwide (except Canada) and @cravecanada (Canada) ????." While RuPaul's Drag Race alum Jiggly Caliente and KaladKaren will join the panel as the series' permanent judges.

The latest addition to the RuPaul series is produced in the Philippines by Fullhouse Asia Production Studios Inc. alongside World of Wonder Productions Inc. The executive producers of the show will include RuPaul, Tom Campbell, as well as World of Wonder co-founders, Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey. Barbato and Bailey said in a statement following the news:

The Drag Race franchise has shined a spotlight on so many incredible queens from around the world and we are so excited to introduce audiences to the dazzling queens of the Philippines. WOW Presents Plus was created to serve as a springboard for underrepresented voices, so we are thrilled to exclusively premiere Drag Race Philippines on the platform for our global viewers.

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What's the deal between Drag Race Philippines and Drag Den PH?

The Filipino drag scene is not new to avid fans and participants, but some Filipino drag queens have also taken center stage at RuPaul's Drag Race many seasons ago. The following are Ongina (season one), Jiggly Caliente and Phi Phi O'Hara (season five), Vivien Pinay (season five), Rock M. Sakura (season 12) who is Filipino-Vietnamese, and last but definitely not the least, Manila Luzon who's appeared thrice (season three and two All-Stars seasons).

Luzon is also the queen starting her own drag competition in the Philippines called Drag Den PH, giving us a very season 13 Tamisha Iman and LaLa Ri drag mother and daughter moment with RuPaul, as the two drag queen competitions are both coming to the Philippines soon. Neither are—if we may say so—sashaying away from the challenge of giving Filipino drag queens the spotlight they deserve.

When will it air?

Drag Race Philippines is premiering soon. How soon? Well, the reality competition television series' Twitter account finally gave us a release date of August 17. Catch the series on Wow Presents Plus and Crave (if you're from Canada).

It's unclear when Drag Race Philippines started filming, but auditions for interested Filipino drag queens closed in September 2021.

How can you apply?

Auditions have officially closed, but if you want a preview of the cast just take a look at the casting call video. "Show us your charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent—and this could be the beginning of the rest of your life," RuPaul says in the casting call video, enumerating the must-haves for aspiring and veteran drag queens looking for their chance in the spotlight. To get a feel of the intense competition that RuPaul's Drag Race is known for and have a hint of what to expect for the Philippine version, the series is available for binge-watching on Netflix.

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Marielle Fatima Tuazon
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Paolo Chua
Associate Style Editor
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor at Esquire Philippines, where he writes about fashion and grooming. Before joining Esquire Philippines, he was a writer at Town & Country Philippines.
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