BINI Performs at Watermelon, Rampa Drag Club’s New Weekly Friday Night Hotspot

BINI Performs at Watermelon, Rampa Drag Club’s New Weekly Friday Night Hotspot


Unpacking the launch of Watermelon at Rampa Drag Club and the emergence of BINI as queer icons

As I made my way to Rampa Drag Club, the towering images of the Divine Divas on the club’s facade gradually came into focus. The billboard-sized cutouts of Precious Paula Nicole, Brigiding, and Viñas DeLuxe, who also happen to co-own Rampa, were a sight to behold. During the pandemic, when nightlife was deeply affected, I watched the trio perform online shows and named it Divine Bar. Fast forward to Drag Race Philippines, and here we are, witnessing the fruits of their hard work after years of dedication.

RELATED: The Funniest Tweets From Blooms, K-Pop Fans, and International Netizens about BINI

watermelon salmo nella
Wearing a watermelon dress, Salmo Nella dazzled the crowd when she took center stage to kick off the show!

Drag became a lifeline for many queer youth when we were all stuck inside our rooms. The Divine Divas emerged as sheroes, igniting inspiration and passion in the younger generation and motivating them to pursue their artistic paths. When the lockdown was lifted, it felt like the floodgates of creativity had burst open, releasing a tidal wave of new talents across the scene—drag was everywhere. 

Bini at watermelon
P-pop sensation BINI made a surprise appearance at the launch of Watermelon at Rampa Drag Club

Rampa Drag Club stands as one of the shining examples of the ongoing queer revolution. Nightlife is essential to the LGBTQIA+ experience as it serves as a haven for community and finding a chosen family. RS Francisco, Boy Abunda, Divine Divas, Loui Gene Cabel, Cecille Bravo, Ice Seguerra, Liza Dino, and Elgerome Garcia are fully on board with that belief. The owners are eager to give back to the community. Despite the progress made, we still have a long way to go, and queer spaces remain vital for our visibility and solidarity. 

Bini at rampa
BINI performed “Salamin, Salamin” at the launch of Watermelon at Rampa Drag Club

A new Friday night hotspot: Watermelon at Rampa Drag Club

The Divine Divas have opened up Rampa Drag Club to a fresh wave of drag talent known as the Rampa Reynas. The birth of a new queer club is always a thrill, as it becomes a nurturing ground for budding artists. It’s a place where they’ll find a home, the freedom to express their art, and a community to support them as they flourish.

felicia ding
Felicia Ding brought the house down with her performance of KZ Tandingan’s “Royals”

Rampa Drag Club has been shaking things up with its nightly events. Their latest addition is a weekly Friday night called “Watermelon.” The name seems very apt for a queer party name as it’s fresh, politically charged, and related to lip-syncing—you know, when you don’t know the words.

Paulo Castro, the visionary behind Poison Wednesdays, leads the charge at Watermelon. Darryl Reciña joins him. He coined the title for the drag competition “Drag Cartel,” which has evolved into a cultural phenomenon and serves as a launchpad for emerging drag artists. Its influence inspired the award-winning show Drag Den, created by Poison Baby Direk Rod Singh and hosted by Manila Luzon.

salmo nella and sexy wanda mina
Salmo Nella and Sexy Wanda Mina, the Watermelon hosts, infused a refreshing change into our usual expectations

Salmo Nella and Sexy Wanda Mina kicked off the evening with a live mashup of tunes, serving up a side of comedy that’s equal parts silly, brilliant, and downright hilarious. Everyone was in stitches, reaching peak levels of belly-shaking laughter. Rampa Reynas Poca, Bomba Ding, Felicia Ding, Katana, Kieffy Nicole, and the special guest J Quinn headlined a spectacular drag show. The show was beautiful, wild, and what anyone would want from a drag show: filled with stunts, hilarious moments, and an overall wow factor that left the audience gasping in awe. DJs Xtina Superstar and Marky kept the crowd on their feet all night, making the vibes electrifying.

katana and bomba ding
Stunt sisters Katana and Bomba Ding were showered with applause at the launch of Watermelon at Rampa Drag Club

The beating heart of the queer nightlife scene

The original “Mama Paw,” the true mother figure of the LGBTQIA+ community, has the gift of bringing people together. Likely inherited from his mother, Paulo Castro’s nurturing role and genuine love for the community resonates with everyone because his passion offstage matches his fiery presence onstage (and online). Beyond the fun and quirky charm of Poison Wednesdays, its triumphs stem from Paulo’s commitment to community-building. His magic makes every one of us feel seen when he talks. This extends beyond public conversations to include the quiet chats in the restroom or outside the club; it’s about genuinely caring for each person who seeks a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on.

OG Mama Paw spoke to the packed audience in his usual go-to garb

A few years after his big stumble in the same space he pioneered, he’s back in action—ass out just like old times—and leading the charge with a dream team with the same passion for providing a home for a new generation of queer individuals.

“The very first thing that I said when sinabing gawan ko ng ganap itong Rampa was, pinaka-importante na ang first step natin ay mag-SOGIE 101 and HIV 101 talk tayo,” Paulo said and then proceeded to aknowledge the Love Yourself team present among the audience. Moreover, Love Yourself partnered with Watermelon to establish a booth providing free HIV testing kits and facilitating access to their sexual, mental, and trans health services.

love yourself
Love Yourself booth at the launch of Watermelon at Rampa Drag Club

As Paulo concluded his speech, he emphasized an important reminder: “For as long as people like us are stifled, discriminated against, and murdered simply for living our truths, please allow us to make queer kids the stars of this space.”

Oh shux, ito ba’y pag-ibig na?

As with launches, you need some serious heat to ignite and get everyone’s attention. For the Watermelon team, that spark came from the latest craze sweeping the nation and stealing the hearts of the LGBTQIA+ community. The record-breaking temperatures soared, and so did the rise of the all-girl P-pop sensation BINI. Their songs “Pantropiko” and “Salamin, Salamin” have been in our ears all summer. It’s no secret that the gay community has some power in shaping pop culture moments—just think back to the phenomenon of “Tala.” Drag artists play a huge role in elevating songs to iconic status, turning a song into a cultural touchstone. 

BINI served the gays at the launch of Watermelon with such slayage

There’s no recipe for becoming a gay icon, but BINI has locked in their status at the launch of Watermelon at Rampa. Once you’ve won over the LGBTQIA+ crowd, you’ve pretty much secured your place in history. A gay anthem isn’t just a catchy tune for a season—it’s timeless. What makes a gay anthem? That unexplainable rush we all share turns into an all-consuming obsession, igniting the dancefloor. Those feelings of connection and belonging come alive through music and choreography. 

Indeed, BINI wasn’t on the poster of Watermelon, but whispers of their appearance were everywhere. While everyone was hopeful, no one expected anything to happen, knowing how big the group had gotten. And when they finally graced the stage, cheers echoed through the club—maybe even louder than an arena crowd. “BINI, BINI, BINI!” bounced back and forth between the walls of Rampa Drag Club as phones shot up in the air, all pink screens capturing the Rampa logo on the stage. 

Bini maloi at watermelon
“Mabuhay ang mga bakla!,” proclaimed BINI Maloi

The gays were fed.

Watermelon happens every Friday night at Rampa Drag Club. Follow their Instagram for more updates: @watermelondiscoball


Order your print copy of this month's MEGA Magazine:
Download this month's MEGA digital copy from:
Subscribe via [email protected]