Divine Lee recently hosted an event for a new company called GrabTaxiPH, at K-Pub BBQ in The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City.
This subsidiary of Malaysian-owned business MyTeksi offers a service to Filipino commuters where they can easily book and dispatch taxis with the use of a smartphone.
The effectiveness of the application rests in its quick two-tap system, which Divine says is "very, very easy.”
The “first tap” lets users book a taxi by typing the pick-up and drop-off locations. Taxis within a three-kilometer radius will automatically start “bidding” by calculating distance and the amount of time it would take them to get to the user.
The closest taxi will win the bid and the user will then be prompted for the “second tap,” which will confirm the booking.
Once confirmed, the user will be able to see the name of the taxi, the driver’s name, and plate. Users can also monitor the movement of the taxi via real-time map.
“Even if malayo pa, you already see the surroundings taxis. Kumbaga it's very convenient for people," says Divine.
The TV5 talent, and host of internet podcast Becky Nights, is a testament to how effective the service is.
She tells PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), “Actually, I used that service na abroad. But then, it's so nice here kasi you know naman here, ang haba ng pila di ba? And then si Victor [Basa] pa nasiraan, so I told him, ‘Download mo iyan!’"
Aside from her boyfriend Victor Basa, Divine has already influenced her other friends to try the app.
”Actually, kasi ang daldal ko, so si IC Mendoza nag-ganyan na. And of course the Becky Nights [crew], and si Victor used it already."
She shares how celebrities, particularly those in showbiz, with crazy, uncertain schedules can actually benefit from this app: "You know, it's very easy especially for them kasi on-call sila, di ba, sa taping?
“So, kailangan kaysa yung driver mo buong araw di natulog kasi galing taping, with the taxi app, it's easy for them to just get a taxi anywhere."
MY HUSBAND'S LOVER. Speaking of tapings, we asked Divine about her boyfriend's work on the hit GMA-7 series My Husband's Lover.
Without skipping a beat, Divine expressed her admiration and support for the show, "Ay, oo. Alam mo, sa dami niyang soap, ito lang yung maingay ako.
"Kasi this one, it coincides with what I'm fighting for, tapos si Victor pa yung makikita ko, di ba? Iyong dati niyang soap di ko nga pinapanood," she admits fearlessly.
"I mean, I would see it, pero hindi ko inaabangan. Ito talaga, uuwi talaga ako, kung hindi ako uuwi, papa-record ko pa, di ba?"
Is she happy with how Victor is portraying the role of a gay person?
"I am proud of what he is doing. Aside from hit yung show, alam mo iyong parang na-o-open nila iyong eyes ng tao, na when you see or say 'bakla', hindi lang iyong baklang nagpapatawa sa comedy bar."
Did Victor have any hesitations about accepting the role?
"No naman, it's just that, you don't know how they are gonna react because it's a gay role. He had to talk to everyone, and they were all okay, and iyon, tuloy.”
Divine adds, "He was scared. Ganoon naman parati iyan. Si Victor kasi, konting push lang lagi kailangan dyan. Parang you just have to tell him it's okay. Siyempre natakot siya more for the endorsements, lalo when it was starting."
"So, he said, 'I'll tackle this role.' Sabi niya, 'Hindi ko naman first time maging bakla and this is TV,' alam mo iyon."
Divine noted that if gay roles on film are considered a "big deal" in our society, it is even more so on TV.
"Sobrang out there, and it's everyday. Iba yung nag-movie ka, once lang.
"So sabi niya [Victor], this one, it's harder kasi nga di ba, hopia siya doon diba, hopeful, hoping siya," referring to Victor's character David.
"Ngayon may jowa na siya doon, si Vince Velasco, isang new talent. Excited ako," she tells about Victor's "lovelife" on the show.
"Sinasabi ko nga lagi na, 'Uy, yung script mo, pabasa!' Ayaw ibigay sa akin, no.
"Gusto ko malaman anong mangyayari, tapos tinatanong ko pa."
Divine reveals what kind of support she gives the show.
"Parati kaming may viewing party. Nakakatawa, kasi before, all my friends, they would never naman make pa-picture with Victor.
"Ito yung mga friends na nakakasama namin ever since, never naman sila nagpapa-picture.
"E, ngayon dahil sa My Husband's Lover, yung mga bakla, 'dinner tayo, kasama mo si Vic' sabi ko sa kanila, ‘Kakaloka kayo, dati di niyo gusto kasama, ngayon na...’
"So, you see na he did the role well, of course, as always," Divine shares.
Divine relates how she helped in the journey of transforming Victor for his role on My Husband's Lover, "Sabi ko, ‘Tingnan natin lahat ng friends ko.’
She showed pictures of her gay friends to Victor, “‘Siyempre hindi ito, kasi parlor na parlor. Siyempre hindi ito, kasi masyadong maingay.’
"So, we picked one friend na he is supposed to copy. Nung may peg na siya, kasi sabi ko, ‘That one is out, yet di kagaya nung talaga out na out kong mga friends na kasama ko parati.’"
Divine says that this deeper understanding of gays is one virtue that My Husband's Lover has brought to the forefront.
"Alam mo na marami, iba-ibang kind. Kasi doon, chef siya, successful siya. Important na nakikita ng tao na ang bakla tao lang iyan. Lalake, babae, iba-iba lang."
ON LGBT RIGHTS AND BEING “BECKY QUEEN”. The pursuit of LGBT rights has been one of Divine’s advocacies, which is why she feels very proud of Victor’s show, and her very own Becky Nights podcast, which was recently named at the third Globe Tattoo Awards as among the movers and shakers of the local social media landscape.
Divine says that the recognition made her feel like a "dyosa ng kabaklaan.”
“Di ba? Well, three years in a row na ito, tapos two years, we've been given special mention. This time, may category na for us.
"Baka dati, di nila alam saan kami ilagay. But now, there was a category na for us and then we won in the category!
“We bested Mo Twister, Girls of 28K, Girls on Top na sila Katrina Halili... Well, kami rin naman ang longest. Ay, hindi, si Mo yung pinakamatagal na. But then, I think it's because of the positive energy din of the show.
"All the beckys are there. Super saya, di ba? Iyong show namin, three hours, minsan di namin napapansin kasi kwentong parlor.
“But I like that now with... I have been very active with the LGBT cause and I can see na, alam mo, ngayon umuusad na."
Divine explains further that with shows like My Husband's Lover and "then you see Vice [Ganda] on the cover of a fashion mag," adds to the LGBT cause’s accomplishment.
"You see the acceptance more now, di ba?"
Did she ever imagine the role she'd play in the LGBT advocacy as one of its “champions,” it seems?
"The champion? Hindi naman. I've been very, like with all parts of my life, it was the beckys who made me smile. Even in my deepest, darkest moments, I feel na, it's just... I need someone na straight to say something about this."
What does she mean by that? "Kasi iba iyong sila nagsasabi na ganito yung nangyayari, at iba rin na ako mismo na straight, di naman ako LGBT, pero nagsasabi na ‘Yes, totoong nangyayari sa kanila yan.’
"Pag may nakita tayong mali, huwag na tayong tumahimik. Magsalita na rin tayo, kahit hindi naman tayo part ng grupong yan."
Divine speaks passionately about the community she has embraced with open arms and a community that likewise has done that to her.
"All these people are my friends. Pag naglalakad kami, nakikita kong binabastos, may mga certain bars di sila makapasok.
"I'm there, although ako pwede pumasok, but you feel the pain."
It has gone so drastic that Divine shares, "Minsan gusto mo drumama, na ikaw na lang kasi it's embarrassing.
"What we're asking is not naman a special law. What we're asking for is human rights. Iyon, e.
"Regardless of gender, lalake, tomboy, bakla, everyone should just... Since we have that situation already, ipaglaban nalang natin."
Does she consider the award and their podcast’s consequent buzz a form of validation and recognition of what she has been pushing for these past years?
"More than a validation, it's more like, acceptance. Alam mo iyon?
"Dati kasi tolerance lang. Tino-tolerate lang ako, sila. Iyon [award] kasi, voting din iyon, a big part of it is voting, so ibig sabihin maraming nag-vote.
"So ibig sabihin, maraming they're okay, they're accepted by a lot."
Divine also shares her thoughts on the much talked about issue of same-sex marriage.
"Sa akin, legally, each couple, lalo those couples who have been together for a long time, they should have at least some legal, parang stake with each other.
"Mahirap din, e. Paano kung halimbawa ako, tibo tapos di naman ako mag-aasawa, yet my whole life nagpupundar na ako with this certain person. Paano naman yung rights pag nawala ako?
“You know just the legality, it's very important. Kasi gusto ko mo i-safeguard. Kesa naman iiwan mo. Relationships should have that, that security din."
Going back to My Husband’s Lover, which obviously raises a lot of our society’s issues about gay relationships, does Divine have any thoughts or strong opinion as to how the show should end?
"That's always the topic na sila Rajo [Laurel] pinag-uusapan, ganyan. 'How will it end? Will they kill Tom [Rodriguez], will they kill Carla [Abellana], will someone die or wala?'
"I just na hope na in the end, parang true love for all of them. Alam mo iyon?
"Parang kung si Tom at si Dennis [Trillo], e, di sila. E, di Carla should also get true love din. Si Victor din, bigyan nila lovelife doon!
"I think iyon naman kasi importante in the end. Love is genderless. Sana lahat sila maging masaya in the end."