Bayoguin or Bayog

Bayoguin or Bayog | UP Che Costume Museum (@upeche.costumemuseum)

In pre-colonial Tagalog society, the bayoguin or bayog were well-respected men who cross-dressed and held prominent religious positions, much like the babaylan. They were documented in the Boxer Codex (also known as the Manila Manuscript) from the perspective of its Spanish authors. The text continues that the bayoguin, often the submissive type, married other men. There were female priestesses as well called the katalungan, but the bayoguin conducted ceremonial rites with more authority and pomp.

However, through centuries of colonialism, the array of gender roles and expressions had been greatly suppressed, even today. Yet, this literal page from our history attests to transgenderism in our ancient cultures, and that LGBTQ+ people have always been crucial parts of our society.


Souza, G.B. and Turley. J.S. “The Boxer Codex: Transcription and Translation of an Illustrated Late Sixteenth-Century Manuscript Concerning the Geography, History, and Ethnography of the Pacific, Southeast, and East Asia.” Brill, 2016. Retrieved from

The digitized pages of the Boxer Codex can be browsed online in the Indiana University Library.