Sinon Loresca, also known as the “King of the Catwalk”, regularly visits Myanmar to volunteer since first falling in love with the country back in August.
Sinon is a Filipino model with 479k Instagram followers and over 2.5 million fans on his Facebook page. He is best known for his athletic and cool gait in high-heeled shoes. He first came to Myanmar in August at the invitation of Beauty Diary, a cosmetic brand, when he realised his calling was to help the disadvantaged people of Myanmar.
Last month Sinon visited the home of Sandar, a pregnant woman with polio. He offered her a wheelchair to help her gain some autonomy.
In September he paid a visit to the Myanmar Christian Fellowship for the Blind School where he served moghinga to the children, helping to raise more public awareness for the organisation.
“He visited the school twice. He ate with the blind students at the same table. He poured the soup into the bowls for the children himself. In return, the children sang songs, which he really seemed to enjoy. He was completely sincere,” said Reverend U Thein Lwin, one of the founders of the school.
Reverand U Thein Lwin said he was thankful for Sinon’s sympathy towards Myanmar people, and his focus on those in need.
“He helps to pick up rubbish, and sleeps with some of the homeless people on the pavement. He helps the poor by offering donations and spending quality time with them. I wish everybody would be like Sinon,” he said.
The colourful King of the Catwalk has become a major celebrity for his good works, for his fashion sense and philanthropic nature. His interest in the lives of the poor here in Myanmar stems from his own childhood, growing up near a rubbish tip called Payatas in Manila. Shunned by his parents for his sexual identity, he collecting what he could find to make money.
“I was abandoned by my parents because they couldn’t accept me as gay. I left my town and I went to Manila. I was staying at my aunt’s place which is near the rubbish mountain called “Payatas Manila”. All the garbage from Manila is sent to Payatas. As I didn’t have a job, I scavenged the rubbish mountain for cans and bottles, which I sold at the junk shops. I also slept in the streets because we didn’t have money back then,” Sinon said.
“I praise his eagerness to help our people,” said a volunteer who works with Daw Than Than, the bread-making 78-year-old on 32nd street. Early this year Daw Than Than was restricted by the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) for selling bread on a restricted area. She was also detained for three months, along with other vendors in the. After being released, Sinon visited her to show his support.
One of Sinon’s fans is a lady called Jue Jue Pying, who wrote this about the King on her Facebook page: “Sinon wears ordinary shirts and worn-out longyis while he helps the people in need. So the poor feel that they are on the same footing as Sinon. It makes them feel comfortable. He even begs with beggars and eats with them. Who would do that? He is a human with lots of love”.