MANNY AMADOR learns more about the beuty in darkness, and how a choirgirl can actually be a Goth.

Here’s a question: If a lady constantly wears black and her jewelry and accessories are often items associated with death and other not-so-nice matters, is she Goth?

Not necessarily. A lady who fits that description could also be a biker babe. The Goth concept is more than just a taste in music or a fashion statement. It is that and more, and sometimes it isn’t that at all.

That, at least, is how we came to understand Pamela Therese Estalilla, who quite arguably is one Cebu’s few – if not its only – authentic Goth chick. A self-described “atypical Goth,” we discovered that although Pam has embraced the Goth subculture, she wasn’t about to be defined or restricted by it.

The term “Goth” is generally associated with heavy post-punk rock music, and its often-dark fashion expressions show a taste for Victorian or even medieval styles of dress. It is also often a mindset that is fascinated with the horror genre, morbidity, death, fantasy, and the afterlife.

“The way I define Goth is being able to see the beauty in the dark side of things,” Pam explained. “It’s a general perspective of mine...like when I look at death, I

don’t see it as all pain and gloom...I see the lighter side.”

“I think there’s a misconception that if you’re Goth you’re supposed to listen to one kind of music...a certain genre. Like I said I’m an atypical Goth,” Pam said. So, unlike what one might expect of a Goth, Pam isn’t into horror movies. “I don’t even find them scary,” she quips, “I think they’re funny.”

She does, however, listen to The Dresden Dolls, a “punk cabaret” duo, and musician/songwriter Emily Autumn, who is a former suicidal mental patient who wrote “The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls.” Pam also mentioned that she likes the music of Danny Elfman, a composer who made the music for director Tim Burton’s admittedly creepy animated films.

Hmmm...Alright, that’s sounds atypically Goth.

Pam has also gotten into Cosplay (Costume Play) which are typically gatherings where participants dress up as fantasy characters within some kind of genre. Whether intentional or not, however, Pam ended up playing a dead or dying lady in different poses.

“They all had these weapons, and I didn’t,” Pam said, noting the commonly combat-oriented fantasy costumes sported by many of the Cosplayers. So when it came time to pose for photos, Pam thought, “I might as well be a victim since I didn’t have a weapon.” The result was that many of Pam’s pictures involved poses of her being smashed by a battle axe, or cut by a sword, or involved some other similar

unpleasantness.

Nasty. Okay, now that can be Goth too.

On the other hand, people are often surprised to find that Pam is also a choirgirl.

Not being particularly overly ‘religious’, Pam joined the choir for the music. She got

into it because of her part in a production of “Jesus Christ: Superstar,” where she sang with the chorus. Now she lends her voice at Holy Mass. “I’m with Voices of Praise. We sing at the Carmelite Monastery every first Sunday of the month,” she

notes.

“I love choral music. I love the way it sounds, the way the voices go together,” Pam said. “It’s a team effort. You have to pay attention to each and every member of the choir when you’re singing.”

Faith, choral music, monasteries – yes, that actually is Goth.

Pam’s gothic journey on the edge of polite society’s comfort zone has taught her to travel serenely beside gloom, accepting even the morbid facts of life – and so far, avoiding the real dangers lurking in that world. Hopefully, one who traverses that path leaves with a positive lesson. After all, even death, when properly understood, can be seen as the beginning of a new life in eternity.

Now that’s seeing the beauty of a supposedly “dark” Halloween season. And yeah, that’s Goth.