Stickman Readers' Submissions October 24th, 2003

Looking For Kung In The Philippines

I'd been teaching in a tertiary institute in Southern Thailand and as my return to Australia was looming, I thought where can I go to find that special Kung? (Sow, Piyada or whatever) who had eluded me over the past eighteen months.

So I thought maybe the Philippines. I’d known some friends who’d been there, but I’d constantly avoided it because I saw it as being a place where Australian farmers got themselves a little woman to help them milk the cows or castrate the sheep. A place for the desperates to get themselves a wife.

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To put this into further context a few minor personal attributes. I’m 54 years old but look and think younger. Although I’d never been there, I was prejudiced against the PI. The Thai scene I got to know was a regional one without farangs. My entertainment was sing-a-songs, Thai discos and being smiled at whenever I walked down the streets. The wai meant something and was used all the time. If I wanted to scratch myself, I would go to Phuket, or Koh Samui whenever I had the chance (which was often). I loved the bar scene but I never let it control me.

I wanted to compare the physical attributes of the Thais with those of the Philippines and the criteria I thought I would use was the standard set by my experience when I shared a songthaew with seven tertiary students recently. Out of those seven, two were nines, three were eights, one six and one five.

This is a record of my week and a bit in the Philippines.

Day 1-Monday

Touchdown. 6pm. The Ninoy Aquino Airport, about a tenth the size of Bangkok. After being sent to about six different places, found the left luggage equivalent for the stuff I didn’t need, then instead of the touting taxi drivers, you have lines of pretty girls behind barriers all calling out for your attention. Fixed price and to where I was going, B260. I since learnt that the trick is to go up to the departure entrance and you can get a metered taxi for a much cheaper price. Found a hotel in Ermita, (very good room B1200 incl brekky). This is the old red light district, about half an hour trip, but only about 10 Kms from the airport. For dinner, wander up to one of the ex-pat type pubs attached to a tour company. On the way I’m befriended by a friendly soul wanting to sell me a girl. I make the mistake of asking how much and he follows me all the way offering a young one, a younger one and one who was a virgin up until he last encounter. Yeah, yeah. I reach the pub with him still selling. But he doesn’t come in and I settle down to a meal of a lamb stew, three battered prawns, mashed potato and steamed vegetables. What a weird combination! Then there’s the two piece band behind me playing Steve Lawrence, Tom Jones and Patsy Cline ballads. The age of the farangs in the dining room is 60-70. What is this? But the waitress is pretty, smiling and friendly. Big body though.

Later I find myself in a Philippino live band venue and chat to two truly friendly and nice guys who tell me that the place has a lot of farm girls. In Thailand I’m used to getting eye contact with girls at these types of places. In fact to me Thai girls are the masters at prolonged eye contact. Look back at them, give a smile and you are doubly rewarded with a huge beautiful beam back. Nothing like that here. I look at the girls dancing on the floor under the stage. Much more demure than what I was used to.

After the boys leave, I hear giggling behind me and there are three young things happy with their lives. I beckon them over and seeing this is my last week in Asia, shout them beers and I find myself with one (Cindy) back at my room. She tells me she’s B700 for a short time (5 hours) and we cut loose with bedtime games. At one stage prior to this I found myself playing handy-handys with two of them, contemplate the double grope, but settled for one. They call us guests here. Cute. Come in enter at your risk.

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Day 2-Tuesday

The next day I thought I would look around the local area. As I walk, I recall that this country has a GDP per capita half that of Thailand. I’m trying to see what’s different to Bangkok. The first thing I notice is the lack of motor bikes and motorbike taxis. And in place of the songthaews there are what they call jeepneys. A jeepney serves the same function as a songthaew, but it is more purpose built, it is not a pickup with a roof. They are still made by Isuzu, Mitsubishi etc, but they have a Willeys Jeep style bonnet (hood) and usually an unpainted stainless steel body. They are larger than the songthaews, sometimes the length of a limo. On the back would be various good luck type signs such as God Bless Our Trip. I only caught a couple of them, but they could comfortably hold 18 people. Note the word comfortably.

The second thing I noticed was the street food shops. In Thailand, the tables would be set up on the footpath, taking up the whole of the footpaths. In Manila, the footpaths were not nearly as wide and the people ate at benches looking into the small food shops. They were designed for solitary eating, not communal eating. And there were many more chain fast food places as well as Chinese and Korean restaurants. That night I went to the Chinese Restaurant over the road and paid B250 for a Chicken & Cashew dish (B80 in tourist Thailand from my experience). I looked at the waitress trying to get that Thai smile, but to no avail. As I came out of the Restaurant, my mate, the tout from last night came up to me saying that I’d broken my promise to buy his product (young girl). He followed me all the way to the hotel door with his bullshit.

Day 3 Wednesday.

Early departure to Puerto Galera and Sabang Beach which I was told was a good resort with bars. I’d also been told about Angeles, but I prefer the tranquility of the sea and I imagined Sabang to be like Lamai on Koh Samui. I paid 460 pesos (B350) to the travel company but I had to ask for my change. I’ll tip anyone but when they just keep the change I get mad. When I paid for breakfast, I gave the waitress 120 pesos for a 115 pesos meal, no change. So I asked the Australian manager whether it’s customary here got the customer to give a tip, or for the waitress to just take a tip. I got my change. As mentioned, it cost me B350 for the three hour mini bus ride and 1 1/4 hr ferry. I estimate that the same in Thailand would be about B220.

As the bus rolled through the suburbs, I noticed that the traffic obeyed the rules, there were no motorbikes going against the traffic, the drivers were much more disciplined than Thailand. Shame really, I was beginning to like looking east west, north and south before crossing the road in my Thai city. I looked out for the school uniforms, but couldn’t see any, let alone the post secondary school black and white uniforms housing a gorgeous face and body that I’d got so used to. Along the road out the houses and shops were attached run down makeshift earthen floored timber or rusted galvanized iron structures with little setback from the road. At least in Thailand, the walls were usually straight.

I imagined Puerto Galera to be a Nathon on Koh Samui, but it was only one main road with small shops and one decent sized mini-mart. At the wharf, there were about 10-15 tricycle drivers vying for my custom to Sabang Beach. Being unfamiliar with the Jeepney system, I bargained one of them down to B75 for a 20 min ride. A tricycle is a motorbike with a narrow roofed side car. Another passenger can sit side saddle behind the driver if required. I had to crouch down tight and even then my head hit the roof if we bounded on one of the many pot holes in the road. When I say road, it was really a bush track, 70% made and the balance mud and stone. Not a pleasant journey. Sabang was nothing like Lamai, very small and compact. I walked along the beach to get good accommodation which I eventually found, a room with attached kitchenette, air con and beach view for B575.

At night I ventured out for a meal. My benchmark meal, Chicken and Cashew nuts at the only Thai Restaurant was B140, but I had Chop Suey. I saw a couple of bars on the way to the restaurant, but took a wander further along the narrow lane behind the buildings overlooking the beach and came across a bar with snooker tables. A ½ pint of local beer was well priced at about B30. There were about half a dozen girls hanging out there, none of them interested in me, or interesting to me, so I retraced my steps back to the bar area. Walked into one bar and there was a sea of pretty faces, about 60 of them, and about 15 or 20 blokes, aged 35-55. A lady greeted me at the door and made room for me at an elevated bar stool. Looking around, I could see that the bar was the equivalent of a Thai Go-Go bar. A central three-sided elevated stage surrounded by a sunken serving area. There were no tiered benches as you might find in Bangkok, only elevated tables and stools around a very big room about four times the size of a typical Soi Cowboy bar. There were two poles and three girls on the dance floor at any one time. Every now and again there would be a loud thunderous crashing sound as one or more of them would do the splits to show how agile they were, I presume.

I can't remember the price of a beer, but I think it was about B45. I learnt that this bar had four mamasans whose job it was to sell you the product. The bar fine was B380 and a girl was B760 long time. It was open until 2 or 3am depending on the customers and there were other venues catering for those who wanted to kick on after that. I saw three of these large go-go bars in Sabang, but there may have been a few more. At one stage I looked around and there were about 50 girls and five blokes, although I was told that about 100 girls worked there.

The girls to me were not as attractive as those in Thailand, but if you couldn’t pick one you liked the look of among the 50-100 there, somethings wrong. I got the eye from one who I liked the look of and stayed with her for the rest of my time in the Philippines. Her name was Grace.

Days 4-8

I thought that maybe with English being much more widely spoken, you could get to know the girls better, get inside their heads, but for me, this was not to be the case. All I really learnt was how uneducated they were in the ways of the world. Grace came from a typical poor provincial background, kid at 21 by the guy who dethroned her, brought up by the grandmother. She asked a few questions like George Bush is also the President of Australia, right? How many countries are there in the world, one million? Where is South America? My impression is that there’s a real lack of knowledge about STDs. She got complacent about three days into our relationship but I couldn’t be stuffed getting another one, I was at the end of my time in Asia and by this stage wasn’t looking for the ultimate sexual experience. At one stage she showed me her room which was tidy but in a slum behind the tourist venues.

Other various observations of mine are that mobile phones are everywhere, the same as in Thailand, but calls are a little more expensive. Mangosteens are B110/Kg compared with B20-60 I saw in Thailand. The girls are heavier than Thai girls and if I were to get seven of them in a Jeepney, there would be two 7's, three 5's, one 4 and a 2. In the bar of 50 girls there would have been ten 9's. Cigarettes are half the price of Thailand and Jeepneys about the same. A Philippino secondary school teacher earns between 2500-3500 Baht/month compared to the Thai equivalent B6300-12000. In my eight days there I spent about 20,000 Baht. The age group of foreigners where I was is older than in Thailand, I don’t think I saw more than one or two backpackers amongst many aging Germans and Koreans.

No, I didn’t find my Kung in the Philippines. Now that I’m back in Australia, maybe she’s here and her name is Shirleen. But then again…

My conclusion? It's up to you!

Stickman says:

Nice report. I enjoy every new country I visit, but the Philippines is one of those places I might not make it to for some time yet…the crime there is a little off-putting.

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