Stickman Readers' Submissions May 29th, 2006

Beware Of Philippine Girls, Take A Look At Vietnam

A retired Brit, living in SE Asia for 5 years, I penned this submission because I was struck by the remarkable similarity between the behavior of Thai bar girls (mercifully documented on this site) and their “ordinary” (non sex worker, but equally poverty stricken) Philippino sisters.

Your correspondent can report that unlike illustrious forebear Ferdinand Magellan, the modern day visitor to the Philippines is not met by naked maidens with garlands or even warrior tribesmen hurling wooden spears. Instead he is faced with doors which fall off their hinges, toilets which don’t work, tickets which invariably have the wrong date (no restitution available, it’s YOUR fault) and a female community of “marital partners” known locally as Black Widows, all anxious to wed. Perhaps Piranhas would be a more appropriate description, given the mob rule which prevails.

He Clinic Bangkok

It’s not all bad, the place has a certain charm to it. On day one, feeling a bit peckish I ventured into a restaurant at midday. “What are you doing?” said an indignant proprietor “we’re having our lunch! Come back at 2pm” Hmm… A VERY different world.

They love to party. Boy do they love to party. Families will go into debt to put on a show. The streets are awash with smiling children & friendly neighbors. A modern day Magellan would be overwhelmed by pretty girls, eager and ready to wed.

The islands are spectacularly magnificent, crystal clear seas, overpowering fresh air, pure mountain spring water and a super abundance of food, water & fish. Perhaps this is the problem, for indelibly entrenched in their psyche is the belief that they can live off the fat of the land without having to work. “Foreigners, plenty money” are part of the fat of the land.

CBD bangkok

Survivors have to be constantly on alert. Four years ago the Presidential Jet crashed because the erstwhile pilot forgot to turn on the fuel. Typical of Philippine life. Perhaps Magellan was done in by a Phillipino Bosun who forgot to drop anchor?

The nightlife of the Philippines pales by comparison with Thailand. Outside of Manila, & Cebu it is miniscule, but the Philippine girls, sponsored by their families, acquire their money by marrying foreigners on a far more grandiose scale. In any one year 1 million “tourists” arrive. A strange way to define them because “Tourists” they’re not (industry done in by terrorism). They are husbands & suitors of Philippine wives.

The same considerations of Thai bargirls apply. Lying is a national imperative, husbands find themselves supporting extended families, even whole villages, for the purposes of drinking & cock fighting.

The same considerations of “face” apply, refusal to accept the buck, outrage at criticism, sideline “boyfriends” abound, they show up as the new gardener or carpenter. Mob rule comes into play when extracting money from “foreigner, plenty money” “Foreigner, come to cause trouble, make restitution”.

wonderland clinic

In the Phil, physical & emotional blackmail is a social imperative, practiced & honed to perfection within childhood. Newborn babies are adored, their siblings mercilessly dropped, hence the intense jealousy which abounds. Ring a bell in Thailand?

In the UK I saw a lot of unhappy marriages, violent even, not just older men but young ones too. The husbands terrified that they’d wake up with their children gone.

I’m sure that there are successful marriages, but if so I never saw them. In Phil I saw hundreds of nasty, violent ones.

In my first week I was ominously warned that.

1. In the Philippines the truth has no value.

2. Put money aside for a fierce court battle for what you will initially see as a laughable accusation.

These two were to come home to roost with a vengeance in the next three years.


An 83 year old man walks with a frame is accused of rape by a young girl (no bail). He spent three years in jail before the case was heard & thrown out as absurd. His exit would have cost $10,000, mostly payoffs, including “witnesses”. Plenty of those around.


In Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, I met an enraged German with a pen pal. On their first meet she turned up with 40 relatives for a sparkling dinner. In the ensuing argument the police were called & he spent the night in jail for “insulting” Philippinos. Cost him $500 to get out, the same fee as a mandatory lawyer to defend a charge of “criminal libel”.


In my own house a resident American was rounded on by his girlfriend “buy my brother a new car”. His response ended in ” – off” whereupon the police turned up & arrested him for rape & false imprisonment. Witnesses who didn’t know where the house actually was, or how it was constructed, testified to it. The police refused our own testimony “foreigners causing trouble”. He spent a year in jail without trial, contracted dengue fever & was forced to cough up the standard exit fee of $10,000, shared between all concerned.


In my own case my newly wedded wife was apt to slash her wrists or bang her head at the slightest provocation, such as putting out dips for guests (foreigner food, yuk), wearing the wrong clothes or going to bed early. Then she would run to the neighbors to show what ”I” had done, setting up the eventual sting.

It was largely my own fault, I agree, for she had done this in private before the wedding. No excuses. I was dreaming. Idiot, in the end I got off lightly. Lesson learned.

Every time I tried to flee, or lock her out, out would come the tears of remorse with neighbors, of course, brought in.

Eventually I just planned and executed a “runners” escape, intending to stay in Phil, but the expatriate community went wild, insisting that I leave, knowing what was to come.

It duly arrived, in the form of criminal assault charge, dozens of “witnesses”. I stayed to fight until the bitter end, but eventually through in the towel. Intending to go to Chiang Mai I followed the advice of American pals to go to Vietnam. How right they were! For two years now I have been very happy in Dalat, a mountain resort, the most beautiful city in the world for me. European climate (NZ even!, Stick), forests, lakes, waterfalls, own grown fruit & vegetables. The flower capital of Vietnam. The markets & food are sensational.

The Vietnamese are highly intelligent, incredibly industrious, outward looking, reliable to a fault. Something extraordinary is happening here.

It seems to me that 75% of the population is between 19 – 25 , giving it a youthful vitality. In some ways it is painfully innocent. The world stood still when a teenage girl came up to me in a pool & asked me to teach her to swim. I accepted, terrified out of my wits, noying all the while to the adults in the area. And again when another pretty teenager stopped me in the street “please take me to the pictures! “Ye gods! Police, sting, jail. Well take her then, you miserable bastard, said my Viet pals. I tried to give her the money & exit, to no avail. No escape. Inside, nothing untoward happened except that I aged ten years. Never again, I’ll have an excuse ready.

The Viets love to laugh. In Nha Trang the Vietnamese Navy crossed the street in front of me. Up for a stunt, I took off my hat in a grandiloquent bow. COMPANY HALT! The captain lined them up to salute me, to roars of applause from the street.

Vietnam, like anywhere else, has plenty of problems. Just for a start, like Thailand, it has a pack of wolves praying on the hapless tourists. Except that they even more aggressive.

But these are its great days, never to be repeated, so please take a look.

In Dalat there is little or no nightlife, but the masseuses in any of the myriad hotel saunas will tickle your fancy, just short of full sex that is. It's near impossible to not get groped in any of them.

I have visited Chiang Mai once or twice. Sensational Night Market, great food. The folks in the market & little businesses were the salt of the earth. No side to them once they knew I was not a tourist.

I got treated to the astounding sight of a pretty girl patting her boyfriends butt & pecking his cheek without a care in the world. He was a cop conducting the traffic at the time. A sight for sore eyes.

Nice place Chiang Mai, more than worth a visit, but its too hot, too domestically oriented for me.

Methinks that Western men in Philippines are up to the same game as those in Thailand. Older men, trying to buy love. Not on. Take the Stick's advice & bang the sex workers short time (at least its honest), then get on with something useful

Come take a look at Vietnam, extraordinary place.

Stickman's thoughts:

From what you say here, the Philippines really does sound scary. And yours is not the only story of this type I have heard. I've read some absolute horrors elsewhere online.

It's really good to hear such positive things about Vietnam. Personally, I'd love to visit and do some photography there – looks beautiful in parts.

nana plaza