Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sketches of a Year Lived Next to a Red Light District

I was halfway through law school when I had to move from my first studio apartment to a smaller space right next to a red light district in Makati. I moved because I was renting my first apartment for an incredibly low price and when the contract ended, the unit owner got smart and demanded 50% more than what I was already paying. I couldn’t afford that, so I moved to a small studio in a fairly decent condotel.

Living right next to several prostitution dens offers a variety of experiences that I probably wouldn’t have encountered in my first apartment. Most of the rooms were used to service foreign tourists who wanted to avail of the entertainment the red light district had to offer. I once shared an elevator with a huge dark-skinned man with doe eyes and a heavy beard, and two young women. The girls were leaning on him, different sides, and I noticed his huge hands, separately stuffed in the back pockets of the girls.

They were talking in broken English. When I realized that the topic was bl*wj*bs, suddenly the wall was the most interesting thing in the world. The small space gave me no choice but to listen, flaunting as that trio did their plans for the immediate future. It might have been okay if they were a good-looking group, but they weren’t, so I stood there wanting to stab my eardrums until I bleed to death.


Another time, I was in the internet place downstairs. I hang out there when I’m suffering from an unusually strong bout of insomnia. It was very early in the morning, and the place was empty except for me and two girls.

One girl was shouting, “P*ta, nakita mo na ba yung video ni Hayden Kho at Maricar Reyes? (Wh*re, have you see seen Hayden Kho and Maricar Reyes’ video?)”

“Sino ‘yon? (Who’s that?)” said the other, in an equally loud voice.

“Jowa daw ni Vicki Belo. (Vicki Belo’s lover.)”

“Anong meron? (What’s in it?)”

“Nagkakant*t*n sila. (They were f*cking.)”

“Magaling? (Was he good?)”

“Maliit, parang daliri ko, pero magaling. (Tiny d*ck, like my finger, but he was good.)”

“San yung video? (Where’s the video?)”

“Teka, hanapin ko. (Wait I’ll look for it.)”

They never found it. They did, however, find Hayden Kho and Katrina Halili’s rendition of “Careless Whisper”. As one girl so exquisitely put it, “Mukha silang durog. (They look wasted.)”


Another conversation. Same girls. Same place. Same time. Same loud voices.

"Yung customer ko kanina, ang kulit. (My customer earlier was so annoying)."

"Bakit? (Why?)"

"Sabi ko na ngang masyadong malaki, hindi kasya, pinipilit pa nya. (I already told him it was too big, it won't fit, but he was forcing it)."

"Anong nangyari? (What happened?)"

"E 'di pinilit nya. Sabi ko bayaran nya na lang ako ng extra. (Well, he forced it. I just said he should pay me extra.)"

"Tama lang. (Damn straight.)"

Photo taken here.


  1. there, i bet you will have other source of stories from now on. blog on! :D

  2. Dang, I've always wanted to do law.

  3. Colorful neighborhood, colorful people, colorful language.

    You'll never run out of material there.

  4. i can just listen to these ates forever. :) they can take all my stress away :)

  5. "Tama lang. (Damn straight.)"

    for some weird reason, natawa ako sa hirit na to!

  6. i'd like to live there... feeling ko i'll fit right in! hehe

  7. i cannot agree more with the other gurl.

    reminds me of extra rice.

  8. @yas: thanks!

    @nashe: you still can. :-)

    @rudeboy: hahaha. that's true.

    @arkin: hahaha.

    @eternal: i thought it was very funny too. :-)

    @ex-jason: pulang pula. :-)

    @icarus: hahaha, maybe. it was interesting.

    @mac: very. :-)

    @kiks: hahahahaha!

  9. Do you live near Rockwell?

    Kalayaan Avenue?

    I'm pretty sure that's Makati's Red District.

    Although, I could be wrong...


  10. Millennium Plaza. Gosh. Memories.

  11. Very interesting! I think I know which place are you referring to.

  12. @guyrony, red and jarvis: hey! :-) I don't want to admit to anything. I think guessing is half the fun.

  13. Oh, I wasn't guessing. Merely inserting my own memories in the context. :)

  14. I was with my friend driving along a RLD when we witnessed 2 people arguing.
    Woman: Yu ar da wan hu tuk my walit.
    Guy: No. I em nat da wan hoo took yoor walit.
    W: I will dimand yu! I wil dimand yu! Damn Yu!
    -Later on, I saw that incident airing on a local tv show. B-D
    I'm sure there's no dull day in your area.

  15. @silly: that's a riot. ;-) and thanks for stopping by.

  16. you're living next to a red light district but everywhere you look, it seemed everything's painted GREEN.



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