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Manila (Philippines), December 8th 2008
It is generally known that the Philippines is one of the most famous destinations for western men for sex holidays. This becomes especially visible when you take a plane to the town of Clark, a one hour drive north from Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. Clark is more and more served now by budget airlines, like Air Asia and Cebu Pacific Air. Clark is the sex capital of the Philippines and mainly consists of so called go-go-bars, where hookers (officially called GRO’s = Guest Relation Officers), ‘serve’ the sex tourists. Because the Bangkok to Clark flight was the cheapest flight we could find to the Philippines, we decided also to check-in on this sex flight.
Clark is a former Airbase of the Americans in the northern part of the Philippines. The base is setup after the Americans freed the Filipino’s from the Japanese at the end of World War II. The airbase also played an important role in the war that the Americans fought in Vietnam. Since the presence of the American soldiers, a huge prostitution business was originated from the sexual demands of the American soldiers. It is calculated that around 100,000 hookers found a job around the base during the peak times of American presence. The Americans left the basis at the beginning of the 90s, and with them also a huge part of the sex industry left. The approximately 10,000 prostitutes that are still active in Clark, serve now the needs of the Western and Japanese male sex tourists. Research tells us that around 15,000 Australian men alone visit Clark on a yearly basis for the sex. Sex with minors is becoming a huge problem. More than 15% of the prostitutes are minors, and a big part of them are still children. This amount is still growing. Officially, prostitution is forbidden in the Philippines, but in a country in where corruption is normal, sex tourists can get away with most of the things they do. Convictions are very rare. This has to do with the fact that many people, who are hired to check if the laws are observed, are bribed by the people in the sex industry. Besides that, many police men and politicians have interests in the industry.
When we wanted to check-in for the flight from Bangkok to Clark, we immediately knew that we were in the right line at the check-in counters. The flights to Clark are characterised by the high number of western men, most of them in their 50s or higher. Besides that, they of course all travel alone. We estimate that 80% of the passengers on our flight could be classified in this group. From a couple of these guys, we could already see that they travelled to the Philippines before, because they were accompanied by a 30 to 40 year younger Filipino ‘beauty’. It is almost pathetic to see how these often old and greasy men, who are wearing shorts, Hawaii t-shirts and white sneakers, are walking hand in hand with the Filipino girls. And these girls are not the ugliest girls you can find in the Philippines. The girls with the perfect proportions, wearing tight jeans, belly shirts and high heel shoes, are walking through the departure hall as if they were the queen. Do these guys really think that they found the love of their life, is what we always think when we see them walking? Or are these guys just in for the sex and the feeling that they are still wanted? One thing is sure; in their home country they would never be eligible anymore for women with these looks. But the western sex tourist is very demanding in the Philippines. They only go for the most beautiful girls. We haven’t seen a guy yet, that walks around hand in hand with a ‘normal’ looking Filipino girl, not to mention with a woman of approximately his own age. The big question is; should we feel sorry for these guys? Probably not. The guy is too happy with the sex he has and the feeling of still being a Don Juan, while the girls are offered a much more comfortable life than they had before. So, it is a classical example of a win-win situation.