Filipina Bar Girls – Don’t Call Them Prostitutes!!


Philippines Sex Industry – Filipina Bar Girls

People come to the Philippines for all kinds of reasons:  Beautiful beaches, sunny, tropical weather, world-class diving, educational and business opportunities and some of the most stunning scenic scenery to be found on the planet.  One reason that is less discussed publicly among ‘polite’ company is the draw of all the beautiful women.  

Yep, hotties and dime pieces are well represented in the Philippines and can be found literally everywhere.  Some men meet them through dating sites, some through personal introduction or wandering around malls and markets and others through the less discussed – but much more traditional – avenues of girly bars.  And yes, we are talking prostitutes here, but keep that between you and me.  The ladies that work at KTV and bikini bars throughout the Philippines will typically refer to themselves as GRO’s (“Guest Relation Officer”) or “dancers,” but when you get right down to it, they are prostitutes.  (Bit of advice:  To avoid the wrath of a Filipina, never, ever refer to them as that.!  So, yeah, for adventurous travelers like these (us), it’s not about the sweet roasted pig and aquamarine grottos of El Nido, but the girls. In other words:  It’s not the lechon baboy – it’s the ladies, baby!

Dirty Little Secrets
As noted, most guys coming to the Philippines won’t publicly admit they are there for the girls.  Instead, they’ll point to their photos of white-sand beaches, swaying palm trees and sunny skies.  For whatever reason, our repressed society still frowns upon folks who indulge in pleasant liaisons with beautiful ladies of the night.  And in this day of identity politics, they’ve even give them names:  Whoremongers, sex tourists and sexpats being the most often employed.  Perhaps identifying them (us) thusly gives them the impression of moral high ground or something along those lines.  More likely, though, it’s just pure resentment: They can’t do what we are doing and are simply projecting their resentment, jealousy and ire.

Good on them.

Western Hookers vs Filipina Bar Girls
Filipina bar girls aren’t like your typical streetwalkers found in the west.  Women there engaged in the World’s Oldest Profession are usually all business, older, skankier and most probably caught up in one drug addiction or another.  In the Philippines, it’s much more laid back and carefree.  The prostitutes here are more easy going, open and genuinely nice, and the vast majority of clubs won’t allow drug addicts to represent their establishments (or steal their money).  The bar girl experience in the Philippines is so different, in fact, that the vast majority of inexperienced recent arrivals won’t even realize that the nice girl who just came up to them in the “dance club” is actually a prostitute.  I have actually seen this with some friends of mine that came to the Philippines for the first time last year – I didn’t give them a heads up, and they innocently engaged with the first girls that came up to  them in the KTV.  They weren’t stupid though, and soon figured it out.  Still, it was pretty priceless moment, and we still reminisce over it.

Esmarte Sha
Filipina bar girls are pretty smart, especially when it comes to figure out their clientele.  (Scratch that – Filipina bar girls are generally pretty and smart.) When meeting a newcomer, it’s doesn’t take them long to conduct an assessment and differentiate between the wide-eyed new arrival and the long-term purveyor of the finer things in life.  Regardless of your experience level, though, they will generally be very convivial and engaging.  And I swear this isn’t just part of their “get-a-customer” routine: Filipinas just smile easily, are always ready to laugh and simply seem to be genuinely nice. This again being a big difference when contrasted against the more business-oriented Western hooker. 

“Don’t Call Me A Prostitute!”
As previously noted, Filipinas don’t like to be called ‘prostitutes’ or hookers.  Most, in fact, don’t even see themselves that way.  Observers would say that this is simply denial and a cultural reflection of doing anything not to feel shame (hiya in the local lingo).  In talking with bar girls, however, I have noticed that many envision themselves doing this for a short time.  Their ultimate hope is to eventually meet a foreigner (or rich local) who will possess a certain level of monetary comfort to provide for her and – usually – her family.  This theme of ‘landing a foreigner’ seems to pervade the local sex industry, with young and beautiful country girls hoping to be swept of their feet a la Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman. This is one of the big differences with the prostitutes here and the ones that most of us are more familiar with in the West who aren’t looking for a long term relationship – just money for their next fix.

Who They Are
The typical Filipina bar girl is usually from poor, rural areas of the Philippines. Many in Luzon come from the Visayas, making the long journey north in order to engage with the robust (and profitable) sex trade of Manila and Angles City.  Filipina bar girls typically tend to not be that well educated, and their English skills may not be all that developed.  Keep in mind, though, that I am speaking in general terms here – I have run into more than a few educated Pinay bar girls who speak English very well.  Most Filipinas turning to the sex scene do it for monetary reasons.  There are few well-paying jobs in the Philippines, and even somewhat lucrative call center jobs are inundated by a surplus of eligible (and usually overqualified) college graduates with excellent English skills. So, for the less educated Filipina, it’s either finding a low-paying retail job selling roasted chicken at Chooks to Go or becoming a bar girl.  One thing that is very important to keep in mind is that the majority of these women are supporting both themselves and their families back in the provinces.  Devotion to family and a willingness to sacrifice oneself is one of the cornerstones of Filipino culture.  That’s why I usually have no problem leaving decent tips to the nicer girls and not arguing too much over the agreed to prices.  Yeah, I’m a bit of a monger, but that doesn’t mean I’m not heartless!

And since we’re on the topic….

Bar Girl Costs
There is no typical price attached to spending time with a Filipina bar girl – they don’t come with price tags.  Usually, though, you can expect to pay between 2,000 pesos ($40 USD) to 3,000 pesos ($60 USD) or even more.  Factors that affect the cost can include how beautiful that particular bar girl is, how many bar girl drinks you have purchased and ultimately just how much she likes you and how you are getting along.  KTV joints that cater to this type of business and bikini bars will generally look to make as much as they can off of the transaction, so between the bar fine and drinks, you are looking at close to if not more than 3,000 pesos.

An alternative to the outright bar fine thing is meeting a sports bar girl.  Sports bars usually appear a bit more legit and wholesome than outright bikini bars but the game there is pretty much the same.  Owners of the sports bars know of these transactions, but they’ll not want their valuable employee scampering off during working hours.  Thus, you’ll have to get her number and contact her to negotiate a time and place to hook up – usually a liaison on your hotel the next day before she has to return to work at the sports bar.  Since there is no actual bar fine, the cost of these meetings is cheaper than an actual bar girl – expect to pay around 2,000 pesos.

But Cory, what about guys saying they are paying only 1,000 for a bar girl???  Well, it does happen, but its either A) she isn’t that attractive or ‘busy’ or B) she really, really likes her client.  Again, don’t forget that these girls are usually supporting themselves AND their families – you won’t usually see those 1,000 peso hook ups.


So, How Much Do They Make?

The hard-working Filipina bar girl seems to make between 20,000 to 80,000 pesos a month ($400 to $1,600 USD).  This sum is quite respectful in the Philippines given that the average mall salesgirl is lucky to bring in about 6,000 pesos a month ($120 USD). 

Nearly all bar girls have a base salary which is around 250 pesos a day. Some of the girls in the higher end clubs making a bit more.  This is for working six days a week (the standard in the Philippines). Most bars also share general tips among themselves, and they also receive about 50 pesos from the 150-200 peso “lady drinks” that customers buy them.  The biggest source of income, however, comes from their bar fine income.  Going with a customer is big bucks (plenty of pesos) and with a 3,000 peso bar fine, the girl can generally expect to get about 2,000. Given the base salary of 250 pesos and maybe 200 pesos on lady drinks in a night, the grand total for the day now stands nearly 2,500 pesos.  Add in a tip (for overachievers), and that’s not a bad day’s pay.  (For the Philippines.)

Note also that a good number of bar girls also receive income from admirers overseas.  These remittances come from ‘boyfriends’ that they might have previously met and are now helping to support them in hopes of a future reunification.  (Yes, guys do fall in love with bar girls!).  Some ladies might even have more than a few sources of overseas money coming in.

So, given all of the variables, it’s kind of hard to nail down exactly how much a bar girl makes.  Given the sorry state of the Philippine economy though, it’s safe to say that she is doing a whole lot better than many other Filipinos.

Bar Girl Tips
+ Bar girls work hard.  Treat them with the respect they deserve.

+ Try to have fun – it’s not all about the transaction
+ Keep your valuables locked away in a safe
+ Always – I mean always – use condoms
+ Give lots of ‘high fives.’  It’s a big thing here
+ Try to be nice when turning down a bar girl’s advances
+ Promise a good tip if she performs exceptionally well
+ Don’t be afraid to offer a later date/meet up – even a free lunch

In my next article, I’ll be giving a breakdown on what to expect during your first time in a girly bar.  Until then, stay thirsty!!

Cory X

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