Sunday, January 2, 2011

"Javier": Hosto Turned Macho

I only met "Javier" once in a hosto bar. It was August, my first time in the bar, “Neigherbood.” My two gay bar-hopping pals visited the place the previous week, and were raving about the "quality" of men there -- not only good-looking. but can converse well (and even text properly in English). One of the guys they tabled was "Javier", and they told me to get him on our next visit.

I didn't get to table Javier the entire night in that August visit. He was occupied with another guest at that time. When his guest left a few hours after, he went to our group, but unfortunately, I was occupied with another guy already.

Javier, late 20s, was totally good-looking. Yeah, boys in these hosto bars were supposed to be good looking at the very least, in their own kanto-boy-ish, er-ish (constuction work-er, driv-er, etc), or korean-pop-inspired-ish appeal. At 5’8, he was not the tallest. He was not muscular at all but not too thin, had a fair complexion, quite smooth and flawless in his symmetrical face. He had a boyish face that also revealed he’s nearing 30. He had attributes that sounded like the average Pinoy man working in these bars. But he seemed different.

He seemed to have been raised in a middle-class or well-to-do family, from his manners and his clean-cut refined image, and not in the streets of Tondo or fields of the province under the scorching skin-darkening sun. He could've been a commercial model for a toothpaste or shampoo ad, with his smile and neatly styled naturally wavy hair. Or if he just had more height, he could’ve been in runway shows for some local designer. He could've been my schoolmate, possibly the popular upper classman surrounded by the campus heartthrobs, or the soccer varsity jock surrounded by fellow handsome team mates. I could've seen him before, as the lead actor's best friend in a local TV show somewhere, or the officemate who was always in demand to host the office parties, or the gentlemanly suitor of my cousin living in Alabang. But there he was, a clear stand-out from the rest of the boys, sitting among us, working in a hosto bar.

From the snippets of stories I got from him and my gay pals, apparently, he has already worked as a hosto in Japan before, for more than a few years. He has done VTRs for some modeling jobs, but never got to an actual advertisement. He said he simply wanted to try out this type of “hosto” job, but he vowed never to work for a macho dancing bar (He couldn’t see himself trying to dance bare sensually in front of crowds). He was coy about his love life, if he had a girlfriend, or wife, or even kids.

On our next visit to the same bar the following week, we found out Javier already left. He only lasted for more than a week. But during his stay, he was apparently one of the most sought-after guys there. Never vacant, he always had a customer requesting for him. A potential star of the bar had left, and we didn’t know for what reason. Pahinga (to rest), perhaps

Three months after, just last December, my gay pals and I visited “Home Base,” the macho dancing bar. We wanted to see who the new recruits were, and apparently there were quite a lot since we last visited. The manager introduced the new boys, three at a time. On the third set, to our surprise, “Javier” was being introduced to us as a newbie. Even if we knew him before, we didn’t pick him.

That night, I was observing Javier dance up on stage. He added a bit of weight -- fat, not muscle. His age of 30 was now obvious. His hairline, which was just slightly receding, was more obvious than before. He never removed his sando when he danced, though it revealed a tattoo on his arm that we never saw in the wholesome hosto bar. On stage, he just stood there, barely moving from side-to-side, and looked very awkward, self-conscious and obviously amateurish. But he had a smile on, chuckling now and then to some unseen macho friend or guest in the bar, as if he was making fun of his new job, or just in disbelief that he was on stage dancing. Amidst the macho dancers in Home Base, he now looked very ordinary.

The once-upon-a-time star of the hosto bar has become just-one-of-those in the macho bar.

Last I heard, Javier has not showed up for work for a week or two, and apparently, “resting” again.

GB Goer
Learn more: Lessons from Gay Bars in Manila
email:; Follow at twitter: @gbgoer


  1. this is a sad story in it's entirety... i feel for javier. obviously, he was 'forced' into doing something he does not want to do.. kudos for sharing his story though i certainly would want to know more about what really happened.

  2. hi anonymous. thanks for the comment, and the concern for our dear javier. last i heard (a few months ago), he was jobless and didnt want to meet up with us outside the bar, because he considered himself "pangit na."


Feel free to share what you think