Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Korean Invasion: Part 1

You see them almost everywhere. You see them walking along the busy streets of Quezon City or the sloping streets of Baguio. You see their shops and restaurants near the red-light district of Burgos Street in Makati or the dark alleys around Remedios, Guerrero, and Bocobo in Malate. You see them surfing inside the internet cafes of Timog, or working inside some high end beauty parlor in Buendia or strolling inside the Mall of Asia. You see newly set up institutions focusing on teaching them English. Heck, you even see their soap operas on local primetime TV and topping local music video charts, supported by advertising of some local packaged noodles, with a distinct flavor inspired by their cuisine.

And more recently in the past how many years, you see them in the gay bars of Manila as well.

Annyeong Haseyo!
Based on Department of Tourism's statistics, tourists from South Korea were the top visitors in the country the past year. They consistently rank either top 1 or 2 over the past few years, ranging from around 500K to 700K annual visitors. And supposedly, part of these visitors go to Manila's gay bars.

Every top gay bar I've been to, I've asked the gay floor managers what kind of patrons they would usually get. Typically, it would be the standard answer of gay men and matronas, with some groups of curious first timer women.

"How about Koreans?" I ask them. Every single gay bar manager, from the ones in Quezon City to the ones in Manila, would then reply, "Oh yes, even the Koreans."

Case in point
I was then wondering what would attract these Koreans to the Pinoy macho dancer. If it is said that Koreans are attracted to visit and eventually live in the Philippines because of cheap English education, plus the pleasant warm weather and tourist spots that are easily accessible by inexpensive flights, then what would make them enter a male strip bar and spend huge sums of money to sit with a young Pinoy male?

As with all virgin gay bar goers, the primary reason to enter a gay bar is curiosity. But how would they get curious if they wouldn't be aware of the presence of these seedy bars in the first place?

Well, for that, these Koreans should thank the local tour guides. Apparently, some tours include a night out in the macho dancing gay bar. Maybe not all of the tourists would want to see a half-naked Pinoy male dancing on stage; the Korean men might then proceed to the girly bars, while the women to the manly ones. Then what the tour guides would get in return with their referrals is a cut from the entrance fee. They'd tell these visitors that the entrance fee would be P500, which is more than twice the actual entrance fee in some bars, but still inexpensive for the won-earning tourists. The result: Korean women happy, gay bar happy, tour guide happy.

On promos and advertisements, I doubt there are TV ads in Seoul promoting "Wow Macho!" for Philippines tourism. But, according to one gay bar manager, as part of their promotions, their bar had a Korean website. They even have tie-ups with travel agencies in Korea. Hmmm... I wonder if the brochures for Boracay are being outsold by the brochures of a macho bar featuring a beaming Sandara Park beside a shirtless Joseph Bitangcol.

There is of course the so-called power of "word of mouth." For instance, a Korean girl living in the Philippines to study English enjoys her one-night experience beside a macho dancer. She then tells her Korean friends living with her in their close-knit little Korean town. These Korean friends then try the gay bar, spending only a small fraction of their huge allowance, enjoy themselves extremely, then recommend their other Korean girl friends visiting from Seoul. The word about an entertaining night spot, that features naked men for cheap fun conversation, then spreads to other curious girls in Korea. Idagdag mo pa si kurakot na tour guide. You then have a recipe for a good kimchi, err, booming market of giggly, wild Korean women.

Then there are the Korean matronas.

Before, I've asked one of the macho dancers about the deal regarding their bar's top patron, who was a Korean matrona. How could she afford to go to the expensive gay bar every night? Did she even have a job? Where does she get the money? Does she even have kids at her ripe age? Where are they? Where is her husband? Does she even have one?

Apparently, she does, and the poor guy is living in Korea. Well, he's not really poor, as he supposedly owns numerous buildings for rent here in Manila and back in Korea. Her children are also studying, but I am unsure if in Manila or in Korea. That perfectly exemplifies what I read in an article why some Korean fathers can still work in Korea while leaving their families to live in luxury in the Philippines, where cost of living is lower. A few managers admit that while there are van-loads of Korean tourists seen almost every weeknight in the gay bar, those Koreans who became gay bar regulars are the migrant negosyantes who already own retail shops or restaurants in Manila, and even more specifically, their wives who are given huge monthly allowances by their rich absentee spouse.

And those huge sums of money is what makes this Korean market very attractive for Manila's gay bars.

(to be continued...)

GB Goer
twitter: @gbgoer


  1. was in cebu and found my way to mandaue, to where else but...navigator! *wink* *wink* there was this group of young, pretty korean girls in the bar. did not give them much though at first, other than the expected what the hell are these girls doing in this place and at a school night at that? it would have stopped at that, but the boylet i was sharing my table with that night was a tattletale and related that this girlash has been bedding the macho dancers in their bar one after another. and she pays for the sex, no different from bekis that abound. what hot-blooded young turk would not jump at such a bonanza? nakakangkang ka na ng bata at majerbog (and the kwento is that she demands that her stud showers her with at least 3 loads of his manjuice, sankapa? masuba ang pokers davah?)may i earn ka pa ng anders? win-win ang situation sa mga julakeh. true enough, it didn't take her group long before they made their choice of manmeat for the night and left in a tarry. wet na wet na siguro ang keps ng fowtah. hahahahaha. at diyan mga beki nagtatapos ang ang ating mga ilusyon sa mga lalaking ating pinagpapantasyahan sa mga lugar na ito. sadness! pag na-aalala ko ang eksenang iyan. buti na lang at 'exotic' ang sperm donor choice ng bruja that night at di siya nag-ending na may nakatusok na chopstick sa magkabilang ilong niya habang nakahandusay sa gutter ng kalye sa mandaue. hahahahahahaaha.


  2. sila ang reyna sa whitebird!!!

  3. puwes, kanila na ang pagiging reyna. pwe! balajura sa shutawan at mga amoy bulok ang hininga dahil sa kalalafang ng kimchi. wahahahahahhaa. sila na ang reyna dahil kaming mga beki naman ang eventually na tatanghaling mga emeperatriz, kondesa, at duchess. davah? like ko yun ah, duchess. shalang shala. wahahahahahahahaa.

  4. @V, hmmm mabisita nga ang navigator minsan. di ko lang alam though kung maraming koreana also in the cebu gay bars.

    duchess? parang name ng doggie.

  5. hanggang kelan kaya ang eksena ng koreana baka uso lang yan ngayon?
    parang mga japaneses dati na nagkalat sa mga bars

  6. am not a dog person. ;) so i was actually thinking of british royalty. wahahahahahahaa


  7. V,

    How many Korean girls were in the group u saw at Navigator and did they each take a guy home or just one guy for the group?


  8. even sa solutions bar sa pasay maraming koreana ang nagpupunta...


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