Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hosto Files: Part 1

There was a time in my gay bar going that I frequented a hosto bar. Almost every weekend night, and including some weekdays, I was there with my gay bar going friend.

Now I realized, it's been a year since my misadventures with hostos.

Thinking about it, I haven't written about hostos that much in this blog, despite the term being included in this blog's URL "machos and hostos." Most of the entries focused on macho dancers, but nothing specifically on hostos. 

It may be because I haven't encountered them again since I started this blog.

What is a hosto anyway? Funny thing is, I get a lot of questions about this, even though I thought the term was widely known, as the term "macho dancer." Perhaps, talking to actual hostos, I got a sense of what they are, and how different they are from macho dancers.

Similar to the hosutos in Japan, the hosto is a male entertainer working in nightclubs or bars that cater mostly to women. He performs onstage, to sing or to dance, and when selected by a customer, accompanies her in her table for some drinks and chit-chat. 

Despite prevailing perceptions on these men in the past decades, how they are paid like a prostitute to have sex, strictly speaking there's really nothing sleazy about hostos. These guys would always wear decent, sometimes formal, clothes in the night club, as compared to male strippers or macho dancers who would just be in their underwear. Simply put, he is a male G.R.O. (Guest Relations Officer), a male hostess. 

So when there's gossip about a young actor who went to Japan to perform as a hosto or entertainer, it doesn't necessarily mean that he worked as a stripper or male prostitute in some seedy nightclub. He might just have been dancing or singing or chatting with customers, fully-clothed, to earn some living. Not so gossip-worthy, right? Unless a special under-the-table deal happens between the hosto and his customer, which do happen. 

On the other hand, when a bar puts the word "hosto bar" in their bar's name, it doesn't necessarily mean that the men working there don't strip to show some skin. Actually, a lot of nightclubs where male stripping happens are in bars who call themselves comedy/KTV/disco/hosto bars (also spelled as "husto"). Even if the bar has a mix of strippers and fully-clothed G.R.O.s, the fact that customers can pay a premium to "table" from the bar's selection of male models means that they are a hosto bar at the least.

One is from a logo of an all-hosto bar, while the other
is from a macho dancing bar. Which is which?

As for all-hosto bars without macho dancers in them, I can already think of four in the Manila-Pasay area. There's Shining Star along Buendia, then heading over to Libertad is Solutions Disco Bar's 3rd floor (not the 2nd floor, which is a macho bar). Heading over to Malate, within the gay epicenter of Orosa-Nakpil, there's I heart Dreamguyz (formerly Superman or "Sow-per-man" as one MD spelled it), and along the way is Boy Next Door (which eventually turned into a macho dancing bar). I don't know any other existing hosto bars in Metro Manila, though I heard that the now-closed Club One Heart along Timog used to be a hosto bar as well. 

What these hostos do are exemplified in an interview done in a local news documentary (see starting from 5:08 in this youtube clip). Even if the news report featured hostos in Japan, the responses of these men do sound strangely familiar, even when applied to the local scene. 
"Nakukuha namin ang sahod namin kung marami kang customer. Hangga't marami kang nakukuhang customer, lalong lumalaki ang sahod namin." (We get our salary when we have lots of customers. The more customers we get, the larger we get paid.)
"Kaya, ganun lang trabaho namin, hakot ng customer." (That's our job, gather customers). 
Interviewer: "Paano ba humakot ng customer?" (So, how do you get customers?)
Response 1: "Bola-bolahin, yun lang... Bola-bolahin mo. Paulit-ulit lang." (Empty flattery... Just flatter them with words, again and again). 
Response 2: "Tatawagan mo sila before you work. Dito na ako sa trabaho. Then let's drink, ganun." (Call them up before you go to work. I'm here at work already. Then invite them to drink). 
Place them in Japan, or here in a hosto bar, or even in a macho dancing gay bar, those statements can apply. With men in this easy-money industry, macho dancer or male G.R.O. or hosto, everything is about the customer. 

(to be continued...)

GB Goer
Learn more: Lessons from Gay Bars in Manila
twitter: @gbgoer

Photo credits: Screen grab from

1 comment:

  1. ang sad nman ng "bola-bolahin" nyo lang :-(


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