Back in early 2016 I published a guest review of Queen’s Chamber in Manila written by a regular commentor on this site who goes by the name “European Guy”. To date he remains the only guest poster on this site. Exactly one year later I now present an updated and more detailed review from the original author that extends coverage to the attached spa. Guided by the principles of free speech and poetic license I am publishing the piece without any edits. At the same I obviously take no responsibility for the contents of this post. I trust that you will enjoy.
Quezon Avenue is a large thoroughfare in Metro Manila, lined with palm trees on its center island and scattered with “gentlemen’s clubs” on both sides. These venues either include karaoke as part of the package or make it the only attraction. KTVs have long been a staple of adult entertainment in Asia, although cultural and sometimes language barriers make them less than popular among Western visitors. Thankfully for the latter group, many of the KTVs on Quezon Avenue also include a massage parlor, in the form of an annex to the main building. These massage parlors are exactly what they sound like and allow for some quick “point-and-shoot” full service, in stark contrast with the karaoke part of the building where the only activities allowed are singing and drinking. The previously reviewed Pegasus and Classmates both follow this formula and the venue under review today is no exception.
The first peculiarity of QC is that it changes name a lot. Formerly Queen’s Castle, it was later renamed Queen’s Chamber, then was briefly known as Queen’s Charm, before settling for the current and minimalistic QC Bar. With this track record it wouldn’t be a shock if the venue changed name again in the near future. In any event, whoever is in charge of that decision seems determined to keep the same initials, so the readers of Rockit Reports will at least have this bit of trivia to use as a future reference. As for the massage parlor, it’s currently called Heiress (formerly Imperial), which ties in with the royal theme.
On a first visit, it’s easy to miss QC and its annex since they are small low-rise buildings, towered over by the much larger and more colorful Heartbeat KTV that sits right beside them. Usually there are lines of cars parked in front of them, which can further obstruct the view. Punters are advised to look up for the glowing neon signs.
QC is spread over two floors, with the upper one hosting a number of karaoke rooms and the ground floor offering stage shows and a bar. Young Filipinas dance all night on a stage placed against the wall on one side of the lounge. The performances last a few minutes each and are rehearsed to perfection, so they are nothing like the bored two-step seen in many go go bars. The girls at QC can actually dance. Many of them seem to thoroughly enjoy it, judging from the energy they bring on stage and the smiles they dispense around. While nudity is nowhere to be found, some of the dances are performed by girls in revealing clothes such as see-through lingerie. The same girls performing on stage can be taken upstairs to the karaoke rooms for some drinking and flirting, so it makes sense for a customer to hang around in the lounge and enjoy the show before choosing a companion.
Being one of the most budget-friendly haunts in the area, QC attracts a relatively young, working class clientele. The patrons are for the most part local Filipino guys, plus the odd Japanese or Korean customer (though the latter nationalities seem to prefer Chaparral KTV, which is just across the street from QC). Westerners are few and far between. The place tends to get crowded on the weekend and it’s often lively even on weekdays. Finding a seat is never much of problem as the lounge is packed with couches and tables. The bar itself is rather long, with plenty of stools, along with some fans to offer respite from the heat. Guys who prefer to cool themselves down with a drink can pick their favorite refreshment from a menu, listing all kinds of beverages and a broad selection of food. Drink prices start at 90 pesos (less than $2 USD) for a bottle of locally brewed San Miguel, and go up from there.
Those who linger at the bar will notice a coming and going of gals. That’s because every now and then a customer calls for a lineup, and the available girls strut out of a small room that happens to be only a few steps away from the bar, down the same corridor that leads to the toilet. Speaking of which, the restroom comes with a resident male “attendant”, who specializes in startling customers by performing an unsolicited massage while they use the urinals. This is actually a common occurrence in Southeast Asia. The polite way to go about it would be to either hand the poor devil a tip or to keep him at arm’s length with some well-placed gestures.
The girls are managed by a few mamasans, who can be seen roaming the floors and attending to the customers. Their attention is up for grabs by anyone who should need it, but getting a hold of them can get tricky on a busy night. Guys who don’t speak Filipino would do best to talk with Grace, the only one who can speak conversational English. She is easily recognizable by a large beauty mark and a pleasant attitude. Once in her presence, they can inquire about the availability of rooms upstairs and ask to be introduced to some girls.
Even though QC employs dozens of women, only a handful of them are available at any given time. Some regulars fancy booking their favorite girl for up to 5 hours in a row, limiting the choice for guys who show up later. A first-time visitor can only sit back while the available girls come shake his hand and introduce themselves, usually with a big smile. There’s quite a bit of variance in their body types and looks, but the girls generally know how to dress and some of their outfits can be quite sexy. One thing they all have in common is that they tend to be young. Most girls are in their early twenties and it’s not rare to come across 18-year-olds. If the customer finds someone he likes, the pair is escorted to a private room upstairs.
On paper, the only activities allowed inside these rooms are singing and making conversation. Needless to say, the reality is quite different. As the minutes pass and the girl gets more and more comfortable with her customer, things can move in any direction. The best KTV sessions can outclass a kiss bang in Seoul or an oppai pub in Tokyo in terms of action.
Speaking from my own experience at QC, guys who hit it off with a gal can look forward to an embarrassing amount of kissing, caressing and groping. On a lucky night, a blowjob might be on the cards. My best personal memory is that of a girl squeezing her nipples to spray thin spouts of milk on my face.
The management is aware of such happenings and for the most part they turn a blind eye. Some guys go as far as asking the mamasans to recommend them a girl who has a reputation for being wild. Short of intercourse, which is strictly forbidden, anything goes. With that said, I must also mention the fact that every door comes with a small and narrow window at eye level — just enough for the waitstaff outside to occasionally take a peek. If they sense that a couple is pushing it too far, they will hastily come up with an excuse to knock at the door and enter the room. For some guys this may add to the excitement; for others it’s just a plain annoyance.
Another caveat in the KTV formula is that everything must happen at the absolute discretion of the girl. Customers can’t demand that the girls do anything specific, other then sitting with them and keeping them company. Being gentlemanly, laying back and going with the flow usually leads to some kind of positive outcome. The experience is somewhat akin to dating in that it’s fairly unpredictable and comes with as many thrills as disappointments. Punters looking for a full release and no hassle are advised to skip QC and head straight for Heiress Health Palace next door, since KTVs have the opposite function of building up sexual tension.
KTV rooms are typically rented by the hour and QC is no exception. At last check (in late 2016), a standard room was 700 pesos per hour ($14 USD), up from 500 pesos only two years before. The rooms come with air conditioning, a coffee table, an average of two couches, and a full karaoke setup. Some of the rooms have large windows that look out onto the lounge area and the stage shows, making it possible to keep an eye on what’s going on downstairs. A fun little detail at QC is that all the rooms are named after famous royals, so every door comes with a plaque reading “Queen Elizabeth” or “King Henry” and so on, with a Pope or two thrown in for good measure.
The price quoted above is all-inclusive and no additional tip is required for the girl, but any food or drinks ordered while in the room will obviously add to the tab. The way a girl’s salary is calculated at QC is rather complex and byzantine, but to simplify, they are paid a percentage off the final bill and must meet a certain quota of drinks ordered per month, which means they are keen on getting customers to order as many items as possible. Unwanted expenses are easy to avoid for guys who can politely assert themselves (and are not in the habit of drinking themselves into a stupor).
Every hour or so, a waiter will knock on the door and poke his head in to ask the customer if he would like to extend his session for another hour. When the customer feels like he has had enough fun, he can decline the offer and ask for the bill instead. Payment is rendered directly to the waitstaff, inside the room. It’s good form to tip the waiters and the mamasan before leaving. A major perk at QC compared to other KTVs in the area is that little to no pressure is put on the customers when it comes to tipping, while in some other places nearby the staff will go out of their way to be unpleasant about it. This detail alone already makes QC stand out from the crowd.
Heading out of QC and walking a few steps to the left leads to the sister establishment Heiress Health Palace, where everything happens in a much more streamlined fashion. After being shown inside by a security guard, customers immediately make a stop at the counter to book a room for an hour. The price of a standard room is 1000 pesos ($20 USD) and it has been the same for a while now. Nicer rooms are available for little more than that, but since the basic quarters are fairly large and include a bathroom with a shower, there isn’t much of a reason to ask for the upgrade (barring the fact that the more expensive rooms have a jacuzzi).
After payment is rendered, a clerk of sorts brings the customer to a classic fishbowl, where up to two dozens girls sit all day, waiting. Pointing at one of the women should be simple enough a task, but it’s easy to get stuck for several minutes in the fishbowl area while frantically trying to make a choice. That’s because most of the girls at Heiress are nothing short of gorgeous. There aren’t many places in the Philippine archipelago where a man can walk into a room full of stunners, but the cramped and dingy fishbowl at the unassuming Heiress parlor is surprisingly one such place.
After picking a girl, it’s all business as usual. A massage may or may not be performed, depending on the gal. Most girls seem only interested in the main act, which is covered full service and everything that comes along with it. Some girls can be more mechanical than others, but it’s easy to forgive them on the basis of their looks. Few of them are clock-watchers and none of them are out to rip anyone off. It’s a standard oily massage operation, without any bells and whistles, but not warranting any complaints either. The girls expect a tip along the lines of 1500-2500 pesos for their time ($30-50 USD).
QC and Heiress have been in business for years, albeit under different names. They are among the most underrated venues of their kind in Manila, yet they have also developed something of a cult following. Whether it’s because of the quality of the girls, the politeness of the staff, the affordable rates or all of the above, locals keep returning night after night. That the two venues are welcoming of foreigners and respectful towards them is just the icing on the cake. I give them a combined and well deserved score of four stars.
Heiress Health Palace. 1179 Quezon Ave, Sta Cruz, Quezon City, 1104 Metro Manila, Philippines. Open every day from 10 am to 3 am.
QC Bar. 1181 Quezon Ave, Sta Cruz, Quezon City, 1104 Metro Manila, Philippines. Open every day from 8 pm to 5 am. Phone: +63 927 575 1872.