Prostitution on Manila’s P Burgos Street: an updated overview


About a year-and-a-half ago I published a report on the sale of sex in Manila’s P Burgos Street. Things can change quickly especially when the atmosphere takes a hostile tone. Room has to be made for new reports and coverage of new areas but in my view there is value to updated reports that are rooted in real life. The following is presented with that in mind.

Since there haven’t been any major crackdowns that I know of in some time the action on P Burgos Street continues to keep pace as it has for years. There was apparently a quick raid on street workers in late 2014 but things got back to normal soon after.

Countless dozens of women and ladyboys continue work the street from the Oxford Suites Best Western Hotel down to the corner with Makati Avenue near the Jollibee restaurant. While some of these women are properly trained masseuses who want to attract clients to their shops nearby more are basically street walkers in uniform. The latter ladies travel to customer’s quarters and perform perfunctory massages for 500 Pesos ($11 USD) though they are looking for more. Many provide extra services to clients who request up to and including full service. Quoted prices for these services may start as high as several thousand pesos but the usual going rate in the area is around 1000 Pesos ($22 USD). Most of the real rub down girls are happy to perform similar acts for extra money in customer hotel rooms though action is limited or not allowed at all in the massage parlors they work in.

The bars that line P Burgos Street still function as they always have and remain the main draw in the area. While there are a few restaurants like the American diner themed Filling Station and some hookah bars that bring in their share of people it is hard to imagine that the street would get any real foot traffic if the go gos went the way of the dodos.

Rouges continues to be one of the cheapest bars on the street. Drink prices are among the best on the strip and the ladies who work the bar don’t expect huge sums of money to spend time with customers. Bar fines are probably the lowest on P Burgos at 1,600 Pesos ($35 USD). On the other hand the place is dark inside and illuminated with ultraviolet lights that make it hard for people to see each other. Since so many moms work the place I imagine the conditions lead to a lot of surprises outside. The low drink prices and free flowing atmosphere also attract a lot of people which can quickly crowd the place out and the bar seems to be a magnet for guys who get drunk and act like utter maniacs.

Plan B continues to have a large staff of women that includes some of the better looking lasses on the street. It has been that way since it opened a few years ago. The bar has a good layout but it opens late and has some of the highest rates around. A can of Coca Cola runs a whopping 200 Pesos ($4.50 USD) and lady drinks are of course much more. Bar fines run into the thousands of pesos and the women who work the place expect a payment at least equal to that to spend time with a customer outside of the place. There are also a large number of older less attractive bar hustlers roaming around the bar in full dresses trying to bilk guys out of their cash through games like Connect Four or simple passive aggressive pressure.

Kojax around on Badajos Street is owned by the same people. It is also a newer bar with an interesting layout that is staffed by plenty of attractive dancing girls. Prices are just as high at Kojax as they are at Plan B. There are no aged bar hustlers around but waitresses take up their task and push customers to buy drinks for ladies at the bar. Signs saying the place is in a three month soft opening phase have been up for over a year and are now joined by other signs warning people of 1000 Pesos “consumption taxes” for breaking house rules.

High Heels further up the street is still in business though it never seems to attract to many customers. The place staffs a decent number of twenty-something dancing girls who wear bikinis along with several mostly older gals in full dress who work the floor. Drink prices are normal for the area but bar fines are 3,600 Pesos ($77 USD). Women of course expect several thousand more pesos to be given to them by any guy they join outside of the bar. Bar fines can be negotiated with the management by customers who purchase lots of drinks or take more than one lady out of the place. A VIP room in the back requires customers to pay a bar fine too though it allows action to take place right on premises which most women working the place seem willing to provide for a tip of around 2000 Pesos ($43 USD).

Tickles is a small bar that usually has a two or three women working at any given time. It has been open for years and continues to maintain the same level of service. There are few to no unattractive or overweight women on staff. There are usually several good looking ladies on the stage at any given time and most if not all are keen to see customers outside. Drink prices are normal. Lady drinks cost a little more but are still priced within reason although a roaming mamasan likes to take walk around and take gulps of various glasses to keep the transactions coming. Customers must pay an early work release rate of 3,500 Pesos ($75 USD) if they want to leave with a woman on staff. The women expect an additional gift of 2,500 to 4,000 Pesos from customers who take them back to a room or the short time hotel next door.

Wow Wow Wow has been around for ages and has kept prices pretty reasonable though the place seems like it may have gone through a little shakeup recently. The staff is small and mainly made up of average looking women. The only thing that sets the bar apart is that the ladies wear fishnet shirts that don’t leave much to the imagination. Unfortunately the place is managed by a guy who rules with an iron hand and that seems to put a damper on the mood most times. To their credit most of the women who work the bar remain cheerful even in the face of an overbearing boss.

Bottoms is probably one of the most popular bars on the street. Even though it is big and long with plenty of seats it does fill up on busy nights. The main draw is a staff of several dozen women including some super busty babes who dance with things like suspenders on that cover almost nothing up top. Prices are average and the place is otherwise not really notable.

There are plenty of other bars around and they continue to operate as they always have. There hasn’t been much in the way of openings and closing on the street in some time. Apparently the places make money even with rates that are much higher than most of the Philippines and even much of the world. At least some of the area’s success must be due to the more aggressive women working some of the bars but supply and demand, presentation and big spenders who like to make it rain probably have an equal part to play.

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