May 24, 1975
Well, I tried my first night Club in Manila. I’ve seen them advertised and I guess I thought they were all expensive, so I hadn’t ventured out before.
I don’t even remember the name of the one I tried. There are a large number of them on Roxas Boulevard. There were at least two others within 100 yards of the one I tried. First I ate a bite in a restaurant near the night club. But on the way there from my hotel the taxi driver really did a job of hustling. A single male getting into a taxicab in Manila, and especially on a Saturday night, must expect to be hustled. This taxi driver kept telling me that girls in the night clubs would cost $50 a night but the place he was promoting was cheaper (I never even checked to see how much cheaper).
Well, I entered the club at about 9:00 P.M.–no cover charge, no minimum. It was dark but I was ushered to a table near the dance floor, by flashlight. I soon got used to the flashlights as that was about all the light there was. It was quite a large place. I would guess it would seat 2-300, aside from the dance floor and the stage.
When I got to the table the waiter told me I could view girls through a one-way mirror near the men’s room. He said they cost 50 pesos an hour (about $7). I said I’d have a beer first–a little over $1. Since seeing female flesh exhibited in a like manner in Bangkok I was curious about this. So halfway through my first beer I went to the men’s room. Sure enough, there was a one-way mirror. And there must have been about 30 beauties in all sorts of dress and undress. But what surprised me was that so many were playing cards–using the real large cards. I saw right away that they weren’t playing bridge–I think they were playing some variation of rummy. While I was there another fellow or two were also looking. But there was a woman there too. I don’t know whether she was looking for a daughter, a girl friend or what.
After I went back to my table, I noticed there was a lot of action in that corner. There were two doors, one to the men’s room and one-way mirror, and the other to the room where the girls were. Attendants went into the girls’ room and brought some out. I saw that they took them to men at various tables. I asked a waiter about that and discovered that the 50 pesos an hour was for companionship at a table. What a comedown! So maybe the taxi driver’s admonition about $50 a night was right.
There was a very good band playing for dancing–with two very pretty girl singers. They put on a good show, including dancing, themselves. At 10:00 P.M. the floor show started. Lo, and behold, it was put on by the girls from “The Room.” All the girls poured out, some were in the show, and others on the sidelines heckling. Needless to say, the card games broke up. I don’t know how they got the actresses back who had been selected for companionship. The costumes were becoming, a few strips of cloth on some pretty nice bodies. The first act was comical–about six lovelies rolling and wrestling on the floor while the other card sharps on the sidelines cheered. The other acts were various dances but not stripping. Occasionally dancers would go through the audience and the lights would come on. Then there was a boogie-woogie contest, won by an American dancing with one of the girls from “the room.”
I had three or four beers. It must have been three, as I was only charged 25 pesos, 65 centavos (a little over $3). The floor show was quite enjoyable–not overly artistic. But, hell, what can you expect for three bucks.