Only a woman would say anything was better than sex. Well, anyway, there is no risk of a ladyboy claiming such a thing, at least not when she is young, beautiful and has a body full of testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone, the individual cocktail of this hormone soup dependent on the individual.
Whatever, it does nothing to diminish the sex drive, which is, basically, turbo-charged. A ladyboy (transsexual variant) is essentially as randy as a teenage boy should be, thinks of cock all the time and dreams every night of being ravaged by hordes of lusty Lotharios. I am not kidding.
That this passionate desire to be fucked blue is shared by Filipina natal women really does make the place special; the sexual juice is oozing out of the walls.
I am walking along a backstreet in Cubao on my way to the Baliwag Transport depot. I had intended to stay over and visit a ladyboy in Cavite, but after a night spent, literally, sleeping on a mat on a floor, my ancient body has given up and craves softness; not being certain of my potential hostess’ arrangements I have withdrawn and am returning home for a known value — a decent bed.
As I approach the depot I hear the familiar call: ‘Hey Joe!’
Usually I just wave my hand but this time it’s a girl standing in a doorway across the street. She’s pretty, fake blonde, so I cross over. The reaction of young Filipinas to an approaching foreigner — even one they have just saluted — is too delicious to miss and, as predicted, the girl collapses into hysterical giggles.
This means that a young man, standing close by, has to introduce himself. ‘Hi, I’m Eugene,’ he says, and I hold out my hand; he could be twenty-five but it’s hard to tell. Here, men look younger than their age.
‘Hi, I’m Rod,’ I reply, shaking his hand. I nodded to the girl, who is trying to recover her composure. ‘Who’s she?’ I ask.
He doesn’t finish. This girl is not about to be talked over; she has decided to seize the opportunity and is attempting to hook a mate. ‘I’m Angel,’ she completes, breathlessly.
I smile. She is missing several front teeth but is extremely pretty. And very young. She is wrapped in a towel and I can see her bra straps. The pervasion of sexuality is powerful and her allure is considerable.
‘And are you an angel?’
She giggles. ‘Yes, of course. Can I have your phone number?’
‘Umm, how old are you,’ I ask. Absent-mindedly I chuckle her under the chin and I can see the frisson run through her body. It’s not fear or, my goodness, outrage at being so treated. Instead it is a purely sexual response. Her eyes widen and go dewy. Angel is turned on.
‘How old are you?’ I ask again. As I say, guessing age is tricky.
‘Seventeen,’ she chirps, as about a dozen ways this could all go terribly wrong flash before my mind’s eye. But she has her phone out. ‘Give me your number.’ She is insisting, her voice serious. She’s not a giggling girl any more, she is a sexually potent young woman in a state of arousal. I glance at Eugene, who is grinning, a little bashfully. He doesn’t seem to be a pimp and for all her sexual brazenness, Angel is not a prostitute; it’s 11:30 in the morning, she’s just taken a bath and she has no make-up on. Just a girl chatting to her friends.
I nod and give her the number.
‘I’ll text you later,’ she says, then I chuckle her under the chin again and head off towards the bus terminus.
By the time I get on the bus, she has texted me several times.
‘When are you coming back to Manila?’
‘Do you have a Valentine’s date?’
‘Treat me a meal.’
The quid pro quo is unstated but patent: treat me a meal and you can fuck me. It’s not because she’s desperate to eat; it’s because she desperately wants to be fucked.
‘When is your birthday?’ I counter. Even for a reprobate like me, 17 is dodgy. Legal age of sexual consent here is younger, but long jail terms are available for men who have sex with girls under 18 ‘by false pretences’. That seems like altogether too important a hostage to give to the whim of a hormonally-intoxicated teenager. I shake my head…delightful though the prospect is…
‘December the 5th,’ she replies. I nod to myself; I’ll be back by then. Caution is so often the better part of valour and my chivalrous desire to deflower her is countered by what I know of the inside of Filipino jails.
‘Okay, I’ll treat you for your birthday,’ I text back.
I don’t know if I’ll hear from her again, but I’ll never forget her.
Europeans in the Philippines have several distinct advantages. The first is, paradoxically perhaps, a legacy of the US occupation of the islands after the American-Spanish War of 1898. As a result of Spain’s defeat, the US acquired several Pacific properties including Guam and the Philippines. Unlike the others, the Philippines did not settle in easily to the role of US colony and a bloody war of butchery was fought against the US occupying forces, in which at least 300,000 Filipinos died at their hands, and many more of starvation and deprivation in the aftermath.
The withdrawal of US forces and the liberation, finally of the islands in 1946, after over 400 years of colonial ownership, was cathartic. Although Spanish culture is more deeply ingrained, US culture is closer to the the surface. Filipinos revere all things American, from Harley-Davidsons to rock and roll. (Played at devastating volume.) Even their local brands of cigarettes are advertised as having ‘that real American taste’.
Amongst the other cultural icons so revered are white men.
I was shocked, when I came here first, at the level of discrimination that exists, not between Filipinos and other ethnicities, but between pale-skinned Filipinos and dark-skinned ones. Filipino ethnicity is essentially built on a Malay base, but with many later additions. There is a strong implantation of Han Chinese, for example, who tend to be wealthy and successful, largely because they carry on the Chinese ethic of hard work and frugality. Both the Spanish and the Americans left behind plenty of genetic material, too. Filipino skin tone ranges, as a result, from milk chocolate brown to creamy white, with almost everyone being somewhere in between.
This gives rise both to a hierarchy and to an industry. The paler one’s skin tone, the more beautiful/handsome one is. This is a universal rule. Extremely beautiful women with spectacular bone structures but dark skin are regarded as less attractive than plain, pale women, and the same is true of men. This is true across Asia, but in the Philippines it reaches extreme levels.
A whole beauty industry is devoted to ‘skin lightening’ products, some of them highly peculiar and frankly terrifying. Injected ‘glutathione’ for example, is a useless preparation sold as an ‘anti-oxidant’ in the West. In Asia it is specifically marketed as an agent to lighten skin tone. It’s not alone; all over Asia, people are spreading creams on themselves, scoffing pills and actually injecting highly dubious products into their bodies, on the grounds that it will ‘make their skin whiter.’
It follows that white skin is beautiful, and so white men are too. It is commonplace to become aware that one is being stared at by women, just as women complain they are stared at by men in the West. If you ask and the individual doesn’t just dissolve into hysteria or protest ‘nosebleed’ (inability to communicate in coherent English), she will tell you that it’s because ‘you are so handsome’. These are not hookers looking to sell you sex; they’re just ordinary women. Frequently a woman will hold out her arm next to mine — I am standard Scottish, formerly red hair, freckles and skin so white it could grace the Alps — and just sigh, deeply. ‘I wish my skin was that colour,’ she’ll say.
In other words, as long as you don’t smell bad (southeast Asians are far cleaner than Americans or Europeans and detest any body odour) and are not actually drunk as a skunk, any hopeless, ghastly old wreck of a white man will have pretty much unlimited success with Asian women.
Then, age is a virtue. Older men are regarded as sexually attractive. This is partly a function of the Philippines’ matriarchal culture, wherein only the oldest and most senior men have rank amongst the women (and gays.) Young men are seen as cute but older men are seen as hot and more, as far better husband material. The matriarchy proposes older men as partners for the matriarchs, so to a younger women, with aspirations to status in the matriarchy, having an older partner is a trophy.
Face is a constant here. Many things can garner face, and one of those, for a woman, and even more a ladyboy, is having an older, successful foreign partner — especially a white one.
You can fact-check this by asking Filipinas about Indian and Pakistani people. Most people from the subcontinent have considerably darker skin than the average in the Phils. The men are reviled. They are ugly and smell bad. They don’t know how to treat women. They are sex fiends and they are stupid. But I could show you plenty of ugly, smelly, sex-obsessed white men who have difficulty constructing a coherent sentence, whom the same women will happily fall at the feet of — or in bed with.
Then there’s dick size. The average Asian man as a smaller penis than the average European; so much so that the condoms available in Asia will be too tight for a larger Western cock.(So take your own.) However, dick size is a symbol of male status, and within the matriarchy, having high-status male partners reflects status on women. Exactly as men in the West might consider a woman to be more sexy on the basis of her perceived fertility, so are men counted here; big dick equals more baby-making power. Size matters.
For ladyboys it’s a little different. Most of them and, for that matter, gays, are totally obsessed by cock. They are literally dick-crazy and the bigger the better. Do not be surprised if your sexual target asks to see the size of your member. If she checks the size of your hands, she is not interested in your skeleton. She is operating on the widespread Asian belief that a man’s hand size is directly related to his dick size.
Many ladyboys are actually virgins because finding a local man to penetrate them is not easy. This, again, makes ‘foreign’ men a ladyboy magnet.
Take these together and the result is that, as long as you don’t smell and are capable of standing up, finding ladyboy lovers is almost as simple as standing still and letting them catch up!
I have just been to the Bureau of Immigration Visa Extension Office in Makati. I have to do this once every two months, for the economy of the Philippines. After five years wintering in the Phils, I known most of the office staff by name. My papers are in order and my money has been paid, but for unknown reasons, they’re not handing the passports with the new visas out yet. I sigh and decide the best thing to do would be to go and get a drink and some food.
I head for Market! Market!, a large mall in Taguig. It’s my favourite such place in Manila by far, because half of it is actually outside. Unlike some malls, there are plenty of beer-bars and tapsis too. So I indulge in a taxi — 105 pesos — and head for the bars at the back, near the van depot.
I randomly select one on the shady side and order a Red Horse. The waitress indicates a table inside (seedy) but I decline and point to the outside ones. I plan to check the menu while enjoying a cold beer and there is a shade tree over the tables.
At the next table I spot a ladyboy facing my direction. She has two companions, both with their backs to me. I catch her glancing at me and smile. She doesn’t respond to me but says something to he friends. A few seconds later, they both furtively look round to catch a glimpse. The one on the left is a peach, very pretty. When she looks round again — and thus demonstrates that she’s interested — I smile at her.
A smile like that in the Phils, when the person is looking at you, must be responded to. These are Asians, not European or American women. Politeness requires a response. So she grins back and seconds later does so again; that is a sign. I make a gesture with my hand — ‘May I join you?’ They all accept and seconds later I am with a group of three ladyboys.
They work in a call centre, servicing a loans company. They came off shift at 10 and have been here since; it’s now after one pm and they are all pretty micked. Several empty litre bottles of Red Horse litter the table, along with the remnants of various dishes — pulutan. Red Horse is strong beer, 6.9%, so its effect on a 45-kilo girl, already tired from working all night, is pretty impressive.
Although the one I’d smiled at first is the most talkative, she is not my principal interest here. The pretty one, who is, has pulled out a chair close to her. At 21, she is also the youngest, it turns out; here friends are both 23. Her name is Toni and she come
s from Dagupan in Pangasinan to the north. She has beautiful eyes and a lovely smile. She’s about five foot four, willowy slender, with fine skin and bones. And she’s three sheets to the wind.
Nothing’s better than sex
In a situation like this, many ladyboys will try to figure out if the man has clocked them or not. If they think not, they might try to carry on the illusion, but things will become a great deal more relaxed if they know that you know and are cool with it. The trick is in tactfully letting everyone know that you are aware without dropping too obvious a clanger.
Jez (the first girl) makes this easy when she refers to Toni as ‘he’. Now you have to understand that in Filipino, the word for ‘he’ and ‘her’ is the same (a classic marker of a matriarchy, by the way.) So they often make errors of gender in English. ‘Her,’ I insist. Now if that had been a genuine mistake, Jez would have been quick to explain; instead, she thanks me. By gendering Toni correctly, I have respected the whole group, but at the same time, we all now know. I know they’re TS and they know I know that.
I feel Toni’s hand slip onto mine and she squeezes it. It’s not sexual; it’s to say ‘thanks’. But she leaves her hand on mine anyway. There is a lovely complicity between ladyboys and the men who love them. This is going to be fun.
Better than sex? Don’t kid yourself.
This is an excerpt from ‘Travels with a Ladyboy’ out soon –meantime enjoy hot trans action in the Warm Pink Jelly Express Train!
Also published on Medium.