How the Balibago district of Angeles City shamelessly markets recreational sex and prostitution
The Philippines has its very own “Sin City”—no other than Angeles City, Pampanga. The Balibago district, in particular, takes pride in being the “entertainment capital” of the country.
Al Jazeera recently ran a moving photo-essay about the children of sex tourists in Balibago, and we highly recommend you take a look at the feature. Some of these children have never met their fathers, and are teased for looking different from their peers.
From Al Jazeera:
But when the sex tourists depart, they sometimes leave more behind than they’d arrived with.
Although prostitution is illegal in the Philippines, sex tourism is thriving (“an estimated $400m is spent on prostitution each year”), and a significant number of sex workers are minors.
“According to a former US ambassador to the Philippines, 40 percent of all visitors to the Philippines are sex tourists,” the report cited.
Harry Thomas, the ambassador who made the comment, has apologized for mentioning this statistic “without the ability to back it up.”
But Balibago’s prominence as a red light district is evident through simple Google searches alone. As one Reddit user pointed out, the initial search results puts Angeles City’s sleazy reputation front and center. (Although, of course, this may also have to do with a user’s recent searches.)
Balibago.com offers a guide to Fields Avenue, a street lined with girlie bars and nightclubs.
According to the website, Fields Avenue has the two things one needs for “an experience like no other”—women and alcohol.
“Balibago can only be described as an area dedicated to alcohol and sexy young women…In a city that never sleeps, these women are desperate to show you a good time and are known for their love of recreational sex.”
These women are “praised for their tolerance to Western culture” and are “hungry to meet you regardless of your age, weight, physical appearance, interpersonal skills, wealth or social class.”
Clearly, the “you” here refers to pleasure-seeking foreigners who arrive at Clark Airport by the dozen.
As with the real Sin City, these hedonists might impulsively decide to wed their “Angeles sweetheart,” hence the following links on the Balibago website:
But as Al Jazeera’s story has shown, rarely does a night of fun end in marriage or, more importantly, parental responsibility.