A Santos Street or blow road as it is colloquially known is somewhat of an icon in the history of the Angeles bar scene. Many have experienced A. Santos Street numerous times in the past, others have visited this area a couple of times and can hardly wait to do so again, some others have heard all about it but are yet to visit whilst still others have no idea what goes on here and thought the nick name referred to the cooling breeze that sometimes blows down the street during the rainy season.
Looking down Blow Road towards Honky Tonk bar.
To understand blow road, what it represents, the services offered there and how it is changing, it is first necessary to look at the history. Exactly when A. Santos Street came into existence is a matter of debate but the most common opinion places it around about the late seventies, early eighties. The blow job bars were a direct reflection of the American influence which at that time was the predominant influence thanks to numerous air force and army personnel that occupied Clark Air base. This was in some ways the beginning of the bar industry in Angeles. Prior to blow road there were numerous specialty blow job bars scattered throughout the Angeles bar area but there was no single street dedicated exclusively to this service. Blow Road was the first area where bars offering a specialty service (blow jobs) were grouped together all in one street. It seems to be a common Filipino trait to group specialty shops together, for example, if an internet shop opens in a certain area and proves to be profitable invariably numerous other internet shops will suddenly appear in the same area. These same phenomena can be observed in many different countries throughout the world and this is exactly how blow road developed.
The Angeles bar scene has changed dramatically since the times when small back to basic blow job bars proliferated however given their history the blow job bars on A. Santos Street with their back to basic style and promise of sexual gratification to some extent represent the beginning of the commercialized bar business and their continued existence 40 years later demonstrates that they represent the hidden heart of the Angeles bar scene. The Blow Job bars are basically the cheaper end of the Angeles bar scene, the drinks and the bar fines are also cheaper with an emphasis on instant sexual gratification in the form of an on premises short time. In a way Blow Road represents the cheaper sleazier side of the Angeles bar scene and it primarily attracts people who are either on a budget or seeking a no nonsense blowjob by an accomplished performer. Having said that here is also an element of wealthy patrons who regularly visit blow road simply because it represents great value for money and they like the no nonsense, results orientated, approach. There is also a certain element specifically amongst the wealthy patrons who are attracted the more simplistic sleazier side of the bar business. Here in the iconic Blow Road its back to basics and what you see is what you get its cheap sex in cheap surroundings and in its own way an essential part of bar business that attracts us to Angeles and makes us refer to this little dust bowl as paradise.
The Black Pearl still remains the quintessential blow job bar.
When I think back to my early days in the Philippines the first blow road bars that spring to mind are the Mega Head and Super Head, however, this was only in the early nineties just after Mount Pinatubo’s explosion and I am sure this area has seen many bars come and go long before the Mega and Super Head bars. The names of these two bars reflect the American influence since it is common for Americans to refer to oral sex as “head”. The two Head bars were owned by Terry Mathews who ironically is Australian and is still around today being the current owner of Owls Nest Bar. The two Head bars like all the bars on Blow Road operated on the no frills, back to basic approach, and this approach is still very much evident in the Santos Street bars of today and they provide the antithesis of the bigger more commercialized Fields Avenue Bars.
Another bar, the name of which now eludes me, used to specialize in “sample blow jobs”. This involved the customer walking in and sitting at a large table with a curtain underneath it, the girl would then crawl underneath the table and proceed to perform oral sex on you. The sample blow job would last for 3 minutes and would cost a massive 100 piso. If you ejaculated during the sample the cost would be 300 piso. Whilst this may seem cheap it was in reality a clever marketing ploy since 90% of the time the male customers would pay for the girl to finish what she had started which would involve an extra 300 piso payment, for the short time, on top of the initial 100 piso for the sample.
Another thing I really liked about the old days was the bar lingo that evolved around the blow job bars. Back then they almost had a type of secret language to describe certain actions. For example it was common place to hear lines like, “Honey ko I give you Colgate BJ” (This was a blow job with toothpaste which would cause a slight tingling especially when a menthol flavored toothpaste was used) or “it’s nice with ice” (this was a blowjob where the girl would be halfway through and suddenly put ice in her mouth causing a sudden chill). In today’s blow road these sayings seemed to have faded into obscurity and have been replaced by a more direct parlance where the girls will simply offer you a blow job straight out and not bother with quaint little expressions.
The Blow Road Bars are very much the antithesis of the bigger, higher profile, commercialized, girlie bars that seem to be proliferating in the modern day Angeles bar scene. The A. Santos Street bars unlike their bigger sister Fields Avenue bars are small and epitomize the no frills approach. In these bars you can expect to find a small balcony area overlooking the street. This area will traditionally have comfortable chairs where patrons can mingle with the girls who work in the bars and enjoy a cool drink while they watch life on the street go by.
Shagger and his new found friend at Shadows.
Shagger happily ensconced on the balcony of Gobbles.
The outside balcony area will normally be composed of a high shelf where customers can rest their drink and a series of chairs or in some cases a comfortable lounge where customers can sit back and relax whilst they wile away the time in a comfortable environment. These areas are at best very basic, the furniture is either plastic chairs or old lounges which are comfortable but have seen better days. The area is kept cool by strategically placed overhead fans, the range of drinks is very limited and service is kept to the basics. For example these bars do not have any set waitresses but rely on the “working girls” to double up and perform the waitressing duties as well. There are no uniforms or bikini clad dancers in these bars but rather just a series of girls dressed in normal street clothes all of whom are invariably orally talented.
Mvpimp surrounded by a newly found fan club on the balcony of Shadows.
The one exception to this is Honky Tonk where the girls actually wear a Honky Tonk uniform however they are still not formal waitresses or dancers.
The Honky Tonk girls are unique in that they actually wear a Honky Tonk bar uniform.
Two new little spinners at Honky Tonk looking good in the red Honky Tonk uniform.
Another interesting aspect of the Blow Road bars is how the girls and the customers relate. Whenever one visits these bars you will normally see regular customers who use the bars as their local watering hole. In most cases the girls know these customers by name and the customers know the girls by name. Very obviously these customers have indulged in the girls services before yet there is a sort of laid back respect between the girl and customer and no possessiveness is encountered here. In fact quite the opposite is true and it is not uncommon to see people riding or walking by, smile and stop to chat with the girls whom they have obviously been with before.
One major difference between Blow Road Bars and Fields Avenue bars is the type of girl you will find and how they are presented. In the bigger Fields Avenue bars the music is louder and the girls are presented in bikinis as they gyrate their bodies on a well lit stage. Typically these girls will have their hair done, their nails polished and will wear makeup along with high heals or even boots. The Blow Road bars are a far cry from this, here the girl’s wear little if no makeup, and there is no commercial presentation of sexuality. These bars place an emphasis on the no frills approach where the girls wear little if no makeup, flat heal shoes, no lipstick and very basic clothing such as shorts and a t-shirt. The girl’s sexuality in these bars is raw and uncompromised, in most cases they know exactly what their job is and how to perform it. Do not expect fashion sense or cultural erudition from these girls, they are here to perform a job and in most cases they are extremely skilled at it.
Two of the little hummers from Shadows bar
Another major difference between the Blow Road bars and the Fields Avenue bars is the number of girls they employ. Generally speaking the Blow Road Bars will employ the basic minimum of girls which ranges from ten through to, in the case of Shadows, thirty girls. These bars will generally be open 24/7 and the girls will mostly work a 12 hour shift. These bars are generally cheaper than the main Fields Avenue bars and as such the girls will place an emphasis on the quantity of customers not the quality. When we researched this article we asked many of the girls what sort of tips they got and in general they stated they were happy with a 100 to 300 piso tip and very happy with a 500 peso tip.
One interesting aspect of the Blow Road bars is that the girls receive no salary but instead survive on “commission only”. In Fields Avenue it is not uncommon to see salary hikes as the various bars compete to attract the hottest girls and the cost of these salary hikes is passed onto the customer in terms of higher prices. This is certainly not the case in Blow Road where all the bars neglect to pay the girls working there any salary. The no salary aspect keeps the girls keen to get a customer and to perform well. The blow road girls rely on the customers tips as much as they do the commission from the bar. It also has the pleasant effect of helping to keep costs to a bare minimum which is passed onto the customer in terms of lower prices. When I first discovered this back in 1996 I was working in Illusions and several girls from a blow road bar came and worked there. The girls lasted for two weeks then slowly but surely began to drift back to the blow road bars where they came from initially. I was perplexed by their disappearance figuring that since they received no salary in the Blow Road bar they must be making more money in Illusions. After they had left I posed this opinion to Wolfy the owner and he promptly contradicted me saying in actual fact the girls could make more money in Blow Road even without a salary than they could at Illusions. I asked him how is this possible and he replied “do the math’s”. “A productive girl in Blow Road can do 3 or more short times a day followed by a long time” At this period in time the short time was 500 peso of which the girl got half as commission and the long time was 1000. In short she could earn 750 piso commission on the short times plus whatever the customer tipped her then on the long time she could earn a further 500 plus whatever the customer tipped her when completed. With the average tip in those days being 100 for a short time and 300 for a long time the girl could earn 1850 piso for a days work. On the other hand in Illusions she had to dance and would get a salary of 100 piso. The bar fine in those days was 1000 piso and the girl would get 500. The average tip was 300 piso which would mean earnings of 900 piso for a nights work. The money may be better and the work less physically strenuous in the BJ bars but there is also a downside and that is the fact that in the normal dancing bars the girls work a 9 hour shift but in the BJ bars they work a 12 hour shift.
One thing I always found amusing was the seemingly contradictory advent of the cherry girl blow jobber. For me a girl who maintains her virginity yet is adept at oral sex is a contradiction in terms yet in blow road this is a common occurrence. Many times I have met girls who in line with the moral traditions of Philippine society have maintained their virginity yet these same so called good girls are more than adept at performing oral sex. Once again I think this boils down to economic reality juxtaposed against societies moral expectations. The girls get a job performing oral sex to meet economic pressures yet to stay in line with moral expectations she remains a virgin. I have always found the idea of young innocent cherry girls performing oral sex for a living contradictory and at the same time intriguing. They are definitely one of the contradictions that make blow road such an interesting and unique place. For the experienced mongerers whose taste veers towards the ‘fresher” inexperienced girls then the Blow Road bars should certainly be checked out periodically.
A cute cherry girl in whose mouth butter wouldn’t melt yet she can perform oral sex in the blink of an eye.
There are a series of questions which are commonly asked regarding the bars on Blow Road and two of the most common are how do the girls get a job like this and secondly how are they taught the oral skills they so rapidly become adept at. Over the years I have asked the Blow Road girls on many occasions how they got to be working on Blow Road and over four generations of bar girls the stories are nearly always the same. Invariably these girls find their way to Blow Road because while residing in the province they have met a friend or a relative who has been working in blow road and has returned to the province with what looks like conspicuous wealth. This conspicuous wealth will normally take the form of cash or jewelry and it is only a matter of time before the provincial girls get curious and start to ask questions how this wealth was obtained. This is when they find out about A. Santos Street and working in the bars. Most of the time they will be told the job is as a waitress serving rich foreigners which in turn gives them an acceptable excuse to tell their parents. In the larger Fields Avenue bars there seems to be an over abundance of Samar girls but in Blow Road I have always found a proliferation of girls from Leyte.
When it comes to teaching the new girls how to perform oral sex several methods are utilized. Firstly there is the practical demonstration using a banana or zucchini. This is normally conducted by the mamasan or by the resident bakla, (the baklas or gays are a fact of life in the Philippine blow job bars), or by one of the more experienced girls. The banana demonstration will normally be accompanied by a running diatribe from the person instructing and the more experienced girls who always seem to want to put in their two cents worth whenever these instructional events occur. A second method will just be word of mouth where a mamasan or older girl will take the new comers aside and simply answer any questions the new girl may have. A third method will be the new girls just keeping their ears and eyes open. Often they will listen in to the conversations of the other girls or the baklas both of whom will commonly swap graphically detailed tales about their experiences and techniques utilized. Lastly they have what is certainly my favorite teaching method where a new girl is invited by a more experienced girl to actually watch and sometimes participate, in a real life blow job.
Over my years of managing bars and living in Angeles I have been asked many questions and in regards to blow road some of the more common are what is the average age of the girls that work here, do they do threesomes and do they have to go to social hygiene like the girls working on Fields Avenue. To be truthful I have no idea what the average age of the girls working in the bars is but I can state that it is always worth checking out the blow road bars because there is nearly always some new recruits arriving from the provinces and being part of their learning curve I have found to be a very pleasurable experience. We also asked the girls what were the peak times for customers and they told us from 5 to 8 and then again from 2 to 4 in the morning. From this we hypothesized that many customers will come down blow road to get their rocks off prior to starting their bar hop and then later in the early morning hours there is the second wave of customers who having failed to find anything that takes their fancy in the mainstream Fields Avenue bars will visit the Blow Road bars for quick sexual gratification.
There are also a number of other commonly asked question and two of the most common are do these girls go to hygiene and where NOT to go on Blow Road or more accurately what bars not to frequent. The answer to the first question is yes the girls on Blow Road have to go to hygiene once a week just like the girls who work the Fields Avenue bars. In regards to the second question when people ask this they are generally referring to the Baklas or the lady boy bars. Up until about 2 years ago the Lady Boys were a constant on Blow Road hunting for customers day and night but thanks to a police crackdown these days they are less prevalent and only really come out at night time. What’s more when they do come out you will normally find them on the left hand side of the road (looking down A Santos Street from Kokomos). As the night progresses the lady boys gets bolder and make their way to Fields Avenue where they normally hang outside La Bamba Rhapsody and Lollipop all bars which are closed by 3AM.
Other commonly asked questions include are the girls photo friendly and do they do threesomes. When it comes to photographs on the whole I have found the girls approachable and photo friendly except when performing oral sex activities. They will always draw the line at this point, in fact none of the bars would let us take a photo of their short time rooms for fear of repercussions. In regards to threesomes well I have managed to do this twice with blow road girls but on the whole it has been my experience that they are not so much into it. They will easily do two girls performing oral sex but when it comes to “playing” with each other they tend to play shy and decline. It has been my experience that these girls learn very quickly to regard sexual activity especially blow jobs as a job and not for pleasure. Many people have asked me is this area safe at night and are there mamasans or bar managers in these bars. In regards to the safety question I have never encountered a problem here but my advice would be to stay away from the Baklas as consorting with them in the early morning hours will invariably lead to trouble. With the advent of the new up market hotels such as the Pacific Breeze and the Wild Orchid this area has indeed by cleaned up, street lights put in and the sleaze element is much less pronounced than in days gone by. In regards to the Mamasan and Manager question the answer is yes for both. All Blow Road bars will have a Mamasan who will often double up as the manager or even head waitress. This is a prime example of multi tasking in order to keep the operating costs down. One bar Honky Tonk has a well known manager/owner named Ken who is always ready with a yarn or two shared over a friendly drink.
Wow cocktail lounge which is frequented by both lady boys and real women.
Personally I do not like the Lady Boys as they are normally ugly and are prone to pick pocketing or sometimes straight out mugging what’s more the vast majority of them are supporting a drug habit due to their constant need to be skinny. Many years ago the Lady boys would proliferate on Blow Road and they were famous for soliciting customers and performing oral services right on the street. This was all very well except for the fact that whilst giving head their hands would be riffling through the customers pockets seeking out wallets or other valuables.
Despite the numerous detractions of the Lady Boys they are not all bad and do indeed perform a valuable service when they teach the girls how to perform a blow job. I have heard it said many times that only a man can truly know what another man wants and I have come across several guys who swear by the lady boys saying that they give the best blow jobs they have ever had.
As in all things change is inevitable and over the last five years with the coming of the up-market hotels on A. Santos Street (Blow Road) has certainly seen some changes. With the coming of hotels such as the Wild Orchid and the Pacific Breeze the area now sees a more up market clientele walking on the street as opposed to the less financially flush locals or long term tourists who are bargain hunting.
To cater for this market the Blow Road bars have to some extent changed, at least in terms of their external appearance and leading the way is Honky Tonk. Situated directly across the road from Wild Orchid hotel Mention here how the advent of new hotels has taken the area up -scale a little bit and increased passing traffic, this in turn has caused the bars to go slightly up market and take on more of a social drinking aspect as opposed to quick sexual satisfaction. Honky Tonk now has a new clean facade a large wet bar area, a pool table, a large screen plasma TV hooked up to a satellite receiver, bar girls with Honky Tonk uniforms, a number of comfortable lounge chairs where the customers can sit back and relax with the girl of their choice, a series of stools around the wet bar where groups of customers can congregate and swap a yarn or two over a few cold ones and a large managers table which can seat up to 8 people comfortably.
The outside of Honky Tonk which greets customers as they walk out of the Wild Orchid hotel.
The Honky Tonk managers table. Note the chairs great for relaxing in with some good friends.
Ezindebar enjoys the company of a new found spinner friend at the managers table in Honky Tonk.
Some Honky Tonk girls in uniform. All of whom have well honed oral skills.
Shagger enjoys the company of two Honky Tonk girls.
The well stocked bar at Honky Tonk sets it apart from other BJ bars.
The comfortable lounges where the Honky Tonk girls willing to chat and have a few drinks with you.
The outside nature of these bars and the back to basics approach reminds me of the Pattaya Beer bars which are in juxtaposition to the larger and more glitzy go-go bars. The great thing about the outside nature of these bars is that they serve as a social meeting place and the girls who work here are keen to communicate with you, yet there is little if no ladies drink pressure. Initially the girls will try to part you from your money by offering you a short time which costs 700 piso and involves a trip to a private room in the back of the establishment however if you stick to your guns and politely tell them you are only interested in relaxing and having a chat with them they will on the most part grant you your wishes and there will be little or no ladies drink pressure.
Behind the balcony area overlooking the street is generally a small area which includes a wet bar area, a basic sound system, normally a cd player with a limited selection of musical cd’s, one or two small tables and chairs, occasionally a pool table, overhead fans, a single overhead light bulb and some very basic kitchen decorations. The range of alcohol on sale is normally limited and in some of the bars they do not stock imported Whiskeys, Vodkas, Bourbons or other imported drinks. On the positive side the drinks they do serve are very reasonably priced and make a refreshing change from the Fields Avenue bars.
Inside the black pearl.
A sign of the times. The Black Pearl diversifies and installs computers.
The very limited range of alcoholic beverages in Shadows Bar.
The drinks price list in Shadows, notice the limited number of imported alcoholic beverages.
Behind the middle room will normally be one or two short time rooms. The short time rooms or back rooms as they are alternatively called are very basic and will normally include a miniature towel, a bare light bulb and a rickety old bed. There will be a nightstand or a cabinet of sorts where the girls will keep rubbing alcohol and condoms if required, there will also normally be pictures of the special boyfriend or family members along with religious paraphernalia. These girls specialize in giving blow jobs but I have always found it rather disconcerting getting blown with Jesus looking on. The short time rooms are not exactly luxurious and in most cases they offer the bare minimum. There is no air conditioning unit just stand alone fans and the doors are made of plywood offering very limited privacy. Most of the room is taken up by the bed but there is always enough room for you to stand up and for the girl to kneel down. These rooms are by no means sound proof and it is not unusual to hear every detail of the activities going on in the room next door. Personally I have fond memories of many encounters in rooms such as these and I can even recall periods when they were cracking down on blow road which meant climbing over rickety old ladders into a pitch black open air area and there while hiding behind a lahar brick wall the girls would squat down and perform their oral antics. These rooms often double up as sleeping quarters for the girls and it if you go in for a blow job at a late hour it is not uncommon to have to wake up a number of sleeping beauties who when aroused will look up at you with sleepy eyes then scurry out of the room issuing child like giggles.
Here is a basic table of the drink prices in the Blow Road bars:
Gobbles and Honky Tonk bars
Local customer drinks 50p
Imported customer drinks 150p
Local ladies drinks 120p
Imported ladies drinks 180p
Short time 700p
Long time 1200p
These two bars are owned by the same person and represent the slightly more up market blow job bars. They have been renovated, the wet bar is better stocked and the short time rooms are slightly more clean and better maintained.
Other bars in this area include The Black Pearl Shadows and Heaven Bar. Their pricing is as follows.
The Black Pearl
Local customer drink 50 piso
Imported customer drink 120 piso
Local ladies drink 120 piso
Imported ladies drink (Tequila) 120 piso
Short time 700 piso
Long time 1500 piso
Local customer drink 50 piso
Imported customer drink 120 piso.
Short time 700 piso
Long time 1300 piso
Local customer drink 50 piso
Imported customer drink 120 piso
Local Ladies drink 120 piso
Short time 700 piso
Long time 1300 piso
Of these bars on Blow Road I have two personal favorites these being Shadows bar and Honky Tonk. I like Shadows bar because it has an old fashioned sort of ambiance and reminds me of my younger days when I was first experiencing the delights of Blow Road. Also I think it is important to note that in my experience Shadows has always had the best looking and good performing girls. I like Honky Tonk for completely the opposite reason. Honky Tonk represents the new Blow Road and as such it is cleaner and the social aspect of the guys having a drink together is more emphasized here.
Blow Road is in many ways an anachronism and harks back to the old days of sexual gratification on the premises. With the new hotels and condominium developments moving into the area people have prophesized that Blow Road cannot last in its current form. Whilst the logic behind these prophecies was sound the Blow Road bars seemed to have defied logic and they continue to carry on much as they have always done offering cheap customer drinks cheap ladies drinks and blow jobs in short time rooms out back. It is true to say that many Blow Road bars have increased their prices but these have only been marginal increases and it is still markedly cheaper than most Fields Avenue bars. Another change is in the physical appearance of the bars. The owners of bars such as Honky Tonk have spent a little money sprucing their establishment up but this is only a surface level change and once you get passed it and into the short time rooms out back the game is much the same as it always has been where licking and sucking are the order of the day.