Friday, September 19, 2008

Gay Pagsanjan (part 1)

Pagsanjan Falls in Laguna (photo by Lex Bonife)

In the 80’s, Pagsanjan was declared by international gay publications as the “gay paradise, a haven for homosexuals”. CNN describes it as “a popular location for men seeking homosexual prostitutes”. And Time magazine (1993) reported it to be the favorite destination for sex tourists seeking children.

But after about thirty years, the scene has dramatically changed. According to one local observer, number of foreign tourists has dropped dramatically when crackdown on pedophilia and human trafficking has been executed by the government.

Pagsanjan is still a beautiful place to visit. The lush forest, the calm waters and the strong cascading waterfalls are all a treat to a tired urban dweller like me. It is a quick escape and a nice weekend drive from Manila.

But aside from the nature’s beauty, Pagsanjan has more stories to tell especially for someone like me, always craving for the “queer perspective” in every society.

In this unique town, many of the boatmen, I learned had male foreigner lovers who built their houses and sent their children to school. The foreigners may not be visiting Pagsanjan as often as they would, but many of them continued to support their beloved boat men. And the wives are just happy for the generosity of their husband’s lovers.

One of the “star” boat men, now owns a small store in of the quick stops by the river. On that particular day, he tends to his store in his tiny red shorts, colored hair and muscular traces of a beautiful man from his early years. According to one of my sources, he now helps other boat men get “bookings” from some visitors.

Before we rode our banca, I noticed a peculiar looking guy with his toupee assisting us. He was swishy in his manner and was obviously gay. My source confirmed to me that this guy used to be a good looking stripper in his glory days.

The sex tourists have obviously created an interesting history among the people in Pagsanjan. In my next blog posts, I shall recount the stories of several gay men I have talked to and how they enjoy their sex lives in these days of this beautiful town.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

THE FALLS GIVETH, THE FALLS TAKETH. it a manna or toxin from heaven? many mighty, untold, forgotten stories from those who visited the Falls in the 80s. until today, when someone dare open the Falls secrets...Lex, i believe that sometimes big stones are best left unturned...I AM ALL EARS, BUT MY LIPS ARE SEALED FOREVER...please continue,