I see a lot of immature, childish videos and web posts denigrating ladyboys and telling men how to spot — and so avoid — them. But why would anybody want to avoid them? Here are ten reasons why dating ladyboys is a really good idea.
I was shocked, when I came to the Philippines 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. This gives rise to both a hierarchy and a whole 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.
Kumusta! Hello from the Philippines! I must apologise to my regular fans, because for the last six weeks my life has been in upheaval. I had much to do to prepare to come to the Philippines this year and it occupied nearly all of my time. As a result my regular blog posting and YouTube uploads were in temporary hiatus.
I actually left my home in France on the 29th of November, and, after a comedy of errors that will surely find its way into a memoir, made it to Paris Charles de Gaulle. Further comedic excellence followed, in which I was obliged to repack my bags beside the check-in desk and ended up carrying hand luggage that must have weighed 15 kilos.
Until the 1970s, Manila and other cities in the Philippines were famous for the ‘binibaes’, sometimes called ‘bini boys’.
Binibaes were young males aged from about twelve up, sometimes a little younger, who came to the city to work and seduce men. They dressed and lived as women, but most did not take hormones.
The bini boys dress as girls…The…acceptance of bini boys is revealed in popular comic strips, T.V. series, motion pictures and plays in which they appear as characters, usually in a vein of good-natured humor. As an example: in a Philippine series similar to Batman, the Philippine hero is continually obliged to pull his Robin away from attempted amorous passes at other males.
Few of the bini boys engaged in any sexual relations among themselves although many considered themselves homosexual. In (sexual relationships), the majority preferred passive anal relations but all were equally willing to perform fellatio. The custom…is to seek to prolong sexual relationships. 
I met Denis Poulot by the old lavoir as I ambled down to the Salle des Fetes. We’ve known each other for 24 years now; we’ve never been especially close but we share a relaxed camaraderie. We paused in our journeys to shake hands and exchange formalities, then carried on. Inevitably, this being Bastille Day, 14 July and we were both going to the ceremonial vin d’honneur, we chatted about Bastille Days past.
Denis drew up and looked into the distance. ‘It’s not the same any more.’
Molinot is a village deep in the Arriere Cote of Burgundy, has been a part of my life since 1993. In those days, the village was famous for the extravagance of its Bastille Day celebrations and people would come from miles away to enjoy them. Indeed, ours was so popular that many villages around had their celebrations on another day, since all the locals were at ours; and of course we reciprocated, making for a thoroughly convivial week.
The Philippines has become very important to me over the last four years. It’s now the focus of much of my life and I want to spend more time there. The winters in France are just too cold for me now.
When you visit a country for longer periods, months at a time, as I do, you can’t do quite what the holiday tourist does. It’s partly to do with budgets but also with burnout. You have to learn to chill and take it easy.
It’s Easter. In fact, this is the 60th Easter I have passed on Earth, although I don'[t remember the first few. Or, for that matter a good selection of those that came after. However, Easter is an important time. It is the beginning of Spring, officially defined as the first full moon after the Spring Equinox and, perhaps more importantly, the moment when the year comes into bloom. I know this might not be apparent in Canada and suchlike airts, but still. You should have left them to the Indians.
As the beginning of the year of fertility, Easter is a great Goddess festival and was such, long before it was hijacked by Christians. Indeed it was celebrated in ancient Sumer, 7,000 years ago, when the High Priestess would take a young man as consort for the year. We do not know what his fate was at the end of it. Still it is a time of giving thanks, when we should express our gratitude. And so I do.
A couple of weeks ago I went to Mount Arayat National Park in Pampanga, here in the Philippines.
I’d been invited by some friends to spend the day, with a walk in the mountain park in the morning followed by socialising later. This meant first taking a bus to San Fernando and then another, local bus. We wanted to be there for sunrise, which is why I found myself sitting in a taxi at 3.30 am, hurtling through Quezon City at speeds in excess of 100 kph. It was a good adrenaline rush to start the day.
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.
My papers are in and my money has been paid, but for unknown reasons, they’re not handing the passports with the new visas out yet. I have plans for the afternoon so will have to come back on Tuesday. I sigh and decide to get a beer and some food. I had no plans, then, to meet baklas.
Baklas, to let you know, are the local ersion of the ubiquitous ladyboy, the transwomen found all over southeast Asia, under different names. They are highly feminised males who live as women and seek straight men for partners. They are often as beautiful as natal women — or more so.
I head for Market! Market! in Taguig. It’s my favourite mall in Manila by far, partly because half of it is actually outside. Unlike some malls, there are plenty of beer-bars and small restos too, serving a myriad array of meals in price bands to suit any bakla’s pocket, as they say. So I indulge in a taxi — 105 pesos — and, once I’m there, head for the bars at the back, near the van depot. I know from experience that these are good and cheap and so, attract locals — including baklas.