24
Apr

Angeles City

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work, Travel

This is the fifth post in this series. You can see all of the posts by clicking on the Arts Aftercare tag.

Required Reading: I highly recommend reading the Wikipedia page on Human Trafficking in the Philippines.  It will give you better context for my story and the situation in places like Angeles City.

The final destination of our trip was Angeles City, the second largest sex tourism destination in the world.  This was a difficult way to end the trip, but at the same time, I’m really glad I didn’t start the trip with this.  It was a dark, heavy place, and I was definitely out of my comfort zone.

While I was taking pictures in front of a bar on the Walking Street, a man approached me and asked me to take his picture with a group of bar girls (pictured below).  After the group shot, and an off-color comment, the man introduced Becker and I to his girlfriend, who is in the next picture.  He told us what a great time was waiting to be had in Angeles, and we chatted with him for a few minutes.  Before we parted ways, he asked how he could get copies of the pictures I took.  He gave us his email address, and after we returned to our hotel that night, we looked him up on Facebook.  Turns out, his name is Michael Wiener, and he is a former New Mexico State Senator, and the current County Commissioner in Bernalillo County.

Angeles was a strange place, because for the previous 8 days in the Philippines, we saw very few caucasians.  As soon as we arrived in Angeles, we saw hundreds of middle aged and older white men everywhere we went with young Filipino women.  I saw some extremely disturbing things, and felt a heavy darkness in Angeles.  I don’t really know if it is necessary to go into any detail about all of that stuff, but I also don’t really feel like talking about it any further.  I think these images say what I feel needs to be said.

This is the one picture from this series that is not from Angeles.  Pegasus is in Manila, but it fit so well with this series, and I had to find a way to show it.  The sign says it all.  Pegasus is a high end club that is known for selling very young girls.  They charge $500 just to get in the door.

Bernalillo County Commissioner Michael Wiener.

Comments

John, I really enjoyed this series. I imagine it was tough but hopefully very rewarding work. I was interested in this series not only from the anti human trafficking perspective but also because I’m moving from NYC to Manila this summer and staying for a few years. I’m a street photographer and am curious how you found it shooting on the streets in the Philippines. Were you viewed with suspicion? Did people notice or care? We’re people trying to pose for you? Just curious how things might change as I move from NYC where people pretty much ignore others on the street. Cheers.

posted by JasonSMoore on 04.24.12 at 7:52 pm

Thanks Jason. I didn’t feel like it was a problem shooting on the street. I always asked people first before I took pictures. I guess it depend on your style, but I didn’t have any issues. I think Filipino people are pretty happy, and seem to like being photographed for the most part. But I feel like it is still good to ask first. I didn’t encounter any issues with people trying to pose, which was nice. I found that to be a constant struggle in Africa when I was working over there. Best of luck with your move!

posted by John Keatley on 04.24.12 at 11:36 pm

John, thank you for the work you have put into telling this story. I’m sure in many ways this has been a difficult project to work on, but I appreciate you bringing a strong visual connection to such a serious issue.

posted by Matt on 04.25.12 at 10:58 am

Wow…nice work Keats. So heartbreaking.

posted by jeff on 04.25.12 at 11:02 am

[...] Mexico Telegram spoke to John Keatley, of Seattle, the photographer who captured Wiener posing with four women in Angeles City, Philippines. Keatley spoke about why he was in Angeles City, his impressions of the city and its infamous [...]

A question, maybe you would know — why does his daughter live there? Does anyone know his personal bio?

posted by Ann on 04.27.12 at 6:42 am

Your work is uncreative and pathetic. I lived in Angeles for more than a decade, and it is not as you describe. You pop in with your little camera and expect the world to believe as you do? Get a real job, sir.

posted by Brian on 04.27.12 at 1:01 pm

Kumusta kayo dodong. Bakit ang photo ang poltico Americano?

Sumulat flipino o bubuhay sa Flipinas?

Bakit dong?
Bakit?

Ako wala intendahan, po!

posted by Lalaki Taga Cebu on 04.27.12 at 2:34 pm

You’re a talented man. With a great eye and a soul. Thanks for the work you do. It’s not easy to document this type of thing.

posted by Jennifer on 04.27.12 at 2:46 pm

I live in Angeles City and your description of the city is totally not fair and not accurate. Angeles City is a vibrant old city with many historical sites and interesting place to see. It is a city that has a population of almost 350,000 people. But you chose one street (Fields Ave) that is about a mile long with bars, discos and restaurant and paint the city in your blog as a dark place for sex tourism. The bars in these areas were original built to entertain U S military personnel stationed in Clark Air Base in Angeles City. If you visit any large city in the world from South Korea to South America including the Unites States you will find red light districts. The only thing different are the prices. Bunny Ranch brothel outside Sin City Las Vegas is a sex tourism destination. If I took pictures of only the brothels and strip clubs in Vegas post them on the web and call the city a dark place for sex tourism it that fair and accurate? The answer is no because there is a lot more that make up the city of Las Vegas and the same is true for Angeles City.

posted by Carmina Perez on 04.27.12 at 8:44 pm

Dear Carmina Perez, and everyone else who seems to share this line of thinking. Not once have I said or implied that the Philippines are the only place women and children are exploited. If you read my blog, you will see that I talk about exploitation and human trafficking being a serious problem in my hometown Seattle.

Just because exploitation and injustice takes place in other cities and countries, does not make it justified or any more acceptable in your hometown. Just follow that line of thinking. “Hey, everyone else is doing it…” We are talking about a serious problem which must be fought, and this isn’t about pointing fingers. We are talking about human lives here. Think of all the times in history when someone was willing to take a stand and say, this is not right! It’s never comfortable to take a stand.

No doubt the Philippines are a beautiful place, and I know many people travel there with nothing but the purest intentions. It is good that you have pride for your country and home town, but what you are saying is that we should all turn a blind eye, and have a good time. Don’t worry about those people over there on Fields Ave. They are not our concern. I would encourage you to channel the pride you have for your city, and see what you can do to care for your neighbors who are being exploited. I can promise you, I am trying my best to do that where I live.

You are correct that the bars were build to entertain US military, and the US military is still a huge problem and force driving the business in these red light areas. That makes me sad. But regardless of who is mistreating people, and where it is taking place, we need people to take a stand and say enough is enough.

I would encourage you to re-read your comment and think about what you said. Just because the people being abused are a small percentage of the total population in Angeles City does not make it any more acceptable. Who will help those people if not you?

Maybe you do not feel called to serve these people, or to fight this issue, and that’s fine. Everyone has different gifts, talents, and desires which make us all unique. But please don’t discourage others who are trying to make a difference, just because it’s messy, uncomfortable, or doesn’t line up with what you want to hear.

posted by John Keatley on 04.27.12 at 11:02 pm

What gives you the right to judge people you don’t even know and to make public what they are doing in their own free time? I am sure even you have things you don’t want the whole world to know. Hypocrites like you make me sick. I hope Karma will get you. What goes around, comes around.

posted by Thomas Pernig on 04.28.12 at 4:46 am

Angeles City does not “traffic” women for sex. The women in the photos voluntarily work at this destination on their own accord. As another poster noted, its just like Las Vegas where prostitution is legal.

If you were a responsible journalist, you would report the whole story and focus on facts rather then opinion. All of the women in the photographs are registered and certified by the government to be over 18 years old. By law, they have to wear identification which states their age. None of the hotels in the area will let a guest in with an underage woman. All of the women are required to show their identification to the hotel. The local police do checks on the bars constantly. There have been a few occasions where an underaged woman slipped into the bar, but on those occasions the bar owner was arrested and then had to deal with the Filipino justice system which is not very kind or as fair as the US Justice system.

In Las Vegas, prostitutes are not regulated. In Angeles City, it is very regulated. You should be praising the Philippines for being successful in the regulation of prostitution. It is the United States who is not successful. While you may be morally against prostitution, it is the oldest profession in the world and there is no way you can stamp it out. Therefore the only way to control it is to legalize and regulate it and they have been successful in doing it in that country.

Would you rather prostitution scene be hidden like it is in the United States? Would you like it to go uncontrolled like it is in the United States? Angeles City serves a humanitarian purpose to control and regulate the oldest profession in the world.

Why dont you take some time to update your article with the facts rather then opinion. Report on how responsible the Filipino government is at regulating the oldest profession. Did you visit their health clinic devoted to screening the prositutes? Did you interview the police chief or mayor for their opinion? Your article is nothing but irresponsible one-sided journalism.

posted by John Daley on 04.28.12 at 5:25 am

John, Can you provide proof to back up your assertion that human trafficking goes on in Angeles City? I think the government there goes through great pains to make sure this does not happen. While there is a lot of prostitution in Angeles City, it is perfectly legal and the women are there on their own accord.

I have been to Angeles City several times and all of the women were over 18. Never once did I encounter an underage woman, not once, and the local police would conduct spot checks of the bars.

Look, you may be against prostitution from a moral standpoint. It might be legal where you live. However, in the rest of the world prostitution is perfectly legal and tolerated. You have no right telling the rest of the world what their moral values should be and what they should be doing.

If you have two consenting adults over 18 who want to have sex for the exchange of money then who cares. Let them be. Keep out of their business, its their lives. It disgusts me to no end to see Obama-loving liberals wanting to inject themselves into other people’s lives. Honestly John, I would be outside of your photo studio protesting if you decided to inject yourself into my life. Just go away man! Keep out of other people’s business. If two adults want to fuck for money then let them! Who the fuck cares?

posted by Kellyman on 04.28.12 at 9:25 am

Ignore the detractors. You speak the truth. They just want to shoot the messenger and put their head back in the sand.

AC bars are dark, dank, and depressing. Most girls in and around the red light district are for rent. And most of them have the same story: they got knocked up by their filipino boyfriend and he left them and they have to support their baby by themselves. It’s a sad story and a never-ending one.

It’s lame to blame US soldiers for the prostitution in AC: When the US left Clark 20 years ago, the filipino owners kept the bars open to continue making lots of money on the girls. Nothing changed except the johns. The bar owners and their supporters in the government don’t see the prostitution as a problem, they see it as a cash cow.

And as long as the filipino ignoramuses that see it as a problem but blame foreigners for it, it will never go away.

Finally, Michael Wiener, Republican, is lying when he says he was in that bar for a bite to eat. No decent man goes to the red light district. The places there serve open ogres and closet perverts.

John, keep doing what you’re doing. Most filipinos are decent people, and the smarter ones know it’s their problem and appreciate your discouraging others from facilitating the trafficking of women and children.

posted by Reince Priebus on 04.28.12 at 9:33 am

[...] highly recommend reading this fascinating account from John Keatley, an American photographer who went to the Philippines to do an exposé on the sex-tourist industry, [...]

Your finishing your research report in Angeles City was no accident. You knew that it would create controversy and your blog would get noticed.

These girls are there on a voluntary basis and can come and go as they please. The reason they work there is because they are the product of a country that encourages corruption and the poor are left to fend for themselves with little outlet. It is also a Catholic country that discourages birth control or condoms and it is common for the macho male dominated society to impregnate a girl and leave. They do have a choice but this is a great way for them to make great money in a safe environment. The girls are all of age and are tested for diseases on a regular basis.

If you really wanted to do research on real trafficking then you should have exposed the underage sex shacks that are all over the Philippines and ONLY FREQUENTED BY LOCALS. They are disgusting, the girls make next to nothing, the girls are not tested and severely underaged. Oh, but that would be too difficult.

posted by Brock Landers on 04.28.12 at 10:56 am

Angeles, what a cesspool of dirty sex, kidnappings, murder, robbery and every other known seedy elements. I am an expat living in the Philippines and I made the mistake once of getting lost there. But where else in the world can the fat, the ugly, the bald and the old come to get their rocks off. Most are US, BRITS and AUSSYS. More than often even in Manila you can see an almost crippled old man being held up by a 20 year old Filipino I wonder who is getting the better of one another. It is pretty sickening but at the same time most Filipino women will do any expat with a pulse.

posted by Konstantine on 04.29.12 at 4:05 am

It was a long time ago that I was an intern in a PT Clinic in Angeles City. I love that place. I toured everywhere. And as they say, it will not be worth it until you visit the Red. And that was 12 years ago. They held me back to the door because I am female entering a man only bar, so my friends said I prefer female, hahaha. Anyway, I will not forget the name of the bar, Octupus Bar (back then, I dont know if it still exist). I am so surprised to see them, not even women yet, youngest was 14. On stage dancing was a 15 year old girl, all naked, watching are men old enough to be their fathers and grandfathers. Cubicles where politicians or high profile customers who don’t want to be seen for sure on the corners. So sad… I can’t help so I asked if they were held there, these kids. They said No. They are runaways (most of them) who had no other ways of making money. Human trafficking in that area, I dont know really. Those girls in that picture surely likes where they are working. For sure they make a lot in a night. But I support your fight against human trafficking. But you don’t have to go to Angeles City to find it. In Manila, working in big Families, they don’t pay them, and if they don’t like the food on the table or there is a little crease in their ironed shirts, they hit them so hard they can barely walk or burn their hands with the flat iron then let them wash the dishes after. Some of them are lucky to escape, some them if caught, you’ll never hear of again. Burried alive in a drum of cement and thrown in Pasig river. These are people you should find.

posted by Genia Ferro on 04.29.12 at 4:32 am

“They charge $500 just to get in the door.” Do you mean P500 ($12)?

posted by Cyanide Proof on 04.29.12 at 5:55 am

[...] The blog post and the photos are still up on Keatley’s website. [...]

One more of this pathetic people going around preaching the world what is good and what is not. Like in all developing countries and in the western world too their is prostitution. Angeles City is not only field street but a developing town with Clark may be becoming the countries number one Airport. There is a large industrial free trade zone and yes of course some amusement. By the way, Pegasus club is in Quezon City, not Manila and they do not charge US$ 500 entrance fee (what a bull). By the way what is this black man doing in place -pic walking street-in a place you describe as full of middle and older white man? Your reporting is full of half truth and even lies. By the way let Mr. Wiener or Mr. Whoever have some fun and you stay home and wash the dishes.

posted by Cortes on 04.29.12 at 6:34 pm

Hi John, You did a good job. I am a Filipino journalist/columnist and I feel it was cool for bringing the issues of prostitution, human trafficking, violence against women and children in the country to the world. Actually you’ve just scratched the tip of the iceberg,so to speak. Michael Weiner is just another John Doe of exploiters. You must have visited PREDA and other NGOs in Angeles and Olongapo for hard evidence. We in the southern part of Mindanao (Davao) are also trying do what you did–scratching the iceberg until it melts. Jason (another blogger-photog) who wants to move to Manila can explore other places in the country if he likes to make a difference of his profession. Congrats again!

posted by Emmanuel on 04.29.12 at 6:48 pm

The girls posing with the county commissioner didn’t look unhappy, exploited or abused, perhaps you should take your camera and go over to Angeles City proper, and there you will find real exploitation and abuse, not in the easy target of Fields Avenue.

I have lived here for many years now, and Fields Avenue is well run, the girls work by choice and are well taken care of, they are health checked weekly by the local government and need to work as there is no social security here.

The foreign bartrade and areas are easy marks for sensationalism and misinformed people such as yourself. Come back, go to Angeles proper, investigate and reveal the real truth about Filipinos trafficking their own people not the foreigners.

I would suggest that you take a guard with you though as you may not be going home.

posted by Alex Wallingford on 04.29.12 at 8:03 pm

Mr. Keatley, I work in Angeles City and I wish to respond to your blog. For quite a few times, my friends and I sit in an open bar in Fields Avenue for a few beers and watch how “middle aged” caucasians, as you described them, walk along the Walking Street cavorting with the girls working in the joints, mostly owned by foreign nationals. I witnessed a few raids by the local police on joints allegedly for employing minors.

I am an occasional writer and photographer as well. I was an activist too. I remember the years when Clark was still a US military base. You should have visited the place when the GIs were all over the place — pouring out on our women their rage, fears or whatever they picked up from the hell in Vietnam. Angeles was an R&R area for your war-weary and shell-shocked soldiers. Fields Avenue thrived because of them.

But I hope you realize sir that prostitution (there are over 1 million prostitutes in the US) and human trafficking are born out of poverty and exploitation. I am sure you know that. But hey, the Philippines was a colony of the US after the Spaniards. And you Americans saw to it that we shall always be your client state; that poverty remains and that we remain dependent on the US. You should be quite progressive, and you should know this as you work with NGOs purporotedly working against human trafficking.

I am not justifying Fields Avenue or the similar strips in your country and the rest of the world. I only would like to point on the irony of bleeding hearts descending on villages, or countries for that matter, that were pillaged by the soldiers of these bleeding hearts, just to tell the survivors how wrong they were coping up with their situation.

But I commiserate with you, Mr. Keatley. However, may I say that your snapshots are just as they are — snapshots. I am sure you have better pictures.

And where did you get your information that Angeles City is the second largest sex destination in the world? The people of Angeles certainly feel insulted by your comments.

posted by danilo de austria consumido on 04.29.12 at 9:24 pm

“And where did you get your information that Angeles City is the second largest sex destination in the world?”

Google says it’s this guy’s opinion: http://www.tourismandaviation.com/7679-top-sex-destinations.html

RENEW provides the claim on their website: http://www.renew-foundation.org/

posted by Rob on 04.30.12 at 8:39 am

Hello everyone. I hired Mr. Keatley to join Arts Aftercare (www.artsaftercare.org) in the Philippines because of his talent as a photographer. I appreciate the fact that people are engaging this blog and this important and complex subject matter.

Wikipedia is one place to start for anyone wanting to check statistics based in articles that can be easily referenced. Here’s a link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_the_Philippines

Voluntary prostitution (even by vulnerable, low-income women without other opportunities) is indeed different than forced prostitution or trafficking. Just how different depends on each particular instance and individual. It’s true that adults work in Angeles, but “trafficking” (defined by the United Nations here: http://www.unescap.org/esid/gad/issues/trafficking/index.asp ) and the prostitution of minors also occurs in Angeles City. Here’s an article describing 12 minors discovered by local authorities during a raid in September of 2011 (http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/news/provincial/13487-human-trafficking-flourishes-in-angeles).

Mr. Keatley’s blog series (there are 4 other posts) includes images from PREDA, a long-standing and reputable organization whose founder has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on three occasions. The previous blog entry includes photos from a wing at PREDA’s shelter dedicated to girls 9 and under who have been commercially sexually exploited, some of them rescued from establishments in Angeles. I personally met girls served by PREDA, and heard stories from PREDA staff at the beginning of last month.

One commenter claims Mr. Keatley finished his report in Angles on purpose, knowing it would create controversy. This paints Mr. Keatley in an unfair light. I planned his itinerary, and Angles was the last stop because it was the geographically pragmatic ending location for our trip which included visits to 5 organizations on Luzon Island. Mr. Keatley was on assignment with us, and did a stand-up job.

posted by Curtis Romjue on 04.30.12 at 1:05 pm

This post is like a relationship, yea bad things happen and good things too but who’s going to remember the good when the bad stands out the most. I see Mr. Keatley has a great mind and a knack for taking exquisite photos, but sure needs work on depicting whats in those photos. A photo says a thousand words so let whats in those photos be said it was wrong for the negative in-put which I deeply respect but it altered the beauty that i seen in the photos.

I live here in Angeles and I actually know one of the girls that was in the photo with the congressman. She Is a down to earth girl that just wants to find a husband overseas that would give her the chance to have a better life maybe go to school and have a family. With out the Income coming from the clubs Angeles would be like it was 10 years ago without roads, The drug crystal meth known as (Shabu) would still be at a all time high. Ive seen Angeles City Fields avenue clean up. They finally have the money to pay police and make it a safer place.

I know this is kind of off topic but I also lived in Okinawa Japan which was similar to what Angeles was like they had bars and clubs outside the base that would cater to the US service members. Before the volcano erupted in 1989 the Filipino government wanted the Air Base out which left them devastated. Meanwhile in Japan they decided they needed the US which was providing tons of money to develop the country. Philippines always ran on and would be better off with Foreign income. That’s how the country was built.

As for the human trafficking I highly doubt that they really practice that here. These females are well taken care of they have weekly visits to hospitals, get free boarding houses, even have annual seminars on STD’s and Safe sex, and a weekly salary that goes directly to their families. They are just there because of hopes and dreams that one day they will find someone for them that will take them away and so they can live comfortably have a family of their own.

posted by charlie rozay on 05.01.12 at 1:32 am

Also I’m a open minded person and I would love to see what you see and your views on the world outside. If you have time please email me.

posted by charlie rozay on 05.01.12 at 1:36 am

John – I have found the entirety of this five post series to be illuminating and even-handed. As Curtis Romjue pointed out, a wide range of topics and stories were explored through the entirety of the series. Though many people have expressed distaste at what your images may have revealed or explored, as well as the distaste over the larger issues of human trafficking, prostitution (both voluntary and forced) Sex slavery, and a historical role of militaries in the development of these industries both in their home countries or abroad – I say let them have their distaste. Art/Photography is not meant to be safe, un-offensive, or homogenous, especially when reporting or documenting such a volatile and controversial topic. I think you should be applauded for tackling this assignment and creating such resonant and understated images of a story which could so easily have been sensationalized or photographed through an overly biased lens (I especially appreciate the quiet, honest, and intimate portraits from your At Home in Manilla post)

posted by Luke Copping on 05.03.12 at 8:06 am

[...] Photo source photo by: [...]

It is very dishonourable of you to put details of this man’s private life online.

You met this guy, had a conversation with him, chatted, and were friendly.

Then, you go and put his details online.

posted by Jones on 05.05.12 at 12:04 am

[...] of him posing with scantily clad women in a well-known red light district in the Philippines…[was posted by] photographer John Keatley…on his blog.  Wiener…[wrote] that…”NOTHING untoward ever happened…The pictures [...]

Jones – You don’t think it’s dishonorable to exploit young girls and contribute to human trafficking? He told young girls to touch his penis. You don’t think that’s dishonroable?

posted by John Keatley on 05.05.12 at 11:22 pm

For those of you who say human trafficking does not happen in Angeles City, or other areas in the Philippines, I would recommend reading this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_the_Philippines . I would also recommend watching this video by RENEW in Angeles City: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQJ4L9SHt14
Both offer fair and accurate descriptions with plenty of facts and numbers.

posted by John Keatley on 05.05.12 at 11:35 pm

What exactly did he say about touching his penis? What was the context?

I’m curious because this picture has ruined his career and reputation and I’m unable to determine if this has been done fairly or he is being used as a scapegoat.

It matters to me because I live in Albuquerque in his district and have to figure this out in the voting booth soon.

posted by Carol on 05.06.12 at 8:57 am

..,wiener is telling lie on his interview.., he said he never stay at angeles city.., where in fact he was with that “girlfriend” of him for almost two weeks at angeles city.., he stay in angeles city..,

posted by nozid on 05.18.12 at 11:56 am

This blog post is very one sided and contains information that is not accurate or factual.

My definition of “human trafficing” is where people are kidnapped against their will. None of the women in Angeles City are there against their will. John should have made note of the “help wanted” signs outside of these bars and clubs. So these women seek out employment at these bars and clubs. The owners of said establishments do not kidnap or hold against their will any of these women.

The man in the picture, Michael Weiner, has a wife from this area who he was there with on a vacation. Michael Weiner was at the club having fun, drinking beer and engaging in leisurely activities. He was probably joking around and probably said a few off things to the ladies like touching his penis. However, this is an activity which can be seen in any state of America at any local strip club. Mr. Weiner’s behavior wasnt unusual or criminal in any sense. He was just like any other American male visiting a strip club with his wife and having fun. He wasnt hiring the prostitutes or engaging in any illegal activity. I guess you can argue the morality of strip clubs, but I believe most males reading this article have been to a strip club in America. You cannot tell me Mr. Keatley that you have never been to a strip club, fraternity party, wild party, etc. If you have not been to any of those, then I think you really need to get out more.

I simply have no idea why you are berating an individual for going into a strip club with his wife. I thought that was the kind of behavior you liberals enjoy. I saw your Occupy Wall Street protesters going shirtless exposing their breasts. Why dont you write about how immoral and wrong that was?

All you have on Mr. Weiner is that he went into a random strip club with his wife and the women were not all that great looking. Mr. Weiner is a human being and can do whatever he likes on his free time as long as its not illegal. This isnt an unusual activity in the United States. Although Mr Weiner is a politician that doesnt mean he cant enjoy the same activities as other Americans such as wild bars, strip clubs and raucus parties. I do not look down at Mr Weiner for this activity.

posted by Michael Stevens on 06.12.12 at 6:11 am

Another side of the story may be there are a many stable but lonely men matched with a many impoverished but good girls and the men are kind and good to the girls and the girls are genuine and grateful and bond with a good hearted men . It is not such a mismatch and its not bad.
You might also research the underage stuff , the trafficking stuff, as the lie that powers that be use to siphon money out of this system.
You too, nasty but seductive , you capture color but see in black and white , shallow or ignorant or righteous.

posted by john drewett on 07.18.12 at 7:53 am

I am amazed by some of the ignorance posted by those who claim to know angeles. I wish no trafficking was occuring to the bars on fields but it is. We just completed a five year study on trafficking to bar based establishments in Fields and beyond in partnership with the University of Oxford and funded by UNDP and the ec. We found that 1 in 12 woman in bar based establishments would be clasified as having been trafficked under both the UN and Filipino definitions. Given that there are aprox 12 500 woman registreted it is a very significant proportion. We randomized our sample and conducted a power calculation to determine sample size. it is the first randomized method used in trafficking research and is the gold standard for social science and health fields. So do please take note that trafficking does occur in AC bars on Fields. It is a reality.

Furthermore there are still a significant number of minors in these bars as we rescue as many as we can! We have had over 30 this year alone at our foundation.

posted by paulo on 09.16.12 at 11:59 am

Nice to see your view of Angeles City. Most comments are really annoying. I mean, those people think that every person working is bars is doing so because they are victims who are forced to do so. That’s simply not true. Stuff like that happens in other places, unfortunately. But on Fields everything is very regulated and individual greed is what drives people to take jobs here. They want to make money quickly with little effort. Many customers are not satfsified and turn their back on this city because it’s become popular to run scams.

posted by Happy Blogger on 10.06.12 at 5:37 am

I’m from the Philippines and i think i don’t see anything wrong in this blog post at all. John Keatley is a photojournalist and he’s just doing his job. It’s just so funny and pathetic to read those defensive comments about our country’s moral issues. Obviously only those who are affected are the ones who are present in these photos or working in that line of work so they’re being too defensive. Hah! I agree this is a serious issue in our country and the reason for that is poverty. So these people are too lazy to find a decent job just because they’re too stupid , with no goals in life.

posted by Jen on 12.04.12 at 10:49 am

So glad I came across this. This is so true. Totally agree with Paulo’s statistics from my experience doing volunteer work in NGOs. Many are trafficked to these bars – promised other line of work and then end up in brothels and can’t get out because of debt bondage, humiliation, threats of violence, going up against powerful people, etc. etc. and are just trained to smile for the cameras but are not keen to tell their foreign customers on how they really came to that line of work or confess to being underaged for fear of reprisal from their handlers and pimps. Disconcerting that PREDA still receives kids and teens from those bars every year. These defenders are obviously sex tourists going there to partake in this and would be mortified if the people in their lives, women especially, back in their hometowns and countries found out about their activities in AC.

Not surprising that Michael Weiner has been caught up in tons of racist and sex scandals back in his hometown if he’s been going to AC for years and buying women with too much ease. That kind of behavior and view is kind of hard to cover up if one has been accustomed to that kind of lifestyle and then goes back to the US and expect him to treat women with more respect. That kind of developed, ingrained objectification towards women always floats to the surface eventually.

These defenders and sex tourists should see what Fr. Shay Cullen and PREDA has been cleaning up after them – a long trail of kids and teens with broken dreams.

posted by JP on 01.03.13 at 2:14 am

Really? Nothing better to do then go to Fields avenue and take photos of the people there? Take one serious trip to the Philippines and go to any number of remote locations and see REAL exploitation!

Poor countries have people who will work for anything to survive… Did you do ANYTHING to help one poor person in the Philippines or is your stellar work as a “journalist” payment enough for your exploitation of them?

You wrote this story to make money…. You used the poor exploited girls of the Philippines photos and Mr. Weiners’s name to make a living… You EXPLOITED them.

If you really want to help, go out and make someone’s life better, don’t just talk about it.

You sir are just another whore if you ask me…

posted by John on 02.17.13 at 9:58 pm

dear sir,
the only thing dirty in angeles city was your mind when it was there. asians don’t have the same attitudes towards sex as you do and you are evidently, too stupid and unobservant to realize it. your comment (and the fact you thought it necessary to even make the comment) on “middle-aged and older white men” you saw carousing there in Angeles is also laughable. i don’t know your age, but you seem to assume that sex is only the province of the young. wake up, you childish-brained human being, EVERYONE past the age of sexual maturity wants to get off and enjoy intimate contact. No one can lead a healthy existence without it. YOU don’t own it (sex) with your stupid, inane & useless U.S. attitudes towards sexual activity. young people don’t own it. you control freaks that want to tell everyone, even those of entirely different cultures, how to think about “getting off” is nothing but your burden of guilt about a basic human desire and activity. maybe you are feeling shameful about your own lust and your own whacking off, hard to say. but if you are a product of the good old USA, it would not be so surprising if that is what is motivating you. nobody in the world has so much garbage in their brains they feel the need to keep buried as the typical product of US culture. Your attempt to shame this fellow from New Mexico, USA, ostensibly because he is not a young person….and therefore shouldn’t be having sex with someone significantly younger than his age, and because he has simply traveled to a certain location to enjoy his sex life, is simply a device to make yourself feel better about yourself. you have set yourself up in your own head as the protector of these young, healthy working girls who would be confused by you if not outright in contempt of you you have the savior complex and that is merely another way of “getting off”, or, making yourself feel good. but yours is destructive because it seeks to humiliate people by telling them they are wrong or, in the specific case of this U.S. politician, embarrass him in front of others (his constituents) who also feel the need to keep their sexual drives buried and hidden, and therefore will condemn him. Ohhhh….it is a dirty little, shameful attitude toward sex that has been planted in your brain by your upbringing and now, by exporting it to angeles city, you, either consciously or unconsciously, are acting out your expiation of your guilt. do the young filipinas a favor and stay stateside and don’t blog about them unless your are extolling their priceless asian beauty. let them choose their own sexual partners with no interference from self-righteous, hurtful, controlling people like you.

posted by v. barton on 03.20.14 at 3:33 pm

There certainly must be many of the old, white creepers taking offense to this post because their insidious lifestyle has been exposed. When I googled Angeles City Phillipines all I saw were photos of lecherous white males fondling these young girls. I wanted to get a feel for the area, as I was offered a teaching position at a local school. It was disturbing and sickened me. Whether or not these girls can come and go as they please, is not the point to me. If these men are afraid of being photographed doing what they’re doing, then possibly it is something that shouldn’t be done.

posted by Sarah on 06.28.14 at 1:32 pm

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