Walking into F Club last Saturday highlighted two things (realizations, if you may) for me.
One, that the party scene is Metro Manila has changed so much in what seems like so little time – yes, we’ve repeatedly written about the demise of Malate, the once center of gay parting in Metro Manila; but the likes of the once mighty Bed Bar, even after moving to where there’s supposed to be a market, eventually folded. Obviously, when you have only one “elite” (and elitist) gay bar left in O Bar, you don’t really have a “choice” – i.e. you’re stuck with what’s just there, no matter how you feel about it.
How fast the scene changes may be exemplified by Pink Manila. We visited the (old) place only a few weeks ago; but since then, that version of Pink Manila has folded. Apparently, the people behind it wanted to rename it into P1 or something – paying respect to the also once mighty Palawan 1 and Palawan 2 in Cubao in Quezon City (though both Palawan bars also already closed). The renaming ended up with its… closure.
Now, here’s what’s interesting. To continue existing – and this is the second realization – some of the venues diversify. Again, the (new) Pink Manila comes to mind as a study for this, as it is now a club in a club in a club.
Okay, we know F Club. But F Club is actually only part of the F experience – i.e. F is known as, foremost, a bathhouse that happens to have a club. So, technically, F Club is but a club in a club.
And now the people behind Pink Manila saw fit to partner with F Club to provide it space, so that Pink Manila is now – for all intents and purposes – in F Club.
What we now have, therefore, is “Pink Manila powered by F Club”.
Now, is this a good thing?
I’d say… yes.
Admittedly, we weren’t the biggest fans of the “old” F Club, since the venue almost seemed like an afterthought of F the bathhouse, only there to host the venues events – from Bikini Opens to sexy shows to beauty pageants of clans to showing of trashy (often sexual) films.
Now, though, Pink Manila brings with it a bagful of talents via the drag performers, so that what you see are quality performances…
after quality performances…
after quality performances…
Suffice it to say, Pink Manila’s presence is more felt in the shows. (And they are free to watch, so no need to cough up – say – P400 to go inside the likes of O Bar and watch the shows there.)
But – BOY! (or GIRL!) – what shows they have, e.g. re-enactment of the entire halftime show of Beyoncé for NFL.
A surprise for me is seeing some of Metro Manila’s best drag performers in Pink Manila, considering that they did not even perform in the old Pink Manila when it was still in Cubao. That they’re here just makes it worth it.
The seeming focus on the shows means the place’s lay-out had to be changed. Now (or at least when Pink Manila is there) this is actually more akin to, say, The Library than it is to O Bar. Comfy seats abound, all facing a stage; with the dance floor occupied by these seats. (Obviously, as needed, these seats disappear to accommodate the place’s events; and when Pink Manila isn’t being powered, in a manner of speaking.)
Now – this is the tricky part (largely to do with stigma attached with sex and sex positive venues) – when you visit Pink Manila in F Club in F the bathhouse, you enter the same entrance used by the “other” clubs. That is, you would look like you’re going into the bathhouse even if you’re actually only going there for Pink Manila. This is a turn off for some, particularly those who do not want to be associated with such a venue (As a friend said: “Bathhouses are so ancient; mobile apps are there for the hook-ups!”). But… get over that and just go in the venue, and see for yourself this club in a club in a club.
Exactly because Pink Manila is just a pet project (at least that’s how it seems) of F Club, it does not make a regular appearance. This is because of F Club’s other scheduled activities – e.g. the aforementioned examples of film showing and Bikini Opens. As such, it is better to pay attention to F Club’s calendar (i.e. usually posted via its Facebook page) just to be sure that when you visit, Pink Manila is what’s waiting for you for the night.
Pink Manila is now housed by F Club, which is part of Fahrenheit (the bathhouse), which is located at 1204 E. Rodriguez Sr. Ave. cor. Hemady St., New Manila, Quezon City, Metro Manila. For more information, call (+632) 584-1804.
Or visit F Club’s Facebook page.