It wasn’t a hit on the get-go – not that it wasn’t popular, mind you, but being located only a stone’s throw away from the (in)famous landmark Palawan 1 at Westpoint Street in Cubao, Quezon City, it had to compete with the area’s (arguably) “happening” place. But slowly, the place developed a crowd it can now call its own – largely from those who frequented (and still drop by) Palawan (both 1 and 2), those displaced by the demise of Mogwai (and the likes in Cubao’s Marikina Shoe Exchange), and those from the outskirts of Metro Manila who couldn’t be bothered going to Malate in Manila, Makati Ave. in Makati City, and Ortigas and Tomas Morato in Quezon City. And so came into being (and prominence) Starlites.
This place used to be some motel – apparent in the arrangement, with the motel’s main hallway now the venue’s main gathering area cum dance floor; while the former rooms (for sleeping or whatever these rooms were used for) converted into “private rooms” for (supposedly) gatherings with friends. This way, this is akin to the KTV bars along Jupiter Street in Makati City – only, this place is cheaper (make that with a capital “C”).
This place is cheap – I mean, literally. The cover charge is just P50 on a weekend – at times, on weekdays, this is even waived; though at times, when there are special events, this is increased to a hundred or a few hundreds. For those not from the Cubao area (or has no direct access to Aurora Blvd. in Quezon City), this could mean paying a taxi fare way, WAY over P50 just to go there, and then even more for the trip back home. As for the drinks, beer per bottle cost P40; per bucket of six bottles, it’s just P200.
This affordability, definitely, is a big lure. This is even more so when nearby Palawan 2 charges up to P250 (or even more) just to enter its premises – overcharging , if you ask me, for a… dilapidated venue that, as two Australia friends noted, “would not be allowed to open (due to) fire hazard if this is another (developed) country”.
The pricing is but part of the appeal, of course. There’s the singing, too – i.e. like Palawan 1, this started as a singalong joint, offering a venue for the belting out of sad (or happy) hearts. This remains to be such, with singing allowed in numerous venues within the venue, e.g. on the “main area”, accessible as soon as you enter the place, where comedians/comediennes perform now and then; at the “open-air area” at the left side of the venue, frequented by those who want a chance to breathe fresh(er) air than afforded by the venue that allows indoor smoking; on the “private rooms” running along one side of the venue.
There’s yet another appeal that – particularly making somewhat of a name lately – is worth a mention, i.e. the private parties in Starlites’ “private rooms”. Okay, per room, the venue charges P300 per three hours. This makes it ideal for short-time hanging out with friends. For those who hand a longer time with the same friends, though, the venue only charges from P450 per 12 hours (supposedly good for four persons). This is what is being tapped by many – e.g. clans that gather for EBs (eye-balls). This is apparently similarly being tapped by groups that gather for… sex. There are MSM who – as opposed to the now-more-traditional gatherings at hotels/condotels/apartments/inns – organize orgies at one of the private rooms of Starlites. As a self-described “frequent participant” stressed, “this is not only economical, it guarantees a turnover of participants, too, with some of the cuties right outside the door, in the same venue of your gathering.”
Now, with these information, is Starlites worth visiting?
If you’re in one of those orgies, hell, yeah!
Seriously now: Yes.
If you are wondering where the younger generation of MSM (i.e. twinks) are, this is one of the best places to check out.
If you want affordable sex workers, they mingle with many of the twinks outside, on the street.
If you want to find an “alternative” party venue to the at-times-snooty Malate, Ortigas or Tomas Morato, then this is an option.
If you want to experience Cubao’s gay scene, but are afraid to be “transported” into a rundown drinking hole (I’m thinking of you, Palawan 1), then this place more than suffices.
If you want to see a venue frequented by MSM who do not necessarily fit the Malate/Makati stereotypes (e.g. “They wear slippers while shimmying on the dance floor!” an acquaintance – a Malate regular – once commented, visiting the venue with me), then this is worth a visit.
If you need to gather your friends in a more private venue that won’t cost too much (think monthly gatherings of clans, EBs, et cetera), then yes.
And, yes, if you’re attending one of those private parties…
Keen to visit Starlites? Head to #5 Westpoint Street in Cubao, Quezon City. The place is open every night of every day.