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Zigudu: Party rowdy down south

Outrage Magazine heads to Zigudu, one of the very few LGBT-centric venues in Davao City to check what the place has to offer.

Just a few years ago (though it seems like ages in “clubbing ages”) Torres Street used to be the “it” place as far as parting in Davao City is concerned. It was, after all, where everything happened. And it wasn’t hard to understand why – it had, for a while, a collection of various venues to cater to whatever tastes. You want outdoor cheap drinking? They had venues for that (then). Girls dancing on bars a la Coyote Ugly? They had those, too. MSM on the lookout for other MSM? A few catered to those, too. And if you wanted slow drinking, where chatting was possible without you having to raise your voice? Yes, they had venues for that, too.

And then Torres started dying – to start, blame the city’s quite strict local policies as far as drinking is concerned (the bars start closing at 1:00 A.M. – stricter than Singapore, which, I remember, in the olden times allowed bars to stay open at least until 3:00 A.M.); though, arguably, the market’s fickle-mindedness may be blamed, too. Torres became too hot for it to stay the “it” place. The novelty wore off, as people started looking for other “it” venues.

And so we have the Torres that we have now, with lots of empty venues that used to be lively bars standing empty. Walking past them with intoxicated eyes, you won’t be faulted mistaking them as ghost towns – still standing, yet empty and starting to go to ruins, seemingly reflecting the state of partying in Davao City.

But then there are venues at Torres that somehow manage to keep at least flickers of the old parting alive.

And here, the likes of Zigudu come to mind.

Zigudu is a recognized (albeit supposedly in a hush-hush way) as a “bi” (meaning, MSM) bar in Davao City. Not that it is exclusively targeting the MSM market. To start, it is big (make that “HUGE!”) enough to accommodate just about everyone. The venue is composed of three “parts” – the “front”, the VIP lounge, and the “back”. What happens is, when a show (usually drag performances) is happening in the front section, the back section becomes a dance area; and then the drag acts move to the back area, so that some of the dancing move to the front area. The “real” dance area, however, is located only at the back area – the front does not have a dancefloor to speak of, only a huge stage (that the back area does not have). Meanwhile, the VIP section is a small portion of the front section – except that it’s an airconditioned enclosed area. As such, there’s a cover charge (no less than P100 per head); and inside, some belting out can be done.

Yes, the drinks are cheap – usually bought by the bucket (by six bottles) at under P300. This means that, drink-wise, there aren’t that may options (unless it’s watered down cocktails that are desired).

It may be because of the cheaper drinks that the people coming here aren’t… well, the supposed “cream of the crop”. In fact, dressing down is more common than dressing up – see shorts-wearing, slipper-clad clubbers outnumbering those who took time and effort to dress up and look good.

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Arguably the biggest appeal of the place may be its shows – and this is even if (arguably when considered by a jaded clubber) the acts are passé, e.g. presented are those repeatedly used in talent portions in Miss Gay beauty pageants. But that they still manage to put smiles on people’s faces should be what matters.

Now, now, would I recommend Zigudu?
There’s no clear “yes” or “no” answer that can be provided here.
Because it’s not like Davao City has a lot of LGBT venues to go to.
As such, those that exist that are actually openly for MSM or are at least MSM friendly need to be given (some form of) support.
And, arguably, Zigudu falls under this category.

Now, if only we can make this place more glamorous than it is…

Zigudu is along Torres Street in Davao City.

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