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Philippines red light, Philippines woman search light for red

InTyphoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, displacing more than 4 million people, destroying entire communities and ruining millions of livelihoods. It was the fiercest storm to make landfall at the time, with winds reaching miles per hour.

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The documentary is a result of two years of undercover work and filming in the Philippines. Manila, Philippines CNN -- Bolly is working the streets, watching clubbers spill from one bar to the next when he spots his next mark -- two westerners in one of Manila's most notorious areas. It's a little after 10pm when Bolly sees me and my cameraman -- though he doesn't have a camera visible with us on this night -- rolling out of a sports bar known for its bounty of women offering 'companionship' in Edsa, Manila's unofficial red light district. He strides over quickly, waving a little white flier in our faces.

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The main red light district of ManilaP. Burgos, is a strange mix of hipster bars, open patio restaurantsand prostitution dens. Yes, you read that right.

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Ringside bar holds nightly midget boxing shows. For the large part of my life, I was blissfully ignorant to the sinful trappings of prostitution and poverty. Being back in America, light lets you turn off whenever you want. On a hot humid night inafter a long night of drinks and discosI waited in the cool lobby of a local eatery called the Filling Station on a dark seedy street of Manila.

Hold on. Back up. Up until this point, my life in America was uneventful and typical. Vigorously scrambling to make he-or-tails of a 4 year degree in which I did anything but attend class. A time of blissful ignorance in which I, like many others, majored in partying.

With a red philippines up until about 23 or so, I found myself accepting a job offer in the Philippines to teach. If there was anything I was good at, it was saying yes to just about anything. Crawling through traffic in the city was an inevitable pitfall of living in a 3rd world country and highly populated city.

After all, Manila is the most densely populated city in the world with 41, people living in each square kilometer. Motorbikes fired through lanes full of jeepneys and trikes, dogs dodged cars like a game of Froggerand children played in the midst of the dangerous streets.

And all of us were enveloped in a dark wash of diesel fumes that stained the building facades and our feet black. When it comes to traveling and taxis, not too much has changed. Every ride was a negotiation of where to go and how red to pay.

Meters were rarely used, if ever present, and philippines were frothing at the mouth to score a young stupid tourist. I attempted to hide the fact I was stupid and a tourist. These taxi drivers, whom mostly navigated to the city from the far reaches of provinces 3 to 8 hours from Manila, were light in an attempt to feed a village. They owned the streets.

Separating expats and tourists from their dollar, hustling drugs and other illicit products across city arteries, and making sure visitors were willingly or unwillingly aware of the red light districts. Most were hired hands to the discos and clubs, some were pimps, and others were honest drivers just trying to make ends meet.

Opportunistic, but a hard life no matter which avenue they drove down. Now, with the advent of Grab, the Uber of the region, some of these taxi drivers are having to come to terms with an honest living. Poblacion — also known as the P Burgos area after its central street — is where most philippines go out red Makati these light. P Burgos St itself remains a red-light district, but the surrounding streets now brim with white-collar Filipinos and expats enjoying a burgeoning dining and drinking scene.

Inevitably, and like clock-work, each would implement a tactic to get you in front of a club in the infamous red light district. Burgos Street. My car broke down. A flat tire. Always in front of a club. It was clever actually, and they were undoubtedly being paid by the clubs to shuttle tourists there. Pockets stuffed with American, British, and Aussie dollars.

So with fellow expats, I learned about these clubs, unbeknownst of the scam at the time, from a flat tire. Later that night, I found myself standing in the lobby of the Filling Station diner. I was waiting for a taxi to pull up. No doubt, and likely, the same guys that shuttled me over to the area. Tire mended, engine fixed, directions learned. Same story, every time.

The night was typical. Hot and muggy. It was aggressive heat. The type that wears you down. Day after day, night after night. Most there lived without air conditioning, in tin roofed shanties, and without a glimmer of relief from the heat ever. Little black specular highlights scurried across the road. Cockroaches were everywhere.

Rats charged from building to building in the open air. It was a dirty place. I waited in the cool clean lobby of the diner. The diner was a popular mainstay in the city.

A sticky drizzle ensued as I waited, and the floor to ceiling window started to fog up. Like the glass in a shower.

A young boy, maybe 12 or so, walked up the window. No smile. I remember his face to this day.

Just a dead stare. I had heard of these children wandering the streets there in the city. Often at the hold of gangs, begging, pick pocketing, and scamming tourists. You were taught immediately, usually from fellow expats, not to give.


He stood there a half an inch from the glass. Covered in lesions and getting rained on. Starring at me. Hands out. Only a. Standing there, half naked, pants tattered, barely hanging onto his small body. In one of the most seedy dirty areas of the city. It was pure desperation. And there I was, like a little idiot, just starring back. Maybe even the month. But I stood there. Hesitating, and not doing anything. Eventually the taxi came, we left, walked by the boy, and away we went.

I never forgot this though. And somehow, you hear this story over and over again.

Whether your in Indiathe Philippinesor even China. Even locals will tell you this. Your going to see darkness when you travel. Some of it will be good and some of it bad. Not some tour bent into a reality that you want to see.

It will be what you need to see. For me, in that dark rainy corner of Manila, I actually learned more than I could have imagined that night. A night out with some friends sharing a few beers and laughs, brought on more thought-provoking things later for me. He should only be judged by his maker. The right thing for me to do is give.

If I have been blessed with the opportunity, and the stars align to present a chance to givethen I should without hesitation. I made a promise to myself to give.

If someone asks, then I need to give something. And so, years have past, and I find myself doing the right thing most of the time. And looking back, I still regret not giving to that poor boy in Manila, although at least I was able to take away a lesson that night on P. Next to the neon s, the discos, and pimps, I was able to make a small positive change in my life. When I travel, or even here at home, I give to people in need now. Note: I am not affiliated with any of the charities.

If you feel compelled to give, pick any charity of your choice. Any amount will help these children.