My fellow entertainers and I did not receive our salaries on time. Our Japanese promoters withhold our salaries so that we could not escape. We were told that we can only get our salaries after the six-month contract at the Narita/Kansai airport or in Manila. Furthermore, first-timers like me received only US$350 dollars a month during that time, contrary to the US$2,000 per month as stipulated in the contract.
Because of the nature of my job in the club, I had to devise means and ways to have permanent customers. Otherwise, I would not be able to meet the daily required quota. If I do not meet the required quota, I would be fined. I also had to engage in dohan or afternoon dates because it was a club policy. It’s either I go out on dohan or I will be fined.
There was one time when a customer I went out with on dohan brought me to a hotel. He started kissing me but I resisted. Fortunately, I was able to convince him to bring me back to the club. There was also one incident when a customer brought me to his house. He started showing me pictures of his former Filipino girlfriends, after which he proceeded to show me a pornographic video. I felt that things were getting out of hand so I had to act fast. I insisted that he bring me back to the club. Although I was very much afraid, I was ready to fight him.
One time, I did not have a customer, so our club manager told me to go out and get some customers. It was a cold winter night and even without the protection of a jacket or a coat, I was forced to stand outside and entice customers to enter our club.
I was forced to do a lot of things out of necessity. Much as I wanted to resist, I was also afraid. I did not have my passport with me. Inside the club, I had to do what the other entertainers do. I had to endure the unwanted touches and caresses of our male customers in order to get tips.
The other women who were working in the club with me got themselves boyfriends in order to have permanent customers. Having a Japanese boyfriend made things easier for women entertainers. Most of the time, they help the women in their financial needs. The Japanese men even promise the women marriage, only for the women to find out later that their partners are already married.
Back in the Philippines
When my six-month contract was finished, I immediately returned to the Philippines. My family and friends eagerly awaited my return. They were so happy to see me again. But I did not have money when I returned home. Almost all my earnings were used to pay for my debts at the promotions agency. They said I had to pay for my training and the processing of my documents. Almost nothing was left of my six-month salary. I decided to go back to Isabela.
A few months after my arrival, one of my Japanese customers visited me in Isabela. I never thought of having a Japanese boyfriend. But because of his persistence and kindness, he became my boyfriend. He often came to the Philippines and would visit me. He provided me with some help in putting up a small business. Like the other Japanese partners of the women I worked with, he was married. I did not mind it then, but soon, just like the others, he stopped visiting me and totally disappeared.
I thought that by being back in the Philippines, things would be better. I was wrong. I was judged by other people. My neighbors would talk behind my back. They said nasty things about me. This challenged me to reexamine my life. I gave my full attention to the small investments I made. I had a small store and I bought a tricycle. I was determined to work real hard to achieve my dreams.
One day, while I was in Manila, I met with a friend who was having a problem about her child with a Japanese man. We went to the DSWD and we were referred to the Development Action for Women Network (DAWN). I eventually became a member of DAWN in 1998, although I was not active because I was living in Isabela.
….to be continued