A Strip Bar Right Under An Elevated Train Station

THE name was Tsikmate, which quickly registered in my mind.  And the business name itself appeared to be a double entendre, or so I thought.  For some smart locals, Tsikmate, a corruption of the popular Chess game term “checkmate”, which both terms they pronounced the same way, would mean a guest capturing a stripper he fancied or lust over, which meaning was obviously a bit more vulgar than “a guest finally having the dancer he had been eyeing join him at his table or “a guest finally tabling the entertainer he adored.”

But what’s this Tsikmate again and where was it located?  It was a tiny strip bar erected right under the elevated LRT train station of Jose Abad Santos on Jose Rizal Avenue in Manila City’s Tondo district.  It was like a shack sprouting amongst dilapidated huts in a slum colony.

Anyone traveling past the establishment was quick to dismiss it “as yet another haven for straight guys catering to the carnal needs of lower-class men who loved men”, which, of course, was a sweeping generalization.  And just when you thought the macho and the not-so-macho dancers were simply plucked from the streets, one would be surprised to discover that amongst the ugly ducklings there was a beautiful swan in one particular cute, young entertainer who exuded a strong sex appeal virtually all guests could not resist.  It was such a shame this author forgot to get and keep his contact number.

In this kind of place you got to rub elbows with down-to-earth, unpretentious dancers who knew what their customers came for – very much like Dreamboys and the now-defunct Prince Galaxy Bar, if you will.  But sadly, expectedly, it did not stay on to welcome year 2008.  Tsikmate Macho Dancer Bar suffered the same fate that befell all of Manila City’s smaller macho dancer bars.

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