The massage with a happy ending
The shorts and hip-length kimono ensemble was the first indication that there was some truth to the hearsay about this place not being your everyday spa.
This spa promised a happy ending to its male guests, which probably explained why the staff readily attended to my male companion and were a bit stumped as to what to do with me.
An attendant had readily whisked off my male companion, while I was left waiting in the reception area for close to 15 minutes before I reminded them that I was there for a massage, too.
Of spas and 'spakols'
“Spakol yun,” Dong*, a health worker, told me.
Spakol is the portmanteau for “spa” and “jakol," the Tagalog slang for “jacking off.”
Its façade and signage tell you that it is a spa establishment, and a quick scan of its interiors will not tell you otherwise.
But as they say, the devil is in the details -- such as the shorts and hip-length kimono worn by the attendants, a far departure from the uniforms that closely resemble hospital scrubs worn by therapists in other spas.
“The uniforms would have been your first sign. Syempre, kailangan ganun ang suot nila sa serbisyo na yun.” (Of course what they are wearing has to go with the service they are offering.)
That service is either a hand job or a blowjob—a happy ending to complete the rubdown of a massage.
As a health worker, Dong and his team would go around these spakols to conduct lessons on condom use, STI prevention and yes, even how to use lubricant to do a hand job effectively and quickly.
Dong has pretty much seen it all, like the usually pretty young attendants -- another spakol indicator. “Syempre dapat magaganda para bumalik ang mga guests. Minsan nga dun sa mga 'totoong spa' yun hindi magaganda, eh.” (Of course, they have to be pretty so the guests will go back. It’s in the real spas where you will find the not-so-pretty girls.)
Reviewed, certified, advertised
Massage attendants with above average look are also a marketing strategy to fuel word-of-mouth marketing or in this case, virtual word of mouth marketing.
On a popular online website known for forums on all sorts of adult entertainment, spakols are rated and reviewed and the attendants given a field report based on their looks and performance.
A quick check of the website showed the exchange between former guests who share feedback and reviews of the services they receive like BBBJ (Bare Back Blow Job for oral sex without a condom) and other disclaimers like YMMV for Your Mileage Will Vary meaning the time spent with you will depend on, apart from other things, your longevity.
Guests share chip numbers of the attendants they like and put in a field report, rating from 1 to 10 on face, body and performance level. (READ: Sex at the drop of a tweet or a like)
“Pag certified ng website na yun, sure na sure na spakol yun,” said Dong. (Once certified by that website, you can be sure that that’s a spakol.)
Apparently, there are also social media pages and even ads on on-line buying sites advertising a hotel-motel-home service of a lingam/prostate massage to massage the Lingam, also including testicles, perineum and the male equivalent of the G-spot.
Not Swedish or Shiatsu, but Tantric
“I was asked if I wanted the ‘special massage’,” said A, recalling his first spakol experience.
“When I asked her what that was, she said, ‘Regular back massage na may kasamang Tantric massage hanggang maka-release kayo.’” (Regular back massage and Tantric massage until you get your release.)
“It’ll start off with a massage on your back and when she gets to the legs, her touch may change—parang nakakakiliti (ticklish) and then her hands will gently wander there.”
“When you turn over, you’re ready for more action—and some negotiation,” said A. The girl may offer other services and the guest may counter offer.
As Dong explained, there is a multitude of services offered in these spakols, the very basic service being a hand job at the end of a massage; others may offer a combination of a hand and blowjob.
There are also some spakols that don’t stop the simple jobs and offer “all the way” or “live wire sex” depending on the establishment or a guests’ arrangement and relationship with the attendant.
“Mayroon pang mga spakol nago-offer ng credit card; pwede mo na din i-swipe yun tip mo sa attendant dun,” said Dong. (There are even high-end spakols where you can use your credit card to pay for your ‘tip’.)
For guests like A, a side trip to the spakol is a just another way to unwind and relax.
“Will my wife get mad if she finds out? Yeah, most likely, she will. But will we break up over it? Probably not. Technically, I guess it’s cheating -- but not completely,” says A, explaining another version of a happy ending. - Rappler.com
Ana P. Santos is a former banker turned writer / journalist focusing on women’s issues and sexual health rights. It’s a mouthful and for the most part, she’s simply referred to as a “sex columnist.” She’s just happy she can tell her mother that she made a career for herself in the sex industry without engaging in commercial porn. She blogs at www.sexandsensibilities.com and Tweets @iamAnaSantos.
*Name of respondent had been changed at his request.