Windi leaned against the bar, sipped her ginger ale with a straw so as not to smear her fantastic lipstick. Her eyes coasted over the empty black vinyl booths, the vacant luminous disco floor blinking its random pattern, the polished brass pole. Under the music she could hear the the throb of jackhammers shattering the concrete outside.
“This place is a graveyard,” she told the barman. He was languidly polishing a beer glass with a white towel. “When is all the construction supposed to end?”
“More like de-struction,” he said. “Mayor is sending a message to Mr. Loung.”
“He forget to pay his fees or something?”
He shrugged. “How long have you been in Cebu City, Windi?”
“This is my second day.”
“You’re from where?”
“A tiny village. Near Catmon.”
He nodded. He did not need to ask why she had come here or if she had any future plans.
In 2013, it was estimated that there were up to 500,000 prostitutes in the Philippines, from a population of roughly 97.5 million. Another study show the number could be as high as 800,000.