After doing a series of guide articles on Epitome and Club Bath, I will now start featuring the next bathhouse and that is Queeriosity Palace. This bathhouse is the newest among the ones in Metro Manila, having opened last April 5, 2008. Unfortunately, it was raided soon after (see my post about the raid for a backgrounder). The raid was apparently a case of mistaken identity (see below) and the bathhouse continues to operate to this day (and even had a change of ownership) with no more hitches from the authorities.
I first heard back in 2006 or 2007 that Wilbert, the owner of Fahrenheit (that bathhouse in Quezon City), planned to have a second bathhouse in the south. Queeriosity Palace is apparently the realization of this plan and the establishment is located along F.B. Harrison Street in Pasay (along the same road as Club Bath, but on the opposite side of Buendia).
I don’t know why he named the new place Queeriosity Palace, but I think he missed a huge marketing opportunity by not naming the bathhouse Celsius. Fahrenheit—Celsius, get it? Even if he didn’t pick the name Celsius, Wilbert could have done better picking a name less... um... queer. Bathhouses, by their nature, are relatively discreet places, and a name like “Queeriosity” just doesn’t cut it. An additional problem was that the entrance of the bathhouse had this big-ass signage proclaiming the name of the place. On a locally-busy street. Good thing the sign is no more and has been replaced with a more discreet metal lettering on the wall.
The true story behind the raid
Apparently, the real story behind the infamous raid at Queeriosity Palace was not because the place is gay, but because the police thought that the establishment was a continuing KTV joint fronting for female prostitution. Before Queeriosity Palace was opened, it was a place called El Barako. Male clients ostensibly went there to sing karaoke, but girl G.R.O.s were on hand to “serve” the eager clients in private KTV rooms.
When QP opened, the police thought that it was still the same place, with just a name change. When they realized that the place is actually a gay bathhouse (which is not illegal since there is no prostitution involved), they continued with the raid to save face. No charges were filed and they released everyone shortly after bringing them to the precinct. According to one policeman, “Kung alam naming na baklaan pala yun, hindi na naming pinasok yun.” Of course, this doesn’t diminish the fact that those people caught were humiliated and this incident diminished QP’s reputation.
Change of ownership
Sometime early this year, the owners of Hilom decided to buy Queeriosity Palace. There wasn’t really any noticeable change in operations except that the planned gym at the ground floor became a sort-of lounge instead and that Hilom masseurs had rotating assignments at Queeriosity to provide massage services at the bathhouse. In addition, I think you can now get free condoms on entry. This wasn’t done before, anywhere, because apparently the police thinks that an establishment that offers free condoms equates to prostitution. I think the owner managed to be successful with his dialogues with the authorities.
My initial thoughts
My single biggest beef with Queeriosity Palace is its location. Yes, it’s very much accessible and easy to reach, but the street where its located is much too busy for my taste. There’s far too many people loitering on the street and there are many active shops nearby. And it’s located right beside Unioil. It’s unlikely for you to go inside without anyone outside noticing you come in. I think this is the biggest turn-off for Queeriosity Palace. It was worse before when the place had a huge sign outside as I mentioned above. Club Bath, Epitome, and Fahrenheit have vastly more discreet entrances.
Aside from the location, Queeriosity Palace is a pretty decent bathhouse. It’s housed in a two-storey building with all the usual bathhouse amenities: lockers, showers, and private rooms. The showers on the first floor is an exhibitionist’s and voyeur’s delight—it consists of two rows of back-to-back shower heads on a free-standing wall with no dividers. The shower room on the second floor is a bit more palatable to the self-conscious since it has dividers.
Unlike in Club Bath and Epitome, there is no mini-gym here (the original owner planned to have one but the new owners decided not to pursue it). There is a bar on the ground floor, a jacuzzi (better than Epitome’s), and a steam room. The second floor contains an Internet cafe and a movie room showing blue films. The second floor also has four private rooms that you can avail of, but for the budget conscious, there are plenty of free-for-all smaller rooms with beds. These rooms (when clean) is the best feature of Queeriosity Palace compared to Club Bath and Epitome.
If you want a different view of Queeriosity Palace, you should check out Joel McVie’s two-part blog posts. He went to the place on the suggestion of the new owner and provided feedback. It was from McVie where I obtained the story about the raid I wrote above. This other blog post by mgm is also quite informative.
Anyway, just like with Epitome and Club Bath, I’ll be writing more posts about Queeriosity Palace to serve as a guide for the PLU community. Stay tuned!