The term Ladyboy (or kathoey) originates from Thailand. It isn't from the Philippines.
The day to day tagalog term for male to female transgenders is bakla. We'll keep to the ladyboy reference throughout this article, as this is the common name referred to filipino transgenders, by foreigners.
Note: other names include bayot, bantut, bayoc, bayog, boyog, bayoguin, bading, agi, agi-ngin, asog, binabayi, bido, lakin-on and binalaki.
For reference, in animistic Austronesian cultures, such as the Philippines, the mind takes precedence over the body. Meaning, they value what you think more than what you are - which Western culture does. From this, ladyboys are far more culturally accepted since they think they are female inside a male body.
It's an important distinction.
One which allows foreigners to better accept and be stress-free when it comes to interactions with filipino ladyboys.
If this is your first time to the Philippines, Filipino culture is a change to your home country. You'll experience many new and exciting concepts, foods and ideas.
Seeing ladyboys for the first can take you aback.
The majority of filipino bakla are stunningly beautiful.
It's their way of pressing the point that they are female, by nature. Many overcompensate and that's OK - it's one way to tell them apart from the average pinay girl.
What is fascinating are the stories and conversations you can have with them.
Consider the hardship and stress many must endure because of the foreign stigma attached to being a transgender when they're accepted in their own country.
We've always recommended to members here to at least be polite if a Philippines ladyboy sends you a message. The better approach is to maybe indulge yourself in some light chatting with them. You never know what you might learn.
Which brings me to my mate, Stuart and how his opinion of ladyboys changed, dramatically.
He's an average American guy. Retired ex-military so he's a tough dude. His marriage ended rather strangely when his wife suddenly turned lesbian, moved out with his kids and he was stuck in a rut, not knowing what to do with his life. Naturally, he became a little homophobic.
He contacted me out of the blue and asked about PinayRomances and visiting the Philippines as many of his friends had done.
After the usual introduction to online dating, I clued him up on techniques on strategy and making list of pinay women. All very blah blah which you can check out in other blogs.
Fast forward 6 months and he's traveling for his first pinay adventure. Or so I thought.
He explained after he arrived that he decided to 'taste the other side', as his wife had done. During some of his online chats, he'd been contacted by some ladyboys and got into some deep and interesting message chats. 'Why not' he said.
Well, the rest is history. He recounted that the 4 weeks he spent traveling the country were the best 4 weeks of his life.
He's never before thought himself as homosexual and still doesn't.
The sex he had was the most passionate and fulfilling of his 55 years. All because ladyboys KNOW what men want and like.
Stuart accepted his situation and went with the flow. The choice was his. Maybe some initial concern to what he was getting himself into but at the end of the day, he was in control. No worries.
You'll always see this written within the profile description of a ladyboys' online profiles.
Reflecting on Stuart's experiences and how accepted they are in their own country, is what they're trying to tell you, in just a few words.
It's exactly what Stuart did. Curiosity and action.
But if a ladyboy isn't for you, they would still prefer you respect their choice of identity.
The short answer is everywhere.
They're just normal people, living and working as others do.
If you're interested in Filipino ladyboy freelancers or prostitutes, there are many in Manila or the red light district of Angeles City.
These areas are strictly a no-dating fly-zone though. Purely for sex and the exchange of your money for her pleasures.
The uninitiated foreigners should take care of valuables as many reports have been made of ladyboys in these areas inflicting violence and robbery on foreigners.
Ensure your safety when traveling overseas.
It can be a little tricky to spot ladyboys 'out in the wild' if you aren't aware of what you're looking for.
As a general rule, the first giveaway is seeing a male 'adams apple' bulge at the front of the neck. Some (very few) have this surgically removed.
Ladyboys are generally taller than females and have wider more-pronounced bone structures especially around the wrists, for example.
Deeper voices tend to be the norm.
Asking for a few bikini photos will be the clincher. Many ladyboys pose in a way so as to not show the cock bulge in the bikini pants though.
There are generally 4 distinct varieties, with some overlap.
The image most guys see when they think of ladyboys, whether in the Philippines, Thailand or elsewhere, is that of busty cleavage hanging out atop of tight fitting super-sexy shirts.
These are the ladyboys that men dream of.
They're loud and generally exaggerate their sexy hip movements when walking. You know these 'girls' want to be noticed and seek the attention of the wandering eyes of passing by foreigners.
These top-end ladyboys are mostly high cost too.
Makeup, flashy sexy clothing, breast augmentation and hormones don't come cheap. These costs are ongoing and need to be maintained.
Typically this type of ladyboy is engaged in prostitution to some degree. Which is perfectly OK - Stuart who I mentioned earlier tried a few out when he landed. By all accounts, these girls know every trick in the book to completely satisfy her male customers.
Guys who've never been with one of these girls might need to be concerned a little bit, at the start though. They can be obnoxious and demanding for money for service.
I'd strongly advise you to test the water - meet a few and if you're so inclined, pick a ladyboy you feel comfortable with.
The next variety are normal everyday males who strongly identify as female and wish to live as one.
They're looking for a guy who will accept them the way they feel and think.
These ladyboys will always want the boob job as well as sexual reassignment surgery. They aren't willing to step out into prostitution though. They're bide their time, work in normal everyday jobs and mind their business.
Surgeries, hormones and a loving guy will fall into place, in due time.
They still come originally as male so their sexual prowess is still strong and highly pleasurable for a guy willing to take them on.
You should never worry about these girls too much.
They're usually placid and accepting.
We're talking a first phase ladyboy here.
They usually start as a gay but with strong female feelings.
If you're a bi-sexual, this is a good place to begin on any ladyboy adventure.
You'll get the best of both your worlds with a beginner ladyboy.
She'll be a great travel companion, from a male-good-mate point of view and will be highly attentive to your needs whether that is ordering food or pleasing you sexually. He/she will be 'open' to take it any which way you want.
The 4th type of filipino ladyboy is a rare breed.
They are a highly sought-after prize, by foreign men.
Ladyboys who have gone through the painful and arduous process of sexual reassignment surgery are the icing on the cake for foreigners.
They're so popular, in fact, that many will end up living overseas with their foreign boyfriend.
When you think about it, she thinks like a man so is a great buddy to have and talk to.
She's got a great set of boobs and has a brand new vagina and loves anal pleasures as well.
That's really the prize, isn't it?
The only thing a guy needs to worry about with post-op ladyboys is the continuing high price tag attached to them and the maintenance costs. Remember they need hormones for the rest of their lives and these sorts of medicines eventually take a toll on a body.
It cost a lot of pesos to regular hormones, breast augmentation and a sexual reassignment surgeries. Far more than an office clerk can ever afford.
Many ladyboys want to fast-track to getting their big-boob job as quickly as possible.
The fast and easy money way is prostitution and other sexual services. Many moonlight as cam-girls which is pay online for video nudity via Skype. We've heard many will take your money and do a runner so be cautious.
The typical ratio of ladyboys to female on a dating website is around 10 - 15%
It's easy to set your preferences to ladyboys only or simply change your search parameters. You're able to zero in on location as well to start planning your travel itinerary, this way.
Always take your time in verifying who you're speaking to. Never ever send money to someone you haven't 100% vetted as true and honest.
For the most part, if they're taking the trouble in creating and searching out a partner online, they have truer intentions than a Manila prostitute.
Take everything with a grain of salt until you know them well and have done a few video calls.
How Do I Spot a Ladyboy?
Author: Martin Cooney
Enjoying Life in Asia/Pacific
Hi, my name is Martin. I have many friends in and traveled throughout the Asia/Pacific regions for the past 17 years. I am passionate in helping others with my insight and past adventures.
I hope you enjoy the stories I write and take a little something away from them. I've contributed to over 160 posts on travel, dating, marriage and relationships.