For a first timer in Manila the midget boxing at Ringside Bar experience will certainly be an eye-opener.
The combination of culture shock, and the novelty of a venue that would be completely illegal in most, if not all, western countries makes for an interesting introduction to Manila and the Philippines.
This venue is definitely not for everyone and would be somewhat distasteful for many. But it is an anything goes kind of place with booze, music, girls and an unusual brand of entertainment if you are that way inclined.
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What Happens at Ringside Bar?
The centerpiece of the entertainment is the boxing ring.
You will be treated to midget boxing, lady boxing and the occasional tag team match of jelly wrestling.
You can jump in the ring and referee the fight if you want to, but be prepared to shout all of the participants some expensive drinks for the privilege… If you do step into the ring remember to protect your nuts!
It is a place where almost anything goes.
If you tip big enough they will organize anything within reason.
The most unusual I have seen so far is one of the punters jumping in the ring to fight three midgets with one arm tied behind his back (I think he lost a bet in a group of rowdy Brits in the bar that night.
The only condition was that if he hurt one of the midgets the fight would be over.
The Moral Dilemma of Midget Boxing
Some may see this as a morally questionable form of entertainment.
You can argue that the activities exploit the handicapped and subjects them to indignity for the sake of our entertainment.
However, it is worth considering what the vertically challenged participants would be doing for work if it was not for this venue.
The Philippines is not the land of opportunity for everyone. While it may not be the most pleasant way to make a living, it is still a living.
“Other Services” Offered
Like most venues in the vicinity, it is primarily a bar where the services of the working girls are offered.
The dancing girls in the ring between fights and hanging around the bar all have a price…. Or a bar fine as they put it.
The boxing is just to get punters in the door. Although I have found that if you do not show any interest in the girls then you will be left alone to have a few drinks and enjoy the spectacle in the ring.
A word of warning – The upstairs venue Mixed Nuts is a ladyboy bar.
You will have the odd worker join the dancing girls in Ringside attempting to blend in. So unless you are into that, keep an eye out for an Adam’s Apple, or some solid cheekbones. That dancing girl, may not be a girl after all.
If you are hosting some newcomers to the city it is always a good prank to take them upstairs, pretend to go to the bathroom, and just leave. Then count how long it takes for them to come running out the door.
The ladyboys are much more aggressive so it shouldn’t take long.
Ringside Fight Schedule
The frequency of fights generally depends on the night of the week and the crows in the venue.
Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest and they try and keep the crowd engaged with frequent battles taking place.
When the crowd is this you may only find a fight taking place every 30-60 minutes. With the inbetween filled in by the dancing girls in the ring.
There is no set schedule due to the fact that there is no genuine competition here. Some of the girls can get quite feisty, but it’s mostly just the same people on rotation heading into the ring.
Where is Ringside Bar
The venue is on the infamous P Burgos St, and on the corner of Kalayaan Av.
This is the center of the red light district in Poblacion, Makati.
Is it Worth a Visit?
While this may not be a venue suitable to become your regular hangout, it is still a fun place to knock back a few drinks.
The seedy undertones generally get the better of you in a couple of hours and it would be time to move on.
Not everyone would go there twice, but it is an interesting experience for visitors and local Filipinos alike.