Let’s go to mot-mot and make dyug-dyug

Ever been to a motel? Come on, I’m sure you’ve been in one. I think a typical Filipino’s sex life wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a motel. It has become some sort of a passage for young hot blooded Pinoy adults. Throughout the years, however, motels have acquired a certain degree of notoriety. They evoke everything that is sleazy and forbidden. Suffice to say that motels have also, to some extent, become a symbol of how we Filipinos regard sex. We’ve never been conservative about sex, contrary to what many believe. But we have never been upfront about it. We do it but God forbid that we talk about it. It’s an idea that the motel owners have certainly taken to heart, especially their advertising logos.

Victoria’s Court’s signage, for example, has a woman (probably Victoria) with a finger before her lips. She’s probably telling passersby to be quiet but most probably she is telling them to be discreet. And doesn’t the name Victoria immediately remind us of the Victorian Period, an era well known for its severe attitude towards sex?

Anito Inn’s signage, on the other hand, features a bitten apple. This is of course a direct allusion to Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit, which was instrumental with them being cast off from the Garden of Eden. Is Anito Inn suggesting that the copulating couples inside their rooms are once again reliving the mistake that Adam and Eve once did? Hmmm…

Sogo is relatively new but it has become a byword for people who are in dire need of a space to, um, be intimate. Apparently, this motel is a cheap one. A friend told me that it has waiting room and once when they checked in, he and his date found themselves in the same room with a gay couple, lesbian couple and a straight couple. Evidently, not only is it cheap, it also doesn’t discriminate, unlike say Anito Inn. Anyway, the logo features a Japanese geisha with her face partly hidden by a fan. Again, it evokes secrecy. If you think about it, the fan is not only a means to cover the identity but it also suggests legs being spread apart. Of course Sogo is the eastern version of Victoria, which is European.

I remember a film workshop I once attended. We were discussing how we would go about a certain scene involving a couple in a motel room. “If you were the director, how would you establish that the couple is inside a motel room,” asked the filmmaker. Various suggestions were made, from a signage that says “Motel” (how obvious can you get?) to a key holder bearing the motel’s name.

“How about a bible?” one student piped in. But, as the filmmaker pointed out, don’t legit hotels have bibles too, tucked inside their bedside drawers? The point was that the two were having a tryst inside a sleazy establishment. I don’t know what solution the filmmaker eventually came up with but I do know that motel rooms are typically bare, with only a large bed, a cheap drawer and lots and lots of mirrors. And the sheets, the sheets are always, always starched white. I have never seen a motel bed wrapped in an elaborate design. Of course it’s about cleanliness, or to suggest an idea of cleanliness.

I know it has more to do with sanitary than for any other reason but wouldn’t it be more dramatic to think that in spite of everything that we think we know about motel rooms and everything that we have perceived about it, the white sheets and the white pillow cases suggest something totally opposite of the word sleazy. That the sheets are, in truth, telling us that in spite of the sleaziness of the place, what happens on that white sheet is something pure, pure and romantic and so right. And that God, as what Janice de Belen once said to Ate Luds, was with the couples when they were doing it.


tama ang feedback mo about sogo :) they do have a waiting room, more of a waiting area in front of the lobby. sobra kahiya mag stay dun at maghintay, katabi ng ibang tao...
southdude said…
Hmm Sogo is debunking the idea of "always, always starched white" sheets with their elaborate themed rooms.

Personally I wouldn't know. I havent been in one. Im just basing it on their ads. :-)

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