"Let's make a story," I told Darfie. He was downing his third bottle of Tanduay Ice when O-Bar's show girls took the small stage.

"Once upon a time, when O-Bar Ortigas was just an experiment - a doomed experiment I used to say." I paused to watch a tranny lip sync a Rihanna anthem. "These ladies were asked if they like to be assigned there." 

"Or they'll stick with O-Malate."

At that time, every gay guy in the city could be seen in Malate. It's the rainbow capital not even the dingy  and cheap Palawan bars could match.

"Of course, nobody wants to perform in Ortigas. Nobody goes there." I dropped my cigarette and kicked it under the bar table. "So they stuck with Malate, leaving the present Dream Girls of O running the show there."

"For some reasons, they agreed never to switch places."

"Now O-Malate's patrons are fast diminishing. Pansin mo naman, kung hindi mga tanderz ang pumupunta dito eh mga affam* na katulad ni Miss Jay." Miss Jay was the black muscular patron who wore a fit black shirt, a very short, shorts and fishnet stockings to show his skinny legs. He looked like Miss Jay Alexander of ANTM.

"Kaso wala na pumpunta ng Malate. Pansin mo, hindi na jampack dito gaya noon." Darfie nodded. "Lahat tayo, sa Ortigas.

After thirty minutes of lip syncing and sashaying, the girls' performance had concluded. They went down the stage to collect tips. Unlike in Ortigas where I hide from these drag performers, I dropped bills enough to buy a bottle of San Mig Lights for tips. The lady holding the collection bag thank me before shoving the bag to the guy behind me.

It was one of those chilly Sabado nights. I was restless, lonely and feeling a bit blue. I was allowed at home to stay out but I had nowhere to go. Evading boredom, I went back to the dance floor. I chose Malate over Ortigas this time because the cover charge was cheaper. Darfie, my twitter acquaintance was also there.

"Felt like I leveled down." I told him after the party. "Pansin mo, kung hindi estudyante eh mga laborers kasama natin." I was telling him earlier of a friend who is a Starbucks Executive who goes to Ortigas. Meanwhile, a barista was one of the revelers among us when we were in Malate.

The call boys still lined the stretch of Nakpil even when daybreak was fast approaching. Desperately in need of customers, some of them even tried to call our attention. I traded glances with them.

"This place is dying."

No longer the fairy land of our time, Malate is now an echo of its colorful past. Gone are the nights when men of every shade of pink spilled on the streets after packing the bars with their presence. The corner of Nakpil and Orosa used to be a melting pot of ideas and dramas. And while love and lust have been found and lost there, people return to purge themselves. To renew the bonds that attached them to the place.

And until I find that courage to start anew, there's no doubt that I'd stay resident of that rainbow corner. Even when the dance floor who had seen me in my best and worst times will be, but a history come February.

"After seven party years, O Bar Malate will be closing its doors on January 31, 2013." I read on Facebook. "We would like to thank everyone who helped us become what we are today. More power to all of you! See you all at O Bar Ortigas!

Party out......Party loud!"

Like all dance clubs and watering holes before it. O-Bar Malate has served its purpose. No longer a place to have fun or forget one's sorrow. I hope those who have seen its pink walls and green laser lights more than half a decade of their lives will find a place to perform and begin anew.

*affam - white/black gay men