From far away, the neon signage was visible, a huge black circle with the white outline of a woman in the middle, her index finger pressed against her pursed lips like a librarian reminding students to keep quiet. The brand image delivered the perfect message. A motel is a secret place.  Your privacy is important. No identification needed to enter. No need to provide your name or contact details. The cars parked in the open parking space had their license plates obscured by floor signs.

My companion and I were already frisky with each other even before I drove into the motel compound. My hands were stroking the inside of her thigh, her fingers were stroking my nipple through the fabric of my shirt. As I entered the compound, a tall, lanky man clad in a faux tuxedo approached me.  I rolled down my car window for just a few inches enough for him to see me but not my companion. He clasped his hands together like he was about to pray, bowed, and with clarity and confidence greeted us a good evening. 

"Suite room, sir?" he asked.

I shook my head. Suite rooms were large rooms, maybe 70 square meters in floor area, with couches, greeting areas, and a jacuzzi. Suite rooms usually had a theme like Star Wars or Matrix.  These rooms are more suited if you plan to hold a party with plenty of guests.  Obviously they are pricey, reaching as much as P5,000 for 6 hours.  I had no use for the huge space and the themes seemed frivolous. I did not want to spend P5,000 and we did not plan to stay for 6 hours.  We were both aching with desire and we just need a bed, a shower room, the usual amenities like soap and toothbrush, and 3 hours to frolic with each other.

I asked what other rooms are available.  They only had a mini suite available and I was to wait for about 5 to 10 minutes. "Aayusin pa yung kuwarto." That's ok, I told the man. I normally choose between deluxe, super deluxe, and mini suite. What differentiates one room from the other is size and whether or not it has a jacuzzi.  A mini-suite room has a jacuzzi but I do not indulge myself in it. I am not comfortable about the hygiene of jacuzzis.  Aside from the thought of whatever residue remains in the nooks and crannies, I had my doubts of the quality of the plumbing. I know the rooms are clean but those rooms have been around for decades and I wasn't sure how clean the pipings were. There is also another type of room called a "taxi room" which is a room without a garage and is meant for customers who arrived in a cab.

The man ran forward and gestured me to follow.  Standing in front of a garage door, he crouched and with one hand lifted the door. I reversed inside, careful to avoid the staircase leading up to the room. As soon as he brought down the garage door, I killed the headlights but kept the engine running. I opened the window and waved my discount card. The man took it and promptly exited. The glow from the car stereo was the only illumination we had. After a few minutes two men arrived, carrying buckets, mops, and a bag of cleaning fluids. They quickly walked past my car and scampered up the staircase. They emerged about 5 minutes later. "Ok na, sir," said one of them, flashing me the thumbs up sign.

Motel rooms have a variety of motifs. No two motel rooms are alike. I am often amazed at the creativity put into the interior design of a motel room. I had once gotten a room that looked like a library. It had a number of hardcover books placed neatly on shelves above the bed. One other room I had gotten looked like the interior of a gaudy bedroom with fake closets and even a fake Paris skyline painted on the wall. Regardless of the motif, motel rooms have a basic framework — a queen-sized bed in the middle with crisp white sheets, night tables and lamps are situated on both sides of the bed with a telephone on one table, a series of switches within arms length of the bed to control the room lighting, a flat-screen cable TV in front of the bed. Amenities would include a pair of tooth brushes, a bar of soap, and a single sachet of toothpaste. Somewhere in the room would be a small fridge stocked with canned beer and soda, an assortment of bottled cocktail beverages, and two plastic bottles of complimentary mineral water.

The room we got was a simple two-level room with the shower area in the lower level and the bedroom on the second level with another shower room. The room had mirrors on one wall and mirrors on the ceiling. On top of the bed was a thin sheet of blanket and on top of this was a food menu and a single condom packet. The TV was on when we entered and CNN broadcasters were reporting the latest news about Donald Trump. Suddenly the phone rang. Lifting the handset, a female voice politely greeted me.

"Welcome to Victoria Court, sir," she said. She asked if the room was ok and reminded me that the room is for 3 hours. "Do you want a wake-up call?"

"No, thank you," I said.

"Would you like to order anything?"

"No, thank you."

"Dial 0 if you need anything."

And with that, I replace the handset. Let the games begin . . .

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