Accepted Paper:

'The Philippines welcomes you!' - hospitality as industry; sex tourism and expatriation in a Filipino community  


Rosemary Wiss (University of Sydney)

Paper Short Abstract:

Hospitality and belonging are complexly articulated in a Filipino community which is home to a sex tourism industry and an expatriate population. Foreign men seek harmonious gender relationships and sense of community and belonging. They have, however, entered into networks of intricate political and kinship connection, and disconnection.

Paper long abstract:

In national tourist promotions the Philippines is represented as having a history of welcoming strangers with Filipinos excelling in hospitality. Colonial history muted, foreign tourists are welcomed to the ongoing cultural mix with hospitality represented as unconditional. Derrida (2000) argued that unconditional hospitality is impossible, to be hospitable it is necessary to have the 'mastery' to host others, to deny particular visitors and to close off boundaries (ibid: 151). It is this tension that makes for the potentiality of hospitality; hospitality contains the notion of inhospitality. This paper considers the ways hospitality and belonging are articulated, and circumscribed, in a Filipino community which is home to a sex tourism industry and a foreign male expatriate population. It argues that in the sex tourism economy is produced out of foreigners' desires for an uninscribed island Utopia, imagined as uninhabited except for the necessary extras - the welcoming natives and accommodating women. Some foreigners who came for the transient and anonymous experience of sex tourism have married and produced children entering into enduring and intimate kinship relations. These marriages occur between two kinds of outsiders - foreign men and non-local bar-girls or 'stranger women'. Hence, while foreign men seek harmonious gender relationships and a more traditional sense of community and belonging they have entered into networks of multifaceted and intricate political and kinship connections - and disconnections.

Panel P25
At home in mobility: ethics of hospitality and belonging