Their fathers visited the Philippines to buy sex: now a generation of children want to track them down Brigette Sicat will not be going to school today. She sits, knees to chest, in a faded Winnie-the-Pooh T-shirt, on the double mattress that makes up half her home. At night, she curls up here with her grandmother and two cousins, beneath the leaky sheets of corrugated iron that pass for a roof. Today, the monsoon rain is constant and the floor has turned to mud. Brigette, 10, and her 11-year-old cousin, Arianne, aren’t in school because they have a stomach bug. There is no toilet and no running water, and no means of cooking other than over an open fire. Even when she is well, Brigette is often too hungry to tackle the 10-minute walk to school. Brigette’s mother is a sex worker. And Brigette knows that somewhere, far away, in a barely imaginable but often-thought-of place called England, she has a father. She knows only his given name: Matthew. Asked what she would say to him, were she able to send him a message, Brigette is at first stumped for words. Then she bursts out in Tagalog: "Who are you? Where are you? Do you ever think about me?" Her grandmother, Juana, her fingers swollen with arthritis and suffering from a lack of medication for her diabetes, sits by her side. These are the slums of Angeles City in the Philippines, and the children here represent a United Nations of parentage. Their faces tell that story – fair skin, black skin, Korean features, caucasian. That’s because their fathers, like Brigette’s, are sex tourists. When Brigette was two, the family heard that Matthew was in the area again and took her to see him at the bar he favoured, but couldn’t get inside. Two years ago, the bar closed down. Since then they have heard nothing of him. Meanwhile, Brigette’s mother has abandoned her daughter to the care of her grandmother. The Spanish colonialists named this place Pueblo de los Angeles, or "Town of the Angels". During the Vietnam war, it was the home of the Clark air base, then the largest American military facility outside the US. The base stayed open until 1991, when an eruption at Mount Pinatubo, the volcano looming 10 miles to the west, precipitated its closure. It is now a commercial airport and business centre, with call centres, hotels and restaurants. According to the local department of tourism, more than 4.7 million foreigners come to the Philippines each year. Of these, 1.2 million are men who arrive on their own. Most numerous are tourists from Korea, the US, China and Australia. The UK is ninth on the list, closely followed by other European countries. In 2011, the then US ambassador to the Philippines, Harry Thomas, said at a conference that 40% of male tourists visited the country for sex alone. Philippine officials complained; he couldn’t back up the statistic, and went on toapologiseto the foreign secretary. But nobody who has been to Angeles City doubts that he was right. It is possible, here, to go for weeks without seeing a western woman. It is all Filipino women and foreign men. On the blogs and social media sites that cater to them, the men who visit Angeles City discuss their experiences and share tips. On one, a man writes: "I never had problems with the women I brought back to the hotel. No ID check. I could bring in as many women as I wanted… not a word was said when I would walk up with two or even three women at a time." Another man comments on the number of "working girls" who have children by their clients, or "mongers" as the men call themselves – short for "whoremongers". "I would say 40% to 50% of the working girls in AC had their first kid from a monger, either European, Australian or American, and these mongers aren’t supporting their kids, just left them. I don’t know how you sleep at night." In a packed schoolroom, Brigette sits with her 45 classmates and chants her way through a spelling lesson in English. It is the day after we first met and she is happy to feel well enough to come to school. Her teacher says she is one of the brightest students, but has been held back a year because of non-attendance. The school principal says the children need raincoats and the school needs more classrooms. What would she say to the absent fathers of her pupils, those who have abandoned their children? She smiles. "No judgment. Perhaps people fall in love." But, she adds, "fathers should support their children". Brigette has not yet decided what she wants to do when she grows up. She might like to be a teacher, as long as she could stay with her grandmother, Juana. She has never been to the strip of bars on Fields Avenue, except for the time she was carried there in her aunt’s arms as a two-year-old, in an attempt to meet her father. Juana hopes she will never need to go again. https://www.theguardian.com/society...ists-leave-behind-fathers-visited-philippines I really can't help but feel that sex tourists are some of the lowest forms of life on earth. A few fleeting moments of pleasure for them versus a lifetime of misery for those they leave behind without so much as a care in the world.