Suspension of Disbelief

Club BuddhaKan: Disenchanted in Mandaluyong

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Outrage Magazine | 10 March 2015

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Buddhakan1

Located at the back of GA Tower along EDSA, Club BuddhaKan reopened after it left the not-that-clean (read: filthy) yet somewhat-mysterious old cinema that used to house it along Aurora Blvd. in Cubao, Quezon City.

Buddhakan2For those not in the know, BuddhaKan initially gained traction as one of the (at that time) newest concepts in LGBTQ clubbing in Metro Manila, when it introduced itself as “that club inside an abandoned cinema house.” The concept worked perfectly – and should I say, not surprisingly. Those who used to frequent rundown cinemas to get action got curious.  So did those looking for novel places (after all, if Western countries have bars inside former churches, a club inside a former cinema was worth checking out). And so did those who have nowhere else to go to (or who were sick of the existing scene).  In no time, (the former) BuddhaKan gained regular patrons, from members of different clans, young members of the gay community, and even some veteran clubbers.

But sadly, it was not immune to the here-now-gone-tomorrow problem plaguing the gay party scene.  Just like the other bars/clubs before it, it slowly… died.

And now, after a short hiatus, BuddhaKan re-opens its doors in a new location.

Situated at the back of one of the biggest condominiums along Boni Avenue, along the residential stretch of the area, is the revamped version of the club.

Now – with the novelty of the older version in mind – how does this new one stack up?

First, the interiors of the place are a let-down – looking at the place now, I can’t help but think that it’s a step backwards considering the “grandness” of the old BuddhaKan (It was a cinema, hello!). This one dons layers and layers of draperies; and the area, aside from the spotlights, is illuminated by fancy-looking chandeliers.

Secondly, the drink list remains limited – should I say, just like how it was in the old place in Cubao. As such, when here, just expect the usual local beers and some simple cocktails (emphasis on “simple”).

Thirdly, and worth highlighting, is the attitude of the place’s staff members. We remain critical of people who do not seem to give proper service to the very people giving them business (for instance, we’ve been critical of O Bar in the past).  And so, I’d have to say this is another notable drawback of the new BuddhaKan.

When Outrage Magazine visited the club to attend its Red Party after they sent out a text invite, the people working there were actually unpleasant.  The receptionists, for instance, could not be bothered answering questions, and after they received the payment for the cover charge, just continued conversing with each other. Once inside, we were notified by one of the servers/waiters that there were no seats available, and that we just have to stand by the bar.  Interestingly, the club wasn’t even half full. And when we went to the bar to get our drinks, we were told that they ran out of ice, and so we were forced to have warm drinks.

If there’s a saving grace to this place, I’d say it’s the more-than-okay stand-up performers. The jokes are not all tired; and the comedians/comediennes have a not-that-bad comedic timing.  So if you’re up for a night of comedy (i.e. green and slapstick jokes thrown side by side), then you will probably enjoy what this place has to offer.

It saddens me to say that this place has a lot – make that “A LOT!” – of catching up to do for it to be a place you would like to be seen in regularly.  But try to visit if:

  1. You’re in Mandaluyong and you have nowhere else to go;
  2. You are looking for better-than-good performers;
  3. You have time (and money) to waste;
  4. You’re not over-particular when clubbing;
  5. You wanna check a (somewhat) new place;
  6. You were assigned to check out the venues that members of the LGBT community can go to; or
  7. You have an event there/You were invited to an event there.

As for me, well, you know where I stand…

BuddhaKan

Club BuddhaKan is located at 79 Sierra Madre St., Mandaluyong City.
For more information, visit the club’s Facebook page.

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(Outrage Magazine remains the only publication for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Philippines.)

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