There are over 83,000 “sugar babies” in the Philippines, majority of whom are in Metro Manila, the online luxury dating website “Sugarbook” said.
According to Manal Sugadol’s “Stand For Truth” report on Tuesday, however, several Filipinos have been duped by “sugar daddies” they met on a Facebook group bearing the popular website’s name.
Among them are Maricel, Gretchen, and Aileen, who said they turned to “sugar dating”—a relationship between a wealthy older person and a younger partner in need of financial support—due to the money issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Nag-offer siya ng P35,000, isang buwan ko raw po ‘yun. Tapos may pinakita po siya sa’kin na mga video rin ng iba’t ibang babae na ‘yun daw po ‘yung gagayahin ko pero habang tumatagal, hindi ko na po nagugustuhan ‘yung mga pinapagawa niya,” Maricel said.
“‘Pag hindi raw po ako nag-send ng isa pang nudes, ikakalat niya raw po ‘yung mga pinadala ko sa kanya,” she added.
Adding salt to the wound, Maricel’s sugar daddy never made good on his promise of giving her money.
“Wala po siyang naibigay sa’kin ni isang piso. Sobrang natakot po ako. Halos hanggang ngayon po hindi pa rin ako makatulog kasi lagi ko pa po ‘yung naiisip,” she lamented.
Gretchen also said she was scammed by a man she met on a Facebook community named after Sugarbook.
“‘Yun ‘yung pinagsisihan ko na nagpasa ako ng picture na kabastusan, ‘yung kahit ayaw ko ‘yun ibigay, binigay ko ‘yun kasi akala ko totoo tapos hindi naman pala totoo kaya nagsisisi ako parang gusto ko na rin magpakamatay,” she said.
Aileen, meanwhile, said she became a sugar baby out of dire need to support her children.
“Siyempre nakakalungkot, na nakakadismaya na nakakaawa kasi kaya ko siya pinasok kasi para sa mga anak ko, pangkain, tapos lolokohin ka lang din naman ng kapwa mo Pilipino na wala rin namang matinong sasabihin,” she said.
Sugarbook website founder and CEO Darren Chan clarified that they have no control over community pages using their name.
“The Facebook community pages is created by fans… The fans of Sugarbook made us admins. The community pages are not official and not owned by Sugarbook itself although myself, I am an admin in one of the pages,” he said.
Chan also insisted that Sugarbook does not advocate prostitution.
“Sugar babies are not obligated to have sex. Sugar babies, they are not selling their babies. Sugar babies have the freedom of choice to choose who they want to be in a relationship with,” he argued.
Women’s studies professor Carolyn Sobritchea called on Filipinas to protect themselves from the dangers of sugar dating.
“Nanawagan ako sa mga kapuwa ko kababaihan lalo na ‘yung mga kabataan ngayon na protektahan ninyo ang inyong sarili at humanap kayo ng hanapbuhay na makakabuti sa inyo. Sana ‘wag pumunta sa mga mapanganib na mga pagkakakitaan ng pera at ‘wag ipagbili ang sarili dahil lamang sa kakaunting peso na makukuha ninyo,” she said.—Julia Mari Ornedo/LDF, GMA News