Written By: Bill Stauffer

I am writing a biography of Desiree Abellanosa (born Douglas Abellanosa), a former escort and sex worker from the Philippines. The following excerpt speaks to her resilience in the face of relentless abuse, and it was a story she returned to many times during our interviews, even as she sought reconciliation with her father.  – Bill Stauffer


Douglas woke with his head buried beneath his pillow and his morning still dark. It was only after his dream evaporated into wakefulness that he remembered he had two things to be happy about.

The first thought pulled his sleepy mouth into a smile—school was closed for Eid al-Adha. The Philippines did not recognize many Muslim holidays, and when they did, it was only in concession to the rebellious islands to the south. A Catholic holiday, on the other hand, was hardly a holiday at all, since his mother—and maybe his father—would drag him and his brother and sister to church.

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