Category Archives: Angeles City Survival Guide

Angeles City Survival Guide: A semi-serious guide for understanding Angeles City in the Philippines

Three Ways To Enjoy Angeles

With the proliferation of up market hotels and big flash new bars one would be forgiven for thinking that Angeles is now the playground of the wealthier mongerer, however the truth is, it is still possible for all types of mongerers to enjoy the town on different levels. This article will explore three different ways to enjoy Angeles. These include Angeles on a budget, Angeles as a mid level spender and Angeles as a high roller.

Traditionally Angeles has always been about affordable sex and partying and despite the numerous so called up market venues this still holds true today. For the visitor on a budget there are still many options available and a great time can still be had in AC despite limited funds.

The major expense is always accommodation and even though Angeles is developing rapidly with a number of big modern and more expensive hotels there is still a good number of cheaper options available when it comes to accommodation.

When staying at a cheaper hotel remember the old maxim you get what you pay for and this is certainly true of some of the hotels listed here. I guess it all boils down to your budget and your priorities. If you are on a limited budget and luxuriousness of your accommodation is not a priority then these hotels are for you. When staying in a cheaper accommodation you will most likely have to forego the little luxuries such as a swimming pool, room safe, king size bed, refrigerator in the room, modern air-conditioning unit, mini bar, hot water shower clean and comfortable linen, transportation service to and from Fields, proper thick curtains to shield you from the sunshine and heat, flat screen TV’s and audio visual machinery, lack of sound insulation, lack of quality room service and chances are you will not have the all important internet connection so you can access AE while in the room. In these hotels the rooms are often smaller and certainly more basic and the girls are more reluctant to stay there.

The girls are basically in it for the money and one of the ways they ascertain how much money you have is by which hotel you stay in. If you are staying in a cheaper hotel you may well find the girls a little hesitant to go with you simply because they will interpret your choice of hotel as being indicative of how much money you have and therefore how much money they will get. Another factor to be taken into consideration is that often these hotels are a little bit away from the bars and it can sometimes be quite a challenging proposition getting transport to the bars. Lastly there is the safety factor. In my experience Angeles is comparatively safe but like anywhere it has it’s seedier areas and many of the cheap hotels are situated in these areas which then presents a safety concern.



If you are on a budget there are a number of things you can do to minimize your expenditure firstly drink during the day time in Perimeter Road bars. The Perimeter Road bars are normally cheaper than Fields Avenue bars and that includes prices from drinks through to bar fines. Minimize the amount of alcohol you personally consume and if you feel the need to drink most hotels will have a sari-sari store nearby which will sell you a bottle of rum and a bottle of coke or some San Miguel or if you are in the mood to get intoxicated cheaply try the local brew, red horse beer. These can all be consumed in your room prior to your bar hop. When inside the bars do not drink top shelf or imported drinks stick with the local and therefore cheaper drinks. When buying ladies drinks insist on them being a single only and make sure you only buy one prior to the bar fine proposal. When it comes to minimizing the costs associated with drinking do some reconnaissance of the bars and make note of the bars happy hour times and the prices. Then if you really want to go cheap find out where the locals drink befriend and feel free to join them. Admission to their group will normally be one round of drinks and you’re in. If drinking in a bar during the non happy time then make sure you utilize your Asian Escapades discount card this can save you quite a bit of money.



Picture of guys drinking outside anchorage inn.

When it comes to getting around become proficient at walking or at least learn about the Jeepneys where they leave from at what time, what is their route and how much is their cost. Another way to save money with transportation is to rent out a trike on a daily basis and share the cost with a friend. This is called the service and normally works out cheaper and more convenient than hiring different trikes throughout the day. The cheapest way to get around will always be your own two feet but this of course can get wearisome even though it is good exercise and then there is the safety factor to consider.

Avoid frivolous expenditure for example throwing ping pong balls, letting off poppers, throwing money at the girls, purchasing unnecessary bar merchandise such as bar t/shirts bar towels or beer wraps. Keep an eye out for specials such as Manic Monday and doghouse where it is a set price which is normally cheaper and you will get good value for money.

When it comes to sex there are also several ways to save money. Firstly get on the internet and utilize face book, yahoo messenger, tagged, etc arrange dates with the girls outside of the bar. There are several disadvantages to this method but it is certainly cheaper. When in the bars collect names and phone numbers for outside of work. This will not exactly make you a valued customer and don’t be surprised if you are asked to leave the premises but it is certainly cheaper than paying a bar fine every night. Please note I am not instructing people to sneak the girl out but it is a fact of life that if the girls like you they will make the drop by proposals and if you are operating on a tight budget you should be alert for these offers.

This one is easier said than done but wherever possible control your sexual urges and settle for only one different girl each day or even cheaper the same girl for the entire trip. Another way to save money is to visit the Blow Job bars which will provide the blow job service which will give you the same end result for less than paying a bar fine and having to tip the girls. Talking of which always remember to be conservative in your tipping give the girls 200 piso and tell them that’s all the money you have but you will be good for some more tomorrow. Last but by no means least be careful of the type of girl you choose do not go for the money hungry superstars, go for the older ones who are more grateful for a good fuck and will probably ask for less money. As the old expression goes these girls don’t have as many tickets on themselves and if truth be known they are probably better in the bed than the so called superstars.





Another way to save money is make sure you do not take your bar fine bar hopping. When the girls go bar hopping this will invariably cost you money as nearly all of them have friends working in other bars and will use your money to buy them drinks and generally show off how they have access to your funds. If you have bar fined but still feel the need to bar hop simply leave the girl behind in her bar and tell her you will come back for her. If you feel compelled to take your bar fine out on a date take her to a karaoke joint on the road behind Fields. These joints are basic and the costs are low. Chances are she will enjoy it but she will be the only one as you will have to sit there listening to her screech over the microphone to which you will be expected to applaud and appreciate her fine vocal performance. These karaoke joints always remind me of a squealing pig just before it’s slaughtered.

One major expense is food but if you are prepared to eat like a Filipino then eating becomes a much cheaper proposition. The Filipinos always know the cheap places to eat and will mostly show you without any judgment. The upside of this is it saves you money and your date is perfectly happy with the food. The downside is your girl may be happy but chances are, for you the food will taste like crap. I can remember eating at the burger machine on numerous occasions. This always tasted like crap but hey at 30 piso a burger I wasn’t about to complain. That is until I got sick from some bad meat and I have never eaten there since.




The Mid Range Visitor.


The so called mid range visitor is the category most of us fall into. For the mid range visitor they have some money to spend but the emphasis is on a balance between spending wisely and conservatively with the occasional lashing out heedless of the expense. For these guys there is still a budget but it is a bigger one than the guys doing it on the cheap. Again the major costs are accommodation, drink, food and sex. For accommodation there are a number of different hotels all depending on what your price range is. Normally the mid range customers will spend anything from 1500 a night through to 3000 depending exactly on what they are looking for. There are numerous hotels which will cater to your needs in this price range ranging all the way from the Maharajah near Friendship gate to the Swagman down in Diamond. A few of my favorites that fall into this price range and offer good value for money are the Natalia, The Walkabout Hotel, Central Park, Hotel Hana and of course the ever popular Lewis Grand Hotel. When deciding on a hotel after you have determined your budget define what your priorities are and list them in order of importance. For example the location doesn’t really matter to me but I do like a nice big bed heavy curtains and of course a swimming pool. Other guys prioritize the location because they spend more time scouring the bars than they do in the hotel room. For these guys location is the number 1 priority. Others prioritize food or service or just the general ambience of an establishment. It is unlikely that you will find a hotel that encompasses all your needs so my advice is to find one that can meet your top three and stay there.





As a mid range customer you should set yourself a budget every day allocating an overall amount to be spent then allocate an amount to each segment. An average amount spent for mid range customers would probably be about 8 thou a day which would include 2500 accommodation 2000 for a bar fine anywhere from 500 to a thousand tip for the girl, probably 2500 for personal drinks and ladies drinks and anywhere from 500 to 1000 for food. This will by no means cover everything but I think it is a fairly accurate guide when it comes to loosely defining your budget. Keep in mind there will always be days when you go over budget and days when you will be under budget. There may well be emergencies which you should just have let’s say ten thousand piso put aside for. You never know when you may need this.

Mid range customers normally appreciate the various deals that are going around and will often be seen at the regular events eg: Doghouse and Manic Monday however it’s not like they have to attend them and they certainly don’t need to organize their agenda around them like the guys on a tighter budget have to.

Because the mid range guys are spending a little more money their enjoyment is less restricted as such they are often more inclined to party and be more free with their spending Ping Pong balls and poppers are often utilized by guys in this budget bracket. The mid range guys can also afford to be more picky when it comes to the girls. To some extent a guy on a tight budget must take what he can get when he can get it but the mid range spender is to some extent able to pick and choose at his discretion. The mid range guys have the advantage of being able to entertain the girls, they will often buy a girl and her friends drinks and they can afford to take the girl on a bar hop after bar fining her. The mid range guys budget allows him to lash out a little more and you will often see him buying a girl and a group of her friends dinner or having food delivered (pizza and Jollibee are classic examples) to the bar for a girl and her friends to enjoy.

Be aware that word of mouth is still extremely active in the bar girls social circle and the amount you tip a particular girl whether it be substantial or minimal will in a matter of hours be public knowledge. Your tip to some extent establishes your reputation as a customer amongst the girls and also your desirability. If you tip to much you are to some extent perceived as being a sucker, a desirable sucker but a sucker just the same. If you tip to little then you suddenly find your desirability amongst the girls has decreased proportionally to your tip. This does not apply to the 20 to 25 year old males but for the over thirties it is an undeniable reality. The mid range guys normally tip a minimum of 500 and anywhere up to 2000.

The mid range customers are not as hung up with the bill as the low range spenders. Some will check their bill but the majority simply pay it and leave a tip normally somewhere between 50 to 100 piso. For the mid range spending customer there is to some extent attention seeking as a motivation but this is not a major part of their behavior as many mid range guys will sit back and spend their money quietly preferring to stay out of the limelight. Talking about basking in the limelight that leads me to the next category of customer the high roller or as the Filipinos like to say “the big spender”.


The Big Spender.


By definition the true big spender has little to no budget restrictions and as such is more free with his spending. For these people conspicuous spending is the norm and there is always an element of attention seeking behind their spending. Frivolous expenditure is par for the course and often these guys will let of poppers stuffed full of money, throw copious amounts of ping pong balls, buy massive rounds of customer drinks and ladies drinks, quaff down Champagne, ring the bell numerous times, throw money on the girls from an elevated position etc, etc. The big spenders will often have a group of Filipinos with them who act as security personnel. In years gone by this was a rare occurrence but in modern times I have seen it become more and more common.

The big spender is by definition a bar managers and more importantly a bar girls perfect customer. Here is a guy who normally requires minimal working or encouragement because his stated objective is to spend money regardless of the amount or perceived value. Even though many of them do not want the overt attention their behavior is in my opinion attention seeking driven and there is certainly an element of look at me along with, I do this because I can afford to and you guys cant.

For the big spender it’s all about the party as one of the major reasons he is spending his money is because he wants to create a frenetic party atmosphere with him being the coordinator or put another way with his expenditure dictating the turn of events. Luckily the average Filipina is not backwards in coming forwards when it comes to earning a piso or two and as a result they know exactly how to create the party atmosphere conducive to free spending. On many occasions you will see a group of girls surrounding the big spender all raising their drinks which by the way will invariably be doubles and shouting cheers. Big spenders will often have a group of girls as part of their bar hopping retinue and it is expected that the girls in whatever bar they visit will accept these girls and they will work together to create the party.





The big spender by his spending alone establishes himself as a valuable customer and to some extent he can dictate the ebb and flow of the bar. Many big spenders have certain triggers which loosens the proverbial purse strings and often this trigger is music. Most of the DJ’s know the big spenders and you will often hear them play the spenders favorite song hoping this will put him in the mood to spend. Some other triggers I have found are attention from the girls, attention from the manager, the availability of a certain drink or even the way a certain drink is served, name recognition or recognition from mamasans, head waitresses or other senior personnel.

As in the case of the two previous customer types the major expenses for this group is the accommodation but the difference is the amount these guys spend on a room. For the big spender there are now several options available and they expect the rooms to be genuine 4 to 5 star equivalents of the rooms found in the so called first world or western countries. These rooms by definition must be expensive and be luxuriously appointed with all the mod cons and modern day comforts, they must be spacious with large beds have a Jacuzzi at least one large balcony and at least two flat screen TV’s. Most importantly the rooms must be large and luxuriously appointed to give an impression of wealth opulence and affordability of the finer things in life. Two such rooms which spring to mind are the Presidential Suite at the Lewis Grand which is 13,750p per night and the Penthouse suites at the ABC which are 17,517p per night and the soon to come 1000 dollar a night suite at the ABC. The fact that these rooms even exist at all shows that there is certainly some big spenders with copious amounts of cash visiting Angeles.



Picture lgh presidential suite

In terms of food you will often find the big spenders adopting the same I will spend money to get the best attitude. There are now some top class restaurants in Angeles that cater for the big spender three which spring to mind are Niji Japanese Restaurant, C-Italia and of course Yats out on Clark. These restaurants offer high quality dishes and can cater for the customer who doesn’t care about the amount he is spending. In fact the whole concept behind Yats is to offer fine dining which implicitly means high quality and expensive dining. They have the most extensive wine cellar in Asia and even some rare bottles of wine that cost over 1 million piso. The restaurant is marketed as a fine dining experience and will provide exactly that for those willing to pay. The big spenders will rarely eat alone but instead will be seen as the host of a party. Normal eating becomes a festive occasion with these guys and you will often see them renting out a private room at a restaurant enjoying fine food and wine together with their group of friends. Often they will invite Filipinas along thinking this will be an enjoyable experience for the girls and at the same time seeking to impress the girls however it is often the case that the opposite is true because the girls do not really like the food and they feel uncomfortable in the plush surroundings that they are not used to.



Yats




C-Italia




Niji Japanese Restaurant


When it comes to the girls it has been my experience that the big spenders will tend to go for the classically beautiful or the slightly aloof girl or the girl that is presented as being a cut above the rest and as such more expensive. The big spenders will always go for the more expensive girls because they want to prove they can afford to play in this league. Typically this sort of girl will be the show girls for example the Daddys girls in Golden Nile with their 4000 piso bar fine. For the normal customer they will look at the expenses and ask themselves am I getting value for money whereas the big spender is exactly the opposite. For him it’s a matter of not caring about the amount and the perceived value. The value to him is in showing others that he can afford to play in this league.

Often the big spender will be attracted to the slightly more aloof girl or the girl that he believes is picky about who she goes out with. This in a way is the trophy hunting mentality where the guys want a particular girl because they perceive her as being a trophy which by definition is a reward or a recognition of your power or an achievement. A trophy means you have won the competition and beaten other competitors and the trophy is recognition of this, it is your prize. In this case the girl becomes the trophy and the customer believes he has won her, he has beaten above others to her and she is the prize, she is proof of his victory.





In terms of the big spender it is about how much he spends as well as how he spends. Basically for the truly big spender there are no budget restrictions but if forced to make generalizations I would say to be considered a big spender in today’s environment it would be necessary to spend a minimum of 35 thousand piso a night. This includes ten thousand for the hotel room, 5 thousand for the food, another 10 thousand for the bar fines and another ten thousand just for drinking and partying in the bars.

The big spenders are of course highly sought after by the bars but in reality in my opinion they are not what make the bars survive. I do not view them as the cake but rather the cream on the cake. Simply put it is the combined bulk of guys or the mid range spenders that are crucial to the bars and the girls. This group represents the majority of customers and it is the bulk effect of their expenditure that allows the bars to profit and survive. This is the quantity rather than quality approach. In the ideal world the market will be composed of both middle and top end spenders but the top end spenders or the high rollers individually will never equal the combined bulk of money spent by the middle group.

Some of my figures may be well off as to be honest it has been a while since I was a customer in Angeles and if you feel my figures are wrong then please feel free to supply your own for myself and other readers. The whole idea of articles such as this is that they generate a sharing of opinions and experiences so others may learn and benefit.

Bell Ringing and Ball Throwing

“Why the fuck would anyone want to ring the bell? I just don’t get it I would never do that”. So began my conversation with Shagger whilst sitting around the pool waiting for our Bunny Burger orders to arrive. Straight away I replied “but didn’t you ring the bell a couple of times in Neros”? “Yeah sure I did” he quickly quipped “but that was when I was a newbie and didn’t know any better. I didn’t get a dam thing for spending all that money and I would never do it again now that I know what I know”. Despite his lack of anything resembling a grasp of the English language Shagger is no dummy but as our conversation progressed I just couldn’t help myself so I said to him “geez Shagger anyone would think you were a campanologist” a campa what he replied” and now I knew I had him “a campanologist” I reiterated and had great satisfaction in seeing the what the fuck look cross his features. I was just about to explain what a campanologist was and put Shagger out of his misery when our Bunny Burger food turned up and our attention was instantly diverted to ravenously devouring the delicious food.

Later on that night when I was sitting in the bar I remembered my conversation with Shagger and it occurred to me that the mere fact there was a word such as campanologist demonstrated how much part of our culture the simple act of bell ringing is. Now I can see you readers running for your dictionaries looking for a definition of campanologist but let me save you the trouble a campanologist is basically someone who likes ringing bells and yes there are many of them out there and probably even some who are reading this article.

Shagger and I often have different points of view and usually they result in me having to write articles such as this to make him understand mine. No matter what he says about not understanding why people ring bells the fact is a lot of people do it including many AE members and it is very much part of the AC bar scene. As such I thought it would write down my thoughts and make an article of it. I hope you guys enjoy reading it and it is at least thought provoking plus entertaining.

When Shagger said he couldn’t understand why people would ring the bell in a bar this prompted me to think about the thought process behind the action and here are the factors I have been able to identify. I think the primary reason people ring bells is because they want to make a statement. I always compare this sort of behavior to that of drinking champagne in a bar. As the old line goes “why do people drink Champagne….. because they can. In other words they are making the statement that I can afford to drink Champagne and I think much the same thought process often underlies people ringing the bell. Is it showing off yes it is but at the end of the day it’s harmless to others and the brief moment of self aggrandizement actually benefit’s the bell ringer, the bar and the girls working there.





Treasure Island the smallest bar with the biggest bell in AC. You would be amazed how many people ring the bell in Treasure Island just because it’s so big and prominent in the bar.

Talking about the girls this brings me to my next reason. Some people actually ring the bell because they know all the girls get a commission on the drink and this is merely an efficient way for them to buy bulk ladies drinks.It has often amused me to see how some customers become genuinely attached to a certain bar and the girls who work there and ringing the bell is for these people just another way to express this attachment. When I have presented this argument to people some have countered by saying I would rather express my affection for the girls by giving every girl on stage a 50 piso note. I usually counter this by saying well that helps the girl but it doesn’t help the bar whereas ringing the bell helps both.

The attachment people feel to a particular bar or the girls there in is often played upon to get a bell ring. A classic example of this was Mummy Perla of Neros fame who would find out when a customer was leaving and straight away if it was his last night she would get on the microphone and tell the Dj to play leaving on a jet plane. After the song was finished the girls would go into a rousing cheer of ring the bell, ring the bell and many times gentlemen customers did exactly that. For me this was annoying but I also found it interesting to see how they would use music in an attempt to trigger an emotional response and get the resultant bell ring.

One definite reason why people ring the bell is to celebrate. On many occasions I have seen people ring the bell to celebrate a particular event. For example some guys ring the bell to celebrate their birthday, their wedding, their new relationship with a girl from that bar, the birth of a child and so on. One thing about the bell ringing in the Philippines is that the ringer gets to leave a message these are usually painted on the wall, or the mirrors, or they are inscribed on a plaque or even marked by a plastic Gecko. I have often seen guys ring the bell because they want to leave a particular message for themselves and others to see in the future. The message acts as a reminder of the good times they are having in the bar.





I have always found atmosphere to be a key ingredient of a successful bar and ringing the bell is one sure fire way to bring the atmosphere up a notch. In most bars the girls will respond with a massive cheers or by simply giving the customer a kiss on the cheek. Either way the girls know they have just secured a commission from the ladies drink and the atmosphere of the club is automatically raised. One of the best bars for this was Dirty Duck. Once the bell was rung the atmosphere of excitement and partying was almost tangible and the dancing became almost frenetic. When the ladies drink was tequila you would see some ducking and weaving trying to avoid having to do the tequila but in the end it was inevitable and the party started to roll from there. I think the fact that ringing the bell creates a party ambiance in the club is a major reason why people ring it. For me this logic is best summed up by the bell ring sign in Golden Nile.





Exactly the same logic pervades behind poppers. These are supposed to create a party type atmosphere or at least a celebratory one with the contents being displayed like in a ticker tape parade. The poppers are actually loud and automatically remind one of special celebratory evenings such as New Years or your favorite teams victory. The Poppers are also a unique way of dispersing money to the girls. People will fill them up and insert money which then explodes along with the ticker tape onto the girls. With the poppers it is possible to literally make it like it is raining money.

Believe it or not some peoples motivation for ringing the bell is to take advantage of a certain situation or a special offer. One classic example of this is the voodoo diamond bell ring which costs 7500 piso and for that you get 8 hours all you can drink, one free ewr, one free bucket of balls, a t-shirt, a bar towel, 10% off food and drinks in kokomos, free 2 hour stay in kokomos hotel, a free pizza and a tray of daily shooters. In other bars such as Lollipop they give away free merchandise including T shirts beer coolers bar towels etc .





Often a bell ring can result from a managers salesmanship ability or as some would call it the managers pressure. In this case the managers are normally lowly paid and will be offered a commission on the bell ring. This of course gives the manager an added incentive to find a customer to ring the bell. One manager I knew always used to get bell rings and when I asked him “are you on commission or something” he replied, “no I just like the sound of a bell ringing” and it seemed like he wasn’t the only one judging by the amount of bell rings he used to have. A manager who cares nearly always uses the bar sales as his barometer to measure how well he has done his job and when it comes to making money for the bar there is no quicker or efficient way than a customer ringing the bell. Perhaps this is why some managers verge on obsessive compulsive when it comes to getting that bell ring.

The bell ring is in most cases inextricably linked with the bell ringers ego. Some guys do it to show of how much money they have, some do it to create the number of bell rings in one night record, some do it so they look like big spenders in front of the girls and some do it just because they want to show they can party harder than the other customers in the bar. There are of course what I call the understated bell ringers and these people will get their partner or one of the girls to ring the bell for them preferring to let that person bask in the limelight rather than themselves. This is in some ways the direct opposite of the person who rings the bell to say hey look at me but at the same time it is a kind of reverse egotism sitting back and demonstrating you can pull the strings and make things happen without even being noticed. This is in some ways the puppeteer approach to bell ringing.

Ping Pong balls first came into use in Angeles from Thailand. I have asked myself many times why people would throw ping pong balls at the girls only to find out I do not have any real answer and yet I throw ping pong balls myself. When I sit back and analyze this behavior in myself I think I throw the balls because it is a cheap way of having some fun and at the same time giving the girls a little something monetarily, simply because they get commission from each ball collected. Other guys seem to get a kick out of watching the girls scramble for the ping pong balls whilst other guys like to use the balls simply as entertainment. Many times when I worked in Lollipop we would have ping pong fights across the bar or roll the balls down the street then sit back and watch the door girls chase them down Fields Avenue. For me the ping pong balls are harmless fun and just another money spinner for the girls and the bars. These days the ping pong balls have become part and parcel of the AC bar scene and vary from small buckets of ten balls which cost 300 piso through to giant nets of balls suspended above the girls which can cost up to 1000 piso.





I have often rung bells both in my own bars and other peoples bars and most of the time have never stopped to analyze my behavior, all I knew was at the time I thought it was something I should do and it felt good even though I realized it was at the end of the day a waste of money. The bells come in many shapes and sizes and are often not even bells at all in fact some bars have air horns and others have gongs which customers bang with a special gong ringer.





As it turns out I am not the only one with a tendency to ring bells and in fact the very man who was so adamant about not understanding why people would ring bells, Mr Shagger, is in fact half of the bell ringing team that still holds the record for the most bell rings in Bedrock Bars history that being 34 bell rings in one night. No doubt Shagger is still asking himself why did I waste all that money but I hope maybe he has a better idea after reading this article.

A. Santos Street (Blow Road), The Facts

A Santos Street or blow road as it is colloquially known is somewhat of an icon in the history of the Angeles bar scene. Many have experienced A. Santos Street numerous times in the past, others have visited this area a couple of times and can hardly wait to do so again, some others have heard all about it but are yet to visit whilst still others have no idea what goes on here and thought the nick name referred to the cooling breeze that sometimes blows down the street during the rainy season.


Looking down Blow Road towards Honky Tonk bar.

To understand blow road, what it represents, the services offered there and how it is changing, it is first necessary to look at the history. Exactly when A. Santos Street came into existence is a matter of debate but the most common opinion places it around about the late seventies, early eighties. The blow job bars were a direct reflection of the American influence which at that time was the predominant influence thanks to numerous air force and army personnel that occupied Clark Air base. This was in some ways the beginning of the bar industry in Angeles. Prior to blow road there were numerous specialty blow job bars scattered throughout the Angeles bar area but there was no single street dedicated exclusively to this service. Blow Road was the first area where bars offering a specialty service (blow jobs) were grouped together all in one street. It seems to be a common Filipino trait to group specialty shops together, for example, if an internet shop opens in a certain area and proves to be profitable invariably numerous other internet shops will suddenly appear in the same area. These same phenomena can be observed in many different countries throughout the world and this is exactly how blow road developed.

The Angeles bar scene has changed dramatically since the times when small back to basic blow job bars proliferated however given their history the blow job bars on A. Santos Street with their back to basic style and promise of sexual gratification to some extent represent the beginning of the commercialized bar business and their continued existence 40 years later demonstrates that they represent the hidden heart of the Angeles bar scene. The Blow Job bars are basically the cheaper end of the Angeles bar scene, the drinks and the bar fines are also cheaper with an emphasis on instant sexual gratification in the form of an on premises short time. In a way Blow Road represents the cheaper sleazier side of the Angeles bar scene and it primarily attracts people who are either on a budget or seeking a no nonsense blowjob by an accomplished performer. Having said that here is also an element of wealthy patrons who regularly visit blow road simply because it represents great value for money and they like the no nonsense, results orientated, approach. There is also a certain element specifically amongst the wealthy patrons who are attracted the more simplistic sleazier side of the bar business. Here in the iconic Blow Road its back to basics and what you see is what you get its cheap sex in cheap surroundings and in its own way an essential part of bar business that attracts us to Angeles and makes us refer to this little dust bowl as paradise.


The Black Pearl still remains the quintessential blow job bar.

When I think back to my early days in the Philippines the first blow road bars that spring to mind are the Mega Head and Super Head, however, this was only in the early nineties just after Mount Pinatubo’s explosion and I am sure this area has seen many bars come and go long before the Mega and Super Head bars. The names of these two bars reflect the American influence since it is common for Americans to refer to oral sex as “head”. The two Head bars were owned by Terry Mathews who ironically is Australian and is still around today being the current owner of Owls Nest Bar. The two Head bars like all the bars on Blow Road operated on the no frills, back to basic approach, and this approach is still very much evident in the Santos Street bars of today and they provide the antithesis of the bigger more commercialized Fields Avenue Bars.

Another bar, the name of which now eludes me, used to specialize in “sample blow jobs”. This involved the customer walking in and sitting at a large table with a curtain underneath it, the girl would then crawl underneath the table and proceed to perform oral sex on you. The sample blow job would last for 3 minutes and would cost a massive 100 piso. If you ejaculated during the sample the cost would be 300 piso. Whilst this may seem cheap it was in reality a clever marketing ploy since 90% of the time the male customers would pay for the girl to finish what she had started which would involve an extra 300 piso payment, for the short time, on top of the initial 100 piso for the sample.

Another thing I really liked about the old days was the bar lingo that evolved around the blow job bars. Back then they almost had a type of secret language to describe certain actions. For example it was common place to hear lines like, “Honey ko I give you Colgate BJ” (This was a blow job with toothpaste which would cause a slight tingling especially when a menthol flavored toothpaste was used) or “it’s nice with ice” (this was a blowjob where the girl would be halfway through and suddenly put ice in her mouth causing a sudden chill). In today’s blow road these sayings seemed to have faded into obscurity and have been replaced by a more direct parlance where the girls will simply offer you a blow job straight out and not bother with quaint little expressions.

The Blow Road Bars are very much the antithesis of the bigger, higher profile, commercialized, girlie bars that seem to be proliferating in the modern day Angeles bar scene. The A. Santos Street bars unlike their bigger sister Fields Avenue bars are small and epitomize the no frills approach. In these bars you can expect to find a small balcony area overlooking the street. This area will traditionally have comfortable chairs where patrons can mingle with the girls who work in the bars and enjoy a cool drink while they watch life on the street go by.


Shagger and his new found friend at Shadows.


Shagger happily ensconced on the balcony of Gobbles.

The outside balcony area will normally be composed of a high shelf where customers can rest their drink and a series of chairs or in some cases a comfortable lounge where customers can sit back and relax whilst they wile away the time in a comfortable environment. These areas are at best very basic, the furniture is either plastic chairs or old lounges which are comfortable but have seen better days. The area is kept cool by strategically placed overhead fans, the range of drinks is very limited and service is kept to the basics. For example these bars do not have any set waitresses but rely on the “working girls” to double up and perform the waitressing duties as well. There are no uniforms or bikini clad dancers in these bars but rather just a series of girls dressed in normal street clothes all of whom are invariably orally talented.


Mvpimp surrounded by a newly found fan club on the balcony of Shadows.

The one exception to this is Honky Tonk where the girls actually wear a Honky Tonk uniform however they are still not formal waitresses or dancers.


The Honky Tonk girls are unique in that they actually wear a Honky Tonk bar uniform.


Two new little spinners at Honky Tonk looking good in the red Honky Tonk uniform.

Another interesting aspect of the Blow Road bars is how the girls and the customers relate. Whenever one visits these bars you will normally see regular customers who use the bars as their local watering hole. In most cases the girls know these customers by name and the customers know the girls by name. Very obviously these customers have indulged in the girls services before yet there is a sort of laid back respect between the girl and customer and no possessiveness is encountered here. In fact quite the opposite is true and it is not uncommon to see people riding or walking by, smile and stop to chat with the girls whom they have obviously been with before.

One major difference between Blow Road Bars and Fields Avenue bars is the type of girl you will find and how they are presented. In the bigger Fields Avenue bars the music is louder and the girls are presented in bikinis as they gyrate their bodies on a well lit stage. Typically these girls will have their hair done, their nails polished and will wear makeup along with high heals or even boots. The Blow Road bars are a far cry from this, here the girl’s wear little if no makeup, and there is no commercial presentation of sexuality. These bars place an emphasis on the no frills approach where the girls wear little if no makeup, flat heal shoes, no lipstick and very basic clothing such as shorts and a t-shirt. The girl’s sexuality in these bars is raw and uncompromised, in most cases they know exactly what their job is and how to perform it. Do not expect fashion sense or cultural erudition from these girls, they are here to perform a job and in most cases they are extremely skilled at it.


Two of the little hummers from Shadows bar

Another major difference between the Blow Road bars and the Fields Avenue bars is the number of girls they employ. Generally speaking the Blow Road Bars will employ the basic minimum of girls which ranges from ten through to, in the case of Shadows, thirty girls. These bars will generally be open 24/7 and the girls will mostly work a 12 hour shift. These bars are generally cheaper than the main Fields Avenue bars and as such the girls will place an emphasis on the quantity of customers not the quality. When we researched this article we asked many of the girls what sort of tips they got and in general they stated they were happy with a 100 to 300 piso tip and very happy with a 500 peso tip.

One interesting aspect of the Blow Road bars is that the girls receive no salary but instead survive on “commission only”. In Fields Avenue it is not uncommon to see salary hikes as the various bars compete to attract the hottest girls and the cost of these salary hikes is passed onto the customer in terms of higher prices. This is certainly not the case in Blow Road where all the bars neglect to pay the girls working there any salary. The no salary aspect keeps the girls keen to get a customer and to perform well. The blow road girls rely on the customers tips as much as they do the commission from the bar. It also has the pleasant effect of helping to keep costs to a bare minimum which is passed onto the customer in terms of lower prices. When I first discovered this back in 1996 I was working in Illusions and several girls from a blow road bar came and worked there. The girls lasted for two weeks then slowly but surely began to drift back to the blow road bars where they came from initially. I was perplexed by their disappearance figuring that since they received no salary in the Blow Road bar they must be making more money in Illusions. After they had left I posed this opinion to Wolfy the owner and he promptly contradicted me saying in actual fact the girls could make more money in Blow Road even without a salary than they could at Illusions. I asked him how is this possible and he replied “do the math’s”. “A productive girl in Blow Road can do 3 or more short times a day followed by a long time” At this period in time the short time was 500 peso of which the girl got half as commission and the long time was 1000. In short she could earn 750 piso commission on the short times plus whatever the customer tipped her then on the long time she could earn a further 500 plus whatever the customer tipped her when completed. With the average tip in those days being 100 for a short time and 300 for a long time the girl could earn 1850 piso for a days work. On the other hand in Illusions she had to dance and would get a salary of 100 piso. The bar fine in those days was 1000 piso and the girl would get 500. The average tip was 300 piso which would mean earnings of 900 piso for a nights work. The money may be better and the work less physically strenuous in the BJ bars but there is also a downside and that is the fact that in the normal dancing bars the girls work a 9 hour shift but in the BJ bars they work a 12 hour shift.

One thing I always found amusing was the seemingly contradictory advent of the cherry girl blow jobber. For me a girl who maintains her virginity yet is adept at oral sex is a contradiction in terms yet in blow road this is a common occurrence. Many times I have met girls who in line with the moral traditions of Philippine society have maintained their virginity yet these same so called good girls are more than adept at performing oral sex. Once again I think this boils down to economic reality juxtaposed against societies moral expectations. The girls get a job performing oral sex to meet economic pressures yet to stay in line with moral expectations she remains a virgin. I have always found the idea of young innocent cherry girls performing oral sex for a living contradictory and at the same time intriguing. They are definitely one of the contradictions that make blow road such an interesting and unique place. For the experienced mongerers whose taste veers towards the ‘fresher” inexperienced girls then the Blow Road bars should certainly be checked out periodically.


A cute cherry girl in whose mouth butter wouldn’t melt yet she can perform oral sex in the blink of an eye.

There are a series of questions which are commonly asked regarding the bars on Blow Road and two of the most common are how do the girls get a job like this and secondly how are they taught the oral skills they so rapidly become adept at. Over the years I have asked the Blow Road girls on many occasions how they got to be working on Blow Road and over four generations of bar girls the stories are nearly always the same. Invariably these girls find their way to Blow Road because while residing in the province they have met a friend or a relative who has been working in blow road and has returned to the province with what looks like conspicuous wealth. This conspicuous wealth will normally take the form of cash or jewelry and it is only a matter of time before the provincial girls get curious and start to ask questions how this wealth was obtained. This is when they find out about A. Santos Street and working in the bars. Most of the time they will be told the job is as a waitress serving rich foreigners which in turn gives them an acceptable excuse to tell their parents. In the larger Fields Avenue bars there seems to be an over abundance of Samar girls but in Blow Road I have always found a proliferation of girls from Leyte.

When it comes to teaching the new girls how to perform oral sex several methods are utilized. Firstly there is the practical demonstration using a banana or zucchini. This is normally conducted by the mamasan or by the resident bakla, (the baklas or gays are a fact of life in the Philippine blow job bars), or by one of the more experienced girls. The banana demonstration will normally be accompanied by a running diatribe from the person instructing and the more experienced girls who always seem to want to put in their two cents worth whenever these instructional events occur. A second method will just be word of mouth where a mamasan or older girl will take the new comers aside and simply answer any questions the new girl may have. A third method will be the new girls just keeping their ears and eyes open. Often they will listen in to the conversations of the other girls or the baklas both of whom will commonly swap graphically detailed tales about their experiences and techniques utilized. Lastly they have what is certainly my favorite teaching method where a new girl is invited by a more experienced girl to actually watch and sometimes participate, in a real life blow job.

Over my years of managing bars and living in Angeles I have been asked many questions and in regards to blow road some of the more common are what is the average age of the girls that work here, do they do threesomes and do they have to go to social hygiene like the girls working on Fields Avenue. To be truthful I have no idea what the average age of the girls working in the bars is but I can state that it is always worth checking out the blow road bars because there is nearly always some new recruits arriving from the provinces and being part of their learning curve I have found to be a very pleasurable experience. We also asked the girls what were the peak times for customers and they told us from 5 to 8 and then again from 2 to 4 in the morning. From this we hypothesized that many customers will come down blow road to get their rocks off prior to starting their bar hop and then later in the early morning hours there is the second wave of customers who having failed to find anything that takes their fancy in the mainstream Fields Avenue bars will visit the Blow Road bars for quick sexual gratification.

There are also a number of other commonly asked question and two of the most common are do these girls go to hygiene and where NOT to go on Blow Road or more accurately what bars not to frequent. The answer to the first question is yes the girls on Blow Road have to go to hygiene once a week just like the girls who work the Fields Avenue bars. In regards to the second question when people ask this they are generally referring to the Baklas or the lady boy bars. Up until about 2 years ago the Lady Boys were a constant on Blow Road hunting for customers day and night but thanks to a police crackdown these days they are less prevalent and only really come out at night time. What’s more when they do come out you will normally find them on the left hand side of the road (looking down A Santos Street from Kokomos). As the night progresses the lady boys gets bolder and make their way to Fields Avenue where they normally hang outside La Bamba Rhapsody and Lollipop all bars which are closed by 3AM.

Other commonly asked questions include are the girls photo friendly and do they do threesomes. When it comes to photographs on the whole I have found the girls approachable and photo friendly except when performing oral sex activities. They will always draw the line at this point, in fact none of the bars would let us take a photo of their short time rooms for fear of repercussions. In regards to threesomes well I have managed to do this twice with blow road girls but on the whole it has been my experience that they are not so much into it. They will easily do two girls performing oral sex but when it comes to “playing” with each other they tend to play shy and decline. It has been my experience that these girls learn very quickly to regard sexual activity especially blow jobs as a job and not for pleasure. Many people have asked me is this area safe at night and are there mamasans or bar managers in these bars. In regards to the safety question I have never encountered a problem here but my advice would be to stay away from the Baklas as consorting with them in the early morning hours will invariably lead to trouble. With the advent of the new up market hotels such as the Pacific Breeze and the Wild Orchid this area has indeed by cleaned up, street lights put in and the sleaze element is much less pronounced than in days gone by. In regards to the Mamasan and Manager question the answer is yes for both. All Blow Road bars will have a Mamasan who will often double up as the manager or even head waitress. This is a prime example of multi tasking in order to keep the operating costs down. One bar Honky Tonk has a well known manager/owner named Ken who is always ready with a yarn or two shared over a friendly drink.


Wow cocktail lounge which is frequented by both lady boys and real women.

Personally I do not like the Lady Boys as they are normally ugly and are prone to pick pocketing or sometimes straight out mugging what’s more the vast majority of them are supporting a drug habit due to their constant need to be skinny. Many years ago the Lady boys would proliferate on Blow Road and they were famous for soliciting customers and performing oral services right on the street. This was all very well except for the fact that whilst giving head their hands would be riffling through the customers pockets seeking out wallets or other valuables.

Despite the numerous detractions of the Lady Boys they are not all bad and do indeed perform a valuable service when they teach the girls how to perform a blow job. I have heard it said many times that only a man can truly know what another man wants and I have come across several guys who swear by the lady boys saying that they give the best blow jobs they have ever had.

As in all things change is inevitable and over the last five years with the coming of the up-market hotels on A. Santos Street (Blow Road) has certainly seen some changes. With the coming of hotels such as the Wild Orchid and the Pacific Breeze the area now sees a more up market clientele walking on the street as opposed to the less financially flush locals or long term tourists who are bargain hunting.



To cater for this market the Blow Road bars have to some extent changed, at least in terms of their external appearance and leading the way is Honky Tonk. Situated directly across the road from Wild Orchid hotel Mention here how the advent of new hotels has taken the area up -scale a little bit and increased passing traffic, this in turn has caused the bars to go slightly up market and take on more of a social drinking aspect as opposed to quick sexual satisfaction. Honky Tonk now has a new clean facade a large wet bar area, a pool table, a large screen plasma TV hooked up to a satellite receiver, bar girls with Honky Tonk uniforms, a number of comfortable lounge chairs where the customers can sit back and relax with the girl of their choice, a series of stools around the wet bar where groups of customers can congregate and swap a yarn or two over a few cold ones and a large managers table which can seat up to 8 people comfortably.


The outside of Honky Tonk which greets customers as they walk out of the Wild Orchid hotel.


The Honky Tonk managers table. Note the chairs great for relaxing in with some good friends.


Ezindebar enjoys the company of a new found spinner friend at the managers table in Honky Tonk.


Some Honky Tonk girls in uniform. All of whom have well honed oral skills.


Shagger enjoys the company of two Honky Tonk girls.


The well stocked bar at Honky Tonk sets it apart from other BJ bars.


The comfortable lounges where the Honky Tonk girls willing to chat and have a few drinks with you.

The outside nature of these bars and the back to basics approach reminds me of the Pattaya Beer bars which are in juxtaposition to the larger and more glitzy go-go bars. The great thing about the outside nature of these bars is that they serve as a social meeting place and the girls who work here are keen to communicate with you, yet there is little if no ladies drink pressure. Initially the girls will try to part you from your money by offering you a short time which costs 700 piso and involves a trip to a private room in the back of the establishment however if you stick to your guns and politely tell them you are only interested in relaxing and having a chat with them they will on the most part grant you your wishes and there will be little or no ladies drink pressure.

Behind the balcony area overlooking the street is generally a small area which includes a wet bar area, a basic sound system, normally a cd player with a limited selection of musical cd’s, one or two small tables and chairs, occasionally a pool table, overhead fans, a single overhead light bulb and some very basic kitchen decorations. The range of alcohol on sale is normally limited and in some of the bars they do not stock imported Whiskeys, Vodkas, Bourbons or other imported drinks. On the positive side the drinks they do serve are very reasonably priced and make a refreshing change from the Fields Avenue bars.


Inside the black pearl.


A sign of the times. The Black Pearl diversifies and installs computers.


The very limited range of alcoholic beverages in Shadows Bar.


The drinks price list in Shadows, notice the limited number of imported alcoholic beverages.

Behind the middle room will normally be one or two short time rooms. The short time rooms or back rooms as they are alternatively called are very basic and will normally include a miniature towel, a bare light bulb and a rickety old bed. There will be a nightstand or a cabinet of sorts where the girls will keep rubbing alcohol and condoms if required, there will also normally be pictures of the special boyfriend or family members along with religious paraphernalia. These girls specialize in giving blow jobs but I have always found it rather disconcerting getting blown with Jesus looking on. The short time rooms are not exactly luxurious and in most cases they offer the bare minimum. There is no air conditioning unit just stand alone fans and the doors are made of plywood offering very limited privacy. Most of the room is taken up by the bed but there is always enough room for you to stand up and for the girl to kneel down. These rooms are by no means sound proof and it is not unusual to hear every detail of the activities going on in the room next door. Personally I have fond memories of many encounters in rooms such as these and I can even recall periods when they were cracking down on blow road which meant climbing over rickety old ladders into a pitch black open air area and there while hiding behind a lahar brick wall the girls would squat down and perform their oral antics. These rooms often double up as sleeping quarters for the girls and it if you go in for a blow job at a late hour it is not uncommon to have to wake up a number of sleeping beauties who when aroused will look up at you with sleepy eyes then scurry out of the room issuing child like giggles.

Here is a basic table of the drink prices in the Blow Road bars:


Gobbles and Honky Tonk bars
Local customer drinks 50p
Imported customer drinks 150p
Local ladies drinks 120p
Imported ladies drinks 180p
Short time 700p
Long time 1200p

These two bars are owned by the same person and represent the slightly more up market blow job bars. They have been renovated, the wet bar is better stocked and the short time rooms are slightly more clean and better maintained.

Other bars in this area include The Black Pearl Shadows and Heaven Bar. Their pricing is as follows.


The Black Pearl
Local customer drink 50 piso
Imported customer drink 120 piso
Local ladies drink 120 piso
Imported ladies drink (Tequila) 120 piso
Short time 700 piso
Long time 1500 piso


Shadows Bar
Local customer drink 50 piso
Imported customer drink 120 piso.
Short time 700 piso
Long time 1300 piso


Heaven Bar
Local customer drink 50 piso
Imported customer drink 120 piso
Local Ladies drink 120 piso
Short time 700 piso
Long time 1300 piso


Of these bars on Blow Road I have two personal favorites these being Shadows bar and Honky Tonk. I like Shadows bar because it has an old fashioned sort of ambiance and reminds me of my younger days when I was first experiencing the delights of Blow Road. Also I think it is important to note that in my experience Shadows has always had the best looking and good performing girls. I like Honky Tonk for completely the opposite reason. Honky Tonk represents the new Blow Road and as such it is cleaner and the social aspect of the guys having a drink together is more emphasized here.

Blow Road is in many ways an anachronism and harks back to the old days of sexual gratification on the premises. With the new hotels and condominium developments moving into the area people have prophesized that Blow Road cannot last in its current form. Whilst the logic behind these prophecies was sound the Blow Road bars seemed to have defied logic and they continue to carry on much as they have always done offering cheap customer drinks cheap ladies drinks and blow jobs in short time rooms out back. It is true to say that many Blow Road bars have increased their prices but these have only been marginal increases and it is still markedly cheaper than most Fields Avenue bars. Another change is in the physical appearance of the bars. The owners of bars such as Honky Tonk have spent a little money sprucing their establishment up but this is only a surface level change and once you get passed it and into the short time rooms out back the game is much the same as it always has been where licking and sucking are the order of the day.

From Golden Nile to Gobbles.

Just the other day I was chatting with Prince Charles and he was extolling the virtues of a little bar he had just discovered named Honey Ko’s. To put it simply the Prince was quite amazed by the raunchy atmosphere and the wild girls who knew no limits. Then after this he said the magic words, “Martin it’s carzy I never knew bars like that existed in Angeles”.

Now for me who has lived and visited Angeles for many years Honey Ko’s is just another bar but very obviously for Charles this was something new. After seeing his reaction it was then that I realized there are probably many people in the same boat as Charles and maybe a basic guide to the different sorts of bars would be handy for tourists. So without further ado it’s a quick thank you to Prince Charles for the inspiration and on with the guide.

Directly after Mount Pinatubo exploded the bar scene in Angeles was fairly basic and there was very little difference between one bar or another. Most bars featured a basic sound system, a solitary air-conditioning unit, a minimum number of dancers and a limited range of cheap booze. The bars ranged from basic hole in the wall blow job bars through to what (judging by today’s standards) can only be described as very basic go-go bars. The main customers back then were Americans and Australians as was shown by the vendors and street sales people who would hail you as “hey joe” or alternatively would say “gooday mate”. The expat community was decreasing in size as the Americans prepared to leave and the base was virtually out of commission due to the large amounts of volcanic ash (lahar) scattered everywhere. Occasional tourists seeking a cheaper venue than Manila would come up but mostly it was a very basic and some would say a dying bar scene.


As is clearly evident by today’s vibrant bar scene the bars didn’t die but in fact thrived and evolved. This evolution first started with the closure of Ermita in 1993. The closure of Ermita sent shock waves throughout the Philippines and throughout the mongering world. Many thought this would be the end of the bar industry as we knew it but in fact quite the opposite was true because like in so many aspects of life, the closing of one door prompted the opening of another. With the closure of Ermita some of the more forward looking bar owners cast their glances further afield and invested in Angeles. Of special note are Roadhouse bar, Illusions and La Bamba all of which were founded by people previously operating in Ermita.


These bars were important because they represented a monetary investment in Angeles, a sense of optimism, and to some extent they set a higher standard for other bars to aspire to. These bars represented well thought out designs and they along with Ziggys and Dreams were the first to employ multiple number of dancers and place an emphasis on the quality music systems, presentation of the dancers and maintenance of the actual bar. The Manila bars were one step up from the average Angeles bar and they were well maintained to prolong the higher standard.

From 1991 through to 1997 the bars slowly developed and eked out an existence but then a major player in the form of the Blue Nile group moved in with the building of Neros.


Neros was the first large bar with a center stage, an expensive sound system and over 100 girls. It represented a significant financial investment previously unheard of in Angeles and at the same was a harbinger of things to come in the very near future. This was commercialism reminiscent of Visions Superstar, Mistys, Firehouse and other large bars in Ermita. Neros also represented the beginning of a divergence of style between Perimeter road bars and those of Filed’s Avenue. Over the years this difference in style has become more and more pronounced and there is now a clear division between Perimeter road bars and Fields Ave bars.

After Neros and founded by the same company came Blue Nile Blue Nile Executive.


These were the dominant bars in terms of the number of girls they employed and the financial investment they represented. The Blue Nile Bar was the first big commercial bar where the girls were literally paraded on a hydraulically driven stage and the impersonal approach dominated as they actively sought the Asian Market. Many other bars also developed but the next real change was several years later with the emergence of the DollHouse group. The Dollhouse group developed big bars with more than one level capable of seating 100 people or more. They employed numerous girls and were the first to represent the big business aspect of girlie bars in Angeles. The Dollhouse group specialized in an impersonal approach catering for the mass market with numerous girls available 24/7 and a noticeable lack of foreign managers. Taking another leaf from the book of the Blue Nile Group they also specialized in choreographed shows and large, well publicized parties. Together the Dollhouse group and the Blue Nile Group represented what was in a way inevitable. The go-go bars had now changed from small to medium sized bars which were almost like a local pub with a few girls and an emphasis on the social aspects of mingling with one’s friends, to big business employing hundreds of girls complete with the glitz and glamour of modern day show business and a strictly impersonal approach.


In modern day Angeles there are literally hundreds of bars each with something unique to offer customers. Each bar has carved a niche in the market and has regular customers that appreciate the bar and what it represents. Due to time restrictions it is not practical for me to examine each and every bar in Angeles but instead I will give a general overview of the different types of bars (citing examples along the way)and what they offer the customers.

I have called this article From Golden Nile to Gobbles because apart from the alliteration aspect these two bars in my opinion represent totally opposite ends of the bar spectrum.



The first type of bars I will look at are the bigger show type bars. These include Blue Nile, Neros, Golden Nile, DollHouse, Atlantis, Crystal Palace, and Camelot, All these bars are physically large with many of them encompassing two or three separate levels, they all employ numerous amounts of girls, they all have various show groups of one sort or another, they mostly have a two tier bar fine system where one group of girls costs more than the other, they nearly all have the double ladies drink and they all have expensive sound systems and lighting. The emphasis in these bars is on glitz and glamor and showmanship.


On the positive side bars such as these offer a wide range of girls for the customers to meet and because you often have a greater number of new people flowing through the doors, each night can bring a different situation. When crowded the big bars also have a more lively atmosphere conducive to partying. On the negative side bars such as these are often little more than a meat market with little interaction between staff and customers. Lastly the drink prices are often higher than the less commercialized Perimeter Road bars and the double ladies drink will nearly always be present.


Next we have what I call the medium sized bars and these include Honeypot, Angelwitch, Roadhouse, Eager Beavers, Bodyshop, Tropix, Vortex La Pasha, Carousel, Owls Nest and Fantasy to name a few. These bars vary in size and also in what they offer.


Bars such as Angel-Witch and Roadhouse offer rock and roll music, a limited number of girls and proactive customer friendly foreigner managers. Bars such as these have a type of “local pub with girls” type ambiance and a large percentage of their business is regular clientele AC expats and long time tourists who have been visiting Angles for many years. Bars such as these act as a watering hole as much as they do a girlie bar and you can expect to find a group of regulars in there downing drinks, swapping tales and reveling in the old rock and roll music.

A second type of medium size bar as exemplified by Carousel, La Pasha and Fantasy are what I call the new breed medium size bar. These bars are slightly larger in area to that of Roadhouse or Angel Witch and they have what could best be described as a more commercial ambiance which is reflected by their clientele.


Generally speaking the music here is more modern and is played for the girls to dance to as much as it is for customer enjoyment. There is of course a healthy dose of music played for the customer especially in La Pasha but bars such as this cater for tourists as much as they do the locals so the ambiance is a little more high energy and commercialized. In these bars you can expect to find a greater number of girls as the bars make their income from bar-fines and ladies drinks as much as they do from customer drinks. The pricing in all these bars is much the same as the bigger bars of Fields Avenue and they do have the double ladies drink.

There is also a third type of medium size bar and they are bars such as Owls Nest, Eager Beaver and Honey Pot. Physically they are much the same size as the La Pasha group of bars and they have much the same pricing structure. But that is where the similarities end. These bars represent for want of a better term the old school. All these bars have been here under one name or another for over 15 years and in the case of Owls Nest for over 20 years. In these bars you can expect to find fewer girls and less razzmatazz. The pricing is slightly less than other Fields Avenue bars and the main type of customers are those who like to monger but shy away from the glitz and glamor of the more mainstream bars. Mostly the customers here are people that know the Angeles bar scene well due to the fact that they have been coming to Angeles or living in Angeles for many years. Generally speaking these customers are the ones who gravitate to the older style bars which represent the fond memories they have of yesteryear in Angeles.


These bars will nearly always take the role of a local pub with girls and will place an emphasis on income generated through customer drinks as much as and in some cases more so than income generated by bar fines and ladies drinks. In the course of any one night these bars normally have less customers than the mainstream bars and as a result you can expect the girls to be more friendly and a bit more raunchy as well as being a little more appreciative of your patronage. The general ambiance is less commercialized and there is less pressure salesmanship for things such as ladies drinks.

So far I have only dealt with the mainstream bars on Fields Avenue but there are many bars in Angeles which are in another league all together. The majority of these bars are in Don Juico Ave or Perimeter Road as it is colloquially referred to by the locals. Like Fields Avenue bars there is a variety of bars here ranging from the more commercial larger type bars as exemplified by Eruptions and Stargate through to the smaller hole in the wall bars that offer the very basics and nothing more such as Niftys and Rio’s.
The bigger bars are perhaps best exemplified by Stampede, Cherrys, Emotions and Eruptions.


All of these bars are within a comparatively close distance to Checkpoint which marks the end of Fields and the beginning of Perimeter Road. In these bars you can typically expect to find Perimeter Road prices which are approximately 20% cheaper than the Fields Avenue bars. There will normally be an emphasis on the regular social drinkers and indeed regulars make up a significant part of perimeter road bars market, much more so than Fields. The bars here have a sort of local pub feel but with girls which is why they have cheap SML and many will have draft beer.


In general the Perimeter Road bars will not have as many girls as the mainstream Fields bars but amongst the girls they do have you will nearly always find a “hottie” and in general the girls hare are experienced and eager to please. These bars range in style from the slightly glitzy Eruptions through to the older style Stampede. It is my experience that the girls here tend to be more friendly and approachable than in Fields bars but there is no where near the amount of girls that can be found in the bigger bars. The average customer age seems to be older and there is certainly a more laid back atmosphere where business is conducted at a much slower more relaxed pace. Most of the bigger Perimeter Road bars have an extensive range of alcohol and all the usual marketing tricks such as events, shows, raffles, ping pong balls etc. Perimeter Road bars tend to open earlier than Fields bars and a major part of their trading is done during the day.

A prominent feature of nearly all Fields Avenue bars is the so called managers table where a number of regulars will sit around and swap tall tales while watching the girls and the goings on of their favorite club. The managers table is important in that it sums up the approach of these bars and the market they appeal to. There are of course many tourists who visit these bars because the price is less but on a day to day basis these bars depend on and cater for the expat or regular visitor.


The next group of bars which can also be found on Perimeter road are the slightly smaller ones which appeal to the long term tourists and expatriates. Of course tourists visit them but these are very much dependent on the day to day business of regular patrons. Often these bars will attract people of the same nationality as the owners /managers. For example Dr Holmes which is owned and managed by Norwegians is very popular amongst Scandinavians customers whereas right next door in Eruptions they tend to have more Australian and American guests. Illusions on the other hand is a truly multicultural bar attracting patrons from all around the world but nearly all have one thing in common and that is they have been coming to AC or living in AC for many years.


Most of these bars will have a pool table and will be part of the local pool competition which is guaranteed business during the slow season. Again the emphasis here is on a friendly more laid back approach where the selling aspect is low key and the interaction between girls and customers is slower and more easy going. There is hardly ever pressure to buy ladies drinks and the atmosphere is more personal. These bars pricings are in line with other Perimeter Road bars and when visiting you can expect a heavy emphasis on consumption of alcohol as sales of this product forms a large percentage of their overall sales.
Some of the Perimeter bars can get fairly raunchy and the main one of these is HoneyKo’s . In HoneyKo’s they again rely on local expats and tourists who have been visiting the Philippines for numerous years and the prices are in accordance with that market. The girls here go through a fast learning curve and well know how to please their customers.


Again the emphasis here is on low cost drinks and local patronage and the only difference between here and other Perimeter road bars is that the girls are a bit wilder and more forward than in other Perimeter road bars. Topless shows and girls playing with various parts of your anatomy are a regular occurrence here. This bar is a bit more raunchy as can be its neighbor ThiHi and the girls are far from shy, in fact traditionally the girls in here will do just about anything to get your attention.


Lastly we have what I loosely refer to as the hole in the wall bars. These bars are generally smaller and offer the bare essentials only. Normally they will have one solitary air-conditioning unit, a few overhead fans, basic and limited seating, a limited number of girls the vast majority of whom are experienced especially in regards to oral activities and their wet bar stock is normally limited to the local alcohol with the occasional bottle of the more popular imported brands such as Johnny Walker black.



There will always be a limited sound system and the emphasis here is on maintaining the basics, there are not any set costumes and the girls can often be seen wearing boots, shorts and a skimpy top of any description. These bars mainly cater for people on a budget or people who have been residing or visiting Angeles for a long time. There is rarely a manger here as the emphasis is on quick sexual gratification rather than a social gathering.

One hole in the wall bar that is an exception to the rule is the Hangout. This, as the name implies, is basically a small outside drinking bar where many long term expats from all over the Philippines gather to have a drink or ten and basically hangout as they swap tales and watch the world go by. The emphasis here is on a social gathering with heavy consumption of alcohol this really is Angeles cheaper equivalent to the pub.


The prices here are on the lower side as would be expected given their market and there are only a few girls who work the inside bar. This bar is a leftover from days gone by and yet there is still a large number of modern day patrons who love this bar and make it their favorite watering hole. Tourists and newcomers are of course welcome here and it is a fact that by buying a round or two then just sitting back and listening to what the regulars have to say can be very informative, entertaining and instructional.

There are a number of different types of bars in Angeles and this article no doubt only scratches the surface. Indeed it was not my intention to do an in-depth report on all the bars of Angeles but rather just to give readers a broad overview of what to expect when visiting the different types of bars in Angeles city. For more specific information on some of the bars mentioned here please feel free to refer to the Asian Escapades bar review section.

Handling Medical Emergencies in Angeles City

So you’ve had an accident or are having a baby, or need an operation, what do you do? Here is the deal if you find yourself in Angeles City and in need of emergency medical attention:

#1. Make sure you have cellphone numbers of lots of local friends in your phone. I can’t stress this enough, as you will need someone who can speak for you to arrange transport, tell the doctors what is wrong, and oversee EVERYTHING, including admitting, diagnosis, treatment, drugs, tests, and thru to the point you pay the bill. If you don’t have many friends locally, befriend and get the phone numbers of every bar manager, bar owner, hotel owner and restaurant owner and manager that you can. They live here, they will know what to do and where to go.

#2. Familiarize yourself with the local hospitals so you can tell someone where to take you quickly, in case time is of the essence.

#3. Keep a paper in your wallet that states if you are allergic to any antibiotics, or other medicines.

#4. If possible, get a 2nd opinion. Many persons have noted that unnecessary operations can occur locally so that the resident surgeon or hospital can make extra income.

Now a few facts…

This is a 3rd world country and you will not be admitted to a hospital unless some form of guarantee can be given that you have the ability to pay or someone else can.

Ambulances are old, slow, stocked with old or almost zero equipment to help you on the way to the hospital. Common emergency items are surely lacking including a gurney, resuscitator, IV drip, heart monitor, and all the things you have seen on television medical shows and movies.

Here is some vital information for you to have with you and know about:

If you don’t have a local doctor that you know personally and can call anytime day or night, you need to make sure the staff at the hospital you are taken to will not ignore you, and will give you excellent care. Here’s how you do that…

Tell the emergency room staff (or have your friend tell them) that you are a patient of
Surgeon Dr. Noel Yamzon from Angeles University Medical Center 045-625-2999, local 2205, or Cardiologist Aristides Panlilio from Accumed Diagnostic Center 045-887-1198, or General Medicine practitioner Dr. Esmeraldo De Guzman Jr. from Community Medical Services 045-893-3329

Don’t worry if you have never met any of the above. They all have so many patients, they won’t remember if they have seen you before or not, and will treat you if you call them (during office hours). Just tell the emergency staff you are under their care and they need to call them ASAP. This will ensure the hospital staff are on their toes, as now they will have to answer to someone in case of a mistake, and now you have a REAL doctor that has dealt with foreigners before…

Since you are a foreigner, you will be charged more for medical services, so ALWAYS negotiate your final bill, ask for a discount. You can save money and they will do it when firmly asked.

Here are the names and numbers of some other physicians that can be called:

Dr Froilan Canlas ONA Hospital 0920-921-8225
Doctor Henson ENT 045-626-1952
Doctor Gemma David ENT 045-322-1783
Doctor Jae De Guzman former PIH Emergency room staff 0925-570-8206
Doctor Reyes on call former PIH doctor 0917-621-5717
Dra (female designation for doctor) Reyes OBGYN 0926-732-6855
Doctor De Mesa Orthopedics 0915-640-6596

Here are the phone numbers of local hospitals:

Angeles University Foundation Hospital (AUF) 045-888-2666 or 045-625-2999 loc. 221 or 220
Ospital Ng (or Ning) Angeles (ONA) 045-322-4495 or 045-322-1222
3 G Medical Clinic and Laboratory 0905-391-3443 (4392 Sandico Bldg, McArthur Hi-way)
Motley Chiropractic 0929-219-5627 (802-3 Malabanias Rd near Phoenix Hotel)

Our Lady of Mt Carmel Medical Center 045-63-4427 and 045-860-1265 (San Fernando)
Mother Teresa of Calcutta Medical (San Fernando) 045-861-4607
San Fernando Hospital 045-961-3377

And further out of town:

Makati Medical Center 02-888-8999 or 02-815-9911 or 02-892-5544(2 Amorsolo St, Legaspi Village Makati city)
St Lukes Medical Center 02-723-0101 or 02-723-0301 or 02-724-4363(279 E. Rodriguez Sr. Blvd, Quezon City)
Manila Doctors Hospital 02-528-8102 or 02-524-3011 or 02-523-8131 to 35 or 02-524-3069 to 77
(667 U.N. Ave, Ermita)

Cebu
Perpetual Succour Hospital
Gorordo Avenue
Cebu City 6000
Philippines
Tel: + 63 32 232 2410
Fax: + 63 32 231 2362

Baguio City
St. Louis University Hospital of the Sacred Heart ,
Assumption Road Extension, 2600 Baguio City
Clinic Hours:8:00am-12:00nn; 2:00pm-5:00pm
Daily except Sat. & Sun.
Tel. No: Office: (074) 442-7606
SLU: (074) 442-57-01; 442-57-02
Res: (074) 442-48-65

Carlatan, San Fernando
Lorma Medical Center
La Union Carlatan, San Fernando, 2500 La Union
Clinic Hours: 24 hours
Tel. No: (072) 888-26-16 (Hospital)
Fax No: 072-888-333
Res: cellular 181-315-30-58

Agoo
Urgent Surgical and Medical Care Hospital
Bgy. San Antonino, Agoo, La Union
Tel no. (072) 521-0562
Fax No. (072) 710-0171

Dagupan City , Pangasinan
Villaflor Memorial Hospital (Dagupan Doctors )
Dagupan City, 2400 Pangasinan
Tel. No.: (075) 522-7629; 522-7630
Clinic hours: 9:00 -12:00n; 4:00pm-6:00pm
Tel. No.: 075-522-0811
Res. 075-522-3359

Banaue Ifugao
Good News Clinic and Hospital
Banaue, Ifugao 3601
Tel. No.: (074) 386-40-45
Fax No: (074) 386-4092

Tuguegarao, Cagayan
Saint Paul Hospital
Ugac Highway, Buntun, Tuguegarao 3500 Cagayan
Clinic Hours: 12:30 – 5:00 pm
Tel. No: (078) 844-2220
Office: (078) 844-4226

Cagayan Valley Regional Hospital
Corig, Tuguegarao, 3500 Cagayan
Tel. No: Office: (078) 446-18-10
Res: (078) 406-17-76

Santiago City , Isabela
Cagayan Valley Sanitarium and Hospital
Garcia & Garcia Clinic
Santiago City, Isabela
2nd floor, Heritage Bldg.
Tel. no: (076) 682-8486; 682-8507
Santiago City, Isabela
Fax no: 076-682-8548
Clinic hours: 8:00-5:30 pm
Clinic: (078) 682-3899
Res: (076) 582-8507
0917-945-2151

Ilagan, Isabela
Isabela Doctors Hospital
Maharlika Highway, Baligatan, Ilagan, Isabela
Hospital: telefax: (078) 622-2675
Res: (078) 624-2004

Solano, Nueva
Vizcaya Medical Mission Group Hospital & Health Services Cooperative
Bintawan Road, Brgy. Quezon, Solano, Nueva Vizcaya
Tel. no: (078) 326-7945; 326-7946; 326-5066

Damasco Medical Clinic
National Highway, Solano, 3709 Nueva Vizcaya
Tel. no: Office: (078) 326-5085
Res: (078) 326-5215
Fax no. 078-326-5112

San Fernando
V. L. Makabali Memorial Hospital
B. Mendoza St., San Fernando, 2000 Pampanga
Clinic Hours: morning only
Tel. No: (045) 961-24-42; 961-22-34

Balanga, Bataan
Bataan Doctors Hospital
Dahlia St., Dona Francisco Subd., Balanga 2100 Bataan
Tel. no. (047) 237-2050; (047) 237-33-78
Res: (047) 237-24-41

Cabanatuan ,Nueva Ecija
Nueva Ecija Doctors Hospital
Km. 10, Maharlika Highway, Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija
Tel. no: (044) 463-0176; 463-7371

Tarlac
Ramos General Hospital
769 P. Hilario St., Tarlac, Tarlac
Tel. no.: 982-0542; 982-2350
Fax no.: 982-0238
Clinic hours: 10:00 – 12:00n
Tel no.: 982-0238

Puerto Princesa , Palawan
Holy Child Clinic, Rizal Ave. , Puerto Princesa City , 5300 Palawan
Clinic Hours:
9:00am -12:00nn; 2:00pm-7:00pm – Daily except Sunday
Tel. No: Clinic: (048) 433-2410
Res: (048) 433-2157

Palawan Adventist Hospital
Junction 2, San Pedro, Puerto Princesa, 5300 Palawan
Tel. Nos: (048) 433-2156; (048) 433 2558
Clinic Hours:
8:00am -12:00nn; 2:00pm-5:00pm (Sunday to Thursday) 8:00am-12:00nn (Fri)
Tel. No: (048) 433-2558; 433-2156; 433-5567
Res: (048) 433-2658

Calapan, Oriental
Ma. Estrella General Hospital
Mindoro Tawiran, Calapan, 5200 Oriental Mindoro
Clinic Hours: 8:00-12:00 ; 2:00-4:00
Tel. No: Office: (043) 286-7386; 286-7388; 441-0492
Res: (043) 286-7385

Amorsolo/Capital region
FORTMED Medical Clinics
3rd fl, Equitable Bank Bldg., Paseo de Roxas cor. Jupiter St, Bel-air Makati City
Tel. no: 897-9111 to 19
Fax no.: 897-9120

Manila
Medical Center Manila
1122 Gen. Luna St., Ermita, 1000 Manila
Tel. No: 523-81-31 to 35; 523-8140
Fax no: 524-3440; 523-8131
Manila Doctors Hospital – 5243011 loc. 5400 Rm. 209

In general, the Manila based facilities are MUCH better equipped and better trained, so if time is not an issue, get to one of the better Manila locations.

Preparing For Your Trip

“There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge.” – Bertrand Russell

Research, Research, Research!

I do not think that one can be too prepared for a trip. As this is the case this will be one of the longest sections to this guide as I will try to cover as much as I can to get you familiar with everything you will need to know and if it is not here in this section you will have a ton of links to find the answer to the question I don’t cover.

I suggest doing all you can and plan for as much as you possibly can before you make your visit so that once you get here no surprises will spoil your holiday. Of course emergencies and situations come up but with the right kind of planning you can minimize the chances of something happening to spoil your vacation.

You are already doing one of the best things you can do to prepare for your trip and that is reading this guide. There is also a ton of information out there on many web sites all devoted to helping you get the most out of your money and time in Angeles City.Always good to know about any weather problems coming along that might affect your travel or time whilst in the Philippines. There are many sites on the web which track major storms but one of the best is Typhoon2000.They will follow all major storms in the area and have excellent graphics as you can see from this sample to the left.There literally thousands of sites to help you research your trip. Some of these sites are, but not limited to:

Asian-Escapades: A pay site with a board, photos, reviews, and more devoted to Asian travel.

Gotophil: Another pay site that has pictures, a board and occasional news items from Angeles City.

Angeles2 Board: A message board where many questions can be answered. But beware, a lot of false information is here to and there are a lot of people who post there that are not so pleasant.

TSM: A pay site devoted to the Travel of the Single Male.

Wow Philippines: The official Philippine tourism site.

Philippine Travel – Travel advisory and tips on the Philippines.
Travel Information of the Philippines – Self titled, travel info for the Philippines.
Lonely Planet Guide to the Philippines – Very nice travel guide.
Local Time in the Philippines – 8 hours ahead of GMT
Journeys to the Philippines – One man’s views on his travels.
Philippine Consulate – Tourism/Business/Travel/Information Pages.

Immigration Law Net – A site with information on most immigration questions.
US State Department – Consular affairs, passport and visas.

Here are some links to Philippine online newspapers:

The Manila Times

Filipino Reporter

The Filipino Express

Philippine Daily Inquirer

The Manila Bulletin

And many more! Simply put the words Philippines and Tourism into any search engine and you will find thousands of sites to get information from.

The best thing to do is read everything you can and then make your own decisions. I also suggest you get on the various message boards and lurk for a while and learn which posters information you can trust and then use these to get any unanswered questions resolved. You can’t have too much information and be over prepared. Now don’t think I’m being paranoid as there is obviously a point that you will get overwhelmed with all the information, but take all advice just don’t feel obligated to follow it. Once you get to Angeles and experience you will discover how much was bola bola (false) and how much was truth. You then in turn can help the next newbie with information and together we will all make Angeles a better place and more enjoyable for all.

I will go into hotels, restaurants, and club options in later sections of this guide but realize that those opinions are just that: opinions. Read all you can about the different options then decide on what is best for you.

But first let’s discuss a few things you should do and think about well before your trip.

Passport and visa requirements.

Passport: Yours must be valid for at least six months beyond the last day of intended stay.

Visa: There is no visa required for a stay of up to 21 days. If you plan to stay longer, you will have to apply for an extension at the Philippine Bureau of Immigration and Deportation, Magallanes Drive, Intramuros, if staying in Manila or on 7th street in Dau if staying in Angeles City.

Visas are required for business travelers. (If holding passport stamped “Executive Order Number 226,” a visa not required.) Children 15 years old and younger must obtain a visa, regardless of length of stay, if not accompanied by at least one parent; youths must also have a consent document issued by a Philippines Consulate. Visas may be obtained through the Embassy of the Philippines, 1600 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. Their phone number is (202)467-9300. Visas may also be obtained from the Philippines Consulates General in Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco.

Many times a visitor extends his trip once getting here as he discovers that 21 days just isn’t long enough. Well don’t worry; there are many ways to extend your trip once here. You can do it yourself at the immigration branch office here in Angeles City or have one of the local travel agents do it for you. Action Travel located in Kokomo’s, Beeline Travel, or the Swagman offices can process the paperwork for you although handling it yourself is no hassle and also cheaper.

The local office is on 7th Street in Dau which is just a quick trike or taxi ride from Field’s Ave. If you do decide to go to the office yourself make sure you wear pants as they do insist on this. I have heard stories of the guard not even letting people in the door unless dressed conservatively so do yourself a favor and wear something nice but casual. The same outfit you wore on the airplane over will do nicely, but more on clothes in a bit. Back to your visa…

In about 20 minutes and for about 2000 pesos you can get a visa waiver which will allow you to stay for 38 days. If you are past your 21 days you will get assessed a 500 peso fine so make sure you get this waiver before your 21 days are up. The phone number to this office is (045)892-6110 and is a local call from Angeles City.

The following items are also required by law but on my many trips I have never been asked for them but better to be safe than sorry.

Documents for onward travel: This includes onward or return plane tickets; it also includes all documents required for entry to next destination. (If holding passport stamped “Executive Order Number 226,” no return/onward ticket is required.)

Adequate funds for stay: Not sure what they consider “adequate funds” but it is required by law so I thought I would mention it here.

International Certificate of Vaccination for Yellow Fever: Required if arriving within five days of having been in an infected area.

Other: Unaccompanied minors age 16 or 17 years or minors under 18 accompanied by one parent must carry a notarized letter of consent to travel. It must be signed by the absent parent.

While on the topic of airports and travel through them a departure tax is charged for domestic and international departures in the Philippines. The departure tax for international flights is 550 pesos; for domestic flights it is 100 pesos. Children under age two are exempt. Transit passengers are exempt as long as they remain in the transit area and do not leave the airport between flights.

Also while talking of airports let’s take a moment and go over entry and export restrictions.

Philippines detailed customs guidelines include limits on the duty-free import of tobacco and alcohol.

For tobacco you are allowed up to 400 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250 grams of pipe tobacco (passengers 18 and older only). For alcohol you can bring two bottles of alcoholic beverages of not more than one liter each (passengers 18 and older only). I have personally brought more than this with no problems before I knew the regulations but best to know what the legal limits are. Visitors carrying more than $3,000 US dollars are requested to declare the amount at the Central Bank of the Philippines counter located at the customs area.

Prohibited items:

  • Firearms and firearm parts, firearm replicas, ammunition and explosives
  • Printed subversive, obscene and pornographic materials
  • Drugs or substances for abortion
  • Gambling machines and articles, jackpot or pinball machines, lottery sweepstakes tickets, coin-operated video machines
  • Articles of gold, silver and precious metals without indications of quality
  • Misbranded and/or adulterated drugs or foodstuffs
  • Marijuana, poppy, coca leaves, heroin, opium or any other prohibited drugs; opium pipes and parts of opium pipes.

The Philippines takes its fight against illicit drug use very seriously so don’t even think of trafficking any illegal substances into the country.

Free export (by passengers 18 and older) of:

  • One quart of alcoholic beverages
  • 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 500 grams of tobacco.

Currency: Export of local currency is prohibited. Foreign currencies may be exported up to the amount declared upon arrival.

Antiques: may not be exported without a certificate from the National Museum.

Health Concerns:

“I consider myself an expert on love, sex, and health. Without health you can have very little of the other two.” – Barbara Cartland

Now is as good a time as any to talk about some health concerns while traveling in the Philippines. I do not share this information to try and scare you or dissuade you from making a trip here but feel that this information should be known so you can make your own decisions.

Food/Water Safety:

Bottom line on water: Drink bottled water when in the Philippines!

Unlike in other countries, the Philippines’ water problem is not due to its shortage but to its uneven distribution. This inequity is worsened by mismanagement of water catchments, deforestation and pollution of water sources by factories and households. In 1992, the delivery of water supply and sanitation services in the Philippines became the responsibility of local government units (LGUs) instead of the national government. The intention was to place responsibility for the sector closer to the population. However, several years later, there has been little improvement in the water situation in rural areas. This is because as long as they remain financially and technically ill prepared for the task, the LGUs will never be able to adopt an integrated resources management approach. National government agencies face similar problems, caused by insufficient budgets and lack of personnel with expertise. In many cases, and particularly in rural areas, the private sector is in no position to offer a viable alternative. This problem is serious, because one of the principal social development prerequisites for the majority of the Philippines’ population (the poor) is access to reliable and safe water supplies, adequate sanitation facilities and efficiently operating distribution systems.

According to Dr. Peter H. Gleick of the Pacific Institute for Environment (PIE), the country happens to have 323 km3 per year of total renewable freshwater supply, third most bountiful in Southeast Asia after Indonesia and Malaysia. But think again. Of that amount, the country can only withdraw a total of 29.5 percent yearly.

Dr. Gleick, in his January 2000 edition of The World’s Water says, the Philippines will need some 393 percent of total water withdrawal starting this year 2000 until the next ten years. For the moment, only 18 percent can be withdrawn from the renewable freshwater supply for domestic use, 21 percent for industrial use and 61 percent for agricultural use.

Nationwide, the government’s National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) estimates that only 67 percent of the total population of 75 million have access to clean drinking water and almost 35 percent have access to water for sanitation.

So while here only drink recognized brands of sealed bottled water that have a license to produce. Raw sewage, industrial and agricultural wastes contaminate Philippine water supplies. For example there are reported high levels of heavy metals contaminating the Boac and Makulapnit Rivers. In March of 1996 an unused drainage tunnel at the bottom of a mine tailings disposal pit on Marinduque Island collapsed, flooding the 26 km. Boac and Makulapnit rivers and nearby coastal waters with some 4 million tones of mine tailings, effectively killing the rivers, covering corals in the sea and severely affecting at least 20,700 villagers. Public Works Secretary Gregorio Vigilar said safe drinking water may be scarce in Manila in five years unless more homes are linked to sewage treatment systems. Only 10 percent of 800,000 households are connected to the sewer system. The rest use tanks that dump waste into canals and contaminate underground water. If left unchecked, the contamination could severely limit the supply of safe drinking water, Vigilar said. A recent cholera outbreak in Manila killed seven people and sickened 310.

It is best not to even take the chance and stick to bottled water.

There are also dangers of drinking liquids with ice that has been made with tap water and also eating food that has been washed using local water sources. This is a real danger especially if you are susceptible to these problems. But even if you have traveled widely without catching a bit of traveler’s diarrhea, you might meet your match here in the Philippines. Make sure you bring some Imodium with you or some other medicine to combat this.

Many doctors also recommend you avoid eating local seafood; local marine waters are polluted as well. For example mercury has been reported in shellfish in Honda Bay, Palawan. If you are going to eat seafood (which many do with no reported problems) make sure you eat thoroughly cooked foods served hot.

In 2001, the Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines issued an urgent warning to the public against eating large carnivorous predator fish in response to 50 cases of food poisoning from eating ciguatoxic barracuda. I would avoid eating barracuda and other carnivorous reef fish while traveling in the Philippines.

Hazardous Plants & Animals:

There are also some animal hazards in the Philippines to be aware of. Especially beware of free roaming dogs which there are many in Angeles City. The Philippines has the third highest rate of rabies cases in the world. Approximately 400 to 500 cases of human rabies are reported each year. Some other animal hazards to be wary of include cobras, centipedes, scorpions and black widow spiders. Philippine coastal waters are home to stingrays, jellyfish, nettles, sea cucumbers, sea wasps, sea urchins, anemones and the Indo-Pacific man-of-war. If you have allergies to any of these animals make sure you have appropriate medicines available or advise people with you during times you could be at high risk (like when scuba diving for example) of your condition so they will know how to help you best should you require it.

Travel health risks in the Philippines:

This information was gathered from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Traveler’s diarrhea: This is commonly caused by bacteria. Diarrhea in travelers can also be caused by parasites and, to a lesser extent, viruses. Contaminated food and water pose the greatest risk. This is the most common illness in travelers.

Typhoid fever: This is transmitted by contaminated milk, water and food. Food can be infected directly by water that is used in washing and preparation and by human carriers. Raw shellfish from contaminated waters are likely to be infected. This can cause acute gastrointestinal symptoms.

Cholera: This is transmitted directly through food or water contaminated with fecal material from an infected person. Can cause acute gastrointestinal infection (a recurring theme?). Outbreaks have been reported (November 2001) in the communities of Kagbanaba, Jipapad and Eastern Samar.

Hepatitis A: This causative virus is commonly transmitted through food, water or milk contaminated by fecal material. Known as infectious hepatitis, it is an acute inflammation of the liver.

Malaria: Malaria is caught through mosquito bites. Sadly this is a preventable infection characterized by high fevers and chills. It can cause rapid death through shock and multiple organ failure if not treated promptly. Malaria is present in rural areas at low elevations (below 600 meters). There is no risk in metropolitan Manila or urban areas. The risk exists year- round, but is greater May through November.

Malaria information for the Philippines:

Area of Risk: Rural only. No risk in provinces of Bohol, Catanduanes, Cebu and metropolitan Manila. Malaria transmission in the Philippines is largely confined to rural areas not visited by most travelers; most travel to rural areas in the Philippines is during daytime hours when the risk of exposure is minimal.

Chloroquine resistance: Confirmed in Islands of Basilian, Luzon, Mindanao, Mindoro, Palawan and Sulu Archipelago.

Prophylaxis: chloroquine, mefloquine, malarone or doxycycline.

Dengue fever: This is also transmitted through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are active in daylight hours in both urban and rural areas. Present throughout the country. Dengue outbreaks are common in densely populated areas: Quezon City; Manila; Bacolod; Bulacan; Nueva Ecija; and Benguet. Risk of outbreak is higher during the wet months, May through November. In 2001, 15,600 cases and 118 fatalities were reported.

Japanese encephalitis: Again this is caught through mosquito bites. Risk is greatest if living for prolonged periods in rural, endemic areas. There have been outbreaks reported in Nueva Ecija, Luzon and Manila. Japanese encephalitis occurs year round and is also more prevalent during the rainy season May through November. There may be an elevated risk in January through March because of rice crop irrigation.

Schistosomiasis: This is a parasitic infection spread by free-swimming larvae that penetrate the skin though only found only in fresh water. Avoid swimming and wading except in well-chlorinated swimming pools. Swimming and wading should be avoided in Leyte, Samar, Mindanao, southern Luzon and the east coast of Mindoro and Bohol Islands.

Rabies: This disease is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal, usually by a bite. The degree of risk to the traveler is largely dependent on activities and level of exposure to infected animals. Avoid petting or touching wild or stray animals. The Philippines ranks third in the world on a per population basis for incidence of rabies; believe it or not there is an average of 10 dogs for every human in the Philippines. Approximately 98% of the rabies cases come from dogs; 2% from cats. An estimated one-third of rabies cases are treated at San Lazaro Hospital in Manila. San Lazaro also functions as an animal bite treatment center.

Air Quality: Excessive air pollution, caused by industrial and transportation emissions, is reported in and around Manila, Philippines. According to latest World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, total suspended particulates were assessed at 200 micrograms per cubic meter. WHO annual mean guidelines for air quality standards are 90 micrograms per cubic meter for total suspended particulates. If you have asthma or other respiratory illnesses, consult with a health care provider prior to travel and carry sufficient medications.

Immunizations:

Required:

Yellow fever: This vaccine is required if traveling from an infected area and older than one year of age.

Recommended:

When possible, see your health care provider at least four weeks prior to your trip. All routine vaccinations should be current, including: polio, tetanus, diphtheria, measles, mumps and rubella. Influenza (flu) vaccine may also be advisable.

Hepatitis A: This is a two-dose series. This is generally recommended by doctors for all travelers regardless of destination. Hepatitis A /Hepatitis B are also available in a combined vaccine.

Hepatitis B: This is a three-dose series. Again this is generally recommended by doctors for all travelers regardless of destination. Hepatitis A /Hepatitis B are also available in a combined vaccine.

Typhoid: This is particularly important because of the presence of S. typhi strains resistant to multiple antibiotics. There is a one-dose vaccine or oral four-tablet sequence.

Japanese encephalitis: This is a three-dose series. This is needed for stays in rural, agricultural areas.

Rabies: This is recommended if you might be exposed to wild or domestic animals. These three-dose treatments are pre-exposure. Post-exposure treatment is still required for animal bite or contact.

Again let me state that this information was not meant to overwhelm you or scare you into not coming. Most of this is general advice and I admit to not being fully immunized before any of my trips and have not had any problems. But you can’t say you are ignorant of the risks now, how you proceed is your decision.

Medical attention once in the Philippines:

Pharmacy service in the Philippines:

There are literally hundreds of pharmacies peppered all around Angeles City. You can get some prescription drugs by simply walking up and asking for them by name. I have seen many a foreign tourist walk up to one of these places and get everything from serious pain medication to Viagra. Also be aware that international brands of medications are available in major pharmacies. You won’t have to go for some knock off brand. Mercury is the largest chain of pharmacies in the Philippines though many are available from the larger chains surrounding hospitals to mom and pop places everywhere.

Some of the smaller pharmacies may not have what you are looking for so you may have to try the larger ones located towards AU hospital or elsewhere. The pharmacy located on McArthur next to Johnny’s Supermarket is pretty well stocked and I have had little problem getting what I need there

Hospitals:

Unfortunately there are some times we need medical attention when traveling. Here is a list of hospitals and contact information for some major cities in the Philippines.

St. Louis University Hospital of the Sacred Heart

Assumption Rd.

Baguio

Phone: 63-442-5701

Cebu Doctors Hospital

Osmena Blvd.

Cebu City

Phone: 63-32-253-7511

Davao Doctors Hospital

188 E Quirino Ave.

Davao City

Phone: 63-82-78411

Capitol Medical Center

Scout Magbanua

Quezon City

Phone: 372-3831

Makati Medical Center

#2 Amorsolo Street

Makati City

Phone: 632-815-99-11

Manila Doctor’s Hospital

667 UN Avenue

Ermita, Manila

Phone: 632-524-3011

St. Luke’s Medical Center

279 E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue

Cathedral Heights

Quezon City

Phone: 632-723-0301; 632-722-6161

When in Angeles I recommend that you use:

Angeles University Foundation Medical Center (AU)

McArthur Hi-Way

Angeles City

Phone: 045-322-8876; 045-322-8877 to 80

or

Philippine International Hospital (PIH)

654 Malabanas Road

Plaridel 1 Subdivision

Angeles City

Phone: 045-322-1911; 045-892-1911

Contact information for some other important places in the Philippines:

The Philippines country code is (63). Please remember the Philippines are 8 hours ahead of GMT.

If you are dialing a number in the Philippines from over seas you will need to drop the leading zero in the area code. For example a landline phone number in Angeles is something like 045-555-5555 and a cell phone number would be something like 0919-555-5555. If you were dialing these from the states it would be 63-45-555-5555 or for the cell 63-919-555-5555. If dialing within country you would need to add the zero back in and not use the country code, or in other words 045-555-5555 and for the cell 0919-555-5555.

The Philippine National Red Cross

PO Box 280

Manila 2803

Phone: 63-2-527-0866; 63-2-527-0856; 63-2-527-8384 97 (main line)

Fax: 63-2-527-0857

Telex: 27846 PNRC PH

Telegram: PHILCROSS MANILA

Email: secgen_pnrc@email.com

Philippine Department of Tourism

Department of Tourism Building

T M Kalaw Street

Rizal Park

Ermita, Manila

Phone: 63-2-5238411-30

Fax: 63-2-5217374

Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation

4th Floor Legaspi Towers

300 Roxas Boulevard

Metro Manila

Phone: 63-2-5259318-32

Fax: 63-2-5216165; 63-2-5253314

Embassy of the United States of America

1201 Roxas Boulevard

Ermita 1000

Manila, The Philippines

Phone: 63-2-523-1001

Fax: 63-2-522-4361

Marine Security Guard (after hours), ext. 2311 or 2688

U.S. Consular Agency

Third floor, PCI Bank

Gorordo Ave

Lahug, Cebu City

Phone: 63-32-231-1261

Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines

1600 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20036

Phone: 202-467-9300

Fax: 202-467-9417

Emergency phone numbers:

POLICE EMERGENCY – 166

FIRE EMERGENCY – 166

AMBULANCE EMERGENCY – 166

Ok, I guess now is as good a time as any to discuss a little about terrorism in the Philippines. I know this is a topic that weighs heavy on a lot of minds especially those from the east coast in the states and in particular New Your City.

While it is true that there is a splinter group of nationalistic terrorists in the Philippines and it is also true that there have been some kidnappings here, the activity is mostly concentrated in the southern islands and even then around places that most tourists wouldn’t consider going anyway. There were some isolated events around the Palawan area but security has been beefed up tremendously in this region of the Philippines and reportedly the faction group leader that was preying on this location has been caught and is out of the terrorism business.

Ok, now that we have all that boring stuff out of the way, let’s talk a little more down to earth and some practical advice. You have your passport ready with any visas you might need, you have your plane ticket, you’ve reserved your taxi for airport pick up, (more on airlines and taxis in the next section), and you are a few days or a night away from your trip. It’s time to pack that bag!

What to pack and what to leave at home:

It is almost impossible to under pack. One can get by in Angeles on the bare minimum and buy everything you forgot to bring. For any trip of any length I suggest the same airplane wear. Wear a nice pair of slacks (Dockers or something like that) a nice shirt (I suggest something long sleeve that you can roll up your arms when you get a little warm) your heaviest pair of shoes you plan on bringing with you on the trip, with socks. These should be the heaviest clothes you will need for the entire trip. Often times I don’t wear these again (except the shoes) until the return trip. The reason for this is will be less you have to carry. This is a great way of bringing only a carry on. For a normal trip of around two weeks you shouldn’t have to check in any luggage. Given all that the following is a list I would suggest at a minimum.

For a two week vacation I suggest the following (not including what you wear on the plane):

3 changes of underwear. With what you’re wearing that will be four pair. This is plenty as laundry is available everywhere and not very expensive.

One pair of socks. This will be two with the pair you wear on the plane.

Pair of thongs. Not cheap shower shoes, a nice pair of flip-flops.

Sandals. Again, a nice pair like Tevo or something like that.

1 pair of pants. Some Dockers or some blue jeans.

4 pair of shorts. The kind with deep pockets.

4 to 5 shirts. Combination of T-shirts and Polo type shirts.

Shower items. Lot of options her that I will go into later.

Swim Suit: A must if you are planning on swimming.

Misc. Books, CD Player, Tape Player, Camera, etc.

…and of course cash, credit cards, ATM card, passport, etc.

That’s it! That is plenty for you to have a great trip. Anything else is a luxury and while nice to have, you won’t need it to have a great time. For a longer trip add minimum amounts of each item. Laundry services are so cheap it is easy to over pack clothes and have way more than you need. If you can avoid checking luggage do it as this will save you up to an hour or more upon arrival. The luggage retrieval in Manila is infamously slow. Often I have carry-on only and through immigration, customs, and in a cab headed towards Angeles in 15 minutes. Would have been faster but sometimes I was deep in the plane and got stuck behind some people in the immigration line. Conversely, once when I checked some luggage as I was brining a bunch of Christmas gifts, it took me 2 hours to get out of the airport.

Sometimes however it just isn’t practical to have only a carry-on. If you do check in luggage be patient on the other end as you will see more big boxes coming off the plane and traveling on the conveyor belt than you could ever imagine. Bring a book or listen to some music to pass the time.

What not to bring:

Laptop. It is not necessary to bring your own laptop. That is of course assuming you won’t need it for business, but on a pleasure seeking vacation there are a ton of Internet cafes with exceptional equipment available with many hotels even having their own for use that you won’t need to bring your own.

Clock. All hotels have wake up calls and services that are very reliable and you won’t have to pack this item. Of course the small travel alarms are so tiny that it won’t make much difference, but I am speaking of the large radio desk clocks I have seen some people bring with them when they travel.

Expensive jewelry. There is no need to have any of this as it will get in the way and affluence is not measured by opulence. You will get more attention and affection from women having a pleasant personality and showing some respect and acting nice than trying to impress with jewelry.

Expensive clothes. The same as jewelry. Wearing shorts and t-shirts is not considered rude or impolite. I’m not saying that you should wear clothes that are old and full of holes, but you won’t have to wear a tie or slacks every night to the clubs. But if there is a night you want to dress up a little and go to a better restaurant you’ll have the slacks you wore on the plane. There are some who wear nothing but pants so this wont apply, but if you do wear shorts, do yourself a favor and don’t pack but maybe one more pair.

Pagers and cell phones. These work on a different system then in the states and elsewhere and your coverage will not work. Unless it’s a tri-band cell that is, then go ahead and bring it and buy a SIM card for it here. Cell phones are cheap and if you need one you can get one for less than a hundred dollars. More on cell phones later.

The point of all this is you will not need all these gadgets and toys while you are here. This is a simple country with a simple people and there is plenty to keep you occupied during your trip. The basic packing list I presented is a starting point. Add or subtract to your particular needs, I just provide this to show you that not much is needed to have a great trip.

Other advice for you to plan and prepare for before your trip:

Personal Grooming:

The Filipina is a very clean person. They spend literally hours a day cleaning or taking care of them selves. The same grooming habits in the men they like to meet are highly coveted. Get used to washing thoroughly. I mean thoroughly! The Philippines is a very humid place and you will probably end up taking 2 or 3 showers a day. A clean person is much more attractive than an unkempt one. So start that scrubbing now. Get all those nooks and crannies that you usually just glance over in your daily showers. I suggest start using one of those scrubbers or other good cleaning device. The girls will also enjoy using them if they are in your shower.

Speaking of that, here is some great advice on types of shower items to bring. Before your trip take some time and go to a bath and shower place. Instead of just bringing regular soap like Ivory or something, buy some colorful scented soap. Not perfume scented or anything like that, but a lilac or vanilla, or something like that. The girls love it and you will notice the difference. On that same note buy large bottles of a good shampoo. Again something colorful and looking out of the ordinary. A good red or purple works great for this. You can do the same for your hair brush and other toilet items as well. Get a nice salon brush for example, or bring a small make-up mirror. It’s these small touches that will make the girl enjoy herself with you when she spends time with you in your hotel and the rewards are numerous. Again I must stress that the Filipina is an immaculate creature and enjoys being around a man who takes care of himself.

That goes for facial hair too. If you aren’t too attached to that mustache, beard, or sideburns down to your chin, shave them off. For the most part (and this is a big generality) the Filipina likes a smooth face. I had a friend come over once with me and he had a goatee. After the first night he was down to a mustache and by the third he was clean shaven. I know this is a hard area for some, but it’s true. To tell the truth I miss my goatee as well, but better to be more attractive than less to the Filipina.

Also get used to wearing a strong deodorant and a nice smelling after shave or cologne. The Filipina really appreciates a nice clean and good smelling man. They will forgive a little extra weight, a lack of hair on the head, and even some social graces, but they do not forgive an unkempt man.

Study the language:

I am not saying become fluent or anything, but take the time to learn some basic words and phrases. While it is true that English is very prevalent here, even considered the second official language, there are words in English that are not the same as in your home country. I will go into this more in the section on Communicating Effectively, but for example it is called a CR and not a bathroom, it is a tissue and not a napkin (you say napkin and it means the female hygiene type), spread the butter is a must at breakfast, and so many more. So just study a little so you won’t be lost when you get here. This is also a great ice breaker with the girls. Show them you are trying to learn their language and their culture and you’ll hit a home run every time.

Get on the boards:

The various message boards out there have some of the best up-to-date information available. While it is true that there is a bunch of crap to wade through, there is also a ton of good information as well to be found. You can read about what events are upcoming and happening during your trip and get a good sense of which clubs are hot and which are not. You can read about which hotels and restaurants are worth frequenting and which to avoid. As always it is best to form your own opinion as most of what you read, even this guide, is tainted by the author’s experiences and background. However, you can quickly determine which posters are posting from their heart and which are posting from their ass.

Some of the boards to visit are:

AC2: The Angeles City 2 board is one of the oldest and most frequented boards out there. There have been good times and bad times, but over all you can get a lot of current events and news off this board with a lot of trip reports, pictures, with a good dose of spam. It is best to stay on as a lurker for a while before diving into the deep end of the pool. Sometimes you need a thick skin to be on this board as there are a ton of flamers that enjoy nothing more than tearing up new guys. Just realize that nothing is personal on there and don’t give too much personal information. If you have the right attitude and demeanor the AC2 can be a lot of fun.

Asian-Escapades: Obviously you’re reading this guide and I highly recommend joining this site as it has a ton of information and news on Angeles City and one of the friendliest boards with onsite people answering questions for newbies and even seasoned visitors. There are news letters and reports from Angeles and tens of thousands of pictures and many many videos to wet your appetite.

Gotophil: This is a board on another pay site run locally here in Angeles City. Although they have trip reports and people posting from other places such as Thailand, the main focus still seems to be on the Philippines and in particular Angeles City. 99% of the news items and about 70% of the posts are about this town. The good thing about this board is that it is only accessible by paying members. It is amazing what that does to filter out the trouble makers. While the traffic isn’t as strong as the AC2, you are more likely to get honest answers to your questions.

TSM: This board is a hit and miss. While it is on a pay site and that generally means that you weed out all the trolls and flamers, many times wars break out on this board between the Asian crowd and the Latin American crowd. They have tried to segregate the boards and still these seem to happen. However the board still has some unique posters you won’t see on the other boards while the first listed have a lot of the same guys posting to all of them. The TSM site also has many trip reports so a historical view can be seen however when I read through these when I was a member I always seem to ask myself, “Where was this guy?“ as even though he is writing about Angeles City, it seems completely foreign to me and totally opposite of my viewpoints. However saying all that if you have the money and want to join, there is some valuable information here.

Some boards and Internet sites to stay away from:

The Wild West Board, AD2T, Gossip board, and Angeles City News are all boards that are for the most part just spill over of the main AC2 board and full of repressed men who are sitting around their house bored to tears and just want to start some flames. There is more bad information and pure gossip on these boards then anywhere else. Another bad thing about these boards is that you can post as anyone you want. I have never posted on any of these boards but posts from my name are constantly being posted. If want some irreverent humor and no serious information by all means visit and have fun. Just realize that it is a sewer and nothing really there to help you.

Jade Cool, Filipina Spice, Adult Club, Tri Cams, and other Filipina chat sites: While these sites are a lot of fun and you can meet and talk with some lovely Filipinas, they are full of deceit, games, and cons. The whole point of these sites is for you to be hooked on the Filipina charm. While this is true, the other stuff they spout out at you is not true. You can quickly become jaded with the Filipinas promising the moon and delivering nothing. But, if you realize this going in and visit these sites just for pure pleasure, no problem, knock your self out and have fun. But if you are planning your first trip I would suggest waiting until you got back home and have spoken to these beautiful Filipinas in person before getting some incorrect preconceived notions by visiting these chat sites on speaking to the Filipina for the first time online.

Summary:

The last thing I can suggest you do before you make the trip is to convince a friend to go with you. As much of a great time you will have on your vacation in Angeles City, you will have more if there is someone there to share it with. But the bottom line is being prepared and taking the time to research where you’re going. This section is a great start and will get you here fully briefed but test out those links and get on those boards and you will know as much as a seasoned visitor well before you make your cherry trip.

The People

“Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven.”
-Yiddish Proverb

I will go into the specific characteristics of the Filipina, the male (both expats and tourists) as well as the local population later, but as a general overview of the Filipino race consider the following:

The Filipino is basically of Malay stock with a sprinkling of Chinese, American, Spanish and Arab blood. The Philippines has a population of 60 million, and it is sometimes hard to distinguish accurately the lines between stocks. From a long history of Western colonial rule interspersed with the visit of merchants and traders evolved a people of a unique blend of east and west, both in appearance and culture.

I truly believe it is because of these multiple races and cultures mixing and mashing together for a millennia that there is a gentler tolerance to ethnic diversity here than elsewhere in Asia. Ethnocentricity is a danger to the common good and that is against the Filipino character. (See more of this Pride factor in Profile: The Filipina.)

I always had the distinct feeling in my time in Korea that no matter how hard I tried to learn their language and no matter how immersed I was in their culture and way of life, I was always an outsider and would never measure up. Once I heard from a good friend of mine in Korea after knowing him off and on for 6 years say to a friend of his when introducing us, “For a foreigner he’s all right. Can’t help he wasn’t born a Korean.”

He was serious. After sharing so much with this man, the first thing he said about me to describe me to his friends was that I was foreign and not a Korean. You won’t get this attitude in the Philippines. While there is still a distinct difference on the way tourists and locals are treated than a native Filipino, I believe it is for other reasons and misconceptions and not because of any feeling of superiority or Social Darwinist tendencies.

The Filipino character is actually a little bit of all the cultures put together. The bayanihan or spirit of kinship and camaraderie that Filipinos are famous for is said to be taken from Malay forefathers. The close family relations are said to have been inherited from the Chinese. The piousness comes, from the Spaniards who introduced Christianity in the 16th century. Hospitality is a common denominator in the Filipino character and this is what distinguishes the Filipino. Filipinos are probably one of the few, if not the only, English-proficient Oriental people today. Tagalog is the official national language, with English considered as the country’s unofficial one. (See the section Communicating Effectively for more on Tagalog)

The Filipinos are divided geographically and culturally into regions, and each regional group is recognizable by distinct traits and dialects – the sturdy and frugal Ilocanos of the north, the industrious Tagalogs of the central plains, the carefree Visayans from the central islands and the colorful tribesmen and religious Moslems of Mindanao. Tribal communities can be found scattered across the archipelago.

Some 80 percent of the population is Catholic, Spain’s lasting legacy. About 15 percent is Moslem and these people can be found basically in Mindanao. The rest of the population is made up mostly of smaller Christian denominations and Buddhists.

All in all there are more than 160 languages used in the Philippines, owing to the subdivisions of these basic regional and cultural groups. Of these 160 languages 87 are tribal languages with 111 dialects. The most common dialects are Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Waray-Waray, Sama, Tboli, Tausug, Tagalog, Romblomanon, Pangasinan, Magindanaon and Ilocano. Other languages include Japanese, Chinese and Spanish.

But with all that most Filipinos are bilingual to our advantage. English is the standard language used in business, government, schools and everyday communication. The national language in the Philippines is Filipino, based on the Tagalog dialect. Tagalog is the language spoken in Luzon and thus Angeles City.

One of the best books I have read about some of the cultural differences you will experience while traveling through the Philippines is the book Culture Shock!: Philippines by by Alfredo Roces, Grace Roces. This book can be bought in most book stores that have a travel section or simply click the lick below and order it from Amazon.com and get it delivered right to your door.

I read this a while after my first couple of trips to the Philippines and wished that I had read it before my first one. They really do a great job of describing the differences yet similar traits you will find in this strange but wonderful culture.

Editorial Review on the book Culture Shock!: Philippines by Alfredo Roces, Grace Roces (Taken from Amazon.com review) Book Description
You’ll never feel intimidated and awkward about the customs and etiquette of another country again. With the insights provided in this CULTURE SHOCK! Guide, you’ll learn to see beyond the stereotypes and misinformation that often precede a visit to a foreign land. Whether you plan to stay for a week or for a year, you’ll benefit from such topics as understanding the rules of driving and monetary systems, religious practices and making friends. There are tips on political traditions, building business relationships, and the particular intricacies of setting up a home or office. Great for the business traveler, the foreign exchange student, or the tourist who makes a sincere attempt to cross the bridge into a new and exciting culture.

Now that we know where and who, let’s get to the meat of your trip: How to get there, where to stay, where to eat, and entertainment

The Country, The City, The Area

“Landscape shapes culture.” – Terry Tempest Williams

There are many places I could begin in a manual of this type but I thought the best place would be to describe the area geographically so that we all understand the playground to which we all want to play. This information was gathered from a number of places such as the CIA fact book as well as many books I have bought over the years on the Philippines as well as information gathered on the Internet. Some of the information may be dated, but you’ll get a general idea of what we are talking about.

The Philippines:

Spread over the blue waters between the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean lie 7,107 lush green islands. It’s the meeting place of two cultures. Over the past nearly five centuries, the cultures of the East and the West have met and merged on these islands. The radical diversity sealed within that blend is at the core of the captivating beauty and charm of the Philippines, as well as the enchanting music and the fascinating sense of hospitality of its people. From the crystal clear waters studded with lush green islands of towering palms to the Baroque churches, looming watchtowers and opulent grand homes of the Spanish colonial period now converted into museums, the Philippines is a memorable experience for visitors.

History:

Philippine history, many argue, did not begin with the coming of the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. Rather, it began in the 13th century when 10 datus from Borneo, each with a hundred of his kinsmen, landed in what is now known as Panay Island in the Visayas. Yet it was Magellan and succeeding expeditions from Spain who put the Philippine archipelago on the map of the world. The intrepid Magellan was dubbed the discoverer of the Philippines after he landed in Homonhon Islet, near Samar, on March 17, 1521. He was later killed in Mactan Island of Cebu in clash with native warriors led by a chieftain named Lapu-lapu.

The Philippines was a prize catch for Spain which, at that time, was locked in a fierce struggle for world colonization with Portugal. The archipelago, named Felipinas for Spain’s Philip II, was composed of 7,107 islands and islets spanning 1854 kilometers from north to south. The Philippines, also a window to the New World, stretched from China to the north and the Indonesian archipelago to the south. The northernmost tip of the country, Y’ami of the Batanes Island group, is 241 kilometers south of Taiwan while the southernmost tip, Sibutu of the Tawi-tawi group of islands, is just 14.4 kilometers north of Borneo.

The Philippines in fact is at a most strategic location making it a natural hub for commerce. Manila and Cebu are premiere centers of trade in the region. To the east is the vast Pacific Ocean and beyond it, the new World. To the west are the kingdoms of Indochina including Cambodia and Thailand while southwest is Malaysia.

There are three major geographical groups in the country: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The northern portion of the archipelago is composed of the largest island, Luzon. The Visayan region is made up of about 6,000 islands including Panay, Leyte, Samar, Cebu and Bohol. Mindanao is the second largest island and encompasses about 400 smaller islands.

Spanish colonizers succeeded in introducing Christianity in Luzon and Visayas but were unsuccessful in Mindanao, where Moslem staved off Spanish efforts. Spanish rule lasted from the 16th century to the 19th century but was marked with a series of revolts. When three Filipino priests were executed for nationalist activities, a group of reformist formed the Propaganda Movement that would later pave the way for the Philippine Revolution. A young doctor-writer named Jose Rizal was arrested and later executed by Spanish officials for his scathing criticisms of Spanish rule in the Philippines through two novels. Rizal, who was just 30 when he was executed, would later be recognized by history as Asia’s first nationalist. His contemporaries include Gandhi and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen.

The Philippine Revolution was launched after Rizal’s death and was led first by Andres Bonifacio and then later by Emilio Aguinaldo. Philippine independence was proclaimed on June 12, 1898 on the balcony of Aguinaldo’s home in Cavite. But as Spanish rule ended, so would American domination begin. Unknown to Aguinaldo and the Filipinos, Spain ceded the archipelago to the US for $20 million. Thus, when American and Filipino forces laid siege on Intramuros, little did the Filipinos know that they would have new enemies. Intramuros surrendered by Filipinos were prevented by Americans from entering. This sowed the seeds of distrust that would eventually culminate in the Filipino-American War.

A new fight for independence was waged and this would last six years. The war ended in 1905 and the period of fighting was followed by decades of progress. In 1935, a Commonwealth government was established complete with a Constitution.

World War II broke out in 1941. Japan annexed the Philippines after heroic battle with Filipino-American forces making a stand in Bataan and Corrigidor. With the surrender, Filipinos took to the hills and waged a guerrilla war for four years. In 1945, US forces liberated the Philippines. On July 4, 1946, the US flag was lowered for the last time as the Philippines was finally granted independence.

The Philippines is an archipelago blessed with a wealth of natural resources, a rich history and unique culture. It’s attractions are as many as they are diverse, with each island offering something different, something special to the most discerning visitor. White sand beaches, lush green forests, majestic mountain peaks, age-old structures, modern cities, and rustic country sides – the list goes on and on.

The country is most popular for its beaches and deep waters teeming with a plethora of marine life. The Philippine waters have attracted a growing number of scuba divers all eager to discover the underwater treasures of the country. Most of the resorts are well-equipped with modern diving equipment and have in their staff professional diving instructors and guides. Facilities for water skiing, jet skiing, windsurfing, hobie cat sailing, island hopping, and other water sports are also available. Those who prefer to keep their feet dry can still view the magical coral world through glass-bottomed boats.

The Philippines is not only for sun, sea and sand lovers. The numerous attractions present a wide array of activities to choose from whether you are in the north or the south.

For the nature lover, there is a mountain climbing, bird watching, cave exploration, and even photo safaris. History and culture buffs may learn more about the Philippines and its people when visiting the museums, centuries-old structures, monuments, and churches spread across the country. And for a taste of rural Philippine life, a tour of the farms in the provinces is highly recommended.

Golfers have also found their place in the sun here in the Philippines. The country boasts of challenging golf courses, some of which were designed by world-class course architects in the likes of Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and Gary Player.

Whatever your interests are, these islands have it.

Data from CIA Fact Book:

Background: The Philippines were ceded by Spain to the US in 1898 following the Spanish-American War. They attained their independence in 1946 after being occupied by the Japanese in World War II. The 21-year rule of Ferdinand MARCOS ended in 1986 when a widespread popular rebellion forced him into exile. In 1992, the US closed down its last military bases on the islands. A quarter-century-old guerrilla war with Muslim separatists on the island of Mindanao, which had claimed 120,000 lives, ended with a treaty in 1996.

Location: Southeastern Asia, archipelago between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, east of Vietnam

Geographic coordinates: 13 00 N, 122 00 E

Area:

Total: 300,000 sq km

Land: 298,170 sq km

Water: 1,830 sq km

Area – comparative: slightly larger than Arizona

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 36,289 km

Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines continental shelf: to depth of exploitation exclusive economic zone: 200 nm territorial sea: irregular polygon extending up to 100 nm from coastline as defined by 1898 treaty; since late 1970s has also claimed polygonal-shaped area in

South China Sea up to 285 nm in breadth

Climate: tropical marine; northeast monsoon (November to April); southwest monsoon (May to October)

Terrain: mostly mountains with narrow to extensive coastal lowlands

Elevation extremes:

Lowest point: Philippine Sea 0 m

Highest point: Mount Apo 2,954 m

Natural resources: timber, petroleum, nickel, cobalt, silver, gold, salt, copper

Land use: (estimated 1993)

Arable land: 19%

Permanent crops: 12%

Permanent pastures: 4%

Forests and woodland: 46%

Other: 19%

Irrigated land: 15,800 sq km (estimated 1993)

Natural hazards: astride typhoon belt, usually affected by 15 and struck by five to six cyclonic storms per year; landslides; active volcanoes; destructive earthquakes; tsunamis

Environment – current issues: uncontrolled deforestation in watershed areas; soil erosion; air and water pollution in Manila; increasing pollution of coastal mangrove swamps which are important fish breeding grounds

Environment – international agreements: Party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection,

Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification.

Population: 81,159,644 (estimated July 2000)

Age structure: (estimated 2000)

0-14 years: 37% (male 15,344,555; female 14,807,320)

15-64 years: 59% (male 23,777,245; female 24,285,565)

65 years and over: 4% (male 1,312,646; female 1,632,313)

Population growth rate: 2.07% (estimated 2000)

Birth rate: 27.85-births/1,000 population (estimated 2000)

Death rate: 6.13-deaths/1,000 population (estimated 2000)

Net migration rate: -1.02 migrant(s)/1,000 population (estimated 2000)

Sex ratio: (estimated 2000)

At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

Under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female

Total population: 0.99 male(s)/female

Infant mortality rate: 29.52 deaths/1,000 live births (estimated 2000)

Life expectancy at birth: (estimated 2000)

Total population: 67.48 years

Male: 64.65 years

Female: 70.46 years

Total fertility rate: 3.48 children born/woman (estimated 2000)

Nationality:

Noun: Filipino(s)

Adjective: Philippine

Ethnic groups: Christian Malay 91.5%, Muslim Malay 4%, Chinese 1.5%, other 3%

Religions: Roman Catholic 83%, Protestant 9%, Muslim 5%, Buddhist and other 3%

Languages: Pilipino (official, based on Tagalog), English (official)

Literacy: (estimated 1995)

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write

Total population: 94.6%

Male: 95%

Female: 94.3%

Angeles City:

The Encyclopedia Britannica describes Angeles City as follows:

“Angeles City: chartered city, central Luzon, Philippines. The city lies on the principal north-south highway and railway lines 50 miles (82 km) north of Manila. Angeles City is the site of Angeles University (founded 1962), a Roman Catholic seminary, and several other colleges. Once known as the “city of the dollar,” Angeles had an economy fueled by its proximity to the American-run Clark Air Base, which was responsible for the rapid growth of the city by providing substantial employment, housing, and business opportunities. With the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 and the subsequent decision by the U.S. government to abandon the ash-covered air base, the city’s future became uncertain. Inc. city, 1963. Pop. (1990 prelim.) 236,000.”

Location:

Southeastern Asia, Philippines, Northern Luzon Island, 90 km north of the countries capital Manila

Area:

Total: 35 hectare (including Clark Special Economic Zone)

Land: 33 hectare

Water: 2 hectare

Area comparative: slightly larger than Sacramento

Climate:

Tropical marine; northeast monsoon (dry & hot) (November to April); southwest monsoon (wet & warm) (May to October)

People: (estimated August 2000)

Population: 300,000

Age structure:

0-14 years: 34 %

15-64 years: 63 %

65 years and over: 3%

Population growth rate: 2.07% (estimate)

Birth Rate: 25.85 births/1,000 population

Death Rate: 6.13 deaths/1,000 population

Net migration rate: 3.51migrants/1,000 population

Ethnic Groups: Christian Malay 91.5 %, Residing Foreigners: 3.5 %, Chinese: 2 %, Other: 3 %

Religions: Roman Catholic 86%, Protestant 10%, Muslim, Buddhist and other 4%

Languages: Pilipino (official, based on Tagalog), English (official)

Literacy:

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write

Total population: 98.6%

Male: 99.1%

Female: 98%

Economy

Overview: In 2000 the Angeles City economy – a mixture of high technology, light industry, and supporting services – received a further boost as a result of continued support from the City government and the Central Government in Manila into the Clark Special Economic Zone. The government has promised to continue its economic reforms to help the Philippines match the pace of development in the newly industrialized countries of East Asia. The strategy includes improving infrastructure, overhauling the tax system to bolster government revenues, and moving toward further deregulation and privatization of the economy. A major part of the Angeles City economy is its entertainment industry with endless Bars, Karaoke’s and Restaurants, plus three well established Casinos.

GDP – real growth rate: 4.9% (1999 estimated)

GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity – $4,600 (1999 estimated)

GDP – composition by sector:

Agriculture: 15%

Industry: 32%

Services: 53% (estimated 1999)

Population below poverty line: 17% (estimated 1999)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6.8% (1999)

Industries: textiles, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, wood products, furniture products, electronics assembly, services, entertainment services.

Communications

Telephone system: Three Service providers all with International Direct Dial

Mobile Services: 6

International Digital Services: Globe Telecom GSM900, Smart Telecom GSM900/1800 (Dualband), Piltel Analog, Islacom GSM900 domestic: domestic satellite system with 11 earth stations international: 9 international gateways; satellite earth stations – 3 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 2 Pacific Ocean); submarine cables to Hong Kong, Guam, Singapore, Taiwan, and Japan all via Manila Television broadcast stations: 34 (Cable connectivity)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 5

Transportation

Railways: none

Highways: Direct connection to Northern Luzon Expressway which connects to Metro Manila (toll)

Waterways: none

Airports: Clark International Airport – over 3,047 m

Heliports: 1

The Role of Angeles in Philippine History:

By Mrs. Josie D. Henson, B.F.A.

(Extracted from the Souvenir Program, Fiestang Kuliat 1993)

In 1796, Don Angel Pantaleon de Miranda together with his wife, Dona Rosalia de Jesus, started the first clearing of Culiat, then the remotest barrio of San Fernando, Pampanga.

In 1795 Don Angel was Capitan (a position equivalent to Municipal Mayor) of San Fernando. After he had started the clearing of Culiat, some prominent residents of other towns of Pampanga at that time jestingly predicted, “Muti ne ing awak, tuling ne ing tagak, eya maging balen ing Culiat” (The crow will turn white, the heron will turn black, but Culiat will never be a town).

Don Angel refused to listen to all these dire predictions and persisted in the great task which he began. His main reason for developing Culiat was that it was situated on much higher ground than San Fernando where his ricelands were periodically underwater during the rainy season.

Culiat was named after the coarse woody vine [Gnetum indicum (Lour.) Merri. (Gnetaceae)] that abounded in the place at that time. The solemn inauguration of Culiat into a town was accomplished by Don Angel Pantaleon de Miranda. This was on December 8, 1829 and it was given the beautiful name of “Pueblo de Los Angeles” in honor of the Christian name of the founder and the Holy Guardian Angels, the titular patrons of the town.

In the early days, the real fiesta of Angeles was on October 2, the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels (Los Santos Angeles Custodios). The “Naval” was first celebrated in 1834 or 159 years ago, to commemorate the devotion of the early settlers, who, with Dona Rosalia de Jesus used to bring the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary in procession whenever there was a new clearing. It was also because of this belief that the founders of Angeles adopted the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary as the Patroness of Angeles. This devotion of the founders was the reason why the “La Naval” Fiesta has always been celebrated on the 2nd Sunday of October to venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary.

On the last Friday of October, the Fiesta Nang Apung Mamacalulu (Feast of the Lord of the Hoiy Sepulchre) is also celebrated as a form of Thanksgiving. The belief of the people is that they would be protected from untoward incidents, calamities and disasters. The first celebration of the Feast of Apu was on October 29, 1897 by the then Agustinian parish priest Father Rufino Santos Perez. This was preceded by a Quinario or 5-day Novena, in dedication to the Lord’s five wounds. This was done after a series of locust infestations coupled with hostilities between Spanish Cazadores and Pampango Insurrectos and two successive fires that razed to the ground the public market in the latter part of 1897.

Angeles has an area of 8,120 hectares and is 97 meters above sea level. By 1850, it had 742 houses and a population of 4,452. It was then producing mainly agricultural products like sugar cane, rice, bananas, ebus (buri) corn, cabo negr (sugar palm), tayum (indigo), langis (sesame), gugu, and sasa (nipa). Angeles gradually evolved into a bustling community and business center mainly from its proximity to Fort Stotsenburg which was established in 1902 and later renamed Clark Air Base during World War II. Being strategically located, Angeles also served as a distribution, trading, and commercial center for the towns of Magalang, Mabalacat, and Porac, all within a 20-kilometer radius.

The greatest role that Angeles played in history was the celebration of the first and only anniversary of our true Philippine Independence.

On January 23, 1899, news was received in the town that General Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed the inauguration of the Republic of the Philippines. But peace was short-lived. On February 4 of that year Filpino-American hostilities began. The town folks started evacuating to the barrios and other towns.

On May 8, 1899, Generalissimo Emilio Aguinaldo moved his seat of Government from San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, to Angeles. He transformed the Pamintuan Residence (now the Central Bank) into the presidential palace and general headquarters. On that same fateful day in Angeles, General Aguinaldo assumed command of all Filipino forces. During this time the American Army invasion forces were poised at San Fernando, Pampanga. They were being prevented from attacking Angeles by a strong defense line estabished by General Antonio Luna two months before, starting from Guagua, Bacolor, Angeles, Magalang, and Concepcion. This defense line was being held by 15,000 soldiers of the first Filipino Army.

On June 12, 1899, the first anniversary of the Philippine Independence was celebrated in Angeles. It started with a field mass at 7:00 a.m. for thousands of troops then stationed here. The Holy Mass was celebrated at the town square at barrio Talimunduc which is now the area between the Railroad Station and the Apu Chapel at Lourdes Sur. The celebrant was Fr. Vicente Lapuz of Candaba who was then the Filipino co-adjutor of the Angeles Parish Church, the Spanish curate having been rescued by the Spanish troops in 1898.

After the Mass, a big military and civic parade was formed, participated in by many Angelenos. Several Filipino Regiments were led by their officers like General Gregorio del Pilar, Gen. Manuel Tinio, Gen. Urbano Lacuna, Gen. Urbano Morales, Gen. Servillano Aquino and his Tarlac regmiment, Gen. Venancio Concepcion, Gen. Tomas Mascardo, Lt. Manuel Luis Quezon, and a Captain Jose Dizon y San Pedro, who was my paternal grandfather.

According to my mother’s Aunt Dona Carlota Henson de Ganzon (who was then in her teens) she and several young ladies were dressed in typical kimona and saya and were made to ride on top of the beautifully decorated carosas (used during processions) and were part of the grand parade.

This massive parade passed through Sto. Rosario St. then veered toward Sto. Entierro St. to pay tribute to and salute Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo who watched this historic event from the second floor window of the old Pamintuan residence amid cheers from the towns-people.

After the parade, the citizens of Angeles opened the doors of their residences to the officers and troops who partook of the famous and delicious Pampango cuisine.

According to eyewitness accounts, Gen. Servillano Aquino and some of his officers proceeded to the house of Don Teofisto Ganzon and his spouse Dona Engracia Gonzales along Miranda Street on what is now the former Narciso Nursery School. At that time, Gen. Aquino left his two small children, Gonzalo and Benigno (the father of Ninoy) under the care of the Ganzons in Angeles. The reason for this was that Gen. Aquino’s sister Brigida was the wife of Don Andres Ganzon, a son of Don Teofisto.

The first Philippine Independence Day Anniversary celebration here in Angeles has no comparison in significance because when Gen. Aguinaldo proclaimed Philippine Independence Day in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898, it was under the protection of the American Forces. But when Gen. Aguinaldo celebrated the First Anniversary of our Independence here in Angeles on June 12, 1899, it was purely and entirely defended by Filipino blood, sweat, and tears. No other place in the entire Philippines except Angeles can claim this singular and noble honor.

During the stay of Aguinaldo in Angeles a member of his staff, Lt. Manuel L. Quezon, who became the first President of the Commonwealth, stayed in the house of Don Lorenzo Sanchez (in front of the Pamintuan residence).

One Sunday morning after mass he happened to see from the window of his college-mate in Letran, Don Emilio V. Moreno (the maternal grandfather of DILG Secretary Rafael Alunan III) to whom he called out in Spanish, “Oye, Moreno, Moreno! Me gusta mucho el chocolate que hacen en este pueblo. No le tienes en casa?” “Hey Moreno, Moreno! Ilove the hot chocolate that they make in this town. Haven’t you some at home?”

President Quezon might have loved the lanzones fruits of this town too, if he had stayed here until October, because the Angeles lanzones are sweet, luscious, and have a different appeal to the discriminating taste. The original seedlings were brought here by Don Rafael Nepomuceno from Lukban, Tayabas (Quezon).

Aguinaldo stayed in this town until July when he transferred his government to Tarlac.

The Filipino Revolutionary Army and the United States Infantry engaged in a three-day fiery and bloody battle and on August 16 the latter succeeded in penetrating the town. However, the brigades of Generals Servillano Aquino, Maximino Hizon, Pio del Pilar, Venancio Concepcion, Tomas Mascardo with Col. Alberto San Miguel and later reinforced by the brigade of Gen. Macabulos, numbering about 15,000 troopers, were still entrenched and defending the Mabalacat side of the Abacan River.

On November 5, after three months of bloody and relentless fighting, the last and decisive flanking offensive movement of the American forces began with the use of cavalry. The fierce battle where both sides suffered heavy casualties, began from 9:00 o’clock in the evening until dawn.

The American units were the 32nd Infantry U.S.V. under Provost Marshall G.A. Densmore; Headquarters 41st Infantry U.S.V. Colonel Richmond; 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 8th Army Corps under Major General Arthur MacArthur, the latter using the Pamintuan residence as headquarters.

The Angelenos suffered greatly after the war. According to Father Vicente Lapuz, parish priest, there was irreparable loss to the church in destroyed properties and unpaid rentals which were never recovered and valued at $24,638. U.S. dollars.

On January 1, 1900, General Frederick D. Grant organized the first United States Civil Government in the town by appointing an Alcalde.

Although General Grant organized in 1900 the first U.S. Civil Government in Angeles, by appointing an Alcade it was one year later, July 4 that the Inauguration of the U.S. Civil Government was held.

By October of 1902 the United States Army in Angeles left the Church convent and moved to Talimunduc (now Lourdes Sur) near the Angeles Railroad Station. On the latter part of the following year they again moved further North to a place called Mangga and Sapangbato which was later named Camp Stotsenburg.

In 1904 the nearby U.S. Military Reservation started putting up at will its boundaries around “by order of the President of the United States in 1903”. Annexed to said reservation of Camp Stotsenburg was one among some private lands over which a Spanish title was granted (Composicion onerosa con el estado) on June 12, 1888 owned by the late Don Jose P. Henson for which he had been paying yearly taxes to the Government, namely, Lot No. 727 at Barrio Palusapis, Angeles, Pampanga, containing 628 hectares more or less.

The title referred to constituted a title of exclusive ownership, but the U.S. Government never returned the 628 hectares nor paid the corresponding rentals to this day.

An American historian related a story as to why the Americans moved to the place which later became known as Fort Stotsenburg. According to the American, the horses of the cavalry could not feed on the grass on the surrounding fields near their bivouac as they got sick, so they had to import hay from the United States which was sent by ship. One day one of the horses was discovered missing and a search was conducted until finally the horse was found grazing on the pastures in Mangga. The horse did not get sick after eating the grass at that place so they tried grazing the other horses there and they too did not get sick. From that time on they brought their horses there to graze until they decided to move their bivouac there. Because the cavalry was there, a building for the blacksmith was constructed and this was followed by other buildings until it became a permanent camp and was expanded to become the second largest American air base in the world — Clark Air Base. So, probably, if it were not for the horse Angeles could have been a part of Clark Air Base.

Although Fort Stotsenburg (Clark Air base) continued to expand, Angeles, even despite its proximity to the American camp, did not progress very much and was just like any other town in Pampanga.

From 1900 to 1941, the main bulk of the livelihood in Angeles was agriculture, mostly palay and sugarcane farming. Livelihood did not depend on the presence of the Base.

Some of the earliest small-scale industries in Angeles were a woodworking and wood carving industry which was started ty the late Don Teodoro Tinio (originally from Nueva Ecija who migrated to Angeles in 1919). In the early 30’s Don Juan Nepomuceno established “Reyna” a soft drinks plant which produced several flavors like sarsaparilla, orange, strawberry, lemon and soda. At around this time, “La Providora” a rattan furniture factory wa also established by the late Mayor Emiliano Valdes. The first hacendero to sell his lands in order to pioneer in industry was the late Don Jose Ma. Fermin Ganzon. In the mid-20’s he self-studied auto mechanics from books which he ordered from Spain. He personally trained people from Angeles and brought them to Manila and established one of the first auto repair shops there. One of those he trained and who profited from that venture was Francisco Mallari owner of “Kiko Bateria” later situated at Rizal Avenue. Don Jose Ganzon also pioneered the first modern poultry farm in Angeles in the early 30,’s. It was equipped with electronic incubators and electric hatcheries. He was the first to supply fresh eggs to the Base. The first movie production in Angeles was also pioneered by Don Jose Ganzon and it was a silent film entitled “Prinsesa sa Bundok” produced by Joaquin de Guzman and directed by Mr. Ganzon. The Lazatin Vinegar Plant was also established in the 30’s and is still existing up to the present.

During the war, a few cottage industries mushroomed in Angeles like carved wooden shoes made of white laniti wood. These were sold in Central Luzon including Manila. This wooden shoe industry was owned by Mr. & Mrs. Armando Nepomuceno. Another small industry was cigarette-making where homemade contraptions were used to hand-roll each cigarette. At this time most of the backyards of the houses including those of the rich hacenderos were planted to all sorts of vegetables and these were sold in the market. One might say that the Americans depended on Angeles for their fresh produce.

Angeles was liberated on January 27, 1945 by the U.S. Army’s 145th Infantry. Thousands of American troops poured into Angeles and resided on rented big residences and school buildings. The rest of them pitched tents around town. The American detachment deliberately overstocked their rations to give away or to barter with the townspeople. Angelenos exchanged fruits, chickens, vegetables and locally brewed liquor to the GI’s. From this time on the economy of Angeles quadrupled a thousand fold. Hundreds of Angelenos and people from other provinces flocked to Angeles and struck it rich. This was the beginning of the PX goods business in Angeles and a lot of restaurants and entertainment places mushroomed. This was the start of Angelenos’ dependence on Clark.

In 1947 an American construction company arrived from the USA. The Drake-Utah -Grove Co. or DUG undertook the rebuilding of Clark into a modern military air base. The majority of the male population of Angeles, its barrios, and the surrounding towns and provinces found lucrative employment during this reconstruction period of Clark (around 10,000 strong). After DUG finished the reconstruction of the base facilities, Clark absorbed more than 50 percent of the DUG employees. Livelihood dependency of Angeles to Clark started at this time and Angeles also became the melting pot of Pampanga.

On January 1, 1964, Angeles was formally inaugurated a city with the youthful Mayor Rafael del Rosario at the helm. It was also at this time that the housing boom commenced because of the Vietnam conflict. A lot of houses were needed for the U.S. fighting men and they could not be accommodated at the limited housing facilities in Clark. The various subdivisions were established like Villasol, Josefaville, Plaridel Subdivision, Villa Angela, Villa Gloria, Villa Angelina, L & S, Villa Teresa, Hensonville, Carmenville, Timog Park and others.

In 1978, the former employees at Clark started applying for jobs in the Middle East and Europe and also to Hong Kong and Singapore.

It could be said that the turning point of Angeles City’s economy was the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo on June 12, 1991, and the subsequent withdrawal of the American forces from Clark Air Base, reputedly the biggest single employer throughout the country after the Government.

Last year, the former “Sin City” image of Angeles was drastically erased and together with it, the city administration and its people were given ample opportunity to trek a new economic order and along with it, the city’s new image as the culinary capital of the Philippines. During last year’s month-long Fiesta celebrations the emphasis was on the Food Fest which proved to be very successful. This year the thrust of the Fiesta Committee was geared towards the reawakening of the city’s historical and cultural heritage, which for a while went in slumber while the Americans were here.

This Historical Photo Exhibit was held at “Bale Herencia” (the old Santos residence at the corner of Sto. Rosario and Lakandula Sts.). It was opened by no less than Senator Heherson Alvarez and Congressman Carmelo Lazatin. Vintage photos of Angeles and Angelenos circa 1890’s to the 1950’s were displayed.

Prominently displayed were pictures of General Arthur MacArthur, President Manuel Quezon, President Osmena, Claro Recto, and others. Photos of native Angelenos like the Hensons, Nepomucenos, Pamintuans, Lazatins, Suarezes, Tayags, Dayrits, Paras, Lacsons, Narcisos, Quiasons, Timbols, Naguiats, Sicangos, Tinios, Santos, Gomez, Aysons, Dizons, Angeles, Davids, Sandicos, etc., were also featured..

This month-long Photo exhibit was a brainchild of three Youth Groups: Aksyon headed by Editha Estrada, 501 headed by Roden Biag and Ramsee D. Henson, and Rotaract Club headed by Eder Mutuc. There was a minimal entrance fee of 5 pesos for adults.

A 3-day Culinary Workshop was also a part of the Fiesta activities and there were more than thirty participants. It was partly sponsored by PRAGMA, the Private Sector Development Training Program of USAID (PRAGMA CORP) STMS, ACCII, CFC and Magnolia Corporation.

This year’s Tigtigan at Terakan Ken Dalan was held for 2 days and was bigger and better than last year. There were 2 name bands: The Dawn and Advent Call. This culminating activity of Fiestang Kuliat has become so successful that it is now included in the DOT’s National Tourism Calendar.

More links on Clark AB and Angeles City:

Clark Air Base – A ton of history and photos.

Clark Airbase Scrapbook – One man’s remembrance of CAB.

Maps of Clark and Surrounding Area – A large collection of maps around this area.

The Ville:

While the above are the facts and figures for Angeles City proper and a lot of what is said directly impacts the tourist, the area where most who visit this small area and what this guide is all about is located right outside of what once was Clark Air Field up along Fields Ave. I will of course speak of other areas such as Real Street and Santos street, but for the most part we can define the playground from the Oasis Hotel on upper Fields Ave down through the Perimeter Bars all the way down Fields to where it intersects with McArthur Blvd. I will go into a little on Savers Mall in Angeles City itself and about Swagman Hotel, which is not on the main strip as well as other areas, but for the most part this is the area we will concentrate on.

Of course much of what is written applies outside this small strip, it is here where we will learn to play. To write a book on the entire Philippines would be well beyond the scope of my intentions. So let’s just concentrate on this small dusty area and see what makes it tick and what you need to know to help you have a great time here.

Introduction

“I dislike feeling at home when I am abroad.” -George Bernard Shaw

First and foremost I must say that some of this guide was inspired and partially plagiarized, though highly modified for my own use, from a man that wrote a similar guide to surviving in Korea. I use his words (such as the legal disclaimer part) because he has stated in the best possible way what I couldn’t if I tried a thousand years. He is adept at words and getting complicated thoughts into simple expressions. I would give him all the credit he deserves but he himself has chosen to remain anonymous so who am I to give his name. However he is a much more cynical man than I and his guide comes across as very negative and an “everyone is out to get me” portrayal of Korea. My guide is more of a positivist’s view of Angeles City and how to make the best of your time here. While some of the ideas and situations are the same if you have read both manuals you will notice very little in common between the two guides.

While I’m at it I might as well say that this Survival Guide is based on my experiences but has a lot of information gathered from a great many people and sources. For example the information on how to get to Angeles City from Manila is based on information from a guy nick named Kabayo who posts on the AC2 board. (If that phrase AC2 Board is confusing it won’t be when you finish reading this guide) Anyway, as I have always taken a pre-arranged cab from Margarita Station or Kokomo’s, or the Swagman Fly The Bus, I did not have the practical experience of traveling by Jeepney or local bus to Angeles City. But more on that later. I use this as an example of how we all can benefit from each other’s experiences. If you feel parts of this guide are in error or have more information that would help a newbie maximize his enjoyment in Angeles City, by all means email me. In all cases possible I will quote the source of information or data that is not my original thought or idea. This is meant to be a living document and always being updated as more information or advice becomes available.

I would be remiss if I did not say at the beginning of this thesis I am not an expert on Angeles and its surrounding areas. In fact I have only been a tourist of this wonderful town a finite number of times and now living here for over a year. There are many aspects of this small town that have either escaped me or I simply have not gotten around to exploring. Thus I say for the record and hopefully to minimize flames and negative e-mail “I have not and will not ever claim to be the sole authority on the subject of Angeles City and the Philippines.”

But think about it, how could any one person know everything going on in this crazy place? I don’t claim to know all the answers; I just know a lot of the questions asked. This is not so much a “how to” guide as it is a “how not to” guide. Where possible I have researched this material to the best of my limited ability. This means I have spent countless hours consulting with many wiser and usually older individuals who have definitely paid their dues in this town. Of course, much of the information was gained firsthand on one of my many research fact-finding missions. Now I just need to figure a way out to write all this stuff off on my taxes!

I must also point out that this guide is written from the perspective of an American male and while I realize that brings a lot of baggage to the table it can’t be helped. I was born and raised in the states and most of my perspectives are tainted by this simple fact. I was however in the Army for twelve years of which eight were spent in Korea. A lot of my overseas living and survival skills were learned there and you’d be surprised on how much those skills have helped me here in Angeles City.

Also, while I will try and write from the perspective of a single man and the pursuits this type of tourist has, it is common knowledge that I have had a steady in the RP for a long time though I am still an incurable flirt and understand the motivations this type of guy has and I hope some of what I have learned will help you.

There is a growing gap between the newbies visiting Angeles City for the first time and the Expat community that lives here. It seems that a lot of people have become jaded and hoard information as if sharing their knowledge will somehow infringe on their ability to have a good time and live in peace. There are some expats that do a great job helping those in search of information (See Profile: Angeles City Locals) and some other prolific tourists will answer questions quickly but even these gentlemen sometime tire of answering the same questions over and over and all the real “good” information is only shared amongst friends. I will try to give as much information as I can but as I said, it’s a shallow well but hopefully you’ll get a small drink of knowledge.

Lastly I must say that I have never liked the term “Sex Tourist”. Although many would argue that this is the only reason one would want to visit Angeles City, they are missing so much if the only reason they come to the Philippines is to dip their wick. While it is true that there is rarely a night that every man in town does not have female companionship if wanted, there is a lot more than that obtuse term to define why one would want to visit the Philippines and more specifically Angeles City. While this type of person can of course get valuable information from my guide it is not the specific audience that I am targeting. Besides, every time you see the word “Sex Tourist” in the newspaper or somewhere else it is closely followed by the word “convicted” or “jailed”. Let’s get away from that term and refer to ourselves as men looking for paradise. Sounds so much better, doesn’t it? And with very little effort you can find paradise right here in the Philippines.

The legal part:

Every reference to a nefarious event or act could very well be a figment of my imagination. (This is known in the legal community as a disclaimer and prevents me from incriminating myself in case I say something a little too unconventional or personal.) I can always say none of this ever really happened without fear of retribution. It’s sad that I have to do that here, but certainly prudent. We do live in a society slaphappy over litigation. After all, this material may offend many. Important words or phrases are highlighted, underlined or in bold print. These are worth a little extra time to think about.

Hopefully some of this information can help the newbie as well as seasoned Expat control their tempers and misjudgments because understanding complicated matters can reduce frustration and anxiety. If other groups of people can benefit from this material, that will be fine. People will always do what they want to do, but now ignorance cannot be used as an excuse. You are about to be thoroughly informed as I can make you.

Well, enough of all that let’s get to the guide!