Barhopping Rules

I have been in and out of Asian bars for many many years and have see that
there are a lot of mistakes that newbies make and even some classic traps
that the professionals fall into as well. I by no means profess to be an
expert but think that barhopping for 8 years in Korea starting way back in
1986 and then traveling to the Philippines since 1989 as well as trips to
Thailand, Japan, and Guam I can try to give some helpful advice or literally
a “how to” or “how not to” guide on the barhop. Most of this is common sense
but there are many things one can always look for in most Far Eastern bars.
This is just some friendly advice and not meant to be looked upon as a Bible
or anything.

Anyway, enough of that… Here we go:

Preparation: What to do before actually setting foot into a bar.

This is where the novice really gets into trouble before even venturing into
a club. It is important to know why you are going into a bar in the first
place. This may seem like a stupid question, but your attitude at this point
is very important. Think about it long before the night starts. For example,
some of the questions you should ask yourself are: How much money to bring?
What to wear? And what time to start?

Dress: What to wear on the barhop.

The question of, “What should I wear? Long pants? Slacks? Shorts?” is asked
so often I think many people worry more about their clothes than anything
else. Although the surfer bum may get teased a lot for his dressing skills,
this type of person has a great attitude when it comes to attire. Bottom line
is don’t stress out to much on what to wear. A simple rule is to dress as a
local and don’t stick out more than you have to.

If you walk into a bar looking all jazzy and spiffed up you are basically
saying, “Come here girls, I’m an easy mark. I’m loaded with cash and looking
to be noticed.” This may indeed be your point, but better to blend in and be
the attacker and not the defender.

Simple pants or a pair of shorts and simple t-shirt or polo type of shirt is
best. I wouldn’t wear a lot of jewelry for the same reasons stated above.
Christian religious symbols like a cross or crucifix (without trying to be
sacrilegious) is a good way to make points with girls in the Philippines.
Many, though not Sunday church going girls, are truly looking for a “God
fearing man” and this will be noticed.

Next I need to mention personal hygiene. Personal hygiene is looked upon
highly here, even more so than in the West. A good clean guy has a much
better chance getting what he wants than someone who doesn’t seem to care
about his appearance. I can’t stress this enough. I don’t understand why some
dirty guys wearing ratty clothes and unshaven faces smelling of filth are
surprised when they can’t get the girl of their choice.

First take a long and through shower and make sure you are clean. This is no
joke. Do not take a quick 5 second shower, get in there and scrub, scrub,
scrub! Get clean! I am talking REAL clean! Take the time to wash all those
areas that you normally just skim over. This is a humid country and you need
to take time and care to ensure you are squeaky clean and smelling good. You
wouldn’t believe how sensitive the Filipina nose is.

Next go out to a barber or beauty shop and get a manicure. Even get your
toenails done if you are wearing slippers or thongs. This will only cost
about 100 pesos if you get hands and feet both done, 50 pesos for a manicure
only. Well worth it and it will be noticed.

While you’re there take the time and get a fresh haircut. Trends and fashion
change but good grooming does not. A clean neckline and clean face works
wonders. If you aren’t to attached to your facial hair, shave it. Many
Filipinas won’t admit it but most prefer a clean shaven man as opposed to a
mustache, beard, goatee, or whatever.

Next use some after shave or cologne, gel in the hair if it’s long enough,
brush your teeth, use some mouth wash and you are ready to go.

These may seem like conflicting ideas, to be clean and smell good but dressed
casually, but they are not. As is with many things in the Philippines, a good
mix of two ideas is the best approach.

Money: How much to bring with you.

Another factor to consider before heading out is the cash situation. Know
what you are going out for. If female companionship is your goal you may want
to bring some extra money. Don’t get caught short on funds and end up taking
home something you didn’t really want because you are running short on drink
money. I usually go out with about 100 dollars US. This allows for some play
margin. There is nothing wrong with coming home with change. Also, if the
worst happens and you get pick pocketed (has never happened to me but it does
happen) you’re not out too much money. I would also suggest a money clip or
small wallet kept in the front pocket as opposed to the back pocket to avoid
any trouble. It is not like Angeles is crime infested, but better safe than

Again go out early and hit Norma’s to exchange your currency into pesos.
Norma’s closes early and it is better to exchange in the daylight anyway as
it is safer. Norma’s usually has the best rate. They are located on Teodoro
Street which is just past Insomnia Club but before you get to Margarita
Station. Take a left on this street and Norma’s will be on your left about
two blocks down. You can do this the same time you are going for lunch or
getting that fresh haircut and manicure.

Time: When to start that bar hop.

This can be tricky. There are a lot of bars that have two shifts of dancers.
Although most of the really great looking girls tend to be on the later
shift, there are MANY exceptions. You can possibly miss out on someone great
by starting too late. However you want to be early enough to see a large
variety and not miss out on the proverbial early worm. But I get ahead of
myself. First we need to go back to why you are out and about in the first

If you are simply going out to hang with your mates or drop by and see some
friends you don’t really need to start hopping until 7 or 8 PM. This is a
prime time for friendship bar hopping. Most of the managers are in and you
can drop by and see Mark, Fred, Peter, (hey drop by and see me at Insomnia!)
or any other managers you know in town. The place won’t be too crowded and
you can just sit back and talk to the boys. If however you are looking to
hook up with someone you may want to start the hunt earlier around 6 PM or so
as all the prime rib will be gone early and you might get stuck with a Big
Mac if starting too late.

Side Note: If you are out and drinking around noon at the Welcome Inn or
elsewhere else you are more of a professional bar hopper and don’t need any
advice from a punk like me.

An important factor to consider is when to eat. Although there are some clubs
that serve food (Roadhouse’s popcorn for example) you may want to think about
eating before hand. This will let you drink more if that’s your kick, and it
will also not break up the night. But if you want to meet some females and
hook up quick you may want to fine her out early and hit a restaurant later
at night. No opinions one way or the other, just a factor you need to think
of before hand.

Prime the pump: How to avoid a classic trap.

Here’s some good advice. Go get a massage with the works or drop by Santos
Street for an ‘Air Start’ if your goal for that night is to find a partner.
You do NOT, repeat NOT, want to go shopping when hungry, if you catch my
drift. Many a seasoned veteran has fallen for something he shouldn’t have
because he was in need and settled before he should have. There is a
desperation that starts to settle in around 10 PM or so when you miss a few
girls you were looking for and nothing else is looking good. If you take care
of business early you won’t be in such a hurry and can enjoy the hunt to its

Scout Ahead: Prepare for tomorrow today.

Even when a girl for the night is settled on your work is not done. Scout
ahead for tomorrow. Have a plan and stick to it. This may sound too much like
a military operation, but I don’t know how often I see someone I like from
the night before and never seem to make it back there for a couple nights and
then that girl I was looking for has been steadied out or has gone home, is
sick, on her cycle, etc. Know where you’re going and go there. Also should
mention here an important rule: Do not get lost! There have been nights I
wander into the Roadhouse at about 6PM and the next thing I know I’m drunk as
hell, doing an Elvis impersonation, ringing the bell, and it’s close to 11

Pick your running mates: Who you step into a bar with says a lot about you.

If you walk into a place and all your friends are rude loud and wearing
construction hats and screaming at the top of their lungs “Show us your
tits!” you probably won’t get taken seriously. This may be exactly what you
want, but realize that there is baggage that comes along with that.

The Philippine women are very aware of a thing called public shame or pride.
How one acts in public says a lot about the type of person you are in
private. You will have many an argument with your honey ko on how you made
her look to her friends or family. Ask someone what “Walang Hiya” means and
see if they can describe it better than I can. And believe me, they will
remember it! I have walked into a place after not stepping into there for two
years and people remembered me and called me by name. If you are first
labeled as a fool it will be hard to shake that title. However, if you are
quiet, nice and show good manners you will be looked upon as a nice guy and
that label sticks a long time too. This also pays off in spades when you do
pick a girl from a place and treat her nice. Word will get around and your
subsequent trips into the club will be pleasant.

More on Running Mates: A good place to start is in Roadhouse, Insomnia, Byrd
Cage or another hang-out type bar. If you are a good enough guy and not a
pain in the ass you can easily hook up with Me, Netguard, Roger, Mo, Bee or
any number of other well known guys in Angeles. If you walk into a club with
any of these guys you are thought of as not just a player or punk and someone
to take seriously.

Ok, you’re set to go…Now what?

The most important advice I can give you for bar hopping is to have fun. If
it starts to be more work than play and you find yourself getting annoyed at
stupid things or people it’s time to hang it up for the night and head home.
The only fights I have seen in Angeles were when people were out later than
they should have been. Thinking they had to stay out till 3 AM every night
and have the best looking thing on their arm every night. Pace yourself and
HAVE FUN! This is a vacation and meant to be pleasurable and not hard work.

Choose your bar: Again this depends on what you’re looking for. If you want
to shoot some pool know where the clubs are that have pool tables. (Private
Dancer, Stinger, Jungle, Welcome Inn, Wet Seals, and of course Kokomo’s and
Margarita Station to name just a few) If you are looking for good looking
women go to the higher end clubs, (Roadhouse, Insomnia, Camelot, Blue Nile,
Brown Sugar, to name just a few) If you are looking to just hang and drink
some with the fellas go to the more quiet bars that will allow a conversation
where you don’t have to battle the loud music. (Rick’s Cafe, Blueberry Hill,
Garfield’s Last Stand, and Black Jack to name just a few)

Choose your seat: This goes back yet again to why you are in a club to begin
with. I personally like to sit at the bar but only if it affords a good view
of the dancers. Roadhouse is the perfect set up as you can do both. However
you may want to set up a small nest in a booth or cushioned seat area where
you can invite your perspective mates into for a ‘getting to know you’
session. If you are hanging with your friends you will need a larger table.
These are all things to look for when entering a bar. If the place doesn’t
have what you’re looking for, leave. There is nothing saying you MUST have a
drink in every place you walk into.

Pace yourself or “Know your limits”: If you are not a heavy drinker, do not
drink like you are pledging to a frat house. The alcohol is not going
anywhere and there will be plenty tomorrow. Besides you don’t want to be so
drunk that you won’t have fun later on, right?

The flirting or Hunt: There is a delicate line that separates looking over
potential female companions and locking eyes and looking like an easy mark.
It’s the man who masters this flirting technique that will have the most
success. It can be awkward to have a girl come over to you and sit and talk
with you when in fact you were interested in her friend.

Girls quickly mark their territory and as it is always possible to brush off
a girl, remember that public pride thing I was talking about earlier. You can
potentially dig your own grave and fast by brushing off too many girls and
get the reputation as a butterfly or player. Many will think I am being to
delicate on this topic but the kind of woman I usually end up liking the most
is the type that will notice these things. Learn quickly what kind of girl
you like and act accordingly. If you want no strings attached and just want
to have fun you may in fact want to flirt with a lot of women. More than
likely you will be labeled as a butterfly and one of the girls who are
skilled in capturing this type of customer will quickly take note and
introduce herself to you.

Ok, you see someone you like…Now what?: If you have mastered the previous
step you are at this point alone and have seen the one you want to talk to.
This is actually much easier than it seems. Simply call her down or get the
waitress or mamasan to call her down for you. Do not ask if she wants a
drink. Of course she does. Every time I hear guys ask a girl that I crack up.
In fact I usually try and remain in control and order her a drink before a
waitress asks about it. This will make it look like it’s your idea and you
are interested in her. To bow down to the request of a waitress or bartender
puts you on the defensive. Again, a small point but important.

Wait, this isn’t the one I want! Or what to do with the unwanted guest: Take
care of this right away. It can not be done quickly enough. If a girl sits
down beside you and asks for your name it may be too late. The best thing to
do is quickly ask the girl her name and then IMMEDIATELY ask her something
like, “Hey, do you know that girl over there? Is she your friend? Do you know
if she has a boyfriend?” This does many things. First it lets her know you
are not interested in her per say and it also gives her an out. It is also a
good way to get the woman you are interested in over to talk to you.

Now you have the one you want but it’s not going well: Many times you will
start talking to a girl and find out she’s as bright as a 10 watt light bulb
and has bad breath or an annoying laugh or something else driving you insane.
The beautiful thing about Angeles is there truly are many other fish in the
sea. It is best to end the relationship quickly as if you buy her more drinks
you will quickly be marked as her customer and will find it hard to move on
to another one.

One thing I should also mention is a good thing or trick is if you are in a
bar and there is one woman who always seems to hang on to you but she is busy
with another customer, you MUST buy another girl a drink in front of her. The
new girl will first be nervous as she will think you are “so and so’s”
customer but ensure her that you are not. You are now free to hunt again.
This works great. Do not get tied down to one girl unless you intend to do
something. OR, and this is important as I have used this one many times as
well, find a cherry girl and use her as defense. I used to have a cute little
thing in the Tahitian Queen that was a cherry. The TQ was well known as one
of the most aggressive bars in AC and even one defender is sometimes not
enough, but I quickly bought my cherry a drink and used her as a shield
against other approaching girls. She knew I was not taking her home, the
other girl’s knew this as well, but it allowed me to sit back and enjoy the
club and girls without having to battle off numerous other women. Bartenders
sometimes don’t work. I know a couple well and have bought them a few drinks
and tried to use them as a shield, but many have a wicked sense of humor and
actually invite other girls over trying to set me up.

Get to know the staff: Speaking of bartenders…Get to know the managers,
bartenders, and Mamasans. These are your best source of club/food/drink/girl
information. Buy a manager a drink and it will almost always be reciprocated.
Also, these are the people to talk to for information. You looking for a
threesome? You looking for good oral skills or someone fun or someone who
gives good massages? These are the people who will tell you what’s what.

Completing the deal: Ok, you found the girl you want, now what? This can be
the deal breaker. It is VERY important that you and the girl have NO
confusion on what is expected and wanted. If you want her to come back to the
hotel with you ask her that very question. Make sure that there is nothing
misunderstood. This will save you a lot of hassle later on. When you then
decide all your questions are answered to your satisfaction simply open your
wallet and pop down a thousand pesos. Why quibble on how many drinks you
bought her and all that? Again, first impressions are important. Make it look
like it was your idea to take her; don’t wait for some pushy Mamasan or
waitress to suggest the liaison.

To barhop or not, that is the question: A delicate question to!

You have your woman all picked out, do you take her along to other clubs? She
will of course want to go with you. This again points to public pride and she
will want all her friends to see she is with a man and better yet that man is
generous and buys all her “Cousins” and friends drinks. However I would
generally say this is a big NO GO! You will be labeled a butterfly faster
than you can imagine. This is not really a bad thing, but it may make it
harder to find what you want later on. Now all the girls are not stupid and
realize that most men have a woman every night, but why provide ammunition. I
usually leave the girl at the club and tell her I’ll pick her up later.

Food with your date: This is another dangerous area to be ‘caught’. If you
are leaving early and want to stop by Kokomo’s or Margarita Station for a
quick bite to eat you probably won’t have much problems, but if you are
eating there around 2 or 3 AM when the clubs close you will be busted out by
more women than you can imagine. Remember, everyone knows everyone in that
place. It’s more like the “two” degrees of separation and not “six” in
Angeles. This goes double for the next day’s meal. This is especially true at
Kokomo’s or Margarita Station. Many many many club girls go to these
establishments and you will be seen. I suggest room service at night and send
the girl on her way the next morning before getting something to eat

Well, there you go. Some helpful advice on the bar hop. Remember always rule
one though: Have Fun!



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