Monthly Archives: September 2015

Mark Smith | Faces of Angeles City

Mark Smith AKA AC Sheriff.

I cannot say with absolute certainty when I first met Mark Smith but I seem to remember being introduced to him in passing in 1991. At the time I was bar hopping with a friend and I remember thinking how neat, tidy, organized and functional Roadhouse was, especially when compared to most other bars on M.H.Del Pilar. I also remember thinking, it’s nice but somehow a little bit sterile, plus there was never a great number of girls to draw my attention, so my visits here were destined to become infrequent.

With it’s hundreds of girls, bright lights, and its heady party atmosphere, Visions in Ermita was for me the ultimate club and I desperately wanted a chance to manage it. Mark Smith, albeit unknowingly, was to help me achieve this goal.

In his early days Mark was a hard drinking man and his drink of choice was Wild Turkey bourbon. Like most Go-Go bars a large percentage of Roadhouse revenue came from alcohol sales, and drinking battles where obscene amounts of alcohol are consumed, were a common occurrence. On one such occasion Mark got involved in a heavy bourbon drinking competition with a guy called John Rollins. John Rollins was an established big spender in Visions and when he appeared in Roadhouse running his mouth about how much he could drink, it was an irresistible challenge for Mark Smith.

During the course of the evening Rollins let it slip that he had been offered the job as the next manager of Visions. At the time there was no love lost between Mark Smith and the Visions general manager John Reed, so when he heard Rollins news, combined with the fact that Rollins had been running his mouth, it was for Mark, like a red flag to a bull. That night Mark set out to destroy John Rollins and the end result was a totally trashed Rollins hugging the Roadhouse toilet bowl, surrounded by a pool of his own vomit. Hardly an auspicious start for an aspiring bar manager and it was made worse by someone taking photos of the event, having them developed, then slipping them under the front door of Visions with an attached note saying, “your new manager”.

The end result of this was that Rollins got overlooked for the job at Visions and I got the nod.

In retrospect looking at the events of that night as an outsider, I do not attribute Mark Smith with any ill feelings towards John Rollins. Indeed, if some young punk had come into my bar boasting about how much he could drink, and what a good bar manager he was going to be in an opposition bar, I would probably set out to teach him a lesson as well. The irony is, that at the end of the day, Mark Smith was right. The last thing a bar needs is a manager who doesn’t know his limits when it comes to drinking, and thanks to Mark Smith, John Rollins learned this lesson in a hurry.

Okay, taking the photos and having them delivered to John Reed was not exactly taking the moral high ground and certainly was a little bit petty, but here is where life’s delicious irony comes into play. After getting knocked back for the job in Visions, John Rollins landed the job as manager of Firehouse, which at the time was regarded as the premier bar in Manila and certainly paid more than Visions ever would. Had he gotten the job in Visions he would never of had the opportunity to work in Firehouse.

As William Shakespeare so aptly wrote, “All’s well that ends well” or put another way, ‘one door closes and another one opens’.

Mark Smith was an interesting character who certainly left his mark on Angeles City Philippines. He was an intriguing mix of bull headedness and Machiavellian like manipulation. He would approach most problems like a bull in a china shop, running head first against any obstacles, using a iron like will and dogged determination to break through the barriers. When he took this approach, I used to refer to him as being in Juggernaut mode, immovable, unwavering, and unstoppable. The driving strength behind Mark Smith was that he unfaltering believed his way was the right way, and when combined with his unflagging determination, this made him a force to be reckoned with.

Bullish behavior and extreme obstinacy were traits often associated with Mark Smith, but believe it or not, he could actually exercise diplomacy, and at times verged on Machiavellian like, behind the scenes maneuvering. I think in some ways Mark Smith emphasized the bullish approach because it was natural for him, and because it disguised his behind the scenes maneuvers. People came to associate Mark Smith with the bull in a china shop approach and couldn’t believe he was capable of the deft behind the scenes maneuvers, until it was to late.

In his early years Mark Smith spent some time in the navy and I think this instilled in him a respect for discipline and orderliness, as well as an understanding of the chain of command. Whenever the navy or the air-force were in Angeles City Philippines, Mark would make it a point to get to know the officers and they would invariably end up drinking in Roadhouse bar in Angeles City Philippines. I always thought this was an astute business move on Marks behalf but I think for Mark it went beyond business. Looking at it in retrospect I believe Mark Smith had a genuine respect for members of the armed forces (especially Americans) and when he played host to them he was congenial, organized and respectful. He emphasized the “thank you for serving approach” before the term even existed and in so doing encouraged them to visit his bar in Angeles City Philippines.

The respect for rank and authority was deeply ingrained in Mark Smith and he had the unique ability to convert this into the business environment of both Manila and Angeles City Philippines. During his early days with Roadhouse in Ermita Mark Smith became friends with many American embassy personnel. As a result Roadhouse was always on their list when they hit the town for a drink and some fun. Indeed Roadhouse was unofficially sanctioned as an American embassy friendly bar and a safe environment for them to drink in. This did wonders for Marks bottom line and as far as I know Roadhouse always turned a profit, even in Angeles City Philippines during the slow years directly after Pinatubo exploded.

In some ways Mark Smith was very black and white. Mark Smith in many ways preferred the direct approach, especially when it came to dealing with the Filipino’s in power in Angeles City Philippines. I distinctly remember when Alfredo Lim was closing down Ermita, Mark Smith pulled some strings and managed to get an appointment to see the mayor and talk about why he was harassing the bars. Mark came away from that meeting with a positive outlook and proceeded to tell all the other bar owners what Lim had told him. Basically Lim had said no bar-fines, no bikinis, and no loud music outside the bars. Mark Smith now had his guidelines and he responded accordingly. He got rid of the Roadhouse bikini and replaced it with tight crotch hugging shorts and a white cut off top. He abolished bar fines and he turned down the music and lighting outside Roadhouse. 3 weeks later Lim was raiding again and one of the first bars closed was Roadhouse, even though Mark Smith had complied with Lim’s instructions to the letter.

The respect for rank, or perhaps a respect for power and authority, never left Mark and he applied the same approach when dealing with the Filipino power players in Angeles City Philippines. In the late nineties early two thousands the Angeles bar scene and entertainment structure was expanding rapidly. Large amounts of money were being invested in Angeles City Philippines new hotels, new bars, new restaurants etc and all of this was occurring under the investment friendly mayor Carmelo Lazatin. Lazatin was a political master and seasoned politician plus he was ostensibly foreigner friendly, as such it was only natural that Mark Smith should develop strong ties and work closely with him when he was Mayor of Angeles City Philippines.

For Mark, Lazatin represented the top of the local chain of command. He was the Angeles City Philippines ships captain and Mark Smith his liaison officer for the foreign community. Mark worked closely with the mayor on many projects including the ill fated Angeles hospital and at one stage he even had his own office in the Angeles City Philippines City Hall.

Being close to the mayor of Angeles City Philippines has definite advantages but also definite disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is that other foreigners living in Angeles City Philippines will automatically view your actions with suspicion, as will many Filipinos. During those years there were many negative stories regarding Mark Smith and his closeness with the mayor of Angeles City Philippines, but most of them in my opinion, were just the product of jealousy and resentment.

I think Mark Smith truly believed that his actions were in the best interest of the town Angeles City Philippines and the bar business as a whole. However whilst this might be true I think it’s also important to note that Mark Smith was definitely ego driven. For a while there he really saw himself as being the sheriff of Angeles City Philippines, dispensing law and order to wrong doers. Whilst it is true that he did work closely with the local cops and local politicians, he was in no way the Angeles City Philippines sheriff and had no power over his fellow foreigners when it came to living and existing in Angeles City Philippines. I believe that to some extent Mark Smith suffered from what I call the Short Aggressive Male (SAM) syndrome. Others have coined the term Napoleon complex but despite the different names, the behavioral traits are much the same. Men with this complex are normally short in stature and they compensate for this with aggressive behavior and a desire to dominate the actions of others. There was definitely an element of this in Mark Smith and this vibe was picked up by many residents of Angeles City Philippines.

In the year 2000 I was based down in Makati and I remember my boss at the time asking me “why is Mark Smith so close with the Angeles City Philippines mayor” I don’t get that, doesn’t he realize what will happen when the mayor finishes his term and a new mayor is elected in Angeles City Philippines”? He was referring to the Filipino politicians habit of purging the old regime and replacing it with their own people. In some ways I think my old boss was right and I am pretty sure the change in political power brokers contributed to hasten Mark Smiths departure from Angeles City Philippines.

Please don’t get me wrong here I am not saying he was run out of Angeles City Philippines or anything like that., but lets just say the new Angeles City Philippines administration did not exactly look kindly at a foreigner who had been so close to the preceding administration. Being a Filipino and involved in local politics of Angeles City Philippines is one thing, being a foreigner and involved in local politics of Angeles City Philippines is another thing altogether. For me I believe Mark Smith was getting ready to split from Angeles City Philippines anyway and the new administration with their hostile attitude just hastened his decision.

When he left Angeles City Philippines Mark Smith was at a stage in his life where he was ready to get out. He had suffered from a heart attack and as a result had curtailed the drinking and smoking. He had done many years in the Roadhouse bar Angeles City Philippines and it was becoming old for him. He had lost his enthusiasm for the business and he was no longer a power player in Angeles City Philippines. His son was at an age where he needed to go to America and get a proper education and the new administration in Angeles City Philippines were not exactly friendly. He had done significant numbers of women, he had lived the life and had his proverbial five minutes of fame. He had been a significant power player in Angeles City Philippines, he had outlasted many of his detractors and he had proven that he could run a successful bar in Angeles City Philippines that made money and people liked.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly I think Mark to some extent could see the writing on the wall. His existing customer base was getting old and no longer spending money in Roadhouse Angeles City Philippines like they used to. Then to make matters worse, as the old market died off it wasn’t being replaced by a new younger market. The result of this was lower sales and declining profit margin for Roadhouse Angeles City Philippines. Add to this there were now several new players in Angeles City Philippines (Blue Nile Group and Dollhouse group) with big money behind them and they represented some serious competition for a niche market bar like Roadhouse Angeles City Philippines. Then to top it all off the storm cloud in the form of human trafficking was beginning to rear it’s ugly head. I think all of these factors combined to make Mark realize it was time to get out of Angeles City Philippines.

Mark Smith like many who become involved in the Angeles City Philippines bar scene was somewhat of an enigma. From what I can gather he did not have extensive schooling and he was very much a self made man. Nearly everything he got, he got from hard work, long hours, dogged determination, and an unflinching belief that his was the right way. From his time in Taiwan he could speak Fuken and Mandarin fluently and yet despite visiting and living in the Philippines for twenty something years, he only knew about twenty words of Tagalog.

When it came to women he was impulsive to the point of ridiculousness. Once he set his eyes on a girl he liked he would become fixated and would do whatever he felt was necessary to make her his own. He was actually married and divorced six times, and as far as I can gather, all of his wives were Filipinas.

Mark was certainly intense and demanding. He was a stickler for rules and authority. Appearances mattered to him and he would always pass a rule that his managers in Roadhouse Angeles City Philippines had to wear a collared shirt, decent pants and clean shoes. At the time he was the only one in Angeles City Philippines who did this and his insistence on a certain standard in appearance was typical of how he saw the bar business and Roadhouse’s place in it in Angeles City Philippines.

He saw Roadhouse as being the cleanest, most efficient bar in Angeles City Philippines, and thanks to Mark Smiths unrelenting eye for detail, it was exactly that. He ran Roadhouse in Angeles City Philippines like a staff sergeant would run an army barracks. The staff would all report to work on time, the staff would all have assigned duties which Mark would check to see if they had been done correctly, the place was spotlessly clean, and in as good condition when he left it as the day he built it in Angeles City Philippines. His bar staff headed by Olive were second to none and the service in Roadhouse Angeles City Philippines was always exemplary. The toilets were the cleanest in Angeles City Philippines, the drinks were always served in the right glass, the beer was always cold, the popcorn always warm. The music was rock and roll, and the girls all had to do the Thunderstruck routine with no exceptions. The girls all wore the same uniform, the same red shoes and the same garter belt placed the same distance above the knee.

Some people found Roadhouse in Angeles City Philippines boring and stiflingly regulated. Others appreciated the orderliness, cleanliness and consistency. Whenever you entered Roadhouse in Angeles City Philippines you knew exactly what to expect and while Mark Smith was at the reigns this was never going to change. Roadhouse in Angeles City Philippines was a bar that attracted a certain type of big spender. Normally these guys appreciated the Roadhouse Angeles City Philippines environment, they liked the orderliness, the professionalism of the bar staff, and the organization of the dancers. Most importantly the customers liked the feeling of being in control. They liked the idea of being the center of attention, being king for a minute and being “the man” in Angeles City Philippines. Still to this day I think Roadhouse in Angeles City Philippines has more bell rings than any other bar in the history of the Philippine bar industry.

Just as there were people who really liked Roadhouse in Angeles City Philippines, there were also those who hated it. These people would invariably shake their heads when the waitresses would rush to light their cigarette, they couldn’t comprehend why people would ring the bell and claim that Roadhouse in Angeles City Philippines was a great party bar, when for them it was regulated and boring. Most importantly they couldn’t understand why anyone would enjoy a bar that had so few dancers and all the dancers seemed like robots.

By running Roadhouse Angeles City Philippines like he did, Mark Smith always had a problem getting enough girls to work there. The simple truth of the matter was they didn’t like the music, they didn’t like the hard red shoes which hurt their feet, and they didn’t like the rules and regulations or the way they were enforced. They didn’t like the strict rigidity of Roadhouse Angeles City Philippines and they didn’t like Mark Smith whom they saw as being very strict and “bastos”. Marks rigid approach and ruling the roost with an iron fist may have been appreciated by some customers but it did nothing to entice the girls, and this is why he always had a problem attracting girls to work in Roadhouse in Angeles City Philippines.

Having said that over the years there have been some absolute beauties who have graced the Roadhouse Angeles City Philippines stage, and these girls have become the stuff of legends Many have gone on to lead happy married lives in other countries, whilst others have simply faded into the fabric of Filipino society.

To his credit Mark Smith wasn’t afraid to diversify and during his time in Angeles City Philippines he dabbled in many different fields. From the Angeles City flying club and the computer based chat room Jade Cool, through to an open air steak house where Salvatore’s now stands, managing pick up disco, managing the Royal Amsterdam hotel, and even having a small role in the ill fated slot machines of the Blue Nile group. Mark Smith was involved in many different ventures in Angeles City Philippines. To his credit Mark Smith was never afraid to take on a new challenge and whenever he turned his attention to a new project he would give 100% effort.

Marks forceful personality and uncompromising approach did not exactly make him mister popular in Angeles City Philippines. But Mark was never one to worry about his popularity. He had a few long term friends and these he treasured, the rest were just acquaintances or business relationships. Some people whom at one stage he was close to became his enemies and I think this had a lot to do with Marks domineering bullish approach.

Among the Filipinos he was for the most part disliked, but then again with his demanding ways, his expectation of strict compliance to the rules and his forceful uncompromising demeanor, the dislike was almost inevitable. Juxtaposed to the vast majority of Filipinos there was Olive and Girlie who were loyal and devoted to Mark Smith as any human being could be. Both these ladies had their lives inextricably entwined with Marks and their respect for hard ass Mark Smith was never ending. They both realized where their bread was buttered but beyond this they both had tremendous respect for him as a boss in Angeles City Philippines and as a friend. Mark demanded perfection from them and on most occasions he got it.

When he sold Roadhouse in Angeles City Philippines to Mo one of his stipulations was that Olive and Girlie keep their positions. This was partly Marks way of thanking them for the many years of loyal service and friendship they had given him. In my opinion the respect was a mutual thing and to his credit, Mark trod the delicate line between being the boss and being a friend extremely well.

If truth be known I think Mark Smith did an amazing job training Olive and I am willing to bet she could hold her own in any bar in the world. Her standard of service was exemplary and the way she controlled and taught the Filipina waitresses was second to none in Angeles City Philippines. This lady could write her own ticket as far as I’m concerned. I have no idea where she is now but wherever she is I hope she is happy and doing well.

Mark Smith has left behind him a legacy in the form of Roadhouse Angeles City Philippines and even though in its present form it is radically different from what it was in Marks day, whenever I visit there, fond memories come rushing back of my time in Angeles City Philippines. As far as I know Mark Smith currently resides in Vegas where he has established himself and reportedly has put Angeles City Philippines in the very distant past. Mark Smith was in many ways a force to be reckoned with. His legacy in the form of Gilleys Roadhouse Angeles City Philippines will probably survive for many years to come, and for me at least, it will always be a reminder of the man who created it…..Mark Smith The Angeles City Philippines sheriff.

John Hammer | Faces of Angeles City

In this new series of articles I will relate a few stories, about some of the colorful characters I have met during my time as a bar manager, both in Manila and Angeles. To begin I will start with a man that I called John Hammer.

From the outset I just want to make it clear that I will refer to John as John Hammer. I have no idea how he spelled his last name, but for me he was always the Hammer man, and so he shall remain in my writings.

Here was a man larger than life. He was big, he was strong, he punched like a sledge hammer, drank like a fish and fucked like a rabbit. He was loud, he was in your face and he lived life at a frenetic pace. In juxtaposition to his exterior bravado, the man had a keen and subtle sense of humor, and was even prone to moments of deep reflection. He was an enigmatic character who lived life on the edge and left a legacy on the bar scene of Angeles City Philippines.

As Neil Young so emphatically sang “it’s better to burn out than to fade away” and this is what Hammer did. He danced close to the flames, and in the end, like so many of the Angeles wild men, they consumed him.

John was one of these larger than life characters who seemed to attract people like moths to a burning flame. Hammer attracted all sorts of people, from all walks of life. From the sycophantic hangers on, the wannabe tough guys, the wheeler dealers, the seedy nondescript shadow dwellers, the gangsters and even a smattering of intellectuals, they all knew the Hammer man. If you visited Angeles City Philippines back then no trip was complete without meeting John Hammer.

I first met Hammer in 1992 when I was running Visions in M.H.Del Pilar, Ermita Manila. This was before he ever entered the fray of Angeles City Philippines. He strolled into Visions looking like he owned the place, and I remember watching the crowd disperse before him, a bit like Moses and the Red Sea. My boss at the time John Reed, saw him coming and whispered in my ear, “watch out for this guy he can drink like a fish and likes to fight”. With that said John Reed made a quick exit out the back door, leaving me to entertain the Hammer man.

Hammer made his way to the managers table, sat down and said “you the manager”, to which I replied, “sure am” and he then said, “well get some drinks in”. At this time I had only been running the bar for 2 months, and having a man pressure me to get the first round in was a unique experience. I looked at Hammer in his muscle shirt and thought to myself, he is to big to argue with, so stuff it, I will get the first round in and let’s see what happens from there. As it turned out we had one hell of a session which lasted well into the early hours of the evening and I came away from it physically unscathed and thinking, this John Hammer is a pretty good guy.

During our drinking session Hammer would always buy his share, and while plying three of the hottest girls in Visions with Tequila, would regale me with stories of his adventures in Thailand. By the end of the session he dismissed the 3 inebriated girls, called down two sober ones, paid their bar-fines, and the last I saw of him was the big man strolling out of Visions with two seemingly minute Filipinas tucked under his large arms.

Hammer resurfaced again in 1994 (I believe it was) but this time in Angeles City Philippines. Hammer was never one to work for people, as in his mind he believed the only way to make money was to work for oneself, and be your own boss. This however was easier said than done, especially when you had no start up capital. However Hammer was never one to be perturbed by little obstacles such as shortage of money, and next thing we knew, he had made a deal with the boys from the Orchid Inn to take over the at the empty lot of land where Kokomo’s now stands. This was the beginning of Hammers career in Angeles City Philippines.

Named after the Marine Bar nightclub in Pattaya Thailand, (for some reason both Kelly and Hammer were big fans of the Marine Bar) this was, like most of Hammers projects in Angeles City Philippines, destined for a short life span. Throughout his time in Angeles City Philippines John kept on popping up with different projects, the majority of which were interesting, but never seemed to make him any money. A perfect example of this was the Marine Bar complex. This was an outside venue which featured a boxing ring where the girls from various bars would fight for prize money using over-sized boxing gloves. These fights were never really serious because the gloves were sometimes bigger than the girls themselves, but someone forgot to tell the girls this, and on many an occasion the fights would be more like a brawl than a boxing match. For small framed Asian girls these girls certainly packed a wallop, and they would always take the fight seriously, much to the crowds amusement.

At the time I am not sure Angeles City Philippines was ready for such a venue. Having said that I find it interesting to note that there is now a bar in Makati Manila Philippines doing exactly the same thing.

The fights would happen twice a week and always draw a decent crowd, but the problem was, when the fights were not happening the place was virtually deserted. Back then it was common for different groups to go bar hopping, the biggest of which was the Hash House Harriers. The Hash guys would normally make a beeline for places like the Marine Bar Complex because the beer was cheaper, and it was outdoors with plenty of space. In their own little way the HHH boys, and groups like them, kept Hammers head above water. The Marine Bar Complex was never going to produce bundles of money but at least it was something different, and provided an alternative source of entertainment for jaded Angeles City Philippines expats.

In Angeles City Philippines they will try just about anything to make money, and John Hammer was no exception. The Marine Bar Complex became home for the crocodile that the Orchid Inn boys had inherited from Lovebirds bar in Ermita. What the crocodile was doing in Lovebirds I have no idea and how it ended up in Angeles City Philippines also has me beat, but here it was, and Hammer not being one to let an opportunity pass him by, started feed the crocodile shows. People would pay to come and feed the crocodile and on some days you would see a crowd of girls and guys all lining up to throw some chicken at it. At first the crocodile was ravenous and would demolish the chicken in seconds, however as time went on, it became lackadaisical and even sluggish, seeming to lose interest in the continual supply of chicken. Not sure what happened to that crocodile but I have heard it died from being overfed, which is no surprise considering the amount of people feeding it chicken everyday.

After the Marine bar complex folded, John surfaced running Ziggys bar, now known as Brown Sugar. I will admit Hammer had Ziggys Angeles City Philippines going pretty well. He would sit at the end in the raised section of the bar and let the crowd gravitate to him. He never had to actively seek out anyone to drink with, on the contrary they would flock to him, all hoping to drink and rub shoulders with this larger than life, alpha male, John Hammer. Ziggys Angeles City Philippines was an interesting bar and prior to Pinatubo it had been one of the best bars in Angeles City Philippines. It was a weird design with a dressing room underneath the dance stage, and watching the girls come up from the depth of the building was a bizarre experience. They never came up in a group but rather one by one. The stage at Ziggys was long and in the center of the bar and yet there would only very rarely be more than ten dancers performing at any one time. Every ten minutes one or two dancers would come up from beneath the stage, and one or two would leave the stage from the front. This was like a mini production line of girls as opposed to two separate groups of dancers. For me this approach never worked as I had been schooled in the Manila way which basically meant, pile as many girls on stage as you could, and let the mayhem reign supreme.

I worked with Hammer running Ziggys Angeles City Philippines for 3 weeks and although on the surface he seemed to be having a good time, if you looked closely you could see he wasn’t exactly content. Hammer was never content working for somebody else and during his time in Ziggys Angeles City Philippines it was obvious to me his heart wasn’t really in it. There was a certain imperiousness about Hammer, as if he thought he was better than everybody else, and he certainly wasn’t about to waste any time on you if you weren’t going to spend any money. I got the impression that in the end he decided bar management in Angeles City Philippines was a losers game with no real future, even if you were the big fish in a small pond.

After Ziggys Angeles City Philippines, Hammer surfaced again in Manila, this time running the much renowned Vixens situated on the service road running adjacent to Roxas Boulevard in Pasay Manila. The scene here was much more to his liking. This was a big club with literally hundreds of girls and a steady supply of customers from all corners of the globe. This was the big pond and in true Hammer style, big John set out to leave his mark. Every night in Vixens like its predecessor Visions, was party time, and Hammer would sit up the back orchestrating things like a master conductor. As usual there was never a shortage of people to drink with except this time there were substantially more girls, so at the end of the day, the bar could still make money through bar fines rather than the managers liver.

Vixens was run by John Reed and Fred Thompson of Visions fame and they were joined by a friend of Fred’s from Thailand named John Scott. Vixens quickly developed an excellent reputation as having the hottest girls, the right pricing and a party atmosphere second to none. At this stage it’s only real competition was the Firehouse complex in Edsa, but that was a far second in my opinion.

John Hammer seemed to fit in here, but again he wasn’t completely happy. I don’t know for sure but I think he still yearned for a chance to do his own thing, rather than making other people rich.

John had been working in Vixens for about 8 months when suddenly he showed up in Angeles City Philippines again. It took him all of ten minutes to find out my whereabouts and in he walks with an offer to good to refuse. He strode up to the managers table and said, “listen buddy we have to talk”. Now when John Hammer says we have to talk most people pay instant attention and I was no different, so I replied “okay mate but what are we going to talk about”. Upon hearing this Hammer smiled and said, “your future back in Manila, you need to come get some”.

Hammer then got some drinks in and proceeded to give me a spiel on why I needed to come back and work with him in Manila running Vixens. He was there for about an hour pitching me but I was still undecided until he said the magic words, ‘buddy they need you and you need them. Angeles City Philippines is small fry, you need to come home and play with the big boys”. With that he gave me the finger click and his “get some”, paid his bill and said, “I’ll be round your house tomorrow, we’re going down to Manila”.

Sure enough at a disgustingly early hour the next morning Hammer and driver were outside my place. Next thing I knew I was being bundled into the car and we were leaving Angeles City Philippines, heading down to Manila. I did about 9 months in Manila with Hammer running Vixens, but for me it was somehow very different from both the Visions that I had known and loved so much. Even though it was basically the same people behind Vixens as were behind Visions 1 and 2, for me it just didn’t have the same feel. Having never worked in Visions 1 or 2, Hammer had no point of comparison, so for him this was all new and exciting. He was right at home in Vixens and would always hold court in the back section with his main customers being US Marines attached to the American embassy. Hammer would start the drinking and the sessions would continue until the last man standing. When I worked in Makati I would do the same with the embassy marines, and I would take perverse satisfaction in knowing the alcohol they had consumed the night before, would invariably be thrown up on their morning 5 mile run.

I ran into John Hammer again when he returned to Angeles City Philippines, found some investors and built Thunderstruck. Once again Hammer was trying to do his own thing and using OPM (Other Peoples Money) as his foundation. During his time at Thunderstruck Angeles City Philippines, I only got to see Hammer on the rare occasion as I was based in Makati, but I would hear the stories, and in a very short time Thunderstruck became Angeles City Philippines, premier party bar.

Thunderstruck Angeles City Philippines in my opinion boasted a sort of pub with pussy atmosphere. They had some nice looking dancers there, but it seemed to me that the main appeal of Thunderstruck Angeles City Philippines was as a place to hang out with ones friends and swap stories, over more than a few alcoholic beverages.

When it first started out Hammer would be there every night with drink in hand, holding court. As time progressed Hammer would spend less time in the bar, preferring instead to work out at the gym, ride his Harley or try to work his latest get rich quick scheme. This was one of Hammers hallmarks, and although he drank a lot, I always got the impression drinking was a means to an end for him. He drank calculatingly, not because he enjoyed it. I think at the end of the day Hammer was much more at home working out, fighting, or wheeling and dealing, than he was drinking in a bar in Angeles City Philippines.

I can still remember clear as day how I found out about Hammers murder. I was lying in my bed in Makati when a text came through from a very good friend of mine, who is a Mad Dog MC member and used to make regular trips to Angeles City Philippines. The text simply read “John Hammer is dead”. Upon reading this I at first couldn’t believe my eyes and I text back, “is this a joke mate”, only to receive another text saying, “no mate I’m serious. He was murdered this morning on his way home”.

Johns death had a profound effect on many people, and I think this was for a number of reasons. Firstly, he had always seemed larger than life, almost invincible, and to see him so brutally gunned down, was both a reminder that nobody is bullet proof, and certainly a reminder of ones own mortality. A second reason why his death was so shocking was because of the way it was done. They ambushed him on the little bridge at Hensonville, thus making sure he had no chance of escape. They riddled him full of bullets using automatic guns, and even emptied a few rounds into him when he was lying on the ground with his girlfriend beneath him. This was a contract killing and to this day nobody is 100% sure who did it or why. Hammers was the first paid for hit in Angeles City Philippines, that I can remember. Yes there had been other foreigners killed in Angeles City Philippines, prior to him, but none so brutally, and none so obviously an assassination.

There are various theories as to why Hammer was assassinated ranging from an old grudge in Thailand, through to him beating up the wrong people in Angeles City Philippines, his fallout with his investors in Thunderstruck in Angeles City Philippines or Hammers dubious acquisition of a “boiler room” phone list. To be honest I have no idea if any of these theories is correct. All I know is that it was a brutal murder, and I for one miss the man.

There are many stories surrounding Hammers death but I will leave those for when I write my book or blog. The big man certainly left his mark on Angeles City Philippines and for now I can only say RIP big John, and I hope you are riding your Harley on that long open highway in the sky.

C How They Made Me! Chapter 69



Memoirs of a Philippine Mongerer

Chapter 69:

Caught in the act

At first I was a bit puzzled wondering what the girl was doing there standing in my doorway but it soon sunk in when she said, “I go with you”. Now I may not be the quickest on the uptake but at the same time I am not about to knock back an opportunity like this when it presents itself, so without further ado I smiled at her and said, “come on in darling”. The girls name was Maria and the first thing she did was sidle up next to me and plant a hesitating yet very passionate kiss on my lips. I of course responded and we probably stood there for about 1 minute locked in our lovers embrace.

After the kiss Maria pulled away and said, “I bath, you here” then delicately slipped into the bathroom. Maria must have been about twenty minutes in the bathroom which was fine with me because I needed the time to sober up so I could enjoy this unexpected event. After the bathroom Maria walked across the room and turned off the lights but left the bathroom light on with the door slightly ajar.

With the mood now set to her liking she proceeded to climb into bed and snuggle up to me under the bed cover. Maria was perhaps the softest gentlest most feminine Filipina I have ever had the pleasure of being with and before we got into the deed she pulled me on top of her for another prolonged kissing session. Now I am not much of a kisser but Maria’s sweet voluptuous lips were enough to make even the most inexperienced kisser seem like a professional and kissing her was definitely one of the early highlights of my stay in the Philippines.

After about 3 minutes of kissing I felt myself getting rock hard and decided to push my luck so to speak and enter her. I pushed but nothing seemed to happen. Not really understanding what the barrier was I pushed again only to once again meet with resistance. At this point I was wondering what I was doing wrong when suddenly I looked down and saw Maria giggling. Still thinking I was doing something wrong I started to apologize to her which only caused her to giggle harder.

Feeling somewhat bemused and a little put off I rolled off Maria and said, “I know you think it’s funny darling but for me this is no laughing matter, and I am feeling very embarrassed”. I am not sure if Maria understood but in response she just smiled and said “I have panty me”. At first I didn’t understand but then it dawned on me she was still wearing her underwear. Being used to Australian and New Zealand girls who used to get right down to business I was pleasantly perplexed by the Filipina habit of wearing her panties to bed knowing full well that she was about to have sex. In the coming months I was also to notice the Filipinas peculiar habit of wrapping the towel around her and covering as much of her body as she could. These same girls would dance in revealing bikinis in the bar and licentiously cavort with strange men yet in the bedroom behind closed doors they were suddenly shy and virgin like. I can only assume that both modes of behavior are learned. In the bar they learn to work the bar and entice men to pay their bar fine, yet ironically in the bed room they initially revert back to the moral standards of their upbringing.

When Maria announced she was still wearing her underwear I was momentarily taken aback but recovering from my embarrassment quickly I said “well we better take those off then” and I proceeded to gently slide her underwear off her hips, down her legs and then off completely. At this stage I wasn’t the most experienced lover but even I knew enough to think this girl was obviously new to the game and probably had less sexual experience than me so I had better spend some time turning her on and getting her in the mood. I figured this was the least I could do since she was giving me such an unexpected gift just by being there.

Once Maria’s panties were off I moved back on top of her and began gently kissing her again. Maria was wonderfully responsive and pretty soon it was a torridly passionate lip lock that was obviously turning Maria on. Thinking that I had chosen the right course of action I slowly extricated myself from the lip lock and proceeded to gently kiss her neck, then her boobs and then her wonderfully flat stomach until I reached my target, her super sweet pussy.

While I worked my way down her body Maria was squirming and letting delicate little moans escape her passionate lips. Thinking to myself aha I have got this woman exactly where I wanted her I prepared to start licking her when suddenly she pushed me away. Now I was really perplexed and with a look of saddened bemusement etched on my features I asked her, “what’s wrong honey” and she replied, “I not do like that before”. Then it hit me I had been moving to fast, this was a girl who hadn’t had much experience sexually and I would just have to slow things down.
I looked at her sweet worried face in the half light and gave her my most reassuring smile. This seemed to mollify her a little bit and I then said, “honey I do this because I really like you and I want you to enjoy”. With that said I then gently opened her legs and descended on the most beautiful naturally bald pussy I had ever had the pleasure of encountering.

When I first started eating out Maria she was a little bit hesitant and I could feel her jerk spasmodically as my tongue gently flicked over her clit. These jerks would include a tightening of her whole body and she would cover her mouth to suppress the moans that were escaping through her lips. I gently caressed her and she became wetter and wetter. After about 5 minutes of my oral administrations Maria let out a deep moan and my face was literally drenched.

Obviously this was the first time Maria had experienced oral sex and since she had just had an earth shattering orgasm I decided now was the time to climb on top and do my thing. Wiping her bodily fluids off my face with my hand I climbed on top gave her a long passionate kiss and entered her. At first I was pleasantly surprised because even though she was extremely wet she was still tight and as I slid slowly in some more moans escaped through her now gritted teeth. I could see this was slightly painful for the poor girl so I decided to pull out but as I did she grabbed by behind and pushed me back in.

After about ten gentle strokes I was all the way in and Maria was urging me on. Now I don’t know about other guys but for me it has always taken me a long time to cum. Even when I lost my virginity to an Australian girl I was at it for about an hour before eventually finishing the deed. This was not because I am some kind of super stud but because I thought the girl was in pain so I kept stopping. Since that awkward experience I had grown up a lot and although far from a professional I now knew how to fuck and pleasure a woman.

As it turned out Maria was a little firecracker and more than willing to try out different positions. We must have been at it for about 20 minutes with me fighting back the explosion and being determined to prolong this delightful experience as long as I could when from some far of recess in my mind I thought I heard a knocking at the door. I momentarily paused but hearing nothing, carried on pumping away at Maria.
I was nearing orgasm when suddenly from by the door came a piercing scream and a rush of Tagolog vitriol. Being in a heightened state of expectation it didn’t sink in what was happening until an angry MayAnne was literally on top of me scratching at my face and trying to pull Marias hair.

Then it hit me I had forgotten to lock the door and now shit had hit the fan. Managing to extricate myself from Maria I quickly rolled off her and grabbed MayAnn’s now flailing hands. I held her tight and calmly asked “what is your problem”? Another stream of vitriolic Tagalog and then with seemingly super human strength she managed to get one hand free and promptly scratched my face. In reaction I grabbed her hands again and then with all my weight pinned her down on the bed.

I looked into MayAnne’s eyes and there was literally seething hatred burning a hole straight through me. I thought to myself I cannot keep this up for ever and I had better find another means to control her. With this thought in mind I rolled next to her, wrapped my legs around her in the classic leg lock, and kept hold of her hands. At first she struggled but soon realized that was pointless and slowly I felt the tension draining out of her.

My attention was totally on MayAnne at this point and I only saw Maria exiting through the front door in a sort of haze, the same cannot be said for MayAnne however. She was fully aware that Maria was leaving and exerted all her strength to get at her. Luckily I still had the leg lock around her body so there was no getting away and Maria managed to escape with dignity still intact and physically unharmed.

I have no idea how long I lay on the bed wrapped around May Anne and I remember thinking, ‘for God’s sake Martin don’t go to sleep or all hell will break lose’. It must have taken May Anne at least an hour to calm down and there was repeated little jerks as she tried to escape but I managed to hold her tight and she was going nowhere.

I have no idea what time it was that I drifted off to sleep and all I know is I woke up in the morning and the bed next to me was empty. With my brain still a bit fuddled from the beer I was having trouble remembering the events of the previous evening that is until I strolled into the bathroom to take a shower and caught a glimpse of three livid red scratches running down the right side of my face. Confronted with this image it all came flooding back and I rushed into the shower letting the cold water cascade all over me. After the shower I felt considerably better and decided to go outside and see if MayAnne was still around.

Somewhat sheepishly, and well aware of the scratches on my face, I made my way to the restaurant where I was greeted by two Filipino guys who motioned me to a seat and proffered me a menu. I knew these guys were secretly snickering at the scratches on my face but there was nothing I could do about it so I decided to act as if nothing had happened and ordered my breakfast.

The breakfast took about 15 minutes and I wolfed it down seemingly in a matter of seconds. With my breakfast finished I sat back, looked out over the pool and enjoyed my morning coffee. I had been sitting there for about ten minutes contemplating what my next move was when suddenly I became aware of the waiter standing next to me. I looked up at him and asked, “yes sir how can I help you” and in answer he grinned and said, “Mr Martin you be careful, Filipina have very high blood”.