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Gordy Gale, Part 2 | Faces of Angeles City

Gordy Gale, “And now we rock” The Gordy Gale tale. Part 2.

Over the years of knowing Gordy mostly in Angeles City Philippines I often wondered how he could survive without a steady income. Little did I know it, but the man had his fingers in many proverbial pies, like most survivors in Angeles City Philippines diversification was the order of the day. Despite appearances Gordy was a surprisingly intelligent, knowledgeable and practical man, plus when circulating in the Angeles City Philippines bars he had social networking down to a fine art. He was technically proficient with computers and this landed him his first money making opportunity in Angeles City Philippines. Gordy got involved with two other American expatriates and they started their own version of internet chat rooms, very similar to that of the now defunct Jade Cool that was so famous in Angeles City Philippines. This lasted for close on four years and afforded Gordy a relatively steady income and comparatively comfortable lifestyle in Angeles City Philippines.

After the computer chat business dissolved Gordy’s income earning options were limited, especially since he was living in Angeles City Philippines. By this time he had become addicted to the hedonistic, sexually adventurous lifestyle Angeles City Philippines had to offer, and the thought of going back to America, had become abhorrent to him. Like many of us Gordy was trapped by his love of the mongering lifestyle that is indicative of Angeles City Philippines. He reveled in the freedom and sexual promiscuity. Back in America he was nothing, a nobody, but in Angeles City Philippines he could be anyone, or anything, he wanted. Gordy had found a place in the Angeles City Philippines expatriate community. He was known, accepted and even respected.

In the coming years Gordy dabbled in numerous ventures. He managed Angeles City Philippines bars, he ran the Subicrocks website, he ran Go2phil, he did a short stint in America where he solicited, (via email), money from people wishing to invest in his latest music venture, he ran an online detective agency based in Angeles City Philippines, he spent several months in Pattaya where he was going to run a bar but his employers changed their mind, and he worked throughout Asia in the antique watch business. He also played a few gigs with Angeles City Philippines local bands and he made a little money fixing fellow expatriates in Angeles City Philippines computers.

For other expats living in Angeles City Philippines, Gordy was very much a “go to man”. If you needed anything chances are Gordy knew how to get it, where to get it, and how much it would cost in Angeles City Philippines. And I’m talking anything here, from the kitchen sink and a decent lounge, through to a master builder, a competent electrician, or a television repair man, he seemed to know everyone in Angeles City Philippines. Then if for some reason he didn’t know he would find out for you. He also seemed well connected among the Filipino’s living in both Angeles City Philippines and Manila Philippines. He knew people in the NBI the PNP, Immigration, etc. I never needed to test his contacts but I know several people who did, and they reported positive, albeit expensive, results.

In countries like the Philippines it is often more who you know, than what you know, and Gordy was a master at social networking. He would always have information on which power player especially in Angeles City Philippines was doing what. What’s more, if he didn’t know someone he would go out of his way to get what information he could, and it would be stored in his convoluted memory banks for ever more.

As a bar manager in Angeles City Philippines Gordy was actually pretty good. He knew a lot of people, he was good at organizing the girls, he was good at behind the scenes organizational work, he was a draw card for the customers in Angeles City Philippines, and he was a comparatively light drinker, However despite all these good points he also had some crucial weaknesses. He was to inflexible in regards to the music being played in Angeles City Philippines, he was to old school when it came to the girls working in Angeles City Philippines bars, and most importantly, his heart wasn’t really in it. The bottom line for Gordy was, bar management in Angeles City Philippines existed as a means of survival, indeed as he often used to self effacingly say, ” I’m a much better customer than manager in Angeles City Philippines”

When it came to bar management in Angeles City Philippines Gordy never seemed to stick at a job for any length of time. I think this was because of a number of reasons. He became easily bored as there was very little intellectual stimulation in Angeles City Philippines bars, the physical stimulation waned as he saw the same girls night after night working the Angeles City Philippines bars, his time was not his own and he couldn’t come and go as he pleased, the financial remuneration when working in Angeles City Philippines bars was paltry, the number of raids in Angeles City Philippines was increasing dramatically and being a bar manager in Angeles City Philippines was becoming a risky proposition. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, seeing the Angeles City Philippines bar from a management perspective, was a bit to much of a reality check. It was no longer enjoyable and seeing an Angeles City Philippines bar through a managers eyes, stopped him from enjoying the Angeles City Philippines bar as a customer.

His shortest stint in any bar in Angeles City Philippines was the brand new and much hyped Red Bar in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines. This was newly built and took the place of the Dollhouse café in Fields Avenue, Angeles City Philippines. Red bar was nicely appointed, it had a classy look and feel to it, they had a good number of decent looking girls, and Gordy had beaten a number of more experienced managers to the job in Angeles City Philippines. Everything was going along nicely until one of the “super star” girls of Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines began to show some attitude, and act like the rules didn’t apply to her. For Gordy this was tantamount to directly challenging his authority, and he decided to take her on. Both the girl and Gordy complained to the owners of Red bar in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines, whose reaction was to try and appease both sides, but Gordy wasn’t having any of it. For him he thought the owners of Red bar in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines should automatically take the side of their manager and when this didn’t happen, he was sorely disappointed. So much so, that after only two weeks of work in Red bar in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines he ended up quitting, never to work as a bar manager in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines again.

Without a steady income Gordy was always struggling to make ends meet in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines , yet somehow he always survived, and always had enough cash to buy a rum and diet coke in the Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines bars. To his credit, when he was really down, he had enough sense to curtail his lifestyle and lessen his bar hopping in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines. I am pretty sure there was a pride element involved in this as well, and he never wanted to be one of those guys who bar managers in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines cringe at when they see them walking through the front door of the Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines bar. He always tried to pay his way, well at least for me, and as far as I could see, he was welcome in every bar in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines.

He would go through these phases in his life where he would sell everything, relocate to another country etc, but for some reason he always ended up back in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines. I don’t think Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines was a paradise for him or anything like that, but I believe Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines offered him a comparatively comfortable lifestyle, where he could get laid regularly, live in a decent environment in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines, be among like minded friends, and have his money go a lot further in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines. This wasn’t exactly an ambitious state of mind but for a guy in his late fifties living in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines, with no academic qualifications, and limited work experience, it was about as good as he was going to get, especially when living in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines.

One thing I noticed about Gordy was his lack of perseverance. He always wanted to make the quick buck without putting in the work. He had an extremely analytical mind and I think for him, working in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines was like a mathematical equation. He would balance out the amount of time spent and the effort required, against the reward gained when working in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines. If there was a disparity between effort and reward, he would simply chuck the job in and move onto something else in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines.

Gordy wasn’t perfect and sometimes the lack of finances made him compromise his values and make poor decisions in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines. One example that springs to mind is the Subic Rocks website. He managed to sell it for 2 thousand dollars but kept the sites domain name and server access. About 6 months later after it had been sold and the site was languishing, Gordy was approached by a new buyer for the website. Sure enough he ended up locking the original purchaser out of the site, and sold it again to the second purchaser. When I asked him about this he replied “the site was dying, no work was being put into it and I had sold advertising on the site, so my name was at risk. The new owner has big plans for it which I believe will benefit the advertisers a lot more”. When I heard this I smirked and thought to myself, wow he must be desperate for money. Gordy had double dipped, compromised his principles, and he knew it.

Living in the Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines expat community Gordy was well aware of the social creed that we mostly try to live by. Part of this creed is that you stay away from the girlfriend’s and wives of your male friends living in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines. As the saying so aptly goes, “Bro’s before ho’s” and “in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines you never lose your girlfriend, only your turn”. Gordy espoused this philosophy but sometimes had difficulty putting it into practice. On several occasions he was guilty of chasing and having sex with his male friends girlfriend’s. This did not exactly endear him to his circle of friends in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines, and even though he put a brave face on it, I think deep inside he knew he had made a bad mistake and angered his friends living in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines.

Gordy was in some ways a sad case. He would often borrow money and neglect to pay it back to people living in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines. He was the subject of two fund raisers and just frittered away the money. This combined with the fact that he couldn’t hold down a job for any length of time in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines, made survival for Gordy in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines, a constant struggle. Lastly I think it is important to note that Gordy told little lies, which would always seem to backfire on him. A classic case in point, when he was returning to America the first time to see his supposedly dying mother. As it turned out his mother was in good health, and wasn’t exactly pleased to see her errant son, whom she had been sending money to for years on end, while he lived in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines.

Gordy’s situation in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines was then made worse, because like any western man who lives in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines for an extended period of time, he found it virtually impossible to relate to western society . When he went back to America the first time he soon realized this, and he knew that door was closed forever. Having run out of options in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines I imagine Gordy was not exactly chuffed with the prospect of going back to America where there was nothing for him. He had burnt his bridges in America and the thought of having to go back there must have been extremely depressing for him after living in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines.

There are several theories concerning Gordys death. Some claim he was murdered by the Russian connection in Pattaya, whilst others claim he committed suicide because he was a Christian Scientist who believed in reincarnation. Others theorize he was suffering from depression whilst living in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines, whilst still others think it was a melodramatic ending typical of a wannabe rock star who never made it.

As for me I believe Gordys death was suicide, and I sincerely believe it resulted from his realization that his time in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines was over. He knew he had no other options left and the thought of having to go home leaving Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines and face a miserable, mundane, existence in a land that he no longer related to, and those close to him had severed all ties, was just to much for him to handle. I guess in some ways he was yet another victim of the hedonistic, promiscuous, addictive lifestyle, that is Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines.

The fact that I will never see his pock marked visage in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines, rocking the night away again, saddens my soul. In all honesty I miss Gordy a lot. I miss our conversations about music, I miss his sharp analytical mind and his concise way of expressing himself. I miss our discussions about life in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines, art, politics, women and everything else under the sun.

I console myself with the thought that he is somewhere up there arguing with the creator about music, and banging on the pig skins for the Angels to dance to. RIP Gordy Gale the Drummer man and I will see you eventually in that great gig in the sky.

Gordy Gale | Faces of Angeles City

Gordy Gale, “And now we rock” The Gordy Gale tale. Part 1.

Sneakers, faded blue jeans and the obligatory black T-Shirt. This was standard apparel for “Gordy” Gale, another iconic figure of the Angeles bar scene. It seemed like everybody knew Gordy and likewise Gordy knew them. His was one of the regular faces of Angeles, he was a ‘go to man’, who knew where everything and everybody was. Gordy was someone you would invariably meet when bar hopping, he was part and parcel of the Angeles bar scene, and in my opinion, the town is a lesser place without him.

In early August of 2014 Gordy quietly left town and traveled to Manila. Supposedly he was returning to America where he was going to catch up with family, find a job, earn some money and start life again. He never made the flight, and 38 hours later his lifeless body was found in a cheap hotel room, after shooting himself with a recently purchased 45.

An inconspicuous, and in some ways contradictory end, for a man who many saw as the ultimate survivor.

“And now we rock” this was shouted by Gordy as he pierced the air with two hang ten signs and bobbed his head to Mountains song, Mississippi Queen. He was playing guest DJ in Shipwrecked bar, the music was blaring, the customers were rocking, and I was loving every second. This was a far cry from High Society and the hip hop dance scene, and this was an even further cry from the bubble gum girlie music, played in most bars. The girls were as usual bewildered, and couldn’t understand why all these old fart customers were getting so enthused. But Gordy didn’t care, he was in his element rocking the night away, and this is how I will forever remember him.

The subject of what music to play in a bar was a discussion I would often have with Gordy. He always maintained “the girls don’t dance anyway, so why not play music for the customers”. My counter argument would be, play a mix of music, some that the girls like and will dance to, and some for the customers. For me that intangible thing called atmosphere is very important in a bar, and over the years I have found that girls dancing and having fun is key to creating a good atmosphere. Gordy would strongly disagree, for him the customers made the atmosphere, and he was convinced the customers would party if put in the mood by the right music.

The generation gap became blatantly obvious when people like Gordy were in the bar. He would insist the DJ played rock and roll which was hardly conducive to Filipinas dancing up a storm. But Gordy hardly noticed, he figured the girls wouldn’t dance anyway so he was going to play the music he knew and loved. Gordy lived and breathed rock music. He was zealously passionate about sixties seventies, and sometimes eighties, rock. Indeed, his complete image, and most aspects of his life, related to rock and roll music.

Gordy was a true musician, and as his nickname on the boards (Drummer) suggested, he played the drums and was an ardent rock fan. I think he yearned for the rock and roll lifestyle but it always alluded him. His was always a case of so close and yet so far. He had a brief glimpse of fame when in the eighties he landed a session gig with Joe Cocker and they made a video, but this was a close as he ever came. Ironically this video will be part of Gordy’s legacy. I say ironically because Gordy hated that video and used to cringe whenever it was played in the bars.

On several occasions he came close to landing gigs with bands that went onto fame and fortune but for one reason or another he never seemed to get that elusive big break. On one occasion he was trying out for a band and the test song was Simple Minds, “don’t you forget about me”. Gordy did a good job but lost the gig to a guy who played a double base drum. Reportedly the producer acknowledged Gordy as the better Drummer but said the other guy looked better. Once again it was a case of so close and yet so far. Gordy came to hate the song “don’t you forget about me”, and a sorrowful look of missed opportunity would cross his features whenever it was played in the bars.

Gordy used to think of himself as a walking encyclopedia of music. Indeed when it came to sixties and seventies rock, his knowledge was truly impressive. I will always remember the many nights we spent in the bars playing music for each other, long after the bar had officially closed. We would invariably compare notes, test each others musical knowledge, listen to pounding rock, and revel in the fond memories of our youth.

For us this was an escape to when the world was a lot simpler, and listening to the music bought back so many memories At the same time we felt as if we were making a stand against the invasion of rap, hip hop, and modern day music in general. To most this will sound archaically inane, but for Gordy and myself it was tremendously important. We enjoyed harking back to a time when the musicians actually played their instruments, the singers sang, the drummers drummed and the rock stars wrote new tunes, along with intelligible lyrics.

I think Gordy was most happy when listening to music or banging the drums. I still remember going to see him play with a local band in the short lived Garage behind Number 1 Diner. After the gig Gordy complained for the next two days how his arms were sore. For Gordy the aches and pains were very much a realization that he was getting old, and what he had so easily done in his youth, was now a taxing endeavor. Having said that, I don’t think I ever saw Gordy as happy as he was when banging the pig skins. This was his passion, his love, and an essential part of how he saw himself, the quintessential “Drummer” man

My friendship with Gordy never really progressed beyond a common love of 70’s rock music. But for us this was enough, and upon reflection I realize the long nights we spent listening to, and discussing music, were some of my happiest times in Angeles. These were times when we could both be ourselves, and relive fading memories through the music. These were indeed happy times, and I shall forever associate them with the “Drummer” man, Gordy Gale.

Gordy originally hailed from Michigan, but like so many wanna be young hopefuls, he made his way to LA in the late seventies, early eighties. He knew opportunities in Michigan were somewhat limited, and if he was ever going to make it, living in LA was a necessity. Upon his arrival in LA he immediately became immersed in the music scene albeit only on the fringes, and was a regular in many of the recording studios. I never talked with him in great depth about his time in LA but from what I can gather he was like so many young men before him, scrounging around the scene, waiting to be discovered and given his big break.

I first met Gordy in 2002 when he walked into my bar in Makati. He was sporting his soon to become standard issue sneakers, blue jeans, and a black t/shirt. At that time he wore his hair long, (which I was always kind of envious of), and he had an air of aloofness that many would misinterpret as arrogance, when in fact it was shyness. At the time I had no idea of Gordy’s fascination with music, but I soon cottoned on when he requested the DJ play some Led Zepplin, Grand Funk, and Joe Walsh.

I got on well with Gordy that first night and even though he was in mongering mode we soon found out we had a common interest in music, and it became obvious to each, that we would have similar discussions for many years to come.

Richard Agnew | Faces of Angeles City

Richard Agnew, the king of Angeles City Philippines. Part 1.

Talk about “luck of the Irish”, at times Richard Agnew the King of Angeles City Philippines seemed to personify this saying, and even in his darkest of times, Richard the king of Angeles City Philippines always seemed to remain cocky and confident. It took a hell of a lot to put this man down, and believe me, they certainly tried.

During his time in Angeles City Philippines Richard Agnew literally experienced it all. From the depths of despair to unbridled elation, from dire poverty, where he hardly had 1000 piso to his name, through to million dollar deals done on a handshake. The king of Angeles city Philippines lived a roller coaster lifestyle.

From the sweet innocent Filipinas new to “the game” in Angeles City Philippines, through to hard core veterans who loved his wallet more than him. From moments of simplistic happiness through to the sadness that comes with the murder of ones best friend. Richard Agnew the king of Angeles City Philippines experienced it all and lived to tell the tale.

Richard Agnew the king of Angeles City Philippines has been called many things by many people. He was hounded by a Catholic Priest in Subic who accused him of “propagating and leading the sex industry which casts a black shroud of evil over the community and corrupts young people,”. He was maligned and set up by an infamous Irish tabloid, who referred to him as “King Sin Agnew” and a “sleazy Irish businessman”. He rubbed shoulders with mayors of Angeles City Philippines, political wheeler dealers, and powerful Generals. He entertained movie stars and influential businessmen. He even ran his own Tourist Police force in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines. He lived a high profile life using his own and other peoples money. He survived for close on 18 years in Angeles City Philippines, but this lifestyle was unsustainable. In the end he surreptitiously crept out of Angeles City Philippines leaving a crumbling empire, substantial debts, and a trail of bullet holes in his wake.

Like many before him who lead the high flying lifestylein Angeles City Philippines, Richard left Angeles under a shadow. A somewhat ignominious end for the once “king of Angeles City Philippines”.

Richards first experiences in Asia were in Thailand selling time shares. In many ways this was to prove a thorough training ground and the lessons learned there, held him in good stead during his time in Angeles City Philippines. Richard could sell ice to an Eskimo and to watch him reel in potential investors was like watching a master craftsman creating his latest masterpiece. Richard knew exactly how to appeal, whether it be through stroking the ego, emphasizing the hedonistic lifestyle, or simply tweaking a mans greed, Richard could do it all. He would nearly always find the right buttons to push and at one stage he literally had people clamoring to invest their money in his burgeoning empire in Angeles City Philippines.

If Ray Kelly was good at finding people to invest in Angeles City Philippines, Richard was the master, and I believe like many before him in Angeles City Philippines, operating on other peoples money was to some extent his undoing.

Like all good salesman Richard could adapt to just about any situation. At times he could be charming and affable leaving people thinking what a great bloke he was. At other times he could be serious and formal, as well as a strict task master. The chameleon aspect of his character enabled him to adapt to different situations in Angeles City Philippines, this ability proved to be a formidable tool for Richard, especially when making a sale in Angeles City Philippines or dealing with Angeles power players.

When it came to the girls Richard had a big heart and was comparatively naïve. In some ways he would treat them in a hands off manner, maintaining a necessary dose of cynicism. In other ways he would spoil them rotten and be like a little puppy dog wrapped around his girls proverbial finger. In his early days Richard would instigate sexual relations with a substantial amount of girls working in Angeles City Philippines, but then as he got older he toned it down a bit and tended to stick to one girl in a relatively long term relationship. Well at least long term for Angeles City Philippines.

In my opinion king Richard of Angeles City Philippines was always attracted to the wrong sort of girl. Invariably he would end up with the hard core girls whose primary motivation was money and ego gratification. Did they really like or love Richard king of Angeles City Philippines, I guess only the girls or Richard can accurately comment on that, but for me as an outside observer, it seemed they were using him as much as he used them. In a way this was the ultimate irony because if anyone encouraged the girls to be materialistic, it was Richard.

While in Angeles City Philippines, Richard operated on the simple principle that money attracts money, and this was clearly evident in the clubs he built here in Angeles City Philippines. Richard started off in the mid nineties with a little bar named Woody’s. This was a small innocuous little bar with a few dancers and meals. In fact it was more of a pub than an Angeles City Philippines girlie bar, and I think Richard was very comfortable in this environment, hence his later development of Molly Malone’s Irish pub Angeles City Philippines and restaurant. Again this clearly demonstrates the duality of king Richards Angeles City Philippines personality. On the one hand he was perfectly comfortable in a place like Molly Malone’s Angeles City Philippines and ten minutes later he was partying like a rock star in one of his brightly lit, frenetically paced, Angeles City Philippines go-go bars.

Richard Agnew was nothing if not a showman. He realized the importance of image and appearance. Playing the high rolling, hedonistic and wealthy bar owner, was for Richard the king of Angeles City Philippines, totally natural. He took to it like a duck to water. The man was a first class entertainer and when in an Angeles City Philippines bar, he was nearly always surrounded by a group of people hanging on his every word. He was energetic and effervescent, he had that lovable Irish rogue appeal, and he could tell a tale better than anyone around. Richard had the ability to capture his audience and take them on a roller coaster ride as he related his stories.

I think king Richard of Angeles City Philippines, genuinely believed that entertainment was a key factor in the Angeles City Philippines bar business. He was the first one to take it beyond hot girls and cold beer. For him it wasn’t just about selling sex in Angeles City Philippines, but rather, a total entertainment package. He was the first to invest substantial money into a group of bars in Angeles City Philippines, albeit other peoples money, and he was the first one to employ over 100 dancers in a single club in Angeles City Philippines. He was the first to install a decent sound system in all his Angeles City Philippines clubs, he was the first to emphasize glitz and glamour, he was the first to place live rock bands inside the bars of Angeles City Philippines, and he was the first to have super hot door girls dressed in a variety of uniforms, outside each of his Angeles City Philippines clubs. Richard Agnew to his credit and detriment, was never afraid to try something new. He was the first to build two mega clubs, Neros and Blue Nile,in Angeles City Philippines, he was the first to join 4 bars together and create a fully functional entertainment complex in Angeles City Philippines. He was the first to introduce the ill fated slot machines in Angeles City Philippines, he was the first to build a hydraulic stage and make it a major selling point of the bar in Angeles City Philippines. He was the first to introduce the Angeles City tourist police organization, he was the first to introduce specialized dance groups in all his bars, he was the first to build an exclusive club upstairs and market it as a members only club in Angeles City Philippines, and he was among the first to build a hotel specifically designed to provide accommodation for his Angeles City Philippines bar customers.

His aim was to provide what he saw as the ultimate entertainment package in Angeles City Philippines, something akin to the monger’s club med. This was a grand vision for the Angeles City Philippines entertainment scene, but like many such visions it became unfeasible when his partners pulled out and he no longer had access to their cash injections.

I like a few others was working for Richard the king of Angeles City Philippines at the time and looking back on those days it all seems a little surreal. His vision was a grand one for the Angeles City Philippines entertainment scene but it was unfeasible. However, giving credit where credit is due, Richard the King of Angeles City Philippines gave it a darn good try, albeit a misguided one.

Upon reflection I realize that Richard king of Angeles City Philippines, may not have been the first to try some of these things but he was certainly the first to try it on such a large and visible scale in Angeles City Philippines. If you ask me Richard was the first to ostentatiously attract public attention to Fields Avenue and the Angeles City Philippines bar scene. This of course had its upside and a significant downside, but at the end of the day, it was so typically Richard king of Angeles City Philippines. He was a man who never did anything by half measures and he exhibited a classic “boots and all” approach to the bar business. One example of this was when he hung a huge banner across what was then the empty parking lot next to the Blue Nile Executive Hotel Angeles City Philippines. On the banner it said, “over 1 million pesos in commission paid by the Blue Nile group Angeles City Philippines last month”. The thinking behind this was that this would draw the girls to work in his clubs, and secondly, this would attract potential investors who would see his clubs as being the busiest in Angeles City Philippines.

I remember once sitting in Neros Angeles City Philippines, talking with Ray Kelly who was looking in disgust at the slot machines and I asked him, “so what do you reckon about these new slot machines Ray”? He looked at me with feigned disinterest and replied, “mate it’s all bullshit. Richard has always tried to say how much money his Angeles City Philippines clubs make, because that makes it easier to hook an investor, but don’t tell me his clubs in Angeles City Philippines are making any money, because I don’t fucking believe it. What kind of fucking mug do you think I am mate”. Taciturn ‘Wee George’ had much the same opinion and he would often state in his broad Glaswegian accent, “this fucking mad Irish git is going to get us all fucking killed. Attracting this much attention in Angeles City Philippines just isn’t good, mark my words ladie”. In retrospect when considering Richards clubs in Angeles City Philippines were raided 4 separate times over the years, I think George may have had a valid point.

After Woody’s king Richard of Angeles City Philippines next project was the Tropicana Hotel and Mistys Bar. This was a step up for king Richard of Angeles City Philippines and to pull it off he needed an infusion of cash. So who did he turn to, you guessed it, none other than his old buddies from Thailand, the time share boys. Luckily for Richard the king od Angeles City Philippines these blokes were well healed and willing to invest substantial amounts to help him build the empire. After the Tropicana Hotel and Mistys in Angeles City Philippines, Richard acquired Cambodia and built Neros, then Blue Nile, then Blue Nile Executive, which were to become the undisputed premier bars in Angeles City Philippines. He was later to also acquire Bedrock as well as building Molly Malones and converting the decrepit old Tropicana into the brand new Blue Nile Executive Hotel Angeles City Philippines.

The effect Richard had on the Angeles City Philippines bar scene was substantial and he was to change it forever. His particular flamboyant, highly publicized style, was to some an exciting breath of fresh air for Angeles City Philippines whilst for others it was seen as smoke and mirrors, and bode nothing but bad for the future of Angeles City Philippines. To this day there are still two distinct schools of thought when it comes to Richards effect on the Angeles City Philippines bar scene. The first school of thought is in favor of the big bars, with the bright lights, loud music, ostentatious decorations, highly publicized events, exciting party atmosphere, high public profile in Angeles City Philippines, large stages literally overflowing with skinny hard bodied dancers, and underlying it all, the all pervasive smell of money.

The other school of thought is repelled by all of these factors and believes that the Angeles City Philippines bars should be small affairs, existing under the proverbial radar, and keeping a low public profile. For those in the second school they see an approach such as that of king of Angeles City Philippines Richards, as asking for trouble. They see the high profile as attracting unwanted attention from elements in Angeles City Philippines and Manila, they see it as rubbing it into the face of so called respectable Filipino society. They blame it for the raids in Angeles City Philippines bars, they blame it for price hikes and they blame it for the general feeling of cold commercialization that is the antithesis of the friendly laid back appeal, they associate with Angeles City Philippines bars. Indeed Richard opened the door for the groups such as Dollhouse and Wolfpack to “corporatize” the Angeles City Philippines bar scene, and in Fields Avenue at least, the days of a funky little scene where everybody knew everybody and the girlfriend experience dominated, are long gone. Nowadays it’s a big business, it’s commercialized, it’s “corporatized” and it was all started by Richard Agnew.

When it comes to King Richard of Angeles City Philippines approach I am somewhere in the middle, and once again sitting on the fence. Yes I see the points of his detractors and think some are valid, plus I certainly miss the days when Angeles City Philippines was a funky little town and the girlfriend experience was more common place. Having said that, I also realize that change in Angeles City Philippines is inevitable and I will give Richard his due. He certainly gave it a damned good try and being part of his vision in the early days was exciting, and great fun.

With six bars completed another one under construction, plus a hotel and restaurant,in Angeles City Philippines Richard had built quite an impressive empire. But being Richard this wasn’t enough and he was soon wheeling and dealing with PAGCOR trying to place slot machines in all his bars in Angeles City Philippines. For Richard the slot machines were a natural step in the evolution of his entertainment empire in Angeles City Philippines. For others they were the beginning of the end.

The problems with the slot machines were many and varied. Firstly to get the deal done Richard the King of Angeles City Philippines had to find some more money and this meant a new investor. The original investors weren’t interested in the slot machines and claimed they were still waiting to see a return on their original investment. It took Richard the king of Angeles City Philippines a while but he eventually found a big investor whom he was somewhat ironically introduced to by one of his old time share buddies and original investors. His friend did the introduction and Richard did the salesmanship. In the end this turned out to be a problem because with the new investor involved the dynamics of the relationship between the partners changed. The new investor actually wanted Richard to be accountable for the money and the original investors wanted to see a much bigger and more frequent return on their money invested in the Angeles City Philippines bar scene. Things eventually came to a head and the group split asunder. Richard the king of Angeles City Philippines was forced out and in the form of a golden handshake was given the hotel, Mistys, Cambodia and the still incomplete Golden Nile. In my opinion this was the beginning of the end for ling Richard of Angeles City Philippines, or perhaps I should say, the beginning of the end for Richards Angeles City Philippines empire.

I remember all to well the day the group split up. That night the new group in charge of Bedrock, Neros, Blue Nile, and Blue Nile Executive came into the Angeles City Philippines bars and bluntly informed the respective managers they were fired. Anyone whom in their mind they associated with Richard Agnew king of Angeles City Philippines was terminated on the spot. With this action I believe they sealed the fates of Bedrock, Neros, Blue Nile and Blue Nile Executive Angeles City Philippines. Some of the managers went onto work in other bars in Angeles City Philippines while three of them ended up working for Richard in Cambodia, waiting for Golden Nile Angeles City Philippines, to open up. Within less than two years Neros, Blue Nile and Blue Nile Executive Angeles City Philippines were sold, and in their place today is the much vaunted High Society.

It took another 8 or so months for Golden Nile Angeles City Philippines to be finished and with its completion came Richards Agnew’s last attempt at changing the face of Angeles City Philippines bar scene.

Here ends part 1 of Richard Agnew the king of Angeles.

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 68

Memoirs of a Philippine Mongerer

Chapter 68:

New friends

By the time I had woken up and MayAnne had departed it was late afternoon and for some reason I was feeling kind of drained so I decided to stay in the hotel that night or if it got to boring to restrict my bar hopping activities to the immediate area around the Maharajah. To be honest I was little worried about running into Wally as his aggravation was something I didn’t need and I was also a bit hesitant to go back to the vicinity of Ziggys where MayAnne could lay claim to me again. This girl had already dug her fingers in and I wasn’t about to help her solidify her position.

At this stage of my short but illustrious mongering career I had decided that single life is the way to go and to forget about these relationships. Of course like most men, in the long run I was in the end unable to live up this creed, but it felt right at the time, and for the next five years I certainly tried to make mongering freedom my reality.

I decided a brisk dip in the pool would wake me up and maybe a few laps would get the blood flowing again, so I grabbed a towel and headed out to the pool. Being after 5 there was literally nobody else in the pool and I decided to make the most of the opportunity and swim a few laps. Growing up near the beach I had always been a competent swimmer and doing laps of a pool or swimming in the surf was a regular occurrence in my youth and I was completely unaware a large number of Filipinos cannot swim.

I dived in the pool and started gently swimming laps and after completing about ten I stopped for a breather and suddenly I felt eyes upon me. I looked around and sure enough there in the restaurant area were three women and two guys just staring at me. Not sure what had them so enthralled I simply smiled at them and waved to which I received a smile back from all of them and then they carried on their conversation with the occasional furtive glance in my direction.

After the swim I was feeling like a new man and I had definitely worked up a hunger, so I headed over to the restaurant area, only to come face to face with two of the women who had been watching me swim. When I saw them I smiled and said, “hello girls is there any chance I can order some food because all that swimming has made me hungry”. Both the young ladies looked away from me and turned their heads as they giggled. Right about now I wasn’t sure what to do so I just took a seat at one of the tables and said, “can I have a menu please”? This bought another series of giggles and both the girls scurried away leaving me sitting in the restaurant by myself.

I had been sitting there for about two minutes and was just about to get out of my seat and berate the staff for their non existent service when from behind some closed doors a man appeared and presented me with a menu. I surveyed the menu and to say it was limited would be an understatement. I looked at the guy who was standing beside me waiting for my order and said can you recommend something as I don’t see anything that really sparks my interest here”. He looked at me with a look of benign amusement on his features and replied, I recommend the pork and chicken adobo. Everybody like that. “Okay” I said, I will have the adobo and to drink I would like a coke please”.

He took my order, took back the menu and exited the restaurant, once again leaving me sitting there with my own thoughts. I had no idea how long the food would take and I was just about to go back to my room to get a book to read when from behind me I heard the giggling again. I turned around and there were the two girls just staring at me and giggling. By this time I was totally perplexed and rather than just ignore the situation I decided to confront them and find out what was so amusing. I got out of my seat and smiled at the girls then I asked, “would you ladies care to join me for a drink”?

The girls looked at me somewhat aghast and both just stood there giggling. Thinking they didn’t understand I made the motions indicating drinking and they both giggled again and slowly made their way towards my table. When they reached me I offered them each a chair which they hesitatingly took and I asked them very slowly, “what can I buy for you ladies to drink”? In response I got another giggle and then one of them replied, “we like sprite”.

With the ice partially broken I thought I was on a roll and I was just about to get up and hunt down a waiter when one of the girls said, “I be the one” and with that she rose and disappeared into the kitchen area. Literally 1 minute later she was back with two sprites which both the girls proceeded to sip on while staring and giggling at me. By this time I was a completely nonplused. I literally had no idea what was going on or why these girls were seemingly fixated with me but not being one to let a challenge like this get the better of me I decided to put in some work and find out what the heck was going on.

While I waited for my food we made halting small talk and I found out both the girls worked at the hotel in the kitchen. These two sweet young women must have been about 22 but both had the childlike sense of humor that made them seem so much younger. It was hard for me to ascertain just how much they understood because they would only speak English sparingly and most of the time would chat with each other in Tagalog and simply giggle.

After about 15 minutes my food was delivered and as the waiter approached our table I thought I detected a sour look on his face so I said to him, “hey mate you have been a really good waiter could I buy you a drink or something just to say thank you”. The waiter seemed a little nonplused by my sudden offer and after a quick chat with the girls he said to me in English, “sure why not but what we would really like is some food”.

Then it hit me, these guys probably see guests pigging out on food all the time while they have bugger all money to buy anything for themselves and as this realization dawned I made what turned out to be a very fortuitous decision. I looked at him squarely in the eyes and replied, “how many of you guys are there in the kitchen” to which he replied, “two more” and I said, “well if it’s allowed, how about I buy a meal for everyone here”. The waiter looked at me seemingly in shock and then as my offer began to sink in he replied, “for a while sir” and went scurrying back into the kitchen.

After what seemed like ages but was probably only a matter of minutes he returned and said, “sir if it’s okay to you we would like crispy pata”. At this stage I had no idea what crispy pata was so I simply smiled and replied, “that’s cool with me man, crispy pata it is”.

From that point on the night began to get interesting. It must have been about half an hour later when three Filipino guys came and joined our table bringing with them a huge dish of what looked like pork but with all the bones and fat still attached. I was in later years to learn this is what is called crispy pata and it is considered a delicacy here in the Philippines but at this stage I was still a ‘newbie’ and just going along with the flow.

The three guys joined our table and before long we were all getting along like a house on fire with everyone telling jokes and me relating stories about my country and also my experiences in the Philippines. The guys certainly seemed friendly enough and after the meal they suggested we have a few beers and play some cards. I asked the girls if they thought this was a good idea and each of them smiled and nodded their ascent. Within seconds there appeared 3 bottles of San Miguel in a bucket of ice and a fourth one that had already been opened along with a glass of ice.

Having come from Australia I considered drinking beer with ice sacrilegious but it was very obvious to me that this was how it was done in the Philippines and not wishing to offend the locals I simply decided to go with the flow and drink the beer over ice like they did.

No sooner had the beer appeared than the dishes were cleared away and a pack of cards produced. The guys told me this was a game called pusoy dos and asked if I knew how to play. I replied in the negative and said I would just watch a few hands first and see if I could pick it up. As it turned out Pusoy Dos is very similar to Jim Rummy but with a few extra twists and rules so it really wasn’t that hard for me to pick up. I watched about five hands as well as partaking in a chug of beer each time the glass was presented and I then felt I had got the basics of the game and it was time for me to join in.

The details of that night are a bit hazy as the beer seemed to be on a never ending tap and every 5 minutes the glass was in my hand with the Filipinos encouraging me to drink it down in one. To this day I am pretty sure I never won a single hand but then again it didn’t seem to matter because we were all having such a great time and the hours seemed to fly by.

Even though the communication barrier was very much in effect that didn’t seem to stop us from becoming friends and understanding each other. I was having a thoroughly enjoyable time with my new found friends when suddenly I noticed it was 1:AM and with the beer buzzing my head I announced that it was past my bedtime and I would see them all tomorrow.

Feeling somewhat drunk I raised myself to a standing position smiled at the girls and said good night politely, then I shook each guys hand and assured them we would play again tomorrow night. With goodbyes said I now stumbled back to my room which luckily for me wasn’t far away, I opened the door, turned on the light and then without even bothering to get undressed flopped on the bed.

I have no idea how long I lay there in a drunken stupor but I remember being woken up by a gentle but consistent knocking on my door. With blurry eyes and my head now throbbing with the beginnings of a massive hangover I made my way to the door, opened it and there standing in the open doorway with a mischievous smile on her face, was one of the girls whom I had been playing cards with.

C How They Made Me! Chapter 67

Memoirs of a Philippine Mongerer

Chapter 67

Maharajah and MayAnne

Well you could have struck me down with a feather, I just couldn’t believe that MayAnne was standing before me in the Maharajah Hotel. “How did you get up here” I asked haltingly, and in response she simply smiled and replied, “I follow to you, MayAnne have trike driver friend so he give free ride”. I looked at her in abject amazement and said, “so you followed me all the way to the hotel. I thought you were going home”? With this May Anne simply smiled and replied “MayAnne stay Martin hotel”.

Obviously I wasn’t going to get any more information from MayAnne and even though it felt like I had my own little stalker I couldn’t get the images of her in bed out of my head so I capitulated and said ‘come on then let’s go look at my room”.

Even back in 1991 the rooms in the Maharajah had obviously seen better days and yet despite the signs of wear and tear there was something about them that just made people feel at home. It might have been the golden heavy drapes that kept the sunlight and noise out, it might have been the carpeting on the floor (which in those days was a rarity in Angeles hotels), it might have been the close proximity to the pool, it might have been the super comfortable beds or it might have been the air of sex that seemed to pervade the entire hotel. Whatever the reason, the Maharajah just automatically felt like a home away from home, and this is exactly what it would become in years to come.

Prior to the Pinatubo explosion the Maharajah had obviously been a booming short time hotel. They had over 100 rooms in this hotel and it was plain to see its previous market had been people coming off the base for short time. At this stage there was only 1 swimming pool and most of the good rooms fronted onto the swimming pool. In years to come I was to stay at the Maharajah literally hundreds of times and a group of us developed a loose and casual friendship with the key being our occupancy of the Maharajah Hotel.

As we entered the room MayAnne switched on the lights, explored the room a little bit which included bouncing on the bed and then pronounced her decision, “hotel good MayAnne like”. At this time there was no cable TV which didn’t seem to phase May Anne at all and it wasn’t long before she was comfortably lying on the bed watching an old tagalog movie on the rickety old television that looked like it had escaped from a 1980’s movie set.

Seeing MayAnne had made herself right at home and was not to be disturbed I unpacked my bag, changed into some shorts and made my way to the pool which lay shimmering in the sun. For me there has always been something special about the Maharajah swimming pool that separates it from other pools. In current times there are two pools one out front of the hotel facing Don Juico Road and one out the back. In those days there was only one and this was the pool in the back.

Looking at it on surface value there is nothing particularly special about the Maharajah courtyard and pool. I really cannot put my finger on it why this pool area was so special, but for me I automatically felt relaxed and at home. Around the pool it is all concrete except for the flower beds which boast a basic foliage including the hotel owners prized orchids. There are good old fashioned sun chairs which are perfect for the sun worshipers and the pool itself is about 25 meters long, maybe a bit less, and always seemed clean and refreshing.

Another features I really liked about this area was that it was so quiet. One could sit by the pool for literally hours basking in the sunshine then dipping in the pool when the heat became to much. It was so quiet almost verging on serene and with a little imagination, hotel patrons could easily forget they were in Angeles. The pool area is also adjacent to the kitchen/restaurant area and although the food at the Maharajah sucks patrons would invariably order snacks which they and their girl would enjoy poolside.

Last but not least, I really liked the fact that after leaving the pool it was only a short stroll, or in some cases a stumble, to ones room. This of course is nothing new in today’s environment with many modern day hotels having poolside rooms but back then it was almost like the hallmark of the Maharajah. The Maharajah has always played second fiddle to the Oasis but for me this just made it more attractive because it was a cheaper price, it was less pretentious and there was always a room there.

I strolled out of my hotel room leaving MayAnne to watch TV and procured one of the sun chairs right next to the far end of the pool. I had been lying there for about half an hour just relaxing and letting my mind wander reveling in the silence when suddenly I looked up and there was a waiter delivering a tray of food to my room. Knowing that I hadn’t ordered anything I was a bit confused and then it hit me MayAnne had figured out how to use the telephone and get room service. This was my first experience of the Filipina just helping herself but it certainly wasn’t going to be my last.

With the Filipina there is almost a sense of entitlement, and in most cases they seem to have no idea of expenditure. For many of them money is something which grows on trees in the foreigners home land. They automatically perceive foreigners as having unlimited funds, and as such it is no problem spending it, because there is always more where that came from.

There are also several social ideals attached to the consumption of food. For starters it sends a psychological message that all is okay in the world. If you have a full stomach then you have access to money and can survive for another day. This may sound silly but consider where they come from in a situation where anything more than fish with a bowl of rice is a luxury, and you begin to understand. Secondly eating is a social occasion and because food is a luxury it is often shared. This is something like the Filipinas sharing their blessings or their good fortune. I saw this logic in action last year when I walked past the TV and there was Manny Pacquiao showering people with money on some sort of game show. Out of interest I asked the instant Filipino family what was going on and they replied that this was Manny’s way of “sharing his blessings”. Obviously this sharing did not work particularly well as the tax man is now after Pacquiao for his share but it was an interesting insight into Filipino culture.

I sat there in the sun chair and watched the tray of food disappear and pondered the situation for a while then made up my mind to go and talk with MayAnne about her taking me for granted. I walked into the room and was about to give MayAnne a little lecture but all thoughts of lecturing her left my head as she smiled up at me and said, “hi hon you like pood”? Taken aback and with all anger evaporated I simply smiled and shook my head and turned around top walk out the door, but as my hand touched the door handle I had a sudden stroke of inspiration. Turning back to MayAnne I said, “no food for me but I wouldn’t mind a blow job”. Straight away this bought a look of fake disgust onto MayAnne’s face and after she had swallowed her food she replied, “bastos Martin talaga”, then with a mischievous smile and a sparkling glint in her eye she looked me in the eyes and said, “why not”. Right then and there I decided I loved the Philippines and had no intention of leaving well at least not in the short term.

Upon observing MayAnne’s simple reaction I couldn’t help but compare it to that of a woman in my own country. Here in the Philippines, well at least in the bar world, sex was approached in a very matter of fact way and these girls had none of the inhibitions or angst that was so common among the white women I had known. Rather than being women’s liberationists that seemed to be against men and were hung up about sex these girls used it and their femininity as a means to get what they want, as well as a means to get physical gratification. This was certainly a world I was more comfortable in and in a way even though I hadn’t been bought up with Filipinas I could relate to their point of view more than that of women in my own country.

It took MayAnne another 15 minutes to polish off the Pancit Bihon, one of the few things the Maharajah made well, and then after a quick trip to the bathroom supposedly to wash her mouth, she pulled my shorts down and proceeded to suck on my dick like a true professional. For me I have always appreciated a good blow job and it never ceased to amaze me how the angelic brown skinned Filipinas could suck on a mans dick like it was something perfectly natural and there was no sense of the recipient owing anything to the giver. So unlike my world where if a woman gave you a blow job she acted like you owed her a favor for ever more as she had made the ultimate sacrifice.

After an extremely satisfying blow job I decided it was time for a little afternoon nap and this is where the Maharajah really came into its own. The room was delightfully chilled by the air-conditioning unit, the drapes kept the light out and the bed was awesomely comfortable. It wasn’t ten minutes before I was fast asleep while somewhere in the distance I could hear MayAnne giggling at something which was funny for her but which eluded me totally.

I think I must have slept for a couple of hours because next thing I knew I was being gently shaken awake by May Anne who announced, “I work now but come back hotel later”. Still slightly drowsy from the deep sleep I nodded and replied “sure babe I’ll see you later”. MayAnne smiled and headed towards the door but as she reached it she turned to me and with a serious look on her face she said, “no girls for you, you have girl I kill you talaga”. Before I could respond she had opened the door and disappeared down the corridor leaving me to contemplate how I had managed to get myself in yet another cock blocked situation.

C How They Made Me! Chapter 66

Memoirs of a Philippine Mongerer

Chapter 66

A parting of the ways in AC

As soon as MayAnne spotted me she broke out in a big smile, shouted hello and then breezed over and planted a kiss on my lips right in front of Wally. At this moment I felt like total scum and incredibly embarrassed and all the time, even though I wasn’t looking at him directly, I could tell Wally was seething. In hindsight Wally had no right to be so pissed off , I mean he had gone first and he had just finished giving me a lecture on sharing is caring, but I guess it was hard for him to practice what he preached.

At the time Wally’s hypocrisy didn’t dawn on me, in fact quite the opposite. I was feeling about as low as a snakes belly and I waited in trepidation for the tirade I knew was coming my way. MayAnne although having been with Wally just a few hours before me, seemed completely oblivious to Wally’s presence which must have rubbed salt on his wounded ego, and I could sense his anger about to boil over.

Deciding diplomacy was the better part of valor I gently lifted May Anne of my lap and told her I was sorry but she had to go now as I had to talk with Wally. I held her hand and walked her out through the reception. When we were outside the hotel I hailed a trike and subtly slipped 300 peso into her hand while promising to come and bar fine her later that night. May Anne although a bit miffed at being sent on her way, seemed to accept my promise and she lithely jumped into the trike and headed on her way.

So now it was time to face the music and with a feeling of trepidation I headed back into the hotel to face an angry Wally. As soon as I walked into the restaurant area Wally confronted me saying, “you are a shit head Martin, you’re a fucking slime lower than a snakes cunt”. At this stage I was feeling pretty bad so I decided to take his abuse and let him blow of steam. Then maybe when he had calmed down a bit I would talk with him rationally. This was my thoughts, but unfortunately it didn’t turn out like that. Wally by this time was riled up, he had something to say and he was going to get it off his mind no matter what.

“Listen dickhead” he said, “you knew I liked that girl so why did you have to fuck her, there are so many other sheilas but you have to get her. You are scum Martin and I hope someone belts the shit out of you”. As I have said I wasn’t feeling exactly proud of my actions but Wally was going a little bit far, and despite my resolution to remain silent his latest tirade got under my skin and I was now going to fight back. “Listen mate what was it you were saying before something along the lines of sharing is caring? Seems to me you should practice what you preach”. Wally was momentarily phased by this but recovered quickly to say, “it’s different with May Anne I really like her and you fucking knew that”. “Wait a minute” I replied “I had no idea you really liked her, this wasn’t personal mate, she is working in the bar and besides she chose me, not the other way round”.

Upon hearing this Wally was a little taken aback but recovered quickly to say, “I don’t believe you. I told her I really liked her and was planning to take her out of the bar and when she left me she said she was going home to tell her mum she was stopping work and coming to live with me”. Now it was my turn to be taken aback so I sat down and tried to get my thoughts together then after a moments contemplation I told Wally, “well mate I had no idea about any of this and if I had I never would have gone near her”. He looked at me with smoldering hatred in his eyes and said, “well how thick are you then, you’re a fucking dickhead” and with that said, walked out of the room.

I have observed similar situations as the one between myself and Wally on many occasions and each time I do, I think to myself, why does one guy blame the other guy when at the end of the day it is basically the woman’s fault, as much if not more so, than the other guy. In this particular case it was definitely MayAnne’s fault as she was the one who initiated contact with blatant disregard for Wally’s feelings. Then again, perhaps she like me, had no idea of the intensity of Wally’s feelings for her. All of these thoughts were racing through my head and at the end of the day I was pretty sure I wasn’t to blame totally but the trouble was how could I convince Wally of this.

So now I was left alone in the restaurant with feelings of guilt rushing through my body, feeling just as Wally had described me, a dick head. Yet despite my feelings of guilt somewhere deep inside there was a feeling of righteousness. In the back of my mind I knew that this was an over reaction by Wally and that it was MayAnne who had initiated things, not me. I was kind of tempted to confront Wally with this and explain to him that I wasn’t a mind reader but in the end I chickened out, and deciding discretion is the better part of valor, I finished breakfast, made my way back to my room, packed my gear and headed off to Fields in search of another hotel.

I was walking up Fields Avenue and got to where Philies is now, where a young Filipino guy stepped in front of me and said, “hotel sir”? Normally I would have brushed past this very obvious tout but at the time my bags were beginning to get heavy and the guy assured me this was the best hotel in Angeles at a very good price. In hindsight it was probably a risky proposition following an unknown Filipino guy but luckily for me this guy turned out to be legit and even genuinely helpful.

Once I said to the guy, “okay I will have a look at the hotel” a trike appeared from nowhere and next thing I knew my bags were being packed on top of the trike, then with me tucked inside the minute trike cabin and my new found guide, sitting side saddle on the back seat, we made our way up Fields Avenue onto what is colloquially referred to as Perimeter Road.

I am never quite sure what to expect when a Filipino says a hotel is close. Sometimes it is literally a 5 minute stroll and other times it’s a twenty minute ride in a dilapidated old trike. This turned out to be the later and as we crossed over the railway tracks that mark Checkpoint I was thinking to myself shit, I wonder where these two are taking me but then decided well there’s nothing much I can do about it now so I will just go along for the ride and see what happens.

The trike ride to my new hotel took about twenty minutes as we were literally crawling along at a snails pace, plus the driver had to stop to have a piss by the side of the road. Eventually the trike took a left turn following a big sign saying Maharajah Hotel. The Maharajah sounds fairly opulent, I thought to myself, and I hoped I would be able to afford the place. We pulled up at the big glass doors that mark the entry to the Maharajah and within seconds my guide had my bags off the top of the trike and was standing around with an expectant look on his face. I asked him how much for the trike and he told me 100 piso which in those days was a hefty amount but I didn’t know so I rummaged through me wallet and handed him 100 piso for the trike, plus another hundred for himself. I explained what this was for and I must have done something right because this guy upon receiving my tip suddenly went from guiding stranger to my new best friend. He insisted on accompanying me into the hotel and would help me book in. He grabbed my bags and proceeded into the rather grand reception area of the Maharajah Hotel which unbeknownst to me was to become my home away from home whenever I was to visit Angeles in the coming years.

At first glance the Maharajah is really quite impressive, well at least for those times it was and again I found myself wondering if I would be able to afford to stay there. We proceeded up to the counter where two friendly ladies smiled at me and said in unison, “welcome to the Maharajah Hotel sir”. Okay I thought to myself, this is starting out okay, but I better find out how much this joint is. Before I could respond a piece of cardboard like paper was pushed at me and I was politely asked to fill in the form.

For me this was standard procedure that I was used to when living in Australia so I started filling in the form like a good little tourist. On the form there were all the usual questions name, age, country of origin etc then down the bottom was a space to fill in your rank. When I came to this section I told the ladies, “sorry I am not in the services, I don’t have any rank”. Upon hearing this she seemed a bit shocked but recovered quickly enough to say, “no problem sir, just leave that part” Looking back on it the ‘rank’ request on the form was perfectly natural because previously, 99.9% of their customers had been American military personnel. I however was the new breed of invader, and I like to think I was one of the first Southern hemisphere boys who discovered the Maharajah and I know for many years to come, when I met people in Manila who were coming up to Angeles, I would recommend them to the Maharajah Hotel.

After being told to ignore the rank request I asked the lady how much a night the hotel was and she replied 500 piso which in those days with an exchange rate of about 28 to 1 represented about 18 Australian dollars. I thought to myself well this isn’t to bad but since it is out of the way and I don’t see many other customers, I bet I can make a deal for a lesser price. I looked at the lady and gave her what I thought was one of my best smiles and asked her, “how about a discount for longer staying clients”, to which she replied, “how long do you plan on staying” and when I answered, one week, she replied, “okay sir we can give you a room for 450 piso a night but that’s 2 nights payment in advance please sir”. Once again I gave her my best smile and said, “make it 400 a night and I will give you four days payment in advance”. She looked at me with a mischievous sparkle in her eye as if to say who does this cheeky young foreigner think he is trying to bargain with me. She looked at my guide and there was a quick exchange in Tagalog, then she turned back to me and said normally our maximum discount is 50 piso sir but because you are staying one week we will give you a room for four hundred a night with four days in advance payment”. I replied you have a deal and after rummaging through my wallet, an occurrence that happens far to often here in the Philippines, I pulled out 1600 peso handed it to her and next thing I knew was being given directions to my room.

My guide wanted to carry my bags into my room but being a bit wary of this seemingly over friendly Filipino I told him thanks for the offer but I am a big boy and can handle my own luggage. With this said I thanked him again for his help, picked up my bags and made my way towards my room.

I did not know it at the time, but the Maharajah was to become my favorite AC hotel and over the coming years I got to know the staff at the Maharajah well. Some of them even became long term friends who I am still close to some 21 years later.

I was just taking my first steps into the outside dinning area by the pool when I heard a girls voice calling out my name. Thinking I had left something behind at the reception I turned around only to be confronted by a perpetually energetic MayAnne.

C How They Made Me! Chapter 65

Memoirs of a Philippine Mongerer

Chapter 65

Cutting Wally’s Grass

Having just had an awesome blow job from a glamour that supposedly went out very rarely, I was feeling quite pleased with myself. I walked out of the toilet trying to hold back my smug contented smile but this was more easily said than done. I don’t think I did a very good job because as I rejoined the group of drinkers one of the guys looked at me and said, “what you so happy about mate, you look like you just won the bloody lottery”. I looked at him and quickly blurted out something about reading the jokes on the toilet wall, and then to take the attention away from me, I hailed a waitress and ordered another round.

With the round of drinks delivered I was soon forgotten and the discussion moved onto Australian sports and the eternal argument, which is better Aussie rules or Rugby League. In my day I was a decent rugby player and was quite knowledgeable about the game so this conversation was something I could easily contribute to. The discussion, as nearly all such discussions do, soon became quite animated with each side expressing their point of view adamantly. I was just about to make a counter point when one the guys said to me, “hey look at that young fella. Isn’t that Carla the one you were buying drinks for, pashing with that bloke”. I followed the direction of his finger and there sure enough was Carla sitting on some guys lap passionately embracing and kissing him.

When I saw this I couldn’t help but break out into a huge smile and have a little chuckle to myself. Images of her sucking my dick ten minutes ago just wouldn’t leave my head and yet here she was kissing this guy like he was the long lost love of her life. I thought to myself I wonder if I should tell the guy but then thought to myself no why bother what he doesn’t know wont hurt him and why spoil his good time anyway. The guy who had originally pointed her actions out saw the smile on my face and said ” that’s the best way to handle it mate, always have a laugh at these shielas. Fuck it you buy her a few drinks and this is how she treats you best thing you can do is laugh at it and never get to serious mate”.

Upon hearing this I couldn’t contain my laughter any more and broke out in a huge chuckle. The guys in the drinking group must have thought I was wacko but they soon moved on from me as the discussion once again changed and they all became instant experts as they argued about who was the greatest boxer ever.

By now the drinks were beginning to take their toll and as much as I was enjoying the chin wag with my new found friends, I thought to myself, if I want to sit around drinking beer talking about anything and everything I can do that at home. I had come to the Philippines to meet girls and sitting in this group was not exactly conducive to this end. I paid my bill, said my goodbyes to the boys and then proceeded to head out the bar. On the way out I walked past Carla who while still sitting on this guys lap, looked over his shoulder and gave me the most lascivious smile I have ever seen on a woman anywhere in the world.

Still dazed at the gall of Carla, I made it to the front door opened it only to bump straight into MayAnne. Little MayAnne looked at me and said, “Martin why you leave now, I come back look to you”. “Wait a minute” I stammered, “Wally barfine you, so why are you back here”? Completely non pulsed MayAnne replied, “I like go you not Wally”. Ordinarily a situation like this would ring alarm bells, but it was getting late, I was half way inebriated and little MayAnne was a really cute spinner who I just couldn’t say no to.

Throwing caution to the wind I said to MayAnne, “okay honey if you want to go with me let’s do it, I am leaving now and if you want to come with me you are more than welcome”. Upon hearing this she gave me a beaming smile and replied “you pay mamasan”. I thought about this and asked her, “why do I have to pay when Wally has already paid” and she replied, “Wally only short time, you long time, so must pay mamasan”. At this stage I really should have known better but the good old little head got the better of me and next thing I knew I was digging through my wallet and handing over 300 peso for the bar fine.

MayAnne dashed off and within an instant she was back and inserting her arm through mine, escorted me out the bar. Once outside we got a trike back to the Bonanza hotel which I think was a massive 30 piso, (yes the trikes were reasonable back then unlike today) and within ten minutes we were walking into the Bonanzas foyer. The front desk lady was fast asleep at the front desk so I gently shook her to wake her up but upon opening her eyes she gave a quizzical look. I followed the direction of her gaze and of course she was having a hard time concealing her contempt of MayAnne. At first I thought to myself , wait a minute aren’t the hotels here supposed to be tourist and girl friendly and then it dawned on me. This lady had probably seen MayAnne a couple of hours before accompanying Wally. I was about to ask her have you got a problem but then I thought better of it, told her my room number and asked politely for the key. My request seemed to bring her attention back to me and as if coming out of a daze she reached behind her, picked up my room key and handed it to me. Barely able to contain my temper of this judgmental bitch I gave her a smirk, grabbed MayAnne by the hand and headed to my room for another torrid sexual encounter.

I have always found it a good sign if the girl indicates that she is attracted to you, invariably these have been the best sexual encounters, but on the other hand, I have also found that if the girl really likes you and has invested serious feelings in you, then she is invariably lousy in the bed. It’s strange how that works in the Philippines, but for some reason when the girl loves you she will often be overcome with a sense of shyness which stops her from performing in the bed.

With MayAnne however there was no such problem. Yes it was obvious that she was attracted to me but this was a far cry from love, and her sexual performance was indicative of this. MayAnne was obviously out to impress and no sooner had we entered the room she dropped to her knees, undid my pants and proceeded to give me an absolutely stupendous blow job. I don’t know who had taught this girl, but whoever it was had done a masterful job. While she was sucking on my dick I must admit I did experience a fleeting pang of guilt when thinking about Wally in the room next door, but as I said this was only fleeting because MayAnne certainly knew what she was doing and it was not exactly easy to concentrate on anything other than the mind blowing orgasm that was rapidly building up in my loins.

May Anne must have been blowing me for only about 5 minutes when all of a sudden I could contain myself no longer and next thing I knew I was exploding in her mouth. Once my seed was inside her mouth MayAnne daintily stood up and walked to the bathroom as if this was the most natural thing in the world.

That night was a memorable one as May Anne was a little pocket rocket and I managed to get in three rounds of energetic sex. At one stage we were doing it doggie style and the bed head was banging against the wall to the extent where I was afraid we would wake Wally up in the room next door. MayAnne was also extremely vocal and often I would burry her head in the pillow while pounding her. I seem to remember it was about 2 and a half hours between rounds and after each one I thought I was spent but MayAnne with her brilliant oral skills would always find a way to make me rise to the occasion.

The next morning at about 10:30 I wandered downstairs feeling a subtle mixture of absolute contentment exhaustion etched on my features and who should be occupying the little restaurant area, you got it none other than my traveling buddy Wally. When he saw me entering the room he smiled broadly and said, “Marty my old mate, you’re the frigging man. Who was that one you had last night mate she was a noisy bitch, must have been a great shag, I couldn’t bloody sleep mate”. At this stage I tried my hardest to keep a straight face and then Wally said, “listen mate if you wouldn’t mind can you tell me who the girl was you had last night and where she works”?

Oh shit I thought to myself, how the fuck am I going to get out of this one. I sat there slowly turning red with beads of sweat dotting my forehead and then carefully replied, “she works in Ziggys but I cant remember her name”. He looked at me quizzically and replied, “geez mate if I had a good one like that I’d share her with my mates, sharing is caring mate”. I looked at him thinking if you only knew Wally if you only knew, then replied, “no I’m serious mate. I really cant remember her name. I’m hopeless with names, really not trying to hide her from you, promise”.

Wally looked at me with a serious expression and replied, “okay Martin I believe you mate but if we go into Ziggys tonight can you introduce me mate if she is there”. With a sigh of relief I replied, “yeah sure” thinking that this would give me time to brief MayAnne and everything would be okay. Wally seemed satisfied with this and turned back to his coffee. Feeling like I had dodged a bullet I felt the tension flow away and just as I was relaxing Wally suddenly sat alert and looking over at the reception said, “what the fuck, that looks like MayAnne my girl from last night. That little bitch short timed me last night and when I asked her to stay she said she had to get back to the bar because she was feeling sick. I reckon the little slut probably did another short time with some guy who was staying here. Tell you what Marty you just cant trust any of the little shit heads”.
Upon hearing Wally I felt a sudden shiver down my spine and followed his gaze to the reception area and there was MayAnne talking with the receptionist. Instantly I turned my head trying my best impression of a turtle pulling it’s head in beneath its shell but I was to late. MayAnne turned around, saw me waved and shouted out, “hello honey”.

C How They Made Me! Chapter 64

Memoirs of a Philippine Mongerer

Chapter 64

Meeting miss Carla.

Wally grabbed MayAnn in a tight hug then placing her back on the ground he turned to me and said “come on mate I will introduce you to some of the boys”. Wally lead me up to the top of the stage where a bunch of older Australians were gathered all seemingly involved in some deep conversation conducted over rounds of beer. I was thinking twice about butting in, since I didn’t know these guy’s, and I knew how I would feel if someone butted into my conversation in my local. But there was no such restraint for Wally who simply marched up to them together with MayAnn and myself and said, “gooday fellas I want you to meet a mate of mine, Marty. He’s come up from Manila and never been to Angeles before”.

My initial reaction upon hearing this introduction was one of embarrassment but the boys soon put me at ease by saying, “hello mate how’s it going, pull up a stool mate, come and have a drink mate”. From out of nowhere a shapely young waitress suddenly produced two chairs and with a bit of shuffling Wally and I inserted ourselves into the group. MayAnn who still had a tight grasp on Wally’s hand was unceremoniously seated on Wally’s lap and proceeded to wiggle her pert little butt against him every time she needed a drink or felt like getting his attention.

The conversation ranged from the Government in Australia, sports and life in the Philippines. This was a bunch of blokes who although proudly Australian seemed as though they had moved on from their country or Australia had moved on from them leaving them behind in Angeles City Philippines. And the irony was they were actually more comfortable living on the fringes of Filipino society than they were living in Australia. As one of the elder blokes said to me, “mate I will always be true-blue Aussie and proud of it, but fair dinkum mate I don’t reckon I could live in the joint anymore”. This comment seemed to be meet general agreement from the group and I found myself wondering if I would ever get like that. Little did I know that moment was just around the corner, because once you get a taste of the Philippines, for most, it’s a long time habit.

Looking back on this I realize that what these guys were telling me is the feelings of expats all over the world, we are literally strangers in a strange land. We are people who don’t fit into either society, not the one we have left and not the one we have adopted, we are fringe dwellers. For me this was all a bit heavy because at that time I was there for the pussy and figured if I wanted to hear some strangers life story I could do that back in the pub in New Zealand or Australia. At the same time I didn’t mean to be rude so I decided it was my round and promptly ordered one for all the guys in the group. This decision was met with much approval and a chorus of good on ya mate and some gentle back slaps, made me realize I had made the right decision.

The conversation ebbed and flowed with everyone getting slowly more and more drunk. After about 80 minutes of this Wally decided he had more important things to do, so grabbing the already changed MayAnn he signaled the waitress, bought one more round, then paid his bill at the same time saying goodbye to all the group. On her way out MayAnn was behind Wally and as she brushed past me she deftly gave my dick a subtle little squeeze and blew me a little kiss. This was both a turn on and a source of embarrassment since the last thing I wanted to do was have a problem with Wally, especially since he was the one who had brought me to Angeles, this was his turf and these were his mates so for me to be with MayAnn would have been really stupid.

Luckily for me my lack of reaction must have been the right thing because Wally was completely unaware of her actions and the guys who had seen it simply chose to give me a knowing smile and continue drinking their beer. About two hours into what was rapidly becoming a mammoth drinking session, I noticed this girl on stage and thought to myself, wow I wouldn’t mind a bit of that. Not being super comfortable as this was a new environment for me, I cut short one of the guys who was reciting yet another yarn and asked them about the girl. They informed me her name was Carla and she was supposedly one of the best performing girls in the bar. She had a reputation as being a bit of a drama queen but when in the mood was a orally skilled and a good performer.

Hearing this was more than enough for me so I made my polite excuses and grabbing my bill I got up and moved closer to the section of the bar where Carla was dancing. Carla saw me coming, smiled at me, then turned her back on me. It has never ceased to amaze me how these girls working the bar can sense your interest even if you have made no indication of it. Carla knew I was interested but she wasn’t about to give in, she was acting stuck up and she was going to make me work for it.
I must have watched Carla for about 3 songs then after trying various means to get her attention and failing miserably I made my way back to the group of guys at the top of the stage only to be greeted by snide little chuckles and the one of them said, “sorry mate we forgot to tell you her nickname. That’s Carla the cunt”. This was greeted by another round of chuckles and then one of the other guys said, “don’t worry buddy, you’re not the first to be rejected by Carla and you sure as shit won’t be the last.

Being an object of pathetic fun was not exactly my idea of a good time and this last statement was like a challenge to me, so I decided then and there, that I would get this Carla girl, no matter what it took. I smiled lightly at the guy who had issued the challenge then ordered another round as I sat back and worked out my strategy. It was then that the wise advise of David Goldshaft came back to me, if a girl is playing stuck up buy her a drink anyway, and if she still isn’t interested buy her one more but on the second one make it something strong, just to show her the balls still in your court”.

With David’s words echoing in my head I called the ever attentive shapely young waitress over and ordered Carla a drink. The waitress smiled and scurried off, to return 3 minutes later then place Carla’s drink on the bar before me. Carla obviously knew what was going on because with a sultry waggle of her hips she turned round and proceeded to walk towards me. She came right up to me, gave me a provocative look which said come and get me big boy, delicately held the drink, said thank you and then proceeded to walk back to where she had been dancing previously.

Of course all the guys had been watching this and Carla’s rebuffing of my advances elicited another round of chuckles. Feeling a little bit crestfallen I managed to put a brave smile on my face and said, “wait fellas, I’m not finished yet”. I called the waitress over once again and ordered 3 tequilas for Carla. Once again the waitress placed them on the bar in front of me and once again Carla sauntered over and looking me straight in the eye said, “thank you”. With this said she then picked up the Calamansi rubbed it on the top of her right hand, sprinkled it with salt, and with a delicate lady like motion, downed the first Tequila. This process was repeated twice more and once again Carla stood up, turned her back to me and sauntered back to where she had been dancing.

Watching the expression on my face was obviously a source of great amusement for the more experienced fellows as they were all chuckling without restraint. Obviously I had bummed out, and the guys laughter was hardly helping the matter, so I decided to pay my bill and leave. I asked the waitress to total my bill, said goodbye to the guys admitting that they had won, and then made my way to the toilet to let some of the beer out. I was standing next to the urinal with my back turned towards the door, when suddenly I felt a presence. I pushed as hard as I could to finish peeing, quickly zipped up my jeans and turned round, only to be confronted by Carla standing by the toilet door, with a cheeky sparkle in her eyes.

You like Carla she asked me and at a total loss for words I mumbled something like, yeah I sure do but before the words were out of my mouth she had grabbed my hand and was leading me inside the toilet cubicle. Carla shut the toilet door and while kissing me let her left hand wander down to my crotch and deftly undid my zipper. Next thing I knew I was standing there with my jeans around my ankles and the vision of unadulterated lust down on her knees giving me a fabulous blow job, the likes of which I have rarely found even after 22 years of living in AC.

I have no idea where Carla learned her techniques but this girl was absolutely fabulous and within minutes I felt the intoxicating effects of orgasm welling up in my body and brain. It was only a few strokes later and I was exploding in Carla’s mouth. To her credit Carla never spilt a drop and swallowed everything.

After the deed was done Carla simply smiled, opened the toilet door and sauntered out acting like nothing had happened. With legs still trembling I reached down picked up my pants and proceeded to exit the toilet. I was trying my best to look perfectly innocent but just had to break out in a huge smile when the CR attendant smiled at me and asked, “you leave tip sir”?