Here we are , heading into a new year and wondering what 2006 has in store for us. For those of you living in a cold winter climate be advised that I am still swimming at the Hidden Vale swimming pool and enjoying the new sauna as well. I keep trying to lose weight. Will this be the year I get my knee replacement surgery? Priscilla keeps asking me that and I just keep putting it off. Will this be the year that I build our at the Hotel La Casa? Boy, you better believe that Priscilla definitely keeps asking me that. My reply? I am giving that a lot of deep thought. Will this be the year that I meet more readers of this column when they visit Angeles City? I sure hope so! Will this be the last year that Arroyo stays in office? Better I leave that one unanswered. Will it be a good year? I will answer that question in Jan 07.
It was a moderately busy night atSaver’s Mall when suddenly, the drama began. At least 20 Army personnel, with rifles, went rushing into the mall, heading for the floor. My goodness, were they after terrorists, thieves, kidnappers, murderers, carjackers? Customers running for cover, people wondering when the shooting would start, stop the presses, some NPA thugs must be cornered. Do not fear, it was none of that, instead, the riflemen were able to secure the area as they confiscated the pirated DVD’s that were on sale there. None of the “dangerous” vendors pulled out their hidden weapons to fight off this attack, led by a civilian character from the Optical Media Board (OMB). This operation was amazing, what careful planning had to take place, the young Army guys displayed their fitness as they made great leaps and bounds as they scampered up to the second floor. My goodness, what sort of response did they expect? They did not need rifles, in fact they could have done just as well if they were armed with water pistols. But, I guess the OMB guy must be flushed with excitement at the success of his operation. A source tells me that they managed to cart off about 50% of the stock of each vendor but, thankfully, business was back to normal the next day. I say, thank goodness, because I am one of those evil people that shops for the DVD’s at Saver’s as I will not buy the crap copies that are sold on the streets of Fields Ave and downtown Angeles City. Yes, I am guilty of sustaining these lawbreakers and feel a twinge every time I sit down to enjoy a movie I missed at the Cinema, but like smoking, it is one hard habit to break. If only the OMB guy will tell me when the next raid is scheduled so I can record the action, throw in a few hysterical that are knocked over, depict one good looking vendor being raped and then showing the OMB guy selling off all the confiscated movies from his Mercedes car in front of the house where he stashes his mistress, then goes home to his wife and children for Christmas dinner. Then I could sell this fictionalized movie to a Filipino film studio, and wait for the money to roll in. Oh shucks, the money would not be too much because everyone would be on the second floor of Saver’s buying the pirated copies before it even got to the theaters. Then I would have to call the OMB guy to raid the place again – shit, what a vicious cycle this has become. Hell, let me turn on the TV and HBO!
There have been many occasions where I have received emails from readers asking about small they can rent for a month or two or even long term. They want kitchen facilities instead of just renting a hotel room. Recently, a complex named the Patio “V” Apartell was completed and the “V” in the name helps to designate its location next to the VFW in the Clarkton Subdivision, on Perimeter Road. It is a studio apartment complex with 52 fully furnished rooms 17 of which are “wheelchair” friendly set to U.S. standards. Not only are they located next to the VFW where you can get a good meal but they are only one short street away from the Blue Boar Inn (Hotel La Casa) where they can enjoy a full menu (breakfast, lunch, dinner), pool table, darts and a few ladies prepared to take care of all your needs. They have in house a washer and dryer, generator and their own deep well. For the old folks they also doctor certified care givers for under $10 a day. Want more? How about a swimming pool and outside patio BBQ as well as an exercise area with bicycle, stepmaster, and other equipment. OK, now you are ready to know how much this will cost – well pretty reasonable; how about $20 per night, monthly at $15 per night and if you pay a year in advance, you can get the place for $10 a night, and that is a very good deal. For more information contact them by phone/fax/Email or visit their website. Phone: (63-45) 322-4272 or 892-0890; cell phone: 09176101466 or 09196354473; Fax: (63-45) 322-1771; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and finally, the web page at www.patioinnhotels.com. OK guys, this is NOT a paid advertisement! BUT – I did make a deal with Craig and Bill for the occasional use of their swimming pool – being half Jewish, I had to get something out of this effort! Seriously though, the place is kind of impressive and very convenient location wise. But if you stay there, remember to visit this horse at the Blue Boar Inn, I need the business.
It was a pleasure to meet Derek Barclay at the Hang Out last month. I stopped by for a few drinks and I was leaving for home he came up and introduced himself. He divides his time between Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines but is on his way back to Vietnam for a two year stay after the holidays. He reads this column and passes it around to some of his mates in Vietnam and it helps him keep in touch on what is going on in this part of the world. I was surprised when he told me his wife enjoys the reading as well, maybe some day his Mrs can meet Priscilla and tell her all about Vietnam, a country I would like to take the time to visit one of these years. Hope you had a good New Years Derek and that we will meet again when you are back in town.
Mo, at Mo’s Place (Kokomo’s) had a good idea! Get a ATM machine installed so it would attract customers and at the same time be a convenience for ATM machine users. It was a popular decision and was averaging withdrawals of about P200,000 a week of which the bank got 2% but Mo did not receive any percentage and his benefit was increased patronage to his location. But, it became a big headache in that there were so many problems with it running out of cash, being off-line or just out of order. Additionally, many users of the ATM, who were not customers, would abuse the door girls at Voodoo anytime they encountered a problem. Appeals to the bank went no where and Mo’s request to move the machine inside were ignored so the decision was made to get the bank to go and remove it. Now, a good idea has gone sour because of non-cooperation from the bank and ATM users must now go elsewhere to obtain cash. Mo has not given up, he is negotiating with another bank to see if they can install a machine but the problem is that they demand a very high deposit of money first and only give an interest rate of 2-3% which hardly makes it worth it. Lets give Mo credit for trying and also his desire, despite the headaches, to try and get another one installed. Lets face it, it was extremely useful in that location and maybe there will be another one installed if Mo can get the right cooperation from the bank managers (anyone taking bets on how successful that will be?).
A few months ago the Philippine Bureau of Immigration sent out a notice that the requirement for all registered aliens to obtain the ACR-I card would be extended to 31 Dec 05 but, absolutely, no further extensions would be granted. Bear in mind that this was the second extension with the excuse that various groups representing registered aliens have requested these extensions in view of their inability to comply with the deadline considering their vast membership. On 5 Dec, the Bureau of Immigration sent out a new Memorandum Order extending the deadline to 15 Apr 06, supposedly for the same reason. This is a bunch of bull, the real reason is that they do not have their act together in that the equipment, technology, and training is not on hand to put this ridiculous, unnecessary I-Card system into effect. A few people have told me that they heard that this whole I-Card business was the idea of the American FBI and homeland security which may or may not be true but would not surprise me if it was. The general perception amongst the registered aliens living here is that it is all just one big scam to bleed more money from permanent alien residents living here. They want $50 dollars a year for the card in addition to the annual registration fee. When I visited the States last year the I-card was useless in entering or exiting the Philippines. If this program was instituted by the American government then I hope the next time Homeland Security will keep their ideas to themselves or at least provide the money, time and training to the Immigration Department for them to do the job properly. It would be a great surprise to one and all to see this program implemented by 15 Apr. By the time the program is operational, all those who broke their asses to get the card before the first cutoff date will see the card has expired and must apply for a new one without the first one being used. The original paper ACR card I obtained in 1985 did not have an expiration, then the PI government had us replace them but good for only ten years.; now in their infinite wisdom, the new I-card is to be current for only one year. Why the hell can’t it be good for 5 years or longer? Good question? Don’t expect an answer anytime too soon.
The Roadhouse Christmas fund raiser brought in P600,000 for the Bahay Bata Children’s Center, another good effort by Mark Smith and company. It is not easy to squeeze out that much cash from supporters a few days after Christmas.
I always enjoy passing on a message from lads that have spent time in Angeles City and still miss the place. There might be a few folks in town that remember the “Wild Child”.
Good Evening from Korea,
I just wanted to take the time to say thanks for keeping the information flowing from Angeles City. Since leaving in 2003 your monthly articles keep me going on the cold nights here. Great to hear the bars are still going strong but I sure miss being involved in the business ( not sure if you remember me but they called me the Wild Child back when I was working for Mo at King of Diamonds, Horst at Brown Sugar and running Insomnia for Heiko and Roger) and reading the articles monthly helps. Hope all is well there in Angeles and hope to some day make it back to the one place I feel most at home. Thanks and keep Harry the horse going.
MA2 Andrew Turner AKA TXWLDCHLD, COMFLECT Chinhae, ROK, US Navy
When I wrote up the Insomnia Club and the rooms behind it I went on a visual only as I have never stayed there. A reader of this column read what I had to say and took the time to write about his stay there. I know that Dennis, the manager, does all he can to make sure that the rooms are clean and the customers well looked after. I know only full well the helplessness of a situation where one of those damn karaoke Joints are right next door. Or, in the case of the Royal Amsterdam Hotel, right in the back. Regretfully, the City Government allows these karaoke joints and even the many open air restaurants to operate their loud music with no restrictions. The owners could care less if they disturb a neighborhood with loud music in the early morning hours. Why should they, they operate with impunity from any civil codes.
“Harry, Thanks for your reply. I have just finished reading your June edition and thought I might comment on your visit to Insomnia Bar and more particularly the rooms behind it, now known as L’ Tinio’s Inn, where I stayed from mid Oct. to mid Nov. this year. The rooms are quite spacious with cooking facilities, air con, ceiling fan (noisy), cable TV and internet connection. You made note in your column that surprisingly, you could not hear the music from Insomnia in the rooms. Quite so. However, there is a karaoke joint down the back behind Lanie’s Outdoor Tourist Hangout, which is next door and it is really noisy and goes on until about 5am. All rooms at L’ Tinio’s face the karaoke and the noise factor ensured that I had plenty of grog on board before going to bed. The jacuzzi room, as you mentioned, is certainly impressive but I can foresee a problem. The water supply to L’ Tinio’s is from a well on the premises and to my mind, the well is not deep enough. Hence the water stinks. With the jacuzzi full of water, I reckon the room would be less than pleasant. I will write again when I see something I believe is worth commenting on and I will let you know as soon as my arrangements are settled, when I am coming to AC. Regards Phil”
THE COMMENTS BELOW WERE POSTED TO THE AC MESSAGE BOARD:
“Guys I have been to AC many times and aware of most scams and dangers..Last week I was staying at Hana hotel..and with Honeyko (not bar girl? walking from Petron gas station to town, just on dusk…I hear the footsteps, too late ….he grabs HK’s mobile throws a 360 and bolts back up the street…Gutsy guy as I am 6ft4 and very fit…so i turn and chase the little fucker , cursing him as i go….gonna tear him apart …just about got him…exit stage left, into the bush, i followed for a few meters then realizing it was dark and this was his jungle…I pulled the pin and skulked back onto the street. Gotta give him points for guts..Reported it to the Tourist Police…what a pack of tossers..all they did was ring me every hour or so to talk to my gf and ask her out….”yea we will get the phone…no problems…yea we know who he is , we will get him and oh yea would u like dinner…” Why do these guys just skunk around the bars …why dont they actually hang out in areas where stuff goes down….pack of posing wankers are far as I’m concerned..
Talking to a few guys back at the hotel, each one had had a bad experience in this area, from robbery at knife point to bashed and robbed ..so be warned…I WAS aware of it but thought I was bullet proof…The area is that section between the Church and the America Hotel….Have a great Xmas everyone”
This caught my attention because of the alleged actions by the ACTA Tourist Police (TP). I immediately sent a private message to the complainant and he was kind enough to provide me with the date and time of the incident, as well as the cell phone number that was used to contact his girlfriend. I called the number provided and sure enough it was a Tourist Policeman that answered the phone. The matter was investigated directly after my call to a supervisor. The Tourist Police are dedicated volunteers and any abuse of their position will be taken seriously. The objective of the Tourist Police is to provide a safe environment for tourists and residents visiting the tourist area and to be available for assistance when needed. The investigation revealed that an error in procedure predicated this misunderstanding. The incident was traced and the incident of the snatching was entered into the TP log on the evening of 8 Dec. I was told that the girl involved was given the number of the TP hotline to call for follow up but she insisted on having another number and the Tourist Policeman made the mistake of giving his own cell phone number. During the various phone conversations it is suggested that the foreigner misinterpreted conversations with the girl involved and became jealous. During the investigation the girl, who is employed as a waitress was willing to clear the Tourist Policeman of any wrong doing. The bottom line is that procedures in dealing with complainants has been improved. It has been emphasized to all TP personnel to NOT give out personal phone numbers to a man or woman. The hotline number is the only contact number that will be issued to anyone desiring follow up information. The supervisors of the Tourist Police want transparency in all their actions and any complaints are welcome as they help to point out discrepancies in procedures and corrective actions can be taken. Thanks to a report on the AC message board from a concerned foreigner, an error in procedure was discovered and corrected. (After I sent this off to the webmaster for downloading I received a private message on the board which reads as follows: Jimmy i just got an email from my HK and she insists I have misunderstood the situation and that the Tourist Police was not being in appropriate with her and that I was just misreading things….so rather then cause someone a problem when i m not 100% sure of facts …as it was in taglog…I will pull my head in and give the guy the benefit of the doubt. She says he was doing his job… Sorry if i have caused trouble for anyone for flying off at the handle. Thanks -Fortunately I was able to send a modification to my submission and able to clarify the situation. I really appreciate the PM that was sent clearing the TP of any wrong doing.
When enjoying one’s single life in Angeles City one must know when it is time to get rid of a live in girlfriend. An individual that this horse has known for a few years decided to let a young lady move in with him and over the next two years his life was hell as this lady made his life miserable. A few close friends advised him to get let her go as every time he had a few drinks he would relate the latest evils done to him by this lady. By the way, she was quite young when he first took her in so a bit of immaturity was involved. He admitted that he should put her out but his main reason for keeping her was that she gave such good head, the best he ever had. Additionally, he was a bit afraid of her as well. So, on Tuesday, 29 Nov 05, he finally saw the light and realized it was time to part company with this girl. You will understand why he did so after such a long time when you read the short message he sent me:
“I’ve been sick for 2 weeks now, with the green cough & spending most of my time in bed. I finally got rid of my GF, things were getting way out of hand. She was banging my next door neighbors brother & cousin & who knows how many others, then they caught her giving a BJ in front of my gate one night to a 16 year old”.
See folks, you just have to know when it is time to kick that lady out of the house!
THIS NEXT MESSAGE MADE ME A BIT WARY:
“Just a warning to my friends that live in AC. My good mate was gunwhipped this morning outside his gate in Villasol. They forced him into the house at gunpoint and stole over P100,000. Please be careful.”
As fate would have it, when attending the Dec 28 Roadhouse fundraiser for the Bahay Bata Street Children’s Center the victim of this incident approached me and gave me the details of this incident. He was returning home via Tricycle at 0430 hours, paid the Trike driver, opened the gate to his house, when two individuals came up behind him and placed a gun to his head and asked for his money. He told them he did not have any and that earned him a bash to the head that knocked him down where they continued to ask for money and hit him again. He told them that he did not have money but would let them in the house where he had some money and would give it to them. They allowed him to enter the house, then pushed him and knocked him down again but fortunately he landed close to where he had a bag with money in it. They still had the gun to his head and kept pushing it and asking for money. He gave them whatever was in the bag and it amounted to P100,000 and with that they ran out the door and up the street. During this incident his only concern was to stay conscious and not to do anything that would cause them to fire their weapon. He did call the police after the incident but did not know which station responded but he now has a very low opinion of these lads in uniform as all they did was sit around and ask him if he had insurance. They did not do anything to make him think that they were concerned or would investigate. The victim does own some properties that would make him appear to be financially successful and it could be assumed that these two lads that accosted him were lying in wait for him to get home. I do not think that two people would just happen to be standing around at 4:30 in the morning, with guns, to randomly seek out a target. We have noticed that crime has been reduced in the Tourist Area but outside that perimeter a noticeable increase in criminal activities has been noted. Be alert folks, the Christmas and New Years season is not a time to drop your guard. The scum bag, low life criminals are alive and well.(For what it’s worth – on 29 Dec I visited Compac 44 at the Clark Friendship Gate to ascertain what action was being taken in regards to this incident. PO2 Manuel Venasquez and SPO 3 George Paragas were very cooperative in answering my feeble questions. They indicated that follow-up actions were being taken in trying to obtain leads but it was difficult because the victim could not provide any descriptions of the perps. They are increasing their patrols of the area but at this time there are no leads. PO2 Venasquez was the first officer on the scene as he had been called at home to respond because he had left his number with the Villa Sol Security guard. Now, the residents pay P1,000 a month for security but the guard post is located in an area where the security guard could not see the victims residence located just around the corner from where the post is. Of course, he patrols the area but at that time did not see anything. I was not able to interview the night shift officers who responded to ask why the victim would feel they were not concerned. It appears that they are making some efforts to investigate within their capabilities. You know how that goes – I would suggest that the victim and residents of Villa Sol continue to push for follow-up actions and speak with the Station Commander, PSINS DeGuzman as well as reviewing how effective the security service they are paying for really is).
On 10th I received an email from Garreth Loxton, the son of David Loxton Y Charles, a 63 year old expat who was murdered on New York Street, Villasol, one year ago (6 Nov 04). The son wrote that at this time of the year he was thinking of his father, felt a bit sad and was wondering what had happened to the people who killed his father. I was surprised that David’s wife was not in touch with Garreth. Anyway, I was able to ask the assistance of City Police Director PS/Supt Segubre in providing an update for Garreth and by late November I was provided an update and copies of all reports regarding this incident. There were three suspects, Robert Goyha, Philip Molina and Manny Lavenia. Robert and Philip were apprehended after the incident and charged in court docketed under Criminal Case No. 04-848 at Regional Trial Court Branch 61, and presently detained at Angeles City District Jail. The third suspect Manny is still at large and now subject of a manhunt by the Angeles City Police Office (ACPO). I did not have a chance to interview the wife, living at 185 Ohio Stl, Villasol Subdv. as I only wanted to get an update from the police. Garreth, if you would like me to mail you the pertinent documents forwarded to me by the police, send me your mailing address at email@example.com . I hope, that in some small way, I have helped you get through your anguish at this time of the year.
I was saddened to receive an email from Greg Carroll informing me about the passing of John Martin. The text follows:
“John Martin ex Greenlands died 2pm Manila time today Dec 24. This was confirmed by his daughter Michelle in an e-mail sent to Bob Lemon. Michelle didn’t pass on any further details re this news.”
John used to keep in touch with me for a few years but that communication stopped about a year ago. Financially and health wise John never got over the trauma of being jailed over a drug bust at his house that was a set up by the police, as proven in court. He beat the charges but it ruined him, he was never the same afterwards. The last I heard he was in Compostela, Cebu, living with his new family. John was living a very budgeted existence in Cebu and I heard that his health was not all that great. There are many folks here in Angeles City that knew John Martin and joined Greenlands at the very beginning. John had great plans for the place but was never able to get the financing necessary to accomplish his dreams. So, another individual, Greg M. arrived on the scene with lots of money and lots of dreams as well. Not all that much was accomplished over the years, for one reason or another but now, at last, there are some positive improvements taking place at Hidden Vale. But, Greg is in Australia undergoing medical treatment for a cancer problem and his beloved Hidden Vale is being managed by a new dynamic management team who are doing their best to transform the dreams of two men into a reality. Naturally, the one stumbling block is financing but that is being aggressively pursued. No doubt John Martin, in whatever location he finds himself now, will either be looking up or down on his favorite project and some distant year in the future, when Greg joins him I am sure they will have some interesting things to chat about. I wonder, in the hereafter, do they have courts??
Another old friend to many lads here in Angeles City was John Mcloud who passed away on the morning of 21 Dec 05. John had lived in the Philippines for many, many years and used to work in Manila. I met him through Marine Steve, Tim and a few others when he became involved in the pool leagues. He was 78 years old and had been ill since Sep and it is suspected that he died of a heart attack. I will always remember John and the old Mercedes that he kept on the road for many years pass its prime but, like John, the old motor just kind of gave up. It’s hard to say goodbye to old friends and sometimes adding a name to this “TAPS” list kind of hurts, but, “Goodbye John, it was a pleasure to know you, by the way, Lolit (the Mouse) will always remember you as will all your mates here”.
2006 AUSTRALIA DAY FIESTA
The Australia Day Fiesta will once again be held in Balibago from January 25 th to January 29 th . As a prelude the Angeles City Businessmen’s Club (ACBC) will be hosting their monthly luncheon at the Fiesta Garden Hotel on Friday January 20 th . The Fiesta itself kicks off on Wednesday January 25 th with the Miss Australia/Philippines Beauty Pageant being held for the first time at the Wild Orchid Resort. Tickets may be obtained from the Resort. On Friday the 27 th the World famous “Bell ring” will be held for the first time at Lollipops. All proceeds from the Bell ring go to local charities and the ringers name will be placed on a plaque for the lifetime of that bar. For the Sports enthusiasts there are pool competitions at “Mo’s Place” and a number of high standard dart matches at the famous Hotel La Casa (Blue Boar Inn). Sunday sees the Grand Finale. The famous Angeles City “Curry Cook-Off”. This is held outside Mo’s Place. The Street Fiesta starts at lunch time and proceeds into the night. There is a live band and fun things for the kids as well as copious amounts of food and beverages. For more info contact Wild Orchid Resort, Roys Pub or Fiesta Garden Hotel.
TOURIST OF THE MONTH
A reader of this column that hails from Allentown, Pa., USA had the opportunity to return to Angeles after a three year absence. Geoge Resetar works for the school district middle school in Allentown (Bethlehem) as an all around handy man. His previous visits here were in 93 and 98 and after he retires in five more years, hopes to be able to spend more time here. Even in Allentown, in order to hold a non-teaching job with the school district George was forced to learn Spanish in order to keep his job. Needless to say, any hesitancy to learn this second language or to voice any complaint about it would, in this politically correct school district, lead to any employee losing his/her job. I’m not even sure that one can even utter the words “Merry Christmas” in this school anymore. Alas, George is a “VFW”, a victim of a Filipino Wife who after a few years in the States decided to move on to other endeavors. Never-the-less, George remains upbeat, happy and content with his life and while here he found that Bananita’s Club on Fields Ave suited him just fine. The good part about working in a Latino dominated environment in his school is that after five years it will not be difficult to learn Tagalog if he decides to spend more time here. But, he will find that the locals here enjoy speaking English, unlike where he works now. At least here, Tagalog is the national language, too bad that the US has not learned their lesson and officially adopted English as their national language, maybe then the spirit of the so called “melting pot” could have been continued. Good luck George, see you in a year or two
THE RICHTHOFEN GARDEN GRILL AND RESTAURANT
If you ever get a chance to check out this eatery please do so. After the great Sisig Festival held in Angeles City on
early last month Priscilla and I were wondering where to eat. As we were driving home we remembered that after the 2004 Sisig Festival we stopped and ate at the Richthofen Restaurant in Hensonville and figured, “why not, lets start a tradition”. Naturally we had Sisig and remembered that it was a very nice place to eat. This year though, the attraction was not the food but the wild and funny lady named Myrna Marmol who happened to be a very original entertainer with a great voice. This lady just came up to us with a big smile and just started talking and she is a character, with a wild style of dress and very funny. Within five minutes we were all buddies. Now, I want to tell you older guys who are looking for a companion, Myrna is waiting for you. She is a very active 49 years old with three grown children and is looking for that guy who will love her and treat her with respect. I would suspect that any man courting this Myrna would have his hands full, this lady is fun, fun and more fun but believe me, she is unique. I told her I would put her picture in this column and anyone interested can call her at 09104156405. Now, if you want to send her and email, just send it to me and I will pass it to her as she did not have her own email address. Even if you are not looking for romance, you have to check her out at the Richthofen any Wed, Fri or Saturday night as she will entertain your pants off. Myrna said she “needs somebody to like me” and who knows, maybe one of you readers of this column could fill the bill. If so, let me know, it would make a great story and picture.
TWO FOR ONE
Take the time to drop by the Limited Edition Club on Perimeter Road to check out the dynamic 18 year old twins from San Nicolas, Gua Gua, Pampanga. From left to right are Maryjane and Maryanne and at the time I took this picture (27 Dec, 1330 hrs), both of them were cherry girls. I cannot offer any guarantees of their continued innocence beyond that day. They have been working at this location for one month and have one brother and three more sisters. They like listening to the radio, watching TV, singing (of course) and dancing. They told me that in the short month they have been working that they have many suiters but no one has gotten to first base yet. If you want to join the group you can call Maryjane at 09204990983 and Maryanne, 09212262214. Maryjane must be more popular because she has a second phone number at 09287505277. Something tells me that these ladies should open a bank account as Christmas will probably come every day for them. These are not my “I would if I could” girls for this month, they are too young for me and way too innocent.
THE SHORTEST DAY OF THE YEAR
Hashers use any excuse to run and drink beer so how about a mob from KL Malaysia coming over to Angeles City to celebrate, on Dec 19, the shortest day of the year with the AC Hashers. I don’t know who drank the most bear but the AC mob is famous for their ability to down gallons of it so I suspect that the KL folks would have had to go some to out do them. I promised Jacko, who turned 60 years of age on 30 Dec that I would put in a few pictures of the special occasion. The KL Hashers not only celebrate the shortest day but also the longest day and they travel to different countries every year to spread their message. I wonder if on the longest day, that is cause to run longer and take more time drinking?
In late November and early December the Hidden Vale Sports Club hosted the SouthEast Asian Games (SEAG) Lawn Bowls Event, the only SEAG event held in Angeles City. The management of Hidden Vale went all out to prepare the venue and provide a wonderful, festive, well organized opening day ceremony that despite a rain delay, was magnificent. Planning for this event took months and much of the hard work and planning fell on the shoulders of Charmaine Pineda with her team of busy bees. After the ceremony, blessed with the presence of Mayor Lazatin and Secretary Rene Diaz, dinner was served in a beautiful setting around the swimming pool. Everything was nearly perfect, the only blemish occurred when the host Hidden Vale home team, at the urging of Ronalyn Greenlees, walked out of the dinner in a huff and ate elsewhere. Ronalyn had her reasons but the gesture was an insult to the visiting teams and also to the Hidden Vale organizers of the event. Fortunately, the next day the sun was shining and the Hidden Vale team did extremely well, as they did on each succeeding day. On the last day I was witness to one of the most dramatic sporting moments I have ever personally been present for. The Hidden Vale team played their hearts out to try and win a gold medal and they had the opportunity to win four. But they had garnered three silvers and one bronze and there was only one chance left to win a gold, the last event, men’s singles with young Ronald Lising representing the PI against a top Malaysian player. Everybody was on pins and needles as it came down to the very last ball of the last round with the score tied and Ronald, with nerves of steel, rolled that ball in for the final point that gave him the gold for himself and the Philippines. I swear that the cheers and shouting could be heard in adjoining neighborhoods and the entire Philippine team could hold their heads high for a job well done. It was a magnificent effort.
THE 2005 SISIG FESTIVAL
There were so many different events taking place in December that no tourist or expat should have been bored. For the second year I attended the Angeles City Sisig Festival, this time dubbed, “176 Ways of Cooking Sisig” and believe me, there were 176 different dishes presented for judging. This is a two day event that is fun, fun, fun. It was so interesting to see both professionals and amateurs preparing their versions of Sisig and I was able to sneak in quite a bit of tasting while I was roaming around taking pictures. This is a project of the Angeles City Mayor, organized by the talented Irish Calaguas who somehow manages to maintain her health despite her busy schedule and pressures of the job. The event was hugely successful and I was able to see the Mayor maintaining a positive, happy face, as he was sampling the many exotic dishes presented to him. I suspect that his stomach was begging for relief by the time he left the venue. When Dec 06 comes around, be sure to check out the Sisig Festival, it is one great event.
AC BUSINESSMEN’S LUNCH
My thanks go out to the President of the AC Businessmen’s Club (ACBC), Pat Lynch and his supporting officers for the great work they did last year in attracting new members and organizing the many enjoyable luncheon meetings at various venues. This Horse is most appreciative of the donation for my Christmas Charity project approved by the board and members during the luncheon held at the Winchester Club. Most of the Expat businessmen in town belong to this Club and it is a great opportunity to be able to get together to meet each other and to pass on pertinent information as needed. The luncheons are usually entertaining as attendees can take advantage of the opportunity to meet new people and take a few hours out of their busy schedules to relax. Starting a new business in town? By all means, sign up with the ACBC and take advantage of the wealth of information, based on experience, available to you.
FINE DINING AT VFW
In business, especially the food business, one must be willing to take chances by trying something new once in a while. The VFW Canteen manager, Mike Harrington, decided to try a new idea to attract that group of diners who enjoy gourmet dining but live in a town that does not have that many venues offering the menu items that would fall into the category of “fine dining”. Mike realized that the idea may or may not work but he was willing to give it a try and last month he presented a menu of various dishes to invited guests in order to gauge their reactions. Now, bear in mind that most people would never associate fine dining with the VFW as most expect a good meal at a reasonable cost. Now, on Fridays and Saturdays a special upscale menu is offered in the “Essary Room” from 6 to 10 PM where Mike will be offering great dishes of the world. For the meals offered the prices are reasonable compared to other restaurants offering gourmet selections. Remember, this dining offering is on a trial basis and its continuance or expansion is dependent on acceptance by the dining public. I believe Mike plans to give it a 45 day trial and hopefully, it will be a success; if not, don’t worry, he will come up with another idea to attract that discerning diner. Mike, just in case it doesn’t work could you keep that chocolate-strawberry cake and the chocolate fondue on the menu?
I WOULD IF I COULD
No matter what happens with the fine dining adventure at the VFW, I sure do hope that Mike keeps the beautiful, personable, classy hostess Jarlyn that he hired just for the Essary Room on the staff. This lady has to be special and would be a great catch for any single man looking for that “special lady”. She is from Leyte but raised in Manila and finished 3 years of college working towards a teaching degree before running out of money. She was happy to land this job at the VFW so that she could save enough money to finish her college. Jarlyn has experienced sadness early in her 21 years in that her mother died of a heart attack when she was 5 years old and her father was a victim of a hit and run accident when she was 13. This lady is tall, personable, attractive, intelligent and absolutely perfect for the Essary Room. Good choice Mike!
BE MERRY AT CHERRYS
First it was Jerry at Cherrys, then Les and Charlie at Cherrys and now we have John Cody leading the way at Cherrys Bar and he has vowed to work hard to bring back the fun atmosphere that popularized this Club in the beginning. Old snaggle tooth Jerry of Jerry’s Cafe fame just ran out of steam and welcomed the opportunity to sell out to two individuals that had absolutely no experience in running a bar in Angeles City and they found out that it was a big difference between being a customer and actually running a Club. Anyway, they only lasted a month and was only too happy to sell, cut their losses and run. Enter John Cody, a much more down to earth guy that realized it was going to take a bit of work to get things moving and that it would take a bit of time. Then what happens, he becomes a victim of a robbery. A few of the local cockroaches backed up a van to the door of Cherry’s Club at 0100 hrs one morning, break in and clean out the place, taking a fair amount of cash, equipment and top shelf liquor (no local shit for these lads). Mind you, right next door at Stampede is an armed guard and one of the ladies working at Cherrys happened to pass the place on the way home and noticed the van but took no notice. So, bad luck right off the bat for John but there is no giving up with this lad. Instead, he regrouped and is now looking at ways to increase business by keeping his prices at affordable rates, i.e., P45 for local drinks, ladies drinks only P85 and that other popular item remaining at P1,000. He plans to add a pool table and bring in some new good looking dancers that will keep things jumping during his 1300 – 2300 operating hours. Being a smart man from Benidgo, Victoria, Australia he also decided to advertise in this column again because he knew the old Horse needed money for feed. I already mentioned that Cherrys is located next to Stampede on Perimeter Road so dedicated bar hoppers have a good one two combination without having to walk more than a couple of steps. Like any new Club owner I run into I hope for their success, especially when trying to compete with the Clubs on Fields Ave because it ain’t easy getting the tourists past the Checkpoint. Bit by bit though, more tourists are beginning to realize why the local expats frequent the bars along Fields Ave – more fun at a lesser price and more often than not, you can communicate with the owners, not just the Mamasans. So, drop by Cherry’s Club and chat with John, buy a few drinks and like Mac (a tourist from Calif.), pictured here with a group of ladies surrounding him, enjoy yourself. At Cherry’s the customer is King!
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Usually at this time of the year I try to go around and get a few pictures from the bars depicting the ladies in a group and wishing everyone a happy New Year. Well, I just did not have the time to get around this year but did manage to hit the Stampede (Jimbo will be providing the entertainment for the 7 Jan Knights of the Brown Ring – AH Club) and T-Times. I wanted to catch a few ladies on Fields Ave as well but that will have to wait. By the way, I have been told that T-Times should get their electricity turned turned back on around the first or second week of January. The generator they have been using has kept them afloat but I know the owner will be glad to give it a rest.
COOKING WITH CHEF CHRIS
I could not resist that title, after all Chef Chris is a TV personality on Channel 3 as he demonstrates various secrets of the trade in cooking and preparing gourmet meals. I can dig the show but but how can a horse who is content with a Burger King meal write about gourmet food. The answer is – not very damn well. Never-the-less, I do have to say that I attended the pre-Christmas gourmet buffet offering at the “C” Italian Restaurant on 15 Dec. This is where Chris works when he is not on TV and gives his following a chance to taste the results of his efforts. This was a special evening where reservations were required and the cost was P990+ per person which is approximately $20, a bargain for what was served, including wine. So, what was served – Hah, you think I remember or even know how to pronounce all those fancy names and for sure I would not remember how to spell the names. Who needs details anyway, the main thing is that all the various dishes were delicious, even better than a Burger King Whopper and with a special musical group from Manila (The Leggiero Strings) which really added a touch of class to the whole evening. I even put on 4 pairs of long pants for the evening as Priscilla would not let me wear shorts. The bottom line is that the evening was a huge success and Chris deserves a round of applause for the excellent cuisine he put out. You know, one does not have to wait for these special events to dine at “C” just pick any night except Monday (closed) and order up the treats on the menu. You might see me there, teaching Chris how to prepare a gourmet hamburger, hell, who the heck wants to drive all the way to SM for a Burger King all the time.
FANTASTIC WINDOW WASHER
I was visiting Karel Heinen at his beautiful house in Hensonville Plaza last month when I noticed two attractive ladies washing the large glass wall leading to the interior of the house. I was impressed, so of course I had to tell Karel that I wanted to take their pictures. As I started to set up my camera one of them ran away into the house but 21 year old Tessie could not get off the ladder fast enough. She would not cooperate and refused to turn around but with my pleas and encouragement from Karel, his mother and father, she reluctantly sort of faced the camera. Of course she is both shy and single but you may disagree with me, but I think she is a very pretty young lady with a bit of a sense of humor. I don’t know if she kept her eyes closed because of her shyness or because the photographer was ugly, guess she never saw a horse taking pictures before. Eat your heart out guys, you probably will never be able to meet Tessie but isn’t she just plain nice to look at?
VACATION HOUSE FOR RENT
OK, after I got over the sight of Tessie, it was time to get down to business. Karel told me of the house he purchased on the street just behind his property that he was planning to rent out to tourists coming to Angeles City and would even entertain offers for purchase. The purchase price is substantial but would have to be discussed with the owner. But, imagine, this house will be furnished to include TV’s, stereo system, etc. It offers a master bedroom and two guest rooms, a kitchen, living room and a fantastic pool. The cost would be $300 a day which might sound expensive but not if three people share the expenses. It would be a great vacation retreat where you can swim, prepare your own meals and live, for a week or two in a beautiful villa located in an exclusive subdivision. The only problem might be transportation but when I mentioned this to Karel he indicated that a car and driver could be provided at extra cost. Folks, this is a deal to take advantage of before someone buys the house and the opportunity is lost. Imagine three guys with three or more beautiful ladies enjoying this house, sleeping, cooking and swimming in a romantic setting. Oh yes, the wall is high enough to provide privacy when swimming. For enquiries send an Email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Since the opening of the ONA City Government Hospital this Horse has donned his Santa Claus outfit and delivered food packages, toys, candy and money to each low income patient on Christmas Eve. This is a private effort on the part of Priscilla and myself but made possible with donations from many friends each year that want to contribute to this effort. Now, each year I have told myself, that it is nice that the City Government has a hospital that is accessible to the poor but after only a few years, it was becoming shabby, run down and lacking in medical equipment. It was no place that this horse wanted to be hospitalized but this Dec 24th, when Santa and team drove up outside I was surprised to see remarkable changes. The entrance to the emergency room had been moved, when we got inside we were greeted by a newly painted room and evidence of renovations were evident. The staff and doctors were busy but everything seemed more professional and organized. As we proceeded to the wards we stopped to greet the staff in the laboratory – wow, what a difference. It had been completely renovated, windows removed, air-conditioning installed, spotless and new laboratory machines on hand. I was in shock! As we delivered our packages to the patients more and more improvements were evident and I was told that this is a major project that will continue for quite a few more months until the entire hospital experiences a major facelift. My goodness, how is this possible? There is a stateside company named Knightsbridge who has been donating thousands of dollars worth of medical supplies to this hospital through the Rotary Club of Clark Centennial and rather than just receiving the equipment and turning it over to the hospital, this Rotary decided to do more and created a Rotary project to not only monitor the delivery and use of this equipment but to undertake the renovation. Angeles City Mayor Lazatin has added funds along with Rotary funds and asked that the organizer of organizers, Mark Smith be the project manager. Mark, along with the new ONA Director, Dr. Canlas are putting in many hours every day to make this transformation a reality. Believe me, within a few short months if I catch some horse disease that requires me to spend some time in a hospital, I do believe I will choose ONA. It is not only the renovations that make me want to do this, but the addition of the state of the art medical equipment donated by Knightsbridge. There are also plans to add new private rooms to equal rooms offered at the various private hospitals in town. Of course, nothing comes cheap and, of course, the money provided by the City and the Rotary is not enough to do everything so Mark Smith will be holding a fund raiser at the Roadhouse sometime in February to try and raise P600,000 for equipment needed in the pediatric ward. It won’t be long before ONA Hospital will be a facility that the City and Mayor Lazatin can be proud of.
I am late this month. I am just finishing this column on the night of 30 Dec and will be forwarding it to Tom Deasy in the States for him to download to the site. I hope he is not celebrating the New Year too much. I am happy to report that Vergie and his son have joined him in the States. That was, indeed, a nice Christmas present. I miss his company here for Priscilla and I do not have anyone to go to the movies with anymore. I certainly thank all of you that have taken the time for one whole year to read my words and I really enjoy your Emails. You folks keep me going and I appreciate it, very much. I look forward to 2006 as I treasure each year that I manage to not only stay alive but to stay healthy and to be able to make new friends. Priscilla, myself and our 7 year old rug-rat wish everyone a very happy New Year. Oh yeah, remember to be kind to horses, especially the old ones.