ANGELES CITY NEWS

April 2009

When the USAF was at Clark they had a saying that went:  "Everything on base has been stolen, some of it just hasn't been picked up yet!"  Reading the local bulletin boards there have been many posts in the last few months about petty theft, rip off's in clubs, and personal safety.  Here is my take on some of these topics:

PADDED BILLS

This month there were accusations on the local bulletin boards about several bars padding the bills.  I won't name the clubs based on  anonymous postings. This isn't a new scam in Angeles City, and IMO it can happen in any club (It is probably an employee scam, not something condoned by the owners of any club).  There are lots of waitresses around town that may attempt to over charge the customers.  If you are spending like a idiot and not paying attention to your chits, don't be surprised if you end up with some extra bills in your cup.  Also, if you don't add up your bills before you give them to the waitress, don't be shocked if she adds a few hundred pisos to your bill.  And last, but not least, there are a number of waitresses that will stall on bringing your change as lots of drunk guys forget they have change coming.

HOTEL SAFE THEFTS

And again, I have received two more reports of people having money stolen out of their hotel safes.  As with all these reports I have seen, there is no proof.  At least one hotel in town was able to prove that no money was removed during the alleged period (by anyone other than the room guest) because they had hallway surveillance videos and computer records that indicated when the room and safe had been opened.  I strongly encourage tourists to bring a locking bank bag. These bags would eliminate any doubt on whether any money was removed by hotel staff or if it was removed by the tourist himself in a alcohol haze. I have some locking bank bags coming from the USA but don't expect them to arrive until some time in May.

PERSONAL SAFETY

All the above problems can be prevented with a little situational awareness. The same can be said about your vacation in Angeles City.  This month we had an American tourist murdered.  As sad as it is, it was preventable as he was in a place where he should not have been at 4:30 in the morning. Walking inside the tourist area (from Margarita Station to Mc Donald's, all of Real Street and Santos Street from Kokomo's to Wild Orchid) at night is generally safe.  Walking down dark streets or alleys is not recommended.  Walking on Perimeter Road after dark is NOT RECOMMENDED.  There are dark areas all along this road.  Guys walking on this road can be seen by "bad guys" in passing jeeps, trikes, & motorcycles.  They simply turn around and wait until the walker is in an isolated area and then drive in and rob/mug the individual.  Pay the $1-2 to the trikes and go directly to your destination.

POLICE CORRUPTION

It has now been over three months since the last reported police setup. There are now so many individuals watching the police in Angeles City that I do not foresee any return to the problems we saw in 2008.   In total 12 police were transferred or terminated (see article on right that says 10 police were relieved). 

If you have any problems with corruption, report them as soon as possible to a hotel owner, a club manager or a manager at Margarita Station. 

MARGARITA STATION NEWS

 

BAHAY PAG-IBIG  After a few months delay we were finally able to give the residents of Bahay Pag-Ibig (Home for the aged) some toiletries kits.  JC was able to find some affordable bags, soap dishes,  and quality (Oral B) toothbrushes in Bangkok.  Our staff built bags containing soap, shampoo, deodorant, q-tips, mouthwash, tooth brushes, and tooth paste.

Before we handed out the toiletries kits we fed the residents lunch compliments Margarita Station, the Wild Orchid Group, and the mother of several of our employees (who donated some chicken adobo).

Again thanks to: Jim Beard for donating many of the toiletries items;  Ta & Mel for donating new flip flops for all the residents; and Delmar for donating cash which we used to buy them coffee & Milo.  Also, thanks to the Wild Orchid and their staff for helping us feed the residents.

ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT & PERIMETER ROAD NEWS

Chris from C'Italian Dining suffered a minor stroke early one morning while getting his day started at the restaurant.  Fortunately he recognized what was happening and he was taken immediately to AUF. There, Doctor Froi Canals and his staff treated Chris and he was able to return to the restaurant only about a week later.  Welcome back, again, Chris.

A new ATM machine has been installed in front of ABC Hotel
GAMBLING seems to be a new and growing attraction in Angeles City.  The Wild Orchid Hotel has had Texas Hold'em for well over a year.  Now, both the Blue Nile Hotel and the Bangkok Hotel next door have poker rooms. There have been gambling machines in Blue Nile, BNE and Nero's for a long time. This month the first two floors of the Golden Nile are being filled with slot machines.  And word is that the new owners of Shanno's will change the format there to include a poker room.

NEW BARS  Construction is going fast on the new bars that Gerard is putting up between Mc Donald's and the Walkabout Hotel at the end of Fields Avenue.  Scheduled completion for the first one is mid to late May 2009.

The Body Shop is going to have two new clubs in this complex ( SHOOTERZ and CAR WASH).  Our Russian friend, VR, (Sky Bar in the ABC), is planning a club on the main floor with two karaoke rooms & two jacuzzi hotel rooms on the 2nd floor.  Chef Franz (Azzura) will open a restaurant/disco in one of the units.  Last, but not least, George (Gecko's) will be doing a Pattaya style open air bar in front of the other clubs.

He is at it again!  Gerard has decided to build still another building in Angeles. This time it will be a condo project.  These  spacious units will be made with the best  construction materials.  Additionally, he has incorporated some of the latest high tech devices to insure the security of all tenants.

Constructed by the ABC hotel project management group, this building will feature 19 units, two elevators, secure parking, energy saving windows and lots more.

Situated on the Field's plaza, on the corner of Field's Avenue and MacArthur Avenue, these units are walking distance to the action.

Click for >> FLOOR PLANS 

For more info, visit www.fieldsplazacondos.com

MASSAGE PARLOR  Construction is under way for a new massage parlor on the corner lot that Gerard owns near Checkpoint.  A Mini-Mart has leased the corner portion of the lot to the left of this photo.  No idea when they will begin construction.

CLUB SPOTLIGHT

STARGATE This club is located several miles down Perimeter Road.  Neil is the "Cal Worthington" of Angeles City.  he often has so many promos going on that nobody can keep track of them.  Right now he has FREE local drinks every Mon, Wed, & Friday from 6 pm - 7 pm.  No catches, your drinks are FREE!  He also has an Aussie BBQ Bash every Friday from 4-6 pm.  Sausages & steak sandwiches for only P100.

Stargate and Roadies are also the only two clubs with a belt system to help you determine the status of the staff.

 
This girl just loves to dance. She smiles & rocks to the music

Neil grilling a huge tenderized steak on the barbie.

There is a free trike shuttle between Stargate & Roadies.

PHOTOS OF THE MONTH

Do you think OSHA would approve of this elevator ride at the Lexus construction site?

 Great new medicine in Thailand.  Probably work good for Angeles girls too!

OPENINGS - CHANGES - ETC

This one snuck up on me.  Pussy Cat Dolls is located next to Bar Hoppin.
CHEERS Bar on Perimeter Road has closed. The owner has returned to his country of residence and is not expected to return to the Philippines.  I don't think many people will notice it is gone.

Lots of clubs in the entertainment area are changing their operating hours.

NEW

HOURS

  opens closes REMARKS
Body Shop 4pm 1am  
KOD 3pm midnight  
Lollipop 2pm midnight  
Tropix 2pm   50p local drinks till 7pm
Treasure island noon   Happy hour until 6 pm
Typhoon 3 pm 3 am  
Doctor Holms    2 pm 2 am  

Bourbon Street & Viper room was recently sold to the La Pasha group. Word on the street is they will rebuild both.  The Bourbon Street location will be reopened as a bar. Viper Room will be renamed Passion.

TEQUILA REEF After some construction delays, Tequila Reef is expecting to open in early April.  The cooks have been training on the menu for several weeks and the service staff has been moved from Margarita Station to train together at the Reef.  More photos and info at: http://www.angeleseyes.com/trc/
Castilla La Mancha is a new  Spanish Restaurant restaurant that opened during the third week of March.  It is located between the Savannah Hotel and Wee George's/Roadies.  Reports from one friend, that has spent a lot of time in Spain, was that the food was good and he will go back soon.

 

                      Below is a review from Chef Chris @ C'Italian:

Castillia la Mancha much has been written about this new Spanish restaurant, once again the Charlie’s are out in force predicting their immediate demise!!! I know a little about opening a place that only few believed to be around for long!  Always in search for a great meal at a new place I visited Castillia last night and now here are my five cent’s worth about the restaurant and the quality of the food, service and more.!

Croquette:  good quality, golden brown, freshly prepared, well spiced loved it, the dipping sauce they serve on the side is no match and not required!
Chorizo: very good they used good quality chorizo and good oil, one plate is almost not enough!
Gambas: nice fresh shrimps, good oil used, well prepared authentic!
Chicken salad: strange mayo based salad with oranges, not really Spanish if you asked me, made a pass on it after one bite, my better half liked it
Pumpkin soup: powder based soup with a twist, nice but not good or great!
Paella (para dos): huge serving with seafood, chicken, pork, prepared fresh, with fresh ingredients, local rice was used but over all, very good and will simply return just for that!
Ox tail braised with olives: very good, huge serving costing next to nothing!
Calleos: same as for the ox tail, just loved it!

Interior functional but not more, the bench is tiny loved to see some of the larger guys fit on it. The flowers should be gone, better none than these dead pieces that were displayed!
CR  needs to be addressed ASAP.
Service and more mostly male service staff, one female around! They service staff know the menu can make suggestion are alert for the guest needs but give you room to enjoy the meal without being overly attentive! The chef preparing the meal stays in the background, one the service staff may actually gives him a hand in the prep/ finishing work! I had the impression that the whole restaurant is a family run business, were they actually care if you like the meal or not and take pride in it to make you happy! Will this assure they survive!! NO, but I do hope they will stick around for a while, the meal over all was VERY NICE INDEED and I have finally found a new Monday destination to relax and enjoy a meal by someone that seems to cares if a guest returns after there first visit!

PS: the sangria is great to!

The Silly Hat Club opened in late March.  It replaces Studebaker's, which was short lived.  The club is located about a block east of Wee George's & Roadie's.  The new layout is  a great improvement and the prices are reasonable.  Take your sun glasses with you because the lighting is such that you will have very bright lights flashing in your eyes from every angle. The rope lights under the bar surrounding the stage are very bright and intense when they are flashing. And the spotlights for the stage are such that they hit you in the eyes if you are facing them or if you glance at the mirrors.  Once they fix these lighting problems I think this club might survive.

Casi Cielo (Spanish for Almost Heaven) is a new bar where the old Wet Spot was located.  This bar is  between Roy's Bar and the church next to the Orchid Inn.  Reportedly they have several air-conditioned rooms in case you want a massage or need a quick shower to cool off from the tropic heat.
Shanno's pub has been sold.  George from Gecko's says they will close for about 2 weeks starting Sunday 5 April  for renovations which will include a Texas Hold'em poker room.  When he reopens he will be 24 hours-a-day.

Tender Touch has been renamed to STUNNERS.  A great name, now if they can find a bunch of stunners to staff the bar with.  Actually, the same owners and same staff as the old Tender Touch so I'm not sure what drove the name change.

Electric Blue opened on 28 March.  It is between Sea Dreams and Happy Rock bar on Perimeter Road. The club is owned by an Australian named Darrell.  The layout is comfortable and the prices are reasonable.  I'll be back here to drink again soon.

GRAND OPENING Sat 4 April 2 pm - midnight. All day Happy Hour -- Free Sausage Sizzle and  finger food 3 - 5 and 7- 9

Work has started on a new bar on the vacant lot between Typhoon and the Welcome Inn.   A reliable source says Lewis (from Lewis Grand Hotel) is building a club/disco on this site.

BARS FOR SALE:  As with any deals in the Philippines, check the paperwork before you hand over any money to an individual selling the "rights" to a property.   

It appears that Crazy Horse Saloon is for sale again.  The add to the left was posted by someone in the March Blue Book Magazine.  I suspect this has something to do with the property being stole from an owner over a year ago. 

There are four other bar locations currently being advertised for sale in various forums.  Two are turn key operations.  Rumor is that both of these clubs may have multiple years of unpaid rent that would transfer to the new owners.  There are two more bars for sale that are building shells that would require significant funds to turn into operational clubs.  Several people have questioned the validity of the lease on both these properties.  I have no firm info, but I would suggest potential buyers do diligent research before paying hefty key money and renovating the property.

CLUB 68 has finally opened on lower Fields Avenue between Emerigo's Hotel (formerly the Blue Nile Executive Hotel) and the Bangkok Hotel.  Reports are that the staff hasn't changed a lot from the staff of the old Club 68 on perimeter road.
GOLDEN NILE The slot machines have arrived at Golden Nile and are expected to be operational in early April.

Also, according to the Golden Nile Group, CAMBODIA will reopen before the middle of April.

The Euro-Phil Hotel has undergone renovations and reopened as the Euro Asia Hotel.  I have seen a few pictures of the renovated rooms and they do look better.  Rooms start under P1600, so if they are as good as they look, it is good value.

Roy's Bar has reportedly changed hands again.  Word is it will go back to being an English/Aussie pub. As of 27 March Roy's was closed for renovations, but it looks like they may be open again within days.

UPDATE: The bar was up and running within 1-2 days and looks fully operational (as a English Pub) as of 1 April.

 

NEWS CLIPPINGS

From multiple sources (Not necessarily in chronological order)

Daniel Smith is a US Marine that was convicted of raping a Filipina in 2005.  He was sentenced to 40 years in a Philippine jail. In the last few months there have been some interesting developments in his case:

CIDG reviews Mexican chef's death

CAMP OLIVAS -- The regional third Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (CIDU) is still reviewing documents gathered by Angeles City Police Station 4 and National Bureau Investigation (NBI) on the death of a Mexican chef at the Fontana Leisure Park inside Clark Freeport. The Mexican Embassy requested police authorities to reinvestigate the alleged suicide committed by Elisa Gutierrez, 25, a Mexican national employed as chef at Fontana Leisure Park.

Last December 26, police reported that Gutierrez was found dead hanging from a metal brace in an abandoned office in Fontana.

Senior Superintendent Marvin Bolabola, regional officer of 3rd CIDU here, said Wednesday that his men are still reviewing the pieces of evidence and the results of the DNA and fingerprints of the victim. "We have already started reviewing the documents we gathered from the NBI and Police Station 4," Bolabola said.

He said his men will investigate if it was a homicide case since the victim reportedly had superficial neck and wrists "stab" wounds. "Everybody on the place are suspects but as of Wednesday we are in the process of eliminating some of the people around the area during the time of the alleged suicide," said Bolabola.

Last December 26, Erwin Paras, a waiter, and driver Marvin Kim discovered Gutierrez after they smelled foul odor from the said office.

The victim was employed in Fontana on September 15 last year.

Bolabola said he is optimistic that the case of Gutierrez would be solved as soon as possible.

Mayor orders intensified anti-crime drive

ANGELES CITY -- Mayor Francis "Blueboy" Nepomuceno ordered Wednesday the Angeles City Police Office (Acpo) to increase police visibility and intensify the campaign against crime in this city.

He also particularly directed the Acpo to speed up its investigation into the murder of Barangay Captain Edilberto "Flay" Cayanan of Pulung Maragul village.

Nepomuceno gave the order to Police City Director Pierre Bucsit after Cayanan was shot at close range by a lone gunman near a makeshift carnival about 8:30 p.m. last February 28.

"We sympathize and condole with the family and constituents of Barangay Captain Cayanan and will do the best to the relentless manhunt for the perpetrators. The government will apply the full force of the law against all groups and individuals involved in the crime," said Nepomuceno.

The mayor said he will "strongly recommend" in the next Peace and Order Council meeting to immediately draw a plan for the city in eradicating suspected criminals operating in some areas of the city.

"The help and assistance from all sectors of the society is needed to gain an upper hand with this lawless element. The government will not be cowed and will pursue this campaign at all cost, to give the city and Angeleños a lasting peace and order they deserve," he added.

He admitted that the series of killings happening these past months only manifest that much is yet to be done to maintain peace and order, which is one of the platform issues of his administration.

Nepomuceno, who is set to convene the Peace and Order Council here in the next few days, also directed the Acpo to deploy mobile checkpoints against loose guns and motorcycle-riding criminals.

Village chief shot dead

ANGELES CITY -- The village chief of Barangay Pulung Maragul here was shot dead by a lone assailant around 8:30 p.m. last Saturday. City Police Director Pierre Bucsit identified the victim as barangay baptain Edilberto Cayanan, 39.  Cayanan was having a drinking session with Councilman Dominador Gerilla, 50, at Mel's Store along Cruz Avenue corner Marcela Street in Don Bonifacio Subdivision, Pulung Maragul when he was killed.  Investigation showed that the unidentified suspect approached Cayanan from behind and shot him twice on the head with a handgun at close range.  The suspect, according to police investigators, was wearing a black T-Shirt, maong pants, and sports cap. He fled towards a "perya" (makeshift carnival) after shooting the victim where he disappeared among the crowds.  Cayanan was rushed to a nearby hospital where attending physicians pronounced him dead on arrival. His body was brought to Funeraria Indiongco here for autopsy.  Two live bullets and three empty shells of 9mm pistol were found from the crime scene.  Bucsit said "Task Force Cayanan" was already formed to look into and immediately solve the murder case.

Cayanan's alleged killer bared

ANGELES CITY -- The Angeles City Police Office (Acpo) identified and filed appropriate charges against the alleged gunman who killed Pulung Maragul barangay captain Edilberto Cayanan.   In a press conference at Shanghai Restaurant here, Acpo director Pierre Bucsit named the suspect as Harrison de Leon, an alleged gun-for-hire believed to be involved in a spate of killings in Pampanga.   Bucsit said the suspect was identified by another gun-for-hire who became an asset of the local police. "This suspect is part of a group that operates here in Pampanga. They usually accept money, around P20, 000, just to kill somebody." Murder charges against the suspected gunman have been filed, he added.  "There were initially five angles that we initially looked at but we finally zeroed in on the angle of personal vendetta and politics. Our witnesses have said that the (suspected) mastermind was seen immediately after the shooting. The mastermind facilitated the escape of the suspect," Bucsit said.

Mayor Francis Nepomuceno, who was also present during the briefing, assured that the local police is doing all they can to bring the perpetrators in the Cayanan killing, as well as in other high profile killings in the city, to justice.   "The PNP (Philippine National Police) is doubling up efforts. We also urged our local communities to help in solving these cases by urging witnesses to come out and help in providing vital information," Nepomuceno said.

The mayor said the tourism industry in the city has been unaffected, even recording steady increase in tourist arrivals, despite the reported killings.

He said the City Government will launch Tuesday a citywide anti-criminality campaign.   "In this campaign, we are increasing public and private sector participation in making the city a safer place to live in," Nepomuceno said. (With reports from Reynaldo G. Navales)

At approx 4:30am a foreigner thought to be American stumbled bleeding from the chest onto the Lewis Grand premises. The Lewis Grand staff immediately put him in the hotel service car parked directly outside the entrance and rushed him to hospital.

The victim, identified as
Jerry Melton, later he died from his wounds.

Speedy justice for slain American sought

ANGELES CITY -- Relatives of slain American national Jerry Melton have criticized the Angeles City Police Office (ACPO) for the "slow resolution" of the murder case.  The relatives said the local police should be "more serious" in its investigation. In an interview Tuesday with Richard Bennett, a cousin of the victim, he said the ACPO has still to make a lead on the case.  Bennett, a former US soldier, said investigators seem to be not serious in their investigations.

"One of the investigators who came to us was not serious in conducting the interview. We have heard about the public official who was also killed and now his case is already solved. We hope that we could also be given the same swift service by the local police," he said.  Bennett said there are also "inconsistencies" in the investigation based on accounts by other witnesses they have talked to.

The 51-year-old Melton was shot by two men on board a blue motorcycle at a vacant lot between Euro-Asia Hotel and Lewis Grand Hotel last March 5. The victim suffered a bullet wound on the chest but was able to walk to a nearby hotel to seek assistance. He was rushed to the Angeles University Foundation Medical Center but doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.

"The police are saying that there is not enough information on him. What information do they need? We have given them everything they need to know, but still nothing is happening," Bennett said.

Bennett is asking the American Embassy here to request the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to intervene if the ACPO could not efficiently solve the case.  He hopes the ACPO would soon identify the suspects before he returns to the US with the body of Melton. "We are desperate, we need justice," he said.

Meanwhile, ACPO chief Pierre Bucsit said they have been doing all they can to solve the high profile killings in this city.  The police official said lack of witnesses has been one of the major hindrances in solving the said cases. "We are doing our best. Our people are working double time and are doubling their efforts to solve all of these."

Among the murder cases that have yet to be resolved by the city police were those of businessman Arwind Ting in December; trader and part-time disc jockey Heherson Punzalan on January 18; and 21-year-old Joven Pineda Deala, younger brother of International Rapper Allan Pineda of Black Eyed Peas, on February 3.

Use of sidewalks, pedestrian lanes urged

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- "We're now conditioning our fellow Fernandinos to use our cleared sidewalks, side streets and cross streets on pedestrian lanes. This is the beginning of a long term, no 'ningas cogon' we at the city government of San Fernando are programmed to do."   So said lawyer Ramsey Ocampo, head of the Legal Office and Project Habitat, on many major changes being implemented in the city's major districts and thoroughfares.

Friday morning, city folks plying their daily routine found temporary steel fencings and improvised "straw" barricades delineating street parts and sidewalks.  Folks were being guided by "yellow boys" to pedestrian lanes and permissible areas where they could cross, walk and for motorists, where to park.

"Our Oplan Habitat has been well-planned. We are prepared with all options, angles covered and interventions in place. Since last January 13 to 31 to its full implementation on February 2, we have been up on our toes to ensure our vision of a clean and orderly City of San Fernando would be realized," Ocampo said.

The lawyer and former high-ranking police officer added that they are meeting thrice a week to evaluate developments and address concerns.  "You know, we want to be there to cushion all these birth pains. They should be overcome," Ocampo said.  For some time since the implementation of the "a la MMDA" move to regulate illegal sidewalk hawking and parking, many of this first class city's residents were surprised and confused with the changes.

People at jeepney terminals were being asked to line up for their rides to avoid overcrowding and pedestrians being guided by city traffic aides on where to cross and walk along, pointing to cleared and now spacious sidewalks which were recently occupied by sidewalk vendors hawking a variety of wares from peanuts to pirated CDs.

"It's a matter of putting every structure into place. This would now be a permanent undertaking of the City Government. We will see to it we would eradicate congestion, pollution and see to our constituents' safety and security," Mayor Oscar Rodriguez told Sun.Star.

Under Project Habitat, Rodriguez said people are encouraged to walk since it would be good for their health and that motorists park at designated areas to lessen traffic, congestion and contain risks brought about by these nuisances.

"This is not for the city's central district alone. We are moving towards bringing these developments as well Project Habitat to the farthest of our barangays. The program is permanent. We mean what we say a 'habitat of human excellence' for the Fernandino," he said.

Task Force Habitat Team Leader Alvin Reyes was more than happy about the Fernandino's responses, saying folks were more than willing to abide by the new regulations.

He told Sun.Star that the long line of "straw" barricades along yellow-painted sidewalk gutters were temporary and just to "condition" people on where to traverse and cross.

According to him, six pedestrian lanes have been strategically located by city officials to see through safety and security.

"Of the more than 100 people we guided and advised yesterday morning alone, only about two complained and told us they know nothing about these recent regulations. But most, like the sidewalk vendors and especially elderly persons, told us they appreciated the move to make the city disciplined just like in the older days," Reyes said.

Of the more than 30 sidewalk vendors reached by Sun.Star, all of them said they trusted Rodriguez's decision and plan to have them relocated to a better site where shoppers would get to their goods.

Subic sees last flight from FedEx

 

FEDERAL Express (FedEx) has finally called it quits in Subic, landing its last flight at the Subic Bay international Airport Thursday morning. The move came after 13 years of operation of the Subic Bay Freeport. The closure of FedEx however meant a beginning of its operation in Guangzhou, China where it has relocated.

The last flight came past 3 a.m. Friday after which, according to an employee of the company, all courier service to and from the Philippines will be loaded up in Manila.  Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority administrator Armand Arreza during a press conference early Friday morning said: "Last night was the last full operations. They will still have standby operations up to the end of April. They have been testing their hub at Guangzhou for the last two months."  Arreza also explained that FedEx can still divert flights to Subic if they decide to do so.

The move to China was made public by FedEx officials since 2004 before the current crisis. "Losing FedEx, and any business is never a good time. We want them to stay but business conditions are a factor," he said. He added that the Subic Bay International Airport has generated from Fedex alone some P150 million for landing fees and warehousing.

"The market in China is bigger than the entire market of Southeast Asia. China also gave FedEx rights to handle its domestic cargo, which is huge," Arreza added.  Some 500 employees of Fedex in this Freeport will be affected.

Council to probe 'irregularities' at Fields Avenue

ANGELES CITY -- The City Council here on Tuesday said it will investigate the complaints of local businessmen and concerned citizens on the alleged "corruption and irregularities" along Fields Avenue in Barangay Balibago here. Councilor Willie Rivera issued the statement, adding that he had been plagued by reports about "extortion" being committed by organized groups here allegedly under the patronage of two "prominent names" in this city.

During Tuesday's session, Rivera went into a head-on collision with administration Councilor Agapito del Rosario on the issue of the institutionalized pap smearing of women entertainers among bars in Fields Avenue. Rivera lashed out at the administration's move to have private doctors conduct pap smear among entertainers and sex workers here, saying such practice is open to corruption and improper monitoring of hygienic procedures.  "There is this doctor who has been disgusted by this practice. He said he gets goose bumps on how these women are treated. They came here to earn a living but the city government wants to turn a fortune out of their lowly occupation," Rivera said. He added that they have been receiving reports of unhygienic practices and unclear procedures on how the money is collected.  "This is just fraction of the total issue along Fields Avenue. There are also these reports on organized groups victimizing businessmen in the area, asking for protection money," Rivera said during the regular session.

Rivera said two "prominent Angelenos" are behind these illegal activities. Whether they are city council members, River did not say directly but rather said he would wait for the opportune time to reveal their real identities. He challenged the administration councilors to conduct a total investigation on government policies and issues in the city's red light district. 

Del Rosario, on the other hand, argued that there is nothing wrong in the policy of the city government in pap smearing. Del Rosario said the move is more beneficial now for the city government. "The city is collecting more now in the pap smearing," Del Rosario said, threatening that he would also reveal illicit activities he know along Fields Avenue once the investigations pushes through.

Rivera said that he expects the people affected at Fields Avenue to be brave enough and expose the people behind the alleged corruption in the area.

The council will conduct its investigation on February 10. (IOF)

Security discussed at Tourism Summit.  Click on articles on the right for full story.

Pampanga kids get gift of smile

LUBAO -- A world with all children smiling is fast becoming a reality, thanks to the kindness of medical volunteers of Helping Children Smile Incorporated (HCSI).  The group's president Vonnie Burton told Sun.Star Pampanga that the group has been conducting free surgery, such as lip revision and palate operation, since 1997, where medical volunteers from Australia have given their time and expertise for the yearly mission to the Philippines.

This year, in memory of the late Guagua councilor Jerome David-Tulio, the HCSI has tied up with the local government of Lubao and Sta. Rita to help some 60 children coming from indigent families to avail of this rare opportunity. Burton said the memorial mission held at the Escolastica Romero District Hospital here was a success, adding that not only children from Pampanga towns received the free operation but also from the towns of Bataan and Zambales.

Dr. Frank Kimble, one of two surgeons who administered the operations, said patients ranging from five months old to 24 years old were treated from February 23 until March 3.  Kimble said the operations would last for almost two hours depending on the extent of work to be done.  "We love to help and we love the Filipino people. We do this every year and the greatest reward we could ever have is the feeling that we made a child smile, he or she will not only look better but will also feel better inside and out," Kimble said.

Sta. Rita Mayor Yolly Pineda thanked doctors and nurses who headed the medical mission, saying her municipality and other towns are truly blessed for the kind hearts and generosity of the medical volunteers.  She also thanked former Guagua councilor Devine David-Tulio, mother of Jerome, who co-sponsored the medical mission together with congressman Mikey Arroyo, local government in the second district and staff at the said hospital.  The HCSI also donated medicines to patients.

Others members of the medical team are organizer Lorie Rowe, Witin Sharma, Richard John Scolaro, Damian John Castonelli, nursing staff Lindy Patten, Glenn Cartwright, Erin Elizabeth Mc Intosh, Catherine May Rogers, Nichole Margaret, Johnson, Bernice Alwyn Mc Lennan, Craig Adrew Walsh, Aileen Veronica Burton, and Tracey Lee Madden. (Chris Navarro)

ANGELES City -- Vice Mayor Vicenta Vega-Cabigting filed administrative and criminal charges against Mayor Francis Blueboy Nepomuceno for alleged fraudulent misrepresentation.

In the complaints she filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, Cabigting said Nepomuceno forwarded the city's 2008 executive budget to the Department of Budget and Management without the necessary documents and approval from the City Council.  She asked the Ombudsman to charge Nepomuceno with grave misconduct and grave abuse of authority, among others. In both administrative and criminal complaints, she also asked the Ombudsman to place Nepomuceno on a six-month preventive suspension. The charges were filed after Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya, Jr. ordered the setting aside of the DBM regional office's review after learning it was not the city council secretary who forwarded the 2008 annual budget to the regional office of DBM for review and approval.

The city's 2008 budget was P986.218 million.

The minority bloc, led by Cabigting, has been at odds with Nepomuceno allies in the City Council over the 2008 budget. The Nepomuceno camp had argued that seven votes, which they held, were enough to approve the budget.  But Cabigting's camp claimed that eight votes, not seven, were needed.  Cabigting said Nepomuceno's act is a stark manifestation of bad faith.

Earlier, Nepomuceno told the DBM that the delay would undeniably affect the flow of services within City Hall, in particular, and public service, in general.

Men in cop uniforms try supermarket robbery


MABALACAT -- About six men armed with high-powered guns and clad in police uniforms attempted to rob a big supermarket in this town at dawn Monday.  The robbers were able to disarm the two security guards of Jumbo Jenra Supermarket but their plan to rob the establishment was foiled.  Police Officer (PO) 2 Robert Lurzano said the suspects introduced themselves as police officers assigned at the Security and Guards Supervision Division (SAGSD), said to be a special unit of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in charge of security agencies and guards.

After the two security guards were disarmed and hogtied, the suspects forcibly opened the padlock of the establishment’s backdoor using a bolt cutter.  Fortunately, the supermarket’s security alarm sounded off, prompting the burglars to scamper, board their vehicle and flee towards the North Luzon Expressway.  The security guards told police investigators that the suspects had alighted from a black Honda Civic car without any license plates before introducing themselves as police officers.

Chief Inspector Angelito Esteban, Dau Community Police Assistance Center commander, said a concerned citizen had reported to them the sounding off of the supermarket’s alarm system.  Esteban said he and his men immediately responded and eventually rescued the hogtied security guards.  The suspects, however, managed to escape and carted away the two shotguns of the guards. According to Lurzano, they were manning a checkpoint in front of the Dau police assistance center when the concerned citizen made the report.

Mayor to sue village chief over 'extortion’ issue

ANGELES CITY -- Mayor Francis “Blueboy” Nepomuceno has decided to sue Balibago village captain Rodelio “Tony” Mamac for what he tagged as unfair accusations over alleged extortion operations among bars at the entertainment district here. Nepomuceno told Sun.Star Pampanga Monday that he had instructed his legal counsel to prepare appropriate charges against Mamac over a published report that he allegedly “knew of extortion operations” done by “Jojo Group.”

The mayor said he will file the case against Mamac and Jim Dale, an American who operates a hotel here, within the week.

Dale was reported to have issued statements that Nepomuceno knew about the extortion done on women workers and bar owners along Fields Avenue in Barangay Balibago here.  “The mayor has knowledge of the extortion. If he wants he can stop this,” Dale was quoted as saying in one published report. Mamac also reportedly hit the mayor's inaction to address the issues and complaints of women workers and bar owners in the city's entertainment belt.

Nepomuceno said he has been working to stop extortion activities in this city and never knew anything about the alleged extortionist groups.

He urged Dale to report to the Mayor's Office the people behind the alleged extortion activities here. “It’s not right that they would say the City Government is part of these extortionist activities. We are part of the move to solve these alleged extortions,” he said. Nepomuceno said complainants of the alleged extortion activities here should be coordinated with the proper authorities and not to use the public as forum for their complaints.  Mamac denied, saying the mayor was part of the extortionist groups. “When we said the mayor knew of the extortionist groups in the city, we meant to say he has knowledge of them because we, in the barangay, have notified him of such illegal activities here.”

Asked about his reaction to the mayor’s plan of suing him, Mamac said: “If he wants to sue us that is his right,” adding that his personal relationship with the mayor will not be affected by the impending legal action.  The village chief defended himself and Dale, saying they only meant to call the attention of the City Government to solve the extortion reports in this city.  Mamac even showed a barangay resolution last year wherein they asked the mayor and the City Council to act against the “organized syndicates operating along Fields Avenue.”

However, Nepomuceno said how Mamac had presented his allegations in public was different from his alleged intention. “The statements are unfair and not balanced,” he said. (IOF)

This should be a warning to guys that take a local bus instead of one of the two non-stop tourist busses or a private car.  Attempts to save $45 could cost you a lot more if you loose your cash, cameras, etc.

Robbers cart away P600T in bus heist

MABALACAT -- Some P600,000 worth of cash and valuables were carted away by six armed individuals who hijacked and robbed a passenger bus bound for Angeles City Thursday night.  No passengers were injured in the heist, which transpired between 6:30 to 7 p.m. but the suspects were able to get some P600,000 worth of cash, cellular phones, jewelries, shoes and other valuables.

Jose Sonny Pangilinan, conductor of Philippine Rabbit Bus Number 8519, said the suspects declared a hold-up about an hour after leaving the Avenida terminal in Metro Manila.   "We were at the Bocaue area when the suspects declared the hold-up and started divesting us of our money and other valuables," Pangilinan said.   One of the suspects armed with a .45 caliber handgun even fired at least three shots after shouting "hold-up!" according to the passengers.  "I saw one of the suspects holding a hand grenade," a passenger said.

After robbing the passengers, two of the suspects, about 6:40 p.m., alighted from the bus and headed toward the San Fernando Exit of the North Luzon Expressway (NLex), bringing with them the looted money and items.  Upon reaching the Angeles Exit of NLEx, Pangilinan said the other four suspects ordered the driver to stop the vehicle and ran towards the Magalang area.  One of the passengers believed the suspects used a getaway vehicle, which tailed the bus throughout the time of the bus robbery.  The passengers were taken to the Dau police station here for investigation.

PO2 Robert Lurzano, officer on the case, said the victims positively identified the suspects who were posted in the Rogue Gallery of the Dau police.  One of the suspects was identified as Eliseo Magtoto Jr., the alleged leader of the hold-up syndicate victimizing passenger buses.  Chief Inspector Angelito Esteban, Dau police station commander, said the group is also responsible for a series of robberies in October 2006. Esteban said they referred the case to the Bulacan police for the filing of robbery charges against Magtoto and his companions.

In 2006, Magtoto and his members were arrested by elements of the town police after they tried to rob a passenger bus bound for Manila.  Policemen were then able to seize at least two handguns from the suspects. One of the passengers then identified two of the suspects and immediately called the police.

OTHER NEWS

VFW ROBBED   The night Security Guard and an accomplice allegedly robbed the VFW early Monday morning. According to reports, the "alleged" thieves took a small safe containing the weekend's receipts and a few other items. They were seen getting into a trike by another guard in the area. The trike driver later reported he dropped them off at a bus station and was not considered a suspect. The guard was armed with his company's revolver at the time of the incident. The company that employed the guard, along with the insurance company, agreed to pay for all losses including cash.
ABC-Maganda Filipina  was a all night party at the ABC hotel in mid-March.  Gerard's friends helped him celebrate his birthday in conjunction with the final round of the Maganda Filipina beauty contest.  The winner of the contest, Kate, received P250,000.  Click here for photos

Balloon Festival The 14th annual balloon festival was held 12-15 February on the Clark Special Economic Zone (SEZ).   In addition to the balloons there were a variety of aircraft  flying around and 2-3 days of parachuting.

Click on the photo on the left to see more photos from the balloon festival.

This condo project can be seen about 5-6 blocks straight behind Margarita Station.  Construction has already reached the point where they are putting the roof frame on this week.  This is one of at least seven condo projects that are under development or recently completed in Angeles City.   Many of the condos are much more expensive that similar units in prime locations in the USA.  Additionally, some units have clear titles and others are built on leased property and have a limited lifetime.

The Father Ray Foundation website is:

  www.fr-ray.org

My favorite charity is Bahay Pag-Ibig in Angeles City. Here I can see 100% of my donations going to the people in need.  Sadly, so many charities have high overhead costs where a huge percentage of donations go to the over paid staff personnel.

One great charity is the Father Ray Foundation in Pattaya, Thailand. I encourage anyone with a little money to spare to look into and then support this great charity.  There are many great volunteers trying to continue the work of the late Father Ray trying to feed, clothe, education, house, etc. more that 850 young folks.  But, times are tough and they need contributions to keep taking care of these needy children.

They have produced a small DVD, narrated by TOM MINTIER, the retired CNN BANGKOK BUREAU CHIEF.  For a copy of the DVD or more information contact  vincentfoundation@Yahoo.com

Again, I don't support many charities, but this is one of the good ones!

KOREAN FOOD:  I'm not over fond of the impact the nationalistic Korean's are having on Angeles City. But, one of the good things about their presence is the abundance of Korean restaurants.  This month four of us decided to start checking them out to see which one is the best.  We started with the Halla Hotel restaurant.  We all felt this one will be hard to beat.  If we find any place that beats this restaurant I'll report it here.
BOURBON STREET CONDOS FOR RENT:   The Wild Orchid does manage the Bourbon Street Apartments.  You can rent a two bedroom unit for your next vacation.  For more details see:  (http://rovimarrentals.com/).
Neville "Niffty"  Neville  was taken to hospital in mid-March 2009  in a serious condition with a blood clot on his brain.  Further tests revealed 3 tumors in his brain and cancer in his kidneys, liver & lungs.

Neil from Roadie's stepped up to the plate and hosted a fund raiser so Neville's daughter could be flown to Thailand to say good bye to her father.  The fundraiser was well supported by local businesses, but unfortunately it was not well attended.  Still, Neil managed to raise enough money for airfare, hotels & transportation for Stephanie & her mother. Good job Neil.

Margarita Station provided some finger food

Neil ran a great fund raiser!

 

NEW PRIVATE TRIKE SERVICE:   This has been promoted on several of the local bulletin boards.  In my opinion, the rates are way too high, but it might interest some tourists to have a dedicated driver.  www.angelescitytrikes.com
Daily Rate < 15 hours >

1200.00 pesos

Weekly rate < 15 hours per day for seven days >

7.700.00 pesos

They accept Visa, Master card and American Express for Daily and Weekly rates that are booked 7 days in advance.

If you prefer to use are trike services on a as when required basis the Angeles City bylaw regulating trike prices will be in affect .

The response time is approx 15 minutes

Text 0929-457-4690 or call landline at 045-625-8654

I recently reported that the ABC Hotel had a helicopter that could be chartered for flights around the Philippines.  I was as skeptical as anyone that many tourists would use this service.  I was amazed to see how popular this service has become.  People are booking it almost every day and recently they had three different trips on the same day.  For more info CLICK HERE
Southern Cross Shuttle  All passenger should be advised that departure time is not pick up time.
 
Dep  at   9 am for Subic Pick up time approx  8.30am  -  8.50am
Dep at    1 pm for Manila Pick up time approx  12.30pm - 12.50pm

Also their new bus is now repaired and doing our normal schedule  .

FINAL SALUTE

Ashley Bray (aka Gator) succumbed to his cancer at the end of January.
Jerry Melton, an American, was shot while walking from somewhere on Perimeter Road back to his hotel EuroAsia.
B.K. "Hub" Hubbard died from a massive heart attack on the 28th of March.  Hub was a retired Senior Chief (USN) that had been living in Pattaya, Thailand for years.  Before that he lived in the Oasis compound for years.  He was the a former commander of the VFW post 2485 (Angeles) from 1999-2000 and the VFW post 9876 (Pattaya) Vice Commander.

 

SERVICED HOUSE FOR RENT   We only have one,  so book early.   You can rent one bedroom and have the entire house to yourself, or a group of 3 guys can have a party house much cheaper than 3 hotel rooms.    For more details see http://www.margarita-station.com/house.html

Booked from 15 May thru 15 Sept 2009

Margarita Station Website

Previous Newsletters

Sign up for notification of future newsletters