Feb 2007

Unforeseen circumstances caused me to spend several months in the USA.  Therefore, this is the first newsletter since October 2006.  A few new clubs and hotels have opened and a number of businesses have changed hands.  Sadly an unusual number of resident EXPATS and a few tourists have passed away during this last few months.


Over the last few years Angeles City has seen many changes.  The dark seedy nightclubs were replaced with bigger clubs with lots of quality tile floors, stainless steel poles, expensive sound systems, large selections of imported liquor, and tons of air-conditioning.  As this was going on, the existing hotels increased their prices annually (if not more often).  Then came the Orchid Inn with the first quality rooms in the heart of the entertainment district.  This was quickly followed by a number of small "boutique" hotels.  When the Wild Orchid opened a little over a year ago it was immediately 95% booked and remains hard to get a reservation with less than 30-45 days notice.

Now comes the Angeles Beach Club Hotel (ABC Hotel). Located just a short distance from Margarita Station on Don Juico Ave (nicknamed Perimeter Road), it is IMO a step above any other hotel in the area (including the big hotels on Clark).  The rooms are nothing short of 5 star quality.  Superb blackout curtains cover sound proofed windows so there is absolutely no street noise.  Additionally, hallway carpeting and well sealed doors prevent noise from individuals in the hallways or nearby rooms.  All the rooms are furnished with hand crafted furniture made on the premises by the best craftsmen, real king size beds with pillow top mattresses, and expensive bedding & pillows.  Comfortable bathrooms have separate showers and bathtubs (or Jacuzzi's). Large TV's have over 50 cable channels and 6 in-house video channels.   The swimming pool features a sand beach, rain shower, and a large heated jacuzzi.   The first class kitchen offers a choice of a air-conditioned dining area or casual pool side tables.  Other amenities include a spa, an entertainment area with game tables, and a third floor sun deck.  Rooms range from about $100 a night to about $475 for the Master Penthouse.  For more details see 

In December ROADIE'S bar opened up Perimeter Road near the Clarkton. It immediately became a place to hit during their 2 for 1 happy hour.  During the first two months they were busier than any of the other Perimeter bars, but starting 1 March there will have new prices.  Time will tell if they can maintain their current volume of customers with the higher prices in the slow season.  But, for now it is my pick as the BEST NEW BAR. ROADIES BAR
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CAROUSEL BAR has opened in the location formerly occupied by Rick's Cafe in the center of Fields Avenue.  The bar is getting good reviews, but I haven't had the energy to be on that end of town after 7 pm to check it out.  Photos and a review by next month.

CLASSROOM II  On the  11th of  Jan 07 Classroom II was raided by elements of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).  At the time of the raid the club was sponsoring a "Son's of Bacchus" event.  These are supposed to be semi-private parties where the customer pays a set fee for food, drinks and entertainment for several hours.  On this day, at least two Filipino men from CIDG purchased tickets and were admitted to the club. When the entertainment exceeded the standards allowed, the CIDG men inside stopped the festivities and led more CIDG personnel into the club.  They allowed all the foreigners in the club to exit the club, but they then detained approximately 50 female employees.  They also detained Bobby Gibson, a British National, who was performing as the MC for the event.

Reports were they were all taken to Camp Crame in Manila.  Some girls suspected of being underage were examined by the camp dentist (standard Filipino procedure now used to "prove" age).  The bar employees like waitresses & bartenders were separated from the dancers.  The waiters & waitresses (and Bobby) were charged with "trafficking."   The dancers, once they were cleared by the dentist, were sent to the DSWD (Welfare Department) in Angeles and questioned further.  Then they all had to have their mothers travel to Angeles City to have their "rescued" daughters released to them!  Bobby & the club staff were finally released from detention on 19 Jan.

GECKO'S  SOLD  After two years of negotiations, Angelo sold Gecko's to an American that owned some bars years ago in Subic.  Angelo ,is still in the area working on a USA fiancée visa for his girl friend.
The Wet Seals Club has been sold to a group of Expats.  This club was little more than a pool hall on an out of the way side street.  A Grand Opening of WET SPOT  will be this Saturday (Feb 24th 8pm 'till late). Finger foods, strong drinks at good prices and best of all, single, available women and music for men. Located near the rear entrance to Orchid Inn, near "Blues Brothers Church" past Roy's Pub (end of the street). (formerly Wet Seals).
z0414.JPG (79184 bytes) After experimenting with a walking street (no vehicle traffic), the city fathers have finally decided to make lower Fields Ave a ONE WAY street.  This has made it somewhat safer since many of the sidewalks are blocked, but there is no enforcement of the speed limit. Unless they get some control on the speed limit, a bad pedestrian accident is imminent. Look close before crossing the street guys!

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New look of SANTOS STREET.  The Hole in the Wall was the first major change on Santos Street a few years ago.  The Hole in the Wall is now closed as construction will begin soon for the Lexus Hotel ( ).   Next came the Wild Orchid Hotel, which immediately went to the top of the list as the most expensive but also the most popular.  You must book at least 45-60 days in advance to have any chance of getting a room for more than 1-2 days.  Now, the townhouse project of the Wild Orchid Group is nearing completion.  Info on these units was listed in our Nov 2005 newsletter.  Some units are still available.

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z0418.JPG (72864 bytes) NEW CLUB?  When the Wild Orchid Group first announced their townhouse project in 2005 their plan was for five small stalls on the first floor of the complex for small bars.  One look inside tells me they have made some radical changes to this plan.  The entire first floor will be one large business.  More details soon on whether it will be a club or a restaurant & bar.
z0422.JPG (77250 bytes) HONKYTONK  Another project of the Wild Orchid Group, the HonkyTonk bar has opened across from the Wild Orchid Resort on Santos street.  Originally planned as a LA Cafe style club where everyone was welcome.  I've heard no reports about this club, but I will be sure to make a visit so I can report on it in the next newsletter.
z0425.JPG (93574 bytes) GOLDEN NILE CASINO  The main construction of the Golden Nile is finished and the interior work is also nearing completion.  Still no word on when this club/casino will open.  

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BLUE NILE - LA UNION  The Blue Nile Group has recently taken over the  Southern Palms Resort and Stiletto's nightclub in La Union.  They have renamed the hotel the Blue Nile Beach Resort. and the nightclub Blue Nile Beach Club.   Word is that the managers and a group of girls from the Blue Nile Group rotate up to staff the Beach Club for two weeks at a time.  If they are able to continue this without running into licensing problems, this will definitely change night life in San Fernando.

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NEW LTO: A LTO Drivers license renewal office is being opened in the SM Mall located inside the entrance to Clark SEZ.  If it is as efficient as the one in SM San Fernando you can renew your license in about an hour and walk out with the actual license.   A big change from the 80's when you had to go back to LTO every 6 months to get an extension stamped in your temporary license.  It wasn't unusual to have the license expire before you ever received the permanent copy.
drug.jpg (1113595 bytes) BEST WINDOW DISPLAY 2007: OK, your company pays top dollar for a prime location (corner of Fields Ave and Teodoro St).  They put two large display windows on the front of the building to attract customers.  The manager decides this is the perfect place to display his wide variety of sanitary napkins! Only in the Philippines.

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ZAPATA's PLUS  Check out this blog from a group of Filipinos that visit Angeles City for the culinary variety.   Sure looks like they had a blast in Zapata's!   If you haven't been there, you have missed the best Mexican food Angeles has to offer.  Great atmosphere for a small party! 

Investments continue to pour in to  the Angeles/Central Luzon area.   For news clipping click on these numbers >     1     2

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Photo by RICK's CAFE

BALLOON FESTIVAL: The annual balloon festival was held on Clark the first week of February.  It is great to see these beautiful balloons lifting gracefully into the sky.  Kids run out to the street and point to the sky with huge smiles on their faces.  Now if you have Php 75,000 (about $1500 US) you don't know what to do with, you can get a private  two hour balloon flight at Clark.  (NOTE: this price does not include additional expenses "such as crew fees and permits.")  For more information contact Capt. Den Roa at (632) 833-3264. baloon01.jpg (135250 bytes)

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What can you do after your relaxing balloon flight?  How about a private sunset dinner cruise on Manila Bay?  For just Php 16,500 you and a companion can enjoy a three course dinner on a two hour cruise.  Or how about a day trip for about Php 45,000?? 
BEWARE OF FAKE DRUGS!  Lots of guys come to the Philippines and buy Viagra or similar drugs from some t-shirt vendor on the street for amazingly low prices.  Hey guys, this is the land of fake everything.  You can buy "gold bars" from WWII treasures, "radioactive materials" from the Clark munitions storage areas, and yeah, "real" Viagra for only $2!  In the last year several tourists have been found dead in their hotel rooms with no cash, no cameras or anything else of value reported, but there is usually some Viagra on the night stand.

Moving to Angeles?   Looking for a used TV?  Then check out THE BLUEBOOK.   The on-line edition can be found at:   Frequently hard to find copies around town, the online edition is easier to read than the printed copies.  The size of the publication continues to grow and if they keep it on line I'm sure it will encourage more people to advertise.

RICK'S CHECK CASHING SERVICES:  Check cashing of personal  U.S. Dollar checks for expat residents of the Angeles City area (military retirees, residents of the community).  See Rick in the courtyard of Margarita Station from 8am to 1130am Monday thru Saturday. A 5% charge on checks $100 to $500. (Write a check for $105 and you get $100 bill, $210 and get $200 in US currency etc). If you have any questions you can call 892-0119 or stop by and visit us in our internet office
  El Mexicano Grill near Friendship Gate now has Taco Tuesday, hard and soft shell tacos with choice of  fillings & three different Salsa.  Served in a buffet format so you can make the taco of your dreams. Also every Sunday from 11:00 am until  4:00 pm they have a buffet which includes several Filipino Dishes & several Mexican Specialties. Additionally they have a chef dedicated to making omelets to order.

The Philippine Star


RABIES in the Philippines   TOKYO (AFP) - Japan Wednesday urged travelers to take precautions after two nationals contracted rabies in the Philippines, with one of them dying in the first cases seen here in 36 years. The two men both were infected after being bitten by dogs in the Philippines, the health ministry said. One victim died last week in the first human rabies case confirmed in Japan since 1970, the ministry said. The man, in his 60s, failed to take vaccination shots after being bitten, and later showed symptoms such as delirium after returning from the Philippines to Kyoto in western Japan, it said. In the other case, a man was in serious condition in Yokohama, Japan's second-largest city, near Tokyo, after returning from the Philippines last month.
"Rabies is out breaking globally," said a health ministry official. "The ministry is calling for travelers to get vaccination shots if they were bitten by a dog overseas."  The last case of rabies in Japan was in 1970, when a man died after contracting the disease in Nepal.
But Japan has seen no human case of rabies that originated domestically since 1954, with the last animal infection confirmed in 1957, according to the ministry.

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ANOTHER NEW HOTEL  Yeah, another hotel project is rising.  Several years ago an American said he would build the largest hotel in the area on this site (not counting the big hotels on Clark).  Nothing happened here for almost two years until recently when construction began in earnest.  This new hotel is located just before the church and Petron station on Don Juico (Perimeter Road).  There are several more small to medium size hotels under construction within 1 mile of Fields Ave. 
z0429.JPG (87213 bytes) TREE CUTTING  In the area between the new hotel mentioned above and the EuroPhil Hotel someone has recently cut all the trees (Strictly prohibited by DENR).  It looks like this large lot will be cleared for another large construction project.
JOB OPPORTUNITY   WANTED: EXPATS who are native English speakers who may be available for part-time tutoring jobs within Pampanga? The job will mean conducting practice English speaking sessions with foreign students. Ability to speak Korean or Chinese in addition to English is desirable. For details, pls. contact Edna at mobile # 0921-628-3165.

I just finished reading the latest Christopher Moore novel, THE RISK OF INFIDELITY INDEX. Absolutely one of his best books.  I always enjoy his Calvino series and the occasional Calvino Rules for EXPATS in Asia (My favorite is: Always marry an orphan).   The book is available at all major book stores in Thailand or via his website at    At his website you can also download a free copy of the book CHAIRS which is now out of print.


Several times a year I report about the death of an EXPAT or a tourist.  Not sure what black cloud we were under in the last few months, but we lost an unusual number of individuals.  Some individuals had been ill for years, but many others died way too early.

Ray Hoffman, 63 years old, retired USMC died in late November.  He had undergone a quadruple heart bypass but continued to ignore doctors advice about changing his life style.  But, he went out the way he lived, sitting in a bar waiting for another drink.
On Tuesday, December 5, 2006 David L. Sellers, a retired USAF Master Sergeant,  passed away in his home at the age of 70.   
On 9 Dec 2006, Peter, the manager at La Pasha died of a heart attack.  He was rushed to AUF Hospital but there was nothing they could do for him.  He is survived by his pregnant wife.
On 13 Dec 2006, Treavor Frettsome  lost a long battle with cancer at the age of 62.  Over the years he was in Angeles, Treavor owned numerous clubs.   In the last ten-fifteen years he had private Dancer, Private Dancer Too, Byrd Cage and finally Honey Ko's.
In December, Ken Brown, died in hospital from various health complications.  Friends said his health had been slipping for a couple of months.  Ken was a friendly guy that sold perfume fragrances to people.  He always had a smile on his face.
Bill Lyons, the owner of the Patio, The Patio V and a small beach resort in Zambales  lost a long battle with cancer the evening of 31 Dec.  He was laid to rest at the Clark Cemetery.
Bob Byrne passed away on 3 Jan from a heart attack at home.  He was a business partner with Roy W. at the Brass Knob and had only lived in this area for two years. Sadly he never saw the completion of the Brass Knob project.
About 3 pm on 7 Jan during a meeting of the Josephaville I Home Owners Association, David Skamarak, suffered a heart attack.  Reports are that he was given CPR before being  taken to Divine Shepard Hospital (former PIH).  He was pronounced dead about 7 pm.
Long time Angeles resident, Glenn Hartell (Australian), died in Australia on 9 Jan 2007.  Glenn had returned to Australia in December to seek proper health care. 
William Anthony Crisp (Tony), the Australian manager at Touch of Class  
Austrian, named Herbert Brunner died in mid-Feb 7th, 2007.   
A tourist, Kenneth Thomas Robertson, 62, from  Sydney, Australia was found dead in his hotel room at the Perimeter Hotel.  Cause of death was reported as cardiac arrest. 
Dave Hutton, a former Australian police officer,  was violently murdered about 8.30 pm on  Feb 17, 2007 by a crazed ex-boyfriend of the lady that had been living with Dave for several years.  The guy scaled the security fence and pounded on Dave's door, when Dave then opened the door, the attacker immediately delivered the fatal stab wounds. Dave's girl was injured in this attack also. however is currently recovering.. This was a quiet decent caring guy that sent his girl through nursing school and took good care of her.  The attacker has been arrested.   Dave was 62 and a regular afternoon guy usually Frequenting Moons Bar, Helsinger, and Purly Gates, in Diamond..