CLARK AIR BASE - Angeles or Dua Philippines
Wednesday September 8, 2004 8:59 AM
I have arrived after being very lucky and walking outside my door in Carmen and flagging a bus down and arrived here in record time. I am staying in some off beat hotel that is very safe, with a guard and a hasp on my door so I can use my padlock. Plus the room has CNN or Cable and is huge. The toilet is third world, but for 300 Peso or 6 Dollars U.S. you cannot complain. I went to the cheapie recommended in the Lonely Planet, it was inhospitable, more expensive, and I had to trust the management because they did not have a hasp on the door. This is also in a shaded are with a swimming pool that probably does not function.
They have both 220 and 110 in the room, but they have label the outlets wrong… I recognized the 200 as the round hole, and figured out why my light bulb was dim. I do not have anything that will not function on both.
I have a couple of people that want me to track down or say hello to people. This means I track down bars first… hehehe as that is where they hang. I do not drink so this place will be fun.
TOO EARLY TO BED - TOO EARLY TO RISE
1:57 AM Wednesday September 8, 2004
I have been going to bed at just after sunset because there is nothing to do or I was so tired from walking up and down mountains that I just dropped, plus an afternoon nap is not helping. So I am up reading my guidebook, scrimping on my last English book to read because when I finish it I have nothing more to read. I am hoping or assuming that Angeles city has some English books to buy.
I will catch the first bus out of Carmen for Dau, which seems more and more like what they call Angeles. I have gotten a few emails from people telling places to go and friends they want me to find when I arrive in Angeles.
WWII AND VIETNAM
I think I just fell into the middle of WWII in many ways, although the guidebook so far is fairly stupid on the matter, and just completely misses the boat, I am getting a big feeling that I need to study.
Gary my History advisor says
As your history advisor, some things you might want to see in the Philippines include:
1. Corregidor (the island where the US military held out the longest of the non-guerilla forces)
2. Baatan (the start of the Baatan Death march)
Homma, Masaharu (1888-1946), Japanese lieutenant general in World War II (1939-1945), who was responsible for the Bataan Death March. Thousands of American and Filipino prisoners of war were abused and killed during the 101-km (63-mi) forced march. Homma was born in Niigata Prefecture. He served as commander in chief of the Japanese invasion forces in the Philippines until August 1942. On April 9, 1942, soldiers under Homma’s command forced American and Filipino prisoners of war to walk from the Bataan Peninsula to the city of San Fernando. Many were mutilated, beaten, and bayoneted by their captors along the way. The prisoners were taken by railroad to Capas, and forced to walk to imprisonment at Camp O’Donnell. Of the 70,000 prisoners who began the journey, only 54,000 arrived at Camp O’Donnell. After Japan surrendered, Homma was found responsible for the Bataan Death March by a U.S. commission and executed by a firing squad in 1946.
WOW I AM SITTING ON THE MIDDLE
I am in the middle of big mess of war.
16 THOUSAND men were killed walking from the land mass just to the right of Manila to San Fernando just below Angeles where I am going. Subic bay is where there is or was maybe a submarine base for the U.S.
400 per mile killed.. As best I can calculate. This guy needed more than shot.
YAMASHITA SURRENDERED AT BAGUIO
The commander of the Japanese war movement in the Philippines signed surrender in Bagui, just next major stop north of Carmen and a big place for tourism.
They hung him in Manila! Whoopee
LIONS TIGERS SNAKES OH MY
Like the Wizard of OZ this place has more real interesting things to do per square foot than any place I have studied.
Gold Mines close to Baguio
Ferdinand Magellan was killed in the battle, April 27, 1521 in the Philippines, first man to sail or ship to sail around the world.
He has to be one of the greatest travelers of all time, like Darwin.
Angeles - Close to Mount Tinatubo Volcano
This Volcano exploded in 1991 killing 1000 people and blowing crap about 36 miles into the sky. Like a nuclear bomb.
CHRONIC DEPRESSION GUIDEBOOK WRITERS
I am getting really tired of the Westernized need for a clean shower and mopped floor attitude with a way to heavy overlay of Middle class guilt and extremely stupid lack of understand of the whole world by the guidebook writers.
They cannot write hardly one paragraph without missing the point.
… Example: I am was writing earlier about La Union and how it has Sex Tourism, and wondering why this girl went there, and after fully reading the Encyclopedia and the guidebook I finally discover. There is some type of world class surfing there. A reason for me to go, like a cheap version of Hawaii.
They comment on the US bringing sex tourism here, this is really really really stupid. I mean outrageously stupid. Asia has about zero respect for women, and in Thailand although it would seem that the tourist are using the prostitutes the Thailand men and the Thai women are everywhere, you cannot move anywhere in Thailand without finding this, and you will get to the small corner of Thailand there will be it. I just left Banaue and Manila and I saw very little, while I cannot talk to the waitress in the New Joe Hotel in Khao San Road without her trying to sell herself to me. Khao San is the least of the Sex tourism places in Thailand in many ways.
This has got to be one of the lowest areas of this type of behavior in Southeast Asia. India is so full of dope smoking nuts that this place is heaven. There are so few tourists that you can relax and enjoy the world. Like the breath of fresh air of going into Laos after being surrounded by Vietnam or Thailand where you suffocate from stupidity tourism. Where GOLD PAINT on a Buddhist Temple is considered classy and the entire world ignores the Monks that appear like Lady Boys, extorting money and rice from their population.
The best thing about Thailand is their desire to shower and the fact they make you take your shoes off inside. The feeling of being clean can happen, but that does not mean they are really clean, just gold paint.
I was told, but I am not sure, oh, I cannot find statistics when I want them. The boy in Banaue told me that the Philippines are fourth poorest country on the planet. I told him he was nuts and all of South America and Central America is poorer and I think that probably all of Africa is also.
But MCDONALDS Factor.
A McDonalds is within throwing distance of me right now, plus a 7-11 and a Jobillee a big Philippino chain. It takes money to keep these places in business. I am in Carmen. It does not even have information in my guidebook or the Encyclopedia about the city and they have a McDonalds. There is no doubt that corruption is abound, but that is normal except in the US, Canada, England and Australia, all the rest are playing catch up. Germany has the toilet Mafia or I would include them… hehehe
Hard to say on Scandinavian countries. France is a basket case, and Russia is exporting corruption and mafia. (The run the Toilet Mafia I think in Germany.)
The Middle East is so corrupt they cannot even wage a war, and so they have to blow themselves up one at a time. Israel a country of 8 million holds off around 300 million.
80 percent of the tropical or Aquarium fish come from here. The chronic depression from the guidebook writer goes on to say about how they are destroying or poisoning or other stuff.
I AM SURE he is right. But… That means there is a LOT of beautiful fish in this area.
I got attacked one time by the IRS in the USA, my mother was upset, and the more I thought about it, the more I knew.
I had reached the big time; I was in the show and should celebrate. There are a lot of silver linings behind the sow’s ears.
They call Banaue Rice terraces the eighth wonder of the world, and India is 10 time more dirty than here.
The reason this place is not huge is because the STAtravel and Trailfinders Tickets from England and Australia do not have this on they path of Lager heads plane ticket sales. Like I said, there is a silver lining here, that is why I get to meet so many Danish Girls. I met two more the next day after Christine left. Seems like I got the classy group of travelers coming here, and lost the slappers.
Tuesday September 7, 2004
I am in Carmen, which is located more or less 4 hour north of Manila and maybe 2 hours north of Angeles. As best I can tell, it is a transfer place for buses to Dauo. However, I think Dauo is really Angeles, but I am in a Hotel and very safe, but it has been a hilarious entry to a city. If I had not had lots of experience with all sorts of cultures, this could have made me nervous, but instead I have had one of my best laughs in travels.
Left Banaue on the wrong bus, but also the correct bus at 6:30 AM. It was the wrong bus because the one I was on stopped at every person that looked at the bus while the other bus behind us was air con and more or less direct. Therefore, I got a very good chance to see the countryside, plus I really did not care, as I am here to see the Philippines and the best way possible is sitting up high in a bus, that stops everywhere, you get to see everything. I have realized that a bus that is non-air is probably the best possible vehicle for taking photos. Air conditioned buses have tinted glass and I cannot open the window. Small vans are sort of ok, but very low to the ground and you cannot see over the bushes, plus you they are cramped. So in reality, I was on the typical stop-for-everyone-that-looks-bus and this is perfect for photos and the hop-jump sequence I am making.
A Hop is a short trip and rest for the night and leaves the next day.
A Jump is a long trip between destinations like the overnight trip from Manila to Banaue.
I Hopped to Carmen, and will skip to Angeles tomorrow.
So I am on the bus trying to take enough good photos of the rice fields as we leave the upper mountains of Batad and Banaue and enter the smaller more widespread mountains of hills of flatland towards Angeles and Manila. They have large fields that are cultivated by machine, while the crops up on the rice terraces seem to be only by hand. This makes the production methods outdated and in danger of being obsolete, which they already are probably.
I think UNESCO should build machine ramps up the terrace and that would preserve them, instead of just a label.
So I am on the bus, a nice girl sits down next to me and life is good, she want to know if I am married, why not, and all sorts of things. I say maybe I will meet a Philippine girl and marry her, and she says,
“The lucky girl.”
This is a nice girl. I am pretty sure.
Nevertheless, she wants to know why I do not go to La Union to the beach? She is going to Bagui, which is just below La Union, so I decide to discover what she is talking about and take out my guidebook to read about La Union. Up to this point in my travels into the Philippines Christine, the Danish girl has been my guide, and I have barely looked at the guidebook and normally refrain from looking until I have a week or two of knowing the country without pre-conceived notions, but I am starting to look now.
I ready about La Union and it says it an old military place and full of sex tourism and they had a problem with pedophiles. (Children Sex)
So I am reading this trying to look enthused about going to La Union to the beach and trying to gleam off the reason why she wants me to go to the beach there, but she has only spent one night there in her life she says for her birthday. Her English is like I say, HALF, not whole.
She is from Quinerro on the other side of the Island, but is studying to be a caregiver whatever that is, and I try to not make jokes. I think she will take care of children or maybe a nanny, or take care of old people, I never figure out what she meant.
But here I am reading about a Sex Tourism place, and trying to find if there is a normal beach close, so I decide I might as well read a little about what it says about Angeles. Ooops. It is the epi-center of sex-tourism for the Philippine the book says, so this is the Thailand Pataya of the Philippines. I have never been to Pataya, or Phuket, so obviously I these places are not high on my list.
I am sure many readers that read my last newsletter read a lot more into the letter than I wrote… hehehe. I suppose they got a kick.
I have regular reader and writer that tells me about Southeast Asia and he recommend I go visit a former Major, a black guy I guess that married a Philippino girl and lives in Angeles, and because this is directly on my route back to Manila, I thought why not, and I can try to suss out why Americans have maybe an expat center there. Go Go girls are not a minus to a place and not a plus, they are everywhere in the world, but just labeled different. I think Germany has more deviant forms of this stuff, or just the same but cost more. Sabina was telling me they are lined up around the border town of Switzerland and Germany. I am not sure, just lot of nefarious gossip.
Banaue is for sure not a sex-tourism destination so I have the gentlemen version of the Philippines so far, and now the story is changing a little.
Well, I am happy to talk with a nice girl and it seems as though FOR SURE you can meet a nice girl in the Philippines, this is not so in a lot of countries in Southeast Asia as the nice girls will not talk with foreigners.
THE FUN BEGINS
I get off the bus and say goodbye to very nice girls, the bimbet next to me and the bright-eyed intelligent one behind me that was helping the best to explain what I saw along the way.
(Along the rice paddies, they have signs, I though they was sign to the brands of rice seeds, similar to the signs we have along fields of corn that advertise the type of corn seed in Indiana. But they are not for the seed they are for the insecticide. There are lots of these signs.)
I get off. A taxi driver instantly pounces on me.
He speaks 5 percent or less of English.
There is another man speak 7 percent of English.
“I want to go to hotel.”
The 7 percent guy says something the 5 percent does not understand and he is the one driving the sidecar motorcycle taxi.
“He says short-time?”
Then I think, hmm wait a second… Maybe lodge is the word the use.
He does not understand lodge or lodging. Every country has the proper word for a hotel and it is not always a hotel, maybe Hostel in Peru or Room in Cambodia or Guesthouse in Thailand. I am still learning in the Philippines. I think the word is Lodge.
But the guy says,
“300 Short time no-air, 700 Air”
I do not like the words short time.
This means sex, and I want a hotel, not sex, and it is noon, and I just got off the bus, something is amiss, this is not the way you get off a bus. There is a McDonalds within throwing distance of the drop-off so I believe I am in a substantial size town, but not I have no reference materials to tell me, except a McDonalds.
I form my left hand into a hole with my index and thumb.
I use my right had with my index finger to push through the hole.
UNIVERSAL hands signs for sex.
“No sex hotel”
While pushing my finger through hole, plus shaking my index finger after to say no. Sometimes shaking your index finger means no but it is not universal.
They shake their heads.
Normal for them to take me to a four star hotel, and I want a 200 peso place. I hold up three fingers. They nod or agree and decide on a hotel to take me to.
I get into the taxi for 50 cents or 20 Pesos and we proceed down to Hotel about 500 meters down the road, I am wanting to keep the bus stop in sight and am happy, more or less.
A couple or ridden hard and put away wet women are behind the desk, They do not get up, delayed action, and finally the taxi driver convinces them to stand.
400 pesos for fan and 700 for air.
It was not that simple to learn, but I shortened the typing.
I went to look at the room, leaving the big bag down with what I hope is an honest taxi driver. I go up to look at the room; soon the taxi driver follows me up carrying the bag.
A man opened the door and points at the bed.
It has plastic sheets, or something plastic.
The room across the way is open and has the same sheets and beer bottles. I am thinking I am in a short-time hotel. This would be OK, in a way except for noise and the sheets. This place is bad, and 300 Pesos too much for the quality of room. I was looking at the 400 Peso room, and wondering… maybe this includes the girl, but I cannot see any girls around.
I left the bag downstairs to show lack of commitment and to negotiate, I now have to grab my bag and walk downstairs. I am thinking I will offer 200 and be done, but on arriving downstairs, I said to myself…
“This is a hole!”
The taxi is cheap, and I can afford to drive around all day for that price, so I stuff my bag into the taxi drivers cart and say,
I am going to trade in the 5 percent driver for a 20 percent one if possible. I push the guy to pull over to a group of men or boys. Normally if you have 5-10 people in any group, one speaks enough English to help. I was correct, but the whole group is 2 percent and the one man is a five but has good listening skills.
I do the hand gestures for NO Sex Hotel and the one finally just points across the road. By golly, that is a hotel. He is very nice and walks me across the road …. For FREE.
This is why I say the Philippines people are nice; there is not a price on everything. In Thailand, if you are not paying they are not playing or talking.
I meet Alice through and iron barrier type door system that makes me feel safe and worried at the same time. She has a room that is 300 Peso and probably 100 more than normal because I am a foreigner. She speaks 25 percent English and tells me she has niece of son in laws in the USA, and I am very happy.
Fan, common toilet, double bed, pitcher of water, and one fitted sheet and it include a top sheet, oh yea a desk and plenty of traffic noise. It does have a plug inside the room and Banaue I had to string and extension cord outside the room because Banaue is only one generation away from no-lights and Carmen is two with a plug in the room.
I am in a city that is not in the guidebook, and as best I can tell has no ex-military base, so what is up with this short-time stuff. I am in the UGLY city I recommended in the last newsletter tip, but maybe I went too ugly. I do have on my camouflage military travel pants. But who in the world would go short time with a full backpack and a front pack? Plus where are the girls? Funny world we live in some days, and some days even hilarious.
Alice says I can take a bus for 20 minutes and go to an internet café. I think I will pass on the internet today, Angeles for sure has internet for the Go Go Boys.
PHOTO OF BANAUE OR BATAD RICE TERRACES
Interesting entry. Haven't been to Banawe myself. Would love to visit the place some time though.