Saturday, March 31, 2012

Is Subic Poised to be a US Navy Ship Servicing Facility?

The MLSA - the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement - is a pretty obscure arrangement between the United States and the Philippines. Unlike the Mutual Defense Treaty, upon which the military arrangement of the two countries is based, and the Visiting Forces Agreement, which sets out the terms upon which US military service members can operate in the country, the MLSA does not get much coverage in the media.

The MLSA is an "agreement for reciprocal provision of logistics support, supplies, and services between the
Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United States military."

The reason it is significant is because it defines the terms upon which US Navy ships can be assisted when they visit ports like Subic. In Singapore, an MLSA is used extensively to repair and supply US Navy ships. The MLSA in the Philippines was drafted with broader military support in mind so it has limitations in how it can be used for ship supply.

That might be changing.

On April 30, the secretaries of defense and state of the United States (Leon Panetta and Hillary Clinton) will meet with the secretaries of defense and foreign affairs for the Philippines. Officials of this level don't sit down together unless they have something to announce. The actual negotiations are done by underlings prior to the meeting.

There is a lot of speculation that one of the announcements will be that the MLSA has been re-negotiated and this could have a significant impact on Subic. Rather than ship visits where sailors buy souvenirs and hit the bars and restaurants, while the ship cooks buy vegetables (which is what we have now), a broader arrangement with significant ship repair, servicing and supply could be in the works. This will mean jobs and business for Subic, as well as likely an upgraded pier.

Visits by the US military have their controversies but the economically stagnant Subic needs all the help it can get and an increased US military presence would be welcomed by everyone except the most radical anti-American groups.  

Friday, March 30, 2012

A New Perspective

    I enjoy getting around into the numerous drinking holes of Subic.  Don't think that I am some kind of drunken sot just wasting away all day on the evil drink. Nor am I out all night chasing around the younger lasses thinking that they love me for my good heart or because I am a handsome man.  What I enjoy about my wanderings is the people that you can meet.  I mean where else in the world are you going to find an ex-cop sitting and joking around with a grungy biker guy, while a beach bum is just waiting for a chance to inject himself into the conversation.  I can sit at home all day reading books or watching the myriad of shows that are available on my television set but nothing replaces the interaction of educated or in some cases slightly educated people while they are sitting around and drinking a couple of cold beverages.  I don't get that kind of intellectual stimulation sitting around the house.  Hence,  my reason for stepping out for a cold one or two.

    Now what I don't like is the stumbling drunk who can't manage to state  more than a couple of words before repeating himself or the verbal bully who likes to think that as long as he is louder than the guy he is talking with then he is correct.  Nor do I enjoy the guy who all he can talk about is back when he was in the Navy or back when he used to work at  _____.  The kind of people I enjoy are those who get around to different places, have interesting stories, can base their arguments on facts not fiction.  Those are the people that I will sit around with.  I have found these people in several places in Barrio Barretto. Places like Harley's, Mango's (pre-construction days), Midnight Rambler,  etc..  Yet some times whenever I go into certain places (and I won't mention any names)  you get the feeling that it is groundhog day same people telling the same stories, sitting in the exact same places, even wearing the same clothes day after day after day....  Come on people get a life do something different, Get out there and enjoy the PI. We live in a beautiful place that most people would love to live in.  I say get out there and do something different for a change.  Bugle Out.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Is Subic a CSL?

In its report Strengthening US Global Defense Posture, the US Department of Defense outlines three categories of overseas US military structures:
1. Main Operating Bases (MOB) are those relatively larger installations and facilities located in the territory of reliable allies, with vast infrastructure and family support facilities that will serve as the hub of operations in support of smaller, more austere bases; examples are the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, and Camp Humphreys in Korea
2. Forward Operating Sites (FOS) are smaller, more spare bases that could be expanded and then scaled down as needed; they will store pre-positioned equipment but will only normally host a small number of troops on a rotational, as opposed to permanent, basis; while smaller, they must still be able to quickly support a range of operations with back-up from MOBs
3. Cooperative Security Locations (CSL) are facilities owned by host governments that would only be used by the US in case of actual operations; though they could be visited and inspected by the US, they would most likely be ran and maintained by host-nation personnel or even private contractors; useful for pre-positioning logistics support or as venues for joint operations with host militaries, they may also be expanded to become FOSs if necessary

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Smaller Bills Sir

This happens to be one of my pet peeves so forgive me if the Bugle happens to go off on a little bit of a rant.  Why is it that most businesses refuse to carry proper change to ensure that thier business can function.  I mean we are not talking about nuclear engineering just have the management ensure that the cashier has enough change to run the business of taking in the customer's money and giving him the correct change.  How often is it that we go into an establishment and when we pay our bill we are asked "Sir, do you have any smaller bills?"  Or maybe it is something to the effect of "Sir, do you have x number of pesos"  really management give your cashiers a bunch of small bills/change and stop bothering the customer to help you do your job.  ATM's and banks give out 500 and 1,000 peso bills.  So why don't you send some of your help off to the bank and get some proper change.  Enough for now..   Bugle Out

Questions for SBMA

This input is not only for the Bugle, but also being sent to SBMA representatives and will almost guarantee a no response from the latter.
Wondering at the difference between Clark and SBMA leads to questions such as:
 - why do folks have to pay to drive into SBMA from either the SCTX or from the old Gapon road when there is no charge for the other entry points?
 - Where does the toll money go and for what purpose?
 - Why does SBMA have services for registering for an Gate Pass, ID, Vehicle sticker, etc - whereas Clark does not seem to have those requirements?
 - Clark's website shows upcoming events with dates, times and venues, whereas SBMA's website has very little in that regard?
 - Why is it almost impossible to get any information on the repair or re-opening of the main gate bridge to vehicle traffic?
 - What is the status of available Golf in SBMA?
 - What is the reason for not allowing personal motor bikes on SBMA?
 - There are a number of dilapidated buildings and areas on SBMA.  Is there a plan to clean up and utilize those areas?
 - And finally, why is getting information on these types of questions and others a lot like pulling teeth from a chicken.


Monday, March 26, 2012

The Bridge Whiners Were Right

Comment from a reader on the post: Did the bridge whiners ever apologize to SBMA?:
I'm a bridge whiner. A year to construct a dinky little river crossing? Half the time no one was working. Mostly there were guys with rags on their heads wearing flip-flops sleeping under card board boxes.There should have been 3 shifts going round the clock with arc lights. China built a mega kilometer bullet train in the same time frame. California closed 10 miles of the San Diego freeway for 53 hours and did repairs. The main gate bridge at SBMA still isn't fixed. Apparently SBMA is waiting for Daddy Shoe Mart to do it for them which is just as well since the mall is going up way faster than the bridge did.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Visit to Iloilo

      A friend of the Bugle recently went to Iloilo to take care of some business and passed some information on what life is like down there for any of our readers that were thinking about making a trip there.  Iloilo City is a fairly large city that is plenty laid back.  When you compare the traffic there to anything in Subic or Manila there is a huge difference.  The roads are fairly wide in the city and the traffic proceeds slowly giving way easily to people or cars moving in and out amongst the flow of traffic.  It is nothing like the hustle and bustle of Manila where everyone is rushing to get nowhere and nobody gets anywhere.  The traffic down south is more akin to travel in Cambodia where everyone is travelling along at 25mph and accidents are few and far between for those in four wheeled vehicles. 

     One of the things that Iloilo is famous for is its oysters, everywhere you go there is seafood restaraunts and people really seem to enjoy the oysters.  If you go to a first class establishment with AC and all the fancy trimmings you can expect to pay 75p for about two dozen oysters fresh from the steamer or off the grill.  If you want to try out the cheaper side of town then you can drop in at the market and food stalls there will sell you the same two dozen oysters for about 25p.  Amazing how cheap all this fresh seafood is down in the south.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Road trip to Mindoro

The Bugle recently had to make a road trip to Mindoro and decided to utilize the Strong Republic Nautical Highway created in 2003 by then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  This network of Roll On Roll Off (RORO) ferries allows you to travel throughout the Philippines either by Bus or you can actually drive your own car.  The trip to the Batangas pier was easy and comfortable with all roads in good repair with the exeption of EDSA.  It took a little over 4 hours at a leisurely pace.  The Batangas Port facility is a huge operation but unlike the majority of the Philippines it was actually quite organized.  Just drive up and tell them where you are going,  pay your terminal fee and get directions.  Once you are staged and getting ready to Roll On someone collects your fare to Mindoro (1,800p) drive aboard and head on upstairs to the seating area.  Now this is where the PI sets in. In the seating area you will find numerous places to sit the only problem being that where normally 5 people could sit you will find 1 person laying down pretending to sleep.  Real pain in the ass if you are travelling in a group and would like to sit together.  Now the Bugle isn't against laying out and making yourself comfortable but how about waiting until everyone gets aboard and then spreading out.  Enough on that.  The trip is roughly 2 hours long and there is food and drink to be purchased (SMB was 50P per can).  Overall the voyage was smooth and it was a highly recommended way to see a lot of the countryside.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Funnest Bar in Angeles

It's interesting to see how the bars on Fields Avenue change over a relatively short period of time. The biggest fanciest places turn into grim warehouses of frowning shufflers and scowling chain-smoking customers seemingly overnight. It is also interesting to see which bars are the most fun on the strip. The Roadhouse used to be the most fun on Fields with great music, a laid back crowd, and revealing outfits for the girls. After a few recent visits, the funnest bar these days seems to be Valhalla. A small place with a small stage and a pool table, the place gets the hard-drinking northern European crowd that its name applies. The girls aren't great looking but they do get into the spirit of it. The wild "tom boy" mamasan kind of leads the way with outrageous antics on stage. When you get tired of staring at the crowd, check out Valhalla and have some fun.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fill'er up Please

For the benefit of our readers in the United States where it seems that gas prices are all over the news programs.  I went out to fill up my car the other day and paid 53 pesos per liter.  My car used 40 liters of gas as I was a little bit under half according to the fuel gauge.  So I ended up paying 2120 pesos to fill up my tank.  I started wondering well what would that be in dollars per gallon?  So I broke out my trusty calculator and punched in the numbers.  Let's see there are 3.8 liters per gallon and the peso was worth 42.7 the other day when I changed money.  So a little bit of  division first (40/3.8) that comes out to about 10.5 gallons.  Now that 10.5 gallons of gas cost me 2120 pesos which when divided by 42.7 comes out to roughly $49.64 for my 10.5 gallons of unleaded or roughly $4.72 per gallon.  Almost makes you want to move back to the States doesn't it?  But wait a minute that price does have a few benefits built into it.  That is for full service, I don't have to get out of my car to pump that gas.  If you want the attendants will wash the windows and check your fluid levels too.  So maybe I will stay here in Subic.   

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Update on Floating Bookstore

On Sunday we visited the recently arrived floating bookstore MV Logos Hope. The entry area is easy, fast and organized. Children under 12 are free. 20 pesos for all others. You are aboard the vessel in no time. Once inside there is a brief movie telling the history of the ship and explaining the procedure for the visit.
The first room has many books ranging in theme. Best sellers, fiction, children's, medical, cooking, health, marriage, devotion, family, parenting, spiritual, travel, reference, hobby, crafts, home improvement and Disney.
Since it is a Christian endeavor it leans heavy toward religious content. There are bibles for every age, in all colors, language and style. It also is geared for children. These is something for all ages from new born to young teens. Learning to read titles are varied.
It is weak for teens and fiction depending on your interests. Hunger Games was not there. One vampire title was on the shelves. Best sellers and fiction are also sparse. We did spot a David Baldacci title.
One thing cannot be emphasized enough. The staff is friendly, cheerful, helpful and interested in you. They're supercharged with smiles.
The music sales area is again geared for the spiritual. Do not bother looking for Jay Z. There is a lot of instrumental with mood music such as 'Sounds of Rainfall' or 'Waves Crashing on the Beach.' The bands have names like Disciples, Savior, Healer or Invincible. Michael Smith is also prevalent. We did discover a Southern Rock anthology with Johnny Winter, Outlaws and Almond Brothers songs on the CD.
Near the check-out area are inexpensive impulse items. Ships pens are just P25. An interesting collection of greeting type cards are available. After the check-out is a snack area followed by an optional excursion deeper into the vessel. This includes a large room with a sound stage and a kind of entertaining play/mime/dance/light show going on.
The whole trip took an hour and ten minutes and was a terrific way to spend a Sunday afternoon with the kids.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Foray into the Korean Side of Town

The Bugle went out to visit the Subic Oceanview hotel/restaraunt/floating bar (located along National highway just prior to Calapandayan proper) the other day to see what they had in store.  And boy was there a few surprises there.  As we walked into the lobby and proceeded down a couple of flights of stairs to get to the so called floating bar/restaraunt we coulded help but notice the general lack of attention to details in the finishings.  There were lots of cracks in the tile floors the edging around the steps was all hacked up, etc.. just not a good overall first impression.  Made on think that the whole place was on the verge of sliding down into the bay. The restaraunt area itself was large and had an impressive view once the staff took down all the laundry that was hanging everywhere to dry.  Not a very impressive start but I figured I was here I maight as well try some food.  Prices ranged from 4000p for the lobster sashimi to 200p or so for some of the different soups.  We had a house special salad for 300p that was edible, kimchi and a korean noodle dish that was actually quite tasty.  There was bulgogi on the menu but at 800p for 300 grams of meat I thought the price was a bit high.  The worst thing about the place though was the huge flies that were dive bombing our food while we were trying to eat.  Not sure if that was due to the time we were eating (4pm or so) or just a general lack of sanitation in the area bordering the restaraunt.  Don't think that the Bugle will be making a return visit anytime soon.

Monday, March 19, 2012

It's More Fun Getting Hit in the Head

From a reader: On Tuesday, March 13, I was at the old NAIA Terminal 1 checking in for my China Airlines flight to Canada when I heard a cracking sound. I looked up and tiles were falling from the ceiling. They hit several people in the Gulf Air check-in area. Also, a cloud of dust fell over the area. When I looked up, I could see tiles all over the roof rotting and about to fall. After check-in, I made it to immigration only to see the line backed up so far that it was past the area where you pay your terminal fee and nearly all the way out the door to the check-in area. So my advice to anyone flying out of the dilapidated old Manila airport: arrive early and wear a helmet.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Asian Themes

For our readers that enjoy books with an Asian slant to them you might want to check out the following website. You can subscribe to a monthly newsletter from the link. They specialize in E-books for all of our more tech savvy readers.  The prices are quite reasonable.  Most are lower than what you could get from Amazon.

bangkokbooks newsletter March 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

What Beats the Manila Shuffle??

I recently had occasion to try the Tiger Air flight to Bangkok out of Clark (Diosdado Macapagal International).  They service other Asian destinations such as Singapore. The price beat all other airlines by miles. The best part was not having to go through the Manila cesspool.

Check-in was easy. Immigration was a little slow but doable. With so few flights the line went quickly. Much quicker than the other end. Thai immigration was at least an hour. The Clark waiting area was just fine with comfortable seating and varied, inexpensive food and drinks.

Interesting passengers on flight. The plane held 150. All full. About 50% were foreign men. 25% foreign women and 25% Asian. Foreign men are a diverse group with no dress codes. Wife beater shirts, shorts and flip-flops didn't even raise eyebrows. 

Ah....but the stewardesses. Great looking Asian women. Brings back memories of the 'coffee, tea or me' flying glory days.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Bugle is in Denial

Comment from a reader on the post "A Deal with the Devil":
The reputation of Subic is moving toward industry and tourism which is better than prostitution. I know Filipinas now who won't be seen with a foreign guy for fear she'll be called a hooker. Oh my god the things you say of Koreans are so biased as if no other nationality or country was as bad as those Korean guards back in WW2. I think you are in denial.

From the Bugle: We deny our denial! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mexican Meals in Manila

Comment from a reader on Zapata's in Angeles: Bland but Good  
Zapata's is Tex-Mex, not bad but not really Mexican food. The best Mexican food in the areas served by this fine blog is Orale in Fort Strip in Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila. Great carnitas and barbacoa, very good chicken and fish, and decent carne asada. They make their own tortillas and have a growing selection of Mexican beers. But best of all, the place is relaxed -- not too fancy or too pricey, with a nice selection of salsas. Good burritos, real tacos (soft on a fresh tortilla like they are in Mexico, not crispy on a deep-fried shell like in Texas or Taco Bell) and good beans (refried pintos or black). They don't do too many things -- burritos, tacos, quesadillas, meat with rice and beans etc -- but that's a good thing. Simple and pretty healthy choices. In fact, I think the only thing they deep fry are the churros. Provecho! on

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Shopping surprises

The Bugle was out shopping the other day at a certain unnamed store that happens to be located on SBFZ, and while doing so he was comparing the prices of different sized tubes of shampoo.  Initially when the wife would grab one I would invariably say why don't we get the bigger size as that will be cheaper.  So in an attempt to show her how much we would be saving I whipped out the old calculator on the cellphone and starting crunching the numbers.  Lo and behold though the larger size is not always the best bargain.  Makes me realize that you really do need to check out the actual cost per oz. or ml.  for most of the things in the store.  Check it out next time and see what you come up with.   Remember caveat emptor does apply in the Philippines.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Where are Bamboo Bugle readers?

The darker the green, the more the readers. Most readers are in the Philippines, followed by the United States and South Korea. But there are a surprising number in Ireland. Where are you reading from and why?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Floating Bookstore in Subic Bay

 The ship MV Logos Hope will be in Subic Bay on the 16 th of March complete with it's floating book fair. It is open to the public and a great place to take the family. This ship replaces the MV Doulos which last visited Subic in early 2008. MV Logos is twice the size of the previous ship.


The MV Logos is operated by the German charitable Christian organization GBA Ships. Their stock of books is made up of 7000 titles, most of these Christian oriented as is their selections of music and posters. However cook books and other disciplines also share the shelves.

The all volunteer staff and crew is made up of 400 people from 50 different countries who stay aboard for two years. Interaction with the crew is one of the good things about the visit. They are friendly and open to questions from children and adults.

It arrives from a two week Manila stay and will be in Subic for two weeks. There is a P20 peso entrance fee.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Best All Night Bars in Angeles?

From a reader: I arrived from the states in Angeles at 3 a.m. and just started my bar hopping at that hour! I found a lot of bars still open. A few bars on Fields Avenue close at 2 a.m., then a lot more close at 3 a.m. but it appears that at least half a dozen stay open until 5 a.m. and a few don’t seem to ever close! Insomnia, Brown Sugar and Voodoo are all 5 a.m. bars, as is Valhalla (those Vodka drinking northern Europeans in there never sleep!) The Doll House seems to be open 24 hours, but it is pretty grim when the sun rises. Does anyone have any suggestions for all night (past 5 a.m.) gogo bars in Angeles? I want to have scrambled eggs and coffee while I watch the dancers!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Try Camayan Beach... but bring your wallet

Comment from a reader on the post "Where are the decent watering holes?":

The most family friend place in Subic has to be Camayan Beach, beside Ocean Adventure. It has a family beach and a restaurant with live music on some evenings. But it might be a bit too “family friendly”. It is in a remote area, far from anything else. Also, it is not cheap, by local standards. Beach entry fees are high, as are cabana rates, but food and non-alcoholic drinks can be brought in at no charge.

Easy to Avoid Barrio Barretto Road Block

Comment from a reader on the post Cops for Sale in Olongapo:

The cops only seem to work that barrio barretto road block in the morning and at dusk, when it cools down. Just avoid these two times and you can do anything you want.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Trader Ric’s – Not Ready for Prime Time

From a Bugle Correspondent: I went with my two kids to try out the new Trader Ric’s restaurant beside Blue Rock on Baloy Beach. They are in the midst of construction and they only have a few tables facing the dusty road and nothing on the ocean side, but the menu is impressive. We tried the Mexican sampler and the panini. Both were very good. It is odd that the owner has clearly put a lot of effort into his menu and food so long before his place is really ready to receive customers. It appears there will be an elevated dining area overlooking the ocean when it is done. It is a bit like eating in a construction zone right now, but this place has potential when it gets done.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Where do we find out about events in Subic?

From a reader: My wife and children and I were driving out to Camayan beach a few weekends back and as we passed the airport we heard the wild screeching of wheels. When we looked down on the Subic airport tarmac, we saw some great obstacle course stock car racing. On the runway itself, stock car drag racing was taking place. We had no idea this was taking place and it turned out to be more interesting than the beach. Does anyone know how to find out about upcoming events in the Subic area? The SBMA website has a few things but it is not reliable. Is there any one website or place where all the events are posted?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Did the bridge whiners ever apologize to SBMA?

Just went over the new Kalaklan Bridge. Great to see the big, paved parking lot and modern guard facilities. The bridge appears to be well-designed and the stop light on the national highway is literally a life-saver. As hard as it is for Subic’s incessant grumblers and whiners to admit, SBMA officials did the right thing with this bridge. They identified that it was unsafe, closed it down for safety purposes and designed and built a much better facility as quickly as they could. It now serves the rapidly growing traffic to resorts and businesses much better than the old one. Thank you SBMA for a job well done! (But don’t wait for the bridge whiners to apologize for all their griping.)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New plans for an old airport

The Bugle has been hearing a lot of whining lately from people complaining about the demise of the Subic Airport.  Truth of the matter is that it has been losing money hand over fist since the departure of FedEx.  Personally I feel that that land could be better utilized and it seems like the new administration is feeling the same way.  Read the following article and then let our readers know what you think about the new plans or if you have any better ideas throw them out there for all to see.

1000 Peso Protest

For those who are tired of winding through the scattered cones and waiting in long lines at the needless, ramshackle Tipo highway toll booth, please consider registering your displeasure with this example of bad management by the authorities that run the Subic freeport. Visitors driving in from the Clark airport or from Manila can enjoy smooth, modern highways on the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), but as soon as they enter Subic, they face the bumbling incompetence of the Tipo highway toll booth. As a protest, I have started only giving the toll booth takers 1000 peso notes for their 22 peso toll fee. This seems to bring the entire incompetent operation to a grinding halt. The other option is to wrap your 22 pesos in a ball and just throw in the window and drive on. The gate is broken so they have no way to stop you. The sleeping guards with shotguns won't notice.

Let's fix Tipo and stop punishing visitors to Subic!

Smokin’, Drinkin’ and Enjoyin’ Life

I've been reading a lot of complaining and whining on this site. Most of us are here because we choose to be. You can still smoke tobacco and not have people throw rocks at you. A pack of cigs is 50 US cents. Prices are somewhat reasonable compared to our home countries. You can flip a U turn on a main street and not be hit with a $500 fine. Older people are looked up to and revered instead of stuck in homes. Older men still have a shot at swell looking babes. Last night I stopped with two mates in front of a 7-11. Inside I grabbed three bottles of San Miguel. At the counter I asked the cashier to open them for me. She popped all three with a bottle opener behind the counter.  Getting in the drivers seat I passed the bottles all round and off we went. Couldn't do that in Bakersfield.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Try Wild Orchid and Dreamland for Family Friendly Fun

 Comment from a reader on the post "Where are the decent watering holes?":

A real friendly spot for family is the Wild Orchid on baloy beach. Reserve a Cabana which is just a few yards from the beach. There is a large open grassed area adjacent to the beach...a terriffic restaurant, and one of the largest and cleanest pools in the area.

Comment from a Bugle Correspondent on the post "Where are the decent watering holes?":

Another place that Bugle has been to on numerous times is Dreamland. A great value; two swimming pools, decent food, and large, clean rooms.

Try Extremely Esspresso

Comment from a reader on the post: "Best Pizza in Subic":

You should try Extremely Espresso and be specific about the size as ours was too huge.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Don’t Make Korean Companies A Scapegoat

Comment from a reader on the post "A Deal with the Devil":

Perhaps the Philippines attracts the type of people you mention because of how they themselves do business. Often sacrificing their own for money but really this is the same. I don't see Koreans that way unless of course the Philippines allows them to be. Which would be the same as what I see from Filipinos, Americans, Australians, Germans... In the military days there were many with legitimate jobs, oddly many of those people have forgotten those skills so I assume it was not only the skill but the infrastructure that created the result. But also with the military was the huge prostitution industry which made some local people very rich and I'm not talking about the working girls/guys. The whole country could do with less of that and the reputation. There are much greater social ills being hidden than the issues brought up. How many incidents/deaths have there been by a comparable Filipino company? How were handled? Korean bashing is currently popular here in Philippines but we need to remember it can easily be turned on anyone. I don't think the Filipino people or the development of the local area was better off with the US military here. The US base was here as a visitor with a lease not "control". I think many of the older returning Americans are sad they have lost that influence in the local community. Odd how many of those old guys run bars with lots of girls...I'm suspect.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Olongapo Malls Represent Progress

Comment from a reader on the post "The Bamboo Bugle is Living in the Past!":

There were some good things with the military but I agree it is time to move on. I was here then but as a person I am way past seeing it as a base. Nor do I feel compelled to share my military past. I've lived a lifetime since then. I see it as a Freeport Zone. I so agree with the issues of the markets. It is time for Olongapo City to grow. There are many reasons it has not and many of us know the sordid past and how certain people liked it that way but that isn't fair to the people of OC. The malls are hard to take and people tell me "they're expensive" but I've found this isn't consistently true and it is cheaper than our driving to Pampanga or Manila which many people do on a regular basis. Most cities suffer with these types of growing pains. With big companies/malls comes health insurance, education benefits, opportunity for promotion and competition based on performance not your uncle owning the store. Life will be different and I look forward to the progress. That said it would be nice if the SBMA police upped their professionalism in the area of security and enforcement.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Beware of “family friendly” joints

Comment from a reader on the post "Where are the decent watering holes?":

There are many places in SBFZ (formerly USN base area) that are family friendly and right on the beach. There are a few in the local area but the environment, especially after dark will not be the same. Be aware that a few seem family friendly but there are rooms just waiting. I'd say check out the Light House in SBFZ and Playa Papagayo in Barrio for both nice environment and family friendly.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Try Mangos and Wild Orchid for Family Fun

Comment from a reader on the post "Where are the decent watering holes?":

A real friendly spot for family is the Wild Orchid on baloy beach. Reserve a Cabana which is just a few yards from the beach. There is a large open grassed area adjacent to the beach...a terrific restaurant, and one of the largest and cleanest pools in the area.

And from another reader:

My husband and I have been here for eight years now. We first came here with our daughter and two grandsons. The best family oriented bar and restaurant is Mangos in Barrio Baretto.