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Angeles Tidbits

A reader and now friend I have made through this site, at my asking, offered to write an article now and then for my site. His name is Gene Davis.

Gene is an American from North Hollywood, California. He met his lovely wife while visiting Manila in 1996 and they were married in 2003 when he retired and relocated here to the Philippines. They donate their free time to their local Barangay Police. In this little travelogue, Gene tells about the nicer life of Angeles City. Maybe after Gene sees his byline here, he might decide to be a regular contributor.

Angeles Tidbits
by: Gene Davis

Ready, Set, Angeles…

Mabuhay and Greetings from Angeles City, Philippines. I’m a retired American living close to Angeles City in the Philippine Islands. Bruce of “American In Davao” asked me to write a bit about our area and life on the largest of the Philippines 7,107 islands. Most of what I write here comes from others with far more information than I can provide from just my own personal experiences.  Whether traveling the world in search of the perfect vacation spot, or like me, finding a warm place in the sun to enjoy my retirement years; the Philippines is a place of beauty and a relaxed lifestyle that would be hard to find anywhere else. Following is an article about our area of Angeles City. Things to do, how to get here and the like. As time goes by I will try to write a note or two on Bruce’s  site with thoughts about life here as well as personal experiences. If you have never been to the Philippines before or even if you have lived here for years, remember this is a third world country with wonderful but very poor people. Use caution and good common sense when traveling in the country at all times. And remember the old saying, “if it sounds too good to be true—it usually is.”

Angeles is a city mirroring two images; that of the beauty of nature and that of the glitter and glamor of city life. If you’re bound for the Philippines, then it is one city that you should visit.

Location:
The city is located in Region III, north of Manila / NCR (National Capitol Region), Philippines. It is more or less 80 kilometers from the Capital.

Access:
From the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), one can take an airport taxi to nearby bus stations (Victory Liner, Rabbit, Dagupan Bus lines most buses going up north pass by Dau the entry point to Angeles City.) The Victory Liner is the most comfortable, based on the author’s experience. Only the Rabbit Bus lines however, have a station inside the city. For the other buses, a stopover is usually done at Dau which is a jeepney- ride away from Angeles. There are ordinary buses and air con buses which offer affordable prices.

Private cars could be rented and taxis from the airport could bring you directly to Angeles, but it would be more expensive than the bus fares.

If you decide to take the bus until Dau, then you could ride a jeepney from Dau to Angeles. You have to walk though, the short distance from the bus station to the jeepney stop. If you’re totally new to the city, a taxi ride from the NAIA Airport provided by legitimate and certified airport taxis should be utilized.

The Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) is situated also inside Clark Freeport, (which was previously the US Clark Air Base.) Travelers from different entry points could now land directly at the airport. Flights from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Inchon Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand are quite affordable.

For first time-travelers, it is not advisable to hail a taxi outside of the airport for these are no longer covered by airport rules and may not be guaranteed for your personal safety. Accidents can happen in any part of the world no matter what safety precautions are in place if you don’t travel wisely. One could easily be lost in the crowded, metropolitan mazes.

Within Angeles city, jeepneys and tricycles are readily available.

Recommended places to visit:
If you’re a nature enthusiast, the remains of Mt. Pinatubo would be a good place to go. The remains of the eruption in 1991 are still indelibly etched on the landscape. The oldest house-Pamintuan’s residence found at Sto. Rosario St. could be a treat for you. The intricate designs of the house reflect the influence of the Spanish occupation. The Clark Special Economic Zone could be a peaceful place to visit, just to see how the former – US Clark Air Base – looked like. It occupies a large area in the outskirt of the city. There are also several duty-free shops. Taxis can be hired at the gates of Clark or at taxi stops outside SM Clark (a leading Filipino Mall, found just near the gates of Clark).

Several popular hotels are also within Clark’s perimeter: Mimosa and Holiday Inn to name some. Mount Arayat stands majestic in the center of Pampanga and is less than an hour’s ride from the city proper. It is the only mountain found in the heart of the province. Mother Nature abounds and local folks usually spent some respite there during the summer months. A guided tour would be advisable if you want to include it in your list. It would be wise not to venture without a competent, local guide. Balibago – one ride from the city proper is where most tourists stay. There are several hotels in this area, Swagman, Oasis, etc. which are frequented by tourists. Night life is also spectacular. There are several bars and bistros (some are opened 24 hours), which cater to foreigners who prefer the night life.

Whatever places you decide to visit while in Angeles City, you should be a wise traveler. Always have a map of the city with you, bring only valuables that you need when going out. For maximum enjoyment, stay in groups and avail yourself of the services of legitimate local guides.

My personal favorite place in Angels for a quick and affordable meal is the VFW post.  Good Mexican tacos, great sandwiches, and the best cup of coffee this side of Los Angeles Calif.

That’s all for this time, my sweet wife, Viol, is calling me in to surprise me with yet another delicious Filipino snack of some kind. Gosh, I have a hard life…

18 Responses to “Angeles Tidbits”

  1. Gene says:

    Good Morning Bruce,

    Thank you for the introduction and for posting my article. Angeles is a nice area with much to see and do.
    I think most expats living here rarely, if ever spend time out in the bars. Most are too busy with family and other activities.
    Perhaps next time if okay with you, I’ll try a story on the nightlife of Fields Ave. I’ll have to use existing information from elsewhere as I also don’t get into that area except when going to the VFW post occasionally for lunch.

    If not mistaken, I think I sent you another article under separate cover. If so, feel free to use it if you like.

    Again, thanks for the intro and posting the article.

    Have a great day,

    Gene

    • Bruce says:

      Gene,
      It is me to thank you for the time you took to write the article and to let me publish it. Many of us know about the nightlife in Angeles City. Throughout the world, even in the states, at most military bases, as you exit the gates you see pawn shops, bars, and women. So, here in the Philippines, there is that kind of life outside where Clark AFB and Subic Bay were located. I am not sure if that kind of content is needed for this site. Lets see if we get any comments from other readers.

  2. Riza says:

    Hmm…Pampanga is almost near my grandmother’s hometown, Zambales. I remember growing up near rice fields and “paragos”(something attached to the carabao,usually made of bamboo and people ride on it). My grandmother would wake up 3 in the morning and they start planting rice around 6am, they stop for lunch, and then under the big tree shades we eat on the banana leaves, and after that, men who can play guitars and whoever brings one, would play and sing for entertainment. In those times, serenading the girl is still practiced. I kinda miss those times. Thanks for shariing 🙂

    • Bruce says:

      Riza,
      Good childhood memories is nice to think back on. It sound like you had a nice childhood and that is what developed you into the person you are today.

  3. Christine says:

    Hi Bruce and Gene, I do have happy memories visiting my Aunt in Angeles before I came to Oz. My Aunt’s husband used to work for the base there, and she used to supplement her income by accepting lady boarders who worked during the night. And no, they weren’t nurses if you know what I mean? 🙂

    I did liked visiting my Aunt because she is more liberal, and not as strict as my father. And the lady boarders were very kind to me too. One day, one of them who had a Kano BF thought about putting heavy make-up on me and my cousin, so I would be allowed to enter the base, as I was only a teen-ager then. The memory is a bit hazy, but it was some kind of club (?) inside the base. Whatever it was, there was music and dancing, and some disco lights. The boarder’s BF bought us some nice food and drinks, something that was unfamiliar to this poor Pinay, back then. But we did not stay long, we basically just ate and left. I guess the Kano BF was just being kind to me and my cousin, and he probably got nervous, in case he got caught consorting underage girls!

    But it was really sad when the base closed. It created a lot of unemployment for the people who worked there. My Uncle, who was by then in his late 40’s never found work again, went home to the islands, and helped at the farm till he died. I thought that was very sad. But I guess we can’t stop changes, and many people did thought that the US bases were an evil influence to Filipino culture.

    • Bruce says:

      Christine,
      So you were almost trained in a different form of care and compassion. I am glad you decided on the white uniform instead of thigh highs and mini skirts.
      Yes the bases were a bad influence on the people, but the Filipinos had an influence on the Americans. That is my point about poverty and need of money. People will sell their souls for the daily rice. If population can decrease and the Govt can care for the poor, with job training included with food, things can change. Give a person a fish and you feed him for a day….. teach him to fish and you feed him for life. Unfortunately if he is a vegetarian their might be a problem.

      • Christine says:

        Bruce, ha,ha. That was just a kid’s adventure, and I’m glad I went along with it. Oh, by the way, to this day, my father didn’t know what we did – LOL! 🙂

        Thigh highs and mini skirts? Oh, I do wear them here when it’s summer, just not to make a living. 🙂

        Actually, your comment about people selling their souls for daily rice reminded me of my Grandma’s reactions the first time she visited Angeles city. (we always referred to it as Pampanga). My Uncle, perhaps with the deliberate intent of shocking her took her for a walk around the area where there’s plenty of clubs, and even by early evening, there were already lots of “night girls” plying their trade. My Grandma was horrified, because some of the girls would accost a Kano, then do their best to “entice” him. To cut a story short and to keep this forum clean, my Grandma absolutely refused to visit my Aunt again, till she died.

        And Bruce, if he is vegetarian, then I guess you have to teach him how to farm. Far easier than fishing 🙂

        • Bruce says:

          Christine,
          Thigh highs and mini skirts, ummm,,, got any photos??? might improve my rankings here.
          Accost a Kano, it does not have to be Angels, it will be anywhere. But fishing is cooler and less dirty.

          • Christine says:

            Bruce, I’d like to send you the photos, but if I do that, between Elena and the BF, you could be dead man walking 🙂

            But yes, accosting a Kano (or any males for that matter) does not happen in Angeles city alone.

          • Bruce says:

            Christine,
            True, BF and Elena would gang up on me and skin me alive.

  4. Alan says:

    My wife would probably prefer i not mention this but i did live In Angeles my first year in this country 2001-2002 . One thing to this day i still miss is genuine American food . There were so many retired military there that had opened eateries you could get pretty much anything including BBQ ( American style ) , biscuits ( the bread , not the cracker or cookie )and even Turkey and dressing at Thanksgiving . :-)I lived near the VFW which was a great place to eat and there was also a European gent that had a “deli” not far from there with genuine imported meats and cheeses from Europe. Yum , Yum .. 🙂

    • Bruce says:

      Alan,
      Maybe you can get some of them to franchise and open here in Davao and CDO for you. I guess I need to wait for MArco Polo to have their American Food Fest again.

  5. Gene says:

    Great posts everyone. Its true, the American food around and now inside Clark is really good. I was at the VFW a few days ago and about went crazy trying to decide what to order from the menu. It ALL looked good. Being that my stomache is not the size of a carabou, I finally knew I had to make a decision. So decided on the the BBQ pork sand, fries, and apple pie with coffee. Also found a new deli by the corner of Fields and Mc Arthur Hwy. Bought some spicy sausage to fry up with breakfast.
    Ahh well, bacdk on the diet to loose the 5 or so pounds I must have gained…

    • Bruce says:

      Gene,
      Your making me jealous. There are no such places here in Davao with so many choices of American food. Talk them to open an outlet here in Davao and I will manage, cook, advertise or anything to eat as well.

  6. Anthony says:

    Hey I thought you and Elena were going to work at my restaurant?

    • Bruce says:

      Anthony,
      We both would love to work at your restaurant. Just make sure our salary and meals will compensate our efforts.

  7. Georgewife says:

    i was born and grew up and studied in Angeles City. The City of Angels. Most girls that there were all pretty and classy. Coz most of them were already half foreign. But take note, most of those girls you are saying wear mini skirts and bar girls are from Visayas or few in Mindanao. ( but honestly there are some Classy looking girls who are GRO too, so that they can able to finished their college) Most of them were just force to come over there to able to work and help their family. I’ve heard somebody recruited them and promise to give them a better and high paying decent job. But they didn’t know when they came over in Luzon ( normally, Fields Avenue in Angeles City, Subic and Manila) their job its being a sex slave like working in the Club.I often feel sorry to them because they don’t have any choice. Most guys were so rude to them, they don’t respect them.
    Come on guys, Girls need some Love too! But they are some were lucky who married foriegners and accept them for who they are. But I’m jealous most of them have a very beautiful babies.

    • Bruce says:

      Georgewife,
      It is true some girls are requited by false promises and some go to the darker side of life to support their family. Until the Government does something about it, nothing will change.

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