I was happy, when I finally learned that I would be meeting up with my ship, it was going to be pulling into the Philippines. I was going to fly from San Diego, to Manila, and then take a van down the country, about 200 miles where the ship was going to be tied up at. About 6 other guys, and me, were going to the Philippines on an Air Force cargo plane that was going that way.
It was totally loaded with pallets of cold merchandise, headed to the Philippines for who knows what. We were just passengers. The seats we sat in, where temporary net seats, and they felt like it. They were seats made out of netting, and they were facing backwards, of the way you would sit on a regular plane, facing forward. We were facing backwards when you took off in the airplane, and you were forced to bend forward, instead of backwards, into your chair. The plane needed to be kept cold, and it looked like a London fog, inside the plane, just like we were sitting in a refrigerator. That was a very long 17 hour flight.
I was 19 years old when I landed in the Philippines. This by far, was one of the funnest countries a service guy could go to. If you just wanted to have a good time in the bars, and a good time with a bunch of pretty sexy Asian girls, you will love it there.
In the Navy, most of the guys that have not been to the famous places, like Thailand, or the Philippines, Korea, or Hong Kong, always want to know if what they heard was true, about what they heard from other guys on the ship. There is no way really to explain another country sometimes to someone, they just need to experience themselves sometimes.
Where are ship was tied up, was about 1/2 a mile from the main gate, which was located right next to party central town, called Olongapo. When you were on the base, it was big. The base had a laundry mat, you could do your own wash at, and the soda machines dispensed cans of beer for you while you did your laundry.
The base had a small casino on it, with slot machines. It had horses you could rent, and a nice golf course, that had wild monkeys, that would be up in the trees, and they would throw things at you, if you came to close to them.
In the Philippines, (lưới an toàn) and services were very cheap and easy to get. You could have all your laundry cleaned, pressed and bagged up for you, for only a few dollars. It was like that in town also. Your money could go far. For (lưới an toàn), there were out door markets everywhere, and they sold lots of knock off (lưới an toàn) items, for dirt cheap prices. You could be the ugliest guy on the ship, and you would still get a girl. It was not if you could get a girl, but which one you would want for the evening.
Right when you walk out the main gate, there is a small bridge with a river underneath it. All the guys called this “shit river”. It might of been that, raw sewage was always in the river. But that did not ever stop the usually 4 or 5 boats that would sit in it, with young girls dressed up in white dresses, and holding cups, begging for you to throw money out to them. People would throw pesos, down into the boat to them, and this was about 100 feet from the main gate of the base, and the entrance into town, was just steps away.
The town had lots of lots of bars, with various themes going on inside. There were little souvenir stores, or sorry sorry stores, as they called them, and different bars and restaurants, just about everywhere you looked. The funny thing about the town was, girls were everywhere and easy to get, but pornography was not seen around town, and it was illegal.
We had a bar that most of the guys from the office would hang out at on a regular basis. Usually on the weekends, or day times after work each day, we would hang out there, because that was our hangout place. The girls there did not try to hassle you into going with them, only if you wanted to, and the drinks were cheap.
They wrote our names on their bar window, just like a lot of bars did, that had special ships, and special departments, that hung out there, and claimed that bar for their own. Our department, pretty much hung out at the Cindi Bar, right on the first block of town, down one block to the right, and easy to get to.
Some of the bars, did not look so big from the outside. But it might be so huge on the inside, when you went inside. Most all the bars had bands, acts, and other things going on inside, to get more customers. It was a rocking town at night time. Back then, there were no such things as AID’s, or any other decease that might kill you these days. It was one big town party each night, and it was a free for all, young sexy woman everywhere, and plenty of cheap drinks.
Most all of our whole admin office, would hang out together, after work, and we would always start in the same bar for drinks. Some of the bigger, better bars, that had more sexier girls, and where the drinks cost a little bit more, were where we liked to go, later in the evening, to pick the girls we wanted for the night, but not spend all our time there drinking. We would go there, and just look for the prettiest girls we could find.
In the Philippines, it’s very easy, for a regular Joe, to have 2 girls at the same time, on numerous occasions, and even try 3 girls at one time, just to say they did it, and see what it is like. In the United States, you would either be the luckiest guy around. Overseas, it was whatever you wanted.
One time, we were having a division office party, and I was putting it together. We decided to have our department and the supply department have the party together. My job was to get the drinks, and reserve the bar in town. I reserved a two story bar, that had a nice balcony overlooking the street below. We had people roasting a pig, and all other kinds of food was brought in. In the Navy, they have a fund for parties. So I collected more money from each person on the list, and then requested that the Navy, give us our money, for our party, so we could have, and even better one. I put the money together, and we had a party on our hands, with everything.
This was a party, that did not matter if you were single, married, or an officer. If you were at the party, you usually had a little sexy Asian beauty with you. It was just a standing rule, that out in town, everyone is a free person, and most married guys are in the bars, and with girls, and that is just the way it is.
This party would land me in jail, but not until after having an excellent fun time at it. With the help of a Philippino chief on board the ship, he got the entertainment for us, to liven up the party. The entertainment consisted of an act of a man letting anyone who wanted to, throw darts into his back. Another act, was a man that would let you put a rope around his neck, and pull as hard as you wanted to, and you could not hurt him.
We also had many acts of girls, doing things like sticking banana’s up their vagina’s, and they would sit on the face of who ever wanted the banana. Other guys would lay down and stick money on their mouth, and the girls would come over and pick it up with their vagina’s. This was a regular division party, that was starting to get wild. Later that evening, I was arrested and taken back to the ship for being drunk and disorderly, and having to much of a good time.
One of my biggest lessons I learned in the Philippines, was about the language, and it was embarrassing. It was the word Benny Boy. In all the 9 months I was able to spend in the Philippines, I was pick pocketed, three times in all.
Once, I was pick pocketed by a group of small kids. They all came up to me, and then all started poking me with their fingers. Well, I tried to shoo them all away, and after they were gone, I realized, I had just been pick pocketed, and lost the money from my front dallas cowboys hawaiian shirt pocket, I had on me. After that, I never carried all my money in the same place, I always broke it up, just in case I got hit, I did not lose everything.
Another time, I was walking down the road, and this sexy lady, standing in a dark doorway, suddenly came out of know where, and asked me to come over to her. When I walked over to her, to see what she wanted, she got really close to me, and started squeezing my penis. I thought she must be to dirty, as she just stepped out of the darkness, and I got away from her, and stepped back and left. Later, I realized she had used one hand quickly on me, and the other went right into my front pocket, and within 4 seconds time frame.
The 3rd time, I lost my watch. I was sitting at a table, drinking a drink, in the middle of the day time. I was sitting outside a bar, at a table. This girl sits down, and after talking with her for a while, asks about my watch, and if she can wear it. Later, she says she has to go to the bathroom, and she never comes back. I asked one of the girls working in the bar, where the girl went that was sitting with me. Somehow, the girl told me she was Benny Boy. I thought that was her name, Benny Boy. Well, I asked the next girl that came over to me if she had seen Benny Boy. She just looked at me and said, “No,” with a weird look on her face.
I went outside, I was looking for this girl that just took off with my watch, and it was just a cheap watch. I had never had an expensive watch before. But, I still wanted to get my watch back from her. I was walking up and down the street, and I would ask people, “Do you know where Benny Boy is?” One girl that I asked, said, “Why you want Benny Boy, when you can have me?” I wondered why she said that.
I kept asking people, and they would give me weird or bad looks. I saw a shore patrol van up ahead, and when I got there, I asked the guys inside, if they knew of anyone named Benny Boy. I told them, that she had just stole my watch, not to long ago, from around the corner. These guys just looked at each other, and I did not know, I was still new to the Philippines.
One of them asked me, “Do you know what Benny Boy means?” He told me that, “Benny Boy, is the Tagalog name for ladyboy, or shemale, or man in woman’s (lưới an toàn).” I was embarrassed. Not from these guys, but the other girls I asked, thinking Benny Boy might of been one of their friends, and now they all thought I was looking for a Benny Boy. It’s funny now.
In the mornings, most the base was hustling and bustling around. The taxis were busy, and the ship was busy with everyone coming back in the morning to go to work. Even thou the ship is overseas, and about half of the guys are single, and half of the guys are married, most everyone that can, usually stays in town.
Most everyone finds a girl that has a place, or you can also rent hotel rooms cheaply for the night, almost everywhere. The way most of the bars work, is they call it a bar fine. You pay the bar for the privilege of taking the girl out of the bar for the rest of the evening. It is up to you and the girl, to figure out what you are going to do for the rest of the night.
Most of the girls, just want to get away from where they work at, and go to another bar, and hang out with their friends, and bring you along. After all, you have all the money usually. If the girl ever wants money for herself, she usually will let you know that up front, and you can decide for yourself. Other girls, never ask for anything from you, sometimes, and they are the funner ones to spend time with.
Most all the bars have the price of their bar fine, right up on the wall. Some of the bigger bars, with model type dancers, and bar girls, have the highest prices. I figure those are for places where the ship comes in, and only gets to stay for a couple of days, so the guys splurge, and get the best they can buy.
Most all the bars, have the girls wearing bikinis as their outfits. Needless to say, you can easily see what you are shopping for. In the mornings, since the medical department was also in our department, the corpsman would be busy every morning, giving out the VD shots. Some days, the line of guys standing in line to get shots, was 30 or 40 guys deep.
In the Philippines, it was a practice of taking peoples military ID cards, so they could not go into town and spread anything if they got VD. The medical department was swamped all the time. The girls were supposed to have been checked by doctors on a regular basis, that worked in the bars that were big, and the Navy did have people, who checked on them, to make sure the girls were seeing doctors.
You might have a battle group of 15,000 guys pull into port, and there still might be 3 or 4 girls, to every service guy, and all hot and sexy, in bikinis too. This was a playground for any 19 year old.
The ship would seem to always have a lot of parties and cook outs. One of the favorite places that we used to go, was an island, called Grande Island. It was just off the coast, and maybe only 1 mile away by bonka boat. These little bonka boats, had large wooden beams to keep them steady, and afloat. We would take them out to the island, usually in the middle of the night. The island had lots of cabins that we would stay in the for the night. That was the Navy’s party place. We would all drink, and roast pigs, and just have a good time on the island.
Most of the guys still preferred to be in town, where all the night life was happening. If a ship was going to be in town for only a few days. Some of the guys would pay hundreds of dollars to get someone else to stand their watch, or take, or exchange their duty day with them, just so they could go out in town, everyday they were going to be in port.
Even before most of the ships would pull into port, as I would take care of secret message traffic, and I would know when a certain ship was going to be pulling into port, before most people. But, a lot of the bars in town, would already have the new signs painted on their windows, welcoming whatever ship it was, that was going to be coming into port. They just always knew the ships schedule, better than we did.
The whole time I was in the Philippines, I never felt unsafe, walking down alleys, or just hanging out. I was never worried about being robbed, attacked, or anything like that, like I thought might actually happen, when I was in places like Pakistan, or somewhere else. The Philippino people are really so friendly, and they all speak English, and it’s just a really fun place to visit.
A person could really go out for the night on $20. That would be $10 for a bar fine, which might be kinda high, as the peso exchange rate was roughly 50 pesos for 1 dollar. Some bar fines, would only be maybe around 300 pesos, which is less than $10. You could get a hotel room for the night, just about anywhere, for around $7 a night. And, for $3, you could get a handful of beers, and some tacos to eat, for the last $3. So for $20, you could eat, drink, get a girl, and get a room, for $20. You could spend more, and get better, and some guys could spend a lot less.
One night in the Philippines, a lot of us from the office, went out as usual together. This night, a LTJG that was our division officer, decided to go out with us. All the guys called him feel good, because his name rhymed with that, but no one, ever called him that name, to his face. He was the kind of officer, that if you were typing something up, he would come up from behind you, and put his hands on your shoulders, and just look at what you are doing, and try to give you a massage like you were doing a good job, or something.
No one ever told him to stop, as he was a nice guy, and he was our division officer also. This night, we were going out, we had a new yeoman that had not been on the ship, or working in the office for that long yet, and he was our youngest guy in the office, and lowest ranking. He also went out with us that evening.
This would be another night, I would end up locked up for the evening, at the end of it all. We were in a bar, that had a mechanical bull in it. We were all drinking, and betting on who could stay on the bull the longest. I remember riding the bull that night, because I did really good at staying on it, but my legs must of hurt for 2 days after that, because I hanged on so tight, I used up muscles, I never even knew my legs had.
Well, I don’t know how things turned out, but before you know it, the new yeoman, had his dallas cowboys hawaiian shirt off, and was sitting in our division officer’s lap. Here we are, surrounded by some of the most beautiful girls in the world, it seems, and these guys are doing this. Well, it turns out, the division officer had to much to drink, and he had taken the dallas cowboys hawaiian shirt off the enlisted yeoman, and pulled him into his lap. When some other guys saw these, they broke it up, and a fight broke out.
We all ended up out in the street, in front of the bar, and a bunch of us, got taken away for being drunk and disorderly. Our division officer was also one of the people that had been taken away, and locked up. I could hear the division officer in another cell, throwing up. I could hear him say, to the yeoman that had his dallas cowboys hawaiian shirt removed, don’t say anything, just don’t say anything.
As it turns out, our division officer, was transferred right away, from our ship, and we all thought he must of been kicked out of the Navy. One of the guys saw him about a year later, and said he was stationed on another ship, and was a LT now. So he got a new duty station, and he got promoted, and I guess it was just swept under the rug.
The main strip of bars in town, where your major bars were located, which had the prettier girls, the bigger dance floors, and the better bands. All the roads to the left or right, were also filled full of smaller bars, and there must of been at least 100 different bars, just in that 2 mile radius.
There were bars with girls oil wrestling, wet t- dallas cowboys hawaiian shirt bars, and one of my favorite bars, and a lot of other guys favorite place also, I’m sure, was called “Begger’s Banquet”. It was full of girls, and it had a little bit of a different twist. This was the place that a girl would bring something out on stage with, and people would throw pesos on the stage, and they would do different things, with different objects, and beg for people to throw money on stage. The more money that was thrown out, the more bizarre they would become.
Some of these girls, were amazing, with how they could stretch themselves, or give themselves their own cunnilingus. Some of the things they could fit inside their vagina’s was amazing, to say the least. And that was just one bar of many different types of bars on the strip, and the side roads.
On one of my journeys, me and a friend were heading to another town, that was about 10 miles away. The town we were heading to, was famous for a game called “smiles”. That is when a bunch of guys sit around a table drinking, and one of the girls goes under the table. When someone smiles, they have to drink. You can only imagine what the girl is doing under the table to whoever broke a smile.
In the Philippines, most people travel by either jeepney, or a 3 wheeled motorcycle bike called a trike, and they are both busy, with lots of horn honking going on all the time, just like a big city. We were heading to this other town, when we saw a small circus set up on the side of the road and off to the side. We told the jeepney driver to let us out there. We paid to go in, and it was a freak circus. They had the half man, half woman person, they had really small people.
They had a man that must of been 8 foot tall, he only had on a pair of torn up shorts, so it was not a trick, and he would not even look at us. He must of lived in that cage for a long time, and they had a lot of deformed people on display. It was one of the weirdest circus’ I ever saw.
One day, I was walking down the main street in the Philippines, they call Magsaysay Avenue, and I heard a guy shout out, “Brandon”. Well, that was the name of my high school that I went to. I looked, and it was a guy that I had went to school with, he was also in the Philippines. I talked to him, and he had joined the Navy as well. He was stationed on a ship, and was import in the Philippines the same time I was.
The bar that we usually hung out at, and played pool, and just lounged around, was called the Cindi Bar. Most of the girls were in their teens, or early twenties. There was one girl, or woman, who was in her thirties. She was the seasoned girl. She had already been to San Diego, and knew all the places there. We were always told, don’t bring back a girl from overseas, she just wants to get into the United States.
It’s O.K. to find one in the states, they are already there, but if you find one overseas, don’t bring her back. She will marry you, and then dump you when she gets her papers to live in the United States, we were told. There was always that goof ball guy, that wanted to marry a girl he met over there, and he might of only known her, for a few days. They Navy always tried to discourage anyone from getting married, as the paperwork had to go threw our office, and you had to request to get married.
This girl that was older, she had her own home, and she would invite us all, over there on the weekends, and make spaghetti for all of us. She would also have some of the girls from the bar over at her house. At one time or another, I think every one of us, had spent some time alone with Maria, who was the oldest girl of them all, the one that owned the house, the one that had already been to San Diego.
Almost each guy from the office had been her short time boyfriend, as they liked to call it. None of the guys seemed to mine, we all had a good time with her, and we all liked her. On one of those occasions, I was on a couple of days of leave. I decide to take a few days off from the ship, and I was staying at Maria’s house. Well, while I was on leave, something happened to the civilians that were working on base, and the base decided to called back all military personnel, and canceled all liberty into town, until further notice.
They were afraid, the civilians might start to riot, over a contract dispute, that was going on. At any give time, there seemed to be more civilians, working on base, than military personnel. At the base in the Philippines. It had lots of Philippino citizens, that did work on the base, and they all seemed to ride bicycles to, and from work. When work would let out, it would just be a traffic jam, and a sea of people on bicycles everywhere.
The town was deserted, except for girls everywhere, and some civilians that were working with the Navy, that did not have to follow the military rules. I was aware everyone had to be back on base, but not until you were officially notified by someone. I was just enjoying having the whole town to myself. I could walk in a bar, and there would be no guys, but all the girls were still there. It was like being Hugh Hefner or something.
Eventually shore patrol saw me, and told me I had to go back to base and report in. A few days later, everything was back to normal, and the town was a giant Mardi Gras type atmosphere again.
write by Athena Nguyen