Night-Life and "Companion"ship in the Philippines.
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The Travel Agents Representing Dive Right's PADI Dive Center in Coron Town, on Busuanga Island, in the Calamian Island Group, located north of Palawan Island, Philippines won't talk to you about the night-life you may have an interest in.

We have had divers show up in Coron and leave two days later for lack of visible available women. They didn't ask who the players were, they just assumed they didn't exist because they couldn't recognize them. The solution is to bring your own companion to Coron.

Filipinos do not have any problem with you traveling around the Philippines with your "girlfriend". The best solution to companionship in Coron is to bring a "companion" with you to Coron. The best place to find a "companion" is undoubtably in the many a-go-go bars on Fields Avenue, in Barangay Balibago, in Angeles City, Pampanga Province, 84 kilometers north of Manila.

The following web sites have been established to promote their respective businesses which are located on Fields Avenue: which ROCKS on Friday night.
Shanos is located on a side street next to Roy's Bar. The easiest way to find it is to go to the Orchid's Hotel and look down the side street outside of the swimming pool entrance. Shano's is definately worth the visit.

Even if you arrive in Manila and intend to travel to Coron you should come to Angeles City rather than try to hunt up a companion in Manila. Many of the expats living and working in Manila find the attitude of Manila's working women so mercenary that they leave Manila on Friday afternoon and spend their weekends in Angeles. An Angeles City weekend including round-trip transportation from Manila, two nights of food, lodging, drinking and entertainment in Angeles will usually cost about the same as one night of entertainment in Manila.

For PHP 1,500 Swagman Hotel can pick you up at the Manila International Airport and deliver you directly to Angeles City by private car with driver. If you schedule this there will be a Swagman employee waiting for you with a signboard when you exit past the Philippine Customs Inspectors out into the airport's meeting area. She would call up your car and dispatch you to Angeles City.

Swagman Hotel on Flores Street in Ermita (facing into the park opposite Roxas Blvd from the US Embassy) runs the Fly-the-Bus service from Swagman Hotel in Ermita to the Swagman Narra Hotel in Diamond Subdivision, Balibago, Angeles city and then on to any other Angeles City Hotel. The Fly-the-Bus service costs PHP 350 for a one-way ticket and is well worth the price for the peace of mind it offers to first-time travelers. Fly-the-Bus leaves from the Swagman Narra Hotel at 8 AM, Noon and 3 PM. The return trips leave from Swagman Hotel, Manila at 11:30 AM, 3:30 PM and 8 PM.

Seair runs commuter flights from Manila's Domestic Airport up to the Clark Special Economic Zone (former Clark Air Base). The flight time is 15 minutes and the cost is around PHP 1,350. You would have to check on the current flight schedule though there is usually a night flight from Manila up to Clark and a morning flight from Clark back to Manila. Of note is the fact that the morning flight from Clark to Manila arrives in time for you to get onto the daily morning flight from Manila to Coron. Leave Clark about 0700 and be in Busuanga by 0845. Dive that day. Check with Seair's ticket office in the Tropicana Hotel at (045) 892-4783 for details and tickets.

Veteran travellers will take a taxi to the Philippine Rabbit bus station on Rizal Avenue (just off the corner of C.M. Recto Ave.) and buy a PHP 80 ticket on the bus to Angeles City. For PHP 80 they will sit on the bus through the brief stop in Dau and get off of the Rabbit bus on the end of Fields Avenue and McArthur Highway in Balibago. A Philippine Rabbit bus bound for Angeles City will leave from the Avenida bus station about every 15 to 20 minutes. The trip takes about 1 hour 50 minutes with normal traffic but up to 3 hours during late afternoon or early evening on Friday or Saturday.

Dive Right's divers have stayed at the following hotels:
Swagman Narra Hotel (pool)
Tropicana (pool)(contains Seair's ticket office)
Orchid's (pool, usually fully-booked from European Travel Agents)
American Hotel (indoor pool)
Clarkton Hotel (pool)
Sunset (pool)
Premiere Hotel (pool)
Lafayette (pool)
Marquis (pool)
Anchorage Inn
Park Chicago (tiny pool)
Phoenix (pool)
Thunder Inn
and Vian Lodge for economy.
Only the guys staying at the Sunset reported swimming "night swimming" with their "barfines". Lafayette, Marquis and possibly Tropicana Hotel would be other candidates for "night swimming" in their pools. Prices range from $28.50 down to PHP 250 with a private bath with hot water, double bed and air-conditioning available for about PHP 650 to PHP 800.

The cost of a beer in a bar ranges from PHP 25 up to PHP 55. Mixed drinks made with locally produced rum, gin and other spirits are about the same price. You can buy imported spirits and imported beers in most of the bars. One chain of bars offers PHP 600 for all the local drinks you can drink for 13 hours. Several hotels offer all-you-can-eat buffets in the PHP 250 to PHP 350 price range. Complete meals are available for PHP 150 to PHP 250 everywhere.

And now for the women. God Bless Them! They have to put up with all of us horny toads while they are in the business of finding a handsome prince so they can get the hell out of the Philippines.

Down from its' glory days when 10,000 Flipinas serviced the needs of 10,000 US Air Force servicemen, Angeles city currently supports about 1,000 entertainers. This current crop of entertainers cater to the needs of considerably older foreign tourists than the 20 year old GIs they were marrying at the rate of 1,000 per year. Mostly from the poorer provinces in Central and Southern Philippines, these girls still have dreams of the marriage that will make them rich and allow them to support dozens of indigent family members at your expense.

The a-go-go dancers get paid PHP 120 to PHP 175 a night for dancing as little as they can get away with. They are in the business of promoting "Ladies Drinks" at double price so they can collect half, and in enticing you into paying their "barfine" so they can collect half. The "barfine" is supposed to be to get the girl a night off from regularly scheduled work but in fact it means she will go back to your hotel with you and do her "dancing" on your body. The "barfine" in Angeles City bars is currently PHP 1,000 and the girl would normally sleep with you and leave the following morning.

Each Angeles City bar employs at least one "mamasan" who is the boss of the working girls. She is responsible to the bar owner for "customer relations" and will happily send you home with the woman of your dreams. She is responsible for the performance of the girls in and out of the bar and will usually send you home with a different girl if you aren't happy with the performance of your original selection. Any girl who gets too many complaints from customers makes life hard for the mamasan and will soon find herself out of a job.

The problem with Manila is not just that the barfine costs twice as much, it is that the barfine truly represents just a night off for the girl. The bar keeps all of it. Once you get the girl out of the bar you have to negotiate with her for "private dancing". If she is not happy with the negotiations she can walk away at any time and you are out of the barfine. Figure that "entertainment" in Manila costs three times comparable "entertainment" in Angeles City.

Entertainers in Manila and in Angeles City are registered with the local municipality and participate in a "Social Hygiene Program". The entertainers have to go in for a weekly "smear" which is a gram stain test for gonorrhea. They are also checked periodically for syphillis and HIV. No test, no work.

Filipinas are conservative in their sexual practices and afraid of blood and needles. Unlike bargirls in Thailand where use of IV heroin with shared needles is a problem, this route of entry doesn't exist in the Philippines.

In 1991 the incidence of HIV positive entertainers in Angeles City and in Subic ran at 1 per 1,000 which is comparable the infection rate among white American female high school graduates applying to enter US military service (0.8/1,000 applicants). Black (2.0/1,000) and Hispanic (1.2/1,000) American female high school graduates applying to enter US military service had a higher incience rate of HIV positive than Angeles City bargirls in 1991.

Seair can fly you and your "girlfriend" from Clark to Manila to Busuanga (Coron) or you can travel down to Manila's North Harbor on Friday about noontime and get on the WG&A Our Lady of Medjugorje which leaves Manila at 4 PM every Friday and which arrives in Coron at 5 AM Saturday.

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