I have read most of the articles on sTICKMAN in the past 2 years going back to the beginning and I have never felt the urge to reply to one as strongly as the one titled Frankie Goes To Angeles City. There is something wrong here – Frankie is either making this up or he is a complete tool. I will do my best not to verbally abuse him but I will say it as I see it.
The first time I was in Angeles City was in 1987 as a young Marine and had traveled back to Angeles and Olongapo off and on until 1992. In 2006 I stayed in the two cities for 2 months and things had not really changed that much. The open air Tiki bars
had turned into air-conditioned gogo bars but it still reminded me off the P.I. back in the 80's. I can't say that for Thailand which has grown and changed rapidly.
For someone who claims to have been traveling through Asia for the past 20 years, many of his comments and reactions are those of a newbie.
1- His idea that wearing camie cargo pants would make him appear as a military man to the locals and would somehow intimidate them is absolutely preposterous. Clark Airbase was abandoned after the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1988 and the U.S. left Subic Bay in 1992. When the U.S. left they also took the protection that the military personnel had with them. The locals know that. I remember when high ranking U.S. officers also held positions in the local governments and that is all over with. Most of the local thugs who run around now were either not born when the bases were there or were too young to realize the political environment back then. Also there is a swagger and confidence that one gets who was in the military, especially the fighting men and this is obvious to anyone in any country. Camie cargo pants are not a factor.
2- Amenica hotel? Is that a dig at us Yanks? It is the America Hotel. I have stayed there.
3- Scams. He sure seemed to attract them. Maybe he was trying too hard to portray the appearance of someone that is savvy that he stuck out like a sore thumb. Just reading his article where he describes his one week in Angeles and he seems to have run into more scams than I did on my last six month trip through Asia. They are always there but for some reason he attracted them like a moth to a flame. Aside from the typical jeepney / tuk tuk hassle, local men talking crap (mostly in their own language), and such normal headaches, well he seemed to run into them all. Did he actually go there and experience them (if so I would recommend he stops traveling) or did he find this information from reading the stories on Asian expat websites?
The hotel tries to up sell him to a more expensive room.
The little kid tried to ram her body into him. I have heard of this, but have never seen or experienced it. They mostly like to crowd around you and try and pick your pockets. Back in the day we used to hire the kids as look outs in Subic City to watch for shore patrol and the Flip cops, maybe not something you could do today because the parents will probably come up with some way of accusing you of pedophilia in order to make some cash.
The 25 year old who walked up to him and said he knew him from his hotel. I rarely get that, definite sign they think you are a newbie.
Goes back to his hotel and the receptionist will not give him his key until she speaks to her manager. That has never ever happened to me in any country. I do not want to assume why this happened because there are too many angles.
The thug who pointed up to the sky in order to pick pocket him.
The Filipino who sat down at their table why they were eating at the SM mall and started to hit on his girl.
The phone ringing at the hotel. I have never had the phone ring in a hotel from a scammer. It is always someone that I have given my number to or the receptionist calling about normal things such as "How long are you going to stay", "Your taxi is here", "You have a guest", "your laundry is ready", etc.
The local who tried to whack him in the mouth with an iron bar. Occasionally this happens out of the clear blue. Wrong place, wrong time, but the majority of the time it is because the tourist has pissed someone off by their actions, attitude, or something they said. The odds of this happening to someone who is a seasoned traveler and not as he wrote "I am not a naive idiot" are very slim.
Angelina Jolie look alike. He had to force the mamasan to get the bar girl's attention. She displayed the clear sign that she was not interested in him and it is best to look for someone else. Any veteran monger knows you just purchased an expensive starfish. If there was any chance of a good time, he once again ruined it by making her walk to his hotel. She did not even bother spending the night.
Dragging home a ladyboy? That is also a newbie move. Actually finding one in an Angeles bar? It was probably a ladyboy bar.
4- The way he treated Gracie.
Made her walk to his hotel in a rough area.
Made her eat salad. Why does one take someone out to eat and make them eat something they do not want? "I managed to find some salad and fish to eat, forced Gracie to eat the same rather than the noodle muck she wanted."
The Philippines is not a place to eat salad as the vegetables need to be cooked. It is a sure way to get sick. The only countries I trust in Asia for raw vegetables are Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia. Why does he give her a hard time about
getting fat eating noodles. He is paying for her services and enjoying her company, not marrying her.
Buying her a suspender belt and stockings for his later amusement. I can live with this, but "Part of my thing, is ending up with a gal who owns clothes that only I have bought her" is very disturbing.
After escaping the Flip with the crow bar and looking for Gracie he did not see her and bailed. There is not much more than you can do at that time in that situation, but why did he not go and see her the next day and make sure she was ok? He did not have to barfine her – it is just the right thing to do.
5- His perception of the Philippine cops/men – "only mildly interrupted by seeing some poor foreigner in the throes of what seemed to be a heart attack being bundled into a police car by two EXTRA LARGE clowns". The Philippine man who tried to pick up Gracie "He was about 30, well built". I am going to jump out on a limb here and assume he is a little guy. He has already said that he is skinny but he must also be short. Nothing wrong with being short but anyone who describes Philippinos as large or well built is probably smaller than the average Flip. A medium sized Westerner is still generally taller and larger boned than their Philippine counterparts. Being larger does not keep one immune from attacks, it just helps lower the odds. Did they feel he was an easy mark, or is there a piece of this story that is missing?
In conclusion, I agree with some of the things he mentioned but there were just too many inconsistencies or shall we say I believe he may not have told us the entire story. It appears that he made himself out to be perfect and infallible but I just don't see it. I am not perfect and am no saint and many of the situations that I have been involved in were mostly my fault or at least partly my fault. Sometimes I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. There were just too many incidents that happened in a one week period that point to a one-sided story. The Philippines is a little more dangerous than Thailand, but in my opinion this story is not reflective of a normal visit and I hope that it does not scare people away from visiting.
I think we can safely say that with your thoughts as well as Korski's that the picture Frankie painted of Angeles was not accurate at all.