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Angeles City Trip Report


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My friends and I visited Angeles City, here is a basic trip account.

Background:

I have lived in Pattaya and Thailand for more than 4 years. My friend (another long time Thailand expat) and I decided to take a trip to Angeles City in the Philippines last week. We had read several reports here on the Stickman website
and talked to some friends and thought it would be a good long weekend trip and see if it could rival Pattaya or maybe even Bangkok.

Here are my thoughts

Travel:

First thing is to get to Angeles City. I booked, online, a direct flight from Bangkok to Clark AB in the Philippines via Cebu Pacific Air. Cebu Pacific is a budget airline. So, I was not expecting much. As a general rule, I don’t
fly “budget airlines” on anything more than two hours due to the un-comfortableness of the seats, no entertainment to bide the time, need to pay for food and water, etc. The flight from Bangkok to Clark is about 3 hours. However,
the fact that it was a direct flight negated all of the negatives. Flying into Manila and taking a two hour or longer ride was not appealing for me.

A couple of things to be on the look out for with Cebu Pacific. First, I noticed that the longer I waited to book the flight, the more the flight increased in price. I probably paid more than I should have, compared to when I checked
prices two days prior to my actual booking the flight. I also noticed on the check-in line that others paid more than I did as well. Anyway, a good learning experience. Best to book in advance, if you can.

Second, Cebu Pacific only flies on Saturday/Tuesday/Thursday to Clark and the flight leaves at almost midnight with it arriving in the Philippines at approximately 4am. Therefore, I chose to pay for 1/2 an additional day so that I had
a place to sleep and leave my things in my room. The only alternative was to wait until 12pm to check-in. Wandering around Angeles City with a couple of bags just wasn’t my idea of fun. Given that most of the bars are open till 6am,
one could check-in and then head to the bars and if got lucky find a companion to bring back for the day. I didn’t do that but I am sure it has been done in the past.

Money isn’t an issue for me so it made no difference for me to pay for the extra night, but those people where it is an issue, you may want to think about flying from Bangkok into Manila then bussing it up.

When you book your flight on Cebu try to pick the closest seat to the front of the plane. When the plane lands, it stops in the middle of the tarmac and literally there was a free for all to get off the plane and run to Immigration. I
was surprised, but once after I got to the Immigration line I soon realized why. The line was long, real long and there were only 2 Immigration officers to process everyone at 4am. It took forever!

I had arranged for the hotel to pick me up at the airport for 300 pesos (about $7). There are cheaper ways, like hiring a trike (a motorcycle with a side car) or private taxi, but given the personal safety issues in the Philippines and
propensity for scams, pick pocketing, and the like, I chose the safest route.

Safety:

The personal safety situation is something that you need to be acutely aware of in the Philippines. Muggings (armed and otherwise) are a fact of life in the Philippines so being prudent (not flashing money, wearing bling jewelry, and
knowing where you are going and not getting involved with anyone you don’t know is important). Prior to our trip we looked on the local Angeles City blogs and websites and despite being a tourist destination of some type, there was
numerous posts regarding holdups, knifings, killings, beatings, etc. No doubt some of this stuff happens in Pattaya as well (like pickpockets and drugging), but it seems to be less violent and more petty in my opinion. Walking around I would
only carry what I needed and what I could afford to lose.

Lodging:

My friend and I stayed at the Pacific Breeze Hotel. It came recommended from some local bar managers here in Bangkok, so we gave it a shot. It's located in the heart of Fields Avenue, where all of the bars are located. They had a
variety of different rooms, we chose the more expense Jacuzzi suites in the new building annex. The cost was about $75/night. Probably expensive for what it was, but again for a 2-3 day trip, it didn’t really matter. The hotel staff
were helpful and customer focused oriented. There is a nice pool and bar lounge where one can eat and kick back poolside with his/her friends. The scene at the pool is totally oriented towards customers (mostly Americans) who bring their dates
with them to hang out and swim. Something unique that I haven’t seen anywhere in Thailand, the hotel pool policy limited each guest to only 3 girls at a time in the pool. Most guys at the pool area had more than one, which is surprising
given my experience in Thailand.

I surmise that there a lot of issues with guests bringing girls back and personal property being stolen. As a courtesy or more like an act of protecting their guests I guess, when the girl leaves the room, the girl is stopped at the exit
and the guard calls to the room to ensure that you are OK and that nothing was stolen from the room. Once the OK is given, the girl(s) is allowed to leave. A very nice touch!

Feel:

In walking around the Fields Avenue area, it is definitely grittier and dirtier than say Pattaya or Soi Cowboy. Angeles City and the general area is just not as developed. We didn’t have any problems with beggars and the like,
though they are around. During the day, some go-go bars are open but they were sparsely populated. Given that most of the bars are open till about 5am I suspect most people are sleeping the previous night off. Where Pattaya has gone more upscale
with new hotels, restaurants, and the new malls (i.e. the Avenue and Central Festival), there is nothing like that at all (that I saw at least) in Angeles City. Most of everything is around the bar scene on Fields street and that scene is
more downscale compared to Soi Cowboy or Pattaya. As far as a mall there is a SM Mall, it has a Starbucks, but the mall could be classified more as a glorified Tesco Lotus with a movie theatre than anything sophisticated. Otherwise, there
is nothing else in Angeles City. There were various tours offered for Mt. Pinatubo, some beach somewhere, golf, but it all seemed like a big hassle to go through. So, we didn’t.

Bar Scene:

Most of the bars are located on or around Fields Avenue. The whole street can be walked in about 5-10 minutes, there are several side streets, but my friend and I didn’t bother to go down any of them. We visited at least 10 bars,
having a drink in each, just to get a feel for the entertainment scene, etc. Based on our informal study, the bars with the best talent seemed to be Dollhouse, Bunny Ranch, Insomnia, Forbidden City, and Atlantis. I would also mention Angel
Witch, while there were no attractive girls, the waitresses were fun to talk to and they played very good classic rock music. There were others but none of them stood out like the above. The go-go entertainment there is more choreographed
with shows and synchronized dancing on stage, whereas in Thailand the shows tend to be one off type of things with chrome pole dancing the norm. I didn't think one was better than the other.

The women:

Comparing Philippine and Thai women is difficult. It's really more like to each his own. After visiting the bars, our general opinion was that as far as the best looking, Thai women are prettier than their Philippine counterpart.
The best looking Philippine that we saw would only be above average in a real top flight go-go in Bangkok like Shark, Dollhouse, Bacarra and the Rainbow bars in Nana. Thai girls tended to be in better shape, while the Philippine women were
shorter and heavier. The Philippine people seemed to be fun to hang with and talk to given their better understanding and use of English, so easy to play games and drink with. They appeared to be much more into the “Girlfriend Experience”
(GFE). That is paying the bar, hanging out all night, and chilling the next day by the pool with the customer, going to the mall, etc….whereas, the Thai girls are more one and done. There was no clock watching.

The costs to barfine a girl seemed to depend on the bar (more popular bars, higher the price), the day (weekend more than weekday), and type of girl (model vs. dancer), each of those variables play into how much the bar fine was. That
said the bar fine appeared to be about 1,500 to 3,000 pesos, which included any special services that you and the girl negotiated. The girl is expected to stay the entire next day. In addition, it's customary to give a couple of hundred
pesos tip for “taxi money”.

Conclusion:

It was a good trip from the sense it was a new place to visit and provides a base for comparison. However, aside from hanging out at the bars at night and lounging at the pool during the day, I didn’t think there was much of anything
to do there. Where Pattaya has the ocean, malls, and other attractions, there just didn’t seem to be anything like that in Angeles. It’s a good long weekend excursion, but I couldn’t imagine spending any significant time
there.

Stickman's thoughts:

Good report.