Stickman Readers' Submissions April 27th, 2012

Four Damn Fine Reasons to Visit Angeles City, Philippines

A few months ago, a Stickman contributor wrote about the 15 reasons why you should avoid Angeles City in the Philippines. I’m here to give you a few reasons why you should check it out. And I'm not just talking about the cheap tail.

He Clinic Bangkok

Well, ok, cheap tail is one reason you might enjoy “AC,” but not the only one. In fact, I used to think that AC was only about bars and P4P. But a good Aussie buddy finally convinced me to head up there from Manila to party
for a few days and I was surprised at how much I liked it. So as a balance to the previous poster’s negative opinions, I’m here to offer a few positives. Turning a frown upside down, so to speak.

Before getting into my list of reasons why you might like AC, let me start with a quick primer for those guys who have yet to visit.

Angeles City at a Glance

CBD bangkok

As you have undoubtedly heard, Angeles City, at least the part of AC where the foreign community tend to hang, is awash with go-go style bars, restaurants and pharmacies where you can buy daily AC necessities such as condoms, lube and pregnancy
tests. There’s no picturesque beaches, no jungle, no mountains and not much to do except sit by the pool and drink. Sound good yet?

Geographically, AC sits about 90 km north of Manila. Although the city is quite spread out, you will likely end up somewhere along the long stretch of road that starts as Fields Avenue – where most of the high-end go-go bars are –
and turns into “Perimeter Road” (Don Juico Ave.) as you continue west. Perimeter Road is where the relatively cheap daytime go-gos can be found. So all of your entertainment, from high-roller clubs to Thrifty Charlie joints, will
lie somewhere on a stretch of road that is a mere 10-minute trike ride in length.

One of the best map-resources for AC (and for most major areas in the Philippines) is by a Japanese guy who has drawn everything to scale and included interactive images and information. My first reaction to this was, “Wow, this guy
needs to get out more.” But my Aussie buddy, who happens to be a cartographer, says the maps are pretty amazing, so who am I to argue. You can find it at

Four Reasons to Visit AC

wonderland clinic

You may be thinking that with only four reasons, I don't have much of an argument to counter the 15 reasons by the Stickman contributor. But given that his reasons were either 1. It’s an unhealthy and hot shithole, 2. He doesn’t
like the Filipinos there, or 3. He doesn’t like the expats there, my four reasons trump his three. Read on!

Reason to Visit No. 1: Angeles City is a shithole!

Yes, you read it correctly. I think the chaos and crap in Angeles is a positive point. While I am not sure about the travel tastes of the 15-reasons guy, I for one am not a 5-star traveler. I don't like places that have been sculpted
to meet my western sensibilities. I instead prefer to experience places in their natural state. And the natural state of AC, and indeed most urban areas in the Philippines, is pretty shitty. So if you embrace the Philippines as it really is, you
need to be comfortable with broken sidewalks, beggars, chaotic traffic, roosters crowing and a healthy number of stray animals nipping at your heels.

So how is this shithole factor a positive point? Simple. Package tourists avoid shitholes. As opposed to places like Boracay Island, where gaggles of Asian package-tourists walk around with their straw cowboy hats, driving up prices, jamming
the streets and making the locals jaded and impersonal, shitholes tend to be off the package-tourist path. So the people you meet around the pool bar are either alone or in small groups of buddies. I like this sense of individualism. Everybody
is just doing their own thing. So there are trikes flying in all directions – but you won’t see even one cattle car (tourist bus) with people gawking your entire trip. I love it!

Reason to Visit No. 2: AC is a Judgement-free Zone

One other thing you won't see in AC are western families, wives or girlfriends giving guys disapproving, judgmental looks for messing around in the pool with a girl
1/3 their age. While Subic Bay is a tax-free zone, Angeles is a judgement-free zone.

The same is true of the hotel staff. You might think you’re stretching the moral code when you bring home the two waitresses you chatted up at Philly’s, but unless you roll in with two girls, a ladyboy, a circus midget and a
medium-sized sheep, you’re not likely to be doing anything the staff haven’t seen before. Indeed, a lot of them have probably participated in something along those lines at some point. So really, you can do whatever you want with
whomever you want, and you don’t have to worry about doing the walk of shame around the hotel. People come and people go and nobody gives a shit. Take it from a guy who travels a lot – places like that are exceedingly rare in this

Reason to Visit No. 3: AC is full of some pretty friendly dudes

With three positive points about AC and still no mention of the cheap sex, I think I have set a world record. But for me, the thing that sets AC apart is not the girls. Yes, the girls I meet when out bar hopping are awesome, but the guys
I go out drinking with make AC unusually cool.

Basically, it’s incredibly easy to make friends in AC, which means great pool side drinking sessions, and an endless supply of wingmen for the nights out barhopping. I have made friends with people from all walks of life with an incredible
range of stories and travel information to share.

I think this all relates to Point No. 2 above. With no nagging wives or screaming kids to worry about, people tend to talk to strangers more. That, plus every guy in AC knows what the other guys are there for – partying, chilling and
bar hopping. It’s like belonging to a member’s club without the dress code or membership dues. You are a welcome member as soon as you sit by the pool, and people won’t hesitate to talk with you and share information.

Reason to Visit No. 4: Cheap tail!

OK, finally I get to the girls! About time, right?

While the girls are not the only reason you will enjoy AC, they are, at the end of the long and hard-working day, the reason why guys make the trip. The Stickman poster I referred to earlier seems to hate the women of AC, and therefore he
doesn’t understand why guys would want to visit. But from my observations, it doesn’t matter what kind of girl you’re into, you can find her in AC. So while I don’t want to be confrontational and say that Mr. 15-reasons
is wrong…I would say that if you can’t find a girl to your liking in AC, then you’re just too damned picky.

Personally, I meet so many charming and attractive women there, I am grinning pretty much all day, from the first smile I get as the hotel waitress pours my coffee, right up to the smiles as girls pull us into bars as we do the rounds on

Are they all stunners? No. And the girls in AC do tend to be less polished and refined than the big city girls. But there are plenty of glossy, flashy, glittering girls both in the bars and in night clubs such as High Society. Whatever your
taste, you can and will find it in AC. And since most of the women there lack the big city attitude, you’re more likely to find some sincere, good fun!

Just be careful about looking for love. That doesn’t always end well in AC. But that’s another article altogether. Or, just read my book and go to the Philippines with both guns blazing!

Final Words…

So would I live in AC full time? No. Definitely not. Unlike Pattaya, where it's pretty easy to avoid the scuzzy underbelly of the party scene and ignore the people who have made it their life's work to fleece farang, there seems
to be little reprieve from the in-your-face side of AC. That would do my head in. But I can see why guys love living there. The community of expats is quite small, so you always see people you know. It’s fun and cheap. And there is no shortage
of disarmingly charming girls to help you pass the day. For me, however, it’s more of a place I visit and enjoy every second…but after a week, I am ready to head home. So check it out! You’ve got nothing to lose.

** A special shout out to Rev at Candy Bar on Perimeter Road for taking time to talk a bit about life in AC. Great bar, great prices and a great time! Thanks.

**Double thumbs up to the Sunset Garden Hotel where I always stay. I love the pool, Amor, the Front Manager is so flexible it’s awesome, and I always meet great guys over beers to hang with. Just bring earplugs as it’s right
by the road!

Stickman's thoughts:

Few places in Asia seem to polarise people as much as Angeles City. Even the naughty boys have strong opinions on the place, to include those who have never even visited the place!

nana plaza