Mango's Newsletter 2003

November / December 2003 September / October 2003 July / August 2003
May / June 2003 March / April 2003 January / February 2003

November / December

We're all recovering from Halloween hangovers. Mango's and Midnight Rambler united this year to host two separate parties but worked them together. People meandered between both places all evening long. Some good all night fun with lots of people dressed up and unrecognizable. In the early evening Mango's held their annual children's party on the beach. There were games, cake and ice cream and dance and costume contests. The finale was a bonfire and fireworks display. In the 'land of not-quite-right' we carved up squashes instead of pumpkins. Check out all the Halloween pictures on our main page and of course they've been copied to and will be kept at our Halloween page too.

The Subic Bay Reunion was held in late October. This has been in the planning stages for the past two years. It was intended to return Americans who had been stationed here during the Naval Base years. Certainly there were thousands of them. With all that has befallen the world lately the turnout was modest at best with just 50-60 former navy and marine personnel on the tour. Their schedule included receptions at the embassy in Manila, tours of the base areas and visiting historical sites such as POW camps. Although not many attended those who did had a great time. The city of Olongapo went all out to welcome them, closing off the main street of Magsaysay and holding a fiesta. Former Filipino base workers also held their own reunion.

This is old information but it's been coming up again lately. Travelers Cheques are the worst form of currency to bring to the Philippines. With the dollar rate currently at 55 pesos for US dollars, the best you could get with TC's is 51 pesos to the dollar. Unlike both Thailand and Mexico who give slightly higher rates for TC's rather than cash the reverse is true here. Keep this in mind if you are planning a trip. Besides cash the other option is using the ATM's which work fine.

There will be three major golf tournaments played here in November. The Legenda tourney is on November 8 at Subic Bay Golf and Country Club. The President's Tournament will likewise be held there on November 22. Then for the 3rd straight year, Mabuhay Shrine Oasis will host one of the Philippine Islands premier golfing events in "The Love Of Children" Pro-Am tournament on November 22. The principal sponsor is TLC Medical Center. All proceeds go to burned and crippled children of Western Luzon. For the first time this will be played at Mimosa Golf & Country Club on the old Clark Air Base.

Don't know if this is good news or bad but has been placed on Elmendorf Air Force Base's banned website list. Friends at that location have been firewalled from accessing Mango's site from  work. We got word from another in Saudi Arabia that we are banned there too, don't know how wide that ban is though.  Some folks just don't have a sense of humor.

In October the Philippines was paid a state visit by American president George Bush becoming the sixth US leader to do so. The first was by Dwight Eisenhower in a three day state visit in June of 1960. The others included Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Due to recent events Bush's stay was a brief eight hours. The most memorable visit by a US president was that of Eisenhower when an estimated two million Filipinos turned up en mass to welcome him. Riding in an open-air Cadillac convertible with then Filipino president Carlos P. Garcia, Eisenhower waved to crowds 10 to 20 people deep, during a raucous ticker tape reception. "Filipino and American security agents jumped from their cars and jogged alongside the presidential vehicle through most of the downtown route as a protective shield and to keep the motorcade from being stalled by the crowds," the Official Gazette in it's June 20, 1960 issue said. It was the biggest crowd of well-wishers Filipinos had accorded to a foreign visitor, rivaled only 45 years later when 5 million people attended an outdoor mass celebrated by Pope John Paul ll.

As recently as 1996 President Clinton spent a leisurely few nights in the McArthur suite of the Manila Hotel, with it's commanding view of Corregidor, before flying to Subic for the APEC conference. (It is not known if Clinton made a secret run to Subic City or Angeles.) Weeks before Bush's arrival the Secret Service were in Manila getting ready for the US leader.(450 billeted in Manila hotels) 17,000 Philippine troops and policemen were dispatched to provide security along the route from Villarmar Air Base in Pasay City to the Batasan Pambasa Complex where he addressed a joint session of congress. No flights were allowed in to the International Airport for two hours prior to the plane's arrival and a decoy plane landed first, faking out all the TV stations.

Still Bush's visit was a success. Lots of related info on our local news page, both pro and con.  To quote columnist Max Sullivan, " Dubya was buoyed up by the cheering crowds ---men, women and particularly battalions of little children---lingering the route of his cavalcade. Metro Manila had turned out to wave--telling the American President that Filipinos were still his and America's friends." For his part George and Laura Bush charmed the Filipino people. In his speech before the joint session of congress he was interrupted by applause 28 times during the 20 minute address. Pushing all the right buttons he brought up the names of Bataan, Corregidor and Luzon, "evoke memories of a shared struggle, a shared loss, and a shared victory." He quoted National hero Jose Rizal. He even quoted the Pope. Concluding his speech he stated, "The United States and the Philippines have a proud history. And we face the future bound by the strongest ties two nations can share. We stand for liberty and we stand together."

We'd like to think the Bush visit would send a signal to tourists that it is safe to come to the PI. If you've been a friend of Mango's the past years you know we always provide the latest travel and security information so you can make an informed decision to visit. We're happy to say we've never had to report anything more than a celebratory firecracker going off in this beautiful oceanside barrio we call home. It's quite slow here now. We're off at least 50% from last year and probably closer to 70%. Just no new faces around. Just about every western country has issued travel advisories. Britain, New Zealand, Australia and of course the U.S. The only folks not to issue a travel advisory is us here in the Barrio. So listen to some diplomats hiding in their embassies or us sitting on the beach every day. Our season is just now beginning. The weather is fantastic. We've got food, drinks and friendship waiting for you.

Last update of the year for us. Hope you've liked our bi-monthly update format. Given that we are amateurs at this it works best for us. Have a safe and happy holiday season. Catch you next year.

Tom, Wilma and your Mango's Staff

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September / October

What could be worse than SARS to help kill Philippine tourism? How about Asia's most notorious terrorist escaping from jail followed the next week by a pathetic coup attempt in the nations capital? And that was just July. In mid-July Fathur Rohmanal Ghozi and two other Islamic terrorists walked away from a Camp Crane high security jail. The "escape" came while the Australian Prime minister, was visiting the Philippine president to discus terrorism, causing the government huge embarrassment. Ai-Gozzi is a first string terrorist long considered to be Bin Laden's' point man in the region. Among other murderous exploits he had confessed to the December 30, 2000, LRT train station bombing in Metro Manila killing 22 people.

The escape was followed by a coup attempt on the morning of Sunday July 27th. Nearly 300 military rebels took over a high rise townhouse known as the Oakwood. It is located in the Alaya center in Makati next to the Intercontinental Hotel. Tenants of the Oakwood are primarily diplomatic personnel from various embassies. Those held captive overnight included the Australian ambassador Ruth Pearce and the Argentine ambassador Mario Schuff. These and other ex patriots were later freed without incident. Travelers advisories followed from the Australian embassy to the citizens of Australia. George Bush is expected to visit Manila in October. But the trip has reportedly been scaled back from a few days to a few hours. One of the highlights of the all-day TV coverage was seeing several "hospitality" girls come out of the Oakwood when the tenants/hostages were released.

Some of you may be aware that the PI is considered the "text" capital of the world. Nearly everyone has cell phones but they are rarely used for phone calls. Rather, people punch out written messages and jokes and text them to friends. One of the jokes going around by text after the Al-Ghozi escape was, "He got away for 'millions' of reasons." On an average day one and half million text messages are sent. On the Sunday of the coup attempt two and a half million were dispatched.

This place can be bizarre, but with the strange politics in California and it's huge deficit, plus the recent blackout in the Northeastern United States and Canada, you often wonder who's following who. On the other hand in mid-August I called Domino's to order a pizza. They put me on hold and started playing Christmas music. Several of the Duty Frees on base have begun playing it too.

We're often asked about real estate in the area. Annabelle Morota recently contacted us. She handles real estate in Olongapo and asked that we refer people to her. Please note we are not endorsing her as we know nothing about her. Her address is

A McDonald's opened August 29 in Olongapo at 4AM. It is located near Victory Liner Bus terminal on Rizal Avenue. Upon opening the line stretched a city block and had around 300 persons in it. About a half block away, the Jollibee which is on the corner of Victory Liner Circle (where that church burned down) decided to open at 4AM too. They had a loudspeaker going and an outside movie set up on a huge screen. There was no line. McDonald's had carpet bombed the area with advertising. Streamers, flyers, nonstop radio ads. The clown went to all the schools. Many of you remember that one opened on the Subic Naval Base a few years before the bases were closed. Since then the closest one was a 2 hour drive to Pampanga. A temporary Kentucky Fried Chicken has also opened inside the gates of SBMA. Apparently they plan to construct a permanent structure nearby.

The expressway/freeway from Manila to Pampanga (Angeles City and Olongapo) has been under construction for several months. The newspapers say it will be completed by October or November. But they often lie. It is a nightmare with long detours and bumpy travel. However they are working on it night and day. It will go from 4 lanes to 8 lanes so the benefits will eventually be worth the discomfort. Additionally, a fly-over is being constructed at the at the crowded intersection of McArthur Highway and Gapon Road near the entrance to the expressway. Long overdue, the pace of construction is rapid and will ease traffic at this junction.

There's been a tremendous amount of email virus activity going on.  Mainly regarding the W32.Sobig.F@mm worm virus.  Several friends and acquaintances have indicated they got the virus from Mango's in Barrio (Tom), or our Webmaster (Tim) in Austin, Texas.  The truth is that the virus itself is using an address (in this case Tom's or Tim's) from someone else's address book and making it appear that the virus came from us.  This is called email spoofing. Both Tom and Tim are running identical antivirus software (Norton 2003), with up to date virus definitions and the maximum incoming and outgoing protection selectable.  Tim runs a virus check on his systems daily at 6:00 AM and has never detected a virus.  Tom is just about as religious.  Tim's systems from which the Mango's website is built, updated and hosted and which generates most site related email are also hiding behind both hardware and software firewalls which also check for inbound/outbound viruses.

If you are using a current version of Norton Antivirus software and have the most recent virus definitions, and a full system scan with Norton Antivirus set to scan all files does not find anything, you can be confident that your computer is not infected with this worm. The same might be said about other antivirus software but since Norton is what we run that's all we can speak to. For your convenience we've cut and pasted some of the less technical jargon and a link to solutions on a temporary page located here.  That's the same page where we posted info last year related to the w32.klez.h@mm worm virus. With over 115,000 hits to the Mango's website this year alone, Tom and Tim's email addresses are very widely known.  The last thing we would want is to be the cause of any virus activity to our site visitors.  Anytime you're in virus trouble check out  Whether you use Norton products or not there is a wealth of virus and computer security information there including free removal tools.  We're not exactly Tech Support type guys here but hopefully this info will help. 

You might have noticed our Greatest Hits page has disappeared. For those not familiar with it we had a couple pages with a nice collection of songs in mp3 format which were popular in our Whiskey River, Rock Lobster, Love Shack and now Mango's clubs.  If you're remotely familiar with mp3s, Napster, music file sharing and such you know the music industry is suing just about anyone they can for copyright infringement.  We've received email from site visitors asking us if they'll be sued if they download music files from the Mango's website.  So for now at least we've taken the page down.

Other site maintenance includes:

Mango's Current Local News and Info

Mango's Local Links -

Only in the Philippines II

Mango's Jokes and Humor 4

Things to Do in Subic Bay

Mango's Frequently Asked Questions


Thursday August 21 marked 20 years since the Ninoy Aquino assassination on the tarmac of the Manila airport, which began the unraveling of the Marco's regime. It was a national holiday with several commemorative events in the nations capital.

Well enough about viruses, lawsuits and assassinations.  How about a Subic City bar update! The Subic City/Calapandayan bar area has not changed much lately but there are a few new spots and some old spots with new names.

Kinky's remains the same. Darts and pool. Dancers when the mood strikes them. Some interesting entertainers. It's always a good idea to be sure of the sex of the person in Kinky's though. They have some surprises dressed up in women's apparel.

Above Kinky's is a new one called Kitty's Hole. This place is not getting much traffic. It has had several name changes in recent years and will probably get another one.

Longtime bar Foxhole has it's ups and downs. Some days there are many dancers and entertainers and other days very few. The same can be said of customers. The place is either crowded or empty.

A new and very good bar is Griff's. Some nice dancers in there. This is a clean and entertaining establishment. Building maintenance and basic hygiene have never been important in Subic Town. So it's refreshing to have a place which takes these things seriously.

The same can be said right next door at Crow Bar. It is clean and well maintained. The air-conditioning works and water runs out of faucets. Good management here. The dancers are in matching outfits. The dance music is good and not too loud. Probably the best run club in Subic and it shows.

The Asian Reef (Old Miami Hotel) has changed it's name to the Reef. They have remodeled a downstairs area and are set to open a very modern facility with dancers, two bars and a pool table. New management will then take over the second floor level bar.

Another good bar is Luna. This place has the largest selection of CD's in the area and they are glad to play what you want. You can even bring your own if you want. They have also added a DVD player and have been playing music videos.

Muff Divers has not changed much over the years. They have some striking entertainers and hostesses. They do not open until around 8 PM. Most of the clubs listed above open between 2 PM and 5 PM.

There are a number of other establishments which I'm not familiar with. Most of them cater to local Filipinos or to the workers and sailors who are in the Philseco shipyard. Most do not get started until late in the evening and then go to early morning. Several do have nightly shows. Included in these are Georgetown, Sweet 16, 392, Wild Cherry, Rose Garden Message and Heads & Tails.

All of the above Subic City info has been copied to our Things to Do in Subic Bay section.

Talk to you all in a couple months before Thanksgiving. Be safe.

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July / August 2003

Our summer was an abbreviated one. After several weekends of crowds on the Subic beaches and recreational areas, back to back typhoons showed up. While the winds were moderate we still got 3 weeks of almost non-stop rain totaling over 40 inches. This occurred the last 3 weeks of May.

Schools opened the second week of June so domestic tourism has just about stopped. The fact is that between our seasonal slow period of June-September, the SARS outbreak and the Iraqi war hangover, foreign tourist arrivals in Asia, Philippines and Subic are rare at best. We visited Angeles City in mid-June and found it to be in the same shape as Barrio Barretto/Calapandayan. It seems that while a handful of bars, restaurants and hotels in Angeles are doing moderately well most are suffering. The huge number of choices in AC combined with few tourists makes that inevitable. So it's a good time to travel. Plane fares are at an all time low. Hotels and restaurants have slashed prices. Best of all with the exception of mainland China the entire area has been declared SARS free by the World Health Organization.  See our Local News page for related stories.

There are some huge construction projects slated for SBMA (old Subic Naval Base) The waterfront area where the Officers Club was once located has sprouted many restaurants and diving operations over the years. Seven restaurants are in the vicinity, along with a boardwalk, children's play area and park, often used for concerts and television specials. Now Moonbay Marina has just begun construction. This will be a massive, shopping, condominium and marina complex stretching one kilometer from the back gate at the mouth of the Kalaklan River around to where Scuba Shack/Aqua Sports is now located. The 18 hectare project has some grandiose plans including a water theme park and cockpit arena.

Another 3 phase, 10 year project in motion, is a container port just off the Cubi airport. The Japanese funded, $215 million project will reclaim 30 hectares of bay water areas in an effort to decongest the Manila port. It will eventually have half of Hong Kong's container capacity. The project is very political and has brought vocal protests from environmentalist groups concerned about the location. Other areas considered include the old NSD and SRF areas of Subic Naval Base and the Philseco site located outside the Freeport area at the end of Subic Bay. The first phase of this plan will take two years to develop. Again, check out our Local News page for greater detail.

The majority of the site maintenance has been dedicated to the Mango's FAQ Page.  We've split it in two and set up a page which is dedicated to anything related to moving to the Philippines. As our disclaimer on that page hints at, remember, we're a beach bar/restaurant, not the leading authority in the Philippines regarding relocation.  Keep that in mind and our information will be better taken.

Special thanks to Susan Dudley for much of the SBMA information we come up with. She is the Executive Director of Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce. If you have ever considered doing business in the Freeport she is the person to contact at

Catch you in a couple months when we may have something more interesting than the weather to report. Be safe.


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May / June 2003

It's summer in the PI. Schools are out. Domestic travel to the Subic beaches is continual. The old Naval base is packed. Barretto and Baloy Beaches are jammed with people. Traffic is bumper to bumper. Picnics, golf outings, volleyball, swimming parties and trips up the Zambales coast are on everyone's agenda. Watermelons and cantaloupes and avocados are ripe. Mango's are so plentiful and cheap that we saw a pickup truck with a full rear end passing them out to anyone who wanted them the other day.

This season kicked off on Easter weekend as government and banking facilities closed from Wednesday through Sunday so people could pray or play as they wished. Blue Rock at Baloy Beach held what they plan to be an annual summer festival. Mango's had around 60 children for the Easter morning egg hunt.

The new photos on the main page reflect the season's activities. We've posted our first Hash House Harrier pictures during the circle of their 500th run. We also found some pretty good ones of the VFW parade in February. The backgrounds show the barrio as it is today. There is also one of the New Midnight Rambler. Special thanks to Canadian photographer Ted Mannion who supplied the quality pictures, samples below.

Hash House Harrier 500th Run
High Resolution 500K Download
Summer in the Barrio

And no we don't know her name,
nor how to get a hold of her! :)

VFW Parade thru Barrio

There are a number of local pools and water slides now operating. The closest is called APO Resort and about 10 minutes from the barrio. (behind Santa Monica Subdivision) It has 3 pools, including a toddlers pool. Concrete slides shaped as an octopus descend into one huge pool. The entire area is surrounded by grass, cabanas and barbecues. It is used often for children's birthday parties, wedding receptions etc. Adjacent to this is a golf driving range. Another nearby resort sits on the mountain behind Subic City and is called M & N resort. This has two large pool with slides. It boasts a beautiful view of the bay.

A popular diversion during the Philippine summer are trips up the Zambales coast toward Iba, 2 hours from Subic. Between Olongapo and Iba the coast is dotted with resorts. Popular ones include Rama and West Coast. Besides sitting on the scenic South China sea they have air-conditioned accommodations and pools. They have restaurants but also allow you to bring in your own food and drinks and to use the barbecues.

The nicest one is just past Iba and called Palmera Garden Beach Resort. Their rooms are extremely comfortable and come with cable TV. Manicured grounds surround the pool area. There is very good restaurant but if you bring your own food or drinks there is a cover charge.

Supplemental information on such activities can be found on our Things to do in Subic Bay pages.


As always rumors persist that US ships will be arriving in Subic any day. We have had none since last July other than off-loading troops immediately flown to other regions. The Balikatan (shoulder to shoulder) military exercise has just begun between the Philippine military and the US military. This is taking place in various parts of the country. The usual sectors oppose this exercise but many parts of the country have actively lobbied to participate. Last year when it was held in Basilan, humanitarian and infrastructure projects boosted the local economy. The Americans constructed schools, sunk deep wells for potable water, repaired and built roads, fixed hospitals and conducted clinics and established an airfield capable of handling C-130's.

With the end of the Iraqi war the peso has recovered against the US dollar and fuel prices have gone down. From 55 to the dollar the peso is now around 52 which is better for the overall health of the economy. Now however we have SARS which has caused tourism to fall more than 10% in April and has greatly affected our international ex-pat business. As of this writing there has been just one death in the PI due to SARS. (and they are not even sure it was SARS) Still with all the overseas workers it's inevitable that the Philippines will have more reported cases. Especially since so many OFW's work in the health care field.

We've caught wind of a Subic Bay / Olongapo reunion sponsored by Olongapo and Subic administrations.  The little we know about it has been collected here.  Please visit the official reunion sites shown on that page for more information.

Few new pics on the Subic today page. Thanks to John Fischer!


Barrio Beach Bash pictures that were on the main page last update have been moved to the Barrio Beach Bash page.  It loads a little slow for now due to the number of pictures archived.  We'll get that page split in two for quicker loading next update or so.

Don't have a page by page listing of the site updates for you this time around.  But the links at the bottom of the main page show which pages have updated content.

This last section is not for everyone. We've received many inquiries asking about schools in the Olongapo area, particularly from people wanting to relocate here. Since we've been scouting area schools for our own children we've put together a short synopsis of the education choices for ex-pat children. It is not complete and very subjective based on our perspective and the thoughts of others who's opinions we value. At this point we'll stick to preschool, kindergarten and elementary levels. All the schools mentioned teach only in English and are private rather than public schools. Most cost around P12,000 ($225) per year unless otherwise stated.

In Barrio Barretto there are a good choices for those three classifications. Livingstone Christian located outside of Santa Monica does just pre-school and Kinder 1 and 2. They have a good reputation and good teachers. The same is said about Sacred Heart on Jolo Street in the barrio. It is a Methodist school. Columban is the oldest and best known school. But we keep hearing complaints from area parents about their curriculum (name the 5 highest mountains in the Philippines) their class size and their ability to give needed individual attention.

There are a number of schools in Olongapo City proper. St Joseph's is a Catholic school. Westley has a good reputation and is a Methodist school. The Chinese school has long enjoyed good word of mouth. The same can be said of Little Angel. Likewise people say good things about the Montessori school in Olongapo. (about P24,000 a year) We recently visited all of these places and while they are probably all fine educational facilities they all share a common flaw. They are located on busy streets in very crowded environments. They resemble concrete prisons. They have little or no recreation facilities. There is no green grass and no organized sports.

This is a problem we encounter over and over. The only schools we found with serene settings were located in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. (old Subic Naval Base) Subic Montessori is located near the old Subic Chapel and surrounded by grass and has a kids playground. There is also plenty of parking. All the classrooms are air-conditioned and the teacher to student ratio is no more than 12 to1. There is a library and they have computer classes. It costs about P25,000 (almost $500) a year. Their phone number is 047 252-3555. Child 1st Learning Center is a kindergarten that provides an integrated learning curriculum, activity corners for each age group, air-conditioned classrooms and a playground area in the Sub-com area of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. Students between the ages of 2 1/2 and 6 are accepted. For more information, contact Ms. Oli Catli at 047 252-2602 Ext. 107 or 0917-452-7582. (We don't have a price on this one yet)

Brent Subic- Brent International School is Central Luzon's only international school. It undergoes annual accreditation by the US based Western Association of Schools and Colleges and offers a kindergarten through high school education in the safe and beautiful surroundings of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. The school has a strong representation of American, British and Australian teachers. The schools tuition and fees (ranging from about $3500 to $8500 per year, plus a one-time $1000 enrollment fee) are among the lowest of any US accredited international school in Asia. For more information contact: Headmaster William Corey or Registrar Maricar Peralta. Address 6601 Binictican Brive, Subic Bay Freeport Zone Tel 047 252-6872. e-mail: Website:

Calvert Home Study - The US based Calvert School offers one of the world's top home school programs. It is the one recommended by the US State department for the children of it's foreign-service officers choosing to home school. Calvert's curriculum is accredited by the Department of Education in the US State of Maryland. It's one-year curriculum packages run from a few hundred dollars to nearly $600. It also offers on-line testing, interactive teaching and parent support groups. It's website is Home school programs like Calvert offer an affordable option for an internationally accredited education overseas. But home school websites also note that unless a parent is ready to devote an extensive amount of time to teaching, a local teacher or tutor needs to be hired to implement the curriculum. Also the curriculum is only part of the educational experience so it is important that home schooled children are given ample opportunities to socialize with kids their age. This can often be done through clubs or sports.

This "education opportunities" section can also be found our FAQ 2 page.  We'll continue to update it as new information is received. We welcome questions or opinions from our readers.

Catch you in 2 months when we should be in the grip of rainy season. Stay safe.


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March / April 2003

Our big event in January was Midnight Rambler's annual Britannia party. People poured into the area during the week leading up to their Friday night finale. While primarily English blokes participated, other nationalities joined in the nightly bar hops and other parties. A special Rat-A Dome was held in Pundockit. The premier event was held late Friday night when the Goose Shit contest took place in front of about 300 cheering spectators, on the beach behind the Rambler. A chicken-wire enclosed area was built and numbers sold on the floor. When the two geese were dropped inside the wire, the blaring Sex Pistol's punk anthem 'God Save The Queen' and raucous crowd caused the flustered birds to jump around until after 10 or 15 minutes one of them defecated on the board, giving a huge payoff to the person who had purchased that number. This event did wonders for an otherwise lackluster tourist season. Only in the Philippines!

Mango's had a good showing for the Sub-par non-Super Bowl this year. The Tampa Bay-Oakland kickoff in San Diego happened here on Monday at 7AM. Our specials were eggs benedict and steak and eggs. I drove 60 miles to get the English Muffins. 50 to 60 people wandered through that day. The VFW had a huge crowd as well. We had 3 boards for the final score and like people everywhere the final interception changed some sure winners into losers.

We had email and a Guest Log posting complaining about our answer to a man who had inquired about the cost of retiring in this area. He had asked if $1100 a month was enough and our answer was that $1800 was more realistic. While it's true some retirees can and do survive on $1000 (and less) this man had 2 children to see through school. To amplify on the answer if you want to enjoy western style living and housing with at least partial western cuisine, drive an automobile or jeepney and have decent health and dental care and partake of some recreational activities other than drinking beer in front of the local sari-sari store then $1100 is not enough. These numbers reflect living in the areas of Angeles City and Subic Bay, both more prosperous and more expensive. Below is an aside on this subject from a Filipino perspective.

An interesting survey was conducted in the Philippines in January. People were asked if they were poor. 60% of the population considered themselves poor. When this group was then asked how much money per month would make them feel rich the average response was P20,000. That translates to $400 a month. So it is also true that a guy could live here in a remote but safe area, in a pretty decent but local type house, have plenty of fish, rice and vegetables to eat and have a few beers before dinner daily. He could then live on $400 a month and put $600 in the bank.

Moving into the 20th century the Philippine Clean Air Act took effect on January first. There are many ramifications but the one that affects everyone is that prior to registering your vehicle you must have it's emissions checked. It is a modern machine doing the checking and it produces a readout giving the results. You then take your certificate (which looks like a college diploma) and then continue the registration procedures. The fee for the test is P300 ($6) Still no safety check in place which is why driving at night remains a crap shoot, with many, many vehicles on the roads with no lights or very few working lights.

Getting a new drivers license has had some changes. Besides adding an eye exam to the requirements, a urine test is also a must. Drug testing around the local DMV has become a cottage industry. They have also moved their office from Hospital Road to above the Gordon Avenue market.

The Barrio Beach Bash was held for the 11th straight year in late February. Since moving from the July 4th (rainy) weekend two years ago the weather has been sensational and the crowds large. Sponsored by the VFW it was centered on the beaches behind Bos n Locker Little Wheel, Islanders and Mango's. Food booths had pizza, sharwamas, chili, burgers, German sausages, Mexican specialties and snow cones for the kids. The parade had nearly 30 entries and Congressman James Gordon served as Grand Marshall. The new photos on the main page show the smiling crowds and many of the entries. In addition the backgrounds of the photos reveal the barrio as it is today. On the beach stage were beauty contests, body building contests, dance troupes, talent searches, martial arts exhibitions and fun for all ages. It was a wonderful 3 day affair that broke the monotony that can settle into Barrio Barretto. It is a time when expats from around the archipelago come together. We also had some folks who made the trek from the US just for this affair.

President Arroyo declared February 25th a national holiday in honor of the Edsa revolution that ousted then President Marcos back in 1986. We took a bunch of kids to the JEST Zoo on base. The area has been expanded. It now includes a insectarium (is that a word?),  and has butterflies and insects from the area mounted on boards. It includes sidebars in English telling about their characteristics. It is in an air conditioned building with subdued lighting  and is really first rate. The butterfly garden in an adjacent area is also worthwhile. It's enclosed with streams running through and green vegetation all around. Butterflies in myriads of colors are in abundance. It's a must for any families visiting the area.

What should be our busy season continues to be slow. Reflecting the uncertainty everyone is feeling worldwide, most people are reluctant to travel until the Middle East sorts itself out. No one wants to be a tourist stranded far from home when a war breaks out. We certainly understand that. Some of the news stories on our Local News page(s) can give you a feeling of what is happening throughout and including the southern Philippines.

Other updated content around the website includes:

Only in the Philippines II Philippine Stories
Connections Page Mango's Humor
Image / Event Archive 4 Myers Family Photos
Mango's FAQ Tribute to America

Catch you in two months. Be safe.

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January / February 2003

Happy New Year from Mango's!

Like everyone this last month has been busy. Mango's hosted a series of parties including our own annual employee's and their children Christmas party. We had some good prizes for their raffle giveaway. We also handled the Shriner's crippled children party. And the Business Permit office in Olongapo had their employee party with us. Midnight Rambler and Mango's had our own children's party at Pundokit beach 23 miles north of Barretto. Joe from Beachside was a great Santa. Pools, swings and a trampoline were set up for their fun.

We've recently added the Mango's apartments linkage back on the website. For a long time we were full with long term rentals and still have one leased with a gentleman who has been here two years. But we've been a victim of our own success and got a reputation as always being full. We've only got 3 rooms but they are the best in town. They all overlook the bay and have shaded outside decks with tables and chairs to enjoy it fully. The beds are stateside queens with reading lights.  Rooms also include 21 inch TV's, microwaves, refrigerators, air conditioners, couch, chairs and tables plus being decorated with exceptional decor from the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. They are competitively priced by the day, week or month.  We prefer long term rentals and at 24,000 pesos (US$452), a month they are a deal.  When you combine the sleeping arrangements with our restaurant, beach and bar, and night club, why go anywhere else! Reservation Information Here.

Regretfully, we lost some long time residents this past year.

This list is not inclusive of everyone who left us but are good people well known in the area.

On the brighter side U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard ships made port calls in Subic at various times in 2002. Two MSO's, the Patriot and the Guardian were "stuck" in port for over a week due to a couple of typhoons in the Japan area where they are homeported (kind of reminded us of all the Navy aircraft that seemed to be broke while in Subic during the old days).  The USS Salvor, USS Vincennes, USS Anchorage, USCG Morganthau visited as one task force group. The USS Chancellorsville visited in September. All the above were allowed Olongapo and Barretto liberty only. The embassy claims that Subic City has too much of a terrorist threat potential.

SBMA (old Naval Base) continues to improve with more investors, small businesses, restaurants and tourist facilities. As of November there are 66,000 plus employed somewhere on SBMA. It's kind of hard to believe but if you drive across the shit river bridge at 0700 in the morning it is crammed with people going to work. They do not have the pay scale or benefits the US Navy provided but they are working.

The new sea life park, Ocean Adventure, located at the old Naval Magazine Pier is completed. It's not as big or elaborate as Singapore or San Diego but is quite impressive. There is a an orca show, a sea lion show and dolphins are currently being trained. The air conditioned aquarium area, showing local fish in their various habitats is really nice.

Bridges have been widened on SBMA. The road from the main gate to Cubi is now four lanes. Where the Subic base theater was once located is now called Subic Bay Arts Center. They host dance troupes, singing groups, art shows and live stage productions. In the past year they have staged Cinderella and Hunchback Of Notre Dame. A production of Snow White will premiere in February.

We finished the year with our annual kids fireworks on the beach behind Mango's. Later that night Mango's and The Rambler both hosted New Years Eve parties. If you're wondering if the PI still rocks with the earsplitting blasts of firecrackers all night long ... it does. At midnight December 31 it reaches a crescendo of noise. By daybreak the morning is filled with the smell of gunpowder which also waters the eyes.

We'll be making some changes in the website in 2003. We'll be starting our 4th year and some of the updates have become redundant. Our years are pretty much the same. Since we've covered the territory over and over we'll start doing the monthly updates every two months instead of monthly. Hopefully they can be more complete and timely. We realize some of you working in far flung areas of the earth look forward to them but we'll try to accommodate everyone with more pictures and information this way. If there is something or someone you would like to hear about or see just ask.

Don't forget the VFW Barrio Beach Bash will be held February 21, 22, 23. In January the Midnight Rambler hosts their annual Britannia party. Englishmen are already arriving in the area.

In closing out 2002 I want to mention and thank two people who make Mango's work. First our webmaster Tim Jacobs. Tim makes this site what it is with hard work and imagination and can't even spell html. He manages to keep us in touch with friends around the planet and put us in touch with new ones. Don't forget to check out his Tribute to America website. He has been in touch with several of the family members of Americans killed in the fight against terrorism and has built dedication pages at family member requests.

And Mike Trimble. On the ground here in Barretto Mike is our 'ambassador at large.' He does the odd jobs of running around getting small change and other chores. In addition he plans and prepares the Friday Night Happy Hour hordourves we all munch down. Without these two men and their energies Mango's would not be complete.

Updated content around the website includes:

Only in the Philippines II

Mango's Current Local News and Info 7

Connections Page

As always several new additions or corrections to the connections page.  If you don't have a picture posted out there feel free to send one here.

Humor 4

Mango's Travel Info and Links

Mango's Frequently Asked Questions

Hope you all had a safe and happy holiday season. Thanks for helping make our website one of the most popular in the Philippines. Catch you in March. Let's all pray for a happy, healthy and safe 2003.


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