Margarita Station News
1 April 2002

Margarita Station News:

Newsletters:  I'm going to try to get back to a monthly newsletter during the first week of the month.  With additional ones whenever hot news dictates it.   Before when I was doing two or even three newsletters per month I was getting complaints about trashing out peoples mailboxes.  Lately I have had complaints from people that thought they had been dropped from the list because they hadn't received a update in over a month.   Also, due to a new change, it is going to be easier for me to put a copy of each newsletter on the website (with some photos), so there will be a link at the top of the email copy if you want to see the letter with photos.

I finally got several of the important pages updated two weeks ago.  First, I put up some new photos of our waitresses & customers in the photo section.  

Additionally, for those of you that need a good calendar for  your computer, I have put up two calendars for each month with shots of some of the beauties from the clubs in town.  Just install them as wallpaper on your PC and you will have a quick reference calendar with a cute Filipina to remind you of Angeles City. 

Club News:  Despite some new Immigration problems for some of the club owners (see below), there is lots of construction/renovation happening in Balibago.

  • AYERS ROCK: This unique new restaurant/club is scheduled to open in the immediate future.  It will be a "steak house" where you can cook your own steak or a variety of other meats from lamb chops to chicken or burgers.  Their menu looks great and although I don't go out to eat too often, you can bet I'll check this one out.  They also have a nice roomy pool table area, but what makes it more unique is the dance floor in the middle of the room.  
  • TAHITIAN QUEEN: The rights for this bar were recently acquired by the Champagne Group (they already owned the property, but not the lease).  The club will be closed for three months.  Plans are for the demolition of the current club and the construction of a multi-story building with 14 apartments over the club.  If these are anything like the apartments he built over Volcano you will have to get in line soon as many residents get one on an annual basis.   He is talking about two penthouse units on top, you can bet those are already spoken for.
  • MONTE CARLO: Speaking of multi-story buildings.  A new building is going up next to the Jungle (two doors this side of Sky Trax).  The first floor is almost complete and it will be opened as Monte Carlo (a sister club to Las Vegas).  The club is scheduled to open in April and looks like it will make that deadline.  Watching the construction it is obvious that this one will be three or four floors tall and the story is that there will be a hotel on the upper floors.  In typical Asia fashion, the club will be open before the upper floors are constructed. 
  • HAPPY HOOKER/BLUE DOLPHIN:  "Tom Cruise" sold the Blue Dolphin  to Thommo (former manager of Flamingo) and another guy and they have started pretty massive renovations.  Kind of a shame since the renovations from the Happy Hooker to the Blue Dolphin were obviously costly and the club wasn't running long enough to show much profit.  One can only hope Tom got enough in the sale to cover his purchase price and the renovations.  If not, he will go down in the books of guys that came here to open a bar and get rich and instead lost a big sum.   Rumor is they will try and rename the club back to the  Happy Hooker (I wish them luck selling that to DTI).
  • GOOD TIMES: Stacy is moving into the old Moondoggies.  Construction looks pretty extensive and my guess is he will be open within 30-45 days.  His format is rumored to be pretty much the same as Good Times (you know the one...girls, pool table, booze) except that he may add a kitchen.  Stacy has his own following and he will undoubtedly do better this much closer to Fields Ave, but he is going to have a tough road in his kitchen with the successful Stampede Bar right next door.  We wish him luck and it is always nice to see improvements on the west side of the railroad tracks close to "theville"
  • MARINE BAR:  Not the fastest bar closure, but in the top ten.  A while back Kel managed to assume control of this club  known as SPLASH -- formerly KOSMOS, MUDBONES, & TEMPLE OF ROCK.  A few years back the rights were sold by DWPS, Inc to an investor that allowed DWPS to maintain the "management contract."  The investor apparently tried to transfer the management to Kel and a slight feud started.  Kel had the club renamed and it looked like he had won the battle.  Then unexpectedly the club was closed.  Best rumor I heard was that the fire department wasn't happy about the lack of a fire exit.  When Kel had a hole knocked in the wall and a proper fire exit installed, DWPS was able to shut them down for unauthorized modifications to the building which was in violation of the lease.  True?  Who know, but it's the best story floating around right now.
  • VALENTINE: Richard isn't backing down after the success of Nero's & Blue Nile.  Massive renovations in Valentine include another hydraulic stage and a huge Buddha that bellows CO2 on a regular basis.  No word on the opening date, but when this happens it is sure to make lower Fields Ave a mandatory part of the bar hop.  Only a year ago there was little reason to go down there as the few clubs there were pretty marginal.  By all reports Blue Nile is in a solid #1 spot (wish they would open earlier and turn the music down just 7 or 8 notches!).  Nero's has a big line up early in the afternoon and when the second shift shows up, it is packed (even if there are no customers).  Misty's across the street has made an amazing come back and is well worth a couple of drinks.  G-spot is making strong moves toward the top ten.  Great dancers and some of the top management in town.  Ayers Rock will probably open this week and pull some of the talent from G-Spot, but I think they have enough for both places.  And if you haven't looked in Top Hat lately, give it another look.  Not top Ten yet, but moving back up there.  With those six major clubs, a pass through lower Fields Ave is a must!


CLUB OF THE MONTH: CLEOPATRA:  Cleo is one of those clubs that has changed extensively in the last few years, but retained the same name throughout.  When it first opened quite a few years ago it had an open "moat" about 10 inches deep between the main seating and the seating around the bar.  On every visit you could witness someone stepping in the moat thinking that it was covered with plexiglass, or just forgetting that it was there!  What a great idea???  Eventually they filled in the moat and  Hans ran the place for several years sending hundreds of B-52s to the customers and having his girls performing some great cultural shows.  Next it was purchased by the Kokomo's group and renovated.  Last year it was purchased by a group from the USA and became the first club in the group that now includes G-Spot and Ayers Rock.  Massive renovations changed it extensively and recently they managed to get Daddy William from Las Vegas.  That and the spirit of the girls makes them my pick for the club of the month. 

More current photos from Cleopatra's

Costume of the month:

Bee, she is kind of sexy, but she's a DOG!

Around Balibago:

The BIG story this month is the return of the US Military to our area.  In the last year we have had a routine presence of the USAF on small scale joint training exercises with the Philippine Air Force and Army.  However, most of those individuals are now down in the southern Philippines or committed elsewhere in Enduring Freedom.   Next week we will see the beginning of Balikitan, an (almost)  annual exercise with US and Filipino forces.  This year the bulk of the US forces will be US Marines.  A large contingent will be on Clark with others deployed at Filipino military installations.  But, WAIT, don't cancel your vacation.  These guys will have limited liberty in Balibago and if anything they may have a positive effect.  When the newspapers report 600-700 US Marines in the area all the clubs will be FULL OF GIRLS.

Next on the news list has to be the construction of drainage for Fields Ave.  This project has been on and off for well over  a year with actual construction from Fields Ave down Santos Street to the river finally completed late last year.  Since about late Nov 2001 they have been working their way up Fields Ave.  

It has taken a long time because the backhoe would dig 30-40 feet and then wait while the squatter stores had to be dismantled for the next 30-40 feet.  Often the equipment sat idle for a week or longer while these businesses tried to get them to dig around them or to just go away.  The longest delay was the cellular phone stalls right across from theville.  But, after several weeks a bunch of police showed up one morning and by night the stalls had been almost completely dismantled.

Dismantling Starts

Late Afternoon Same Day

Unfortunately, within days of covering up the ditch all the squatter stores had been rebuilt.  Some more permanent than they were before.  I had a faint hope that the city officials would enforce a minimum distance from the road edge to provide some off road parking and thereby improve the traffic.  But, according to several people, the city official in charge of preventing squatters from building on city property is the same individual getting a percentage of the rent for these stalls. 

2 Weeks later -- they are back


It is with regret that I report of the passing of two resident EXPATS.  Last month long-time resident Paul Dunn form the Dunn Inn passed away from a lingering illness.  Paul was very active in providing specialized medical care to needy Angelenos.  He was interred at Clark Cemetery.  No word yet if his wife will continue to run Dunn Inn.

Additionally, Joey Valentine recently died from carbon monoxide poisoning.  He was probably best known for being the man behind the 'Blue Bus' service, but he was also into buying used cars, fixing them up and reselling them.  Last month he took a foreigner and his girlfriend to Manila to the Korean Embassy in a car he had just purchased.  They complained on the way down about headaches and burning eyes, but were unable to roll down the windows due to some mechanical problem.  The guy said they occasionally opened the doors to let in fresh air, but when they got to Manila the told him they would find a new ride back to Angeles.  Joey never made it back to Angeles, he was found dead on the side of the freeway!    He is survived by his wife and two children.

Immigration Problems: 

In early March Gary Stone was arrested by Immigration.  This incident supposedly resulted from his termination of a cashier that had worked for the bar for a number of years.  She apparently filed charges with someone and that resulted in his arrest.  Note the one charge "Being Anti-Filipino"

In a possible related item, several weeks ago some immigration officers showed up in town with mission orders for the arrest of 10 expats accused of being involved in prostitution.  To date, only a few of the individuals on the list were contacted and one was actually arrested and released on bond (rumored to be P56,000).  Nobody has any idea what's next, but these mission orders expired after 5 days, so it will require additional paperwork if any of the others on the list are arrested or questioned.

I continue to hear guys complaining about the cost of things in the clubs in Angeles City.  Sometimes it is hard to figure out why a guy would want to pay $25,000 to $45,000 for the rights for a club.  Then they spend another $20,000 - 40,000 to renovate it so they can sell a beer for less than a dollar and have Cheap Charlie's scream about escalating prices in town.   

Now if the Immigration stories above don't wet your appetite to retire here and get rich running a girly bar or other business, then read the John Martin story.   Want more, then read   IMO, just enjoy the clean, comfortable clubs with good aircons and don't worry why the owner is gouging you for an extra fifteen cents. 

Easter/Holy Week:

Holy Week is BIG in the Philippines.  It is a time for religion (Filipino style) and for all vice to disappear.   The two biggest days are Maundy Thursday & Good Friday.  On these night many of the clubs on Fields closed there doors.  Others turned off the street lights and took the dancers off the stages, but stayed open with girls in street clothes.  

On the streets you can see guys dragging crosses and even ones with small whips flagellating their backs.  This all cumulates in a small town near San Fernando where every year people line up to have themselves nailed to the crosses and they hang on the cross.  I'm talking real nails right through the palm of the hand!  Last year they had a couple of foreigners get "nailed."   A few years ago the papers reported that a "neophyte nailer" had seriously injured three crucified individual through "amateur nailing techniques." 

SWAGMAN Spring Wet T-shirt Contest:

The Spring Swagman Wet T-shirt contest has historically marked the end of the high season in Angeles.  Shortly after it is over the crowds disappear and it is pretty easy to find a good hotel room.  The main reason for the exodus is the HEAT.  Well, the crowds have dissipated and the hot days are here.  In my opinion this is a great time to visit Angeles City.  The water temperature in the swimming pools is perfect (vs chilly from Nov-Mar) and almost every hotel has a pool.  The clubs aren't full and it isn't hard to find one that is empty.  A few drinks and some toys (glitter, glowing necklaces, flashing balls, pez dispensers, etc) and you can make your own party.  Give it a try!

OK, back to the Swagman Wet T-shirt contest.  Swagman was one of the original venue's for these contests and they still do it best.  P500 gets you into general admission and gives you tickets for P500 worth of food & beverages.  For P1750 you can get into the VIP area.  This is a balcony that over looks the pool.  In the VIP area you get unlimited drinks (including imported liquor) from 11am until the well after the contest is finished.  The first course of boiled shrimp comes about noon and shortly after that they put out a buffet that includes things like smoked salmon, roast lamb, turkey, grilled sausages and more.  About 4pm they put out a second buffet similar to the first.  Only disadvantage is there are only about 12-14 great seats.  People in the second and third rows don't have great seats, but they do have a good time.   Get there very early if you want a front row. 

Gemma the crowds favorite.  Finished a SHOCKING 6th.  Results certified by Arthur Anderson Ruby-Anne finished 2nd, but was also far better than the winner IMO.

If you can't attend the Swagman you can get a outstanding video from Rick's Cafe that condenses the six hours into two hours of the best from multiple camera angles.  I have always promoted Rick's videos here partially because I usually volunteer to do one of the cameras.  But, since October 2001, all of his videos are digitally edited with full graphics and transitions between scenes.  The quality of these tapes is better than most master tapes I can buy.

Last week Nero's was playing a copy of this contest done by the major competitor.  It was a poor quality analog video that was frequently way too dark.  Rick sent for a copy of his video and gave it to the DJ.  When he put it in the crowd actually cheered at the difference.  Louie, the DJ,  said he hasn't played the other one once since then, because Rick's is so much better!   Now, more good news. Rick's Swagman tape sells for  $25 including postage ($19.99 on VCD).  The other guy sells the lower quality tape for $25 PLUS POSTAGE which can mean $5-10 more.

 As part of his community service Rick also says he "captures the natural beauty of some of the local gals on multimedia formats before Father Time passes them by."  Only a week before the Swagman contest Rick took the crowd favorite, Gemma, to a deserted Island for a private video/photo shoot.  That 70 minute video (which includes 10 minutes of her Swagman performance) is now available for $19.99, or you can get the TWO VIDEO PACKAGE for $39.99 (sounds like something from RONKO or one of these TV ads). 

Link to Rick's Videos

Photos of all the contestants (R-Rated Shots)