AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia


In Manila we had decided that one of the treks we wanted to do was climb Mt. Pinatubo. Pinatubo is a bit north of Manila and the tours which start in Manila require a 3am pickup. The tours from Angeles have a 5am pickup. So, for no reason other than I wanted longer in bed we took the bus from Manila to Angeles. We had to book the tour 3 days in advance, meaning we had the day travelling to Angeles and a whole day in Angeles with nothing to do. We decided exploring Angeles would be better than staying in Manila.

Unfortunately, the Wikipedia article bigs Angeles up quite a lot. It was home to the largest American base outside the USA. In its heyday the city was filled with “Comfort Women” for the soldiers. Now the Americans are gone, but the town is still filled with prostitutes. The hotel where we stayed was on a road which was lined with bar after bar where you could buy the women for a few hours. We passed hotels which let the rooms out for 3 hours for P300 (about £4) with names like the Go-Go Hotel. The town was filled with white men, usually fat, often balding and many sporting a handlebar mustache. These men usually waddled slowly down the street, they looked like they were totally out of their heads with alcohol. Everywhere we went we’d see a fat white guy and a skinny Filipino woman hanging off his arm. We’d seen sex tourism elsewhere but this was on another level.

We arrived on the bus at about midday and wandered into the centre to post some more stuff to New Zealand which we had bought on our last night in Bangkok. We walked slowly for about 2 miles but the heat made this a very uncomfortable walk. The air temperature was about 32’c but the real feel in the sun was much closer to 40’c. In addition to the heat was the state of the roads. There are very few footpaths, and where there is a footpath it is almost guaranteed to be unusable, telegraph poles or power cables take up the full width of many sections of the footpath. The rest is either used by motorbikes, cars or is just unusable due to deterioration. The road was just wide enough for two cars, so as we walked down the road the cars would be beeping at us. The beep meant ‘get out of the way or we’ll kill you’. The drivers didn’t care about pedestrians or safety, they just drove as fast as possible and assumed everyone and everything else in their way would move. In one incident after a truck came past me with hardly a one foot gap, the cable holding the load on the back of the truck snapped and most of the load was dumped onto the road right in front of me. Here the attitude seems to be ‘I’ve always done it like this and I’m still alive’.

After that horrible experience of walking around Angeles we decided our best bet was to stay in the hotel room and only go out at night to get food in the shopping mall and buy water and snacks. We have a lot of movies and TV shows on the phone to watch, plus a lot of books on the kindle to read.

So that sums up a day and a half in Angeles, we ate at night and spent the rest of our time resting in the hotel.

Posted from Angeles City, Central Luzon, Philippines.

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