Punters who frequent Bangkok’s western bar scene occasionally look to other locations for their bargames. Bangkok bar alternatives include Pattaya, Singapore (4 floors, Geylang, etc.), Phnom Penh, and Angeles City (AC) in the Philippines.
AC, the Pattaya of the Philippines, is located about 150 kms north of Manila. Located adjacent to the now-closed USAF Clark Air Base, it has had an active bar scene since the Vietnam War. 3 airlines currently have daily direct flights from Bkk to Manila, with RT fares ranging from 7500 to 13000 baht.
Currently, AC boasts about 150 bars ranging from sleazepits with about 10 girls each, to multimillion dollar complexes employing several hundred dancers, and sporting modern lighting and electronics. The 2 distinct western bar areas are quite concentrated and very close to each other (think NEP and Soi Cowboy).
At least 100 bars are located within easy walking distance of each other on Field Avenue, and cater primarily to western, Korean, and Japanese tourists. Another 40-50 bars are located a couple of KMs down the road in the Perimeter area, and are popular with expats due to their cheaper prices and ‘sleazier’ environment.
There are plenty of GF hotels in both areas, as well as many restaurants serving western food at reasonable prices, and a large, modern shopping mall. Other than these amenities, the area around the bars is dumpy with dirt and gravel roads, and beggars rivaling those in Phnom Penh.
The local currency is the Philipino Peso. I’ll convert costs to Thai Baht to provide a comparison to Thai prices.
Normal customer drinks (beer and local drinks) are about 65 baht, and lady drinks are about 100 baht. Ladies typically get commissions of about 40 baht on LDs. Barfines (known as EWRs, or early work release) range from about 770 to 1,000 baht. HOWEVER, this BF includes the fee for both the bar AND the lady all-night. Some customers will tip their date another 150-350 baht in the morning, but rarely more. The lady keeps about 50 percent of her BF, the other half going to the bar. She keeps all of any additional tip received in the morning.
Unlike many Thai BGs, most AC BGs expect to stay LT, though they will usually accept the customer’s offer for ST, if requested by the customer. Occasionally, an AC BGs might pull out an excuse to convert LT to ST, but she risks the wrath of her managers if the customer complains. Some of the sleazier and smaller bars offer on or off -premise STs for 450-770 baht, all-inclusive.
Following are a few comparisons of the AC barscene versus the Thai farang barscene. Keep in mind these comparisons are from my perspective, and others may have different preferences and observations. YMMV.
Appearance: The Filipina girls have more variety in their looks: Asian, Asian-Spanish Mix, and a few African mix also. Flip ladies generally are curvier, bustier, and darker than their Thai counterparts. A sufficient number have lite-skin Chinese looks, if that is a preference. Filipina ladies tend to dress more casually than Thai ladies. Also, fewer Filipina BGs have tattoos or smoke cigs, compared to their Thai BG sisters. Appearance preferences are very subjective, and therefore not very meaningful as a comparison.
Language: Filipina girls speak English much better than their Thai counterparts. Their ‘Taglish’ include a lot of cute phrases, the favorite being ‒See how you are”.
Lady Attitudes: As a general rule, I think Filipina BGs tend to treat their customers more respectfully than Thai BGs, and are not as focused on financial compensation. Most stay all night, unless the customer asks them to leave. Most importantly, with very few exceptions, they bring it in the room. As a rule, I find them to be energetic, and open to multiple ‘dances’. Some Thai BGs provide this level of bedroom service, but I find it to be a much lower percent than Filipina BGs.
Bars: Ladies dance in 2 piece suits. No nudity, though some girls will occasionally flash you. Much of the music is 70s and 80s rock tunes, due to the US military influence. One unique aspect that I like, is that the girls often have choreographed dance steps, and many seem to enjoy dancing with their friends. I also get the impression that the bar owners and managers exhibit much more control over the ladies than owners of Thai bars do. AC bar owners are generally very responsive to customer concerns, and the girls generally don’t try to get away with BS that Thai BGs often pull.
Hotels: You can get reasonably decent hotel rooms in AC for reasonable prices. An AC hotel, comparable to the Flipper or Eastiny Hotels in Pattaya, generally runs about 1,000 per night.
Freelancers Much better scene in Thailand. Stay away from them in AC, as there are drug and age issues. The Filipina police issue licences to the girls working in the bars, so there are no age concerns about girls working in the bars. My impression is that ‘Yaabaa’ use among AC BGs is less than that of Thai BGs.
Cherry Girls: Every AC bar seems to have its share of ‘virgins’, who you can BF, but consummate only with an expected LT relationship and significant financial contribution (maybe 20,000 to 30,000 baht). Picking the fruit seems to be popular with Korean and Japanese customers. CGs can be a fun date toward the end of your stay, if your junior partner is worn out and needing a night off. Most cherry girls sleep nude with you, and many provide HJs and BJs. Can also make an interesting double BF night with a regular BG and CG in tandem. You have a better chance of digging up Jimmy Hoffa than you do of finding a cherry girl in Pattaya.
Other Activities: Plenty of non-bar activity in Pattaya, nothing much to do in AC other than eat, drink, sleep ,and *$%#. Not a bad way to spend a holiday, though.
P4P value: Assume you buy 2 drinks plus 2 LDs, LT BF, and normal tip to lady:
AC: 130 + 200 + 1000 + 300 = 1630 baht.
Pattaya 240 + 260 + 600 + 1500 (maybe) = 2500 baht.
The more you drink, the farther apart these amounts are. Bkk prices generally higher than Pattaya. Pattaya Soi 6 ST prices are comparable to AC ST costs.
As in most P4P areas (Bkk, Pattaya, Phnom Penh), the fun level and attitude of bargames in Angeles City is declining from prior years. Some long-time visitors say the current Angeles City bars and girls remind them of Pattaya 10 years ago. Lucky ba$tards.