Angeles is crazy. It is a city built around the enormous Clark Airbase where all the Americans were stationed in anticipation of the next attack on Pearl Harbour. After the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the early 1990’s, however, the military left and turned the area over to the Filipino government.
Just outside of the base’s entrance is one of the world’s raunchiest red light districts. Over 100 go-go bars line the area around Field’s Avenue and everywhere is a sea of sex, drugs, and debauchery. It’s a Disneyland of sin.
There are a few cheap hotels on the perimeter of the area that run between $7-9 a night. It’s here that you can sit and talk with some truly strange old drifters from all over the rich countries of the world. The topics usually come back to some poor sap that was robbed by a hooker the night before or who has to go back to the real world for some reason.
Meanwhile half a dozen girls linger just across the street waiting for some business. Some of the more desperate ones will solicit travelers as they leave their hotel rooms. This can get really annoying, especially if you’re stoned.
Drugs are sold pretty much openly everywhere, including by the the expats. You’ll mainly be approached by Filipino vendor tjpigh trying to tout huge boxes of Viagra. It seems there’s plenty of demand.
The bars are a world of their own. Dozens of beautiful girls work to get men to buy them drinks or to bar-fine them. Just by entering you’ll be greeted by several girls at your seat. You might end up hanging out there a lot just for the sub-zero air conditioning and beer and it can be pretty interesting to talk to the girls and find out why they’re working there. Some are supporting whole extended families. Occasionally there is a good live band, too – this is a real treat in the Philippines.
There is a lot of good international food in Angeles. Look for small places with lots of long-term foreigners. Touristy places are expensive.
Angeles is best in small doses. It is terribly polluted and chaotic and there is a lot of crime. A traveler will openly witness robberies and beatings on the street and hotel rooms are commonly broken into. Leave everything of value in the hotel safe and don’t get too drunk.