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Wanderlust Blog of the Year ’13
Author: A Potato in a Rice Field
We arrive just before midnight at Clark Airport with a pre-booked hotel (Clark Imperial Hotel) in the Fields area of Angeles City. Buses continue to leave Clark airport to Manila at this time (Philtranco 450 Pesos) but a stopover in Angeles City seemed interesting. A taxi to the Fields area cost 350 Pesos. Expensive. We even had to haggle this price. If you know your destination the jeepney option is also available.
We stayed just off Fields Avenue in the Clark Imperial Hotel. This place was a Godsend for the area. An affordable luxury hidden from the surrounding mayhem. This hotel was next to nothing with our Agoda Points. They also offer free drop off at Dau Bus Station or Clark Airport and cheaper airport pickup than what we paid the taxi.
Fields Area is the main tourist spot infamous for sleaze. Not pretty. We arrived to the hotel around midnight to street kids carrying bags of junk. Once in the hotel Fanfan refuses to go out leaving me to explore alone with my point and shoot camera for fear of being robbed of my SLR (Sorry for rubbish photos). Even in early hours the streets are mayhem. Roaring with trikes, jeepneys and motorbikes. There is a weird Wild West feel to the area. The main road is lined with hooker bars even before reaching the infamous walking street on Fields Avenue.
There is only one reason to be in Fields. Prostitution. The area opitimizes sleazy stereotypes with young girls hand in hand with old men. I did poke around looking for positives but no luck. Certainly not at this time of night. Hard sell, hookers, street kids and sex tourists. I pick up bags of pork liempo and chicken inasal (140 Pesos) from a local street vendor then eat in the hotel room.
10am the following morning we take a walk on the main street. Again hassled with hard sell tourist junk and street kids. At roadside bars foreigners sit behind caged windows beer in hand staring onto the street. Caged in like zoo exhibits. Completely bizarre. Almost like dusk till dawn the sex tourists feed at night then troll in darkness at day. Sunlight is not their friend. We make do with an American styled diner for breakfast ordering Sinigang (Sour Tamarind Soup) and Sizzling Gambas. Good food to be fair. The radio blares Meatloaf then Bohemian Rhapsody. Put a gun against my head.
The buses from nearby Mabalacat Bus Terminal (Dau) are a lot cheaper than the airport buses. We paid 140 Pesos single to Manila. It is easy to find Jeepneys at Fields Avenue Main Gate Terminal which serve both the Mabalacat Bus Terminal and Clark Airport. Trikes also do the route to the bus terminal (not the airport).
A one night stopover is more than enough for this area. Interesting to witness but dire to stick around. An underlying sense of hopelessness. We hoped our final image of Angeles wasn’t the boy urinating at his sister while their mum eyes up a burger menu. It wasn’t. It was the bus driver urinating on the back wheels of his bus.