BURIAL AT SEA

Dear Readers, I know many of you who subscribe to my news letter are interested to hear about Angeles City.  I do have some updates and opinions but bear with me.  I am only going to publish this story first. I think it is a good time with all this civil unrest in the US and other countries.  You see I am not happy with what I read and see on TV.  It is shameful that so much hate is boiling up from so many that do not appreciate the freedom given by so many who wore uniforms and died in battle in countries that this generation will never see.  I wonder how many of those Antifa, BLM , Sunshine, MS-13, members and left wing zealots will be willing to put on a military uniform to defend their country.  It is so easy to disrespect our American flag and police officers.  It is so easy to disrespect and destroy by those who never did a damn thing to bring about the freedoms Americans cherish today.  This has to stop – God Bless America, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand and all countries that are struggling to keep democracy alive and well.

Burial at Sea

by Lt. Col. George Goodson, USMC (Ret)

In my 76th year, the events of my life appear to me, from time to time, as a series of vignettes.  Some were significant; most were trivial.

War is the seminal event in the life of everyone that has endured it.  Though I fought in Korea and the Dominican Republic and was wounded there, Vietnam was my war.

Now 42 years have passed and, thankfully, I rarely think of those days in Cambodia , Laos , and the panhandle of North Vietnam where small teams of Americans and Montangards fought much larger elements of the North Vietnamese Army.  Instead I see vignettes: some exotic, some mundane:

*The smell of Nuc Mam.
*The heat, dust, and humidity.
*The blue exhaust of cycles clogging the streets.
*Elephants moving silently through the tall grass.
*Hard eyes behind the servile smiles of the villagers.
*Standing on a mountain in Laos and hearing a tiger roar.
*A young girl squeezing my hand as my medic delivered her baby.
*The flowing Ao Dais of the young women biking down Tran Hung Dao.
*My two years as Casualty Notification Officer in North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland .

It was late 1967.  I had just returned after 18 months in Vietnam.  Casualties were increasing.  I moved my family from Indianapolis to Norfolk, rented a house, enrolled my children in their fifth or sixth new school, and bought a second car.

A week later, I put on my uniform and drove 10 miles to Little Creek, Virginia.  I hesitated before entering my new office.  Appearance is important to career Marines.  I was no longer, if ever, a poster Marine.  I had returned from my third tour in Vietnam only 30 days before.  At 5’9″, I now weighed 128 pounds – 37 pounds below my normal weight.  My uniforms fit ludicrously, my skin was yellow from malaria medication, and I think I had a twitch or two.

I straightened my shoulders, walked into the office, looked at the nameplate on a Staff Sergeant’s desk and said, “Sergeant Jolly, I’m Lieutenant Colonel Goodson.  Here are my orders and my Qualification Jacket.”

Sergeant Jolly stood, looked carefully at me, took my orders, stuck out his hand; we shook and he asked, “How long were you there, Colonel?”  I replied “18 months this time.”  Jolly breathed, “You must be a slow learner, Colonel.”  I smiled.

Jolly said, “Colonel, I’ll show you to your office and bring in the Sergeant Major.  I said, “No, let’s just go straight to his office.”  Jolly nodded, hesitated, and lowered his voice, “Colonel, the Sergeant Major.  He’s been in this job two years.  He’s packed pretty tight.  I’m worried about him.”  I nodded.

Jolly escorted me into the Sergeant Major’s office.  “Sergeant Major, this is Colonel Goodson, the new Commanding Officer.”  The Sergeant Major stood, extended his hand and said, “Good to see you again, Colonel.”  I responded, “Hello Walt, how are you?”  Jolly looked at me, raised an eyebrow, walked out, and closed the door.

I sat down with the Sergeant Major.  We had the obligatory cup of coffee and talked about mutual acquaintances.  Walt’s stress was palpable.  Finally, I said, “Walt, what the hell’s wrong?”  He turned his chair, looked out the window and said, “George, you’re going to wish you were back in Nam before you leave here.  I’ve been in the Marine Corps since 1939.  I was in the Pacific 36 months, Korea for 14 months, and Vietnam for 12 months.  Now I come here to bury these kids.  I’m putting my letter in.  I can’t take it anymore.”  I said, “OK Walt.  If that’s what you want, I’ll endorse your request for retirement and do what I can to push it through Headquarters Marine Corps.”

Sergeant Major Walt Xxxxx retired 12 weeks later.  He had been a good Marine for 28 years, but he had seen too much death and too much suffering.  He was used up.

Over the next 16 months, I made 28 death notifications, conducted 28 military funerals, and made 30 notifications to the families of Marines that were severely wounded or missing in action.  Most of the details of those casualty notifications have now, thankfully, faded from memory.  Four, however, remain.

MY FIRST NOTIFICATION
My third or fourth day in Norfolk, I was notified of the death of a 19 year old Marine. This notification came by telephone from Headquarters Marine Corps.  The information detailed:
*Name, rank, and serial number.
*Name, address, and phone number of next of kin.
*Date of and limited details about the Marine’s death.
*Approximate date the body would arrive at the Norfolk Naval Air Station.
*A strong recommendation on whether the casket should be opened or closed.

The boy’s family lived over the border in North Carolina, about 60 miles away.  I drove there in a Marine Corps staff car.  Crossing the state line into North Carolina, I stopped at a small country store/service station/Post Office.  I went in to ask directions.

Three people were in the store.  A man and woman approached the small Post Office window.  The man held a package.  The store owner walked up and addressed them by name, “Hello John.  Good morning Mrs. Cooper.”

I was stunned.  My casualty’s next-of-kin’s name was John Cooper!

I hesitated, then stepped forward and said, “I beg your pardon.  Are you Mr. and Mrs. John Cooper of (address)?

The father looked at me – I was in uniform – and then, shaking, bent at the waist, he vomited.  His wife looked horrified at him and then at me.  Understanding came into her eyes and she collapsed in slow motion.  I think I caught her before she hit the floor.

The owner took a bottle of whiskey out of a drawer and handed it to Mr. Cooper who drank.  I answered their questions for a few minutes.  Then I drove them home in my staff car.  The store owner locked the store and followed in their truck.  We stayed an hour or so until the family began arriving.

I returned the store owner to his business.  He thanked me and said, “Mister, I wouldn’t have your job for a million dollars.”  I shook his hand and said; “Neither would I.”

I vaguely remember the drive back to Norfolk.  Violating about five Marine Corps regulations, I drove the staff car straight to my house.  I sat with my family while they ate dinner, went into the den, closed the door, and sat there all night, alone.

My Marines steered clear of me for days.  I had made my first death notification.

THE FUNERALS
Weeks passed with more notifications and more funerals.  I borrowed Marines from the local Marine Corps Reserve and taught them to conduct a military funeral: how to carry a casket, how to fire the volleys and how to fold the flag.

When I presented the flag to the mother, wife, or father, I always said, “All Marines share in your grief.”  I had been instructed to say, “On behalf of a grateful nation….”  I didn’t think the nation was grateful, so I didn’t say that.

Sometimes, my emotions got the best of me and I couldn’t speak.  When that happened, I just handed them the flag and touched a shoulder.  They would look at me and nod.  Once a mother said to me, “I’m so sorry you have this terrible job.”  My eyes filled with tears and I leaned over and kissed her.

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION
Six weeks after my first notification, I had another.  This was a young PFC.  I drove to his mother’s house.  As always, I was in uniform and driving a Marine Corps staff car.  I parked in front of the house, took a deep breath, and walked towards the house.  Suddenly the door flew open, a middle-aged woman rushed out.  She looked at me and ran across the yard, screaming “NO! NO! NO! NO!”

I hesitated.  Neighbors came out.  I ran to her, grabbed her, and whispered stupid things to reassure her.  She collapsed.  I picked her up and carried her into the house.  Eight or nine neighbors followed.  Ten or fifteen minutes later, the father came in followed by ambulance personnel.  I have no recollection of leaving.

The funeral took place about two weeks later.  We went through the drill.  The mother never looked at me.  The father looked at me once and shook his head sadly.

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION
One morning, as I walked in the office, the phone was ringing.  Sergeant Jolly held the phone up and said, “You’ve got another one, Colonel.”  I nodded, walked into my office, picked up the phone, took notes, thanked the officer making the call, I have no idea why, and hung up.  Jolly, who had listened, came in with a special Telephone Directory that translates telephone numbers into the person’s address and place of employment.

The father of this casualty was a Longshoreman.  He lived a mile from my office.  I called the Longshoreman’s Union Office and asked for the Business Manager.  He answered the phone, I told him who I was, and asked for the father’s schedule.

The Business Manager asked,  “Is it his son?”  I said nothing.  After a moment, he said, in a low voice, “Tom is at home today.”  I said, “Don’t call him.  I’ll take care of that.”  The Business Manager said, “Aye, Aye Sir,” and then explained, “Tom and I were Marines in WWII.”

I got in my staff car and drove to the house.  I was in uniform.  I knocked and a woman in her early forties answered the door.  I saw instantly that she was clueless.  I asked, “Is Mr. Smith home?”  She smiled pleasantly and responded, “Yes, but he’s eating breakfast now.  Can you come back later?”  I said, “I’m sorry.  It’s important.  I need to see him now.”

She nodded, stepped back into the beach house and said, “Tom, it’s for you.”

A moment later, a ruddy man in his late forties, appeared at the door.  He looked at me, turned absolutely pale, steadied himself, and said, “Jesus Christ man, he’s only been there three weeks!”

Months passed.  More notifications and more funerals.  Then one day while I was running, Sergeant Jolly stepped outside the building and gave a loud whistle, two fingers in his mouth……. I never could do that….. and held an imaginary phone to his ear.

Another call from Headquarters Marine Corps.  I took notes, said, “Got it.” and hung up.  I had stopped saying “Thank You” long ago.

Jolly, “Where?”

Me, “Eastern Shore of Maryland .  The father is a retired Chief Petty Officer.  His brother will accompany the body back from Vietnam ….”

Jolly shook his head slowly, straightened, and then said, “This time of day, it’ll take three hours to get there and back. I’ll call the Naval Air Station and borrow a helicopter.  And I’ll have Captain Tolliver get one of his men to meet you and drive you to the Chief’s home.”

He did, and 40 minutes later, I was knocking on the father’s door.  He opened the door, looked at me, then looked at the Marine standing at parade rest beside the car, and asked, “Which one of my boys was it, Colonel?”

I stayed a couple of hours, gave him all the information, my office and home phone number and told him to call me, anytime.

He called me that evening about 2300 (11:00PM).  “I’ve gone through my boy’s papers and found his will.  He asked to be buried at sea.  Can you make that happen?”  I said, “Yes I can, Chief.  I can and I will.”

My wife who had been listening said, “Can you do that?”  I told her, “I have no idea.  But I’m going to break my ass trying.”

I called Lieutenant General Alpha Bowser, Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, at home about 2330, explained the situation, and asked, “General, can you get me a quick appointment with the Admiral at Atlantic Fleet Headquarters?”  General Bowser said, “George, you be there tomorrow at 0900.  He will see you.”

I was and the Admiral did.  He said coldly, “How can the Navy help the Marine Corps, Colonel.”  I told him the story.  He turned to his Chief of Staff and said, “Which is the sharpest destroyer in port?”  The Chief of Staff responded with a name.

The Admiral called the ship, “Captain, you’re going to do a burial at sea.  You’ll report to a Marine Lieutenant Colonel Goodson until this mission is completed…”

He hung up, looked at me, and said, “The next time you need a ship, Colonel, call me.  You don’t have to sic Al Bowser on my ass.”  I responded, “Aye Aye, Sir” and got the hell out of his office.

I went to the ship and met with the Captain, Executive Officer, and the Senior Chief.  Sergeant Jolly and I trained the ship’s crew for four days.  Then Jolly raised a question none of us had thought of.  He said, “These government caskets are air tight.  How do we keep it from floating?”

All the high priced help including me sat there looking dumb. Then the Senior Chief stood and said, “Come on Jolly.  I know a bar where the retired guys from World War II hang out.”

They returned a couple of hours later, slightly the worse for wear, and said, “It’s simple; we cut four 12″ holes in the outer shell of the casket on each side and insert 300 lbs. of lead in the foot end of the casket.  We can handle that, no sweat.”

The day arrived.  The ship and the sailors looked razor sharp.  General Bowser, the Admiral, a US Senator, and a Navy Band were on board.  The sealed casket was brought aboard and taken below for modification.  The ship got underway to the 12-fathom depth.

The sun was hot.  The ocean flat.  The casket was brought aft and placed on a catafalque.  The Chaplain spoke.  The volleys were fired.  The flag was removed, folded, and I gave it to the father.  The band played “Eternal Father Strong to Save.”  The casket was raised slightly at the head and it slid into the sea.

The heavy casket plunged straight down about six feet.  The incoming water collided with the air pockets in the outer shell.  The casket stopped abruptly, rose straight out of the water about three feet, stopped, and slowly slipped back into the sea.  The air bubbles rising from the sinking casket sparkled in the sunlight as the casket disappeared from sight forever….

The next morning I called a personal friend, Lieutenant General Oscar Peatross, at Headquarters Marine Corps and said, “General, get me out of here.  I can’t take this anymore.”  I was transferred two weeks later.

I was a good Marine but, after 17 years, I had seen too much death and too much suffering.  I was used up.

Vacating the house, my family and I drove to the office in a two-car convoy.  I said my goodbyes.  Sergeant Jolly walked out with me.  He waved at my family, looked at me with tears in his eyes, came to attention, saluted, and said, “Well Done, Colonel.  Well Done.”

I felt as if I had received the Medal of Honor!

‘A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America ‘ for an amount of ‘up to and including their life.’

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.’


I am honored to pass this on and I hope you feel that way too.

I want to say “Thank you” for your service to every Veteran who reads this.
In God We Trust.

Posted by JimmyDHorse in Angeles City, 2 comments

More Words and Thoughts

The Truth (and Lies) about Coronavirus

AN ARTICLE WORTH READING:  This is one article that I am saving for future reference.  It mirrors my thoughts and many others.  It is definitely something that should be shared with many.

Korean arrested for pimping girl

This is the first time I have tried to insert a link and was receiving instruction from my guru Chuck by Viber.  It took many tries as I am not computer literate.  The reason I wanted this inserted is because I was wondering how the Koreans were doing without their daily dose of young women.  When I used to sit out the front of Envy at night I lost count of the Vans dropping off and picking up the Koreans that headed straight into the walking street.  If I waited long enough I could give an evaluation to the girls they returned with, I have a scale of 1 to 10.  Then comes the lock down and an enterprising Korean is able to find a way to supply his Korean customers with various varieties of Filipina delights.  But being a bit brainless, once caught in the act he decides to make a break for it, thinking he could out run the Police.  So instead of being charged with trafficking he ends up in a whole lot of deep shit.  I wonder if he will actually face jail time or will this be another case of, sorry, no further news on this case?  In a way I think he had a good idea as a lot of ladies going hungry because of no business and no help from the Government could have enjoyed some higher than usual income.  

STATUS OF WIFE:  No surprise there, her flight back is still up in the air and my pleasure of having the whole bed to myself is wearing off quickly.  I even miss the little bit of snoring she does.  The thing is that she is my partner, friend and wife and short separations are OK but not one this long.  She was a young woman of 25 when we met and we had many adventures together over the years and managed to stay together.  Ultimately, I will not let this virus end this relationship.  We will unite again and I will contently return to my side of the bed, smile, fall asleep and wake in the morning to see that I am still with the woman I love.  

PHILIPPINES:   When you live in the Philippines as a foreigner you can’t help but follow politics here and in the US.  I was remembering that President Duterte on 12 Mar had a press conference where he laid out key points to fight the Virus.  One point caught my attention, “if things deteriorate we may have to ask for China’s help”.   Not being a great fan of China I was hoping that this would not be necessary especially since the virus originated in China and also since the Chines show no acknowledgement of The Philippines sovereignty in the South China Sea.

Then on 18 Apr President Duterte had an 18 minute phone call with President Trump.  The US offered additional assistance to the Philippines  to fight the COVID-19 Virus.  They discussed collaboration this issue.  The US has so far provided more than P203 million in aid to the Philippines in response to COVID-19.

Naturally I was pleased to hear this because I always hope that the close relationship The US has had with the Philippines for so many years continues far into the future.  But I must admit that sometimes some of our Senators stick their noses into business which is sensitive to President Duterte.  Not too long ago three US Senators were going to fly to the PI to investigate the jailing of a certain female judge.  They were concerned about human rights.  I always hear this from the US and other countries that voice these opinions and yes, at times the questions are legitimate.  But when it comes to the Philippines I wonder why the US supported the Marcos regime, without question for so many years since they were and are so concerned with human rights?

I always enjoy hearing from readers of this column and i can’t mention them all but I wish to thank the following for dropping me a line:  Willy Smith, Wally from New Zealand, Capt. Rainer from Germany, Drew Fleming, AC, and Stanley Krawies, Florida.  So often I hear from people that spent a bit of time here and caught the AC virus which does not kill but is incurable.  Again, thanks for the greetings.  

The following was sent to me by an anonymous source.  

This is something I totally agree with:

MANILA, Philippines — Several lawmakers have asked the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to reconsider its move to bar senior citizens living in areas placed on either enhanced or general community quarantine from leaving their homes.

Senior Citizens Partylist Rep. Francisco Datol Jr., who chairs the House committee on senior citizen’s affairs, said that senior citizens should be allowed to go outside “to move around” as long as they are practicing social distancing.
It would be good for our City Mayor to consider this.   The one thing I strongly disagree with is denying access to the S&R store in Dau to Angeles City residents.  It is not right since it is so close and they have items for sale that are not available in markets in AC.  Surely the same quarantine procedures imposed through out the country can still be applied for those seeking to shop in a better equipped store. 

THIS IS FROM TEFLON JOHN:    Well I finally figured out how to pay my power bill since all the payment places around town are closed down or are off line for the next ten years. 

I paid for two months today using my G CASH app that I downloaded load from my play store on my smart phone. (the same place I down loaded Viber ). This app is great I can now pay all my bills including cable, internet and water ON LINE using G Cash.  No more long lines for me. Wooo !!!

 

If you don’t yet have it, it’s worth getting and while you’re there if you don’t yet have Viber  you may as well download that as well.   Because they are both free to use and makes life a hell of a lot easier. 
Note: I have viber and strongly recommend it because it is free!  Better than pay for loads all the time.  (JD)
 
Michael Dammann wrote to me from the US stating that he felt that a lock down is no longer necessary since two effective drugs are available for treatment.  My reply was:  I always said if I got sick I wanted my doctor to give me Hydrochloriquine and Remdisiver.  But no, medical people tried to down play its effectiveness.  Why, because it is easily available and cheap.  Instead, lets wait for a company to invent a solution so a patent can be issued and that company can make a lot of money.  That is why so many companies are racing to find the first covid-19 anti-viral shot.  This whole damn virus thing is so very political and people like Jeff Bezos will become richer then he already is.  Why r shopping malls slowly disappearing?
 
THIS IS A RECORD FOR ME.   I got around to writing something just within a couple of days.  Hey, Tony, I enjoyed your second note to me more than the first.  I do remember your birthday party at the Wild Orchid Flamingo bar so many years ago.  Thanks for reminding me.  So many people I have met over the years that write and remind me of times past.  I was a bit younger then.  Hopefully you can make your return trip when this Mickey Mouse lock down is over and those planes are up and flying again.
Meanwhile, it is nearly time for me to take my shower and go to bed unless I start watching Netflix again.  Signing off now and still hoping you will be kind to old horses.
 
 

 

 

 

 

Posted by JimmyDHorse in Angeles City, Crime, World, 2 comments

BACK FROM HAWAII

HAWAII –  I returned to Angeles City on 15 Nov and since then have had a bit of a medical problem that has weakened me again.  Since I got back many friends have been asking me how the trip was and I had to tell them not as good as I hoped.  Why you might ask?  Because on my second day there while eating lunch in our hotel room with my wife and son I had another seizure and passed out.  This one was a bit different as I was unconscious a lot longer and other episodes at home.  My son Jason had never seen one of these before and was very worried.  He called one of his Army friends to come to the hotel to help get me to the Post Clinic.  That is where I woke up with a reaction I never had before.  From there I was transferred by ambulance to Queens Medical Ctr ICU in Honolulu.  I was fully awake by now and was subjected to many tests for 24 hours.  The service in ICU was terrific, I was impressed as I have not been in a hospital in the States for many years and never in ICU.  The Doctor was great and wanted me to stay longer but I told her that I felt good and had to get out in time for my son’s 21st birthday which was the main reason I made the trip.  I make it to the dinner, success!  Regretfully I was too weak to get around much and never saw any sights in Hawaii except to a couple of restaurants..  I could not believe the splendor of the lobby of the Queens Med Ctr, it was like a 5 star hotel and the landscape out was very impressive.  Vina and I enjoyed quality time with our son and that was good enough for me.
We were happy to get back home, except for Vina who did not want to leave her son.  We arrived at Clark at 2400 hrs and got home a bit after 0100 hrs, went to bed and got up later in the morning.  That evening I was in my office and had another seizure.  The family is used to them now and when I woke up they helped me to our bed and that episode made me extremely weak and messed up my legs even more.  Naturally I told my wife I was not taking any more long plane rides.  The good news was the hospital and ambulance ride in Hawaii was covered by Medicare and Tri-Care, thank goodness.  Here in AC I can only use Tri-Care.  That my friends was my latest adventure and so glad I am still around.

TAPS
I am late with this announcement and I hate to mention it as it pertains to a friend of mine who was a great man, husband and businessman.  I speak of Roger Forseth who passed away late Oct from a heart attack.  The details were sent by another very close friend:
“It is my sad duty to report that Roger died of a heart attack in Manila about 11am this morning.  He had a heart attack about 10 days ago while he was in the hospital in Angeles City.  He was released after a few days in ICU and an angiogram. They had the opening of the new location and then a few days later the doctors cleared him to fly home.  He was upbeat when he left for the airport this morning. Unfortunately, he had a severe heart attack just miles from the airport. The driver took him & Sofie to the airport to get the airport ambulance.  They took him to St Luke’s, the best hospital in the PI.  He was DOA, but they worked on him for almost an hour before they called it. We brought Sofie & Roger back to Angeles tonight.  If we can get the paperwork done here in the morning, he will be cremated tomorrow. And, then, IAW his wishes we will spread his ashes in the South China Sea in a few days.”
He will be missed by the many who knew him.

KONA BAR –  I have mentioned the Kona Bar and how nice it is.  What is new is I ran into Steve the previous owner of Night Moves and he indicated that he was getting tired of retired life and he was considering an offer from the owner of the Kona to come on board there.  He told me that he would let me know when or if he accepts the offer.  In my opinion he would be a positive addition to any business in the entertainment district.  Even with my bad legs I would try to see him there.

A STATISTICAL FACT –  39% of women in the Philippines watch Porn. It is the highest % in the world.  Now we know why so many of the ladies we run into in AC end up married to many foreigners, they are home schooled.

I have to add this one: A dog extracts more information from smelling a pile of shit than a human does watching CNN.  (That is not a political rant.  I thought it was funny.  For Democrats, you can change that to FOX news if you want to.

So sorry, I have to stop here as I have to head out to the farm tonight, stay overnight, and be present for out annual charity for low income families.  We have a 120 kids this year but my wife won’t let me be Santa anymore.  We have someone younger to help out.

Remember, be kind to horses.
Posted by JimmyDHorse in Travel, 0 comments

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR

Greetings to one and all.  I am so happy to still be around to be able to keep in touch with you.  Regretfully I had to say farewell to people I have known quite a while:

TAPS:  Carmello Lazatin, past AC Mayor, Congressman and current Balibago barangay Captain.  I knew his father, a great AC Mayor and then his son.  While I was secretary of ACTA I had the opportunity to work with Mayor Lazatin (the son) for a few years and grew to admire and respect him and enjoyed attending his birthday celebrations and he honored me with his presence at two of my celebrations as well.  Many will miss him, especially me.

Clive Pollington – Clive passed away from a heart attack recently and his sudden passing was a shock to his many friends.  Clive was a first class gentleman who at one time owned Roy’s Pub, a very popular location to eat lunch and also to gather early evening for enjoying various brews and quietly interact with each other in not too loud conversation.  It was especially popular with the English expats in town.  I was surprised to learn a few years back that quiet gentleman, in his younger years, participated in professional side-car motorcycle racing in England.  Clive was proud of those days and many were amazed that this quiet, gentle man was once involved in such an exciting, dangerous sport. Needless to say, he will be missed by many especially those he worked and socialized with at the Orchid group.

 John Holmes – The owner of the Phoenix Hotel.  I do not have much information as it happened very recently.  It really was sudden and happened on site.  I remember when this hotel was built and Owen Dolan helped with on-site supervision.  Owen was it first manager and he and John made a good team. Sadly Owen was murdered in a robbery attempt and John was left in need of a manager.  Fortunately he found the only only man who could fill Owen’s shoes and that is Mike Evans, (Only old timers know his nickname so I will omit it here).  The team of John and Mike continued until the sad day of John’s passing.  The question now is what will the relatives decide to do with the Phoenix Hotel and will Mike continue on for now?
I know as I grow older and reach my 34th year here I know if I continue on I will have to bid farewell to more expats that I have known and with each loss I will feel that gray cloud of sadness pass over me and remember their friendships, close and casual, and as time passes I will remember them until my memory fades or I join them myself.  It is so much sadder when they pass on in December, a month so close to another year.  Hard to deal with so much sadness and also celebrate the holiday season.

27 March 2019 – Oh boy, I am in trouble.  I started this before Christmas and now, so much later I pulled up my draft.  Instead of going downstairs to watch the girls playing pool I am sitting my ass down to write a few lines.  I just finished a Rotary meeting.  If I go downstairs, here is what will happen.  I will watch the game, it ends after 5 PM.  I then would go out for a walk with my walker because my wife insists it will help my legs (I agree with her but never admit it).  After the walk, return to the bar, sit at favorite at my table, turn on the TV and start watching Netflix and think about going upstairs to write this column.  Nope, I will stay watching Netflix, eat dinner, continue with Netflix, then my friend Tony will come in for a chat at 8:45, interrupt my TV viewing, have 2 beers, then leave for home at 9:50 PM at which time I get my helper to help me out of my chair, get me up the stairs into my office to take off my shoes and socks.  At this time I should go to bed but I am not tired, time to check my Emails, FB and messenger.  All to often I get distracted into watching clips of America has talent, Britain has Talent, Sweden has Talent, Ethiopia has talent, Norway has Talent, India has Talent and a few doses of X Factor.  At the same time I am answering messages, messenger, etc.  Suddenly it is 1 AM and I force myself to take a shower and go to bed.  Of course, then I read in bed until my eyes get tired, turn out the light, and doze off thinking that I should have worked on this column.   This is my daily schedule and I have not even discussed my morning routine which is not good either.  I also go to Rotary once a week, Physical Therapy twice a week and Envy Sports Bistro 2 times a week.  I am suffering from TVitis  and well, a bit of laziness.  The result is, that at 81 my only talent is being able to fall asleep anywhere at any time, in fact, I feel my eyes getting heavy as I type this and it is only 4:45 PM and I am fighting off the temptation to go down and watch the girls finish their last few games.

I think listing those friends that passed away so close to the end of the year depressed me but now I have to mention one friend who was the Captain of one of my pool teams and a good customer as well.  His name was Michael Keith Rowell, AKA “Whisky Mike” and his demise was an example of how far too many Expats reach their final days in Angeles City.  Mike enjoyed a few drinks of Black Label each day and over the years the consumption increased and eventually along came a few medical problems as well.  Mike was well liked and yes, he was a nice guy with many friends that did their best to look after him.  He sort of had a girlfriend that was not all that dependable and quite often he was on his own.  Mike was 69 when he suffered from a serious stroke that caused him to lose his mobility and he had to lay on a mattress placed on the floor of his living room apartment.  Local Expat friends were able to pay his hospital bill and try to help him as much as possible on a daily basis.  He was helpless and needed help to get to the bathroom, get cleaned up, fed and at times place him in a wheel chair to get him out to eat.  Even then he still lived up to his nickname and ate very little.  There is a close net group of Expats that did all they could for him and a few in particular reached out to help him in a way that was so commendable and this is not a rare experience here.  Regretfully Mike passed away  and even thought we knew such an ending was inevitable we wondered if this situation could have been avoided.

The problem is that many Expats that live here for any length of time, including me, have established our senior lives here and this is home.  We have homes, condo’s, apartments, wives, relatives, friends and a type of community that does not exist in the US, Britain, Australia, etc.  Only if you live here could you understand what this feeling is and why, even when sick, we do not want to leave, even when we know it is ridiculous not to to do so.  It is easy to fall into a trap of drinking too much because of the environment and the affordability of liquor and cigarettes.  Another problem is that many settle here without an adequate monthly income and medical care is not cheap.  A month or two after Mikes death a local bank notified officials that Mike had an account with them but after consultations with the bank it was discovered that the account did not have and funds in it.  Why do I dwell on this subject?  Please, if you plan to retire here prepare yourself.  Have the funds in the bank to cover you or have a DECENT retirement check coming in each month.  When I first came here in 1977 living here was really cheap, in 1985 when I moved here permanently it was still pretty reasonable, now, 2019 try to have at least a monthly income of $3000 or more, depending on what life style you want.  Life is good here and Angeles City is one exciting town to live in as it is changing month to month.  Visit first, more than once, than decide.

BAYPOINT HOSPITAL, SUBIC – I just received information that based on complaints against Baypoint by Senator Dick Gordon, Baypoint has been downgraded by Dept of Health to an infirmary.  That means they currently cannot do surgeries, admit you to ICU, or do in-depth testing at lab/heart center or radiology.  You can get emergency care to stabilize and they can and they can do CBC’s but that’s about it.
This information came from Jack Walker, director of the RAO office at Subic.  This affects the many military retirees living in the Subic area who now will have to use either Medical City and Gordon are Tri-Care and only Medical City is FMP.  That is the only information available now but I suspect more details will follow.

DAVE (VEGAS DAVE) HAMILTON – was moved from ICU last week and is now in room 307, Medical City, Clark.  I will try to visit him tomorrow to see how his recovery is going.  From what I hear Dave suffered a fall serious enough for hospital admittance, complications led to an extended stay in ICU.  He is recovering and is undergoing in-room physical therapy.

QUESTION FROM “DIGBY” – Hi Harry, how are you, have not seen any posts from your side which I always look forward to. Is ThiHi still going strong with the same girls I saw in December and what of the old Porkys (Finnegans).  Keep well, Digby
(Good to hear from you Digby.  Not to worry ThiHi is going strong and since Dec they have added a few ladies but loss some of those you saw in Dec.  The new owners have made additional improvements that are very pleasing.  It remains my go to bar as it has been for many years.  The addition of outside seating was a popular choice even though City Hall forced them to cut back on the frontage due to encroachment.  So far Hang-out and Honey Ko’s has been able to keep their extended frontage.  All three establishments remain popular which is great.
I  Finnegans Bar is still there with a great sign out front and enjoying a lot of business.

Look, it is getting a bit late now and I had two interruptions.  Mrs Horse had her home manicure by Pearlie and I piggy backed on that and of course another break for dinner.  We ordered take out from the Siam Thai restaurant right around the corner from our hotel.  Had enough to be able to enjoy leftovers tomorrow night.

I hope I can publish this as I have never saved to draft before.  I do plan to write more often, I miss doing it.  Tomorrow physical therapy and head over to Envy for the Footie.  I have a lot more words floating around my head but will try to sort those out tomorrow.  Oh wait.  I have to announce that our little Pension House has now come under the umbrella of RedDoorz which means if you want to book a room now please go on the internet and look for RedDoorz Philippines, Pampanga and we are listed as RedDoorz Tamarind.  It is all new to us but it seems to be increasing our occupancy.  We have still maintained our name but now our 10 rooms are controlled by RedDoorz.  They basically rent our ten rooms for a monthly flat fee (after a 2 month trial period).  Now you can prepay a room booking which we were not able to do before.  What takes getting used to is that the price changes daily and at times can become extremely cheap.  We had raised our rates to P1200 daily now, depending on occupancy you might get a room as low at P700.  We are hoping that our regular customers will use this system, it is easy and convenient.

Good night for now and please remember to be kind to horses.

Posted by JimmyDHorse in Angeles City, RIP, 0 comments

SUBSCRIBER RESPONSE

Regarding my comments on the terrible shape of the Walking Street road which I feel is “walk at your own risk” this comment from Mike M follows:  

“Two solutions to the potholes on Fields.
1. Take a front end scooper of a skip loader and scrape the whole things. Go back to the original concrete road.
2. Just asphalt over the existing road. It wouldn’t look as nice with a black top. But it would function great.
Nothing will be done until their is a new mayor. Mayor does not want to admit they screwed up.
I was laughing when they were doing the work. Saw them pour like half to one inch over the new work to smooth it out. I said to myself that will not last with beer trucks.”
SPORTS:  Dare I say I hope that the Red Sox whip up on the Dodgers.  Sorry, I am one of those very old New Yorkers who has never forgiven them for leaving New York.  I was hoping that the Yankees would be in the World Series but it was not to be.  My father was raised in Lawrence, Mass. so I keep the Boston Red Sox as my second favorite team.
MOBILE MOB (CARAVAN) – What  a shame that it exists.  It is an invasion and entry to US must be denied.
ANGELES CITY POLITICS – Even though Foreigners have no say in the local Angeles City elections the results of the upcoming Mayor race between 3 aspirants affect us all.  It will be an interesting event.  I have a favorite but naturally not mention who.  I will say that one aspirant to the job has in the past stated that if he was Mayor he would close the bars on Fields Ave.  I am curious if he still feels that way, I hope not.  I think, eventually, the face of Fields Ave will change but the make-over will be gradual.
Another drama taking place now is the tug of war between past barangay Captain Tony Mamac and newly elected Barangay Capt Carmelo Lazatin.  This is one of those unique Philippine disputes that crop up all too often.  It is an interesting subject to follow and hopefully the dispute will be short in nature.  This is another position that affects expat businessmen in Balibago and of course, local citizens even more.  As I have written before, life in Angeles City is never boring.  I love this City, it has grown so much since my first arrival in 1977 and future growth is a given.  It is unbelievable, google Clark New City and read about what is planned for that area.  The growth is not limited to Clark and Angeles City areas such as Porac, Mexico , San Fernando and Tarlac are growing as well.  So many new subdivisions are eating up so much acreage and expat retirees and buying homes further out from the hub of Angeles City.  The further out you go the less expensive the homes are and the road system allows you easy access to shopping and schools.  I would love to have ten more years of life so I could witness the wonders to come in that short of time.  Oh my goodness, if you are considering retirement here, don’t wait, do it now, be part of the Pampanga experience.  Hey, if you do, drop by and visit this old horse.  Remember, be kind to horses.
Posted by JimmyDHorse in Angeles City, 0 comments

PHILIPPINE AIRLINES

Hi folks, I am hoping I am inserting the following information correctly.  I decided to try an share the items with you as the first one on PAL routes is interesting for tourists and those living here permanently.  The flights in and out of Clark continue to increase which is good but the only one I am interested in never happens:  Clark to Bangkok.  Sure you can go to Manila for that but it sure is inconvenient and hiring a car to get there can cost P2,500 to P3,000.Another way to get to and from the Airport is becoming very popular, catch the Genesis bus from Clark, the cost is only P350.  It is a beautiful bus with plenty of room for luggage and it is very comfortable.  Check it out.

MANILA – Philippine Airlines on Thursday said it was launching three new routes out of Clark airport at the end of the month, one of which flies to the booming tourist town of San Vicente, Palawan.

PAL Express president Bonifacio Sam said the company expects demand for the San Vicente route to pick up quickly, as it allows travelers to bypass Puerto Princesa en route to the resort town of El Nido.

“On December 18, we will increase the frequency of this flight to a daily flight,” said Sam.

PAL Express senior assistant vice president Harry Inoferio said the flight to San Vicente will be offered at a promotional rate of P819 one way. Flights begin on Oct. 28.

Another new route will be to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro which will be also launched on Oct. 28, and a third route will be to Cauayan, Isabela which starts Oct. 30.

Flights to these new destinations will start at P599 one-way.

Inoferio said PAL will also increase flight frequencies between Clark and Bacolod, Cagayan De Oro, Catarman, Cebu, Puerto Princesa, Basco, Busuanga, Cauayan, and Siargao.

Rabbi Ang, PAL Express assistant vice president, said flying out of Clark makes more sense for travelers on a budget.

“It’s actually better to fly out of Clark. Fares out of Clark are up to 40 percent lower than fares out of Manila,”

Sam said that with the new routes, PAL’s Clark operations will connect to 18 domestic and 1 international destination.

“That makes PAL the biggest operator of Clark,” Sam said.

Philippines is world’s second top globalization destination: index

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 20 2018 12:05 PM

Business process outsourcing is an economic lifeline in the Philippines with over 1.15 million Filipinos working in the industry. File photo

MANILA – The Philippines is the second top globalization destination in the world this year, according to global strategic advisory firm Tholons.

The 2018 Services Globalization Index saw the Philippines rising to the second spot of the “Top 50 Digital Nations” after placing third last year.

India continues to dominate the list while Brazil follows the Philippines at third place.

Other countries in the top 10 are the United States, Mexico, Canada, Russia, Vietnam, Colombia, and South Africa.

“Most of the services will get commoditized for the biggest leaders in services globalization like US, UK, Canada, Europe, India, Philippines, East Europe, and Latin America,” the index report stated.

Business process outsourcing is an economic lifeline in the Philippines with over 1.15 million Filipinos working in the industry.

The industry, along with remittances from overseas workers, remains one of the top 2 earners of foreign exchange for the Philippines.

SUPER CITIES

Six cities from the Philippines, meanwhile, made it to the “Top 100 Super Cities,” with Manila placing second to Bengaluru in India.

The Philippine capital, which ranked fourth in 2017, is followed by the Indian city of Mumbai, which ranked third.

The rest of the Philippine cities included in the list all saw an improvement in their respective rankings.

Close to the top 10 is Cebu City, which ranked 11th from 12th last year, while President Rodrigo Duterte’s hometown Davao City went 10 notches higher to the 75th spot from 85th last year.

Santa Rosa City in Laguna rose to the 87th spot from 100th last year while Bacolod City climbed to the 89th spot from 97th in 2017.

The Visayan city of Iloilo, meanwhile, is a newcomer to the list, landing at the 92nd spot.

The index evaluates and ranks countries and cities based on availability and quality of talent in the area, business catalyst or the level of industry-related activity and organizational support, cost of doing business, infrastructure, innovation, and risk and quality of life among others.

PLATINUM CLUB:  yesterday I attended the AC Businessmen’s Luncheon and had a very enjoyable afternoon.  It was the first time I had visited this Club on Perimeter road and found it to be a place that I hope to return to real soon.  I liked the management, staff and dancers and was reminded  at how much I miss being able to do some bar hopping.  I miss meeting the owners, managers and yes, the Mamasans as well.  The food was provided by the VFW, soup, ribs, mash potatoes and green beans.  Loved the ribs and ended up pleasantly full.

 

Posted by JimmyDHorse in Angeles City, Bars, Business, Travel, 0 comments

CACTUS JACKS

Cactus Jacks Restaurant – Finally I got around to eating at this establishment after waiting to do so for a few months.  It was worth the wait as I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  It opens at 1200 hrs, closes at 2400 hrs.  Location:  Savers Mart building on MacArthur Hi-Way, Balibago.  Parking in the back.  OK, got those details out of the way.  My wife’s family members treated her for her birthday and naturally I went along as I did not have to pay.  What a treat it was and for sure we will go there again, even if I have to pay.  Food, super and a large varied selection.  We chose the monster board which is good for multiple people to share.  It allows for two appetizers, two meats from the menu plus a bunch of other condiments, sauces, etc.  The cost as listed on the menu.  Separately I ordered the USDA Angus Rib Eye 400 grams with bone (P1,419) and boneless chicken wings.  I am going to try and get some pictures in here, if not, well, check out the place, you won’t be disappointed.  Oh here is a tip for the older guys they offer fresh oysters in the shell, 6 for P345 and 12 for P630; yeah, I know, a box of the blue pills are cheaper and I think the oyster thing is a myth anyway.
For songbirds Singer Queen Halili is on board to serenade you and also invite you to sing some songs of your choice.  Queen Halili is a relative of deceased popular past Mayor of Mabalacat, Fred Halili, a man I was honored to know personally.
The decor of Cactus Jacks if a mix of western and Mexican.  The menu reflects the decor and there is something for everyone.

Chilli’s at SM Clark – I ate lunch there again yesterday and again, I am telling one and all, if you have not visited the place yet, get your butts over there ASAP.  It is FANTASTIC!  If you can’t get there just get in touch with me and I will drive you there, it will only cost you a meal for me.  I know, I am too kind.

BAR NEWS:  Finnegans, previously Porky’s may be closing soon due to lack of business.  Ice Bar has 2 new owners who have made a few interior changes and doubled the female staff thereby experiencing a big increase in business.  It is very popular now, so much so, that I will have to try and get there on my own.  So far, word of mouth has reached me about its new popularity.

FIELDS AVE WALKING STREET –  Sure, “walking street” – Hey, Mr. Mayor, it is one of the worse streets to walk on in Angeles City!  I do not know how much was spent to try to fix it with some fancy stone work a couple years ago but someone must have stole the money.  It is terrible, full of holes, easy to trip and fall and it looks like hell.  I tried to visit there using my walker not too long ago and it was very frustrating and dangerous.  I made it as far as Kokomo’s and gave up.  I went around to Real Street and from there back to Fields Ave.  This street needs a complete make-over so it becomes a true “walking street”.  Right now I think it is an embarrassment to City Hall.

 SMOKING BAN – Hey, how is that working out?  It would be nice if it was enforced equally.  I have had reports of some bars allowing smoking while those who follow the law suffer loss of customers and money.  Anyone who encounters a bar allowing in-door smoking and is upset,  just send me the name of the establishment and I will not hesitate to post the info here.

PARKING FEES – Suddenly, the City Government is imposing parking fees in certain areas of the City.  I do not have the list of the areas but I do know of the location on Fields Ave from Phillie’s on down and also around Angeles University especially in the street behind the the school.  It would be nice to have these areas posted publicly.  Maybe this money will be used to repair the walking street (smile).

Please note that I did post something in “Political Rants”.  I have been restraining myself  on my political thoughts and social events in the US but I am starting to lose control.  There is far too much hatred in the US now and a note to late night talk show hosts, you all do not come close to the quality of Johnny Carson.

Posted by JimmyDHorse in Angeles City, Bars, Food, 0 comments

JOSIE-HI

HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN – For me and many other old loyal customers of the Thi-Hi.  Many of you know that this was my favorite bar to go to since the day it opened.  The owner, Deery, from Las Vegas, NV was a bit of a character that everyone enjoyed talking and teasing.  He ran a bar with no dancing girls but his waitresses were super friendly and wore sexy attire.  The music was never loud and featured sounds from the 50’s to the present.  Sadly Derry left us for the local cemetery and his long time manager, Josie kept the place going.  Regretfully, over the years through mis-management and lack of funds the place ended up close to bankruptcy.  Different people tried to help her as no one wanted to see the placed closed or taken over by Koreans.
A few months ago I reported that two friends of mine were looking into buying the place.  One, American, Bill, and the other Conrad, a true Hawaiian who visits here frequently.  Like me, they did not want to see the place close or change hands.  I am happy to say that only a couple of weeks ago, they made Josie an offer she could not refuse and two great guys who want Thi-Hi to return to the days of old.  I visited it last Wed and was so happy to learn that Bill is on board and is slowly making changes.  New ladies have been hired and for the first time in months, the staff are being paid on a regular basis.  Changes are gradually being implemented starting with cleaning up the place and initiating a no shorts policy. The staff will be back in skirts and dresses with friendliness a priority.  The new name is THI-HI 2 OHANA LOUNGE.   The “OHANA” in Hawaii means “family” and folks, that is the theme, to welcome back all the customers who for so long belonged to the Thi-Hi family.  As I wrote at the beginning, “happy days are here again”.  hope to see you there soon.

 

Posted by JimmyDHorse in Bars, 0 comments

Ian (Tommo) Thomas

Sadly, the legendary Tommo passed away at the Medical City Clark ICU unit this morning from a heart attack.  A few weeks ago Tommo fell from the top deck of his boat and suffered multiple breaks to his body.  He had been at Medical City ICU for a while and it was hoped that he would be able to recover in due time.  He put up a good fight because he was always strong and determined to enjoy life to its fullest.  The injuries were just too much for his heart   Whether you liked him or not, he was a fair man and could be a great friend but he could be difficult as well.  His great love was his boat and his last memory would have been that last fateful day on that boat.  He will be missed by many.  His body now lies at Olongapo Memorial Chapel.

JOSIE-HI – This favorite bar of mine has been sold and will soon be under new management.  I do not know the details but I am glad that the sale has gone through as, financially, it was close to having to close due to lack of funds.  Many customers, including myself, are happy to see it given new life.  I think old Deery is smiling from his resting place in the Clark cemetery.

All for now –  I want to thank the many new subscribers to this blog.  Many of you were with me as Harry the Horse and I always enjoyed hearing from you and loved it when you visited me at “The Stable”.  I am still available to greet you and if not here, then you might find me at Envy Sports Bistro and Suites just before the walking street entrance.  I want to thank Ray, a visitor from Germany who was a long time reader of my old column and now the new one.  I had not seen him for a few years and it was fun to catch up with his adventures.

Hey, my son Jason is now stationed at Schofield Barracks, Oahu, Hawaii.  He will be 20 years old on 31 Oct and Mrs Horse will fly there to celebrate with “her baby”.  What is it with Moms, , you could be 30 years old, married and still be her “baby”.  I will not go with her, too difficult for me to get around.  Next year I will go to Las Vegas for a couple of weeks for medical check-ups and then on to Hawaii to celebrate his 21st with him.  I will look forward to that.

Remember, be kind to horses.

Posted by JimmyDHorse in Bars, RIP, 3 comments

SPACE-A TRAVEL OUT OF CLARK

The Philippine Air Force high command for some reason is pissing on US military retirees seeking Space-A travel out of Clark.  I have refrained from writing about this when it first started but now, after their latest directive making it nearly impossible to use Space-A. I figured it is best to pass on the latest policy. My advice for anyone coming to Angeles City with hope of traveling out of here via Space-A -FORGET ABOUT IT!

Good Afternoon,. Resending the schedule in hopes that you are able to open the attachment. The DoD has implemented strict measures on sending attachments outside DoD Channels. Therefore, I may have to use alternate means to get the future schedules properly distributed.

On another note, JUSMAG/U.S. Embassy just advised us this morning that effective immediately the Philippine Air Force has implemented another change to the base access policy. Due to an overwhelming number of Space-A passengers submitting requests for base access. They are requiring JUSMAG/U.S. Embassy endorsement letters to accompany all requests. JUSMAG/U.S. Embassy cannot currently support the new policy and therefore has requested to cease all Space-A base access requests until further notice. Passengers who have already submitted and received an approval are good to go. However, No new requests are permitted until a resolution can be done. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Posted by JimmyDHorse in Angeles City, Clark, Travel, 0 comments