Going through the old files I see there’s lots more stuff about Manila. So at risk of boring you here’s some more. There are other things happening you know. Like what? Gay marriage, World War 3, Greek debt. No? OK then.
A lot of the Ermita bar owners had cars with chauffeurs and dwarves to open the door and stuff. I didn’t bother with any of that. Just good honest beer and pussy and loud music that was me. Give the punters what they want.
It wasn’t that I was cheap. I just didn’t like flashing it around. Never have. Oh I like having a few bob in my pocket same as the next bloke but bugger the gold chains and the chauffeur driven limos. Just gives the girls the wrong idea.
It’s all amazingly fresh in my mind. For instance I knew all the bars by heart along Del Pilar before Mayor Lim had the doors boarded up. I can visualize them very clearly and I can still rattle them off.
Starting at UN Avenue let’s stroll down to Pedro Gil…St. Moritz, Black Out, Yellow Brick Road, Firehouse II, Lovebirds, Pitstop II, Black Stallion, Roller Bar, Pussycat, Pips, Bee Club, Pitstop I, Shampoo, Raymond’s Bar and Disco, Aussie Bar/Riviera, Bloomers, Australian Club, Cherries, New Bangkok, Thriller I, Roadhouse, Den Rose, Superstar, Thriller II, Brown Sugar, Bubbles, Butterfly, Rols, Polynesian Paradise, Blue Hawaii, Rosie’s Diner, Duke’s International, Hollywood, Little Caesars, 88 Olympic, Las Vegas, Chaplins.
I’ve probably missed a few but nobody’s perfect. Some cheap hotels around too if you needed a room for a few hours. Tower was only 200 pesos, hot and cold running rats in every room. Congress was even cheaper and great for short time if you didn't mind sharing the bathroom with a bunch of strangers.
I remember the layout of the place no problem but when it comes to chronology I’m fucked. Late eighties that’s all I know for sure but the order of events gets muddled.
I do recall going to see Cory Aquino speak in Rizal Park. Come to think of it I’ve still got a couple of ‘People Power’ T shirts somewhere. Collector’s items they’d be. Any offers? Cory did a good job. Everybody was very excited and Ferdinand must have known his days were numbered. There was the usual coups and counter-coups but Ramos was the real power…everybody knew it…and he gave Ferdinand and Imelda the nudge.
And another time I got stuck in the Camelot Hotel for a week because the corridors were full of blokes firing machine guns and throwing hand grenades. Gringo Honasan and his mates were taking over the Channel 4 TV station. Telly still worked OK though. Very strange watching yourself get shot at from different angles. Most of the heavy fighting was out at Camp Aguinaldo on EDSA but I’ll never forget looking out the window and seeing a helicopter firing rockets at someone on the roof.
During a lull I went to the room next door to raid the mini-bar and found a couple of journos under the bed. “Welcome to the Philippines.” I said. “Is it always like this?” one bloke asked. “Only if they’ve been eating baalut.” I quipped. “Looks exciting.” said one of the journos nodding at a bloke on TV draped with a python. “That’s our Gringo,” I said, “bit of a lady’s man.” Next thing a flight of Chance-Vought Corsairs flies past on its way to bomb the barrios round Camp Aguinaldo. “Let’s go!” say the journos, grabbing their gear, and out they rush. Four of them. Only 3 came back.
RIP Chris Squire.