The Barrio Bar Scene

I’ll admit it, It’s been over ten years since I’ve ran those streets in the Barrio, bar hopping and consuming vast amounts of bottled consumables. The reason is quite simple, my wife doesn’t like it. Mayang would come with me, and let me loose with the guys, a hooping and a hollering and generally making an ass of myself. I found that even I tired of that, and just started to drift away from that phase of my life. I really don’t miss it.While she doesn’t drink, she was there to insure I get home safe and sound, and not on the arm of another woman. Not that I’d ever do such a thing, as my single days are long passed, and I am now the picture of domestic tranquility.

I also used to go to the American Legion years ago, but I found I was always the youngest guy there, but the conversation never varied and as a matter of fact you could stay away for a couple of weeks and walk back in and pick up right where you left off, and none were the wiser. Last week, I stopped in while in town, one month after my 65th birthday and damn, if I wasn’t still, one of the youngest guys there. Out in San Miguel there is The Fleet Reserve Aspiration, but it’s an hour drive, and unless you are meeting someone there it’s not worth the long drive, as many places closer have beer that’s just as cold. But I do love the name of that town, “San Miguel.”

Barrio friends make life fun
Barrio friends make life fun

Once or twice a month, we’ll (Mayang and friends) go down to the Barrio and have lunch, as there a few watering holes that have some great food. Sit-‘N-Bull’s comes to mind as I love their Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes, or sometimes the Fish “N Chips with real British Malt Vinegar now that is a taste sensation, and yes I dunk the chips into the Vinegar too using no Ketchup. A few of the new resorts have great food also, albeit the price is a little higher than other places, but still worth a visit.

Mayang likes Sit-‘N-Bull because they also serve all her favorite foods, we go with friends and the ladies can catch up on things very important to them, while us manly men can have a few cocktails or SMB’s after we eat and spin yarns of yore. The place is named “Sit-‘N-Bull’s’ after all.

Enjoying the Barrio Bar
Enjoying the Barrio Bar

The house and the surrounding area is my main party spot now, my friend Don, lives down the street a couple of houses away, and Raul who is also retired US Navy and a former Merchant Seaman, and also sailed with Military Sealift Command and he lives up the hill from us. Friends will come by for a visit, and the Man Cave will be used for its intended purpose, and not as a staging area for laundry. After the rainy season we receive a couple of friends in country, Carlos from Northern California and his wife, and Don plus his lady (another Don) who is a retired Navy Captain and hails from San Diego California. They’ll both be here for a few months and we like to get together on the weekends and Bar-B-Que and such, also a few SMB’s and Boat Drinks ((Any drink made with Rum) My friend Tommy will be back from sea by then, and the first of the year then my friend Loren and his lady will be in from Colorado for a few months. That is a fun visit.

With all that, even I understand why my street running days are over, Mayang is most pleased with my life style change, and it reminds me of my spinster Aunt Helen who was the picture of evil incarnate, she would drop by our house in the Dorchester Section of Boston, and we kids would be in the living room watching Twilight Zone and my folks would be in the Dining room with friends and neighbors playing penny ante poker, and enjoying cocktails. Helen asked my mother, why that didn’t upset her, to see her husband drinking and gambling. My mother said to her; “Helen it’s Friday night and its payday, Where is my husband, in the streets spending our money, or is he sitting there having a good time after a hard week at work, and I know exactly where he is. Go home Helen!”

I guess the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree, I’m becoming just like my Dad every day, and that I know is a good thing!

Post Author: Paul Thompson (310 Posts)

Paul Thompson; has resided in the Philippines since 1993, living close to Subic Bay. I’m married to a wonderful girl named Maria (AKA Mayang).Who is from Gordon Heights in Olongapo where she grew up with her Mom & Dad and seven siblings Our two daughters are both grown up and have left the nest, the eldest married to a wonderful guy named Chris, and they have blessed us with our granddaughter Heather Colleen Our youngest daughter and her husband Cecil have blessed us with a grandson named. Jayden Logan. I’m a retired U.S. NAVY Senior Chief after 22 years of active duty. After retirement from the Navy I lived for 7 years in Puerto Rico as a Night Club owner. Then Hurricane Hugo told me to find a new line of work, I was hired by Military Sealift Command and went back to sea in Asia as a Merchant Seaman for 10 years. After 30 plus years at sea I buried my anchor on a mountain in the Philippines and am now residing in Dinalupihan (or DinBat for short), Roosevelt, Bataan where we built our home. And last but not least, anything I writes will be pure "Tongue in Cheek "If anybody is offended, I'll lose no sleep over it, but here's a quick Mea Culpa in advance!

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  1. Mike J says

    Enjoyed your article Paul, I always enjoyed my port visits to Subic and as I got older spend more time in the Barrio. I am also retired USN, a 30 yr. MCPO and married to a filipina. I’ve also been considering going to work for MSC one of these days, I sometimes miss the call of the sea.
    Take care,

    • Paul Thompson says

      Hello Shipmate, the Barrio has changed a bit since the Navy left but it’s still fun. I was down there Thursday with 3 buddies and we had a great day. (Yes my wife was with me!)

  2. Nea in RI says

    Nice article Paul. It has been some years since I was a “Gutter Rat” also. I think that’s the natural progression of life, BUT it sure is nice to sit around and talk about the old gutter rat days. I just have to be careful what company I am in when I talk as the Wife is NOT impressed with the stories at all!!

    • Papa Duck says

      Brings back memories of being at Camp Lejeune and going out to Court Street in Jville in the late 70’s to early 80’s. It’s something i really don’t miss. Have a nice day.

      • Neal inRI says

        Court St, now that brings back some memories. My hangout was the Driftwood Lounge right on Lejeune Blvd as it was cheaper to get a cab ride back on base after a PayDay binge. My PCS Orders are for Oct 31 wheels down in Davao.

      • Neal inRI says

        When our Gunny would let us catch a hop from OKI to Subic he would say he was letting the “Gutter Rats” out for a weekend in the Po, I thought it was a common term. I am sure the USN has some slang for a Sailor spending a 96hr pass drunk in the gutters of the Po.

        • Paul Thompson says

          Gutter Rat is good for me, if that’s what the Gunny called it, that’s what it is! In the new kinder gentler Navy I believe running the alley’s is now called Social Networking.

  3. RandyL says

    Hey Paul, It’s good to know that someone is still holding up barrio traditions, spreading, at least a little, pesonality around. Great habits die hard and like you, I agree that the beer at home is just as cold (or colder). And, with the only woman that really matters always by my side, I just add a pinch of civility to my good behavior and, well, it sure seems to take me much farther these days….if the timing is right of course! 😉

    • Paul Thompson says

      The old crew is fading away, but there are new people taking over and it’s still a fun day out. But the at home with friends is still what I like best.

      • RandyL says

        Oh how I well remember some of those Barrio runs. I would ride my 15 speed bike from my apartment in Olongapo out to the Barrio where it would stay parked while I romped for 2 or 3 days. I would sure enough eventually find myself back in the Barrio via Subic City and, or on occasion, Gaines Beach. From there I would hump (mostly crawl) all the way back to Po-town. Then I would recover and return days later to pick up my bicycle. I could always remember where I left it because it was always at the very first watering hole in the Barrio…Whiskey River…where most of my dead brain cells are also located! 😉

        • Paul Thompson says

          Were the Jeepney’s not running? I learned never to take cameras bikes boom boxes and other stuff but cash on liberty with me, as I knew they would become something I used to have. But I have never lost a Zippo!

          • RandyL says

            There were Jeepney’s everywhere. That’s how I would get back to town. I just rode my bicycle out there for fun and exercise. The kano bar owners at Whiskey River put my bike up for me. I did lose a good Zippo once, right in front of my eyes…bitch! 😯

            • Paul Thompson says

              I remember you told me that Zippo story at Texas Joes! When I was stationed in Charlestown SC I used to leave my 850 Norton in the back room of one bar out in Goose Creek. I’d pick it up the next day.

              • RandyL says

                On days when I wasn’t feeling particularly energetic, I would ride my Honda Magna 750 out there. That bike never came home with me! I Always had to go back for it….which on occasion, never came back with me that day either! 😉

              • Paul Thompson says

                My buddy Charlie and I years ago decided to hire two Trikes and race from the PO to the Little Wheel Bar in the Barrio. I offered 200 pesos (23 to the $) if my driver won. It was a wild ride on two wheels up by the graveyard when I told the driver I’d pay 300 pesos if Charlie won. I got there alive.

  4. AussieLee says

    Hi Paul,
    The beer is always colder at home. I have a fridge thermometer in mine so it stays close to zero. None of this ice in the beer caper I saw over there. You just need to find a way to entice scantily clad, young, single women into your den. When you achieve that I will emmigrate ASAP!

      • RandyL says

        Paul, for some reason it seems that AussieLee doesn’t understand the ease of enticement in the Philippines and if he’s waiting on you to show him, well…he’ll probably never make the decision to emmigrate! 😉

        • Mark G. says

          Aussie Lee doesn’t realize just how easy it is to catch those Hoochi Mamas if you’re a single white guy in the Philippines. Might catch something else too but there are shots for that. Me, I’ll stick with the wife, thank you very much.

        • Paul Thompson says

          If he’s waiting for me he’ll be waiting a very long time, I have no problem with supervised liberty.

  5. Don says

    Seems to be more US naval ships visiting Subic these days. Was a sub out there a few weeks back, Sure its not like the old days, but for the bars and resto, it helps to get in some extra pesos.

    • Paul Thompson says

      There has also been a lot of MSC ship’s that I used to ride coming in all the time now. A lot of the Navy ships won’t let the military off the base.

            • Paul Thompson says

              The six gates onto Subic Free Port are manned 24/7, the Free Port guards really don’t care if it’s a Navy guy walking out, only the Navy cares. They expect the sailors to obey the rules. But sometimes they don’t. I was tied to the pier at the Navy Base in Bahrain. The Navy told us Merchant Seamen that we could not leave the base. I walked through the gate into town and at a hotel bar ran into my ship’s Master and First Mate, who asked me what I was doing off the base? I smiled and said having beer just like you guys.

              • RandyL says

                Last trip to Subic (when we met you guys), there were no guards at either the main gate or the Kalakalan gate. Maybe because there was nothing to guard that day! 😉

              • Paul Thompson says

                Oh they were there but they just wave the driver through, so if your not driving you might not see them, but the Free Port is guarded 24/7 because of all the wealth on the base.

              • Ricardo Sumilang says

                You couldn’t see the gate guard that waved the driver through because he was probably half-reclining at his guard post behind some tall cogon grass) catching some ZZZZZs LOL Also, with all that wealth inside the “base”, shouldn’t the gate guard stop and inspect all outgoing vehicles though? Back when my Marine brother was in charge of the MP detachment guarding the gates at the base (late 60s), a Pinoy worker going off duty was stopped at the gate because the guy was walking funny. Turned out he had the barrel of an M16 strapped to his leg inside his pants.

              • Paul Thompson says

                They spot check some cars and all trucks. All kidding aside the police and guards on the Free Port are quite professional in the performance of their duties. If stopped for tickets do not dare try and bribe them, take the ticket and pay the fine. The swells from Manila learn this lesson every week. Plus all traffic rules are enforced and all stop signs work.

  6. Papa Duck says

    It’s nice to get out and enjoy a nice meal and have a few beers with friends. But for parties home is the best place. Keeps you out of hot water and its closer to your bed.
    Won’t be long for the trip. Another month and a half. Looking forward to drinking some cold ones and enjoying the “Christmas Season” with good company. Take care

    • Paul Thompson says

      Papa Duck;
      There is a time for both going out and staying home. When we go out my wife has nothing to do but order her food and enjoy her meal, at home she is worried about her guests and their food. If it’s a couple of Kano’s sitting in my man cave swilling beer, she’s not involved, she can stay inside and relax.

  7. rovineye says

    My wife loves my plan of opening my own sari-sari store in and she was telling her friends about it yesterday. I will only sell beer, SMB and Red Horse, cold, for 200p per bottle. “No one will pay that” they cried. She said true, but that way I will always have cold beer on hand and be my own best customer.

    I will have 2 plaques on the wall,; Employee of the month (always me) and customer appreciation/customer of the month (always me). I can’t wait to get that 13th month payday! WOOHOO!!

  8. Frank Fealey says

    Agree 100% about sit n bull one of the best if not the best place you have Iintroduced me to. Really good nosh and a good atmosphere.
    Hope to see you and Mayang by year end still stupid still travelling but go at my
    own pace now.
    Trying to get Angie and the boys to the Phil end of November for a short while.
    Should get the results later today

    • Paul Thompson says

      Find out where the British hang around in Tagum City and you’ll find Malt Vinegar. But lucky for you, here in the Philippines up in Ilocos Norte the local vinegar tastes so close that you’ll never know the difference. A British friend taught me that.

  9. B.Michels says

    Your story brought back memories of the good old salior days, but I to have out grown those party shoes. Now a days just hanging around good friends and family and telling sea stroies are the most fun. Of course Ill never say no to a good game of spades.
    Been busy the last 2 months getting ready for our vacation and of course Murphy is trying his best to through a wrench into things. But the boilers are still lite and will shift colors on Oct 8 for the PI. Will be staying at the Arizona and will shoot you an e-mail so we can get together.

    • Papa Duck says

      Won’t be long for the big trip. Let me know what your plans are and when you are getting together with Paul. I will be coming on the 19th. Bruce are you still going to Cavite? I will be staying in Kawit, Cavite. Take care.

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