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No Jet Lag Coming To the Philippines

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USNS Tippicanoe TAO 199 Subic Fuel Pier

USNS Tippicanoe TAO 199 Subic Fuel Pier

There is another way to get here aside from flying, as a matter of fact, my first seven visits to the RP in the early 1970’s was by sea.

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Yes, it takes a bit longer, but great meals and a good night sleep every night, and if there was a layover it lasted for a few days in Thailand, Hong Kong or on the Island of Borneo. Next, there was the anticipation of the first buoy as you entered Manila Harbor then turned to port and passed Grande Island as you steamed the channel into Subic Bay. And no traffic filled trips lasting hours getting anywhere from the Manila Airport.

Cheap SMB

Cheap SMB

Disneyland for the big kids and we were all tall enough to ride the rides. The price of beer fluctuated from as low as .65 Centavos at a Sari-Sari to a few pesos in a bar. (8p to 1$ my first trip) You picked a Jeepney by the music and how many stainless steel horses were on the hood. They were things of beauty then, each and everyone not so much anymore.

A few years passed, I was promoted and then sailing in Europe again (My first time was in the 1960’s), don’t get me wrong, the Mediterranean Sea was fun, and then there was Great Briton, Norway Denmark Holland, and Kiel Germany. There were no EUROs and it was cheap there and fun figuring out the money.

SFO to Manila on PAL

SFO to Manila on PAL

Diego Garcia BIOT

Diego Garcia BIOT

Then the Navy sent me to Diego Garcia (British Indian Ocean Territory) while there for few months a Master Chief and a fellow Senior Chief decided a speed run to Angeles City would be a worthwhile endeavor. But the Navy knew nothing of the trip (But the Royal Navy was in on the plot with the US Air Force) we flew in secret on a US AF C5-A to Clark Field in the Philippines. We bypassed customs (Both Ways) and had a wonderful four days off the Rock visiting the Philippines. BYW that was my first airplane ride, to the Archipelagos and very comfortable as we were the only passengers and they have crew rest bunks to sleep the whole trip in comfort. Damn it is a big plane and was my first time on one. When the first C^-A landed in Charleston SC the press was on board along with a Senator L. M. Rivers the friend of the US Military in Washington, when two tires blew and without a hitch, the monster landed safely. The press (Fake News) looking for a story shouted at Senator Rivers; “Did you see that?” He smiled and said; “That’s why there are so many tires on the landing gear. Take the time to count them.”

Next San Diego, then Puerto Rico, where my Navy time ended with me retiring, with five years owning two beach bars in Puerto Rico, a hurricane named Hugo asked me to look for a new line of employment. So I was off to Treasure Island Florida where I worked a couple of years and then signed on as a merchant seaman, sailing in the Pacific with our Office in San Francisco (Long before it started smelling)

Tmor Island

Tmor Island

I sailed my first ship to Guam, the Philippines and then Australia where we worked with the Australian Navy out of Darwin back and forth to the (East Timor) islands. I was paid off the ship and they flew me from Alice Springs Australia to San Francisco. Now tell me about that long flight from the states to Manila!

In 1993 I met my wife and 1994 moved here full time. (I did fly out and back every six months to work on ships somewhere in Asia. But my employer paid all my airfares and flew me on business class on flights of over 14 hours.

Work for six months then two to three months vacation and do it again. Oh, also many of the ship’s I worked on also made stops in the Philippines pretty often. Throw me into that Briar Patch.

We were in Hong Kong for a few days when we were told we had a large piece of equipment that needed to be delivered to the US Embassy in Manila, Oh the humanity of it all. There we were tied at pier five behind the Manila Hotel for six damn days. It took five hours to offload the cargo. I called my wife and asked her to meet the ship in Manila and we got a room at the Manila Hotel, the MacAuthor Suite was not available so we were forced to stay in a lesser room..

Okay so now I was flying in and out of Manila with the occasional trip by sea. Again from Guam to here is about a thousand miles or five days at sea, sailing on where you work, collect overtime, go to your stateroom to read, watch movies and sleep. No jet lag when you hit the pier at Subic Bay. And see your wife and your car waiting for you.

In 2000 I retired again, this time from the merchant marines, and have left the Philippines once to fly to Guam to cash in $35,000.00 worth of E-Bonds that were gathering dust in a safe at our house. And can only be cashed in a US Bank that has US federal funds deposited (Like the bank of Hawaii in Guam)

Since then I’ve had no reason to leave the RP, and never will. Bob Martin and I have figured out we like it here, me up North, and him down South. It’s been a great life and just gets better!  I’ve been from 1993 to 2018, so far so good. (LOL)

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Paul Thompson

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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Mike MATTHEWSChaz KiserJohn ReyesJoséRob Ashley Recent comment authors
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Richard Smith
Guest

What are those people doing sitting on top of the plane?

Paul Thompson
Guest
Paul Thompson

Richard,
Heck if I know!

Chaz Kiser
Guest

What an interesting life you have had. You guys can have the north and south. I love the Vasayan region. Its much like my hillbilly home near the Appalachians but much better.

Paul Thompson
Guest
Paul Thompson

Chaz;
With over 7,000 islands we get to pick the one that suits us, or with some where their wife told them they were going to live. (LOL) My wife and her family are from Olongapo, so guess where I live?.

Mike MATTHEWS
Guest

Enjoyed reading your postings po. Do you still file income taxes in the USA?

Chaz Kiser
Guest

True but I like to think I had a part in it. I prefer it more than the areas around me. I notice my wife always says we are from Dumaguete but I proudly announce we are from Bayawan. Not Bayawan City. That’s its more recent name. For the longest time it had the title biggest non-city in Philippines. I kind of liked that.

Mark Shumate
Guest

First class

Paul Thompson
Guest
Paul Thompson

Mark;
Business class was the best the company would do, but the ship’s were great accommodations large staterooms with private head.,and 4 full meals a day..But now being home is much better!

Alex Mooney
Member

You’ve staked your claim in the North and Bob in the south! Great article Paul. We have a home in central RP where I staked my claim. What an awesome trip, stealing a plane and flying to where the parties were going 😉 I thought that was pretty awesome.

Chaz Kiser
Guest

I guess I’m central too. Where are you Alex?

Alex Mooney
Member

Masbate Chaz. But I’m in the US in the mean time having the little ones go to school here so planning to bounce back and forth to our house in Masbate.

Paul Thompson
Guest
Paul Thompson

Alex;
Whoa Nelly…we never stole the plane, the US Air Force just gave us an under the table free ride. (LOL) We were damn lucky we were not caught by the powers to be. (Statute of limitations is long over)

Rob Ashley
Guest
Rob Ashley

Always enjoy your stories Paul. This one is great. Staying at the Manila Hotel for a bunch of nights is really tough duty. I love that place and went there when my sister and her retired Navy Commander husband visited us in March on a cruise from Hong Kong. -Rob

Paul Thompson
Guest
Paul Thompson

Rob;
The tour of Dugout Doug Macarthur’s penthouse suite was really nice, needless to say my wife was impressed. The US Embassy got our crew discount rates on our stay.
BTW A Navy Commander paying to take a cruise cracked me up. A busman’s holiday for sure!. I tried it once in Florida and found hundreds of safety violations onboard and would never do it again. The topside pool bar was nice! (LOL).

Rob Ashley
Guest
Rob Ashley

Paul: He and my “older” sister are 81 and they are about at their last cruise stage.

Paul Thompson
Guest
Paul Thompson

Rob;
I was younger when I took a lady on a cruise, I think I just missed ships. A short time after I went back to work as a seaman.. I wonder………………………………….(LOL)

John Reyes
Guest
John Reyes

The tinapa (smoked fish) served at breakfast at the Manila Hotel’s Cafe Ylang-ylang made me sick 3 hours after eating it on the very first day of our stay there. I vomited everything I had for breakfast that morning, after which I felt a lot better. Needless to say, I stayed away from the tinapa at breakfast for the next 11 days of our stay before going on to Baguio. The ambience and elegance of the extensively renovated Manila Hotel and friendliness of the staff, however, more than compensated for this isolated tinapa experience, and has not diminished my overall… Read more »

Paul Thompson
Guest
Paul Thompson

John;
If the embassy had not worked the deal for our crew, it would have been a bit more to stay there. But merchant seaman can afford it, it’s just sometimes we don’t want to. But my wife loved it and told all her friends about it back in Zambales.

José
Guest
José

Greetings, Mr. Paul T. The ” great uncle” was very generous even for this Latino… expenses paid to Eastern Europe, Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Middle East and Southeast Asia – including double tours in Mindanao…all as a civilian for DOD. Let’s not even include the education that the ” uncle” has given me. I am glad you are enjoying life and the fruits of the sweat that you gave Uncle Sam. Saludos!

Paul Thompson
Guest
Paul Thompson

Jose;
The Eagle sores with generosity and bountiful gifts. I always wanted to know what was over that next hill, or in that next port and Sam sent me to take a look and report back. (LOL)

John Reyes
Guest
John Reyes

What a way to learn geography while staying in a hotel that floats on water!

Paul Thompson
Guest
Paul Thompson

John:
I have two sons that are career Army, and our joke id, my boys carry their hotel on their back, their daddy sails on his hotel, and never eats MRE’s. (LOL) But they do love the Army.

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