Jake's Canteen Archive

"Olongapo PI"

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Posted by James Roland Whiteeagle Cypert
on Thursday, November 20, 2008, at 4:23 p.m., from

Ahoy "USS Valley Forge" Shipmates!

I am currently on a "Westpac Cruise" in my mind and began remembering a few things I thought might bring back some memories for some of you out there in Cyberspace!

I was thinking about "Subic Bay Naval Base" in the Phillipines (the PI) and the City of Olongapo in the Province of Zambales. Any of you sailors or marines remember this place?

When I was there in 1965 and 1966 it was like a "Wild West" frontier town. There were row-on-row of nightclubs and bars, and street peddlers everywhere, selling everything from Peach Brandy to Monkey Meat on a Stick. I bought some beautiful Monkey Pod wood carvings of two Phillipine aborigines also known as "Negritos" and a Water Buffalo I named Rufus. The night I bought him I carried him into every bar I went in and introduced him to everyone as my best friend.

There was this bridge which crossed a river in the middle of Olongapo. This river ran adjacent to many bars, restaurants, hotels and shanty type buildings. The sewer pipes ran out of these buildings into the river and spewed raw sewage (mostly human waste) into this river. The local children would swim in this river. I couldn't believe this.

There were also these taxicabs the locals called Jeepney's, and they were multi-colored and fast. We always had to watch out for other passengers who were pickpockets and locals who wanted to roll us.

I remember the Main Gate and the marine guards who were always there to check to see if someone had bought an illegal "butterfly" knife or was out of uniform and too drunk to pass through the Subic Bay Naval Station and on to their respective ships.

Sometimes sailors and marines would grab a Jeepney back to the Main Gate or take a Cattle Car which was dangerous because inevitably a fight would break out between sailors or marines. I always avoided the Cattle Car and either took a Jeepney or walked back.

The Enlisted Man's Club always had good chow. There was this nightclub called the "Hong Kong Bar" where I used to go with other members of the crew and drink. We of course drank San Miguel and it was strong stuff. The Hong Kong had a great band that sounded exactly like the Beatles and could play the Stones. It was great. One night they even let me jam with them on House of the Rising Sun.

Well I hope this message finds all well and ship shape. Bye for now!


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