Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, September 25, 2006

'Hanggang Subic pier'

Mercado: 'Hanggang pier'
By Ram Mercado
First Person - SunStar

THERE was a time when the City of Olongapo and Angeles City were called "sin cities".

Media practitioners went as far as labeling the two communities as Sodom and Gomorrah.

The mantra, repeated quite too often, became self-fulfilling when the Pinatubo eruption of 1991 reduced the two cities nearly into a wasteland.

Most folks believed it was fitting punishment for the sin cities where prostitution was the flagship industry. Serving as the rest-and-recreation (R and R) haven of American servicemen on furlough, the two cities had gained international ill repute for their sex trade.

As long as the dollars came in, we did not mind what kind of enterprise brought the bucks to fuel the hospitality industry.

The sailors loved our women whom they described as a "little brown f___g machines." That's your version of a female helicopter.

Such had been, and still is, the notoriety of the two cities. First, prostitution was referred to as recreation for the US soldiers; then as a hospitality industry. It goes by the name tourism today.

Established tradition, reputation, and history give life to a place.
Baclaran is known for the devotee's destination to the Mother of Perpetual Help. Beach lovers go to Boracay. Mendiola Street is for protest-demonstrations.
Such is the setting of the celebrated rape case in Subic. The accused is a US Marine corporal, along with three colleagues. The incident is a retelling of sailors on leave, with four young soldiers out for fun in the former US naval base.

The complainant "Nicole" could have been any Filipino girl in the postwar era, prototype of the American boy-loving native who was left "hanggang pier" in 1945.

She was in fact left by the portside, dropped off or left by drinking companions at the Subic Bay's Neptune Club. It is the truth, too, that countless local girls, like Nicole, went with American sailors for a "gudtaym," and consensual sex mostly; the difference is Nicole was raped according to her.

Subic has become notorious for its sex workers. Drunken sailors out on a binge would not distinguish between a hooker and Mother Teresa if they meet one.

Like most Filipino girls her age, with an early exposure to American soldiers in her native Zamboanga, it was our girls' secret aspiration to befriend and most possibly and definitely to find a marriage material among the US personnel.

This is a segment of the American dream - and the US serviceman provides the opportunity, through marriage, to achieve a better life for our Filipino-woman. But the era of the little brown sex machine is over.

Thus when Nicole was invited by an American soldier-friend to visit Subic, the girl followed the Pied Piper, entranced by the invitation. Who knows, she might meet her future lover boy in that location?

Whatever the motive, if it was only for clean fun or for the aspiration to meet the right boy, she went there and joined the drinking.

The Marine corporal, for his part, saw a target of opportunity. There she was gulping mixed drinks, a fun girl from the South in a kinky male bar. Any male, sailor or not, cannot escape the sexual global warming inside Subic, an ecosystem of male hormonal overdrive that one finds at Clark, too.

Such location will always be a disaster area for the innocent, and a rich hunting ground, too, for the willing. Young men on a good time want to go "all-out". Any bar, in Clark or Subic, is always the staging area of a one-night stand. Pick-up girls mostly.

That Nicole was drunk was her undoing. And the corporal, being a disciplined US Marine, did not forget to use his condom, indicating premeditated intent, or anticipating the inevitable on the fateful night in Subic, consummating as he did, what all men would want to do during a night of carousing when some Filipino girls pursue the American dream, only to land, as in Nicole's case in the roadside curb by the Subic port.

Hanggang pier lamang.

Is rape possible at the backseat of a moving van? Tell it to the Marines.


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