Sunday, November 22, 2009

'Hanggang Pier Ka Lang!'

This advertisement circa 1908 reminds us of two things: (a) the 'hanggang pier ka lang' pejorative addressed to a woman companion--also sneered at as kalapating mababa ang lipad--of a US navyman posted to the bases here before Pinatubo, and (b) the little barrio of Calapandayan in Subic where navymen, some in civies or some still in their uniform hie off any time at any day of the week for mundane pleasures.

Lucky were the kept women who got married to their navy guys, and who were eventually shipped or flown to their husband's supposed land of milk and honey. We're not sure though if this luck brushed on such women before the second world war as mixed marriages were taboo in America at that time.

Certainly, most affairs did end up at the departure area of Sangley Point or Subic Bay, and the women left behind with living souvenirs - Fil-Ams of either Caucasian or Afro-American skin tones. It's unfortunate that some of these offsprings faced blank walls in their search for their fathers.

We can perhaps trace the beginnings of the entertainment industry around the US bases in Subic, Cavite, Angeles, etc. to the establishments like the Caloocan Road House and the Maypajo Road House (see above ad), and if we believe what were advertised, the American sailors of 1908 on furlough went there for food, drinks and dancing only!

These houses were open even on Sundays. The 'no beans' could have been some come-on, which we think means they didn't serve pork and beans, the usual mess fare and probably the most abundant food supply in the commissary that came all the way from the mainland.

We know how these road houses metamorphosed, and how the little brown sisters transformed into a-go-go dancers during the post-WW2 and pre-Pinatubo period. For Zambales folks like us, Calapandayan had its glory days when ships sailed to Subic during the Vietnam War; there were plenty of Miss Saigons left behind too.

We wonder how many dancing 'little brown sisters' of the Maypajo Road House ended up kept women of American sailors. Did they bring forth the first batch of the Fil-American mestizo-cy?

Come to think of it, when the US Navy started recruiting Filipinos, and when their ships called on other naval facilities around the world, did/do these Pinoy marinos also keep women companions hanggang pier lang when they depart(ed)?

Note: The advertisement is from the Navy Guide to Manila and Cavite for the battle ship fleet (1908) in the Southeast Asia Visions digital library collection of Cornell University.

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