If you live near Lakenheath, or any other US base, you'll be interested in Olongapo.
WHERE: Olongapo City, in the Subic Bay area, is 127 kilometers North of Manila, in the Philippines. Think of a port city surrounded by mountains.
WHO WILL LIKE IT: adventurous travellers. The Philippines is not particularly comfortable these days: too many American soldiers, too much crime, too big a gap between rich and poor.
POPULATION: around 400,000. Languages: Filipino and English. The people are beautiful, relaxed and friendly.
This was once a sleepy fishing village. But then the Americans arrived. There is a high crime rate in many parts of the city.
FAME: Olongapo is famous because of the Subic Bay Freeport, because of diving to explore wrecks, and because of the former US naval base.
CLIMATE: Temperatures 25 -28 degrees C. Wet from June to October. Driest from November to April.
TRANSPORT: By car it's 2 hours drive from Manila to the city of Olongapo. You can also travel from Manila to Olongapo by bus or by boat. In Olongapo you can travel by colourful Jeepney. They are colour coded according to route.
HOTEL: Whiterock Resort Hotel 2 Pools, 1 Coffee Shop,Tennis Courts, Basketball Court, Private wide white sand beach, Volleyball Court, Rock Climbing, Water Sports.
WHAT TO SEE:
Grotto of Our Lady of Pardon - near the side of Kalaklan Bridge in Barangay Mabayuan. Colourful and evocative.
Marikit Park - for children, very central, scenic playground.
Friendship Park - next to the main gate of the Subic Bay Freeport, this long, narrow park stretches along the Perimeter Road. A mini-children's park lies at the Northern side.
Festivals: October: Mardi Gras. Philippinos like to enjoy themselves.
Bicentennial Park - a good picnic spot for families.
Pamumulaklakin Forest Trails - Ideal for eco-tours and jungle trekking.
Subic Bay - A top-class diving area for wreck divers.
Enchanted Castle - Situated on a coral reef not far from the shoreline of Baloy Beach Resort. It is a drinking and eating place for visitors, as well as a good scuba diving spot.
Dungaree Beach - Ideal for picnics
Shopping: Royal Subic Duty Free Mall
Triboa Bay Mangrove Park - Home to a nursery and breeding site for birds, fowls, and fishes.
Waterfront Boardwalk - Offers a view of Subic Bay and the mountains of Redondo Peninsula.
Cubi Point Zoo - A mini-zoo that has monkeys, a python, wild pigs, turtles, eagles, and a Butterfly Farm.
MAGSAYSAY DRIVE AND RIZAL AVENUE - There used to be lively chains of bars, nightclubs, restaurants, hotels and sauna baths. The business center of Olongapo City.
In October 1987 in Olongapo City a 12 year old died as a result of a sexual vibrator breaking inside her body. A foreign tourist was found guilty and given life imprisonment. He said the US navy framed him. Olongapo City prosecutors recommended a retired American sailor, George Tomkins, be charged with the rape and sexual abuse of two small children.
Dave Welsted, an active US serviceman who allegedly abused the same children, had similar charges dismissed against him.
In 1988 an undercover operation was mounted by the U.S. Investigative Service to discover the extent of child prostitution rings operating in Olongapo City.
The official reports of the operation revealed that the undercover agents were offered, for the purpose of prostitution, children as young as four.
They contacted social workers at a government run center and three girls aged 12 and under were identified as having been victims of child prostitution and could identify two Americans involved in the child prostitution.
The reports were submitted to the local politicians and police but none of the suspects were formally charged.
An 18 month old baby was found to have been infected with Gonorrhea, allegedly by three US servicemen.
After revelations of a sex ring selling young Filipina women as sex slaves to Hong Kong, a US serviceman was sacked from the Navy and arrested.
Legal documents at the Olongapo city prosecutors office revealed that between 1981 and 1988 fifteen cases of sexual abuse of children between the ages of 11 and 16 were filed in their office against US servicemen; all were dismissed.
At least another 82 cases against young women 16 and older were also dismissed.
Most cases of sexual abuse go unreported.
Computer records of Navy and Marine Corps cases since 1988 show bases in Japan with a total of 41,008 personnel, held 169 courts martial for sexual assaults.
This was 66 percent more than the second location, San Diego, California, which had 102 cases out of 93,792 personnel.
A similar pattern of abuse has been recorded by women's organisations in South Korea.
A Korean Congressional report estimated that more than 30,000 crimes were committed by U.S. military personnel against Korean civilians between 1967 and 1987 which included murder, brutal rapes and sexual abuse, according to Yu Jin Jeong, director of the Seoul-based National Campaign to Eradicate Crime by U.S. Troops in Korea.
Women's organisations warn that the recently signed Visiting Forces Agreement, which allows for the resumption of joint military exercises and U.S. warship visits to the Philippines, will only make the problem of prostitution worse.
"We believe the ratification of the agreement will exacerbate the ongoing sexual exploitation of our people, particularly poor women and children who are vulnerable to prostitution," says Aida Santos, director of the Quezon City, Philippines-based Women's Education, Development, Productivity and Research Organisation.
Kosovo: in August 2000, Staff Sergeant Frank Ronghi pled guilty to sodomizing and killing an 11-year-old Kosovar girl in January the same year.
"The Kosovar girl's right jaw was fractured, practically bisected," said Lieutenant Colonel Kathleen Ingwersen.
"There was trauma to the neck muscles, the trachea and the carotid artery," Colonel Ingwersen said, adding she had found evidence of "blunt trauma" as the child was apparently beaten, choked and forced to kneel, face to the ground, as she was sodomized.
Four wives at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, the former home base of Staff Sergeant Ronghi, were allegedly killed by their Sergeant husbands when they returned (via England) from active duty in Afghanistan, during the same week that Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman went missing.
(A team of psychiatrists decided that a certain suspect was unfit to appear in court. He was then "sectioned" under the Mental Health Act 1983 and remanded to a high-security psychiatric hospital, before being charged with any offence. While still a teenager the suspect had allegedly had consensual sex with his girlfriend, who was only 15-years-old at the time, an offence known as statutory rape. He was never charged with an offence however, and his former girlfriend, now age 21 years, recently confirmed it was a mutual crush. Source: Joe Vialls)
God bless America.