Subic Base and Olongapo
Hello to all!!! I am not a servicemen dependent, but my family grew up in Olongapo City. My mom, Elenita Delfino, used to work as a nanny and helper in the Binictican Housing Facilities to some high ranking officers, while my dad, Manny Delfino, used to work as a proud "and I mean very hardworking" employee of the Public Works Center - Housing Facilities.
I am working in Hong Kong now as a singer of a band in the streets of Wan Chai, Lan Kwai Fong and Kowloon. Whenever I walk the streets of Wan Chai, I can remember my younger days when I was walking Magsaysay Drive. Girl Bars, Clubs, Restaurants were abundant before the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. Everyone in Olongapo City is contented and happy working along side the said base. The Mardigras is one of the best happenings in town. I have seen so many things with my young eyes whenever I stroll around Magsaysay Drive in the night time because we get very clean and potable water near the main gate. Then girls from those bars, as I can remember, The Road Runner, situated at the corner of the street going to Columbian College.
I thank Subic Naval Base on whatever I have right now. My father served PWC - Housing for 23 long years. I can speak very good English because of the exposure to American Officers like Bill (I dont know his surname) and our best buddy, when I was like 10 years old, who lived in our place. Lt. Cmdr. Walter Millowic. He was a very fine Bachelor at that time. He gave us American treatment, plays basketball with us, gives us Halloween trick or treats, Christmas parties and everything, and because of his high rank we had the opportunity to go inside the base and board a cargo plane named "Miss Piggy" and I had the chance to ride a helicopter. They gave us "Foo Dogs" shirts, then we got to go to those beaches... the All Hands Beach, Dungeree Beach and Officers Beach Clubs.
After the memorable hand over to the Philippine Government, my dad wants me to have an exam to join the US Navy, but I was not lucky because I needed to be 15 to have the exam and I was 14 years old when the turn over happened, after the Pinatubo eruption. Richard Gordon then made his visions for Olongapo because, if there was one person to know Subic Bay, Dick Gordon was one of them. I even joined his "Volunteer for Subic Bay" program where I worked as a lifeguard in the 3 major beaches, which were turned to tourist attractions. I was a professional swimmer that was at times was a varsity player for Olongapo City National High School. I graduated High School March 1994. My School was famed for the name Jackson High School because it was once ran by an American Officers.
My Dad, Manny Delfino, worked as a contractor on the first years of SBMA with Dick Gordon sitting as the chairman of SBMA in Building 229, where the Drydocks used to be placed. Then he was absorbed by the American owned company, Enron - Subic Power Corporation, as a Purchasing Manager. My dad was granted the special immigrant status to go to the US, but he was denied almost 5 times, and that is a real heartache to us, for almost all of his colleagues who worked with him in Subic Bay are already residing in the states, while he is still in the Philippines. He worked there for 23 memorable years and I know he is very proud of the American way of life. He always tells us about good things, like the driving lesson he had, the seminars he attended and all of those archirtectural/ drafting reading materials he gave me.
Now Olongapo City is just one of the falling cities of the Philippines where once we don't even want to go out of the city because living there is just relaxing. We don't usually go to Manila, for there is so much traffic, pollution, crime and everything. We love Olongapo very much when the American bases where there.
One of the great bands of the late 80's was the AMO band. the keyboard player Elmer told me about Olongapo and he said if Olongapo was still the same, he would just stay there coz he could earn what I am earning here in Hong Kong in those times.