For a midweek day, Clark was surprisingly sober. It seemed like one of those apocalyptic movie scenes. The old duty free shops, many of them closed, seemed forlorn with their dusty window panes and neglected overruns. The wide roads were almost unoccupied. Along Wagner Avenue there were few cars, shuttle service notwithstanding, and even fewer people.
|This is what I call my tsamba shot.|
When I hear Clark, I always imagine glitter and fireworks: huge casinos, a small but hectic airport overflowing with expatriates, thrift shops with boomy speakers upfront swooning Auld Lang Syne. This was a surprising revelation.
|F-8H Crusader (tail #48661)|
A mean-looking aircraft, poised on a somewhat parched land caught me eye. I thrusted my lips to the kite, and the in-laws happily obliged.
Air Force City, it reads. We got in for free as did all guests, parking included. Uniformed soldiers manned their posts, and some carried garbage bags for cleaning up. Kids clambered up monkey rails in a small playground near the parking lot. Yet some of them, clambered the planes themselves. Well, save for the Shooting Star which was mounted on an elevated post.
Apparently the five jets and planes are REAL aircrafts (I know. I can be an ignoramus sometimes) used by the US and Philippine Armed Forces, and are among the last remnants of the American military occupation at Clark Air Base before they left in ’91.
|T-28 Trojan (tail #645); also popularly known as Tora-Tora|
F-5A Freedom Fighter (tail #10507)
These steel things, they stand there with their broken windows and dirty fingerprints of children on their field trips. They might have been part of a deeply rooted colonial history, but now they are one of many unfortunate and neglected still life scenarios in Clark, a sort of life-sized jungle gym for kids. They are bones scattered on a silent land, amid the collective barking of canines and sad soldiers. Bones of quasi-exorcised ghosts.
Could be a nice pre-nup location for an aero-navy-military inspired theme though.
|UH-1H Huey (tail #09171)