The U.S. secures additional access in the Philippines

| February 2, 2023

Subic Bay, Philippines. (Steven Borowiec)

The US received access to four more bases in the Philippines, allowing it to have more positions from which to monitor China’s activities from. Securing the deal with the Philippines completes a chain of nations in Asia that the US is closely working with to address the Chinese threat in the region.

From the BBC:

These days the US is seeking access to places where “light and flexible” operations involving supplies and surveillance can be run as and when needed, rather than bases where large numbers of troops will be stationed.

In other words, this is not a return to the 1980s, when the Philippines was home to 15,000 US troops and two of the largest American military bases in Asia, at Clark Field and nearby Subic Bay.

Then in 1991 the Philippine government called time. The Filipinos had recently overthrown the hated dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, and sending the old colonial masters home would further cement both democracy and independence.

The Vietnam war was long over, the Cold War was winding down, and China was as yet a military weakling. So, in 1992, the Americans went home – or at least most of them did.

Roll forward 30-odd years and another Marcos is back in the Malacañang Palace.

More important, China is no longer a military weakling, and it’s knocking on the Philippines’ front door. Manila has watched – horrified but powerless to intervene – as Beijing has set about redrawing the map of the South China Sea, or the West Philippine Sea as Manila insists on calling it. Since 2014 China has built 10 artificial island bases, including one at Mischief Reef, deep inside the Philippines’ own exclusive economic zone or EEZ.

Up to then relations between Manila and Beijing had been free of major problems, says Herman Kraft, a political science professor at University of the Philippines.

“We had a live and let live situation in the South China Sea. But in 2012 they tried to seize control of Scarborough Shoal. Then in 2014 they began building the islands. The land grab by China changed the relationship.”

“We have very limited capability against the threat from China,” says former Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr.

He says the Chinese have repeatedly broken promises not to militarise their new South China Sea bases.

“The Chinese have militarised those features and that puts more of our territory under threat. Only the US has the power to stop them. The Philippines cannot do it alone.”

But this time there will not be thousands of US marines and airmen filling the red-light districts of Olongapo or Angeles city again.

The BBC has additional information here.

Category: China, International Affairs

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


What is the purpose of BALIKATAN?

We did 3 of them in the 1990s…

“Balikatan’ 2023 To Include Live-Fire Drills In Urban Terrain”

“In this year’s “Balikatan” exercises, around 3,800 members of the AFP and 5,100 US military personnel — the largest number of combined personnel of the two militaries in the annual exercise since the start of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic in 2020.”

“The Philippines and US exercise forces employed more than 50 aircraft, four ships, 10 amphibious craft, four high mobility artillery rocket system launchers, and four Patriot missile systems during “Balikatan” 2022.”


Never should’ve pulled-out of Subic Bay and Clark AB…


From the article:

“Olongapo, close to a US naval base, was a hub for the illegal sex trade in the 1970s.”

“But this time there will not be thousands of US marines and airmen filling the red-light districts of Olongapo or Angeles city again.”

“The history of violence and abuse by US troops in the Philippines is still a sensitive subject. There are an estimated 15,000 children left with their Filipino mothers when their American fathers went home.”




Where Jesse Ventura saw action “in theater”…


A hub for the ILLEGAL sex trade?

Boy, those PI cops were sure not doing their job then!


During BALIKATAN, we visited Clark Air Force Base and Angeles City a year or two after Mount Pinatubo erupted.

It was sad. Squatters took over the former Air Base. Everything was taken. Businesses at Angeles City were boarded, shut down.


Not your sea-daddy’s PI.


Fess Up, AW1Ed..

Which Dude is YOU???

 😉  😎 


Wrong time, wrong Fleet.


That’s what they ALL said!!!!



Shit River here I come!

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

Since 2014 China has built 10 artificial island bases,…”
Stray firing synapses…..How large (small) are these “islands”? Large (small) enough so that if a large US Navy vessel (destroyer, aircraft carrier, whatever) were to go by at flank speed, would the island be swamped from the bow wave? Lather, rinse, repeat.
What could the ChiComs do? It’s all (supposedly) in international waters. The US Navy is just performing maneuvers and exercises, nothing overt or covert, nothing that has to ask permission, or give apologies. Just an “oops! sorry ’bout that. what are you doing there? this speck isn’t on any maps.”

I shot a missle into the air,
Where it lands I do not care.

Oh there was a base there, ooops.

Quick search says 7 islands totalling 2470 acres, average of about 350 acres per. Lot of pasture to mow there.


It’s not nice to taunt Mother Nature.


Arrgh! That sends shivers up my spine. I went through a nasty typhoon in the SCS back in the 80s.


It frankly is a fucking mess in that part of the world.

Any person with a brain considers the South China Sea to be international waters…but the Chinese don’t. When they talk about the SCS, they refer to the “Nine Dash Line”, an arbitrary blocking off of the SCS as Chinese territory. Whenever we “have the nerve” to send our warships into that area, the PRC always refers to the SCS as their waters in their backyard.

Funny you should talk about how large the artificial islands are. Way back in 1985 or so, I few on a mission to check out the very early days of the Chinese claiming the SCS as their own. We flew past a reef named Fiery Cross Reef. At that time, there was a Tiki hut, a pier and one very confused Chinese Sailor wondering why a U.S. P-3 was flying circles around him.


This is Fiery Cross Reef today:

Quite a difference. And Fiery Cross Reef is located at pretty much the southern limits of the SCS.

How do we deal with this? I say that we organize multi-national naval exercises in the international waters of the SCS inviting all the regional navies to participate…except for the PRC. Lather, rinse, repeat.


And here’s the Wiki article on the “Nine-Dash Line”.


Chicoms be expansionistic Godless commies– international law is for evil Capitalists.


They deserve the typhoon AW1Ed was suggesting.

Obviously Beijing is not concerned about the rising sea levels from Climate Change.


Only our freaky liberals are.
comment image


Nobody wants to see American Military folks around until there is a tiger…or a bear…in their back yard. Wonder how long it will be before the African and South American nations realizes that China is not their friend? Stay tuned.


They think geography is their friend. I imagine that is what the Philippines thought when they kicked the US out. Then China got closer and a lot more advanced.

The Philippines Military is shit. Their country is an island and their navy is less than half the size of Algeria’s and badly outdated as well. Although I hear the Brazilians have an air craft carrier FOR SALE – CHEAP!


Fort Bonifacio was awful!

We ended up working at the JUSMAG because of security reasons.


Well, this is interesting.

This 8 minute news clip came out about a month ago.

“US and Philippines open new airbase to bring in US Military Aircraft near the South China Sea”

You Be The Judge.


Yeah, I have a story about a friend Chris who visited the Nipa Hut back in the day and had too much $$$ and too much  🍾  🍸  🍺  and became the floor show.
No dairy or alcohol for poor old Chris for many weeks after his return from the PI, and no shades of good old Douglas MacArthur.

Hack Stone

The World Famous Nipa Hut.

One of the few establishments in the world that can rightfully claim to be world famous. Hank wonders if he still has that bamboo drinking cup that he acquired there.

Drag Racing Maniac

Oh no! Not the floor show…


Never Forget.

Rest In Peace, Sir.



“Philippine officials said today they suspect communist insurgents of having shot to death an American military advisor as he rode to work here this morning. Police and witnesses said gunmen in a car pulled abreast of an armored sedan carrying Col. James N. Rowe around a busy traffic circle and fired bursts from an M-16 rifle.”

“Rowe, a decorated Vietnam war hero who was imprisoned for five years by the North Vietnamese before escaping, was assigned to the Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group (JUSMAG) as an advisor to Philippine ground combat forces. Police said 21 bullets struck Rowe’s car in the attack. Rowe was pronounced dead at a Philippine military hospital, apparently struck in the head by a slug that had penetrated the bulletproof glass of his car.”

Hack Stone

One of a select few who had successfully escaped from a Vietnamese prison camp. Read the book, might still have it.


In April ’87 he awarded us our Special Forces Tabs, his last act in the states before he left for the PI. Mentioned that his wife was at home packing the HHG.

I had read his book, years before, and was/am honored that this brave man was there to give us our thing.

Couldn’t believe that the commies killed him.


Just in… DARPA seeks essentially to build Spruce Goose:


I understand an amphib C-130 is in the running.


I’m glad the US is going forward with this. The Chi-Coms have already built a base with a runway on Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands, which belong to the Philippines. This past year an article in the Stars and Stripes listed the bases they were seeking joint access to. Missing from the agreement is the Philippine air base co-located at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport at Lapu-Lapu City, residing on a small Island next to the Island of Cebu.

My wife and I had our fingers crossed hoping for the increased chance of hops there. Last year McChord had a rare hop there shortly after that Stars and Stripes story. Catching a hop would put us only short $46 flight to our house in Dumaguete City on Negros Island. Last time we were there was at the start of the pandemic. (Current flight costs to Cebu thru either Inchon or Taipei run $2k+ each)


Update/clarification from Feb 2, 2022 Stars and Stripes.
Four additional locations in addition to the previous agreed upon sites:

Work has been underway, since the defense agreement was announced in 2014, to build facilities for U.S. forces at several previously announced sites in the Philippines. Those five locations are Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan; Basa Air Base in Pampanga; Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija; Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu and Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro City.

I will resume daily checks for hops now from JBLM to Cebu.


Makes me recall the poster hanging above the Seaman’s Club bar on Diego Garcia for Military Sealift Command’s Pacific Fleet (MSCPAC) saying it stood for “My Search Continues for the Perfect Asian Cutie.”


Looks like the Chinese Communists have a balloon port in Billings, MT now. Ground stop made there by their “…size of 3 buses…” spy balloon that is now trekking across the US. They’re up to no good, I tell you.


Sum Ting Wong – Wei Tu Low.


A stupid spy balloon… shoot it down!


Need a couple SR-71’s to do _close_ fly-by’s to get it moving along.


I am curious, so if China builds fake islands to land their planes on because they don’t have any friends will they name them and have tea parties with them and pretend they are friends? They could dress them up in clothes and have their friends elect them prom Queen.