Fields Avenue is the name of a major street running through Balibago area of Angeles in the Philippines. It is the center of the red light district and the bar scene of the biggest entertainment district of the Philippines.
The name derives from the common military practice of naming roads adjacent to airfields as "Field" Street or "Field avenue". Originally the name referred to the Clark Air Base and was "Clark Field Avenue". The name evolved to become Fields Avenue.
Fields avenue developed in the early 1960s as a street lined with bars to cater to the single American defense personnel who worked in the adjacent Clark air base. The street just outside the main gate of Clark air base had just three bars in the 1940s and 1950s. However, as the American presence in the Vietnam war grew, more and more forces were deployed at Clark or routed through it. This led to a proliferation of bars, live bands and prostitution, the latter mostly by young Filipina women, most of them either teenagers or 18–25 years old. By the 1970s, there were more than 150 bars and prostitution joints along Fields avenue. This led to a mushrooming of related ancillary industries in the vicinity, namely bands, hotels, doctors, hair dressers and money exchange / transfer services. In its heyday, Fields avenue provided direct or direct employment to nearly 20,000 Filipinos including plumbers, electricians and security guards. In the 1980s, though the American presence remained steady, the bars and prostitution shops continued to proliferate. Many bars and prostitution dens were owned by Americans as well as local politicians, thus leading to a nexus between the locals, politicians and American military and ex military personnel.
With the withdrawal of American defense forces from Clark in 1993, many of these establishments changed hands but continued to do business. As Clark was turned into a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), these bars and prostitution joints changed their clientele to suit their new customers - Japanese and Korean businessmen. Restaurants serving food from these countries began to appear and signboards in these languages were put up. The period from 2000-2010 saw further expansion of these joints, as the area was relabeled as an "entertainment district". While prostitution was officially banned, girls working here were simply re designated as "Guest Relations Officers" (GRO) and prostitution continued in practice. Since then, bars and prostitution joints have continued to proliferate and expand, the extent of these establishments has continued further on both sides of Fields avenue and many smaller streets off Fields avenue also sport smaller such establishments.
The presence of family oriented activities on the other side of Fields avenue, namely shopping malls as well as activity centers in Clark air base has led to a neat separation between the two. Fields avenue tends to cater more to single foreigner men (and sometimes women too, with at least five bars featuring gigolos and gays) while the rest of Clark caters to family based entertainment.
In 2010, a section at the end of Fields avenue was named as "The Walking Street". Mimicked after the Walking street in Pattaya, this section was made pedestrians only, with road traffic banned from it from 6 pm to 6 am.
Restaurants and Hotels
Fields avenue has the largest density of hotels in Philippines, catering to all budgets, from a large number of two star and three star hotels right up to a select few luxurious five star hotels. Many of the bars and Hotels in Fields avenue have restaurants attached. Fields avenue has among the largest variety of restaurants in Philippines, with cuisines ranging from European, Continental, Japanese, Korean, Australian and a select few restaurants serving Indian, Arabic and Filipino food. Restaurants tend to have long opening hours, most of them open late and close late (up to 4 am) though a reasonably number of them open early (around 7 am). A few restaurants are open 24 hours. Most Filipino and international fast food chains including Mc Donalds, KFC and Jollibee have at least one branch along / near fields avenue. A 24-hour police station is located in the center of Fields avenue.
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