our first trail was laid by james ratcatcher howard from manila nomad sports club in 1972. our first numbered trail was laid from forbes park, makati on 28 april 1975 by david jenkins.
mh3 trails cater to every specie of hound: athletically inclined, former legends in their own shorts, loping lotharios, tyrannosaurus wrecks.
we have adapted to the loss of accessible sugar cane country, replacement of green open space with asphalt and urban sprawl by becoming masters of the coup d'tar.
mh3 trails brilliantly transcend congestion and avoid the dull city rhythm by taking in aspects of the metropolis that even manilyanos aren't aware exist.
circles and on on ons complement trails, opening still more vistas and completing the perfect trifecta of monights soaked in ritual.
next weak’s miracle for the mh3 pharts: too old, too phat, too slow, too bloody good…
ano (what): trail mmcxv
kailan (when): monday 06 april 2015, 6pm
sino (who): bootlegger
saan (where): casa bootlegger, 14b libra street, bel air 3, makati
direksyon: from makati cbd, east on paseo de roxas; cross buendia (gil puyat); cross jupiter; enter main gate of bel air 3; cross mercedes; right on solar; libra is 5th left. too easy
agpu15: sat 18apr15, sabang beach, puerto galera, mindoro.
p. burgos (makati) & m. h. del pilar (ermita) are legendary as manila's notorious boulevards of shattered dreams & empty wallets. since 1992 ermita is mostly moribund. kindly padre burgos is available for confession and will honour secrets.
makati: cathouse. since 1977, original mh3 bar run by original mh3 hound walt. off p. burgos, kalayaan cnr dona carmen.
alcolm 'thirsty' lambert +63 928 507 6627
squatta's true hashtory of manila hash house harriers
forgotten pasts it’s ironic that, having discovered and then revealed the heart of manila as a hashing paradise, almost all of the most gifted original hounds should leave. after rescuing expatriates and a few locals buried alive in boredom, marriage, mortgage and minors by opening their hearts to the joys of alternative monights and a landscape of bountiful offerings, it was more often than not the lifestyle of the day to move on after a few short years. in large measure, this explains the loss of institutional memory, the opportunity for mh3's “bastard hash” image to flourish, and something as significant as the origin of the jeepney logo to be ignored. indeed, there has been furiously aggressive disdain for hashtory.
time to draw back the kawayan (bamboo) curtain.
before the beginning manila hounds were not the first to lay & follow trails in the philippine archipelago. that honour goes to several worthy but until now undocumented predecessors not usually associated with hashing.
- sir john bowring, troublesome fourth british governor of hong kong and plenipotentiary in china (1854-1859), is better known for fomenting the second opium war than for taking a forced seven-week sabbatical in philippines to avoid being embroiled in a legal suit. unknowingly, he became the first documented hound by following a trail up mt. banahaw, laguna, in january 1858. his description of the trek, taken aboard a palanquin, could well have been penned by a modern day mh3 scribe, with references to shiggy, false trails and the joy of the muddy experience -- "but cheerfulness and buoyancy of spirits, exclamations of encouragement, loud laughter, and a general and brotherly cooperation surmounted difficulty."
- from monday 4 to monday 14 december 1899, george langford laid a longer-than-usual paper and chalk trail through the cordillera mountains. american langford, manila representative for pabst beer, was captured during the american-philippine war. he and a dozen other bare-foot, half-starved prisoners of war were herded from near vigan across the cordilleras by their filipino captors. as he went, langford marked the trail for the pursuing pack of american soldiers to follow -- “langford had a box of large marking crayons. and at every opportunity he would write a pabst sale price offer on a boulder or the face of a cliff. the filipinos tried to rub out the marks, but were only partly successful. these signs were a great help in following the trail of the prisoners.”
- on sunday 25 june 1905 at 6a.m in jaro district, iloilo on panay island in the visayas, a traditional paper chase, but on ponies, was laid by two english hares. the scribe recounts that the pack comprised "a large company of spaniards, mestizos, swiss and one or two other englishmen." just as today, more than a century ago the short cutting bastards outfoxed the hares: "imagine their disgust when they at last tracked the other sportsmen to a bar where they were sitting at little tables drinking beer."
beginnings: tale of two fathers hashing arrived in manila in 1972, the year of the rat and coincident with philippines entering the darkness of batas militar (martial law).
mh3 went invisible and re-emerged in 1975. there is no surviving documentation from the first appearance. mh3's trail numbering and hashtrashes begin in 1975.
in this sense it's a tale of two fathers: the first trail by ratcatcher james howard (pic below) from manila nomad sports club in paranaque; and trail numero uno by david jenkins-turkey tom noonan from 37 mckinley rd, forbes park, makati at 6pm on monday 28 april 1975.
paradoxically, rentokil's ratcatcher found himself simultaneously being exterminator and breeder—destroyer of pests and creator of the great game of hashing. a different shade of personal conflict faced the high flying-low lifing banking duo of jenkins-noonan.
ratcatcher was the pioneer, the metaphorical & literal trail blazer. subsequently, over the first century of numbered trails, jenkins-noonan embedded most of the rituals that define today's mh3.
what's in a name except for a brief interlude of 28 years, manila has been the archipelago's capital city since conquistador legaspi designated it so in 1571, altering its name from the tagalog maynila. the exception straddled the years of mh3's arrival. when ratcatcher started things in '72, and even at the re-birth in '75, quezon city (originally proposed as balintawak) was the official capital of philippines. it had been so since 1948 and would be so until june 1976, when a marcos magisterial decree reverted to historic manila, and made metro manila the seat of government.
this thin slice of history begs the non-trivial but technical question: whereas manila was originally maynila; whereas quezon city was the nation's capital when mh3 arrived; whereas no hounds at that time lived in manila but mostly in makati; whereas most trails were laid in makati or nearby barangays and very rarely in manila; now therefore why are we mh3 and not maynila h3, balintawak h3, quezon city h3 or makati h3? here are four irrefutable reasons:
(i) clearly, no hound gaveashit about etymological roots or cartographic niceties; (ii) obviously, all other factors were trumped easily by the exotic imagery conjured up by "manila"; (iii) except for manila, the philippine archipelago was almost terra incognita to the outside world; and (iv) manifestly, it would have been profoundly foolish to go with anything else … and time has proven the founding father(s) to be anything but profound and more-often-than-not foolish. q.e.d.
ahead of the pack when ratcatcher's retinue began chasing paper through cogan grass, across esteros and around carabao wallows in1972 there were less than three-dozen hashes world-wide. this put manila hounds in the vanguard of what was about to become a global, malthusian-like explosion in hash numbers.
longest survivor jackass fagerstrom is the only hound still permanently resident in manila who trailed with ratcatcher's original pack in 1972. like jackass (arrived manila 1964), his cathouse has longevity-- it's the longest bar both temporally and physically. when he opened cathouse on avenida padre burgos, poblacion, makati, on 10 december 1977, there was little else around. its circular, mahogany bar is endless (walang katapusan, in the vernacular), providing unparalleled propinquity and unrivalled meterage. cathouse has moved a few hundred metres from its original home , which was opposite the current woodman's head on burgos st. jackass still serves manila hounds his famous chili con carne, plays the best music and has the most unforgiving pool table in town.
iconic partner in the life of mh3, there've been a few institutional rare birds, rara avis -- red rooster, birds of paradise, lovebirds, blue eagle. most with lively and liberated entertainers. but none comes close to american eagle (r.i.p).
in its first incarnation as the american eagle saloon the first beer was served at 28 plaza moraga, binondo around september 1898. serving as the gateway into binondo, plaza moraga is on the north side of jones bridge at the western end of escolta.
the earliest record of its existence is an advertisement in the first edition of the american soldier newspaper, 10 september 1898, with joe levy (formerly of san francisco) as manager; and a comment in the los angeles herald (1dec1898), which describes joe levy as "one enterprising pioneer." joe would have had no idea what his enterprise would lead to over the next 100 years.
under circumstances similar to the closure of ermita's nightlife nine decades later, american eagle saloon was forced to move in july 1901 when the manila liquor licenses act (no.59, december 1900) banned sale of intoxicating liquor in parts of binondo, including along escolta and on plaza moraga. in that area, rowdy saloons accounted for 20 percent of stores and contributed to the concern that "inebriety in the philippines is the road to death".
the original american eagle saloon's fate is unknown. what mh3 accepts as a close relation appeared soon after "liberation", perhaps around 1948, on avenida tejeron cnr kalayaan (now sagrada pamilya--sacred family), santa ana, manila.
here, like the enormous santa ana cabaret, promoted as the world's largest dance hall, it was out of the way and didn't disturb neighbours--requirements for obtaining a liquor licence. in this reincarnation it was simply american eagle--no "the", no "bar" or "saloon". american eagle occupied the ground floor of a two story building purchased by a former american navy man.
american eagle was patronised initially by tuxedoed guys and their classy dames, out for drinks and a dance. an album kept behind the bar up to the early 1990s is now missing. it contained many black & white photographs from the saloon's heydays, testament to the class act it once was.
it was a different place in the 1970s when mh3 hounds passed through the solid timber portal, which replaced the original swinging saloon doors. the first mention of many mh3 visits is for trail 56 in may 1976: “the trail followed frequent turn-arounds along avenida tejeron to ‘canadian egret’—a restaurant renowned for prime rib and other choice cuts, in the heart of barrio magastos, manila. the american proprietor … welcomed the throng and provided mag beer muna tayo.”
there's a heap of hashtory in these few words from an observant hashscribe. ownership remained in the same family. the fictitious barrio magastos (costly barrio) refers to the high cost of being entertained in the district. this was the first recorded use of an mh3 obfuscation to disguise the rendezvous location. from 1984 canadian egret became the bird that cannot be named. the ruse did not dissuade the most determined termagants from crashing gatherings, with awful consequences.
personalities well-known to manila hounds kept american eagle ticking over. of utmost importance were brothers felix (barman, cashier), roberto aka bert (barman) and frederico (chef). connie was magic on the old piano; chona managed intramural games--pool, darts and other pastimes.
despite being soaked in history, d'bird couldn't compete with groups of saloons in mabini, makati and later the international entertainment complex on edsa. it relied on diminishing patronage from a band of dedicated stalwarts who appreciated its legendary character and didn't need distractions of the other places.
d'bird fell on hard financial times and was bankrupt by 1988, when it technically closed. the front door was chained from the inside.
not wanting to see a good thing die, mh3 provided temporary support for beer supplies.
resuscitated but far from robust, d'bird struggled on. patrons came almost never, manila hounds the most reliable. but it was all over, not for saving.
a superfluous portent of the ultimate demise was the disappearance in 1991 of a cockroach fry damaged, framed copy of samuel ullman's prose-poem youth. the work became internationally renowned because douglas macarthur displayed a copy in his manila hotel quarters. presumably, youth was the victim of an ageing, sticky-fingered larcenist who needed a hard-copy reminder that "youth is not a time of life, it is a state of mind."
determined to live up to ullman's "joy and the game of life", d'bird lingered fitfully, refusing to succumb to painful reality. during 1989-1998 it was in a vegetative state, with no vital signs. mh3 gained entry by identifying themselves as bona fide customers of long standing.
even in its moribund state d'bird could still deliver in grand style, although it was cash up front for ice and beer. the chains were lifted for a few adventurous participants attending interhash 1990. in september 1992, after a trail from sta ana racetrack, a birthday hound invited the pack back to d'bird for sandwiches; another hound tossed in champagne and cans of fosters beer to celebrate a wedding milestone. in april 1994, the "12-bar blues" trail was laid as a curtain raiser to mh3's 1000th: "out of the 17 bars to be visited on and around padre burgos in makati, the top score was 18 because some hounds staggered on to the american eagle for early morning resuscitation."
numerous "final trails" were laid from the bird. the first was laid in july 1989, with matching "last return" t-shirt. the last was in august 1998, another trail laid from the racetrack. promoted as mi ultimo adios trail, it was one month shy of what would be american eagle progenitor's 100th anniversary. a dirge was played on the piano; the last san miguels were drunk. it was a joyous-mournful evening. as one thoughtful hound put it: "a funeral is like the hash--not an enjoyable reason to gather but a great chance for beer and revelry."
soon thereafter, the bar and fittings were removed and the place became a small pool hall.
there are three hardy iconic survivors: the american eagle sign above the entrance; the darts chalk scoreboard; and half of the double front door, the part with a small circular window by which clients were identified after 1988--it is now located internally at the entrance to a passageway.
gone are the other pieces of paraphernalia: feathered eagle that oversaw everything from the wall behind the bar; black & white ceramic floor tiles (the glue destroyed by frequent flooding), long bar, piano, pool table, dart board, youth poem, pews, photo album, and antique cash register ringing up prices in dollars & cents.
as a sign of respect for a dear friend, occasional trails are laid from outside the building.
curiously, the "santa ana, manila" wikipedia page features american eagle club as the sole entry under "other old structures in santa ana". it appears alongside the district's regal history--it was the seat of the namayan kingdom in pre-hispanic times, with archeological excavations revealing occupation from the end of the first millennium; a chronicle of the parish of our lady of the abandoned (nuestra senora de los desamparados de santa ana) dating from 1578, the first mission built outside intramuros; and story-lines for a slew of ancestral mansions belonging to prominent and wealthy families, whose buildings escaped the devastation of ww2 and once made sta ana a veritable forbes park. after suffering the ignominy of being forced to abandon its first home on plaza padre moraga, american eagle's reputation is restored with a place among its noble peers.
forever unchallenged is the record (46; some claim 56, but that's improbable) for the intramural game of stacking one piso coins (the extra-big, 33mm, jose rizal,1972 edition) atop an empty san miguel beer bottle, and removing them without any spillage. it's a wonder where the old coins went. the fact that their disappearance is still discussed is testament to the enduring legacy of mh3's favourite rara avis.
an intriguing twist to the american eagle saga is that its first location was on binondo's plaza moraga, named for franciscan friar fernando de moraga who in 1607 was assigned to the santa ana parish, where the reincarnated eagle rose. in 1619, padre moraga used his intimate knowledge of philippines to convince spain's king philip 3 not to relinquish his most remote colony, even though it was a financial drag. the rest, as we say, is hashtory.
logo it's a fact that in 1976, after a fearfully fought competition for ideas, mrs lesley jenkins won with her jeepney design (pic below). the motif captures the essence of the manila hound, even today: slow, noisy, inefficient, disruptive, source of obnoxious emissions but always welcoming, always room for one more and on the move in all weathers and any circumstance.
credo many hashes are too lazy and lack the imagination to proclaim themselves to be anything other than the tritely generic "drinking club with a running problem". not so mh3. it is no idle boast that we live up to our deliberately ambiguous motto: "we don't give one, but we know where to find one" -- "hindi kami namimigay ng isa, ngunit alam namin kung saan makakahanap ng isa." this is our immutable philosophical epicentre. we don't take ourselves too seriously, kowtow to none, operate on our terms, move at our own rhythm, retain our own authenticity, reject alien convention and conformity, and eschew the straight path (daang matuwid) in favour of a crooked trail (liko liko) of genius.
never missed a monight it is no myth that manila h3 has never missed a numbered monday night (monight) trail, despite natural hazards and man-made disasters. we're not thwarted by regular typhoons & flooding, periodic earthquakes & volcanic eruptions, ever-present debilitating temperature & humidity, or darkness enveloping the trail at the mandatory sikoklok start. neither are we distracted by man-made disruptions like impenetrable traffic, batas militar (martial law), coups d'etat & liquorless election days. nor are we ever compromised by the occasional pusillanimous poltroons who welch on their hair appointments.
genealogy infirmity it is true that for much of its existence mh3 was proudly a "bastard", with no known mother or father. this was because the founders became invisible, and later generations of manila hounds were profoundly incurious, old enough to be forgetful and perversely protective of maintaining their bastard status.
the legitimately "illegitimate" status began to change at interhash98 in kuala lumpur, when tumbling bill panton, world hashing's genius genealogist, rolled out his seven-metre scroll showing h3's family tree. manila h3 and hyderabad h3 were shown as "illegitimate", with no lineage traceable back to mother hash in kuala lumpur (1938).
the status accorded mh3 made it the oldest illegitimate hash in the world. this was a great source of pride for manila hounds, and was defended vigorously -- those who spoke otherwise were unable to say anything definite and those who said something definite weren't trusted.
however, the illegitimate classification had erstwhile manila hound digit fulminating, since he knew his mother hash was mh3 and he'd founded hyderabad h3 in 1990.
mh3's genealogical infirmity was researched and replaced by a heritage showing mh3 as a granddaughter of mother hash via jakarta with ratcatcher as founding father and midwives paul bono, fred smoot, paul simonds and jules guerassimoff. this was confirmed in 2000 by a personal appearance of ratcatcher during one of his occasional cultural replenishment pilgrimages to manila. in 2005 tumbling bill visited manila with his updated h3 family tree scroll, then 17 metres long and filling the house of jockstrap, who was mh3 hare that night.
sowing seeds hounds of manila have spread the joy of the "trail-circle-on on on" trifecta to new territories by fathering up to 30 other hashes. besides manila and elsewhere in the philippine archipelago, mh3's diaspora has produced offspring in ten countries across asia, africa, europe, north and south america.
fabulous fiesta manila h3 hosted interhash90. the thrilla in manila was a massive success, despite being mishmanaged by one of asia's smallest regular packs and the disruptive effects of cantankerous politicians & restless troops launching a failed coup d'etat a few months before (which caused cancellations). if the numbers at each interhash are normalized by taking into account the average size of the hosting packs, mh3 is probably as good as the few heavy hitters and better than many.
kahapon, ngayon at bukas (yesterday, today & tomorrow) in 2013 hashabberdash produced a generic mh3 t-shirt. prominently displayed is the phrase kahapon, ngayon at bukas, referring to mh3's glorious past, fabulous present and promising future. the main message: more than four decades after its first trail, mh3 retains its reputation for laying trails of genius, extending a welcome to all male comers, and guaranteeing memorable monights every week of the year.
at the time, hashabberdash was unaware of some history: 110 years earlier, on 14 may 1903, pampangan writer-director aurelio tolentino was arrested immediately after the premier performance of his play kahapon, ngayon at bukas at teatro libertad. the play depicts the triumph of inang bayan (motherland) and taga-ilog (the filipino) over successive foreign dominations (yesterday's chinese, today's spanish, tomorrow's americans). the 1903 connection is coincidental ... but now revealed is similarity between the play's theme and mh3's fierce independence.
tuloy ang kwento -- the story continues
grumbles, thirsty, ratcatcher (founding father, 1972), squatta.
l.a cafe, m.h. del pilar, ermita. 1350, 20nov00 -- removing the mystery of mh3's birth
david jenkins, gee emm 1975 lesley jenkins, logo designer, 1976
origins of international hashing
(click on the link below)