Ateneo De Naga high school 1980

Those who do not remember history are bound to live through it again.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hard days and fright: The 1966 Beatles concert in Manila, Philippines

If I ask today any Filipino in the streets of the Philippines if they could still remember the events that happened in Manila on July 3rd thru 5th 1966, it is very unlikely that anybody would be able to accurately recall the tragedy that occurred during those three days. The only ones that I am confident that would remember are the veteran musicians of the Philippines like the Apo Hiking Society, band members of the Hot Dogs, Pilita Corales and Freddie Aguilar. The people I personally know who would also remember the tragedy that occurred on those days would be my high school music and English teacher, Diggs Villabroza and his musical protégé, Ricky “Guitarman” Sadiosa.

The tragic story of the first and only visit of the British band, The Beatles, to Manila smeared a dark spot in the history of the Philippines. I had a hard time piecing together the chronology of what happened during the Beatles’ visit to Manila because there are too many tiny versions of each incident within the whole story. I would brand the visit as chaotic and full of crazy miscommunications resulting to an embarrassing outcome. Hopefully, the narrative in this article would at least be close to what really happened during that fateful and frightful event.

Before heading to the Philippines, the first stop of the Beatles during their 1966 Asian tour was Japan. The group was supposed to arrive in Japan on June 28th but because of a typhoon, their plane was rerouted to Anchorage, Alaska. After the weather cleared, they finally arrived in Japan on June 30, 1966.
They performed on five concerts at Budokan arena in Tokyo from June 30th thru July 2nd. The five concerts were all sold out with a total attendance of about 25,000 people. Their concert also captured a television rating of 60%, which was remarkable.

During the planning of the Manila concert, the promoters of the concert had a hard time trying to find a high class hotel that would accommodate the Beatles. An American newspaper printed an article on June 10, 1966 saying “Wanted: A Manila Beatle pad”. Apparently, most of the five star hotels in Manila were reluctant to accommodate the Beatles because they were worried that their hotel might be invaded by a large crowd of crazy fans. This could cause a security nightmare for the hotel.

On the morning of July 3, 1966, the members of the Beatles boarded a Cathy Pacific flight bound for Manila, Philippines. There was a 70-minute refueling stop in Kaitak airport in Hong Kong before the plane proceeded to Manila. Once the plane touched down at the Manila international airport, the nightmare of the Beatles started.

There was an enormous crowd of young Filipino fans that waited at Manila International Airport to greet the Beatles. Radio and TV reporters kept the public updated on the travel progress of the plane carrying the Beatles. Instead of having the plane parked at the terminal, it stopped at the outskirts of the runway where the Beatles alighted from the plane and hurriedly boarded into waiting limousines.

Below are some of the things the Beatles said when they were asked about their experience during their concert stop in the Philippines.

Ringo Starr: I hated the Philippines. We arrived there with thousands upon thousands of kids, with hundreds upon hundred of policemen, and it was a little dodgy. Everyone had guns and it was really like that hot/Catholic/gun/Spanish Inquisition attitude.

George Harrison: There were tough gorillas, little men who had short-sleeved shirts and acted very menacingly. The normal proceedings in those day
s was that because the mania was everywhere, we didn't pull up at an airport and get off the plane like normal people. The plane would land and it would go to the far end of the airfield where we would get off, usually with Neil and our diplomatic bags (we carried our shaving gear and whatever in little bags), get in a car, bypass passport control and go to the gig. Mal Evans with Brian Epstein and the rest would go and do our passports and all that scene. But when we got to Manila, a fellow was screaming at us, "Leave those bags there! Get in the car!" We were being bullied for the first time. It wasn't respectful. Everywhere else - America, Sweden, Germany, wherever - even though there was a mania, there was always a lot of respect because we were famous showbiz personalities. But in Manila it was a very negative vibe from the moment we got off the plane, so we were a bit frightened. We got in the car and the guy drove off with us four, leaving Neil behind. Our bags were on the runway and I was thinking: "This is it. We're going to get busted."

The promoter and agent of the Beatles knew that the band members traveled with several pounds of marijuana in their equipment cases. They were worried that if their marijuana was discovered by the customs, they would be arrested. They were hoping that their luggage would be treated the same as diplomatic pouches. When the Beatles returned to the pier from their ride at the yacht, they were handed their luggage without being questioned. They feel that the illegal drugs were found but the government officials kept quiet about it. It was assumed that nobody wanted to do anything that would cause an embarrassment during the Philippine visit of the Beatles.Neil Aspinall: The army was there and also some thugs in short-sleeved shirts over their trousers and they all had guns. You could see the bulges. These guys got the four Beatles and stuck them in a limo and drove off and wouldn't let them take their briefcases with them. They left them on the runway and those little briefcases had the marijuana in them. So while the confusion was going on I put them in the boot of the limo that I was going in and said: "Take me to wherever you've taken the Beatles."From the airport, the Beatles were driven in a motorcade to the Philippine Navy Headquarters at Roxas Boulevard where a press conference was held. Afterwards they were taken to a private yacht named Marina owned by a wealthy Filipino named Don Manolo Elizalde, a friend of Philippine concert promoter, Ramon Ramos Jr. The Philippine navy was able to install a ship-to-shore telephone enabling the crew of the yacht to have a connection with Manila Hotel.

George Harrison: They took us away and drove us down to Manila harbour, put us on a boat, took us out to a motor yacht and put us in this room. It was really humid, Mosquito City, and we were all sweating and frightened. For the first time ever in our Beatle existence, we were cut off from Neil, Mal and Brian Epstein. There was not one of them around and, not only that, but we had a whole row of cops with guns lining the deck around this cabin that we were in. We were really gloomy, very brought down by the whole thing. We wished we hadn't come. We should have missed it out. As soon as we got there, it was bad news.

Neil Aspinall: They drove me to the end of a pier and I go
t out of the car and said, "Where are they?" They pointed: "There they are," and there was a big boat miles away in the middle of the habour. There were what seemed to be rival militia gangs. One gang had taken them and put them on this boat to meet some people who weren't the people putting on the show. It was all very strange. I never really understood why they got put on a boat.Initially, the Beatles enjoyed their stay at the yacht because it offered privacy. They were alarmed though after they were told that they will return to shore the following day about an hour before their concert. Though the Filipino hosts of the Beatles had good intentions, they were not aware of the Beatle’s lengthy pre-concert preparation routine. Upon learning about this, Brian Epstein got very mad and called Vic Lewis who was then at Manila Hotel. Brian screamed down on the phone telling Vic Lewis, “We’re not staying one minute longer on this bloody boat. It’s going up and down. The boys are fed up. There’s absolutely nothing to do and we do not want to spend any more time on this ghastly little yacht!”

At this point, the Philippine promoter, Ramon Ramos found himself in a huge dilemma. He was forced to promise Malacanang that he will deliver the Beatles to the luncheon hosted by Imelda Marcos scheduled the following day. But Mr. Ramos held back in informing Brian Epstein about the Malacanang appointment afraid that Brian Epstein might turn it down because Brian was then throwing a tantrum.

The Beatles arrived at Manila Hotel at around 4 a.m. on July 4, 1966. They were still asleep when half a dozen of uniformed aides wearing khaki uniforms from Malacanang appeared at the door of Vic Lewis, who is the NEMS booking agent of the Beatles during their Asian tour. The aides demanded to know when the Beatles will arrive at “The party”. Lewis was surprised and asked, “I know nothing about a party”. He then directed the men to Brian who was having a late breakfast.

They found out that Mrs. Marcos invited 300 children to the palace to meet the Beatles. Brian said that it was the first time they heard of the invitation. Brian refused to wake up the Beatles who badly needed their rest in preparation for their concert. He would later learn that while they were in Tokyo, their publicity person named Tony Barrow had received the invitation but failed to respond to the invitation. It is not also clear if this information was relayed to Brian Epstein, who was the manager of the Beatles.

After the Malacanang aides left, Brian received a call from the British ambassador to the Philippines. The ambassador urged Brian to let the Beatles attend the party because it is not a good idea to miss Mrs. Marcos’s party. The ambassador also told Brian that all the help and protection they are receiving in Manila is being provided by President Marcos. In spite of the call, Brian adamantly refused to attend Mrs. Marcos’s party.

Brian’s reason for refusing to attend Marcos’s party is rooted to one bad experience of the Beatles. Back in 1964 during the Beatle’s first trip to the U.S., their first stop was Washington DC. The Beatles were compelled to attend an official function in honor of the British embassy. The members of the Beatles felt that they were treated like freaks during the function. The function was attended by some drunken aristocrats and condescending diplomats. People during the function demanded autographs from the Beatles and expressed surprise that a Beatle can write his own name. John Lennon departed the embassy spitting curses on the event. One lady approached Ringo holding a scissor and stole a lock of his hair. As a result of the unpleasant event, Brian had made a NEMS policy that the Beatles will not attend all official functions given by diplomats, royalties or dictators.

George Harrison: We've no idea why they took us to the boat. I still don't know to this day. An hour or two later Brian Epstein arrived, really flustered, with the Philippine promoter, and he was yelling and shouting. Everyone was shouting and then they took us off the boat, put us in a car and drove us to a hotel suite. The next morning we were woken up by bangs on the door of the hotel and there was a lot of panic going on outside. Somebody came into the room and said: "Come on! You're supposed to be at the palace." We said: "What are you talking about? We're not going to any palace." "You're supposed to be at the palace. Turn on the television." We did, and there it was, live from the palace. There was a huge line of people either side of the long marble corridor with kids in their best clothing and the TV commentator saying: "And they're still not here yet. The Beatles are supposed to be here." We sat there in amazement. We couldn't believe it. We just had to watch ourselves not arriving at the presidential palace.

Paul McCartney: I went out on my own in the morning to the kind of Wall Street area. I remember taking a lot of photographs because right up against it was the shanty town area. There were cardboard dwellings right up against this Wall Street which I'd never seen so well juxtaposed. I got the camera out: "Wow, this is good stuff!" And I bought a couple of paintings from the shanty town as presents to go back home and went back to the hotel to have lunch. Everyone was up and about then and we were in our hotel room when they started saying: "You've got to go to the President's Palace now. Remember that engagement?" We said: "No, no, no." The promoters, with those white shirts with lace that everyone in Manila seemed to wear, looked a little heavy to us. A couple of them carried guns, so it was a bit difficult. We were used to each different country doing it their own way. They were starting to bang on the door: "They will come! They must come!" But we were saying, "Look, just lock the bloody door." We were used to it: "It's our day off." We found out later that it was Imelda Marcos (with her shoes and her bras) waiting for us. Somebody had invited us and we (gracefully, we thought) had declined the offer. But there was the TV announcer saying, "the first Lady is waiting and pretty soon the famous pop group will be arriving". And we're going, "Shoot - nobody's told them!" We stuck to our guns and sat the rest of the day out in the hotel. We turned the telly off and got on with our day off.
In the book “The ultimate Beatles encyclopedia” written by Bill Harry, it confirms the existence of an invitation given to the Beatles from the Philippine promoter Ramon Ramos. The invitation states that the Beatles were to have luncheon with Mrs. Imelda Marcos at 3 p.m. on July 4th, which is an hour before the scheduled concert. Mr. Ramos did not pursue this invitation because he knew that the Beatles wanted to be at the Rizal Stadium two hours before the start of the concert. Mr. Ramos failed to inform Malacanang regarding this matter. Since Malacanang was not aware of the brewing schedule problem, things got worse when the palace set up a courtesy call meeting with the Beatles at 11 a.m.. With so much miscommunication between the Beatles management and the Philippine promoters, it is not fully known if anyone went out of their way to straighten out the scheduling fiasco.

RingoStarr: Personally, I didn't know anything about Madame Marcos having invited us to dinner.. But we'd said no and Brian Epstein had told her no. John and I were sharing a room and we woke up in the morning and phoned down for eggs and bacon (or whatever we were eating in those days) and all the newspapers because we always liked to read about ourselves. We were just hanging out in our beds, chatting and doing whatever we were doing and time went by so we called down again: "Excuse me, can we have the breakfast?" Still nothing happened, so we put the TV on and there was a horrific TV show of Madame Marcos screaming: "They've let me down." There were all these shots with the cameraman focusing on empty plates and up into the little kids' faces, all crying because the Beatles hadn't turned up.

Neil Aspinall: The Beatles didn't do that sort of stuff for anybody. They wouldn't get involved in politics and they wouldn't go to the palace. After it was all over and they hadn't turned up and people were going barmy, we asked Brian what had happened and he said: "I cancelled it. You weren't supposed to go there." It turned nasty in the Philippines. I didn't eat for three days. They would bring up food that was terrible. Even if it was Cornflakes for breakfast, you'd pour the milk out and it would come out in lumps. They had given you sour milk. I remember once ordering dinner and it came up one of those big trays with the rolled lid on it. I rolled back the lid and Ohhhhh! Just by the smell of it I knew we couldn't eat it. Paul and I sneaked out there as well. We must have been very brave or very naive. We got in a car and drove for miles. It was like Manhattan for five minutes and then a dreadful shanty town for a long way out to some sand dunes. We bought a couple of pictures, sat in the sand dunes and had a smoke, then drove back to the hotel with everybody freaking out (especially the security): "Where have you been? How did you get out?" Although people kept saying it was a failure in the Philippines, the Beatles did two gigs to a total of about 100,000 people (after the Marcos thing). The fans had a really good time. They really enjoyed it. There were still thugs about, organizing things (nothing to do with the army), but they seemed to be organizing the fans rather than us.

George Harrison: Again, we had a big problem with the concert. Brain Epstein had made a contract for a stadium of so many thousand people, but when we got there it was like the Monterey Pop Festival. There were about 200,000 people on the site and we were thinking: "Well, the promoter is probably making a bit on the side out of this." We went back to the hotel really tired and jet lagged and pretty cheesed off. I don't recall much of what happened after that until the newspapers arrived.
About late in the afternoon on July 4th 1966, Brian and Vic were at the Manila hotel watching television when the local news came on. It showed on the screen Mrs. Imelda Marcos wandering around Malacanang Palace visibly annoyed. The news caster announced that the Beatles never showed up at the party held on their honor. The 300 children who were war orphans and cripples were all disappointed after being told that the Beatles are not coming.

After the broadcast, Brian immediately called the manager of the government owned T.V. station and asked that he be given a chance to explain to the public what happened. Brian and Vic rushed to the TV station and were placed in front of a camera. The regular programming was interrupted and Brian went live on the air. Just as Brian was about to start to apologize and explain his side of the fiasco to the public, the TV station received a call from Malacanang and the audio of the interview was cut. The public never heard what Brian said.

After the concert the Beatles went back to Manila hotel and the evening went normally where they all drank Scotch, coke and smoked marijuana. The Beatles were unaware of what happened at Malacanang and the brewing problem that awaits them. Being tired, the Beatles decided to sleep early because they were scheduled to fly to New Delhi, India.

In the middle of the night, Vic Lewis was taken from his hotel room by three police officers and brought to a police station. He was interrogated for a long time by two mean men who were demanding why the Beatles did not attend the party of Mrs. Marcos.

Early the next morning, the Beatles woke up early to get dress and prepare to leave for the airport. Neil ordered breakfast for the six of them. After waiting for awhile they began to wonder why their breakfast has not arrived yet. They tried calling the hotel desk but no one seemed there to answer the phone. Mal finally went down to the lobby to find out what was wrong. He found the lobby to be unusually quiet and deserted. All the police officers and security personnel who were around the previous day disappeared. In front of the hotel were two limousines rented by the Beatles and waiting beside the limos were two solitary drivers. The usual police escorts were absent.

Mal was able to get a hotel personnel at the front desk but the man acted irritated. At this point, Mal realize that someone of authority has pulled away all the room service of the hotel away from the Beatles including bellhops. He spotted a newspaper on the lobby that had the headlines of “BEATLES SNUB PRESIDENT”.
When Mal returned to the Beatle’s suite with the newspaper, the TV was on and the Beatles were watching in morning news about them snubbing the party at Malacanang.

According to some people involved with the Asian tour promotion back in 1966, the Beatles scheduled their concert in Manila on July 4th (Philippine-American Friendship day*) as a gift to the Philippine republic. The concert was also believed to be a birthday gift to Imelda Marcos whose birthday falls on July 2nd. Mrs. Marcos has been known to enjoy entertaining international celebrities and she looked forward to meeting with the world famous Fab Four.

*July 4th used to be called Philippine Independence day because the U.S. government gave the Philippines its independence on July 4, 1946. Many Filipino nationalist opposed this and was able to convince President Diosdado Macapagal to change the date from July 4th to June 12th.Some Beatles historians believe that the Beatles were invited to Manila not to just play music to its fans. The whole thing was a savvy political setup for the Beatles to implicitly endorse the Marcos government. The party hosted by Mrs. Marcos was a cleaver photo-op where the Beatles will be seen having lively chat with Madam Marcos, ambassadors, senators and other Marcos-elected cronies. The 300 specially invited children being entertained by the Beatles would be the heart-softening section of the whole event. Local and international press would surely cover the event. Images showing the Beatles sharing a tea with Mrs. Marcos and shaking hands with government officials would project an image to the world that the Beatles endorses the dictatorship of Marcos.

Paul McCartney: The next morning someone brought in a newspaper and on the front it just said in massive letters: "Beatles Snub President". Oh dear! Well, we didn't mean to. We thought, "We'll just say we're sorry." We were scheduled to leave Manila that morning and as we were leaving the hotel everyone was a bit nasty at reception, so we had to scuffle out as if we hadn't paid our bill.

Ringo Starr: Things started to get really weird: "Come on! Get out of bed! Get packed, we're getting out of here." And as we got downstairs and started to get to the car - we really had no help - there was only one motorbike compared to the huge motorcade that had brought us in.
Tony Barrow, Vic Lewis and Mal loaded by hand all their equipment and luggage into a rented van. KLM flight 862 bound for New Delhi, India was waiting for the Beatles at the airport. Without assistance on moving their equipment, they knew that they will be late in catching the flight. Brian called KLM office who connected his call directly to the plane’s pilot via Skyphone. (Skyphone is an air-to-ground public phone service that was introduced in March 1962). Brian pleaded to the pilot not to leave without them because they fear for their safety if they are stranded in Manila. The pilot agreed to wait but only to the point where he does not have to refuel to reach New Delhi. If it comes to that point, the pilot explained, he will take off with or without the Beatles.

They all hurriedly got in their vehicles and drove to the airport. The drivers seemed to lose their way once or twice while driving. The morning traffic slowed down their progress towards the airport.

When they finally arrived at the airport, the place was turned into a military garrison with soldiers carrying rifles and bayonets. There was also a large angry mob of people waiting for the Beatles. When the Beatles car stopped, they immediately got out and had to rush through a small path through the mob where they were punched and kicked.

George Starr: It was "Beatles Snub First Family" - that's how they decided to present it. It was quite likely it was the promoter or the agent who had done a deal; brown-nosing Mrs Marcos, probably. She was later quoted as saying: "Oh, I never liked them anyway - their music is horrible!" The whole place turned on us. We had people yelling and screaming when we tried to get to the airport. Nobody would give us a ride. We couldn't get any cars. There was nothing available. Finally somebody managed to get a car or two and they put our baggage in one and we got in the other. We were driven to the airport. Two things were happening simultaneously: there were all the government officials or police, who were trying to punch us and yelling and waving fists at us, and then underneath that were the young kids who were still around doing the mania.

Neil Apsinall: They were really putting obstacles in our way. When we were on the way to the airport, a soldier kept sending us round and round the roundabout until in the end I told the driver to pull over.

Paul McCartney: We got down to the airport and found they'd turned the escalators off. So we had to walk up the escalators. All right, let's get out of here then if that's what it's going to be. Behind a huge plate glass window, the sort they have in airports, on the taxi rank outside there were all the Filipino taxi guys banging on the window and we're all going gibber, gibber.

Neil Aspinall: Nobody would help us with all this equipment and so we started using the escalators and then they stopped. So we had to lug all the stuff up the stairs and once we got it all up the stairs the escalators started to work again. The Beatles were going to Delhi and the equipment was going back to England. So at the check-in desk we kept saying, "OK, that's going to Delhi", and they kept putting it on the pile that was going to England. In the end Mal jumped over the counter and sorted it all out for us because nobody was going to do it.

George Harrison: It seemed like forever at the check-in desk. We eventually got into the departure lounge, which was a huge room, but then the thugs appeared again - the same people with the short-sleeved shirts who had been shouting at us as soon as we had got off the plane when we arrived in Manila. There were a number of them coming up to us, pushing and screaming, "Get over there!" They forced us back and then another one would come around the other way, doing it again: "Get over there!" I was trying to keep my eye on all the people, keep moving ahead of them to stay out of their way. It was all really negative. I saw a couple of Buddhist monks and went and hid behind them.

Ringo Starr: There was chanting, with people hating us all the way. They started spitting at us, spitting on us, and there's the famous story of John and me hiding behind these nuns because we thought, "It's a Catholic country, they won't beat up the nuns."

Paul McCartney: There was a group of nuns in the corner of the airport and when all the fisticuffs broke out we went over to the nuns. It was rather a nice little shot, nuns and Beatles in the corner. They didn't actually protect us, they just stood there looking a bit bemused. Whenever they moved, we moved the other side of them.

John Lennon: When they started on us at the airport, I was petrified. I thought I was going to get hit, so I headed for three nuns and two monks, thinking that might stop them. As far as I know I was just pushed, but I could have been kicked and not known it. "You treat like ordinary passenger, ordinary passenger," they were saying. We said: "Ordinary passenger? He doesn't get kicked, does he?" I saw five in sort of outfits who were doing it, all the kicking and booing and shouting. That was Brian's cock-up. Because he'd had the invitation given to him and declined it and never told us. It was terrifying.

Paul McCartney: We were quite frightened. Most of the aggression (luckily for us) was directed towards our people. One of them got thrown down the stairs violently. But mostly it wasn't overt, though they were annoyed. We felt a bit guilty, but we didn't feel it was our cock-up. Now, knowing more about the regime, what I think is that they had ignored our telling them we weren't coming: "Let them just try and not come - we'll make it difficult for them."

Neil Aspinall: I'm sure nobody got badly hurt, but that was because we didn't fight back, so we got pushed and shoved. We knew not to fight back. If we had fought back it could have been very bad. It was very, very scary and nothing like this had ever happened before - and nothing like it has ever happened since.

George Harrison: Finally they announced the flight and we boarded the plane - and that was the greatest feeling, just to be on that plane. It was a sense of relief. Then the plane sat there. Eventually, there was an announcement on the speaker saying, "Will Mr Epstein and Mr Evans and Mr Barrow (Tony, who was our press agent at that time) get off the plane?" They all had to get off and they looked terrified. Mal went past me down the aisle of the plane breaking out in tears and he turned to me and said: "Tell Lil I love her." (Lil was his wife.) He thought that was it: the plane was going to go and he would be stuck in Manila. The whole feeling was, "Hell, what's going to happen?"

Paul McCartney: When we got on the plane, we were all kissing the seats. It was feeling as if we'd found sanctuary. We had definitely been in a foreign country where all the rules had changed and they carried guns. So we weren't too gung-ho about it at all. Tony Barrow had to go back into the lion's den and they made him pay an amazing airport leaving Manila tax that I think they just dreamed up. Strangely enough, I think it came to the same amount as the receipts for the trip.
When Tony Barrow was escorted out of the plane by an army officer, the pilot summoned Brian to the cockpit. The pilot told Brian that he had waited enough and needs to take off without Tony. Brian begged the pilot not to leave because Tony will surely be put to jail if he is stranded in Manila. Brian kept the pilot busy arguing with him until Tony returned to the plane.

George Harrison: We sat there for what seemed like a couple of hours. It was probably only 30 minutes or an hour, but it was humid and hot. Finally they reboarded, the front door closed and the plane was allowed to leave. I felt such resentment against those people.The pressurized plane doors were immediately closed and the plane slowly pulled away from the terminal. The angry mob was allowed out of the tarmac where they continue to shout curses and shake their fists to the plane. While the plane was preparing to take off, Brian started saying, “How could I let this happen to the boys? I’ll never forgive myself. I put the boys in physical danger”.
Vic Lewis appeared on the aisle and asked Brian, “Did you get the money?” The money was inside a brown bag which was 50 percent of their talent fee. The other half of the fee was deposited to London as a guarantee of their performance. Brian became enraged and shouted at Vic, “Who was it that screwed up the party invitation? Don’t talk to me about money!” Vic Lewis lost his cool and shouted, “I’ll talk to you about money!” Vic grabbed Brian by the throat and said, “I’ll (censored) kill you!” While the plane was taking off, they were able to pull Vic’s hands off from Brian’s throat and force him down the aisle.

While they were in India on a four-day stay, Brian became sick and had to be attended by a hotel physician. The Beatles blamed Brian for all the bad things that happened while they were in the Philippines. They all agreed that Brian messed big time and lost control of the whole situation.

During their discussions, Neil said, “He (Brian) got another world tour already booked for next year. We’ve got to do this again”Everybody groaned. George asked, “Is this touring a (censored) annual event?”Nobody can hear a bloody note anyway” John said. “No more for me. I say we stop touring”.Paul McCartney: I remember when we got back home, a journalist asked George: "Did you enjoy it?" And he said: "If I had an atomic bomb I'd go over there and drop it on them." It was an unfortunate little trip, but the nice thing about it was that in the end, when we found out what Marcos and Imelda had been doing to the people - the rip-off that the whole thing was - we were glad to have done what we did. Great! We must have been the only people who'd ever dared to snub Marcos. But we didn't really know what we were doing politically until many years later.

Ringo Starr: We had fantasies that we were going to be put in jail because it was a dictatorship there in those days, not a democracy. You lose your rights in a dictatorship, no matter who you are. So we weren't going to get off the plane. That was my first and last time in Manila.

Neil Aspinall: I'm sure it made the band think hard about touring. It might have been one of the last nails in the touring coffin.

George Martin: When they got out of the country they said, "Never again. This is it." They said to Brian then that they would not tour again. Brian said, "Sorry, lads, we have got something fixed up for Shea Stadium. If we cancel it you are going to lose a million dollars." Oops. They did do Shea Stadium.

John Lennon: No plane's going to go through the Philippines with me on it. I wouldn't even fly over it.
Just minutes after the plane carrying the Beatles took off, the Philippine press issued a statement by President Marcos stating that the members of the Beatles were in no way at fault on the whole fiasco.

One Philippine newspaper printed this article on July 11, 1966:

The company that promoted the Beatles concern in Manila has gone broke. Rafael Corralles, the general manager of Cavalcade Promotions said, “We are liquidating our company. We lost money bringing the Beatles here. We don’t know how much we lost yet until we liquidate and gone through all our company assets”. The management of Cavalcade Promotions insists that they obtained an appointment from the Beatles to pay a courtesy call to Mrs. Marcos. They also added that the social secretary of Mrs. Marcos confirmed the appointment. Mr. Corralles said that the Beatles manager Brian Epstein refused to keep the appointment.

Memoir article written by Rosario Ponce, Manila, Philippines:

It was in 1966 when they came to Manila. Together with my two sisters and three friends, we attended their evening concert. The concert was fantastic but we wanted more. So we decided to follow them to the Manila Hotel where they were staying. It was quite late when we got there. The lobby was almost empty. Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans were all over the place, taking charge of the Beatles' instruments that were coming in from the concert venue.

We caught sight of Brian Epstein and tried to get out of his way, afraid that he might ask us to leave. But no one from their group was minding us. A kind hearted bellhop brought us up to the 4th floor and pointed to the rooms at the far end, suites 404 and 405 and told us those were their rooms.We tiptoed our way towards the rooms and talked in whispers when the door suddenly opened and lo and behold, it was John! He gave us an amazed look and just nodded at us. Next time the door opened it was Paul. Looked at us and I could swear he was counting. He told us to just wait. When he opened the door again he was looking straight at us and said, ' alright girls, if you promise to be quiet, you may enter...two at a time'. And we did.

Paul acted as our host, he led us to the living room where John and George were seated on a sofa. George had a tape recorder beside him playing what sounded like Indian music. As we were introduced to John and George they gave us handshakes. I'll never forget John's handshake, it was so firm and warm. And he had a beautiful, impish smile. George was so good looking in person specially when he grinned. 'If you have questions...' Paul told us. But what can I ask? All I wanted to do was just look at them and relish the moment. And it had to end. It was an awesome experience and until now I am still amazed at the kindness they showed us. They could have just ignored us, but they chose to see us. That's what sets them apart from other celebrities.

And I am forever grateful to them. Beatles forever!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this well-researched articlea about the Beatle's Philippine trip. Good title, too ("Hard Days and Fright").

Have read how unpleasant was the group's stay there; however, the details were unclear until your composition, Joseph Ivan. :o)

Peter Ivan, Seattle

7:01 PM  
Blogger Pinoy Kollektor said...

I like your article and the photos. It was a very unfortunate incident.

2:02 AM  
Blogger peachroad said...

Thanks for your blog. I like the picture of the beatles' coin best.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

great read.... long, but it was worth it.

12:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't buy the Beatles' version of this. If Lady Bird Johnson had invited them to the White House you can bet your last dollar they wouldn't have refused. But the Phillipines? That's another matter, isn't it?

1:04 AM  
Blogger farah said...

thanks for your blog at least there are some good things happened, Im an avid fan of Beatles until now.

12:02 AM  
Blogger farah said...

thanks for your blog, Im an avid fan of Beatles until now. at least there is something good happened during their visit in the Philippines. Congrats

12:05 AM  

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