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Is Angeles City Becoming a Korean Town?
Korean-language signs adorn most of the bars, karaoke joints and restaurants
Paterno Jr Rebosura (junzsky07)     Print Article 
Published 2007-12-19 04:23 (KST)   
When I was in Korea I got my first culture shock -- everything was written in Korean. Unable to decipher the signs, I failed to get a ride on the subway train and find a music bar. A liquor store in Daejon, however, had an English sign that said "drinkable house" -- a bad translation but at least it tried to communicate with foreigners.

In the Philippines, a stretch of bars, restaurants, karaoke joints, inns, motels and grocery stores in the red-light district of Angeles City, Pampanga, only display Korean-language signs making it hard to know their meanings. I said to myself that it was better in Korea because they tried -- but almost failed -- to translate signs into English.

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This was happening in Makati earlier; even Filipinos were barred from Korean-owned establishments where Korean signs were displayed. But the local government passed ordinances requiring the establishments to have English translations of the signs and to prohibit discrimination against the locals.

This trend in Angeles City, which is the rest and recreation enclave of Korean expatriates working at the Clark export processing zone in Pampanga, might continue unless the local government passes laws requiring owners to display English translations of the signs. But it seems this could take some time. Why?

Recently, Clark Development Corp. president Liberato Laus and JB Cresta Corp. president Lim Jang-bin signed an agreement for the Korean company to build a housing cum leisure town including villas, a club house, a water park and other ancillary facilities. This is to attract Korean tourists and expatriates in the country and investors visiting the economic zone.

Cresta has leased some 12.36 hectares for the project. The company will hire about 100 workers for its operation. Cresta is the fifth-biggest tourism investment inside the free port, Laus informed OhmyNews.

Investors that have signed an agreement with the zone authority include Morning Calm Leisure Estate, which is pouring in $1 million for the retirement village; J&K Golf Development Group with their $1.5-million investment; Widus International Leisure Inc. for its condotel, casino and water theme park and New Wellbeing Spa, which is at present building a five-story hotel. It will be completed next year, Laus said.
©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Paterno Jr Rebosura

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