"VIS MEDICATRIX NATURAE"
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

A marvelous tribute to Michael Jackson



I started to watch with some reserve but all of a sudden tears were running down my cheeks , there are elements of all kind of emotions in it and they got to me. Thank you my Pinoy inmate 'friends' for this unforgettable event. Hope you are all free soon, cause there are more criminals, idiots and fools 'outmate' than inmate !!!!


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Heart-attack or cardiac arrest ?



A cardiac arrest, also known as cardiopulmonary arrest or circulatory arrest, is the abrupt cessation of normal circulation of the blood due to failure of the heart to contract effectively during systole.[1]
A cardiac arrest is different from (but may be caused by) a heart attack or myocardial infarction, where blood flow to the still-beating heart is interrupted (as in cardiogenic shock).
"Arrested" blood circulation prevents delivery of oxygen to all parts of the body. Cerebral hypoxia, or lack of oxygen supply to the brain, causes victims to lose consciousness and to stop normal breathing, although agonal breathing may still occur. Brain injury is likely if cardiac arrest is untreated for more than five minutes,[2] although new treatments such as induced hypothermia have begun to extend this time.[3][4] To improve survival and neurological recovery immediate response is paramount.[5]
Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency that, in certain groups of patients, is potentially reversible if treated early enough (See "reversible causes" below). When unexpected cardiac arrest leads to death this is called sudden cardiac death (SCD).[1] The primary first-aid treatment for cardiac arrest is cardiopulmonary resuscitation (commonly known as CPR) which provides circulatory support until availability of definitive medical treatment, which will vary dependent on the rhythm the heart is exhibiting, but often requires defibrillation.

The chances you get hit by an attack increase when you: smoke, drink alcohol, have overweight, have a wrong diet, (at that moment diabetes sees an opportunity to join the party). Of course there are many more factors that cause you to get a bad health. Air pollution, bad mood, stress, private circumstances, work etc.
Be aware it's not just the heart that will be affected. Liver, pancreas, lungs, intestines, kidneys and all the other organs and glands will receive their share.....
A smile, a laughter, love, peace, sports and correct food just might get you on the right side of the line and prevent you to get ill.
It's great to see someone smile, it's even better to hear them laught. What's wrong with loving eachother instead of hating.... Then peace will be the result. Sports will keep you moving and I tell you: it's no punishment to eat the right fruits and foods.
Cayenne peppers have proven to be very effective, and there are more remedies to benefite your heart. 
 Check on the next link to health problems.
water-hot-water-and-heart-attack

Often diabetes patients believe they suffered a heartattack but were the symptoms caused by a Hypo.

Hypoglecemia causes symptoms similar to those of an anxiety attack:
sweating, nervousness, shaking, faintness, palpitations, and hunger
. More severe hypoglycemia reduces the sugar supply to the brain, causing dizziness, fatigue, weakness, headaches, inability to concentrate, confusion, inappropriate behavior that can be mistaken for drunkenness, slurred speech, blurred vision, seizures, and coma. Severe and prolonged hypoglycemia may permanently damage the brain.

Symptoms can begin slowly or suddenly, progressing from mild discomfort to severe confusion or panic within minutes. Sometimes, people who have had diabetes for many years (especially if tightly controlled) are no longer able to sense the early symptoms of hypoglycemia, and faintness or even coma may develop without any other warning.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The dimension(demention) between life and dead

To reach a higher spiritual level one needs to practice a lot. It comes with a training of body and mind. A healthy body can give a controlled access to the unconscious, a 6th or a 7th sense opens up. It's a dimension you are able to enter, but most of us never have been there. The 4th dimension, time, mingles with another dimension. It has to do with anti-matter, a ''tranceforming'' to become aware of the space that's holding an atom. Now see this atom as a solar system, the nucleus or proton form the the sun, while the electrons swarms around like planets. Their orbit is circled so fast that the atom or molecule appears to be a solid subject. No such thing. If you would be able to see this process in slowmo, it might look like a solar system having a lot of open space in it. As a matter of fact, most of the substance is open space. Or call it anti-matter. This open space is not really 'empty', the balance between attraction and rejection causes enormous forces, magnetic fields, radiation and existence. There hás to be open space, 'something' cannot exist without 'nothing'.

That's hard to figure ???

It's like yin and yang , one cannot be there without the other. How can there be a left if there's no right. When all surface is flat, there's no up and down. When something has a front, there must be a backside. White/black, rich/poor, etc. You can think of some yourself for sure.

"I am the beginning and I am the end, from alpha to omega".

It needs more thought when it comes to: There's no light if darkness doesn't exist; The spirit needs a body or : Life needs dead to exist.

We are not always aware of our subconscious, oh, but it's there, as soon as we start thinking.

.Now, when you merge white and black, it gets grey, (why do I have to think about half-breeds all of a sudden. ?) this 'grey' goes for the mental aspect as well. This moment of grey is an area round the center line of a sinus, in the middle of the up-and down curve. That's where speed is at its top and hard to seize and hold. It's sort of a twilight zone. At that transition point you're not awake nor asleep. And you know you're not dreamin' either, there's only a very short moment when you are ón the center line. When you'r changing from minus to plus.The higher the amplitude, the faster this moment passes.

At point pi at highest speed from plus to minus.

To be able to stay in this grey neighborhood for a longer period, it needs a retarder to slow down the process. When the amplitude of the life/dead-curve lowers to a ripple only or comes to a hold, time stops!!. When this process takes too long, you're dead. Yogi-masters, meditators, trance-media, healers and magicians are able to to reach a stage where the heart beat is lowered to enter a world beyond imagination. They can slow down or stop time.( their own time world or someone else's !!!)

Compare this with a near-death-experience. I have no experience in traveling the sub-world this way, once you've been there it seems to be a great happening, a revealing, an explanation to unanswered questions.

By: B.E. Spoor

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Two friends from the '80's

The youth of some of my friends was far from ideal. Don Gordon Bell, my Korean buddy was adopted at age 5 and served his childhood in a foreign culture in a far away continent, separated from his bio-mother. His search to his identity is still not ended after half a century. By next week a program will be broadcasted on Korean TV to the whereabouts of his Korean family.

Well, my friend Eric Hahn also didn't have the most ideal childhood. His parents didn't care, they were addicted and he got his ass kicked once too often. He ran away from home at age 10, got caught, ran away again a became intractable. This very young child was put away in a mental hospital and did time. 5 years later at age 15 he was released and had to find his way in this hostile world, completely new to him. We don't wonna know what happened to this juvenile boy during his 'detention' , growing up between idiots and criminals. As a minor and no experience at all it was hard to find a job. One way or another he got himself somebody else's draft card showing an 18 year old. He got away with that for a while and made some bread. But then he was busted and convicted to 6 years !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! charged guilty of the intention to use the draft card for false representation. We're talking about a 17 year old child.

He was paroled as an adult 4 years later.

No wonder Eric grabbed his few belongings and went overseas. He worked as a fisherman, got on board of freight ships and spent some years in Europe and probably learned some French as well. When the 80's arrived this young man felt the urge to return to the states, he did so in 82.

He was only 26 or 27 at that time.

It didn't last long. The country seemed too hostile to him and he left again, to start a new live in the Oriënt.

I'm writing 1983. Eric Hahn enters a new world as he joins the 'movie makers' . Obviously he seemed to do a great job as he was offered one movie after on other. Couldn't miss or I was to meet this guy. Oh, yes I did. Eric made it up to a fabulous 100 movies or maybe more.
To my count we share at least 10 films, check my filmography.

So I can say I met and worked with this fellow, and I'm proud of it.

Great you're here Eric, welcome.

Friday, June 19, 2009

And another one......from the past. Eric Hahn


Can you believe this, another oldy from the roary 80's found his way to the Bird. I am proud to write that Eric Hahn, residing in Mexico, wrote me a note that he is following all our posts to stay up-dated in his film-hobbies. Eric joined the film world for some 8 years and was involved in probably a hundred movies or more. Correct me if I am wrong Eric. You're in my filmography from beginning till the end. Great you are here dude.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Contact with another lost movie-veteran, Don Gordon Bell.* (click to visit his blog)

When I started this blog in april I had no idea at all where I was going to. I wanted to publish my manuscript to still the hunger of my Dutch friends and give them an inside view of my life during those turbulent 80's on the filmset and beyond.

Due to my buddy Nick I decided to have my story done in English as well for him and some friends in Scandinavia. I was really surprised by the widespread red dots on my Cluster counter which I had installed over a week ago. This inspired me so much to keep this blog running, but made curious as well cos these dots represent readers. From the east- to the west coast in the US, the UK and even India. Now the very latest dot appeared on Korea were an old movie-veteran found his domicile in or around Seoul some years ago.

Of course I had heard of Don Gordon, we even happened to shoot some movies together, till 86. From there on I never saw Don again, he had left for the states as I was told. I liked the guy's attitude, rough but fair and a real lady-killer. He seemed to have a lot of good friends on the sets. We never got close though, I mean there were hundreds of people on these filmsets and one sticks to his nearest buddies mostly. I'm sure we smoked a doobie somewhere someday together with Nick. That's how we met.

I was so pleased to find me an e-mail sent by Don. He is running a blog also and had noticed the critical situation Nick was in at the moment and shared his emotions with me. I was so glad to hear he's offering his very appreciated help to Nick and Annie.
God bless you dude.

The story he's writing on his blog is amazing. I advice you to read his "Korean War Baby".

http://www.nanarland.com/interview/interview-dongordonbellvo-don-gordon-bell-en.html


Bert

Friday, June 12, 2009

'Imelda' Strikes Again: Thieving Fox Amasses 120 Shoes - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Thieving Fox Amasses 120 Shoes

A vixen has stolen more than 120 shoes from doorsteps in the German town of Föhren over the last year, amassing a collection that would impress even Imelda Marcos. Little bite marks on the laces suggest they're intended as toys for her cubs.
For more than a year, the people of Föhren, a small town in the wooded Eifel hills of western Germany, wondered who was going around stealing shoes from their doorsteps and garden terraces at night. Well over 100 muddy hiking shoes, wet Wellingtons, steel-capped workman's boots, flipflops and old slippers went missing.

Imelda probably looks something like this.
Zoom




The mystery has now been solved after a forestry worker discovered an Imelda Marcos-scale collection of footwear in a fox's den in nearby woods. 

The bushy-tailed culprit, believed to be a vixen with a family of cubs, is still at large, and locals have two explanations for her kleptomania. Either she amassed them as toys for her children, or she simply likes collecting shoes, or both. So far 120 stolen shoes have been retrieved.
"She's clearly got a thing about shoes," Rudolf Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, the local count who lives in Föhren Palace, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "We found 86 shoes in the den and a further 32 in a nearby quarry where they like to play. That includes 12 or 13 matching pairs of shoes."
"The shoes may well be intended as toys for the cubs because there are bite marks made by little teeth on the shoelaces," he continued. "It's impressive that she found the time to steal them in addition to getting food."
Count von Kesselstatt had the retrieved shoes laid out in the palace on Wednesday so that the townsfolk can come and collect them.
The case has made local headlines but so far the media hasn't come up with a name for the vixen -- given her obsession, Imelda would appear to be the most suitable one. So far she hasn't been caught in the act, and the people of Föhren seem content to leave her in peace.
"She's probably got more shoes in the den, we didn't want to venture in any further because she's still living there and we don't want to kill her, especially given that she's got cubs," said von Kesselstatt. "People should simply make sure they take their shoes in at night."
That is sound advice because Imelda is still at it with a vengeance, presumably to replenish her depleted collection. "More shoes have gone missing in the last few days," said von Kesselstatt



Thursday, June 11, 2009

How I became an instructor to the NBI

-->It's important to be well prepared so I needed a good plan, that was my motto. Back in Holland I started to look for the right persons to get me going. I found my way to the Philippine embassy in The Hague to get me a visa and to have a little chat with the ambassador over there and tell him what I was up to. In perfect English but no word of Dutch he directed me to Rotterdam where a commercial attaché was holding his diplomatic office.
So I went back all the way I came from because my hometown was only 15 miles west from Rotterdam. I drove downtown to the Coolsingel where this huge World Trade Centre had a little office room where I was to meet with  mr. Norberto Aquinaldo Romualdez 3rd.

Somewhere on the 3rd or 4th floor I found a Filipino being busy with all kinds of boxes and furniture. He apologized for the inconvenience while wiping his sweating forehead and represented as Butch Romualdez. I was not familiar with this name yet.

With enthousiasm I was telling him about me visiting his fatherland and how surprised I was to learn that English was spoken all over. I gained his sympathy when I told him about my plans to settle in the Philippines. He was glad to find out I wasn't just one of the tourists, but that I had some serious intentions to move to the East. His heavy low bass filled and echoed in the almost empty room while he was on the phone talking Tagalog. His voice often burst in a loud roaring laughter. In between all his activities he told me his personal story about his wife and children, his house in Wassenaar and other private information.
In the meantime he was typing one letter after another and I was about to suggest to come and visit him at a more convenient moment, when he handed all those epistles to me. He'd been writing all those letters for me!! Maybe 4 or 5 intros to organisations like NBI and PAJA to recommend my expertise as a Judo instructor. Personal letters to friends and relatives of his, and some packets I had to deliver.
I was so surprised by this sudden friendship where I expected to face a diplomatic distance. But no such thing. On the contrary. He invited me to have a look in his new office where he had displayed a various number of Philippine products. He was promoting bamboo and rattan hand-made furniture, clothings, food and fruit and a lot more.
Butch was barking from the other office: “Burt come here...”. He had typed me two more letters. One to the Governor of Laguna and the other to the Governor of Abra, a province all the way up north in Luzon to where I had a trip scheduled. For years already I had supported the Foster Parents organisation to help communities abroad to live a better life. My money had been donated to a barrio in this province Abra and I wanted to see with my very own eyes what was done with it.
The letter to the Governor was to obtain a Dutch order to produce bamboo saté prickers by the thousands.
Butch, officially Norberto the 3rd, was talking a lot about his late father Norberto 2nd and his aunt Imelda the sister of his old man.
Only then it came to me that aunty Melda was the first lady of the Philippines, the wife of president Ferdinand Marcos..... and I was to meet her not long before she had to flee the palace and leave her shoes behind, hunted by an enraged mob.
The next few weeks I visited Butch several times in his office, but also in his place in Wassenaar when he suffered a painful back which I had to fix. In the meantime I had met with John Mullin, a good friend and colleague of Butch. He visited Rotterdam to get him some orders for his company. He was to fly to Manila one week after me next month. I made good friends with him and took him on a sightseeing tour to the Delta works along our Dutch coast and invited him for lunch at my fathers place.
He promised to contact me asa he had landed on MIA , and he did. Later he came to my place in Naic quite often.
With a 25 kg overload suitcase I boarded Philippine Airlines and was about to start a great adventure......

It wasn't my first flight to Asia. Back in 1975 it was my first time to travel these areas when I was on my way to Tokyo to join a Judo apprenticeship. And each time our route was a different one.
Of course there was KLM, a liner straight to Tokyo, charge: US $2500.- . Singapore Airlines and Pal were a lot cheaper to charge $600.- only. These flights took twice as long, up to 24 hrs. And that was due to the many stops we had. The first touchdown after taking of Schiphol Amsterdam could be Brussels already and next stop Geneva. From there to Amman Jordan. Bahrein, Hongkong, Bangkok, Singapore, Manila and finally Tokyo.

-----
Kodokan-institute, Tokyo Japan.




I had no problems at all with these stop-overs, cos having an open ticket one could easily interrupt the flight to continue some days or weeks later. And when you're not in a hurry it's a perfect way to meet people and see something.

For sure I got out in Bangkok to do the coconut-jungle tour, to visit the crocodile farms and to see the elephants at work in the upper north of the country at Chiang Mai, in 'the golden triangle' near Campuchea where the opium-production is HUGE.
I didn't like the sweet smell of it and regarding the physical condition of the locals it's no good for your health either.

A couple of hours north to Bangkok I took a trip to the river Kwai to see the monument erected to commemorize the POW's killed building of the railroad and bridges during WW2.
This bridge ( blown to pieces by David Niven in the movie...) was rebuild not far from the original location

10 december 1975 . Whoever could have predict that 14 years later I'ld be joining the shooting of 
'The return from the river Kwai 
– –


This trip however I was in a hurry, I wanted to get started in Manila and couldn't wait these 20 hrs to pass.

It will always be a special feeling to set foot an tropical soil after staying in the west for some time. It's not just the heat and the tropical rain, but also this typical smell that seems to hang around those eastern metro pools. Specially Bangkok gave me a feeling that just ahead of us a truckload of garbage was dumped on the runway. During the rainy season this smell was bearable cos all rotten contents of the sewer system were washed away. But then, often the rain came down so heavily that all shit entered the streets so rats and cockroaches crawled all over the place. Manila also had its own smells.
I learned pretty fast that food in those little sari-sari stores was eatable/edible and cheap, much much cheaper then the restaurants in the tourist belt serving international food. I loved tahoo in the morning and adobe and giniling for lunch. And a bottle of San Miguel would complete the meal. I felt a pinoy already when I could say 'masarap ang kumain' when I was done, which means the food tasted good. I was back in Ermita....

--THE NBI BUILDING--

The next day I started to select Buch's letters. I had bought myself a Manila street map so I was able to find my way around. There was a letter to attorney at law Emil Ong, assemblyman and head of the NFA, the National Food Authority. He was holding office in Binondo. I put letter this one second.
On top there was a writing to Jolly Bugarin, chief of the NBI, the National Bureau of Investigation and headquarters at Taft avenue, walking distance from Mabinistreet.
I couldn't help being impressed by all those initials and a little nervous I proceeded to Taft.
The building wasn't inviting, it looked hostile to me and so did security. I didn't feel at ease at all. It was crowded already this early hour and I hoped they didn't all come to see Bugarin.
Everybody had to report and register. I was the only white guy around at that moment so I was noticed at once. Two armed guards with bad attitude stepped down and started to question me. I told them I came to see their boss, they even wanted to read the letter Butch gave me. “So you are a Judo instructor”? , they reacted.
Yes,” I was bragging, “I'm here to teach you.”
They were very curious and wanted to know more about it. But I didn't say too much and told them I'ld rather discuss details with their boss... A messenger went into an office, and appeared again to nodd me in.
There was mr Bugarin, as one could expect in a large room, behind a large desk and indeed sitting in a very large leather seat. The man was huge and fat but seemed small due to the extra seize of everything around him. I was offered a seat at appropriate distance of his desk. He looked down at me and allowed me to do my story. Then he nodded one of his disciples to reach him the letter I carried. When he had spelled every word twice and after examining the envelop from the in- and the outside he asked me to come closer. He was interested if I could teach his men useful disarming techniques and do something about “those fat bellies”.
I made the mistake to quick wit that he could join the training...
That very same minute I became 'persona non grata' . He commanded one of his “undergods' to entertain me and show the facilities. I never saw the man again. Better be careful with boys having an -I- in their logogram.
My private undergod invited me to follow him, he smiled at me with some admiration in his eyes as I had teased his boss, which he probably never ever dared doing. We entered the sanctuaries of the NBI. And with opening that door all attitude had gone. There were 'normal' people working at their desks doing their office job.
Then after leaving these dusty and smokey quarters we came to the serene catacombs of the NBI gym. The remote location of the hall, the silence and musty smell where I couldn't define any ingredients to transpiration surmised me that the physical condition of these NBI agents was far from the ideal.
My companion called a name or title and someone showed up from one of the many offices down there.
Now this was the very first time to shake hands with somebody in the NBI building.
I met with mr. Federico Amisola, instructor of the NBI gym and 3rd dan Black belt. He gave me his card. I introduced myself as chief instructor of the IBF and IMAF in Europe 4th dan, and handed him mý calling card.



At that moment I outranked him and was his superior. And I was sent by his boss.... I had to get used to my very all of a sudden new position and decided to delegate. Now, that's exactly what the man expected, he was awaiting his orders. So I told him I wanted to use the gym the next coming weeks for physical training and he was to notify everybody to show up. I opened my (still empty) notebook to schedule it somewhere. Then I suggested a couple of dates and inquired if this would fit his agenda. He seemed to know this game, cos a took his agenda and started to search empty pages as well. After a while he said he could re-arrange some appointments so the gym would be free. Federico started to write the announcement immediately with a surprising fast two-finger-system.
Content I wanted to leave the place, but he insisted to escort me and buy me a lunch... I couldn't resist.

--

I was quite satisfied when I returned to my hotel room later that afternoon. I was in.
Utang sa loob...
I wondered if I could give the next day a same fruitful start, so I thought it a good idea to contact #2 on my list of letters. All these envelopes were open so I could read to which directions he was recommending me. The NBI letter mentioned my martial arts skills; the one to Emil Ong mentioned my diverse ways of healing and he called me 'helot'. The first time ever I heard the word.

P.I.Hardware”, said a voice in my telephone, and for a while I thought I dialed the number of a private detective, but it seemed to be Emil in person so I could start my intro-talk. As soon as I mentioned Butch's name the ice broke and I had to tell him all about Betty and the kids. He wanted to hear the latest of his overseas buddy. We set an appointment for later next week cos he needed to visit his province Samar.

1st training NBI .

I planned to get out of town and spent some days at the beach of Puerta Gallera, by bus to Batangas and from there by boat to the island of Mindoro. Thé place to recover a jetlag............read more..
.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Women of valor - Hamburger Hill


Bij de lokale producties werd de spoeling wat dun. De markt werd verpest door lui die onder de prijs gingen werken. Vooral de buitenlanders die hier al langer woonden en zich verkeken hadden op de werkgelegenheid wilden zich nog al eens aanmelden bij de nationale producers en pakten het werk voor minder dan de helft van de prijs voor onze neus weg. Toeristen genoeg die er zelfs geld voor over zouden hebben om in een film mee te mogen spelen.
De vaste kern van de ploeg waar ik mee werkte deed hier niet aan mee en weigerde om onder de norm te werken. We hebben hierdoor best enkele films gemist.

Ik bleef trouw aan Henry Strzalkofski. en de Metcalfes en mocht na een aantal maanden opdraven voor:
'Women of Valor'


Het was de verfilming van de dodentocht der Japanse krijgsgevangenen op Bataan, de Philippijnen, een barre tocht waarin een aantal heldhaftige vrouwen van zich laat horen. Susan Sarandon en Kristy McNichols stelen de show als stoere meiden. Het is dat wij onderweg te drinken kregen, maar voor de rest voelde alles vrij echt aan. De hitte van de zon, de vermoeidheid die die na een dag lopen toeslaat, het lawaai van laag overvliegende Zero's van de Jappen, bombardementen ... Ik kon me goed voorstellen dat velen deze zware opgave niet konden volbrengen en dood langs de kant van de weg neervielen.

Ik had niet veel te stunten in deze film, het bleef beperkt tot het achterin een rijdende truck springen waarvan de laadklep open stond. De chauffeur had echter een te zware voet en ging iets te snel voor me om er mooi in te kunnen duiken. Doordat hij voor wat hobbels moest afremmen, kon ik net die ene stap extra maken en sprong naar voren, juist op het moment dat de auto over een bult wipte. De achterklep kwam precies genoeg omhoog om me vol op de knie te raken terwijl ik aan boord krabbelde. Dit was na het incident met de jeepney bij 'The Firebird', mijn pijnlijkste ervaring tot nu toe. Ik heb de opnames al strompelend af kunnen maken, en zo de knie nog meer op zijn donder gegeven met als gevolg dat ik een aantal maanden was uitgeschakeld voor het zwaardere werk.

'Het gevaar van pijnbestrijding ( dus ook dmv. drukpunten ) is, dat zonder pijnwaarschuwing de kwaal kan verergeren. Rust en therapie zijn dan op hun plaats'.
En om dat op het strand te doen, is geen straf........

Het was een relaxed leventje in Timalan, een kleine gemeenschap waar iedereen elkaar kent, maar waar ze ook voor elkaar klaar-staan indien nodig.
Regelmatig was er reden voor een feest, een verjaardag, een diploma-uitreiking of iemand die na maandenlang werken in het buitenland terugkeerde
in de barrio.
Geen feest zonder bier. Meestal stond er een emmer, gevuld met bier en ijs, waaruit iedere keer een glas werd gevuld, en een emmer water waar het glas werd gespoeld en opnieuw met bier gevuld. Zo ging dat glas de groep rond en kreeg iedereen evenveel te drinken. Bij een grote groep gingen er twee glazen rond. En voor de liefhebbers kwam daar dan een joint achteraan...
Het enige nadeel was dat het eigenlijk net iets te ver van Manila lag. Maar de rust en de vriendschap in de provincie wilde ik voor geen goud omwisselen voor een plek in Manila, hoewel ik er beslist een tiental heb gemist omdat ik niet op tijd bereikbaar was.

Er waren zoveel producenten in Manila, dat er beslist elke dag wel ergens opnames voor een film bezig waren. De meesten deden een goede maand over de verfilming en stonden dan weer klaar voor de volgende. En dan heb ik alleen nog maar over de lokale produkties. Internationaal was er veel belangstelling voor de Philippijnen, niet in de laatste plaats om de gunstige koersverhouding tussen peso en dollar. Dat de voertaal er Engels is, is zonder meer een enorm voordeel, terwijl de milieuregels er ook niet al te nauw worden nageleefd. Daarbij kwam dat er genoeg 'blanke cast' rondliep, niet alleen in het toeristengebied, maar zeker op de Amerikaanse bases in Subic en Clark. Regelmatig werden er hier jongens geronseld wanneer er behoefte was aan een groot aantal militairen en voor die gasten was het een leuk verzetje. Goed gedrild als ze waren, stonden de meesten hun mannetje.

Ik had al een tijdje niets meer van Paul Vance gehoord, later bleek dat hij naar Bangkok verhuisd was.
Ik heb nooit meer iets van hem vernomen.
Op de sets van Kinavesa was eigenlijk altijd de zelfde groep aanwezig. Die jongens hadden een contract bij Cirio of bij Kimmy Lim en hadden een grote inbreng in bijna alle produkties die in de jaren 80 tot stand werden gebracht. Uiteraard Nick, Henry, Richard en James Gaines waren van de partij, evenals Willie Williams en Bruce Baron. En zo liep er nog zo'n stelletje rond. Zij waren de vaste blanke/westerse cast en gaven de films internationale allure.
Buiten de tientallen B-films die ze hier produceerden, hadden zij ook een niet te onderschatten aandeel in de grotere internationale produkties en deden zo een schat aan ervaringen op. In de loop der jaren zijn ze zich meer gaan bezighouden met regie en camerawerk.
De kleinere casting-buro's liet ik eigenlijk links liggen, van de meesten vond ik de kwaliteit onder de maat.
Ik werkte liever voor de Metcalfes, omdat zij voornamelijk internationale producties deden waar de grote jongens een vinger in de pap hadden. Tot nu toe had ik geen reden tot klagen, bij de meeste castings of work-outs was ik er door gekomen. Zij waren tenslotte toch degenen die je CV. met een introductie op tafel moesten leggen bij de producers en ik was dan ook blij dat ik een uitnodiging kreeg om voor een film van John Irvin op te draven.

De Heuvel
Waar de camera's draaiden was, zoals ik dat noemde, de was-straat. We moesten een heuvel innemen en kropen met volle bepakking omhoog. Beschoten worden maakte het er niet gemakkelijker op. Alsof dat nog niet genoeg was, moest deze scène zich afspelen in het regenseizoen, maar het regende niet. Daar was rekening mee gehouden, want er stonden brandspuiten klaar die op ons gericht waren. En ze gingen spuiten ook. Dat werd me een bagger, we probeerden omhoog te komen, maar de modder die “downhill” kwam, sleurde ons bij ieder vordering weer een stuk naar beneden. De doden vielen bij bosjes en er kwamen er niet veel aan de top. Zo gebeurde het geschiedkundig en zo werd het gefilmd!
Voor special fxs werden er duizenden autobanden het dal ingeroetsjt. Het leek een soort kabelbaan waarlangs de banden met een heel apart geluid naar beneden gierden. De rookeffecten, een zwarte vette walm en de stank waren niet te harden. Van diverse kanten werd er ook geprotesteerd want dit was smerig, milieu-activisten heb ik er niet over gehoord......
Dit was .....

'HAMBURGER HILL'
Team “Hamburger Hill”
Ik ben een aantal dagen op de set geweest maar buiten Eric Hahn en diverse crew-members van Filippino afkomst, kan ik me niet echt veel anderen herinneren. Er was zo vreselijk veel actie, en sommige scènes werden diverse keren opgenomen. Tussen de re-takes moesten op onze positie blijven. De dingen die niet goed gingen werden nog 'ns doorgenomen, de camera's namen een andere positie in en we mochten de heuvel weer op. Zo kippig als ik ben, zag ik alles niet zo scherp zonder bril, (pas later ben ik op lenzen overgestapt ) en dan is het lastig gezichten herkennen.
Het was duidelijk dat ik niet met amateurs te doen had, er werd in een hoog tempo gewerkt en we hadden genoeg te doen. Wij als Bravo-compagnie kwamen jammer genoeg minder aan bod dan de, voornamelijk uit de States overgevlogen Alpha- compagnie.
Die jongens kregen ook aanmerkelijk meer betaald...




Verneveld water vermengd met rookeffecten van de autobanden en modder die door de explosies metershoog werd opgeworpen, dat was ons blikveld. Oorverdovend kabaal, modder in alle gaten en poriën, nat tot op het bot, trillende knieën van de inspanning om die helling maar te kunnen nemen. Echt prettig was het niet, vooral de stinkende walm van de smeulende en brandende autobanden was adembenauwend. Er trad verzet op en men weigerde door te werken indien de effecten niet verminderd werden. Er werden wat brandjes geblust en wij werden iets gunstiger t.o.v. de wind geblokt.
Maar eerlijk gezegd scheelde het maar weinig want door het laaggelegen gebied in de vallei, bleef de rotzooi hangen en draaide als in een vortex in windvlagen om ons heen. We waren stuk voor stuk helemaal kapot, we stonken in de uniformen die we al een aantal dagen aanhadden en waar alle geurtjes en luchtjes van de voorgaande acties zich verenigd hadden tot een aroma dat de kotslust opwekte.
Tijdens de opnames van de Firebird liepen we meer dan een half jaar ! in hetzelfde ongewassen kloffie, dat stonk nog erger, maar de doordringende autobandengeur gaf het geheel een vleugje extra. De film werd later beschouwd als één van de betere Vietnam-oorlogsverslagen, zodat al onze ontberingen niet voor niets zijn geweest.


Getuige van vliegdrama Chuck Norris-film

Dit was een rampdag voor de filmploeg van Chuck Norris, maar zeker ook een gevoelige slag voor de internationale filmindustrie op de Philippijnen.
De lokatie voor de scènes is in het gebergte van Ternate, hemelsbreed 4 km van mijn woonplaats Timalan. Daar worden opnames gemaakt voor de film: Braddock, Missing in action 3, een Cannon productie van Golan-Globus. Chuck, Braddock genaamd in deze film, vlucht met 68 halfbloedkinderen en een geestelijke door de jungle van Vietnam op weg naar de vrijheid. Om daar te kunnen komen, moeten ze een rivier over met aan de overzijde een grenspost, bewaakt door 10 groene baretten waarvan ik er één ben...
Boven de brug hangen twee helicopters met camera's; wie kon toen vermoeden dat twee dagen later één ervan zou verongelukken, hoewel, er scheen al wat aan de hand te zijn. Tijdens de lunch-break vertelde een bemanningslid dat er vibraties waren in de rotor.
Toen zij 's middags na 5 uur teruggingen naar Manila, blies de schroefwind opgewaaid stof over onze vroege maaltijd. De opnamen voor deze dag, donderdag 28 mei zaten erop.''

Het was niet voor het eerst dat hier in de buurt opnamen werden gemaakt. Het landschap is te vergelijken met dat van Vietnam, terwijl bergformaties, vulkanen, heetwaterbronnen en watervallen uitstekend aan de voorwaarden voldoen.
In mei '86 schoot 'Platoon' hier een scène in een droge rivierbedding. Hier werd ik enkele keren opgeblazen door exploderende napalm in een decor voor Charly Sheen. In december van datzelfde jaar filmde 'Hamburger Hill' hier ook. Op een steile modderhelling baggeren we voor het oog van de camera's omhoog, onherkenbaar door de prut..
Ook 'Eastern Condor' had oog voor dezelfde rivier. En nu MIA 3 ,die er ook een hoogtepunt opneemt.
-zaterdagmorgen 30 mei 1988-

Het is nog vroeg, nog geen half acht, als ik al op het strand loop te trainen ter voorbereiding van de allerlaatste opnames komende week in Manila, waar we de val van Saigon zullen verfilmen. Een groots opgezette scène met ruim 3000 figuranten, die ook vanuit de lucht zou worden opgenomen.”

De helicopter die dáár maandag zou filmen kwam nu vanaf Manila langzaam en laag overvliegen, op weg naar Ternate om de crew op te halen. Ik herkende het toestel en zwaaide.

Door de lage zon kon ik de bemanning niet goed zien. Aan boord bevonden zich een Duitse stuntman en 6 bemanningsleden. Even later een vreemd geluid, ik draaide me om, maar het was al gebeurd....
Nog geen kilometer verderop, 100 meter in ze; vissersbootjes kwamen aangesneld en hielpen de drenkelingen aan boord. Voor twee van hen was het al te laat...De drijvende brokstukken werden zo goed en zo kwaad als het ging, naar het strand gesleept. Een helicopter van de reddingsbrigade was snel ter plaatse om de doden en gewonden naar het ziekenhuis van Naic te vliegen, nog geen kilometer verderop. De staartrotor was losgeslagen en door het (rieten) dak van een huis in de woonkamer beland, gelukkig was er niemand in het vertrek aanwezig.

De bemanning kende ik al sinds '84 toen ik als stuntman aan boord meevloog in 'Behind Enemy Lines '
Ik ben waarschijnlijk een van de laatsten die foto's van dit gevechtstoestel maakte, twee dagen vóór de tragedie. Het vele malen repeteren van de aanvliegroute voor de twee helicopters boven de brug gaf me voldoende gelegenheid om unieke momentopnamen te maken.

Er waren momenten dat er drie of vier heli's tegelijkertijd boven ons hingen. Een onbeschrijfelijk kabaal, loeiende wind en opgewaaid stof met daar recht boven een allesverschroeiende zon die de temperatuur in de schaduw tot 35 C liet oplopen. Maar we hadden ventilatie genoeg ....”.
Uiteraard schoot het drama van Vic Morrow door m'n hoofd. Die staartrotor had het ook een paar dagen eerder op kunnen geven toen er bijna 70 kinderen op de set waren..........

30 mei 1988
Ik had best te doen met die kids op de set. Er stond vrijwel geen wind, het was moordend heet en zij moesten achterin een afgesloten truck. Dat zelfde gold voor de scènes in het vliegtuig. Het toestel leek te vliegen, maar stond gewoon op de grond met die gastjes erin. Sommigen zaten tegen het flauwvallen aan. Terwijl in het toestel de opnames zo snel als maar mogelijk was werden geschoten, stond ik met nog een paar lui, buiten op de vleugel heen en weer te springen om het effect van een noodlanding na te bootsen. Vanaf dat moment konden de kinderen naar buiten de 'frisse lucht' in en was het grootste leed geleden. Ze wisten uiteindelijk de brug naar de vrijheid te bereiken en konden met onze hulp oversteken.
Heel triest dat het noodlot zich bij deze film had geschaard....
Tijdens de opnamen begin mei, had hoofd-cameraman Joao Fernandez zijn arm verdraaid en kon het filmapparaat niet meer op zijn schouder houden. Ik had nooit eerder met de man gesproken maar kende hem uiteraard van gezicht.
Toen ik hem vroeg of ik er eens naar mocht kijken keek hij wat bedenkelijk, maar stemde toch in. Ik was binnen een minuut met hem klaar en vroeg hoe het er mee stond. Wat ongelofelijk keek hij me aan, maar moest toch concluderen dat de pijn verdwenen was. Ik kreeg de term: 'Golden hands' van hem te horen.
Binnen no time stond Aaron Norris ( broer van Chuck en director ) voor m'n snufferd om me te bedanken. Gaf een lekker gevoel...