Oriental Paradise Casino: a first-timer’s tale

On our way to Subic from Manila, my bosses were discussing about trying out their luck in the casino, especially since we’re basically free at night. Of course, when I heard the terms “luck” and “casino”, an image of slot machines, 21 dealing tables, roulettes and dice came to mind. You see, I have never been inside a casino. All I know about casinos came from movies or documentaries (as in Breaking Vegas) or tidbits of info from my aunt who spent most of her adult life working for PAGCOR. Oh, some info from my brother too who worked at Gloria Jean’s before.

Casino, here I come!

The first time I had an “almost” casino moment is at Genting Highlands in Malaysia during Jed and I’s Sg-KL trip back in April 2010. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to enter. I can’t remember if it’s because we were carrying big backpacks or coz I was in shorts and slippers. Anyway, bottomline is we didn’t get to try. I was only able to have a glimpse of the seemingly gold surfaces of the slot machines, shining and shimmering as it tries to attract as much players (and money!) as possible.

Anyway, on Monday, Boss A got kinda sick. On Tuesday, it was Thon Thon massage and Royal Subic night. On Wednesday, Boss B returned to Manila and I finally saw the casino on our way to Royal Subic (Day 2!). The casino was probably about 500-700m away from Subic Park Hotel, where we are staying.  And then on Thursday,our last night, we were just discussing something at the dinner table when I think someone mentioned something about a casino! I remembered that we were supposed to go and asked Boss A about it. He said he has no interest to go anymore and he will just go jogging instead.

Luckily for me, another colleague wants to go as well. When the others heard, we decided to go after dinner, just to explore. While some are quite hesitant to the idea, we still went, even if it’s just for the sake of the pictures to be taken outside the casino. After passing by quite a few make-shift souvenir stalls along the sidewalk, we finally reached our destination: Oriental Paradise Casino.

PAGCOR-licensed casino: as legal as it can get

At first, we were kinda hesitant to enter, especial since I’m the only one among the group who’s wearing shoes (typically, wearing slippers is not allowed in casinos) and most of them are still buying from the evening make-shift stalls. We spent a few more minutes trying to capture a good shot of the signage saying Oriental Paradise Casino Subic managed by PAGCOR.

Suffice to say, it was almost a total failure. It’s quite difficult while using my Lumix TS10 (no name yet!) since it’s hard to manipulate the light in the background. I don’t know why I felt lazy to bring Ditri (my Nikon D3000) to this work trip. Probably because I was anticipating the heavy shopping bags of chips, chocolates and other what have yous from Royal Subic shopping mart/mall. (Well, this did not really happen coz I only bought 1 Soft Batch cookies, 1 Hershey’s miniatures, 1 big Combos and two small ones. I returned the big bag of baked Lay’s and Doritos when I got reminded I’m not really supposed to spend so much!)

Anyway, back to the casino, everyone was able to enter. No show money or shoes required. Unfortunately, also no photos allowed. Dang! So I’ll just share to you what it looks like, most of what I remember at least.

Upon entering, you’ll see on the right side about four rows of slot machines. At the end of the row, add probably two more rows, back to back. Imagine a perpendicular line. That’s how it’s arranged. There are probably about 10 types of slot machine games on the right side alone. I am not certain if the left side has the same set of games though since we decided to stay at our side. There’s also another section, separated from the slot machines, dedicated for the table games.

The slot machine indicates only P200, P500 and P1000 to be inserted. But, these also accept P100 (tricky huh?!). Lowest bet is P1. Quite cheap, you can say. But of course, the winnings’ also not that big. Quite cheap, I must say. 😀 Anyway, the first try, I inserted a P100 bill on an Egyptian looking slot machine game. With the first bet at P5 and only one combination type as possible winning bet, I won. Yey! But then, later on, I kept losing, and then I won some. The bravest I got was betting P20. And I lost. Anyway, my P100 credit ran out, so it’s quite frustrating. My colleague, on the other hand, just won more than P400.

My whispering "devils" -- the cutest!

After the frustration here, we moved on to another area on the right side. Without reading carefully (and I still don’t understand the game’s mechanics!), I inserted one more P100 bill in a game that has a P.50 per credit bet, but requires you to play at least 25 credits for one round. So that’s P12.50 minimum bet. Quite sneaky huh?! There was a point when my total credits reached 545, which can be encashed as P272.50 already. But, as a first-timer, I felt the urge to play some more. Not necessarily coz I wanted to win some bucks but because I wanted to savor the moment some more.

I was like a child, clapping my hands for every win, even if it was just 5 credits of P2.50. I was literally doing a round of applause gesture every time. SERIOUSLY. And then, behind my back, I can hear my “conscience”. Imagine the angel and devil whispering in my ear, I had something like that. Especially when I inserted another P100, after my P10 encash blooper. Diyahe talaga!

Two colleagues were saying I shouldn’t insert more money coz I already lost P200. Tho others, however, were saying “Let her play. She did not come here to win money anyway. She came here for the experience and that is something that money can’t buy.” And I’m like, “She’s right!” So, to make this story short, the casino devil won and I’m lost. But I think I still won though.

I mean, it was a good experience for me. Finally being able to enter a casino and play some slot machines. Even though I did not have any monetary gains, I think I can still cross it out in my 25-before-25 list. So, technically, I still won. Or something like that. hahaha

San Miguel Beer Apple Flavor

Another winner that night is my other colleague who took home more than P1000 (this just proves that “beginner’s luck” is no match to “veteran’s expertise”). I can’t remember the exact amount. What I can remember though is we dropped by MiniStop before we headed back to the hotel. We just had a chill/down time moment, chatting a little about our work and then planning some more about a night out after the Project’s grand sharing session to be held late in August. Of course, the food and drinks were sponsored by our colleague: with P500 as budget! So, I had another first time for the night: an ice-cold San Miguel Beer, APPLE FLAVOR! At 3% alcohol and a Cali-like taste and tinge in the mouth, it’s surely a treat for losers like me! Hehehe

Though I lost, I still had a great time–wandered around the area, had a fun experience at Oriental Paradise Casino, goofed at the playground and spent some time chitchatting and just chilling. These are the perks of work travel, no matter how long or short it may be and it’s best enjoyed with people who can appreciate the simple things too. Just another reason to keep on traveling and exploring.

Happy wandering and I hope you win on your first casino night, be it at Oriental Paradise or not!

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