Exotic Women

At Cheese's urging, Bob Peterson and I moved from Connie's place to a suite at the Manila Hotel, which at that time provided the best accommodations available in the city. I loved the relaxed atmosphere at the hotel but about a month after moving in, the tranquility I enjoyed so much was suddenly disrupted.

Early one morning while in the pool I was openly complaining about the new hotel manager, Colonel Nieto, who in my opinion had done little more than stroll arrogantly around the hotel with a scarf draped over his shoulder issuing restrictive canons against everything I was enjoying.

A beautiful and shapely young woman approached who overheard my comments. Taking exception, the Latin beauty hauled off to slap me but I saw it coming and grabbed her hand. She struggled to break free of my grip but I still didn't want to get slapped so I pulled her close and impulsively kissed her. As our lips met, she relaxed into my arms and spontaneously returned my embrace.

When I loosened my grip she pushed away and visibly recomposed herself as if she had suddenly realized where she was. Her supple lips formed a distinctive pout but her back stiffened in indignation and her soft brown eyes flashed in anger. "Just who do you think you are," she demanded.

I didn't know if she had responded to my kiss on impulse or impetus but regardless, I wasn't about to let her know I found her beauty and pretentious personality irresistibly exhilarating. "I know who I am," I retorted condescendingly, "the question is who are you, and what was that all about?"

"That was my father you were so rudely insulting," she said, building a new head of steam as she defended her father, "he happens to be a very important man and you have no right to speak of him in such a way." What a temper! I now realized I had just met Nena Nieto, daughter of the new hotel manager.

"We should try to be friends," I said, smiling wryly, "why don't we get to know each other a little better. Stick around and I'll buy you lunch."

"Well, of all the nerve," was all that Nena said in reply as she turned and left the pool area in a huff.

After Nena left, several of us decided to order lunch poolside but once again, that turned out to be in conflict with Colonel Nieto's latest edict. We were told we would have to eat in the Pavilion, and so I proceeded to the pavilion in the company of two American girls who were part of a large contingent of War Damage Commission employees also housed at the hotel.

Dressed in our bathing suits, we immediately caught the eye of Colonel Nieto who ordered the waiter not to serve us. The girls were told they would have to put tops on, and I was told I needed a dinner jacket. The girls went to their rooms to get tops, and I sent one of the waiters, Joe, to my room for my white sharkskin jacket.

I was waiting for the others to return when Nena walked into the Pavilion, and to my surprise, she sat down at my table. Nena and I chatted coolly until the other girls returned with tops and Joe with my Jacket. We then proceeded to order lunch but once again, we were denied service. With only a jacket over my bathing suit, I still didn't meet the Colonel's dress code.

When I stood up to leave, Nena surprised me again by countermanding her father's orders, telling the waiter to serve us as we were. Nena and her father had been in some kind of a squabble and this was a shot across her father's bow to even the score. We both lived to regret the episode when the Colonel later told Nena he would cut off her allowance if he ever caught her with me again. This of course only served to force our relationship underground.

Colonel Nieto was of Spanish descent and Nena inherited her father's Mediterranean appearance. Her refined features and light complexion were striking. Before managing the Manila Hotel, the Colonel had been Philippine Ambassador to Spain. Traveling far and wide with her father, Nena had become well known and was barraged by suitors.

I knew I would never be able to deal with Nena's fiery Spanish temperament, plus not wishing to join the ranks of her conquests, I chose to keep our relationship platonic. Nena was not accustomed to rejection so this seemed only to drive her with greater determination to win my affection. Even without much physical intimacy, we became very close, and still it seemed I was quite often in hot water with Nena.

Shortly after my encounter with Nena, someone at Java-China's Shanghai office heard of several surplus PT boats for sale at the Samar Naval Base and wired us to go assess the prospect of purchasing them for resale. We decided Pete should make the trip since he was the engineer among us and most qualified to determine the mechanical viability of the boats.

I drove to Philippine Airlines to book air passage for Pete and while there I noticed a good looking Filipino woman in the airline office. Due to our frequent traveling on company business I had become acquainted with Gus Vallejo, the manager of PAL, so as I passed his office I stopped and stuck my head in. "Hey Gus," I said, "Who's the classy Filipino girl?"

"Oh hi Phil," Gus replied. "Her? She's on my staff—a company supervisor. Her name is Nevy Aquino, but forget it Phil, she's engaged to a pilot, Jim Fleming. He's a Texan, a big husky fellow too."

"Sure, thanks Gus," I said and continued to the ticket agent.

I still wanted to meet the woman so I began hatching a plan in my mind. After making flight arrangements for Pete, I returned to Gus's office. "We're having a swim party at the Manila Hotel Saturday afternoon Gus. How would you like to bring your staff and join us?"

"Sure, I think so," Gus said, "let me check with the girls and I'll let you know."

Gus called the next day to confirm, and Saturday afternoon Gus and the PAL staff arrived as promised. The whole object of the party was to get a look at Nevy Aquino in a bathing suit and she was the only one who arrived without one. Not to be denied my ambition, I took her to the hotel gift shop where I purchased for her a bathing suit of the latest and sexiest fashion available.

During the following weeks, Nevy occasionally had lunch with me but she was reserved and nothing further seemed to be developing. I decided to try something that would be a little more adventurous but still innocent enough that she wouldn't object. Java‑China had just acquired a 63' Navy rescue boat called a crash boat. It was a beautiful craft, more like a pleasure boat than a military vessel, so I persuaded Nevy to take a cruise with me.

A few days later, I fueled the crash boat and parked it at the Manila Hotel's private dock just beyond the pavilion. I had the hotel chef pack a picnic style lunch, and Nevy met me in the lobby. As we walked down to the dock, I sensed that Nevy was nervous. I suspected her tentativeness was a result of something in her past which I knew little about at that time. Still, I knew Nevy was as attracted to me as I was to her and so whatever the problem was, I was determined to break through her resistance.

As the day wore on, I sensed Nevy was softening but still she was resistant to any real intimacy. After cruising around the harbor, I dropped anchor in a secluded spot and we ate lunch. After lunch we swam and then stretched out on the bow of the boat to bask in the warm tropical sun. As we lay talking soulfully, Nevy said something that moved me and I leaned over and kissed her affectionately. She blushed and I gently wrapped her in my arms and pulled her close. Suddenly alarmed, Nevy pushed away and said, "Please Phil don't, I just can't—."

I said nothing but smiled reassuringly and kissed her again softly. Nevy slowly relaxed and nestled into my arms. Soon the world faded around us as a gentle tropical breeze carried us away in passionate bliss. Later, Nevy opened up and talked freely of her dreams, her passions, and the nightmare of her past. From that time on, our friendship blossomed and we were frequently together.

Still, Nevy and I were not exclusive and my time was now divided between her and Nena Nieto, which meant that things quickly became complicated. Nena turned out to be a very possessive woman and with Nevy and Nena each having the Latin temperament, I found myself often in the impossible position of trying to remain simultaneously in each of their good graces.

Both women possessed exotic beauty and each was of deep character, though for different reasons—Nena from her privileged status in life and Nevy from her tragic past. Nena was slightly the younger of the two. She was also perhaps the most attractive physically, though that may have been only an illusion due to her wealth, health and possessing the more expensive wardrobe of the two. She also seemed better educated due perhaps to years of circulating among a more elite social class.

Nevy was a 25‑year old beauty with a terrific figure and a vivacious personality to go with her great looks. She also was well educated and though not as socially sophisticated or as confident as Nena, she was Nena's superior in reason and application of her knowledge. She had been married twice—first to a man of her parents choosing, and then a second time for love. The tragedy in her life was that soon after her second marriage, Japan invaded the Philippines and Nevy's husband was murdered by Japanese soldiers who then raped her.

I considered both women as good friends and I became attached to each of them. I even wondered if I might end up in love or marrying one or the other. For the time being however, I was not nearly ready to settle down so I decided to keep them both at arms length concerning any exclusive commitment. Though I could not have known at the time, both women were destined to play a prominent role in my future—one would save my life, the other would win my heart.

Stories of Philip A. Mehan - Written by Scott Dawes © 2005-2009