The Beatles travel from Japan to the Philippines

Sunday, July 3, 1966
Timeline More from year 1966
Manila, Philippines

Related concerts

Manila • Rizal Memorial Football Stadium • Philippines

Jul 04, 1966 • 4pm show • Philippines • Manila • Rizal Memorial Football Stadium

Manila • Rizal Memorial Football Stadium • Philippines

Jul 04, 1966 • 8:30pm show • Philippines • Manila • Rizal Memorial Football Stadium

Spread the love! If you like what you are seeing, share it on social networks and let others know about The Paul McCartney Project.


On the morning of July 3, 1966, The Beatles left Tokyo and took a flight to Manilla in the Philippines. They had a 70-minute stopover in Hong Kong for refuelling. During that time, they rested in the VIP lounge of the airport – where they conducted some interviews – before continuing their journey to Manila.

From Manila – The Beatles History (
From Meet the Beatles for Real: Sayōnara Japan! – The Beatles boarded their plane in Tokyo and waved goodbye. Of course all four the Beatles would return to Japan at one time or another after 1966, but it would be a long time before that return.
From Manila – The Beatles History (
From The Beatles on a Japan Airlines flight from Hong Kong to Manila… Photo d’actualité – Getty Images – The Beatles on a Japan Airlines flight from Hong Kong to Manila during their final world tour, 3rd July 1966. Clockwise from left: George Harrison (1943 – 2001), manager Brian Epstein (1934 – 1967), Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, John Lennon (1940 – 1980) and chauffeur Alf Bicknell (1928 – 2004). (Photo by Robert Whitaker/Getty Images)
From The Beatles disembark at Hong Kong International Airport during their… Fotografía de noticias – Getty Images – The Beatles disembark at Hong Kong International Airport (Kai Tak Airport) during their Asian tour, 3rd July 1966. Their aircraft stopped there to refuel before taking them on to the Philippines. (Photo by Bob Whitaker/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
From Manila – The Beatles History ( – The Beatles arriving in Hong Kong
From Manila – The Beatles History (
From The Beatles in Hong Kong – The Daily Beatle ( – During their Far East tour in 1966, the Beatles had a stopover in Hong Kong. There aren’t many photos from that visit, but here’s a nice one I got in the mail today. Looks like Mal Evans is having a conversation with the stewardess in the background!

The Beatles landed at Manila Airport at 4:30 pm, where a large group of fans were waiting to greet them. However, they didn’t get to see them because The Beatles’ plane did not land close to them. The Beatles were then separated from their management staff and driven to the Philippine Navy Headquarters where a press conference was held. Afterwards they were taken to a private yacht owned by a wealthy Filipino named Don Manolo Elizalde, a friend of local concert promoter Ramon Ramos Jr.

From Wikipedia:

[…] The Cathay Pacific flight carrying the Beatles landed at Manila Airport at 4.30 pm on 3 July. The nation’s police and military forces were in a state of high alert comparable with President Eisenhower’s 1960 visit; noting the prevalence of firearms, one of the Beatles asked whether there was a war taking place in the Philippines. In Starr’s description, the atmosphere was “that hot/Catholic/gun/Spanish Inquisition attitude”. Whereas the band and their entourage were usually given the privileges afforded to visiting diplomats, on this occasion, the four Beatles were hustled into a vehicle by armed men wearing civilian clothes. Harrison later recalled their alarm at being separated from Epstein, Aspinall and Mal Evans for the first time on a tour; his immediate concern was that, with their hand luggage left behind on the runway, the band would be arrested once their supplies of marijuana were discovered by the authorities. The Beatles were driven to the headquarters of the Philippine Navy on Manila Harbour and led to a press conference attended by 40 journalists. They were then escorted by military personnel to a luxury yacht owned by Don Manolo Elizalde, a wealthy Filipino industrialist, whose 24-year-old son wanted to host a party to show off the Beatles to his friends. Epstein finally caught up with the band before the yacht sailed out into Manila Bay. After spending several hours on board, he and the Beatles returned to the marina and, at 4 am, arrived at the Manila Hotel, where Epstein had booked accommodation.

Music journalists Jim Irvin and Chris Ingham have referred to the Beatles’ abduction at the airport and detainment on the yacht as a kidnapping. Alternatively, Turner writes that, unknown to Epstein, arrangements had been made between Ramon Ramos and Vic Lewis [Epstein and Brown’s colleague at the management company NEMS] for the Beatles to spend the night on the yacht, since that presented a better security option than a city hotel. Aspinall, who had arrived at the marina with the Beatles’ hand luggage while they were out on the bay, said that their abduction was carried out by a militia gang who were rivals of the individuals presenting the upcoming concerts. […]

From Meet the Beatles for Real: The beginning of the Manila trip – The Beatles arrive in Manilla

As soon as we got there it was bad news. There were tough gorillas – little men – who had short-sleeved shirts and acted very menacingly.

The normal proceedings in those days were 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 [Aspinall] 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 this 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.’

George Harrison – From “The Beatles Anthology” book, 2000

An enormous crowd of very young Filipino fans invaded the international airport to greet the group on arrival. Radio and TV reports broadcast an endless flow of information about the progress of our Cathay Pacific flight from Tokyo. To reduce the likelihood of poorly controlled fans mobbing the boys, Vic Lewis fixed with the chief immigration officer and customs, police and health authorities for routine formalities to be waived. Instead of coming in close to the crowds at the terminal buildings, our plane taxied to the outskirts of the airstrip. Here, hidden behind bushes, Lewis had our limousine at the ready and a long metal ladder to let The Beatles climb down from the aircraft before it turned round and took the rest of our party plus the flight’s regular passengers to the terminal in the usual way. Before getting into the waiting limousine The Beatles had to let Filipino officials carry out the essential formalities of stamping passports, checking health certificates and clearing hand baggage. At the last minute The Beatles insisted that I should get off with them to cope with any press who might show up along the way. I raced after the boys and was waved through to our waiting convoy of cars to be driven off with an escort of six military-style police motorcyclists.

As we sped through quiet suburban side streets the boys showed concern that Neil Aspinall had been left behind at the airport along with a load of baggage that included their supply of grass. I said: “I’m sure he won’t be far behind us.” The penny hadn’t dropped. I hadn’t realised that their real fear was not for the wellbeing of Aspinall but that their baggage would be searched and illegal substances found. Then the boys asked: “Why aren’t we heading to our hotel?” Without being able to check with Vic Lewis I couldn’t answer but our driver said that his destination was the Philippine Navy Headquarters near the quayside. Apparently this was where the group’s formal press conference would take place, but I had no idea why Vic had not insisted that it be held at the Manila Hotel where we were due to stay.

From “John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me: The Real Beatles Story” by Tony Barrow, 2006

The private yacht owned by Don Manolo Elizalde, a friend of local concert promoter Ramon Ramos Jr., was supposed to be their stay for the night. Rooms had also been booked at the Manila Hilton, for part of their management team but also to fool fans.

At first, The Beatles seemed to enjoy being on the boat. Newspapers reported they were able to relax and listen to Indian music on cassette tapes.

But things became uncomfortable, due to the heat and mosquitos biting but also due to the policemen holding guns on the deck of the boat for their security. Late in the evening, Brian Epstein decided The Beatles needed to leave the boat and go back to the Manila Hilton. They finally made it to the hotel at 4 am.

There is a distinct gap between how The Beatles and their team remember the Marima, and how it was reported at that time. The version recounted by Quijano de Manila (i.e. Nick Joaquin) for the Philippine Free Press narrates a slow-burning but sedate affair, with The Beatles being served Scotch and Cokes, a consommé, fried chicken, filet mignon with mashed potatoes, carrots and sweet peas. The only other persons authorized on board apart from the crew were two children of Don Manolo, and beauty queen Josine Pardo de Tavera Loinaz.

The Marima was to be the floating hotel for The Beatles, far from the madding crowds as seen in A Hard Day’s Night. The boys remained relaxed throughout, playing tapes of Indian classical music. They remained nonplussed even after a group of 18 young people, Elizaldes and friends, had boarded the yacht without authorization and stayed for some moments. The party pooper, according to this version, was Brian Epstein. He was unrelentingly cranky, to the point that even the lads were twitting him about it. Soon, he demanded that they be let off the boat and into an actual hotel. The boys themselves remained nice, George even telling Josine, “We want to come back to visit when this craze has died down and we’re not famous anymore.”

Later accounts from the surviving Beatles depict their time on the Marima as closer to a hostage situation. […]

From The Beatles in Manila: Remembering the Nightmare (

Then a most peculiar thing happened, which is revealed here in its entirety for the first time; instead of being taken to the hotel, we were driven to a pier and put on a boat, which took us a mile or two out to sea before returning again. This was neither a reception nor a government ritual but an opportunity to separate us from our luggage for a half hour or so. It was very disconcerting to all of us, for we all knew that the Beatles now traveled with several pounds of marijuana in their equipment cases. Usually, these cases were searched only perfunctorily at customs, if at all, and generally were given the same treatment as diplomatic pouches. We were returned to the pier and handed our luggage, with no explanations offered nor questions asked. We suspected that the drugs had been found and that the government officials were keeping quiet about it as an accommodation. It was assumed that nobody wanted to become involved in an international incident, yet that was exactly what happened.

Peter Brown – From “The Love You Make: An Insider’s Story of the Beatles“, 2002

They took us away and drove us down to Manila harbour, put us on a boat, took us out to a motor yacht that was anchored out in the harbour and they put us in this room.

It was really humid, it was 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 on the boat. We were really gloomy, very brought down by the whole thing. We wished we hadn’t come here. We should have missed it out.

George Harrison – From “The Beatles Anthology” book, 2000

The deal worked out between Vic Lewis and Ramon Ramos was to use our party’s hotel reservations as a decoy while The Beatles and immediate aides stayed on a luxuriously appointed yacht named Marina, which was moored out in the bay until the following day. As soon as we finished the press session the four boys were led through a rear door and across a roadway to their waiting launch. I went with them, accompanied by Brian Epstein, Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans. Without delay we were ferried from the quay to the yacht, which turned out to be the property of a local newspaper owner, a guy named Don Manolo Elizalde, who was friendly with Ramon Ramos Jr. and was keen to use The Beatles’ presence as a status symbol. With the co-operation of the naval authorities, ship-to-shore telephone facilities had been rigged up so that those at the Manila Hotel could remain in round-the-clock touch with the rest of us. Initially, the boys were content with this arrangement and, having verified with Neil that, although the luggage had yet to be delivered, their stash had not been discovered or confiscated, they were enjoying the thought of being cut off from the world for 24 hours.

Tony Barrow – From “John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me: The Real Beatles Story” by Tony Barrow, 2006

[…] Nor had our hosts allowed for Brian Epstein throwing a tantrum. Flinging every one of his toys out of the pram he screamed down the phone to Vic Lewis at the hotel: “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 don’t want to spend any more time on this ghastly little yacht. Tony Barrow tells me there’s a launch coming out for him in an hour. It can bring us all ashore. Get everything ready for us at the hotel!” It emerged gradually that only Epstein found the idea of staying on the yacht overnight intolerable. When I spoke to Paul and John they confirmed that they would have been happy to stay out in the bay and go ashore in the morning. The only real concern among the group was the delay in getting their bags and a couple of them were dying for a smoke. Meanwhile, Vic Lewis was faced with another blow. The Manila Hotel had no spare suites and Epstein was demanding one for himself and two more for The Beatles to share between them. Lewis worked a miracle and had other VIP guests moved to accommodate our requirements.

Tony Barrow – From “John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me: The Real Beatles Story” by Tony Barrow, 2006

I remember Paul coming home to Rembrandt in August 1966 after their disastrous exit from the Philippines where First Lady Imelda Marcos was outraged because they did not attend a function at her invitation.

Paul sat at the kitchen table and described the trip, which seemed cursed from the get-go. He said when they first arrived, they were driven around in an open-topped vehicle and Paul was doing his usual “thumbs up” sign to the cheering crowds. Wondering why they suddenly stopped cheering and seeing their faces change from expressions of delight to hostility, Paul later learned that the thumbs up in that country is the equivalent of the “up yours” middle digit in our part of the world. Oops!

Angie McCartney – Step-mother of Paul McCartney – From “Angie McCartney: My Long and Winding Road“, 2013
From Meet the Beatles for Real: Beatles on a boat – does this look like a guy that is having a fun time on a boat?

Also on this day, The Manila Sunday Times ran a story explaining The Beatles had been invited as guests by the Philippines’ First Lady, Imelda Marcos, on the following day.

President Marcos, the First Lady, and the three young Beatles fans in the family, have been invited as guests of honour at the concerts. The Beatles plan to personally follow up the invitation during a courtesy call on Mrs Imelda Marcos at Malacañang Palace tomorrow morning at 11 o’clock.

Manila Sunday Times

Nobody in The Beatles’ entourage saw the newspaper until later. The visit, approved by the promotor Ramon Ramos, was not part of their itinerary, nor was it discussed.

Partly because of the pandemonium over the yacht, the tour itinerary prepared by Ramon Ramos Jr was never discussed properly that evening between Epstein and the rest of us. I doubt if he even read it thoroughly or even noticed the crucial bit suggesting that The Beatles might ‘call in on’ the First Lady, the president’s wife, Imelda Marcos, at three o’clock on Monday afternoon ‘before proceeding on from the Malacañang Palace directly to the stadium for the first concert.’ The wording Ramos used made this sound like a casual proposal rather than a command from the President’s office – not a fixed and formal appointment so much as something to be talked about as a possibility. According to Epstein’s own jealously guarded rules, only he himself would have discussed such a matter with John, Paul, George and Ringo. If Ramos had raised the invitation with him directly, Epstein would have turned it down on the boys’ behalf, knowing that with an afternoon show to do they would want to be safely installed in their dressing room at the stadium by three o’clock. In any case, The Beatles hated meeting dignitaries of all types from small-town mayors up to heads of state and would have been only too pleased to use their matinee commitment as a get-out.

Tony Barrow – From “John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me: The Real Beatles Story” by Tony Barrow, 2006

Manila Visit

After their visit to Japan the Beatles will be off to Manila in the Philippines. They’ll play one date and they hope to find time for a brief holiday. It isn’t their first trip there. They spent 30-minutes in Manila waiting for the aircraft to re-fuel, after their Far Eastern tour.

From The Beatles Monthly Book – June 1966
From The Beatles Monthly Book – June 1966

Marines out for Beatles arrival in Phillipines

Two battalions of marines with fixed bayonets, machine guns and teargas guarded the Beatles as they landed at Manila, in the Phillippines on Sunday.

More than 50,000 fans were at the airport to greet the group on its arrival after playing concerts in Tokyo. Traffic came to a standstill and the streets were jammed as the Beatles motorcade passed by. The group was taken to the naval headquarters for safety.

The Beatles stayed on board a ship anchored in Manila Bay because no hotel on shore was considered safe enough by the police authorities. The Beatles are due back in London this weekend. It is believed that they may stop off in Hong Kong for sightseeing.

The group have no personal appearances planned before their next tour of America which opens at Chicago on August 12.

From Melody Maker – July 9, 1966
From Melody Maker – July 9, 1966

From Manila Bulletin – July 4, 1966

Last updated on April 26, 2024

Going further

The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years

"With greatly expanded text, this is the most revealing and frank personal 30-year chronicle of the group ever written. Insider Barry Miles covers the Beatles story from childhood to the break-up of the group."

We owe a lot to Barry Miles for the creation of those pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - a day to day chronology of what happened to the four Beatles during the Beatles years!

Shop on Amazon

If we like to think, in all modesty, that the Paul McCartney Project is the best online ressource for everything Paul McCartney, The Beatles Bible is for sure the definitive online site focused on the Beatles. There are obviously some overlap in terms of content between the two sites, but also some major differences in terms of approach.

Read more on The Beatles Bible


Have you spotted an error on the page? Do you want to suggest new content? Or do you simply want to leave a comment ? Please use the form below!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *