This town of cheap hotels, go-go bars and tawdry discos used to bustle until dawn, but that was before nearby Clark Air Base, one of the biggest U.S. military installations in Asia, shut down. Now, its vitality gone, Angeles feels like the end of the line, a place where characters who never quite fit into any of life's conventional niches somehow wind up.

Characters like Philander Rodman Jr., basketball star Dennis Rodman's bad-to-the-bone old man.

Philander Rodman ran off with another woman when Dennis was a child, and hasn't seen his famous son since. He says he's been in and out of jail, and left the U.S. Air Force under a cloud when he was accused of stealing military equipment. He runs a dingy bar called the Full House, and he has two Filipino wives, which he justifies because he says he's a Muslim. He has 27 children -- the last born three weeks ago -- "from four different wives and extracurricular activities," he boasts, swigging down a San Miguel beer.

And at age 56, Philander Rodman says he plans to keep up his prolific pace of procreation. "I got some more babies left," he said, with some of his younger children gathered around him. "I'm shooting for 30."

That's what you call bad. Just plain bad.

"They think Dennis is bad," Rodman said of his son, whose autobiography, "Bad as I Wanna Be," has topped the bestseller lists this summer. "They ain't been around me. . . . They ain't seen nothin'. I'm the bad one." And you get the feeling he just might be right.

Because of the famous son he abandoned, and because this country is crazy for basketball, Philander Rodman has become something of a local celebrity. During this year's NBA playoffs -- in which his son's team, the Chicago Bulls, won the league championship -- Philippine reporters trooped up here from Manila to interview him. He has been featured on Philippine television. He keeps a bulging file of the various articles that have been written about him.

In "Bad as I Wanna Be," Dennis Rodman writes of his absent father: "I haven't seen him in more than 30 years, so what's there to miss? I just look at it like this: Some man brought me into this world. That doesn't mean I have a father."

A Sports Illustrated profile from 1988, when Rodman was with the Detroit Pistons, quotes him as saying of his father: "He just disappeared one day. Haven't seen him since. . . . I felt shut out not having a father, always having to look out for myself."

Philander Rodman said he now writes and sends faxes to Dennis constantly, asking to be able to see him again, but has never received a reply. He said he watches all the Bulls games he can, when they are televised here on ESPN or on local stations.

"I don't ever plan to ask him for anything," Philander Rodman said of Dennis. "I didn't make the money -- that's his money. I just like to look at {him} and say, That's my son.' "

"I understand Dennis's bitterness towards me," he said, explaining that his own father -- Philander Rodman Sr. -- abandoned him, leaving his family in Memphis to seek a better life up North.

"He left my mother when I was 6 years old and went to Chicago," Philander Rodman said, recalling his own upbringing. "I used to hate my father. I thought he deserted us." Now, he said, he has come to appreciate the dilemma of black men in America who were unable to earn enough to care for their families, and who were under constant pressure at home to provide more.

"Later on, when I got married, Dennis's mother gave me such a . . . hard time, I understood it wasn't my daddy's fault," he said. He said that in 1968, he saw his father in Chicago and told him, "Dad, I used to hate you. But I got a wife like that right now, and I'm trying to get rid of her."

Philander Rodman said he divorced Dennis's mother in 1970, in Texas, and married the woman he was dating, a military chaplain's daughter, a week later. That marriage lasted until 1977, and produced Philander Rodman III, who now plays basketball for the University of Idaho.

"You want to change scenery every once in a while," Philander Rodman said of his love for different women. "You get tired of cake every day. You want pie!"

{Shirley Rodman, Philander Rodman's first wife and mother of Dennis, confirmed her former spouse's identity in a telephone interview from Dallas.}

In the Philippines, Philander seems to have found his niche. This seedy little town, full of night spots with names like the Happy Hooker and the DMZ, has become something of a haven for American military retirees who while away their pensions on cheap beer and cheap women. According to some Philippine politicians and social groups, Angeles is also a premier destination for pedophiles from around the world seeking sex with underage prostitutes of both sexes.

The Full House is a rundown little watering hole with a small, covered patio, a jukebox in the corner, red bar stools and plastic coverings over the chairs, and four mirrors behind the bar with aluminum foil borders and tiny Christmas tree lights.

A part of one wall of the Full House, over by the jukebox and near the calendar, is dedicated to Philander's most famous son, Dennis. His No. 91 jersey -- just like the one Philander himself wears -- hangs on the wall next to Michael Jordan's No. 23. There is a large poster of Dennis airborne, a Sports Illustrated cover of Dennis in leather and red hair, and various yellowing newspaper clippings covering Dennis's exploits.

Of Philander Rodman's 27 children, 15 of them now live with him and one of his two local wives (who live in separate houses near each other). As the youngest children wander through the bar, Philander points to the poster and asks, "Who's that?" They reply, "Brother Dennis!" using the Tagalog word for "brother." Philander Rodman said he is spending a lot more time with these kids than he ever did with Dennis, and he blames that on his earlier career as an Air Force staff sergeant constantly on the move and on deployments overseas.

"I was around him when he was born," he said. "When I went overseas, he was 3 years old. I don't know him and he doesn't know me. But, hey, when the man says go, you gotta go. I couldn't take him with me. I couldn't take him to Vietnam."

During an Air Force tour of duty in Vietnam, Rodman ran a restaurant in Saigon called the Soul Kitchen, catering to black GIs and specializing in chitterlings, pig feet, ham hocks and other Southern dishes. When he came to Clark Air Base here, he also ran a restaurant for a while, and plans to begin cooking again soon.

He left the Air Force in 1977, after 17 years, after he was accused of stealing military equipment from the base and keeping it in the house he shared with the Filipino woman who is now one of his wives. "They couldn't prove I did it," he said of the case. He won acquittal, he said, but then quit anyway.

He now receives a small disability check of $170 each month because of an old leg injury.

While he hasn't been around physically to have any impact on Dennis Rodman's life or career, he said he still sees much of his own rebelliousness and lack of conventionality in the flamboyant son who paints his hair and professes a fondness for displaying himself naked.

"You can't control me. You can't control him," Philander Rodman said. "When I see him talk, I look at me. When I see him walk, I look at me. When I read this," he said, holding up his ever-present copy of Rodman's book, "I'm reading about myself."

"I think he'll understand one day" why he abandoned him, Philander said. Then he added, "I hope so, anyway. I hope he'll come around." CAPTION: "You get tired of cake every day," says the aptly named Philander Rodman. "You want pie!" CAPTION: Philander Rodman Jr.: "They think Dennis is bad. They ain't been around me. . . . They ain't seen nothin.' I'm the bad one."