Subic Bay’s transformation

Subic is a first class municipality in the province of Zambales, on the northern coast of Subic Bay. Along with Clark Freeport Zone, Subic is most commonly associated with being the former home of one of the largest US military facilities outside of the US mainland, the Subic Bay Naval Base (source: Wikipedia).

Subic has a rich history as a naval location. It was first used as a naval station by the Spanish in the late 1700’s. In 1899, America took over the naval base during the Spanish/American War. The Japanese then took over Subic during World War II. The Americans later reclaimed the area. Since then, the Americans have departed.  Subic has now been transformed into a commercial zone. This has seen it become one of the fastest growing municipalities in the region.

Main attractions in Subic

Two of the main attractions in Subic are Zoobic Safari and Ocean Adventure. Zoobic Safari is an open range zoo featuring tigers and crocodiles amongst other indigenous animals and reptiles and features an entertaining show performed by local indigenous people.

Ocean Adventure is a water park featuring dolphins, sea lions, turtles and other marine creatures, with various shows and performances featuring these animals. There is also a large aquarium featuring a broad diversity of marine life. It is best to book in advance. Regular promos are always on offer. There are also has a number of hiking trails, water activities, camping locations, historical landmarks, resorts, a horse stable, bird sanctuary, go-cart track, yacht club and golf course to keep you occupied.

Great weekend getaway

Subic has become a very popular location for expats due to its low cost of living. There are a diverse number of activities which makes it a popular weekend getaway for locals. It is well worth a visit.

subic bay sunset at Vasco's Resort and Musuem.

A beautiful sunset shot looking over Subic Bay from the restaurant at Vasco’s Resort and Museum.

Restaurant at subic bay

There are a large number of beachside restaurants and cafes to chill out and chew the fat over a few beers or a coffee.

Subic bay Camayan Beach Resort Ocean Adventure

Camayan Beach Resort is a nice resort and has a real tropical feel to it. Ocean Adventure is basically next door so it makes for a great location if you have a family.

White rock resort subic bay

The swimming pool at White Rock Resort, right on the fringes of Subic Bay. As you can see, there are great views of the Zambales mountain range in the background. White Rock is arguably the best resort in the area and offers a multitude of accommodation options and water activities.

Subic bay zoobic

The family and I feeding a tiger to Zoobic Safari. I’m pretty sure the tiger was under some sort of sedation. However, it was still an amazing experience to be up close to this magnificent beast.

Subic bay baretto olongapo

An elevated view looking back to the resort strip of Subic Bay. It is hard to believe this area is a former US Navy base. It has been developed into a very respectable getaway from Manila.

How to get there

Clark International Airport is about 80kms away, or about a one hour drive, so if coming from overseas, it’s viable to fly into Clark and then go to Subic from there.

Subic is about 230kms from Makati via SCTEX and takes approximately 2.5hrs. This route may be further than going via San Fernando, but it is basically freeway the whole way which makes for a less stressful drive.

There are a number of buses leaving from Makati to Subic. Cost is about P650 and can take up to 4.5hrs. There is plenty of transport around Subic including jeepneys, tricycles, and taxis.

 

Dezza´s Tip

If coming from Manila, my tip would be to head up on a Friday afternoon (to beat the traffic), check into your resort and chill out by the pool with some cocktails. The next day, get a relatively early start and check out Zoobic Safari and then Ocean Adventure (particularly if you have kids). Then on Sunday, you can spend most of the day enjoying some of the many water sports on offer in Subic, before heading back to Manila in the evening. That makes for a compact and simple weekend to relax, without the need to fly anywhere or plan too much in advance.