Subic Bay Weekend Get Away

It's been quite a while since my last entry. Since the Philippines is a tropical country, I think it is still worthy to share what I have been up to and the places I have been to last summer season.

I spent one weekend of May in Subic Bay. My boyfriend has not been there yet so, when he asked me if I wanted to go for a short weekend get away, I agreed right away. After all, it's the most practical place and most reasonable short vacation trip before the start of the new trimester (we are both working in the academe, by the way).

Just a little trivia that I realized when I was searching for itinerary in Subic Bay. One part of Subic is actually located in Zambales and the other part is the business district --- Subic Bay Freeport Zone or more popularly known as SBMA. And for this short weekend getaway, we visited the SBMA as in Subic Bay the Business District.


Transportation


Going to Subic is not as difficult as what other blogs would tell you. All you have to do is book with Victory Liner (fare is around Php 280 one way). They have several trips from as early as 5:30am on wards. You do not have to make an advance booking which was what I had in mind. You can check Victory Liner's website for the trip schedules. However, another option would be the Saulog Bus Transit but, I am not really sure of it's terminal. We got on this Saulog Bus which is bound to Subic Olongapo by accident. We were actually in Magallanes waiting for a cab that will take us to Victory Liner in Cubao. That way, it would be easier since Victory Liner Bus passes through SCTEX which will save us travel time. However, while were waiting for the cab along Magallanes, there came this Saulog Bus that stopped and was trying to call for passengers who are Northbound. I saw the signboard that says "Olongapo". Then, I asked the driver if it is headed to SMBA. And he nodded, then said that Saulog terminal is near SM Olongapo which is about 2-minute walk from SBMA Gate. One downside is that Saulog had several bus stops and passes through the traditional Pampanga route. Nevertheless, it was a Sunday so, traffic was really not a problem for us.

When we arrived in Olongapo, we were dropped off at SM Olongapo. There were color-coded jeepneys. The streets are filled with Pinays partnered with foreigners, which is understandable because Subic is a port for US Vessels. We left our backpacks at SM Luggage Counter and explored the mall and tried to ask around as to where we is the Entrance Gate going to SBMA. It was actually near China Bank, just walk a little farther and you will be able to see SBMA Entrance Gate. It was literally a 2-minute walk. However, due to the heat of sun, I was actually thinking that we can take the taxi going to our hotel inside SBMA despite of the many comments that SBMA taxis charge passengers fee that is a little over the top. Oh yes, there were cabs in SM Olongapo that will take you to your route inside SBMA. From SM to our hotel (Poco A Poco Hotel), the driver charged Php 80. They do not have the metered taxi. Instead, it was a fixed rate per destination, I guess.



Poco A Poco Hotel  in Subic Bay


Poco A Poco Hotel was just near the Bay area. It will take about 5-minutes for you to get to the seashore. It was very near the public beach where a lot of families, friends and US Naval Army hang out. In fact, it reminded me of Baywalk in Manila but Subic's version was more high end and the beach was way far cleaner. It was very enticing to take a dip especially with the humid weather but I did not bring any swimming clothes. There were hotels along the beach front area, restaurants, bar and shopping spots. Since, there were two US Vessels docked in the Marina, the SBMA Baywalk area became a haven for prostitution as well. There were many pick-up girls along the sidewalk trying to find their luck with the American men who would pass by. It was quite disappointing, though.

Anyway, our hotel was just near the restaurants so, we walked along the stretch of the shore but did not find anything new because the usual Gerry's Grill, Pier One and Giligan's Island are located there. But, it was definitely a scenic view for photo ops.



If I were to rate Poco A Poco Hotel, I will give it a 4 out of 5. It was, I believe one of the most reasonable hotels in the area but, be careful in the fees that they published on their website because, it may appear as a discounted rate but we were charged for a processing fee of Php 500. Talk about deceiving customers. But, the room was spacious, it was very neat, they had cable tv, bathroom was clean and the attendants were also nice.
clean and very cozy parts of the room


Ocean Adventure in Subic

The highlight of our tour in Subic is the Ocean Adventure trip. It is wildlife park that showcases 4 parts of a whole series of shows. We caught the 1:30pm show and paid around Php 600 each person. Going to Ocean Adventure is quite far a distance. We took the cab from our hotel and paid around Php 400. Luckily, the taxi driver was nice and gave us some little chit chat like a tourist guide. As we travel the highway, we saw some monkeys on the sidewalk and stopped a bit to take a photo of the fruit bats quietly hanging on the trees. Ocean Adventure was like 1 hour away from Poco a Poco hotel. Soon as we arrived, we got our tickets and proceeded to the cafeteria. Food was quite pricey ranging from Php 200 to 300 per meal. It was generally of average quality so, we simply opted to order burger and fruit shake which cost around Php 220.  And then, at exactly 1:30pm we rushed to the first show which was the Sea Lion show. After that, we proceeded to the Divers show and then, transferred to another part of the park which showcased wildlife animals -- monkeys, snake, Philippine eagle and even the common dog which we call "askal". Lastly, we watched the Dolphin show. All of which are very entertaining, educational and the animals were so much fun to watch. It was also an eye-opener for those who lack concern for the animals and the environment as well. I think, it is one good way for students to learn in an interactive and entertaining way.

Here are some of the photos we took:

fruit bats

monkeys we saw along the way
dolphins in the air

more of them

divers

sea lion show with a man who volunteered to imitate the sea lion but ended up sliding down the pool
 Overall, Subic is another good way to unwind and relax although it would be better to stay in a beach front accommodation. Nevertheless, I had fun exploring and learning more about Subic. You oughta go there, too!







                          







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