Before I moved to Subic near the end of 2014, I was working as a call center agent in Pampanga for a few years. For me it was an exciting year when I got to Subic, a new place, new people around, and new self discoveries.
Walking on the beach, for at least 30 minutes, is part of my morning routine. Then having my coffee to start my busy day. Sitting on the porch to feel the cool morning breeze, listening to the beautiful sounds of birds. My home away from home!
There are many advantages when you live near the sea and you understand that it isn’t just for summer. It gives you the best feeling you could imagine for yourself, fulfilling your body, mind, and soul.
Subic Bay is located on the west coast of Central Luzon, Zambales, Philippines. Only two and a half hours drive from the capital city of Manila.
Formerly the site of a major United States Navy facility named U.S Naval Base Subic Bay. It is now the location of an industrial and commercial area known as the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ) under the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. Today, the bay, as well as the towns and establishments surrounding the bay are collectively referred to as Subic Bay.
Because of the history of the military base up until 1992 however, a tarnished image is suffered by the neighboring town of Olongapo, known for prostitution.
Still interested? keep reading……
Some of my friends asked me… what am I doing in Subic?
Well, living in Subic is not bad, as a matter of fact Subic is recognized as a booming haven for tourism and commerce. It is considered the “Fastest Growing Free Trade Zone” in Asia, a place to invest in. Whether you are searching for business or career opportunities, destinations, adventures, leisure – this is a bundled place for you.
In my few years of living here, I have never heard of any street crimes. There are Police officers around the area for peacekeeping. People are friendly and easy to talk with. As a local the costs of living is much higher compared to other provinces in the Philippines to which I have been however I can manage the daily needs.
Subic Bay has everything accessible just few minutes away – beach, markets, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, shopping malls and much more…
GETTING TO SUBIC
Getting here is easy. Only two and a half hours drive from Manila. It is accessible through land transportation. If you are coming from NAIA you could take a bus from Pasay going to Olongapo City which would cost less than 300 pesos. Another option is to take a taxi but it would cost you around 4000 to 6000 pesos. There are also hotels that offers an airport pick up service for less than 1000 pesos.
Mode of Transportation to Subic
Bus – there are two Bus Companies operating in Subic Bay, Saulog Transit Inc. and Victory Liner, both terminals are located in Olongapo City. Victory liner has different routes available. If you are travelling to Manila and other nearby provinces like Pampanga, Tarlac, Bataan, Pangasinan, Dagupan, Baguio there is also the new Point to Point (P2P) Service.
Taxis – available at the main gate of SBMA/SBFZ. You could also find them in Ayala Mall Harbour Point and SM Mall. They have fixed rates that are displayed in the taxis. There is no meter service.
Jeepney and tricycle drivers wear uniforms and I.D.’s for identification and public utility jeepneys are color-coded. But they are not permitted inside SBMA/SBFZ. Olongapo was the first in the Philippines to develop this color coding scheme and then it was copied across the country.
Trike – you can find trikes everywhere except Subic Bay Freeport Zone as they are not permitted to operate inside the base.
Blue Jeepneys this route is from Olongapo City to the edge of Barrio Barretto on to Subic Town. Blue is to represent the beautiful coast of Olongapo. You can catch this blue jeepney beside Victory Liner Terminal. Cost is only 13 pesos going to Barretto and Baloy.
Brown Jeepneys – this route is from the new public market to the edge of barangay Cabalan. Brown represents the serene mountains of Olongapo.
Green Jeepneys – This route is from Barangay Mabayuan to the Olongapo City’s New Market. Green represents commerce and the fresh fruits and vegetables found at the Olongapo Markets.
Orange Jeepneys – This route is from Pag-Asa to barangay Gordon Heights. Orange represents two of the city’s main Jeepney Color Red and Yellow and goes in between their route thus the color orange (red and yellow).
Cream Jeepneys – The route is from barangay West Bajac-Bajac to Gordon Heights. Cream represents the sincerity of the people of Olongapo and an inside joke was during the 1980’s because the Mayor was Mestizo.
Red Jeepneys – The route is from Gordon Heights to the Main Gate of the Subic Naval Base. Red was the favorite color of Amelia Gordon who at the time as Mayor founded barangay Gordon Heights to primarily house the transients and Illegal settlers of Olongapo, to give them a proper home.
Yellow Jeepneys – This route is from the biggest barangay of Olongapo City, Sta. Rita, to the Main Gate of the Subic Naval Base. Yellow represents the Main Roads of Olongapo as the Color of the pavement thus explains its route. Another inside joke was Yellow was easy to see for drunk servicemen so they could go back to work by easily spotting a yellow jeepney.
ACCOMODATION IN SUBIC
Subic Bay offers a variety of accommodation types. From a budget-friendly bed for the night through to one of the many decent hotels. There are also apartments available for a short stay or long term accommodation.
DINING IN SUBIC
There are hundreds of Subic Bay Freeport Zone/ SBMA RESTAURANTS
– these are just some of the restaurants I have enjoyed
Fortune Hongkong Seafood Restaurant
This is located inside the SBFZ , great Asian Cuisine, plenty of choices from the menu, it has a good ambience, wheelchair accessible entrance. Staffs are so affable that gives you a comfortable feeling while enjoying the food.
Texas Joe’s House of Ribs is an authentic American Smokehouse restaurant. Serve an excellent taste and quality foods. Spacious dining area, it has also outdoor seating area and ample parking space.
Seafood By The Bay
Good location and it has reasonable price. Accessible for wheelchair and good atmosphere.
Moonbay Marina Leisure Resort (Sands Resto Grill)
Given this classy surroundings and gracious service, a place where you can relax and enjoy while dining.
Sakura Japanese Restaurant
What I love about Japanese cuisine is that they serve in a dainty portions, enough for my small tummy. hehe!
I am afraid that I cant get the food using the chopsticks…so I often buy for take home lol… shhh
TGI Fridays Restaurant
Kuya J’s Restaurant
Barrio Barretto and Baloy Beach
These are the beach areas where you can see plenty of Western people/Tourists. It is 15 to 20 minutes drive to Olongapo City and SBMA. Just walking distance to resorts, hotels, restaurants, salon and spa, bars, markets, convenience store and hospital. And if you run out of cash there are few atm machines or Money Changer around the area. Most of the hotels accepts major credit cards.
RESTAURANTS located in Barrio Barretto
Arizona International Resort
Visited this place couple of times, Quite pricey! But hey it provides excellent quality food and serve a large portion. What more can you ask for. The staffs are so amiable that gives you a comfortable feeling.
Playa Papagayo Beach Inn and Restaurant
Been here few times for dinner, they serve good quality Mexican foods and decent cocktails especially the Margarita. The restaurant just right next to the beach.
Wild Herbs Restaurant
This cozy restaurant along the national highway of Barrio Barretto, a place where you can find a mouthwatering Asian dishes. A must try!
This place is located inside the Subic Grand Seas Resort, great foods but quite expensive. It has a good ambiance, few sets of outdoor tables right in front of the beach.
This time dine in…..Uh oh I’m struggling getting the foods from my plate seems like my chopsticks doesn’t work…lol! Give me spoon and fork please?
Icove Beach Hotel
Pie Lady Bakeshop and Cafe
Rico’s Fastfood & Restaurant- serves Filipino food and eat-all-u-can budget-friendly restaurant.
Whiterock Beach Hotel and Waterpark
RESTAURANTS located in Baloy Beach
Blue Rock Resort it has a wide selection of foods open 24 hours restaurant, and live band every night, relaxing ambiance.
Hehe! No wonder I love Cocktails 🙂
Amanentez Beach Front Resort
Few steps to the beach. It has a nice outdoor swimming pool.
The Lagoon Resort
A fine dining experience combine with a good live music.
Johan’s Beach Resort
Open 24 hours beachfront restaurant. It has the overlooking view of Subic Bay. Serves a good selection of European and Asian cuisine.
SIGHTS AND ADVENTURES
Subic is a great place to be in when it comes to entertainments. It provides luxury activities like Golf course, Yacht clubs, and Casinos. Locals and tourists could also enjoy a wide array of attractions and activities. From historical landmarks to modern-day sites, dining and Shoppings, nightlife, Spa and Gyms, Beauty Salons, Amusement Parks, Boat Tours, and do the Water Sports.
Most resorts offer water sports activities such as kayaking, parasailing, jet skiing, banana boat, and many more. Also offers a laid back holiday for all kinds of travelers.
During weekends and summer Subic beach are jam packed of local and foreign tourists. Enjoying the water under the heat of the sun. Around the beach area you can see few vendors selling souvenir items and sometimes there are the native Filipinos (Aetas) selling their own handmade piece of art.
The most fascinating creature in the sea gives the visitor a welcoming splash. Dolphin and seal presentation, great attraction for all ages, an extraordinary experience. Could also visit some souvenir shops or dine in their restaurant.
These are the places where I used to go during my free time.
One of the historical landmarks in the country. A remnant of the Spanish Naval Station in Subic. It was originally entrance to the Spanish colonial fortress which was built in 1880’s and used as a jail during the Spanish and American occupation.
Scuba diving is popular throughout the Philippines and international divers arriving each year for this great experience in the country. Subic Bay is one of the most popular dive site- called as “Pearl of the Orient”. Rich of marine life, and the history from the bay – the shipwrecks. The majority of the wrecks are the result of the 1898 Spanish-American War . That there were numbers of Japanese Vessels were sunk by the U.S Aircraft.
Boardwalk Park and Waterfront Road
A Boardwalk park along Waterfront road this ia a favorite place for beachfront walkers, joggers and strollers. Offers a scenic view of the bay and as well as other interesting buildings around.
Cruise Ship Dock in Subic
A 25 hectare forest adventure park located in Subic Bay Freeport Zone. A close encounter with the biggest members of the cat family. A 2 and a half hours tour. Attractions including Zoobic Park, Train Ride, Forbidden and Zoobic Cave, Savannah, Aetas Trail, Bone Museum, Tiger Safari, Croco Loco, Serpentarium, Tiger and Lion Close Encounter, This thrilling experience you would never forget.
The biggest floating playground about 4,200 sqm. It contains inflatable slides, towers, bridges, human launchers, swings and more. We really enjoyed the inflatable playground. We felt like being kids again. The lifeguards in every stations were helpful. Though foods and drinks are not allowed at the Bali Lounge but you can still buy at some food stall inside the resort. Remember to wear proper swimwear. Play Pass starts from 499 pesos and up.