A favorite weekend destination among Filipinos due to its proximity and ease of travel from Manila, Subic offers an enticing mix of leisure, history, sports and extreme adventures. Whether your travel style is enjoying the indoors or roughing it outdoors, Subic has plenty of options for families, couples, or solo travelers.
Subic will be an insightful destination for those who have an interest in history. Well-known for being one of the United States’ major naval bases, it was transformed as the Subic Bay Freeport Zone following its closure in 1992.
Apart from Subic’s close ties to history, the area is also the perfect destination for those who seek weekend outdoor adventures. Eco-tourism parks such as the country’s only open-sea marine park, Ocean Adventure, can be found here. In addition, there's Zoobic Safari and Pamulaklakin Nature Park.
The easiest way to get to Subic is by land transportation. Those who like the privacy of a car can travel through the North Luzon Expressway to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and exit past the Angeles toll booth and drive through the direction of Subic.
For commuters, there are daily bus schedules available from Victory Liner or Saulog Transit. Victory Liner’s trips begin at 4 am and leaves hourly. Saulog Transit on the other hand travels daily from 2 am to 2 pm with an hourly interval. The fare is just over P200 for both bus lines. The stations of both lines are at Olongapo and are just a jeepney ride away to Subic.
The jeepney is one of the cheapest ways to get around Subic if you don’t have your own vehicle. Jeeps are color-coded depending on their route. From various points inside the free zone, there are coasters and mini buses are available to take you to your hotel. Another option is taxi vans, but these can be costlier.
Those with an adventurous streak will be thrilled to go underwater to discover Subic’s numerous shipwrecks dating back to the Second World War. There are several dive centers in the city offering entry-level and specialist scuba training courses as well as basic and advanced technical wreck diver training.
Want to test your outdoor survival skills? You can do it at JEST (Jungle Environment Survival Training). Indigenous Aetas are highly experienced at jungle survival and they facilitate the training sessions here. Participants can look forward to learning how to make fire out of bamboo, which plants are safe to eat and preparing food using bamboo.
Another popular destination that’s great for families is the Ocean Adventure. The park is the country’s first marine park and aquarium. It features several attractions including a Discovery Aquarium, a dolphin and sea lion show, and a swim encounter with dolphins and whales.
Subic has plenty of resort options if you’re keen on swimming and getting a tan. One of the more famous resorts in the area, Camayan Beach, features a pleasantly swimmable white sand beach. Or you can try different water activities including parasailing, jet ski, scuba diving, and going on a cruise.
Those who love a good bargain will definitely enjoy scouring Subic’s many duty-free shopping malls. These stores offer a variety of imported goods and export overruns minus the expensive price tag ranging from food, clothing, and home items.
Land adventures in Subic include experiencing the lush greens of Subic’s rainforest at Treetop Adventure Park or taking a short hike along a river to appreciate the flora and fauna at Pamulaklakin Trail, interacting with exotic animals at Zoobic Safari, or enjoying a go-kart race at the Le Mans Go Kart facility.
For the best ribs in Subic, head over to Texas Joe’s, a smokehouse that serves succulent and tasty slow-cooked ribs that are best eaten with the restaurant’s three signature sauces - Habanero, Honey BBQ, and Classic. Another choice for carnivores is Meat Plus located along Sampson Road.
If ribs and steak is not your thing, head over to Xtremely Xpresso Cafe. The Italian restaurant whips up large servings of pizza and a crowd favorite is the Big Ben pizza. Finish off your meal with the restaurant’s selection of frappes and hot and cold coffee concoctions such as the iced mochaccino.
Subic has plenty of nightlife options ranging from bars and casinos. Baloy Beach offers plenty of beachfront bars with live music at night. For a unique drinking experience, travelers shouldn’t miss out on Subic’s floating bars. These are pulled on rafts so you can enjoy a dip in the ocean and a drink after. There are currently three floating bar options in Subic: the Arizona Floating Bar in Barretto Beach and the Blue Rock and Treasure Island in Baloy Beach.
Subic Bay is home to several types of accommodations whether you’re not the budget traveler type or otherwise. There are also lodging options on the beach for those who prefer to be closer to the sea.
Winner of the 2016 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards is the Lighthouse Marina Resort, conveniently located in the Moonbay Marina Complex. This Subic hotel is the ideal weekend retreat for business executives and tourists who frequent Subic for its eco-tourism wonders.
For beach bums and families who prefer the comforts of modern dwellings, a good accommodation option would be to book a night or two at Camayan Beach Resort and Hotel. The hotel offers deluxe, superior and suite accommodations that fit right with a moderate budget.