Roadtrip Guide: 10 Unexpected Things To Do In Subic
Take a drive and go out this weekend to Subic—there's so much more to do beyond the jungle trail, dolphin and tiger shows!
Many of us have been to Subic Bay countless times—on a convention, sporting event, a product launch, family vacation, an educational trip, or simply passing through to gas up or for a meal stop. Since its conversion as the country’s first freeport, it has become a favorite destination because of its accessibility and the good road network.
But if you think you’ve seen all in this former American naval base, look again. With the slogan, “It’s more Fun-tastic in Subic,” below are some of the interesting must-do things to do aside from the all-too familiar jungle trail and dolphin and tiger shows.
1. Swing at the Subic International Golf Club. Adding excitement to Subic is the revival of the long-dormant golf course into a world-class fairway. The Desmond Muirhead-designed 18-hole, par 72 golf course, measures 7,100 yards and blends with the environment for perfect swings and Instagram-worthy shots. The Club boasts of brand-new facilities and first-rate amenities, topped with charming and smart caddies who will help spice up the game. Guests are treated like royalty with its delectable international dishes, Filipino favorites, desserts and drinks at the clubhouse.
2. Revisit Subic’s maritime glory. Often glossed over in Subic’s modern look is its checkered past of being a major naval and maritime hub since the 1800s because of the galleons and merchant ships that have dropped anchor here. This rich history is preserved at the Maritime Museum of Vasco’s Restaurant Bar and Grill along Argonaut Highway which has a compendium of ancient Chinese jars, Spanish cannons, a replica of a galleon, World War 2 weapons, and other remarkable relics from sunken ships put together by Australian scuba diver Brian Homan. Situated by the shores of the bay, the place has an unobstructed view of the sea for an afternoon drink.
3. Sail around the bay. Embraced by a scenic body of water, engaging in watersports is a must-try to get a feel of the ancient seafaring experience. Subic Sailing Club based at the Lighthouse Marina Resort offers basic sailing lessons on dinghy sailboats for children and adults alike, a unique means for bonding among family and friends which allows us to rediscover the ocean’s bounty. The club is the breeding ground of next-generation sailors for international tournaments. A more relaxed way to enjoy the bay is a cruise aboard a yacht as you watch the sun set in the horizon. Check out www.subicsailing.com for the schedule of international and local regattas so you can time your visit to a sailing event.
4. Explore the underwater world. Subic Bay isn’t only rich in history, but with marine life as well, where you can see dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, jackfishes, and a profusion of corals and aquatic animals. Camayan Divers, a 5-star PADI center at the Camayan Beach Resort, offers the thrill of exploring the lush reefs and World War 2 shipwrecks in the vicinity of the bay through scuba diving.
5. Engage in watersports. If diving is too extreme, you can engage in an assortment of environment-friendly water-based recreation such as kayaking, pedal boating, and stand-up paddleboard which allows you a quiet interlude with nature. For an adrenaline rush, there is jetskiing, banana boats, flying fish, parasailing, hoverboard and flyboarding, which are offered by Networx Jetsports.
6. Hop around the coves. Discover the tranquil coves nearby, which are less-developed and more back-to-basics in terms of facilities. The adjacent coves of Sampaloc, Nagsasa and Silaguin in the neighboring towns in Zambales may not have the flashy resort amenities, but their powdery sand, crystalline water and serene environs more than compensates for this shortcoming. In between cove-hopping, you can also integrate moderate treks in the mountains, particularly the five-peaked Cinco Picos near the mouth of the bay.
7. Magical Musical Tour. Casa San Miguel is an art colony in San Antonio town which has become an intrinsic part of Subic as cruise ship tourists would often swing here. Established by violinist Coke Bolipata, this community center trains children and youth for string orchestra instruments, as well as visual arts. Its core is the Victorian-style building which houses a concert hall, a gourmet café, landscaped gardens and galleries with exhibits of paintings, sculptures, mixed media, and installation art in the midst of a mango orchard. For a consummate immersion into the arts, Pundaquit Virtuosi, its resident string ensemble, can perform well-loved classics and popular tunes with prior arrangement.
8. Tour the Freeport on two wheels. With a splendid road network, strict traffic regulations and stunning sceneries, Subic is a biker’s paradise. Small wonder, this has been the choice of many triathlons and cycling tourneys. But if you’re not into races, this area is friendly for leisurely pedaling, either on the main roads, secondary arteries or public parks. One hotel which actively promotes biking is the 45-room Le Charme Suites which has designed its spacious rooms with bikerack provisions. It prides itself being an exponent of Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS), encouraging biking among its guests with its bevy of fitness amenities—a rock climbing wall, a spa, and the Spin Cycle Station of the Johnson Fitness and Wellness Center which has Subic’s first-ever spin bike class.
9. Tour the jungle on horseback. Another unique way to explore Subic is on horseback whichwas a main mode of transportation of Spanish, American and Japanese military officialsup to World War 2. El Kabayo Stables can offer you this exciting experience around the forest trail and interior upland roads.
10. Savor the local flavor. Splurge on the array of home-grown dining outlets which have tickled the palate of food trippers—Rotunda Bar Grill at Moonbay Marina Resort noted for its grilled bulalo steak, Xtremely Xpresso Café and Ben’s Kitchen which are known for oversized pizzas and burgers, and old-time favorite Coco Lime Specialty Asian Cuisine which has a branch called Veranda at the Mansion Garden Hotel. Other local dining haunts are 1925 Gastropub known for its western food and spirits, Dayrit’s Kitchen at All Hands Beach for its pansit Bataan, and Magic Lagoon Grill Bar and Restaurants for its Pinoy food and soothing lakeview.