Adventures in Subic

Adventures in Subic
by Danny Tariman

Subic Bay in Olongapo City is one of my family’s oft-visited places. We had been there a few times already – to shop, to laze in the beach, or plainly for adventure and sight-seeing. I love its clean surroundings and very orderly environment. It is a destination you will not tire of going over and over again, because of the various attractions that it offers.

The Subic Bay at dusk
The Subic Bay at dusk

When you enter the forested area, you will be amazed by monkeys roaming the Subic roads, specially the stretch going to Forest Park , to Zoobic, or to the beach. Be careful when you drive through this area. It is prohibited to feed these monkeys. You may stop to take photos, but don’t go out nor open your car windows – you wouldn’t know if these primates will attack.

Traffic inside the Subic Bay requires discipline. If you are driving, ensure to follow road and traffic signs. At road intersections, make sure to step on your breaks and have a full-stop before crossing – even there is no traffic signal light; otherwise you will be in trouble with traffic enforces. The rule is “first stop, first go”. You just have to wait for your turn to go. Nothing fancy really, its pure and simple discipline. And it works!

My family at the entrance of Camayan Beach in Subic
My family at the entrance of Camayan Beach in Subic

If you are in for a beach, Subic has a number of beaches outside of Subic Bay Metropolitan Area (SMBA) which is Olongapo City. It is separated by just a bridge. The bay is literally lined with many beach resorts. My family opted to go to the one inside SMBA, the Camayan Beach Resort. This one is beside the Ocean Park – which offers dolphin and sea lion shows on weekend and holidays, similar to Hong Kong’s but in a smaller scale.

At the beach resort is another experience I hadn’t had in my entire life. To watch turtle eggs hatching under the sandy beach. Yes, the eggs are hidden just beneath the surface. I was able to see little baby turtles coming out of the sand and crawling with its little flaps toward the seashore! Really amazing!

Newly hatched turtles crawling its way to the seashore
Newly hatched turtles crawling its way to the seashore

Also at the beach, monkeys are freely roaming. Make sure to keep your bags and your food properly. Some of these are looking for your open food containers to snatch the food. We are warned not to feed these monkeys.

Another place to go in Subic is the Zoobic. As the name implies, it is a zoo. But this one offers an interaction with the animals. You can go on a ‘safari ride’ to a camp where tigers are roaming free. Don’t be scared! The jeep is fitted with grills to protect you from attack during your ride. You may feed the tigers with whole raw chicken (which is on sale before the trip begins) for a more exciting experience.

A tiger roaming free at Zoobic safari.
A tiger roaming free at Zoobic safari.

Other parts of the zoo allows you to interact also with other ‘more tamed’ animals. I had one nice ‘encounter’ with a camel. There is also a crocodile farm inside the zoo, and you can also watch the feeding of these crocs! It is both entertaining and educational – both for young and old.

Another attraction within Subic is the Forest Adventure Park where you may take a ride in a zip line and other adventure rides.

Entrance to the Forest Adventure Park
Entrance to the Forest Adventure Park

I remember few years back, we were able to watch a “live” show/orientation on how to survive in a forest. We have seen how to ignite firewood from briskly rubbing bamboos, cooking rice in a bamboo, and other life saving remedies.

And yes, you shouldn’t miss shopping inside Subic. The city has a lot of really nice stuff to offer at really great prices. Most stores offer a variety of imported goods – from wines & spirits, to shoes and bags, to pants and shirts, to chocolates and groceries, and more! Some stores have their prices in U.S. dollars, and some are in peso. But don’t worry if you have no dollar notes, peso is accepted in all the stores.

Subic Bay by night: a good nightlife by the bay
Subic Bay by night: a good nightlife by the bay

In all our travels here, we always save some funds for shopping. There is always a bargain somewhere. The trick is to find where these bargains are.

Be entertained by the nightlife is Subic. The beach area is literally lined by various restaurants offering a variety of food. You just have to walk around and find what you like. Most of these restos at the beach offers some live music played by bands.

You will not find wanting in Subic. These is always a place for you, for you kind of mood: beach, adventure, shopping, food, nightlife. Enjoy your visit!

Flying dolfins at Ocean Adventure: living in the seas, not in salt-water aquarium.
Flying dolfins at Ocean Adventure: living in the seas, not in salt-water aquarium.
Monkeys roaming free in Subic beach
Monkeys roaming free in Subic beach
At the Subic seaport
At the Subic seaport — the background are US Navy ships anchored at the pier.
Roaming at Baywalk at night
Roaming at Baywalk at night
Me, with a camel at the zoo.
Me, with a camel at the zoo.
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