Subic Bay has since evolved from a naval base into a favorite leisure and sports destination. But despite its popularity, the Freeport continues to repackage itself.
Anchored on its slogan, “It’s More Fun-tastic in Subic,” it has successfully reinvented itself into a duty-free center, a theme park, a convention place, a food trip destination, a sports hub, and a tourism zone, to name a few.
Adding excitement, especially to golfers, is the recent opening of the long-dormant greens which have been resurrected as the world-class Subic International Golf Club.
The Desmond Muirhead-designed 18-hole, par 72 golf course, measures over 7,100 yards and blends with the natural environment for perfect swings and Instagram-worthy shots. The club also boasts a bevy of charming caddies, who are conversant on various topics other than golf, thus spicing up the game.
Guests are treated like royalty with its delectable international dishes, Filipino favorites, desserts, and drinks at its classy clubhouse restaurant. Admittedly pricier than its counterparts in Central Luzon, the club takes pride in its first-rate amenities and the consummate golfing lifestyle it offers.
Subic is also reclaiming its old claim to fame—that of being a major naval and maritime hub since the 1800s when the galleons and merchant ships sought shelter in its tranquil coves.
This rich maritime history is chronicled at Vasco’s Maritime Museum which has a remarkable compendium of ancient Chinese jars, Spanish cannons, and other relics from sunken ships put together by Australian scuba diver Brian Homan, one of the Freeport’s pioneer locators.
This maritime tradition is also kept alive by Subic Sailing Club based at the Lighthouse Marina Resort, which organizes regattas to promote tourism and enhance “yachtsmanship” for international competitions and foster camaraderie among its gentlemen sailors.
Early this year, the group spearheaded the Subic Bay Around Verde Island Passage Race, which is part of the prestigious Asian Yachting Grand Prix Circuit, and the Chairman’s Cup Regatta, which saw the biggest assembly of sailboats in Philippine waters.
A reboot of the Commodore’s Cup, the sailfest was highlighted by the FarEast 28R One-Design Race, and keelboat divisions of IRC Class 1, IRC Class 2, and Cruising Class. Adding color was the Dinghy Division composed of Optimist, Streaker, and Oz Gooze classes for greenhorns and young sailors, as well as categories for stand-up paddleboards and kayaks to entice more Filipinos to get into water sports.
According to SSC executive director and Philippine Sailing Association vice president Zed Avecilla, the sailing events aim to breed the next generation of sailors who will bring honor to the country in international tournaments.
Subic Bay will host the sailing events in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Avecilla said that outside the competitive sport, sailing is a unique means for family bonding and a fun way of discovering our maritime roots. He noted that sailing and other related activities are also geared at positioning Subic as the country’s premier yachting destination and sailing haven.
But apart from swinging and sailing, many tourists are content in splurging on the cozy boutique accommodations that offer a blend of countryside allure and modern living.
A noteworthy hotel in Subic is Camayan Beach Resort which is designed for nature lovers who like to escape city life but still have fun things to do—such as water and beach recreation, scuba diving, trail hiking, all surrounded by a gorgeous rainforest and blue waters.
Its affiliate, Camayan Divers, a 5-star PADI center, offers guests the thrill of exploring the bay’s wrecks and reefs, and interacting with dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, and jackfish.
Meanwhile, foodies can check out the wide array of homegrown restaurants such as Rotunda Bar and Grill at Moonbay Marina Resort which is noted for its grilled and tender Bulalo Steak, and Coco Lime Specialty Asian Cuisine, a restaurant which attracts families and Freeport workers.
Other noteworthy casual 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 Bar for its Pinoy comfort food and cozy lakeview.
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