SUBIC FREEPORT—The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority is all set for a grand celebration this year in connection with its silver anniversary this month.
According to SBMA Administrator and CEO Wilma T. Eisma, the agency has prepared a month-long schedule of activities to mark the organization’s 25th year and the establishment of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, considered one of the best success stories of military base conversion in the world.
“Turning 25 is a very special milestone, and so we are going for some very special program for the SBMA,” said Eisma, an Olongapo City native who was among the volunteers that helped protect and preserve Subic Bay facilities after the US Navy withdrew its forces here in 1992.
“Subic has come a very long way—thanks to the sacrifice and hard work of a lot of people over the years, and honoring these people for what they did will be a big part of the celebration,” she added.
The celebration carries the theme “SBMA at 25: Celebrating the Past, Forging the Nation’s Future.”
Under a program prepared by the SBMA 25th Anniversary Celebration Committee, activities started on Monday with a flag-raising ceremony at Bldg. 229, which is the SBMA main office, followed by a motorcade around Subic’s Central Business District.
Some aircraft will drop streamers and confetti, while boats will execute water cannon salutes at the bay.
Also on the first day, the SBMA Labor Department, in collaboration with registered business locators in the Subic Bay Freeport, will hold a job fair to match jobseekers with prospective employers.
The next event in the anniversary program will be a fun run in the morning of November 11, a Saturday. With 2-km, 5-km and 25-km categories, this sport spectacular will kick off at the Remy Field and progress along the length of Waterfront Road.
Nearby, some water cannon salutes will again take place on the bay, while the Philippine Air Force flies some aircraft formation and skydiving displays overhead.
The PAF will also present a static aircraft display at the Subic Bay International Airport.
On November 18, a Saturday, Remy Field will be the venue for several events, including the SBMA Family Day that will feature fun games like the Amazing Race, giant volleyball, and “Laro ng Lahi.” The latter will include traditional Filipino games like “kadang-kadang”, catching the greasy pig, and “patintero.”
At 2 p.m., the talent show “SBMA Got Talent” will start at the Subic Gym, to be followed by the lighting of the Christmas tree at the Boardwalk Park.
Meanwhile, there will be a three-day “Subic Bay Grand Sale” at Remy Field and all tourism establishments in Subic from Nov. 24 to 26.
This will include night bazaar and food festivals, night entertainment, discount sales from tourism stakeholders, and fireworks display.
On Nov. 24, which marks the actual turnover of Subic Bay from the U.S. Navy to the Philippine government, the activities will start at 8:00 in the morning with an ecumenical mass in front of Bldg. 229.
This will be followed by an awarding ceremony to recognize pioneer investor companies, as well as pioneer SBMA employees. The awardees will also be honored with aerial and water salutes.
The morning program will be capped by a silent drill demonstration by cadets of the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy, and by performances from the SBMA Law Enforcement Department brass band and the Philippine Air Force band.
In the afternoon, a new museum featuring photo exhibits and memorabilia displays will open at the Harbor Point mall. The museum displays will be available for public viewing until Nov. 26.
At 3 p.m., a float and foot parade involving representatives from local government units will start at the Waterfront Road.
The parade will end at the Volunteers’ Shrine where the unveiling of commemorative items and a tribute to volunteers will take place.