Things to Do in Subic Bay 1

Click here for Things to Do in Subic Bay 2
(Diving and Water Sports)

Last Updated on December 12, 2009  

Zoobic Safari      
Subic Bay Ocean Adventure   Hash House Harriers
Jungle Trekking Elephant Patrol
Eco Tours & Outdoor Adventures Gaming
Cubi Point Zoo Cock Fighting
Jungle Environment Survival Camp (JEST) Beach Volleyball / Pool / Pot Luck  
Golf Nightlife: Barrio Barretto  
Equestrian Centre Nightlife: Subic City  
Cosmic Bowling Subic Tourist Map

Zoobic Safari

One of the recent additions to SBMA is ‘Zoobic Safari.’ It is located deep in the old Naval Magazine tropical jungle. It is really five separate attractions.

The Serpentarian is the only one in the country and has a varied collection of iguanas, lizards, snakes, turtles and crocodiles. It is contained in one of the former ammunition bunkers and so is shaded and cool and the perfect environment for reptiles.

The Savannah has over 50 ostriches from Africa and Australia. There are also potbellies and wild boars from the USA, Vietnam and the Philippines. The 200 guinea fowls are from Papua New Guinea.

The Petting Zoo is a walk through tropical jungle. There are deer, cassowary, mini-horses, apes, sheep, carabao, a bear, monkeys….and lots more. The highlight for most children is to play with a baby tiger. He’s in a small cage and as cuddly as most kittens.

The close encounter is a walk past a dozen, full grown, 500+ pound tigers. They are just two feet away and their head and paw size get your attention. They also smell like a dozen big cats under one roof.

The Tiger Safari is a kick and the finale of the 2 hour tour. 20 people are loaded into a safari jeepney. It has one inch, open wire mesh, covering window and door areas. They drive a kilometer where a gate is opened. Inside live tigers are roaming around, mostly in the area of a large pond. One of the male guides, in the jeepney, then dangles a live chicken tied at the feet from a window.  Eventually one of the tigers meanders over to the vehicle where the chicken is doing flip-flops throwing feathers every which way. When the tiger finally strikes his bulk hits the jeepney hard, causing the men, women and children on board to scream. Unperturbed, the tiger drags his meal away.

Zoobic Safari has plans to expand with Elephant World, Honey Bee Farm, Alligator Land and Rice Wine Brewery. Additional information is available at www.zoobic.com

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SUBIC BAY OCEAN ADVENTURE
June 2006

Whale Encounter001.jpg (28739 bytes) It has been four years since we last visited Ocean Adventure on SBMA. It has grown, prospered and improved. Located deep in the rain forest of the old naval magazine the drive through the forest is breathtaking. The triple-canopied jungle is alive with bats, monkeys and other wild animals. Just before the Morong Gate is the turnoff to Camayan Wharf and Ocean adventure. It immediately has the feel of national parks or amusement parks. Flags, signs and attendants direct you to the parking areas. Whale Encounter002.jpg (28962 bytes)

There are two mains shows worth seeing. The dolphin and false killer whale show is really something. First the dolphins do all kind of jumps, dances across the water and swim tricks. The false killer whales follow with stunts of their own. The human handlers do some rides aboard the animals getting tossed unhurt back onto the piers. You view this 40 minute show in the comfort of tiered-spectator stands which are thankfully shaded. The background views of Subic Bay are priceless. Adults and children leave the show with smiles on their faces. We heard more than once, “That was great.”

The sea lion exhibition is a little more intimate. The two person trainers are entertaining and informed. Each has a sea lion they work with. Adorable comes to mind just seeing their woolly-whiskered faces. Interspersed with the tricks are light hearted lectures on the environment and how wildlife can be damaged by man. Nets that can cripple, plastic that can suffocate. There is some audience participation in the show. A female was brought out of the crowd and received what must have been a very fishy kiss.

The aquarium has always been a favorite in this park. It’s actually 10 separate aquariums. You enter a dark cave-like, air-conditioned hall. The only light is from the aquariums. These are about one meter high and two meters wide. The ten tanks re-create the actual environments of the Subic Bay area. There is a freshwater tank recreating river environments. One has shallow mangrove conditions. One has sunken ship situations. They progress through the various ocean depths to the deepest of the deep. Each of these has the grass or vegetation or coral that grows in that environment and the fish that inhabit it. Next to the exhibits is excellent signing telling you what you are seeing. There are pictures of the fish with their names so you know what you’re looking at. Two attendants are present to answer questions. We returned here three times during the afternoon.

In between shows there is a restaurant and  gift shop. Adult admission to the park is 400 pesos and children are 370 pesos. There are discounts for senior citizens, students and groups. Manila based groups (25+ pax) can contact groupsales@ticketworld.com.ph while local groups can call the park at 047 252-9000.


Jungle Trekking

   When the US military bases were here the Subic tropical rainforest was home to the only Asian jungle survival training school. Now everyone can enjoy this dense environment. It is the most popular destination of school children bussed in from Manila. You find a spectacular setting complete with monkeys, giant fruit bats and more tropical greens than you knew existed.  They have day hikes and overnight jungle treks guided by the local, indigenous Negritos.  Contact (63-47) 252-9072.


EcoTours & Other Outdoor Adventures

Other EcoTour / Outdoor attractions are plentiful in Subic Bay.  Here are some you shouldn't miss:


 APALIIN TRAIL


Hike through the trails of Apaliin and discover the wonders of the Subic Forest. Awe at the panoramic view from the tip of Apaliin Point, and enjoy the sight of Subic Bay on a banca ride back to the Central Business District.


BAT KINGDOM

Get mesmerized at Subic's Bamboo Bats and Flying Foxes. Over 10,000 fruit bats, the biggest of its kind in the world roost in the protected forest reserve of Subic along with the Bamboo bats, which are the smallest in the Philippines.

The bamboo bat is the smallest bat found in the Philippines. With a total wingspan smaller than a child's hand length and weighing only about 2 grams, it is just slightly larger than the world's smallest bat. Both of the world's two species of bamboo bats are found in the Philippines, and Subic Bay with its large bamboo forests is an important host to these bats.  These bats emerge from their bamboo hide-away at dusk to feed on insects, especially termite swarms. So, bamboo bats are best seen in the sky when the sun is setting.

The fruit bats, readily seen at the Subic Bay Freeport, is one of the last large bat colonies of its kind. Found only in the Philippines, the Golden Crowned Flying Fox and the Philippine Giant Fruit Bat are the largest bats in the world, with wingspans up to 2 meters. Bats such as these eat only plants and are critically important to the health of tropical forests in the Philippines.  Their cute, puppy-like faces add to their appeal. Despite this, fruit bats are heavily hunted, and the loss of their forest homes has made many of these bats endangered with extinction.

BAT HIGHWAY

Marvel at the beauty of the bats in flight as they pass through this narrow strip at the setting of the sun.

BICENTENNIAL PARK

Enjoy outdoors with family and friends at these scenic picnic grounds. Native fishing gears are available for those who would like to try their hand at fishing in the man-made lagoon.

CAMACHILE PARK

A perfect near-the-bay stop shaded by numerous Camachile trees, best for picnics among tour groups.

GRANDE ISLAND

Live through the grandeur of Grande and enjoy the amenities of a beach resort in an island setting. Enjoy a scenic ride to the island on board a motorized banca.

HILL 394

Subic's most popular peak takes you 394 meters above sea level and offers a spectacular view of the legendary Mount Natib and Subic Bay, in the northwest. Visit Hill 394 and let its beauty speak for itself.

MALAWAAN PIER

Spend the day shoreline or day fishing at the designated fishing areas, or take a peek at SBMA's Seaport Operations.

MANGROVE GRAVEYARD

The sight of these giant driftwoods may surprise you, or simply leave you breathless. These dead dipterocarps are remnants of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. Unable to stand the high sulfur content spewed by the volcano, the Apitong graveyard bears witness to one of the worst calamities to hit the country.


MT. PINATUBO CRATER TREK

Sense a relaxing mood while kayaking at the crater lake of this mountain. Discover hot springs, cool mountain pools, lahar fields and canyons as you take a trip or trek to see remains of towns destroyed by the mudflows.

Pamulaklakin Forest Trails / Pastolan Aeta Village

Take part in the Ecology Tour and trek inside the forests of Subic with the help of a native guide. Immerse yourself in the culture of the Aetas. Educate yourself in the various types of medicinal plants. Camp in the heart of the forest or simply have a unique picnic in the deep parts of the jungle.

 

REDONDO BEACHES

Behold the beauty of this undeveloped beach and explore the riches of a newfound land on the shores of the Redondo Peninsula.

SUBIC BEACHES

The sun. The sand. The sky. And a vast stretch of marvelous sea waiting to be explored - Dungaree, Officers', All Hands, Miracle, Nabasan, Hidden, Grande Island.

TRIBOA BAY MANGROVE PARK

Drive through Subic's low-lying forest through the mangroves, via boardwalk to the Triboa Bay Marine Park. This bay is home to a nursery and breeding site for birds, fowls and fishes.


 
WATERFRONT BOARDWALK

Watch the majestic rising and setting of the sun, as it unfolds all its beauty over the Subic Bay. Complementing the grandeur of the mountains of the Redondo Peninsula, it is truly a sight to behold.


Cubi Point Zoo

The mini-zoo located at the Upper MAU camp is an environmental education center. The zoo features monkeys, a gigantic python, some smaller snakes like Bamboo Vipers, nasty looking wild pigs, turtles, and very large eagles. The Negrito’s who maintain the area put on educational seminars dealing with jungle survival skills. This area is very authentic.

There is a new area called the Butterfly Garden. Contained by high netting through the upper trees the enclosure boasts hundreds if not thousands of butterflies in every imaginable species and color. You walk along rock trails across miniature bridges with babbling brooks flowing quietly alongside, amid landscaping done with gorgeous plants and flowers. Sometimes in the Philippines you see something really done right. The Butterfly Garden is one of them.


Jungle Environment Survival Training Camp (JEST)
Drink from a water vine, make fire out of bamboo shavings and twigs, cook in a bamboo steamer and eat on a bamboo plate under a century old tree.mangos1jest.jpg (17910 bytes)

Upper Mau: Open 8 am to 7 pm (Daily) Mini-zoo Demonstration and Museum

Jungle Tour Upper Mau: Jungle demo, mini-Zoo, Handicraft Store and Environmental Education Centre Open 8 am to 7 pm (Daily) (63-47) 252-9072

Mini-Jungle Tour Upper Mau: Open 8 am to 7 pm (Daily) 30 Minutes hiking


Golf

The Binictican golf course has been completely renovated. If you golfed here when the American bases were here you will not recognize it. Lakes subic golf course 001.jpg (80765 bytes) have been added. There are some monster sand traps. Still a good 4 hour outing.  Rentals are available. Contact them at (63-47) 252-4182.

The new place to play golf here is at BASA Air Base on the back road to Angeles City but nearer to Subic. It is only a 9 hole course but has different driving positions so you make it into 18 holes. The cost is $5 for the golf and $5 for your caddy. They are still at work adding 9 holes to the San Miguel course so that remains closed.

 

Subic Golf Course

The original golf course on Subic Naval Base was designed by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 50's. It was not real imaginative but fairly easy and fun to play. In 1994 a Taiwan group got the lease to the course. They brought in two young British blokes who did a professional job of redesigning the course. They radically changed it getting rid of holes, altering others, adding lakes, canals, and lots of bunkers. White sand was brought in from Boracay Island for this purpose.

In the picture I'm standing on the driving range. In the distance you can see a couple of cones that look like breasts or su-sus as they are called here. That is the 16th hole and su-sus is just what they are. These guys were pretty cool and enjoyed the nightlife. You can play the hole between the breasts or over the breasts. On the other side is the green meant to be the woman's head. Surrounding the head and running down and around both sides of the breasts is white sand meant to be her hair.

From the air it is obvious what it was meant to be. They had a signboard at the t-box depicting the hole and people liked having their picture taken with it. Unfortunately, it was also stolen every other week. Subic Bay. - Tom


Equestrian Centre
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This is a little bit of Kentucky carved out of the jungle complete with white, wooden fences. Argentina-bred horses offer leisurely hour rides over a virgin forest trail. Riding lessons and mounts are available for horseback riding enthusiasts.  Open 8 to 5. (63-47) 252-1047.


Cosmic Bowling

This is a state of the art bowling alley right inside the main gate of the old base. More like a rock and roll palace. Springsteen and The Clash wail from the speakers as orange, pink and purple balls crash down the lanes. The place pumps at night. There is also a video game area.  Open 12 noon to 2 AM. Phone (63-47) 252-2611/2612.


Hash House Harriers

Asian veterans are familiar with this walking/running/drinking club.  It meets Mondays at 4 PM at the Beachside Cafe. Visitors are  welcome. If you are new to the area this is the perfect group to find new friends and get local insights. For more information about the Subic Bay Hash try   c-hunter@bigfoot.com.


Elephant Patrol

Ok, so there are no elephants in the Philippines. But this group who meet the 3rd Friday of every month take credit for this fact. They have been watching for the troublesome pachyderms for over 15 years. For more information on this group stop by the Little Wheel Bar.


Gaming

The city of Olongapo still has a casino located on its main street of Magsaysay drive. Inside (SBMA) Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. (the old base) are two other casinos. One is located at the Legenda Hotel. The other is inside Grand Seasons Hotel. The games include slot machines, baccarat, 21 and roulette.


Cock Fighting
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In nearby Castillejos, 10 minutes north from Mango's by jeepney,  you can find Sunday afternoon cockfights at the Magsaysay cockpit. A 1 PM arrival gives you a few hours of raucous, local fun. They are used to foreigners so you won’t feel out of place. Like everywhere keep your belongings safe.  Click here for Related Stories including thriving cock fighting in the United States!


Beach Volleyball / Pool / PotLuckBeach11.jpg (52423 bytes)

Regularly on Friday and Sunday afternoons behind Mango’s. There is a two-day Christmas volleyball tournament during the week between Christmas and New Years.  Sundays at Mango's has always been Pool League Day. (Some things never change in Barrio Barretto) We have expanded on it by making it Kid's Day too. We have put a chain link fence around our beach area keeping out vendors, dogs, kidnappers and other various pests. We keep a whole range of beach toys around for digging, playing and swimming. Mothers have responded by bringing pot luck feasts on Sundays. Often there are as many as 30 kids of all ages spread over our sand and water area. Mango's Day Care! At around 4 PM when the day is cooling the big kids come in and entertain with beach volleyball. 


Nightlife: Barrio Barretto
Last updated on 20Feb02

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Here is a current area night life and restaurant review for Barrio Barretto:

Mango's beach bar and restaurant has a family atmosphere that manages to include single male lunatics too. Sunday while the pool league competes inside, mothers lounge on the patio watching their children on the sand and in the water. Restaurant favorites include calamaries, seafood burritos, mixed grills and fresh tuna steak burgers. The air conditioned Rock Lobster Room which opens at 6 PM nightly is a rock and roll party palace that has no local counterpart. Friendly waitresses and hot DJ's keep the place hopping until early morning.

The newly moved and renovated Midnight Rambler is on the beach-side of the highway where Main Attraction was once located. It's like it always was except now there is sand and ocean outside. It is still the bluesiest bar in town and has about as much local color as anywhere. Their Halloween, Britannia and New Years Eve parties are a blast.

Another local favorite is Dixie Bar. It too has moved from it's previous cramped quarters and is now on the corner to the turnoff to the Marmont Hotel. Happy hour is busy and you can find local information and color here too. Around the corner is long time Yokosuka favorite T'Rose. An afternoon "meeting" occurs nightly about 5 PM.

In between Dixie and T'Rose is a relative newcomer in Lions Den. Small but with atmosphere and friendly waitresses they get a late crowd. Karaoke is available here.

Next to Mango's is Islanders. Rick and Shirley McGowan have been entertaining customers for over 20 years. Their saloons are always a good stop.

Right next door is Little Wheel with the best in country music. Shorty Phillips recently closed Crazy Horse (another casualty of the times) and moved that staff to Little Wheel. Next to that is Bos'n Locker, popular for their darts and pool. D' Coconut Barn is one of two good places to watch the main drag in Barretto. The other is the Midway Club.

Beachside Cafe is an afternoon hangout that has the best pizza on the strip. Newly reopened is Night Riders. It has had some serious and well thought- out renovation. Upstairs and outside is one of the best spots to watch a Subic Bay sunset.

Brand new and very cleverly built is Oriental Rose. Managed by Vince who previously ran Bart's hotel.  OR is a friendly bar. The waitresses are well turned out in attractive Bali dresses. This one's worth a look.

Mango's is not the only place to find good food. Dryden's has an extensive menu and huge portions. Swiss has just reopened and Spaghetti Eddie is again serving authentic and fantastic European food. VFW has delicious daily specials at very reasonable prices. Nina Papagayos menu is filled with Mexican favorites. The Coffee Shop is still known for their tacos. At Beachside Cafe you get great pizza. And that's the latest here in Barrio.


Nightlife: Subic City
Last Updated September 1, 2003sub_mem_town001.jpg (12881 bytes)

5 kilometers down the highway from Barretto (3 pesos on a blue jeepney) is Subic City. Notorious and wild  during the US Navy years it has mellowed somewhat but still has its moments, you'd never mistake it for Bakersfield. Unlike Olongapo/Barretto who no longer have go-go dancers many of the establishments in Subic City do.  The Subic City/Calapandayan bar area has not changed much lately but there are a few new spots and some old spots with new names.

sub_mem_town001.jpg (12881 bytes) Kinky's remains the same. Darts and pool. Dancers when the mood strikes them. Some interesting entertainers. It's always a good idea to be sure of the sex of the person in Kinky's though. They have some surprises dressed up in women's apparel.

sub_mem_town001.jpg (12881 bytes) Above Kinky's is a new one called Kitty's Hole. This place is not getting much traffic. It has had several name changes in recent years and will probably get another one.

sub_mem_town001.jpg (12881 bytes) Longtime bar Foxhole has it's ups and downs. Some days there are many dancers and entertainers and other days very few. The same can be said of customers. The place is either crowded or empty.

sub_mem_town001.jpg (12881 bytes) A new and very good bar is Griff's. Some nice dancers in there. This is a clean and entertaining establishment. Building maintenance and basic hygiene have never been important in Subic Town. So it's refreshing to have a place which takes these things seriously.

sub_mem_town001.jpg (12881 bytes) The same can be said right next door at Crow Bar. It is clean and well maintained. The air-conditioning works and water runs out of faucets. Good management here. The dancers are in matching outfits. The dance music is good and not too loud. Probably the best run club in Subic and it shows.

sub_mem_town001.jpg (12881 bytes) The Asian Reef (Old Miami Hotel) has changed it's name to the Reef. They have remodeled a downstairs area and are set to open a very modern facility with dancers, two bars and a pool table. New management will then take over the second floor level bar.

sub_mem_town001.jpg (12881 bytes) Another good bar is Luna. This place has the largest selection of CD's in the area and they are glad to play what you want. You can even bring your own if you want. They have also added a DVD player and have been playing music videos.

sub_mem_town001.jpg (12881 bytes) Muff Divers has not changed much over the years. They have some striking entertainers and hostesses. They do not open until around 8 PM. Most of the clubs listed above open between 2 PM and 5 PM.

Those are all the ex-pat type clubs. There are a number of other establishments which I'm not familiar with. Most of them cater to local Filipinos or to the workers and sailors who are in the Philseco shipyard. Most do not get started until late in the evening and then go to early morning. Several do have nightly shows. Included in these are Georgetown, Sweet 16, 392, Wild Cherry, Rose Garden Message and Heads & Tails. I have been in none of them. As with anyplace keep your wits about you in Subic City particularly late at night. It has much more of the wild-west feel than Olongapo/Barretto which for better or worse is more controlled.

Here's a shot of a "jeepney" which would get you to Subic.


Subic Tourist Map

Tourist Map Of The Freeport Click here to download a copy of this in 640 x 480 pixel size for screen viewing (101Kb)
Click here to download a copy of this in 800 x 600 pixel size for screen viewing (139Kb)
Click here to download a copy of this in 2850 x 2409 pixel size that when printed at 300dpi yields a 9.5inch x 8.0inch printed map (802Kb!)

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