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
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
Zoobic Safari has plans to expand with Elephant World,
Honey Bee Farm, Alligator Land and Rice Wine Brewery. Additional information is
Back to the Top
SUBIC BAY OCEAN ADVENTURE
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.
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.”
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.
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
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
email@example.com while local groups can call
the park at 047 252-9000.
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
& Other Outdoor Adventures
Other EcoTour /
Outdoor attractions are
plentiful in Subic Bay. Here are some you shouldn't miss:
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
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.
Marvel at the beauty of the bats in flight as they
pass through this narrow strip at the setting of the sun.
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.
A perfect near-the-bay stop shaded by numerous
Camachile trees, best for picnics among tour groups.
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.
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.
Spend the day shoreline or day fishing at the
designated fishing areas, or take a peek at SBMA's Seaport Operations.
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
Pamulaklakin Forest Trails / Pastolan Aeta
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.
Behold the beauty of this undeveloped beach and
explore the riches of a newfound land on the shores of the Redondo Peninsula.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Upper Mau: Open 8 am to 7 pm (Daily) Mini-zoo Demonstration and
Tour Upper Mau: Jungle demo, mini-Zoo, Handicraft
Store and Environmental Education Centre Open 8 am to 7 pm (Daily)
Tour Upper Mau: Open 8 am to 7 pm (Daily) 30
The Binictican golf course has
been completely renovated. If you golfed here when the American bases
were here you will not recognize it. Lakes
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.
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
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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
Volleyball / Pool / PotLuck
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
Last updated on
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
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.
Last Updated September 1, 2003
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
which would get you to Subic.
Subic Tourist Map
here to download a copy of this in 640 x 480 pixel size for
screen viewing (101Kb)
to download a copy of this in 800 x 600 pixel size for screen
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!)