Subic Bay, Shipwrecks, restaurants, beaches, what else do you want!
Subic Bay has been recognised for many centuries as a deep safe harbour. The Spanish were the first to realise Subic Bay’s potential, using the bay in the17th century as a port to defend and maintain the Philippines as past of their empire. In the following decades the Spanish decided to build a navy base utilising the safe harbour and its natural resources.
Following the loss by the Spanish to the US in 1898, the US established a naval repair and supply base in Subic Bay. Subic Bay was only accessible by sea up until 1932 when the zig zag road was cut through the mountains linking Subic Bay and Olongapo to the rest of the Philippines.
In 1941 Subic Bay was bombed by the Japanese and was held by them for the next four years, until the US took back the Philippines in 1945. The control of the navy base returned to the US. During the two invasions by both the Japanese and the US, a number of naval ships were either bombed or scuttled in Subic Bay Philippines. They have now created an underwater tourist hit, with scuba divers from around the world enjoying the wrecks in there underwater graveyards.
In the following years the Philippines gained independence, however the US maintained control of the Subic naval bases, an agreement was signed between the two countries giving the US 99 years of free use of the facility. Subic Bay becomes a strategic site for the US in maintaining a strong presence in Asia, especially with the outbreak of the Vietnam war.
In 1991 Olongapo and Subic Bay was covered in nearly half a metre of ash from the eruption of Mt Pinatubo. In 1992 the Subic Bay Freeport was created, later that year the last of the US naval ships left Subic Bay, as the renewal of the treaty between the two countries was rejected by the Philippines Senate.
The Subic Bay Freeport Zone is now well on its way in becoming an economic, commercial and tourist destination. The Subic Bay Freeport is booming with international class restaurants and duty free shopping.
Where is Subic Bay
Subic Bay is located in Zambales Province, Central Luzon Region or Region III. It is on the west coast of the main island of Luzon about 120 kilometres north of the Philippine capital, Manila. The coastal area is surrounded by mountains with lush impenetrable jungles, ideal for trekking. The bay opens out into the South China Sea.
How do I get to Subic Bay?
Subic Bay is easily accessible from Manila, you can either travel by road, ferry or fly.
Road Transport to Subic Bay
Depending on the traffic, weather or time you leave Manila, travel time can be anywhere from 2 to 6 hours. Your options are private mini van to take you directly to your hotel, which you can arrange from the airport at the Budget or Avis counter, the rental cars can either come with or without a driver. You can also catch an air-conditioned bus from Manila to Olongapo City, they leave every hour up to 10:30pm, however after 8:30pm you will have to give up the luxury of air-conditioning and travel by a regular bus. Victory Liner buses will take you to Subic Bay,
for information on Philippines bus services, have a look here.
Once you are in Olongapo City it is easy to catch a jeepney north to the beach towns of Barrio Barretto and further to Subic. This is the stretch where you will find most of the beachside resorts and hotels. The jeepneys are easily identifiable as they are the blue jeepneys.
Ferry to Subic Bay From Manila you can also have a relaxing ferry trip that will cut you travel time substantially. Leaving Manila from the Philippine Cultural Centre on Roxas Boulevard in Metro Manila is the Mt Samat Express ferry service. Note: Also leaving from this ferry terminal is the ferry traveling to Cavite, so make sure you catch the right ferry or you will be extremely disappointed. The Mt Samat Express will take you across Manila Bay to the port of Orion in the province of Bataan. The ferry is an ultra modern vessel, far different to some you may encounter on your travels in the Philippine Islands. The trip takes about 50 minutes, but do note in bad weather the service will not operate.
From Orion you can arrange, from the desk in the ferry terminal, a bus to take you directly to your hotel in Subic Bay, the trip will take you anywhere from 50 minutes to an hour. This is a pleasant way to travel.
Flights from Manila to Subic International Airport or Cubi Airport, take about 35 minutes. Without a doubt, if you want to get there quick with little fuss, flying is the way to go.
Cebu Pacific Air fly to Subic, you will find information on all airlines and flights
within the Philippines here.
Just scroll down and you will see information on Cebu Pacific Air for flight schedules.
Scuba Diving Subic Bay
Scuba diving in Subic Bay revolves around wrecks, wrecks and more wrecks. There are wreck dives to suit every level of diver from experienced to novice alike. One of te great aspects of diving these wrecks in Subic Bay is how close they are to the dive shops. For information on
Subic Bay scuba diving, have a look here.
Subic Beaches and other Attractions Subic Bay has a whole new dimension. Since the US Navy moved out in 1992, the whole area had to reaccess itself in order to fill the gap left by the US Navy. What has now materialised in Subic Bay is fantastic, the development is someting the people of Subic Bay should be proud of.