Subic Travel Information

A converted military base offers sailing, wreck diving, safaris, jungle survival training--and a slew of resorts and restos.

By Kristy Texon
February 13, 2012


A former US Navy Facility, the Subic Bay Freeport Zone is now a prime spot for travelers seeking adventure or relaxation. Subic Bay offers the best of both worlds. Shopping centers, bars and restaurants, and hotels are perfect for those fond of the urban lifestyle. On the other hand, wreck diving sites, camp grounds, and beaches let visitors feel at one with nature.


  • When Juan de Salcedo explored Zambales, he found Subic Bay, and told the Spanish authorities of its prime location.
    Subic Bay was declared as a naval port in 1884. 1885 marked the start of construction of the Arsenal en Olongapo, which became a major port and headquarters.
  • Filipinos took over the Arsenal during the American occupation since the Americans chose to be stationed at Sangley Point. The area became a shipyard during World War I, and the Naval Station was reactivated during World War II.
  • In 1959, after the war, Olongapo was relinquished to the Philippine government. In November 1992, US troops officially withdrew from Subic. The former base is now being redeveloped for industry and tourism under the auspices of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

Travelers’ Attractions

  • Subic Bay is home to many different restaurants that offer international cuisine.
  • The area still has a number of outlet stores and duty free shops.
  • Subic Bay also offers several activities for the adventurous: wreck diving, camping, survival training, and water sports.
  • Families can visit Zoobic Safari and Ocean Adventure together.

Getting there and away

  • Victory Liner buses leave Pasay, Sampaloc, and Caloocan every 30 minutes.
  • Travelers can drive to Zambales by passing through NLEX and then through the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).
  • Winstar buses will transport travelers within the Freeport Zone.


Special thanks to Subic Grand Seas and Ford Philippines, TravelBook's accommodation and transportation partners for its Subic trip.
Photography: Betty Tianco


Restaurants abound in Subic Bay, so travelers have a lot of choices for dining, including these international cuisine options:
•    Across the Freeport Exchange strip mall is Rama Mahal, a restaurant which serves authentic Indian food in large servings. Travelers can also try the yoghurt-based mango lassi.
•    Travelers craving for authentic Chinese food can head to Golden Dragon, where food is prepared by Hong Kong chefs.
•    Located at the bay near the port, Magellan’s a quaint restobar that is popular among expatriates.
•    Seafood lovers will delight in Sakura’s authentic Japanese fare.


Retail therapy is still popular in Subic Bay. Various outlet stores and duty-free shops dot the area. Travelers looking for imported goods can see what Subic Bay’s shops have to offer.