Subic is a first class municipality in Zambales and perhaps the most visited town in the province. This historic town used to be the location of a US Naval Base Subic Bay, one the largest American military installations outside of the United States. Because of its proximity to Metro Manila, it is one of the more popular summer destinations for city-dwellers and foreign tourists alike.
The Subic Bay Freeport Zone is the most popular area in Subic. When the Americans left in 1992 after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo that left the base covered in ash, the government developed the area into a commercial zone. It has theme parks, restaurants, casinos, resorts, and other various entertainment centers. Ocean Adventure is a marine park that offers encounters with different kinds of dolphins and sea lions. It also has aquarium exhibits with different kinds of colorful fish and corals, and dive sites filled with sea turtles and sharks.
Another exciting park is Zoobic Safari, which features even more animals. It houses a zoo full of snakes, boars, guinea pigs, different kinds of birds, and iguanas. But its biggest draw is the jeep ride through a lair of huge tigers where guests are treated with unforgettable close but safe encounters with the fierce animals.
Jungle Environment Survival Training (JEST) Camp is a unique attraction in Subic. It was established by American soldiers who learned jungle survival skills from the indigenous Aeta tribe of the town. Here, tourists will learn everything to know about surviving in the jungle like finding potable water, cooking using bamboo, foraging for edible herbs, building fire, and many more.
Whether you will be driving or commuting to Subic, getting there is guaranteed easy and hassle free. Via private car, it only takes one and a half hours from Metro Manila if you take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and take the exit to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). On the other hand, bus lines like Victory Liner, Genesis Bus and Saulog Transit ply the Manila-Olongapo route daily so commuters will have an easy time getting here. You can find both the terminals of Victory Liner and Genesis Bus in Cubao, while Saulog Transit's terminal is located along Quirino Avenue in Parañaque. If you choose to ride Victory Liner Bus, Olongapo Terminal will be your drop-off point. Meanwhile, both of Saulog Transit's and Genesis Bus's terminals are located at the back of SM City Olongapo.
How to Get Around
Upon your arrival in Subic, you'll find that there are lots of jeepneys in town so commuters won't have any problem when trying to get to some of its points of interest. The jeepneys there are color-coded according to their destinations so it would be easy for both locals and tourists to take the correct jeepney to their destination. It is also the cheapest mode of transportation in town, which is ideal for travelers on a budget, especially backpackers.
Like its jeepneys, tricycles in Subic are also color-coded per destination. It's a bit more expensive compared to riding a jeepney but is perfect if you want your own transportation without having to pay much.
You will also find that Subic also has taxis. Taking a taxi is ideal if you want a more comfortable mode of transportation. Of course, expect to shell out more.
By Car or Van Rentals
Car and van rental shops are also available in Subic if you want to drive around.
What to See
Unknown to some, Subic has some historical landmarks that will surely captivate all history buffs. One of them is the Spanish Gate. Also known as the West Gate, it stands as a reminder of the Spanish colonization period in Subic. It was built in 1885 to serve as the entrance to the Spanish naval station. The gate was declared as a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in November 26, 2013. San Roque Chapel is another Subic landmark that tourist need to visit. Built in the 1800s, this quaint Catholic chapel is not only a peaceful place for worship, but also a popular venue for Catholic weddings.
There are also two monuments that tourists should look for during their Subic vacation. The first is the Inang Laya Monument along the waterfront. It is erected in the 1990s to honor the 12 senators who opposed the extension of the RP-US Military Bases Treaty which signaled the end of foreign military presence in the Philippines. Next to this monument are the handprints of the 12 senators. Another monument is the Children of the Sun Returning Monument, also known as the Subic Volunteers Monument.
In addition, a visit to the Volunteers Shrine is not to be missed. The names of the 8,000 volunteers who helped establish the Subic Bay Freeport Zone are inscribed there. Meanwhile, the Hellship Memorial pays tribute to those who died when the Oryoku Maru, a Japanese passenger ship during World War II, sank in 1944.
Subic also boasts a number of natural wonders that offers all kinds of guests an opportunity to commune with nature. Subic has a handful of beaches that will let you enjoy some fun in the sun. Head to Camayan Beach Resort or All Hands Beach Resort to bask and revel in the relaxing sight of the sun, sand, and sea. You can even explore Subic's underwater world if you're up for it. El Coral Reef Dive Center offers beginner scuba diving courses if you are eager to see the bustling marine life and the hauntingly beautiful wreck sites of Subic. Lastly, for budding adventurers out there, a trek around Pamulaklakin Forest Trail or Apaliin Forest Trails is perfect for you.
There's something for everyone here in Subic—whether you are bonding with your family, or backpacking with your friends, you'll find lots of attractions that will pique your interests.
Subic has a variety of theme parks for travelers. For vacationing families, Ocean Adventure and Zoobic Safari are the perfect attractions for vacationing families. These kid-friendly places feature encounters with animals and all sorts of fun attractions that make for an unforgettable experience. Visiting El Kabayo Stables lets you enjoy a horseback ride along the scenic nature surroundings, while Funtastic Park Subic Bay offers fun attractions like a maze and galleries of optical illusions.
For the adventurous at heart, there's Tree Top Adventure. It offers a variety of adrenaline-inducing rides and attractions, including a zip-line if you seek some thrill for your vacation. In contrast to the action-packed day that Tree Top Adventure promises, Holy Land Subic Sanctuary is perfect for those who want to get in touch with their spiritual self for a blissful experience. A popular place to visit during Lent, this theme park features statues that depict Biblical scenes.
In addition to these theme parks, there's a lot more that you can experience in Subic. You can go camping and even learn survival skills from our Aeta brothers and sisters at Jungle Environment Survival Training (JEST) Camp. You can also take a leisurely swim in Wow World's Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Events and Festivals
Subic also celebrates some events and festivals that liven up the place not only for locals but visitors as well. July 4 is the country-wide celebration of the Fil-Am Friendship Day. And Subic, as it is once part of the Fil-Am Military Bases Agreement, holds a special celebration for this event. Meanwhile, from April 22-28, Subic comes alive in celebration of its Subik Ay! Festival with colorful activities like street dancing to hype up the locals and tourists.
Where to Eat
Fast food chains
Since Subic is a commercialized area, fast food chains are made available here for your cravings. You'll have easy access to popular fast food chains such as Jollibee, McDonald's or KFC in any of the malls or the town center.
Choose from a wide variety of casual and fine dining restaurants in Subic. You'll find branches of Seafood Island, Max's Restaurant, and The Aristocrat Restaurant there. In addition, you'll also discover some homegrown favorites, too. Coco Lime Restaurant is one of the well-loved restaurants which serves tasty Asian cuisine to satisfy any palate. For steak lovers, you can head to Texas Joe's House of Ribs or Meat Plus Cafe to get your steak fix. Meanwhile, Aresi Restaurant is the go-to place for sumptuous Italian dishes, while Rico's Fastfood and Restaurant serves delicious yet pocket-friendly Filipino dishes. Lastly, Xtremely Xpresso is not just a place to get a steaming cup of coffee, but also where you can enjoy savory Continental dishes.
For travelers who are on a strict budget, don’t worry because there are also carinderias or eateries here in Subic that serve delicious meals that will get you the best bang out of your buck. One of the well-known eateries here is Goto-Gate Carinderia that offers mouthwatering goto or rice porridge at a pocket-friendly price. You can even customize your own goto with toppings of your choice.
Bars and clubs
Subic is home to one of the most-sought after nightlife in the country. You'll find some casinos and countless bars and clubs for a fun night out. The high rollers can test their luck at Oriental Paradise Casino or Subic Bay Venezia Hotel Casino. If you are in the mood for some live music, you can head to Pier One Bar and Grill Restaurant or Sibil Bar and Restaurant for a unique way to enjoy the night.
Where to Shop
SM City Olongapo and Harbor Point Mall give you a lot of choices when it comes to shopping, dining, and entertainment. In addition, Subic also has duty free shops like Royal Duty Free that offer high-end brands and items. Shopping in Subic is tax-free so you can enjoy buying more goodies at lower prices.
Subic Public Market is the best place to get the freshest catch of the day and fresh ingredients if you will be cooking your own meals.
What to buy
Aside from the usual Subic t-shirt, souvenir items here in Subic also include handicrafts like wooden décor, statues, and handmade jewelry.
ATMs and Money Changers
You can find several banks, ATM machines, and money changers across several commercial areas in Subic.
Fare: PHP 300.00++
If you are coming to Subic by bus, make sure to leave some extra money for the jeepney or tricycle ride to get to your accommodation.
Food: PHP 70.00 to PHP 1000.00
There's a wide array of dining options in Subic so make sure to stick to the restaurants or eateries that are just right for your budget.
Shopping: PHP 500.00++
Take advantage of the tax-free shopping in Subic's duty free stores. You'll be able to buy branded items at lower costs here compared with the malls in the metro.
Accommodation: PHP 900.00 to PHP 7,000.00
There are accommodations in Subic for all types of travelers. For backpackers, there are budget inns and hotels. There are also luxurious hotels and resorts for those who want a posher stay.
Activities: PHP 250.00++
For those who want to try all the activities at Tree Top Adventure, it's best to purchase a ticket that includes all rides instead of paying per attraction.
Other Fees and Taxes: PHP 50.00++
For those who have a private transportation, make sure to allot some money for toll fees and parking when entering some establishments.