Subic: Ocean Adventure & Zoobic Safari and Convention Center

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Subic has consistently been one of my most-viewed blog posts. I guess it is because this R&R destination keeps on improving itself. The AdSummit #ADSUMMITPH2016 is actually being held now at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC) which was built for these huge ad industry events many advertising congresses ago.

Direk Joey Reyes was a hit

Direk Joey Reyes was a hit. He also said “Think like a fruit. When you mellow, you will start to rot”. How true.

 

words of wisdom

words of wisdom

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Thousands of ad men and women attend the Ad Summit. Many freebies, including Krispy Kreme where delegates queue for this free treat

Thousands of ad men and women attend the Ad Summit. Many freebies, including Krispy Kreme where delegates queue for this free treat

The hotels have also mushroomed. The Mansion Garden Hotel where I am staying is one of the sought-after accommodations. Nice, clean, and most of all it is the closest hotel to Meat Plus, Subic’s most popular restaurant.

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my suite

my suite

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LAKWATSA

I have been to Subic a lot. In one of my trips, with my wife, my daughter and her nanny, plus my driver, I won so much in the casino that the cost of the entire trip was more than paid for. As I checked out, I was given a promo stub to fill up. Apparently, all guests were entitled to a raffle stub with a trip to Malaysia for 2 as grand prize. I won that, too. Tubong lugaw.

Ocean Adventure

This is my daughter’s favorite. Within the park, visitors can watch a seal show, a dolphin show, a whale show, and actually swim with the whales. And ride the whales. The handlers took my daughter from the shore to the raft in what I thought was not possible. The whales were beached on the shore, and my daughter was asked to ride it and hold on to the…

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Anvaya Cove Beach & Nature Park

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Anvaya is Ayala Land’s answer to Punta Fuego, even while on a geographically opposite location. Just 10-25 minutes off the Morong gate of Subic’s SBMA complex, this A-1 resort is getting all he accolades it rightfully deserves. The vines on the trellis at the reception area are truly welcoming.

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The walkway serves as a bridge across a huge lagoon where ducks swim or wade around freely. Around the walkway are koi ponds that instill nature into the visitor’s senses.

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While this photo may never capture the awe I had on seeing this huge boulder that was tempered and made into a water feature, I thought of showing this here anyway. Look for this when you visit. It is so calming.

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There is a second-level function area that looks out to the pool and the sea.

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The complex of swimming pools is so inviting. Surrounded by tall coconut trees and dotted with restful deck chairs. And bars for drinks and food.

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Some say why a pool when you are in a first class beach resort? No one can blame you if you completely ignore the swimming pools and go straight into the sand and the water. Or just stay on a shade under the tree and watch the crystal clear water of this Morong beach

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Anvaya is (also) a residential community. Either you buy a piece of land and build a fabulous beach house or buy a condo unit. And you become a member of this exclusive beach club. Members who do not own property can book themselves in one or many of the lovely casitas surrounding the lagoon.

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I stayed in waht is called a garden room, a room with a queen-sized bed and a veranda. The appointments are first class, and attention to detail when this was being furnished can be seen all the way to the toilet and bath.

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I got my membership way before Anvaya opened and have religiously paid my monthly dues. And today I still ask myself why I never visited. Having seen what I saw, and having been attended to the way I was, I am surely going to spend many weekends and holidays here.

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While Anvaya is a members-only beach club, anyone can visit on a day tour or stay for a night or a couple of nights – – – get a member to endorse you. With its popularity, it will not be extremely difficult to find a friend who is a member. Go visit Anvaya for the relaxing weekend you have been dreaming of.

Subic: Ocean Adventure & Zoobic Safari

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Bengal tiger on the loose - - in the safari

I have been to Subic a lot. In one of my trips, with my wife, my daughter and her nanny, plus my driver, I won so much in the casino that the cost of the entire trip was more than paid for. As I checked out, I was given a promo stub to fill up. Apparently, all guests were entitled to a raffle stub with a trip to Malaysia for 2 as grand prize. I won that, too. Tubong lugaw.

Ocean Adventure

This is my daughter’s favorite. Within the park, visitors can watch a seal show, a dolphin show, a whale show, and actually swim with the whales. And ride the whales. The handlers took my daughter from the shore to the raft in what I thought was not possible. The whales were beached on the shore, and my daughter was asked to ride it and hold on to the fins. With a whistle, the whales swam to the raft, bringing my daughter there. At the raft, the handlers taught my daughter to feed the whales, after which she actually rode the whales, sometimes belly up.

from the shore to the raft holding on to the fins

they are given instructions to feed the whale

so the whales will be kind to them when they swim

Entrance fee to the park is P500 per adult, P420 per kid. The Swim Encounter is at P4,200 per person. The Beach Encounter,   an encounter with the whale just on the beach, essentially for photo-ops, is P2,800. I wouldn’t recommend the latter.

Ocean Adventure can be booked thru their Manila office at phone (+632) 2944891.

ZOOBIC SAFARI: Highlight of the Subic visit

Entrance fee to the Zoobic Safari complex is P495. The tour starts with a briefing from one of the many guides.

briefing: don't annoy the animals, please

The girl assigned to us did not seem enthusiastic about the job, and was just going through the motion. As we moved to the zoo with caged animals, she would give some trivia about the animals, almost always ending with the estimated life span of the animals. For instance, tigers can live 15 to 20 years in the wild, but live 5 years longer when in captivity. The fun part in this leg is when kids are allowed to feed the goats from feeding bottles.

I saw a service van with the name Residence Inn at the back. Apparently, without having verified it, the place is run by the same people who run other zoos like the one in Tagaytay, now named Paradizoo.

Going back to the zoo visit. We were then all ushered to the trains that will take us thru the savannah, at P5 per head. Although there is an option to bring your private car and just convoy with the train. I rode .the train.

First stop was the Tiger Safari. We were transferred to a big jeep with sturdy protection. Imagine the school buses with the wire mesh on the windows. Except that there are also grills on top of the wire mesh. We were given suggestions to buy slices of fresh chicken to feed the tigers roaming in the wild. Huh!. Until we were told that professional handlers were joining us in the jeep to feed the tigers.

The gates opened. Actually a series of 2 gates, to make sure the tigers don’t escape. And then we were inside what looked like a somewhat barren wooded area with tigers roaming, just outside of our jeep! The handler took a piece of chicken and moved it to a small opening and, pronto, 2 tigers came to feed. Cameras clicked, only the wire mesh and the grills separated us from the ferocious animals munching on the chicken from the small opening. A little boy cried, so afraid! We were face to face with the tigers, eyeball to eyeball, an inch away! A third tiger joined the contest for food. When 3 pieces of meat have been done by the 3 tigers, we moved on. The handler then put out another piece of meat and a tiger saw it.

huge Bengal tigers come to your jeepney, within breathing distance

face to face, only a sturdy screen between you and the tiger

As the tiger approached the jeep, the handler threw the chicken meat to the roof, and the tiger jumped to the roof. Our roof was made of glass, with grills for protection. So a tiger was above our jeep, munching on the chicken, for a good 5 minutes as we went on. We then made an exit, again through 2 gates. And then we were back on the train.

The train moved to the savannah where ostriches roam. Saw their eggs, each one the equivalent of 2 dozen chicken eggs.

ostriches roam the savannah, don't get close to them - - they bite

And then to the tiger den, an enclosure at the perimeter of the tiger safari. From the tiger den, we moved to an Aeta Village where natives danced and showed agility climbing trees. The tour moves from there to the crocodile section where guests can feed crocs with meat suspended from poles that looked like improvised fishing rods.

I have never experienced anything like it. It was well worth the time and the money. Although I could skip the other parts next time, and just experience the tiger-feeding safari again.

Phone Zoobic Safari at (+6347) 2222272, 2529489  mobile 09285215557

A personal encounter, and didn’t have a cam

The photo below was taken on one of my visits. I regretted leaving the camera in the car, so I had to make do with a photo to be taken by the Zoobic staff as I went inside a cage to pet and bottle-feed a full grown Bengal tiger. This was right inside the orientation area, just after the entrance gates. For P240, they will take a photo of you using their camera, and another using your camera. For this post I had to take a digital file of the hard copy I got for my P240. If you should do this, make sure your camera is with you.

Pet a Bengal tiger, and bottle feed him on a P240 photo op

More Adventures

There is Tree Top Adventure Subic where you can “get high on nature”.Cross suspension bridges, take zip line rides. cable rides, or just trek. Cable ride is P350 per pax,  Zip line is P200, Guided trek is P100, and a tree-drop is P150.

Phone (+6347) 2529452 website  http://www.treetopadventuresubic.com

Where to Stay My favorite hotel in Subic, inside SBMA, is Segara Villas. Lighthouse comes as a close second choice. On a budget, I once stayed at Pista sa Barrio, a restaurant which recently opened an inn  within the same complex.

Segara Villas has only 10 Balinese-inspired villas, with some of them classified as executive accommodations, with the bed on a loft.

photo from brochure that I kept

I stayed at the Negara, a junior suite.  Segara is actually a spa, more than a hotel. It sits at the end of the waterfront road, by the pier. An al fresco bar is by the pool. A junior suite, (57 sq.meters, one-level room) costs P7,300++ per day, while an executive suite (70 sq. meters, with loft, and a jetted bathtub) is P10,900++ per day. Rates include breakfast and snacks. Phone (+6347) 2528632, mobile +63921 3308024                                 website http://www.segaravillassubic.com

Lighthouse is actually listed as one of the Top 10 attractions of Subic, in the SBMA video shown to visitors. Indeed, it is pretty. But the rooms are only for those who are very intimate with each other, as the toilet and bath is separated from the bed only by a smoked glass. The furnishings are A-1, and definitely 5-star. The restaurant downstairs has a full course for breakfast, easily the best breakfast buffet in Subic. A swimming pool is at the back, facing the sea.

the view from my room at the Lighthouse, taken from the veranda

Lighthouse rooms are at P7,000 to P9,000 for 2 persons. Reservations can be made  by calling (+6347)252500, 2527546, or their Manila number (632) 7110019. You can reserve by email thru marketing@lighthousesubic.com. View the rooms and amenities thru their website http://www.lighthousesubic.com

Pista sa Barrio Inn is the cheapest of the hotels facing the waterfront, inside SBMA. One may not immediately see it as an inn, because it actually started as a restaurant, and the owner only recently decided to open 12 or so rooms. Nice, clean, and at only P1,500 per day for 2. Has TV with cable, hot & cold shower. 24-hour fastfood service. They have rooms with double beds or twin beds, at the same rate. The only downside is that the pillows are, for me, not comfortable. I brought my own pillows and an extra blanket when I came back. Still worth recommending – – a good value inn. Phone (+6347) 2523055, 252 3187

If you want to play in a casino, you may want to stay at Venezia where PAGCOR operates gaming tables.  Off-peak rates start at P1,688++, and a suite goes for only P3,988++. Phone (+6347) 2528399, email customer_service@subicbayveneziahotel.com

Outside of SBMA, the 2 hotels I recommend are White Rock and By the Sea.

White Rock has long been popular.

I like their rooms by the beach. They also operate a pretty good restaurant.Excellent recreational facilities – – Water Park with wave pool and water slides, including a Super Bowl slide, banana boat rides, bowling, jet skiing, kayaking, fitness center, KTV, and basketball courts for kids and adults. Rates start at P6,200 net, with 3-bedroom beach villas going for P14,200. Phone (+6347) 2222378

website http://www.whiterock.com.ph

I went to By the Sea to visit friends who were staying there in the last Ad Congress. I thought the place looked charming, but was told some of the rooms are not well maintained. If you should stay in the hotel, I suggest you first check the room, and check if the airconditioning works. Still, it is a hotel worth considering. I loved my lunch at the open air restaurant near the beach. When I went, they were on a Rainy Day promo, with rooms as cheap as P900. Executive rooms go for P2,500 per day, while a 3-bedroom villa is charged P6.000 per day. The hotel has an infinity pool, and operates a spa within the property. Phone (+6347) 2234346, 2224560, 2222888 website http://www.bythesea.com.ph