Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Family Vacation: Adventures in Subic

What to do when you have two relatives about to leave Manila to go back to the province and 2 hyper active toddlers wanting to go out? tadah.....go to Subic and explore the adventures it has to offer!

From Quezon City, we used the Mindanao exit to NLEX, which is fast (30minutes from Commonwealth Avenue QC to Meycauayan Exit NLEX) and beats going to traffic-ridden EDSA. From there, Subic is just less than two hours via SCTEX. Round trip toll fees (NLEX, SCTEX, Tipo) will amount to less than P700.00. Since we brought our car, only one full tank of gasoline is needed for the roundtrip (P1,500.00++).

First stop at Subic, Ocean Adventure from 10:30am to 2:00pm. We watched all the shows (wild animal show, dolphin show, sea lion show), went to the simple aquarium of fishes and souvenir shop. Adult fee is P 500.00 and child rate is P 400.00.

Here's the Park Schedule as of September 2010:
Sea Lion Marine Patrol Show (Nautilus Theater): 10:15am, 2:15pm, 5:15pm
Dolphin Friends Show (El Capitan Theater): 12:45pm, 4:30pm
The Adventures of Olongapo JOnes Show (Seaside Theater): 11:00am, 3:45pm
Walk on the Wild Side Show (Eco Theater): 11:45am, 3:00pm
Sea Lion Photo Encounter: 10:45am, 2:45pm
Dolphin Photo Encounter: 1:15pm, 5:00pm

Ocean Adventure may also offer swim encounter, beach encounter, dive encounter and animal trainer adventures to interested persons.

If you're planning to go here, better eat lunch outside since the restaurant here is overpriced. Meals cost P 200.00 per person but food is just average in taste. Before going to Ocean Adventure, eat lunch at Puregold which is along the Argonaut Highway going to Ocean Adventure. There's SR Pizza and KFC to choose from. You can also shop at the Mango outlet while you're there.

After Ocean Adventure, we checked-in at our hotel, The Courtyard Inn, which is along the Central Business District of Subic, across Gerry's Grill. We stayed here last year and the place was clean and recently renovated at that time. However, this year they are constructing a big building beside the inn, thus it was noisy and the room we were given looked like it was not cleaned for a long time. Although the beds were clean, the floor was full of dust so we had to request the attendants to clean it again : ( The inn has a playground but no pool.

In the afternoon, we strolled along the Boardwalk beach area, which is just a few minutes away from Courtyard Inn. It was disappointing that a lot of garbage is being dumped on the sand and near the beach front. I hope SBMA and the restaurants near the beach front would take the responsibility to clean this area, so that more tourists and local would come here. I saw a lot of people swimming despite the garbage floating nearby.

After the boarwalk, we went to Lighthouse Marina for dinner. The hotel is well-designed and has a big pool where a lot of kids are swimming. We ate at the al fresco Sands Restaurant. The food is tasty and reasonably priced. Next time we'll stay at Lighthouse Marina. Along the Central Business District street, there are a lot of restaurants to choose from. I also saw Levi's and Dockers Outlet Store but wasnt able to go inside.

The next day, we satisfied our duty free shopping at Puregold in its new building and location. Cadbury chocolates are so cheap, a bar will cost only $3.58, peso dollar conversion at P44.10, canned goods at less than a dollar, pringles less than 2 dollars. I spent around 90 dollars on pasalubong. Bought lots of chocolates, Nuetrogena shampoo, irish spring soap, coffee, fruit juice,etc.! What a way to end your overnight adventure in Subic.

If you will stay longer, there are lots of activities for families. You can go to the Camayan beach or other beaches inside Subic, Zoobic Safari, Jest Camp Butterfly/Insectarium Mini Zoo, Bat Kingdom, Forest Trails, etc. the adventures are endless if you and your family have all the time in the world.

Suggested Itinerary for Overnight Stay in Subic

Day 1
Am - Go to Ocean Adventure for dolphin, sea lion, animal shows
Pm - Stroll/Swim at Boardwalk or Camayan beach, shop at outlet stores along Central Business District (CBD); Dinner at any of the restaurants along CDB (Gerry's Grill, Lighthouse Marina, etc.) or at the Camayan Beach restaurant

Day 2
Am - Go to any tourist spot (forest trails, Zoobic safari, etc.)
Duty Free Shopping and Late Lunch (Puregold, Royal, etc)
Pm- Go back to Manila

Regardless of your itinerary, what's important is that you and your family had fun and enjoyed the pleasures of travelling together.

If travelling with kids, bring portable dvd player and CDs, crayons and coloring books to keep them entertained during the road trip. Bring light snacks, food and trash bag (just in case someone gets car sick on the way!).

Here's to more fun-filled family travels in the future!

--Wondermom A.

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