I’ve been to Subic several times in the past few years, though I can’t point out a singular reason why I keep ending up there. I still remember my first visit there vividly though, around 8 years ago, right after I got my first car, a pre-owned Hyundai Excel. I was still quite new in Manila back then and haven’t gone out a lot to the surrounding provinces yet, so naturally I didn’t have any idea where Subic was or what I could find there. I just knew it was the talk of the town, so together with my father, we decided to go in search of it.
I don’t recall having a map to Subic back then, we just knew it was somewhere north (of course). We set out from Makati and headed to the NLEX (North Luzon Expressway), which was still a sorry looking toll way back then. We searched for that hidden passage to Subic as we got into Pampanga, and went astray as far north as Dau, where we finally got off the car and asked the local folk how to get to Subic. We were told that we had to go straight through the big intersection in San Fernando, and so we backtracked through the NLEX, now a little bit wiser.
After having successfully intercepted the Gapan-Olongapo highway, we then turned and sped toward Subic. The Gapan-Olongapo highway was the only major access route to Subic back then. Being just a two-lane single carraigeway, it naturally took longer since we often got stuck behind slower vehicles, but I like driving in these two lane roads. The overtaking moves give a kind of adrenalin rush one could never get on a multi-lane expressway. It’s as close as one can get to being Maverick in Top Gun, twisting and turning his Tomcat fighter, while humming the tune “…highway to the danger zone…” (ok, this both betrays may age, and my avid love for anything that flies).
The next few times I’ve been to Subic were to visit the Ocean Adventure; to see the Zoobic Safari; for a corporate event; and to see and feel for ourselves the newly built SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway). I kept finding myself there, but each for a different reason.
Several weeks ago, we found ourselves in Subic…again. This time, it was my mother’s turn to be shown the SCTEX (to be fair, it is a scenic highway), and since she had never been to Subic, it was time to show her around too.
We breezed through the SCTEX at over-the-limit speeds (no telling by how much, hehe). A wide open road like that just begs one to put the gas pedal on the floor, and let speed limit signs pass by like a blur. As usual, I enjoyed the scenery from my “Tomcat fighter’s” cockpit, again feeling as if my head was enclosed in a helmet with an oxygen mask strapped to it and hearing all the radio chatter and pilot callsigns go through my ears, while my hand rests on a joystick, and my eyes are glued to the HUD, waiting to get my Sidewinder locked at the Russian Mig infront. To add more to the fantasy, Subic as a former U.S. naval base, was once home to squadrons of Tomcats…how apt.
We went to the usual staple scenes of Subic. The bay side area with the sprouting hotels and a view of the harbor; the small but picturesque chapel, the outskirts of the yacht club; the forest road leading to Ocean Adventure, Zoobic Safari and the beaches; the duty free shops; and had lunch at our favorite – the Meat Plus cafe. This time, we decided to do something different, again. While cruising along the jungle area we saw signs leading to Anvaya Cove, and an idea popped in our head. Why not? We followed the signs out of Subic’s Morong gate and into the property’s beautifully landscaped entrance. Unfortunately for us, Anvaya Cove was for members only so we couldn’t go in. We just made the most of the side-trip by snooping for pictures of the hidden cove, from atop the mountains.
There is nothing in particular that I really have to see in Subic, however I could also tell that I will be visiting the place many more times. Why? I guess it’s a simple case of “it’s the journey, not the destination”. There’s priceless fun in being a kid again, and reliving your childhood dog-fighter fantasies.
* This trip was taken August 2010. All photos were taken with Olympus E-420 and Zuiko 50mm f2.0