Post and photos by Philippa Langrish
A Day Trip to Zoobic Safari in Subic Bay
About three hours drive from Manila is Subic Bay, a strange mishmash of burgeoning tourism and the remnants of American military presence. The bay is dotted with navy ships, while the main strip glitters with newly refurbished bars and restaurants. The area offers plenty of water sports and there are supposed to be some good wreck dives in the area but we went to discover Zoobic Safari, a nearby animal safari.
The Zoobic Safari did not disappoint. The three-hour tour is informative and lots of fun and there are plenty of opportunities to interact with the animals. You can also try your hand at the local tribal skills. Zoobic Safari was a fantastic adventure for our little explorer. Our intrepid three-year-old couldn’t wait to get involved; holding a python, handling an owl, riding a pony, or watching her Daddy feed the crocodiles and tigers. She also enjoyed donating to zoo’s conservation work by giving her loose change to a parrot who then put it in the money box. The interactive and conservation spirit of Zoobic will have your kids thoroughly entertained and informed of all creatures great and small.
After hours we wandered along the strip to catch some live music and soak up the atmosphere. This place has a unique charm of its very own. It is by no stretch of the imagination a beach paradise but the effort that has gone into reclaiming the disused military hubs has to be commended. I hope that Subic continues to develop it’s identity in becoming a real hot spot for those in need of a mini-break from Manila.
As well as Zoobic Safari there is also nearby Ocean Adventure theme park, where you can swim with dolphins and the Kabayo horse riding stables in the area.
Where to eat and stay in Subic Bay
Where to eat in Subic Bay: After a sweltering three hours at the Safari we were ready to sit down and have some well deserved nourishment. I am not a TexMex kinda girl, however Texas Joes has me converted. Pigging out on their milkshakes, ribs and cheesecake was pure delight. Well, I was eight months pregnant at the time!
Where to stay in Subic Bay: It can be a long day trip from Manila so if you do decide to stay the night I would recommend The Lighthouse, a beautiful hotel at the end of the bay offering gorgeous food and a chilled out vibe. The beach around Subic is pretty dirty which is a shame, so choose somewhere with a good pool to cool off in.
Entry Fees: Adults P545 per person, Kids 4ft and below P445, Kids 3ft and below are free. Book your tickets online and get 10% off. There are some additional activities within the park that require an additional fee.
Opening Hours: Open 8am – 4pm daily
Getting There: Take the Northern Expressway to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway(SCTEx), then exit a few kilometres past the Angeles toll booth. Take the SCTEx in the direction of Subic. The SCTex merges with the Tipo expressway and further into the Subic Bay Freeport zone.
From the Olongapo City bus terminal, a quick jeepney ride ride can be used to get to Subic Bay. The city’s jeeps and tricycles here are colour coded, representing specific routes.
At the Main Gate is a terminal of buses that can take you to various points inside the freeport. Coasters and min-buses are also available at any time to ferry you to your accommodateions. Taxi vans are another option, but they are more expensive than buses or coasters.
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