Over the weekend, I went to Subic with Ava. It was an unexpected trip not listed on the "goals wall" of my room--a corner filled with colorful sticky notes so I can see my 2019 travel plans. Less than a week till my Japan trip and I have already set my mind na wala munang aalis ng bahay (lol) just so I can hibernate and finish my piling online work. But since I haven't really been to Subic for a real vacation, and Ava's going to be with me, of course nag go nako!
Hello Again, Subic!
I have a few memories with this city around 3 hours away northwest of Manila, but mostly day-trips and I think a wedding in Fontana. I remembered staying in Subic for a night to experience the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Pampanga early the next day. I also stayed in a small Korean hostel so I can attend the 2-day 7107 music festival last 2014 in Clark Freeport Zone. Both epic experiences, both times we ate in different samgyupsal places that Subic is known for.
With this short, overnight trip I realized that Subic has a lot more to offer for quick travels with your family or friends. Tipong you just have a long weekend, or you want to take a leave from work and can only avail an easy getaway... This city is for you! They have a beautiful beach that reminds me of my Sheridan Puerto Princesa beachfront hotel experience from a few years back--but minus the hefty travel price tags you spend on airfares and fancy accommodation!
And with that, sharing here some of the tidbits from last weekend in Subic, and I hope you get something out of it for your next quick vacation away from Manila.
Where To Stay?
Although this vacation is sponsored by ACEA Subic Bay, I am not paid to say these things, and everything you will read here are my thoughts from my personal experience with their hotel / resort.
Why stay in ACEA Subic Bay?
First of all, they offer a nice beachfront for all their guests. You can either enjoy the infinity pool, or go to the beach with the nice view of mountains! Sa totoo lang, if I go here again soon I don't think I will plan anything else aside from lulubusin ko na talaga the amenities and relaxing vibe of ACEA.
Welcome drinks when we arrived:
Second reason why I will recommend ACEA is because they are not yet overcrowded. It's a nice, quiet place to heal and chill. In fact, I think for a hotel that has been here since I think 2016, medyo under the radar sya. People still go to La Union, Batangas, or Zambales (Crystal Beach!) if they want to drive to the nearest beach. By writing this piece, I am revealing a secret and risking the chance of having a peaceful Subic beach getaway, haha! But anyway, I think ACEA deserves more attention.
Here's a room tour:
By the right of the door entrance is the toilet and bath. It has nice hot-cold shower, the usual toilet amenities (soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion), lots of towels and robes, hair dryer, and--of course--a bidet. 😄 Oh, and they have a ledge on the shower area so you can take your sweet time during your bath, haha! Again, kung babalik ako dito sa ACEA I might as well just stay in and enjoy this hotel!
Inside the room: They have a TV, I didn't see a mini fridge, they have two complimentary bottled water, a pot to heat the water, some coffee and tea. They have a lot of sockets for charging the gadgets so yehey. They also have a facial tissue by the desk in front of a vanity mirror (aside from the full length mirror next to the entrance).
Ahhh and the beds! They are soft and huge! Sayang one night lang kami, gumagaling talaga insomnia ko whenever I travel--lalo na when beds are these comfy! I think 2 persons will fit on each bed, sobrang perfect for family or friends.
The third reason is that ACEA has fantastic customer service and family-oriented activities, as Hospitality Innovators, Inc. (HII), one of the country’s premier hospitality management firms, has gone on board as the resort’s new managing partner. HII manages a lot of fantastic properties and resorts in Manila so they have an excellent brand of service and hospitality.
The best welcome chocolate truffle ever, I have to take a pic hehehe!
And finally we reach my final reason why ACEA is recommended: Their room rates starts at around Php 5000+ only according to the Google Maps feature. When I checked the site though, add all the usual taxes and additional fees and total will go to about Php 7,200ish. Not bad for the nice room, great service, amenities, and beachfront. I think asa roughly PHP 7k-10k sila per room. You can check the dates and rates on their webpage.
Things To Do In Subic (2D, 1N)
Again, I haven't had the chance to explore Subic before but this short trip made me want to go back and create like a 5-day itinerary when you're in the area! There's still so much to see and do (including maybe another Korean resto night + a trip to their duty-free!), but if you only have 2 days in Subic, here are the stuff that we were able to fit that made this trip really worthwhile!
1) Zoobic Safari
I've heard about this zoo so many times before, but had no chance to visit till this trip! So thank you!
People who commented on my Instagram said that they've been to Zoobic Safari for field trips when they were still students (ang swerte naman!) so yep a Manila-Zoobic Safari day-trip is possible. But it can also be more practical when you just include this on your itinerary for an overnight in Subic.
Sa entrance palang you'll see boars and doggos just freely walking around the compound!
Since the compound is big, we had to take this tiger themed shuttle for some stations:
What I like about Zoobic Safari:
1) First time to have a close encounter with tigers--several times--in the whole tour! May photo op pa with a white tiger at the entrance. Katacute!!
2) Witty signages, very informative staff. Expect to read zoo pun signs all over the compound such as "PaZOOlubong" or "ZOOvenir" Hahaha! It doesn't end! I also like the guide who went with us for the who tour, ang daming patrivia!
3) Feeding ganaps. You can buy bird or crocodile feeds (not required but fun din) for the ultimate zoo experience. Also for photo or video purposes, haha!
4) Variety of animals you will see! They have deers, ostriches, albino caribou, snakes, eagles, mules, and of course lions and tigers! My favorite part most prob was inside the Tiger Safari where we road a caged truck, and the staff started feeding the tiger in between the railings--just a few inches away from us! Akk!
5) Lastly, I like that they ended the long tour (I think it lasted for about 2-3 hours) with meeting with Subic's earliest settlers: The Aetas. They performed two short tribal dances, and had photo sessions with our group. I like that the Zoobic management did not drove them away, and respected the first inhabitants of Subic.
My favorite parts of the whole Zoobic tour: Tiger Safari and Croco Loco!
Zoobic Safari is about 30 minutes away from ACEA Subic Bay. You can purchase discounted Zoobic Safari tickets online HERE.
2) Inflatable Island
I've been to the Inflatable Island before, but it was only for a short day-trip so I was open to going back. Ava and I decided to just chill at their Bali lounge, and have mango shake. We spent about 3 hours just chilling, taking photos, and watching the others tackling the giant inflatables. I just learned that the whole maze is the size of EIGHT basketball courts nakakaloka! 😂
Anyway, I like that even after a year I saw that they were able to maintain their facilities, and that aside from being an Instagram site, they promoted Inflatable Island to us as a place where you can hold team buildings. They emphasize (during the short orientation) not the photo spots, but that by going through the challenges, you will learn important life values like not giving up, or taking things slowly but surely, or the importance of helping one another to finish the course. I like that!
You can purchase discounted Inflatable Island tickets online HERE.
The next two are other Subic activities that you can also add on your itinerary. We weren't able to go here na, but I saw them while searching Klook for discounted tickets to the first two activities above. Photos used are also from Klook.
3) Ocean Adventure
4) Aqua Planet Waterpark
And lastly, my ultimate game plan in case I find myself again in Subic is to...
We had all our meals for this 2-day trip in ACEA's Salt Restaurant, and I like that they are very accommodating in serving me vegetarian alternatives. Food is good, but my favorite is really their truffled chocolates which they served again for our dinner by the beach!
For indoor activities, ACEA has a complete gym facility na slightly natempt ako gamitin if only I have the right pair of footwear with me! Imagine running the treadmill with the view of the beach!
They also have a gaming area for adults, they have darts, billiards, and a KTV section:
Ava and I also went inside the indoor kids playground and sobrang saya coz it is very spacious and colorful, and ang bongga ng slides a! Ava said if andun lang si Asher and Athan they will definitely enjoy this play zone!
And of course, enjoy the private beachfront and infinity pool of ACEA! With a view like this, sayang naman if you just stay indoors!
We went on the beach for our first night, and then the pool the next day before our departure for Manila.
The different shades of ACEA's beautiful sunset by the beach:
Emote emote, hehehe:
Buhay na kami ng kahit kami lang, hahaha! Thanks Ava for keeping up with my dorky side hehehe!
I remember stating here before in my blog that I am all for solo travels. Na mas gugustuhin ko talaga yung mag isa lang ako, hehehe. Aside from the sense of independence, as a person na always nag aadjust for the people I am with para iwas confrontations and lahat happy, traveling alone means I can listen to what I reallyreally want and finally do whatever I please without having to check if my company will be okay with it. It's my ultimate medium of healing, an essential for my whole mental health and self-love shenanigans.
But now I will actually say that I like the balance of solo flights AND group travels. Group travels may mean not always getting what I want, or that I have to adjust and compromise with a lot of people, but it also means learning from them, witnessing my capacity to socialize and enjoy things through the eyes of others, finding out that we all have different irks and quirks (and that's okay!), and of course, deepening old and even new friendships as we explore a new world and new things together. I actually like the thought that I've gained lots of "roomies" in different countries from all the media trips I've participated in, and may kausap ako at katawanan at the end of the day!
My last two local trips (Iloilo and Subic) reminded me about the wonders of traveling with the company of different people with different backgrounds and perspectives. They may be close friends, acquaintances, or family. I am sure I have picked up a thing or two from them, and with that, I am grateful.
Excited for a new trip tomorrow! ❤
Special thanks to ACEA Subic Bay and Monique of Buensalido PR for accommodating me, and Ava Zabat for inviting me!