Latest Stories

The budget beach resorts of ’Gapo


BEIGE-SAND beach awaits swimmers. Photo by Amadís Ma. Guerrero

The town of Subic and Olongapo City, lying along shimmering Subic Bay—with its marine life, deep natural harbor, beaches and coves—are resort country. The facilities range from upscale to budget.

Unable to afford the high-end resorts (unless there is “media exposure,” of course), some friends of mine from Olongapo and I have been, in recent months, rain or shine, settling for the less pricey resorts along the bay and within the limits of the city.

You won’t find the rich and famous here. Nor, for that matter, the corporate crowd for there is no team-building ek-ek. But these budget resorts will do if you just want to swim, snorkel, relax, laze around, read a book, have a beer and pulutan (bar chow) with friends and, well, join in the video racket. “My Way,” however is not recommended, as a safety precaution.

FAN-COOLED ROOMS. Bring your own towel, soap and mineral water. Photo by Amadís Ma. Guerrero

During the peak season you will see a lot of local folk, families, excursionists from Manila, and young people. But during the rainy season, these resorts are rather forlorn-looking. So, in a way, now is the best time to visit them, in between typhoons, of course.

The trip from Metro Manila to Olongapo takes about three hours, quicker if you pass through the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). This was under repair, however, the last time we visited recently.

Careful drivers

If you don’t have a car and just commute, like me, take a Victory Liner bus. This company is known for its careful drivers and polite conductors. The fare to Olongapo is about P200, with a 20 percent discount if you’re a golden oldie like me. Past Dinalupihan, Bataan, a zigzag announces that you are approaching the city, and you catch a glimpse of the marvelous virgin forest.

PICNIC sheds for day tour. Photo by Amadís Ma. Guerrero

Downtown Olongapo, especially its avenidas like Rizal and Magsaysay, is busier and more congested than ever. You would think you were in Divisoria or Raon in Manila. There is a clutch of pedestrians, students, stores, fast food braches, inns, and all sorts of commercial outlets.

Robert and Jun-Jun join me here and we take a jeepney bound for Subic town. Soon we are passing by resort row and you will see signboards like Subic Half-Moon Resort, Dumlao Beach Resort and, farther, a beach resort owned by a Korean, and Baloy Beach Resort.

These resorts usually have a wide expanse of brown-beige sand beach, long rows of picnic sheds and accommodations for an overnight stay: A cluster of fan-cooled rooms as well as air-con cottages. The rates may vary from P1, 000 to P3, 000.

OUTRIGGER boat will sail along Subic Bay. Photo by Amadís Ma. Guerrero

Bring your own towel, soap and mineral water. And best to buy your food and drinks downtown.

In the evening we exercised our vocal cords in the videoke jukebox in front of the rooms. Jun-Jun, a choirboy like me, turned out to be the better singer, pitch-perfect. Robert did not bother to sing, being tone-deaf.

By night Subic Bay became pitch dark, with only the lights from the shipbuilding facilities visible. The last videoke crooners, including a girl who sang off-key, soon gave up; and quiet descended upon the resort.

I was lulled to sleep by the sound of a gecko. And it was the cry of another (or the same) gecko which woke me up in the morning.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Budget Beach Resorts , Budget Travel , Olongapo City , Subic , Subic Bay , Travel

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  2. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  3. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  4. This is not just a farm
  5. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  6. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  7. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  8. Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  9. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  10. Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  1. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  4. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  5. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  6. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  7. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  8. Prince William fuels speculation of second royal baby
  9. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  10. This is not just a farm
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • Like Passover, Easter festival of deliverance
  • How other faiths in PH observe Holy Week
  • Collector Danny Garcia says Inquirer worth more than news
  • Cardinal Tagle: Start new life with true peace
  • ‘Dry spell’ delayed, thanks to busted valve
  • Sports

  • Pacquiao top Mayweather contender
  • Rain or Shine, Ginebra clash for No. 6 spot
  • Ateneo eyes quarterfinal spot vs Benilde
  • Style contrast marks OneFC ‘Rise of Heroes’
  • ‘Pacquiao a great ambassador for basketball’
  • Lifestyle

  • How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  • Palawan favorite getaway of show biz celebrities
  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Entertainment

  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Awarded TV couple brings Jesus’ life to the big screen
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition