Subic in Zambales is usually associated with business and economics. A recent trip to Subic Bay, however, reaffirmed the area’s potential to be an excellent choice for exploration and relaxation.
Acea Subic Bay is a new hotel in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ), right beside the airport where FedEx’s Asia-Pacific Hub used to be. The property itself is in a quiet enclave with an expansive beachfront.
Upon entering the resort, guests behold a breathtaking, 180-degree view of the bay and beachfront. The calm blue waters carpet the horizon, while catamarans and big-bellied freighters quietly sail on.
The hotel is modern-minimalist, with whitewashed walls, dark-colored roof, and wooden accents. It follows the popular resort-type design—with open-plan layout, high walls, tropical ceiling fans and massive indoor pool.
For beach bums
The beach has fine sand, perfect for beach bumming. Not as fine as the ones in Boracay’s White Beach, to be sure, but good enough as one can find in Luzon’s top beaches.
“For those who want a quiet, private beach holiday, Acea Subic Bay promises a complete resort experience with a refreshing ambiance and impressive amenities that accommodate a variety of interests,” says the hotel’s new general manager, Pamela Robinson.
The resort is managed by Hospitality Innovators Inc. (HII), a veteran in the hospitality industry.
HII’s other properties are Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences in Makati, Azumi in Alabang, The Crosswinds Resort in Tagaytay, and Hue Hotels and Resorts in Boracay.
“We are excited to work with Acea Subic Bay and have this chance to give our guests the kind of service and hospitality they truly deserve,” says HII founder and CEO Luis Monserrat. “With our combined effort and dedication, our aim is to create a unique and remarkable resort experience that sets Acea Subic Bay apart from other resorts in the area.”
The hotel was buzzing with activity when we were there. It was a great indicator of the renewed vigor in SBFZ, which experienced a slump in activities in recent years, starting with the closure of the FedEx Hub in 2009.
Subic is experiencing a sort of gentrification, with family-friendly resorts, restaurants and hotels sprouting in the area.
We also visited the popular Zoobic Safari, a few minutes’ drive from Acea. The zoo is huge, well-maintained and has unique animals like rare white tigers, eagles, crocodiles, bear cats.
The highlight of our tour was a ride on a safari-style, steel-caged jeepney, on a dusty plain where tigers roamed—an exhilarating (and slightly terrifying) experience.
We also traveled to nearby Olongapo City, where one can find the largest inflatable island in Asia.
Inflatable Island PH is a water park with its own private beach, complete with huts, lounge sofas and dining options. The resort’s main attraction, however, is its namesake, a large inflatable playground built in the waters along the shoreline.
With Subic Bay just a two-hour drive away from Metro Manila, it is a perfect playground for day trippers and staycationers looking for an affordable and hassle-free vacation. —CONTRIBUTED
Acea Subic Bay is on the former Dungaree Beach, San Bernardino Road, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Zambales; tel. (047) 2522232; e-mail [email protected], aceasubicbay.com