Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Travel Awesome Philippines: Explore and Experience Subic!

Subic Bay Freeport Zone: A Haven for Nature’s Wonders

and Business Opportunities (Click me to see the YouTube video)

by Jojo M. Ocampo

BEHOLD! THE VAST splendor of Subic Bay has once again beckoned to members of Metro Manila’s media.

Awesome Subic

Reminiscing Subic's travel experience, we joined representatives from various print and broadcast media groups in responding warmly to an invitation from Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Armand Arreza. Like a brat pack of eager school kids, we flocked to join the Subic Bay Media Tour with the theme “Savoring Subic’s Surprises.”

Camayan Beach Resort

Organized by M-Vision Business Solutions, the tour seeks to give media participants an ocular inquest into the Zone’s business and natural tourist spots, and a life-transforming “Personal Effectiveness Workshop” called “Confluent Learning.”

The Subic Bay Freeport (SBF) Zone lies at the heart of the fertile Central Luzon plains, a two-and-a-half hour drive north of Manila. Picturesque and serene, it teems with lush flora and fauna found only in its abundant forests, and its blue bay waters bountiful with rich exotic marine life.

The SBF is an economic hub that supplies products and services for Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bataan, and Zambales.

Enter the Freeport Zone

Upon arrival, the visiting journalists were welcomed by the energetic SBMA officers and staff: composed of Mr. Venancio Triguero; PR Consultant Knette Fernando, Manager Armi Llamas, Supervisor Carlo Andres and staffers Gigs Estellita, Marlyn Gloria and Gemma Ragadio.

After a brief rest, we media workers convened for the opening workshop themed “Unleash Your Maximum Potentials through Confluent Learning”.

SBMA Chairman Commodore Feliciano G. Salonga at the center

Facilitated by Trainer Edgar Teovisio, the workshop taught us how to “make our essential faculties flow, unleashing the powers within us to create and accomplish better personal and career lives.”

A practicing psychologist, Teovisio is a member of the England-based Society for Effective Affective Learning (SEAL).

Right after the workshop, a press conference was held, led by SBMA Chairman Commodore Feliciano G. Salonga.

SBMA Chairman Commodore Feliciano G. Salonga

Salonga revealed SBMA’s ongoing plans under his tutelage and that of Administrator Arreza. Salonga, a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy (New York), has served as top executive at two shipyards in Subic and Bataan. Meanwhile, Arreza has served as COO, director and consultant for several firms and later at the SBMA board. He has also an MBA at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

SBMA: Business Haven

A group of Chinese businessmen who visited the Philippines said the “Subic Bay Freeport is now being regarded as a big piece of cake" due to its strategic location in the Asian region.”
According to Arreza, the Chinese businessmen from Jilin Province regard the Freeport as an ideal place to open an investment hub in the region.

"Because of Subic’s strategic location, Chinese officials will be visiting the Subic Freeport to discuss with us plans of Chinese business groups to put up investments in Subic," Arreza said.

Salonga said that the good news signifies the continuing confidence of the international business community in the government and that the economy of the Philippines is on the right track.

Jungle Life at Zoobic Safari

The next day, after celebrating a night of revelry and fun at the villas at Binigtican, we geared up for the Zoobic Safari, the 25-hectare wildlife sanctuary that offers encounters with the creatures of the African wilds and the Savannah.

Riding Safari jeeps (enclosed with bars), we were doubly thrilled by Siberian and Bengal tigers which devoured dead chickens (being dangled right beside the jeeps by tour guides).



We also enjoyed adventures at the Petting Zoo (a 20-minute walk-through tropical jungle filled with deer, ostrich, eagles and monkeys), Rodent World (a collection of rats, mice and Guinea Pigs), and Serpentarium (a close view of live snakes, lizards, and iguanas inside glass cages).

Metro Media with Zoobic Safari's reprsentative

An Ocean Adventure

At Ilanin Bay, we finally arrived at Ocean Adventure, Southeast Asia’s first open-water marine park.

CEO John Corcoran, Ocean Adventure

In his address, CEO John Corcoran said Ocean Adventure “seeks to increase awareness on the need to save marine ecosystems, and to improve the quality of life of the surrounding communities.”

At the Nautilus Theater, we saw the South American Sea Lion Marine Patrol up close and realized what agile, intelligent, and friendly animals they are.

The Sea Lions taught us the three R's: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle and other ideas on how to save our environment.

At the air-conditioned Ocean Discovery Aquarium, we were astonished to see fish and other sea creatures in a variety of marine life habitats – from fresh water streams, mangrove forests, wharf pile, sea grasses, coral reefs to the dark recesses of rock crevices and caves.

El Capitan Stadium

Next, we went to the El Capitan Stadium, where we saw the Whale Presentation. We were awed by dolphins, sea lions and killer whales in their lovely lagoon home.

We saw their amazing acrobatic ability grace, agility and intelligence, as they leaped high into the air, performing bows and spins.
After having an early dinner and some Duty Free shopping, we took the coaster ride back home to Manila.
We’ve been to Subic lots of times before but never were they as fun and exciting as this tour. Indeed, two days at Subic are certainly not enough.

Thank You!

We acknowledged the following: SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza, SBMA Chairman Commodore Feliciano G. Salonga, PR team of SBMA, Team/Tourism Council of SBMA, Aristocrat, MM Media, management & staff of Ocean Adventure, Camayan Beach Resort & Zoobic Safari, Golden Dragon Restaurant, Fiorgelato, Moondish, Kiss King of Balls, PFIZER, and all the resto bars, restaurants, tourist spots in SBMA. The recent edited videos and pictures are made available with editing through the help of Reginald Kenneth Z. Cruz.

Developed and copyright by M-Vis
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