When it comes to beaches, the Philippines is somewhat talented, with Cebu and Boracay being very much on the tourist radar, and Palawan getting voted the world’s best island pretty much every year, but some of the real gems are the lesser-known ones, and Subic Bay is one of my favourites.
Subic Bay and the town of Olongapo are the naval base sister to Angeles City. For those of you not in the know about Angeles, it was previously a US Air Force base during the cold war, a city of sin developed around it, and now Angeles is one of the main party and girly bar bases in the whole country. Subic Bay and Olongapo are an hour’s drive away from Angeles City and mark the nearest beach resort to Angeles. Back in the day, Subic Bay hosted an American naval base, and would you guess it? Girly bars then started to pop up.
In many ways now Subic is like a beach version of Angeles, with many hotels and bars having locations in both places, and well the overall vibe is pretty similar.
The main beach hosts several hotels, but if you are going to go for it and live it largely, the best hotel choice is Wild Orchid. Wild Orchid has branches in both Angeles City, and Subic Bay, with both boasting the biggest swimming pool in their respective areas. Rooms come either standard poolside, or beachside, with prices fitting accordingly, and with the best rooms still only being slightly $100 mark.
Food-wise, there’s a lot of beachside options, but my favorite is …. Restaurant, which aside from its huge menu, and seafood options, cooks up a mean Bloody Mary. I went for the oysters, tuna sashimi, and loaded potato skins, all of which were served looking great, tasting perfect, and most importantly when you’re dealing with fish, being fresh.
For nighttime activities, its all about heading to Baretto Street, which lies on the top of the road from where the beaches are. This is Olongapo’s answer to Fields Avenue, all much more sedate, with a trip to many of the girly bars giving the impression that the bar girls of Angeles come here to retire. Aside from the GRO style bars, there’s several pubs, posh bars, beach bars karaoke’s, and pretty much whatever you’d want for a night out.
Personally, I finished the evening in Subic’s only fish and chip restaurant, which also has a bar and beach attached. Pie, chips and a rum and coke by the sea, you can’t want for much more than that.
So, whilst Subic Bay and Olongapo must not be earth-shattering, at an hour’s journey from Angeles City it marks the best beach getaway from there, and whilst there are better beaches, the great selection of food, drinks, and hotels makes it worth the journey.
Subic Bay, the best beach option from Angeles City.