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Subic Bay, Zambales

Subic Bay is about as far North in the Philippines as you will probably want to go for a sailing cruise because farther North there is not so much to see within easy sailing distances. The Bay measures some six miles (North to South) by three miles (East to West), with access to the West Philippine Sea at its southern end. The Bay is divided between the regulated Freeport Zone, which occupies the eastern half, and the unregulated zone, which occupies the western half. Subic Bay offers a very civilized sailing environment with many shore facilities for recreation and for yacht repairs.


Marinas In Subic Bay


Subic Bay Yacht Club

The Subic Bay Yacht Club is located in the northeast corner of the Bay and provides pontoon berths for members and for visitors. Most pontoon berths have individually metered potable water and shore power (220VAC) connections available. There is usually always space for visiting yachts. Both sailing yachts and motor yachts are welcome.

The Subic Bay Yacht Club marina is considered to be typhoon safe as it is sheltered from the South by a breakwater and there is land on the remaining three sides. There may be some wind but there will be virtually no wave action.

The Subic Bay Yacht Club is currently not a sailing club – it is more of a country club with a place to park your boat – although most of the yachts that engage in sailing activities around Subic Bay will be berthed at the Subic Bay Yacht Club.

The Subic Bay Yacht Club also provides hotel accommodation and restaurant facilities, and has two swimming pools and a bowling alley.

When considering to berth at the Subic Bay Yacht Club you will need to make sure that your yacht's papers are up to date and especially that you have current, third-party liability insurance for your yacht. Visiting yachts have been turned away for not having current insurance certificates.

Berthing fees for visitors at the Subic Bay Yacht Club start at around US$800 per month and are calculated from the length of your yacht.

Visit the Subic Bay Yacht Club website at: www.subicbayyachtclub.ph

Watercraft Venture

If you do not have current insurance or if you want to reduce your berthing fees then you may consider berthing at the adjacent Watercraft Venture marina facility. Watercraft Venture is much smaller, does not offer water and shore power at all berths and the pontoons are not as well maintained. Watercraft Venture marina berths are not considered to be as typhoon safe as those of the Subic Bay Yacht Club as the location is directly in the path of a river channel, flowing from the Zambales mountains through Olongapo City – the flow may become strong during prolonged heavy rains.

Watercraft Venture is primarily a place where you may haul-out. There is a travel-lift that can haul-out most sizes of pleasure yachts (except catamarans) and there is usually space on the hardstand for repairs. Advance booking for handstand space is recommended.

Translift Port Equipment Services

Not a marina but if you want to haul-out a catamaran then the only place is at Translift - half a mile outside the Subic Bay Yacht Club marina. At Translift, a crane is used to lift catamarans. Fees are generally US$500 out, US$500 in and US$500 per month on the hardstand. Hardstand space is limited so advance booking is essential.

Vasco's Resort

There is limited berthing space available for smaller yachts (around 40-foot) at Vasco's Resort but this is not considered typhoon safe as it is exposed to southwesterly winds and faces a four mile fetch, so the wave action can be problematic in a westerly or southwesterly breeze. The berthing fees at Vasco's Resort are negotiable and largely depend on whether or not you plan to regularly dine at the restaurant or rent a resort room.

Visit the Vasco's Resort website at: www.vascosresort-museum.com


Anchoring In Subic Bay


Anchoring within Subic Bay Freeport is actively discouraged and if you do so you will probably be asked to move on. However, anchoring is acceptable in the immediate vicinity of Watercraft Venture, Vasco's Resort or The Lighthouse Marina Resort Hotel but obtaining permission from the individual companies in advance is highly recommended as there are underwater obstructions to avoid.

Anchoring is acceptable in the northwest corner of Subic Bay (outside the Freeport), along the beaches fronting Barrio Barretto. If anchoring is not your thing then there are usually one or two floating bars off Barrio Barretto where you may tie up alongside – free, so long as you stop for a few drinks (note: the entertainment at the floating bars may be x-rated).

One of the main reasons to visit Subic Bay is to undertake yacht repairs. Subic Bay Freeport and the adjacent Olongapo City can provide skilled craftsmen for woodwork, fibreglass, metalwork, glazing and electrical work. Prices are very reasonable (compared to other locations in Asia) and materials are generally readily available and of good quality, so long as you agree a specification in advance.

Subic Bay is also home to the Philippines' largest yacht chandler (Broadwater Marine) and if what you need is not in stock they can usually have it flown in within a few days.


Subic Bay Tourist Attractions


Subic Bay is known for its rainforests and native wildlife. Many endemic species can be found in the virgin forest areas.

Within the Freeport there are restaurants, stores, supermarkets and malls to cater for most needs. There are also recreational attractions such as: Ocean Adventure, Treetop Adventure, Zoobic, horseback riding and a golf course set in the rainforest. You can also enjoy a jungle survival course offered by the indigenous Aeta peoples of the forest – the same people who trained American pilots for jungle survival during the Vietnam War.

Scuba diving on wrecks is a significant attraction in Subic Bay. Wreck diving on ships and aeroplanes that date from the late 19th century to much more recently.

Subic Bay has numerous banks that have ATMs that are connected to international networks.


Transport In Subic Bay


There are taxis and hire cars that can take you around Subic Bay and nearby places. The Freeport bus service is not so frequent, not air-conditioned and doesn't go to all of the places you may want to, but it is inexpensive. Most restaurants, stores, supermarkets and the mall are within walking distance.

There are no regular domestic or international flights from Subic Bay International Airport but, if you are leaving your yacht in Subic Bay for a while, there is a scheduled seaplane service to Manila, and thence to Puerto Galera and Busuanga.

There is a frequent and efficient air-conditioned bus service from Subic Bay Freeport to Dau (for Clark airport / Angeles City), Metro Manila and to places along the Zambales coast.

 


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