Subic Beach: A Piece of Paradise in Sorsogon, Philippines
A Bit About Subic
Three hours away from the region’s capital, Legazpi City is the town of Matnog, Sorsogon. Sorsogon is a mainly coastal province with white sand beaches dotting its towns. Matnog is one of the towns where Subic Island is located. Subic is divided into Subic Dako and Subic Liit. “Dako”means big and “liit” means small. These two beaches are separated by a mountain. You have to ride a boat to get to the other side. Subic Dako and Liit both have several resorts so you can choose where to stay while in the island. I have been to both beaches and I must say, each one has its own appeal. In photos you will think that the sand is white, but when you are up close, you will see that it is actually pinkish in color, and very fine. The boat ride from Matnog Port takes 30-45 minutes, where you will stop over at the Juag Lagoon to view and feed the fishes.
Juag Lagoon is a marine sanctuary where different species of fish are in captivity. On the way to Subic beach is the lagoon. The fishes vary in color and size. There are really big ones and some of them have been in the lagoon for a number of years now. Part of the trip is to make a stop in the lagoon so you can view the fishes and feed them. You can buy fish food from the lagoon at just PHP10 or US$.21. You can also swim with the fishes but the caretakers of the lagoon do not allow those who have applied sunscreen on their bodies because it will contaminate the water which may in turn poison the fishes with all the chemical components of the sunscreen. If you wish to swim with the fishes, apply sunscreen afterwards.
My friends and I went to Subic Liit two years ago. We stayed there for two days and one night, and I must say our time was very short to fully enjoy the beauty of the place. One of my friends owns a jeepney (the Philippines’ most common mode of public transportation) and we pitched in for the gas. As soon as we got there we prepared our lunch, which by the way you can bring from the mainland. There are cottages where you can serve and eat your food. They are facing the beach so imagine the view you have while you are indulging in your sumptuous food. Soon after, we had a feast of grilled meat and fish, rice and vegetables cooked in coconut milk. Our first meal at the beach, with sand on our feet, was superb. Although you can bring your own food to the island, there are several fishermen who sell their catch fresh off the sea. Imagine eating fresh seafood on the beach. Heaven. And what is a trip to the beach with your closest and dearest without alcohol? Yes, we got drunk but we were responsible enough not to go into the water. We pitched our tents because at that time there was only one house that you could rent out and it was already full when we got there. I’m not sure if there are additional accommodations now. There is a common bathroom for the tent pitchers as well as an area with several sinks where you can wash your dishes. Subic Liit was not yet too developed when we went there two years ago, as there was only one concrete structure for the accommodation and the rest would just put up tents to sleep in. Personally I preferred sleeping in a tent. It made the experience a lot more enjoyable. My son was so excited to sleep in the tent; it was his first time. And now let’s talk about the beach itself. The pinkish sand was so fine and clean you can walk barefoot and feel your toes digging in the sand. And the water? Oh my god the water was this crystal clear turquoise blue and you could actually see your feet at the bottom. My son saw a purple jelly fish and its color stood out from the clear blue water.
We went to Subic Dako last March for my youngest son’s third birthday. I was with another group of friends – my best friends of more than twenty years and their husbands and kids. In contrast to Subic Liit, Subic Dako has more accommodations. We reserved a family room at Holy Trinity Beach Resort that is already good for 10 people. Holy Trinity is the only resort in both Dako and Liit that has a swimming pool and modern rooms as well as cottages facing the ocean. There are about two or three more resorts in Dako but Holy Trinity is the best one. The resort also has water activities that you can enjoy such as jet skis, kayaks and banana boats at varying prices. These activities are quite expensive, with the jet ski costing you PHP4,000 or US$83 for 15 to 30 minutes of action. We did not get to try any of these as we found them to be out of our budget. We stayed in Subic Dako for three days and two nights. On the second night the resort had a nice fireworks display that lasted several minutes and the kids enjoyed the spectacle. There are also life-size superhero figures such as Captain America, IronMan and the Hulk dotting the resort. My son’s birthday was a blast! He enjoyed every minute of his birthday swimming in the pool, frolicking on the beach and making sand castles with his brother and my friends’ kids. There was only one thing we didn’t like about the trip though. On our way back to the mainland on the third day, the weather was bad but we pushed through with the trip. It was ten minutes of stormy seas which felt like hours to us. We were so scared because we had our kids with us and we didn’t know how to swim! We docked at a different port to avoid more rough seas and thankfully we arrived safely on land. Overall it was a very good experience vacationing with my best friends and their families as well as celebrating my son’s birthday in a piece of paradise.
How Much Will a Trip to Subic Beach Cost?
There is no fixed amount on how much you will spend on your trip. It will depend on how long you will be staying, how much food and drinks you will bring, if you are bringing your own car or renting a van service, etc. Here is a list of the common expenses that you will have to prepare for when going to Subic Beach:
- Tourist Fee (Locals) – PHP 50 (US$ 1)
- Tourist Fee (Foreigners) – PHP 300 (US$ 6)
- Environmental Fee – PHP 20 (US$ .42)
- Boat Fee (Overnight stay) – PHP 2,000 (US$ 41)
- Boat Fee (Day Tour) – PHP 1,600 (US$ 33)
- Rooms and cottages – depending on the resort
- Island hopping – PHP 300 (US$ 6)
You can choose to go island hopping or go straight to Subic Beach. The boatman will also allow you to swim in one or several of the islands depending on the time constraints but more often than not it is the tourists’ call. The family room we rented out at Holy Trinity Beach resort cost PHP 3,500 (US$ 72) which was good for 10 people. We split the cost into four families so it was quite cheaper than if we would rent out individual rooms. And being together in one room is a lot more fun anyway. I hope we can go back to Subic one of these days. Maybe in the summer?