We left Manila first thing on Friday morning to head up to Subic for the weekend. We went with two friends of ours, their two kids, and their two yayas. Subic is about two hours north of Manila and was formerly a US Military base. The housing that remains there looks just like every other military base housing. We stopped in the city proper to visit some friends and then headed to our hotel, Mountain Woods Resort (www.mountainwoodsresortsubic.com) . This hotel was not on the beach but up on a hill (as the name suggests). It was an okay hotel. The rooms were nicely appointed and they had insect repellent in the bathrooms next to the shampoo which was a nice touch. My only issue with the room was the lack of working air conditioning. Simply put, it sucked. We actually pulled the bed out from the wall to move it closer to the under-producing air conditioning unit. Otherwise, the hotel was clean, piano player in the lobby, fresh tarragon springs in the water carafe, staff was great, management was inept, pool was clean enough (even if it was under filled which was only a bummer because you do not get the infinity effect).
Since Mountain Rock Resort is a sister property of White Rock Beach Resort we got 50% off the beach entrance rates (not free like the website states). After visiting friends, we went to White Rock Beach, arriving there around 4pm and let them know we would be there until 8pm (they have a nice attendant bring your stuff to the beach). We rented a cabana and relaxed and swam a bit. At about 6:30, we requested they turn on the lights. They wanted PHP500 for this (about $10). After much arguing, we received an emergency light (kinda like a stand-up flashlight) so we could at least pack up our items.
Saturday morning we woke up early to head over to Zoobic which is a zoo there. Great place to go with kids. They had some neat animals and when it is time to see the tigers for PHP200 you can buy some chicken that they will feed to the tigers which is very cool. The guide flings the chicken around on a string and tosses it up to the roof as well so the tiger will climb on the roof of the vehicle which was very cool.
You also visit Aeta Trail where you watch a dance done by some Aetas. This part I was not too into. The Aeta's are the indigenous people of the Philippines and this display seemed less like cultural education and more along the lines of "let's take pictures and gawk". Something about they way they had it set up didn't sit right with me.
Final stop at Zoobic was the CrocoLoco pen which had a slew of crocodiles. Here for PHP50 you can buy yet some more chicken and feed the crocodiles. The chicken is attached to a string on a stick (like a fishing pole) which meant instead of feeding time, it was "Let's Taunt the Crocodiles and Make Them Jump Repetitively for Food Which I Will Yank Back Before They can Reach It" time. This was my favorite part of Zoobic.
Next we headed to Camayan Beach which was reccomened to us. They had no remaining space at the beach (not surprising considering it was a Saturday in the height of summer) so we headed back to the hotel for swimming. That night we hit a bar, watched a bikini show, and saw some live bands.
Sunday we headed back to Camayan Beach first thing in the morning. For non hotel guests there are no reservations; it is first come, first served. You know the lines you see outside of nightclubs with everyone trying to get in? This was the scene at Camayan but instead of people dressed to the nines, it was families loaded down with coolers and kids. We went back to the wretched White Rock (our aircon in the car had died---long story but since the car is still under warrenty and there was no dealer in the area, we just dealt with the hot car) since we knew there was space. We spent the day there and enjoyed it. When it got too hot during the peak of the afternoon we went over to the pool and hung out in the shady end of the pool.
We left for Manila directly from White Rock around 7pm (we wanted to avoid the heat so we drove at night) which would have been uneventful except for two things. (1) NLEX (North Luzon Expressway) was having work done so a 15-minute strech of road turned into two hours and (2) contrary to the painted signs on the ground reading "NO OVERTAKING", the shoulder can apparently be used as an additional lane.