Posted by: neblinoso | November 9, 2009

Subic Bay Adventure

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subic bay

Saturday was packed with adventure!  A group of us went to the Subic Bay area, which used to be the site of a US Navy base.  Since it was quite a ways away, we left at 5AM, most of us only getting a few hours of sleep after a night of poker.

When we arrived in the Subic Bay area, we were on the hunt for the house of pancakes for a breakfast refueling.  We stopped and asked several people where we could find it, but it seemed we kept getting more lost.  At one point, we asked a traffic officer who we happened to be standing in the intersection we were going through.  The driver pulled over to the side after crossing it and the security officer approached the van. 

I thought he had told us to pull over so he could give us directions, however, after the driver got out, followed shortly by our two local heroes, Jing and Rico, those of us left in the van began to question his motive.  Some thought we were getting a ticket, although it was unclear what for.  Laura mentioned something about going to jail.  IMG_4019This prospect made me a little excited, yet thoughts of Brokedown Palace came to mind.  Going to jail in a foreign country…not that would adventurous!

Turns out he was going to give us a ticket, but Jing and Rico were able to talk him out of it.  Thank God for them, or else we would have been lost all day!  We never did learn what violation we had made.

Once we finally found the House of Pancakes, we had a leisurely breakfast.  The waiter told us it would only take ten minutes for the food to come out, but it was more like a half hour.  This did not phase me as i’ve gotten used to things taken longer than predicted. 

After breakfast, we went to the tourism department to pick up Mae, who would be our guide for the day.  She hopped in the van with us and we set off around the bay, stopping every now and then to take pictures. 

Our first stop was to see bats! 

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flying bats

A few of the flew from tree to tree, but most of them were hidden in the trees.  Later, on our way back, we stopped at another area and you could actually see them hanging from branches.  Perhaps The Batman was among them!

As we headed to some old bunkers, we saw monkeys along the road!  i love monkeys, so this was very exciting.  We were instructed to be careful, as the monkeys were known to approach open windows and, often times, snatch cameras right from your hand.  As much as i would have loved to take one home with me, as soon as they began to approach the van, i slammed the window shut.  IMG_4054The last thing i needed was a monkey bite and possibly a stolen camera.  Besides, what would a monkey need with a camera?  We joked they probably take them back to their village and pawn them for food.

The bunkers looked like grassy hills from the road.  They were used to house ammunition.  A large group of school children were also on-site, so it was a bit crowded at the entrance.  I found the sign above the bunker interesting as 216 is the IMG_4062Cleveland zip code.  Represent!  Just a small reminder of home. It was very echoey inside and i shouted my name at Mae’s suggestion. 

Next, we stopped at place near the water and fed some fishies.  It was such a beautiful day.  I love being near the water and with the mountains as a background it couldn’t have been more picturesque.

We continued our journey around the bay to Zoobic Safari, a small zoo-like attraction, where you can get up close and personal with the animals.  They offered safari-esque jeep rides, in which pictures showed tigers standing atop the jeeps.  We didn’t have enough time for this, but I was able to see some of the tigers, and I don’t know how much closer i could get than by holding on to one while feeding it a bottle of milk. 

tiger

I quickly volunteered when the trainer asked us who wanted to be the one to feed him.  The trainer arranged us on one bench and unleashed the tiger, bringing him up on the bench in front of us.  He gave it a short bottle and then wrapped my own hand around it, telling me to keep steady.  As the tiger sucked down the milk, i prayed it wouldn’t run out before this photo was taken and start looking for something else to eat…like my hand, which was inches from its mouth.

The tiger’s name was Obama.  When i first asked one of the IMG_4096trainers i couldn’t understand what he said, so i asked him again and he said, “like the president.”  I was thinking of the Filipino president, so i said, “Gloria?”  He smiled, “No, the US president.”  What can i say, i can’t hear.  🙂

The park was still adorned with Halloween stuff, so i spent some time taking photos with the decorations.

The next site we stopped at was the old barracks, which had been converted into apartments.  I was more interested in exploring a colorfully painted airplane in the middle of a putt-putt course.  I decided to hop on to the back wing and climb up towards the stabilizer fin.  IMG_4139I wasn’t sure this was allowed, but i didn’t see anyone around and i will do almost anything for a good photo.  I’m actually surprised i didn’t slip and come rolling off the wing on my way down, given my clumsy nature. 

Our penultimate pit stop was probably the best place of the day for me.  It was TreeTop Adventure, an attraction that offered various ziplining activities.  When i first learned of the planned trip to Subic Bay, i did some browsing around and found this website.  I knew immediately this would be something i wanted to do. 

There were several options, and i would have liked to do them all if we had the time.  I settled on the superman and tree drop adventures.  Six of us did the superman zipline in which you are suspended from a rope and have one bar for your feet/legs and another for your hands/arms. 

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superman go!

Then they shoot you, first backwards, then forwards, 150 meters high above the ground in 15 seconds.  In order to truly feel like superman, you have to stick out one arm as you are sailing through the air.  Too bad i didn’t have a cape to wear.

I was the only one who chose to do the tree drop option.  This is where you are suspended 60 feet in the air and dropped in one of three ways: face first, feet first or, the way i chose, mission impossible style–with your body flat and facing the ground. 

The guide who suited me up was hilarious, cracking joke after joke.  His name was Dudz, no joke.  I had to wear these white gloves and i said it made me feel like Michael Jackson, which cued him to start singing Thriller.  Right before they dropped me he was holding on to my hands and getting me in the right position for the fall.  “Squeezing my fingers to death is not part of the package, ma’am.”  I hadn’t realized i was holding on so tight.  I let go and he told me to look to my right and smile for the camera and then i was gone. 

I screamed all the way down.  It was exhilarating!  There’s nothing like the feeling of falling, watching the ground get closer and closer.  If I had done this in the states, I would have had to sign a waiver, exonerating them from any responsibility if something were to go wrong, watch a 2o-minute video on zipline safety and then listen to a guide talk you through the process. 

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hanging by a thread

Here, they just take your money, dress you in the harness and hard hat and off you go.  I must say those harnesses are not the most comfortable contraptions.  By the end of both ziplines, i had a wedgie the size of Texas.  Yeowzers!

On our way out, we grabbed some lunch to take with us to eat by the Elkabay Falls, our final destination. We were supposed to drive into the woods to the location, however, this quickly became impossible as the van had trouble going up the muddy hills and finally came to a spot where we’d knew we’d get stuck if we attempted to go through.  We piled out of the van and trekked the rest of the way to the waterfall.

IMG_4223When we arrived, a group of kids were perched on the picnic tables, so we decided to eat up top.  I wanted to get some close-up shots of the falls, so i hiked down, crossing over a wooden plank to get near the water.  After taking some pics, i stopped to talk to the group of kids hanging out.  One of the girls and i chatted about where we were from and what was i here for, etc.  She told me she’d been to Ohio, but couldn’t remember what city she visited.  Her family spent some time living in Arkansas and she hopes to return to the US some day for work.

On our way out of the city, we drove by Ulo ng Apo, a large statue head that represents a tribesman that used to inhabit these lands. Legends says the elder tried to make peace with warring tribes, but was unable and one day found decapitated.  A young boy eventually found the head on a bamboo pole and ran through the villages shouting ulo ng apo, which translates into “head of the elder”.

The journey home was trafficky, but uneventful.  I nodded off a few times, the two hours of sleep i’d got the night before finally catching up with me.  After dinner at the Outback, i returned to my room and went immediately to bed and didn’t wake up for 14 hours.  Now that’s a good sleep!

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Responses

  1. That tiger is so cute! It’s like a big kitty!! 🙂


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