Today's Punto
Today's Punto
Subic poised as cruise ship destination
By Ashley Manabat

Apr 18, 2017

CLARK FREEPORT – Executives of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) have announced plans to make Subic Bay Freeport as a top cruise ship destination.

Ronnie Yambao, SBMA senior vice president for marketing, made the announcement at the “News@ Hues” media forum organized by the Pampanga Press Club in cooperation with Park Inn Hotel at the Hues Restaurant of the hotel at the SM City Clark here on Monday.

Yambao, who was accompanied by Rohn Balingit, OIC media production unit; Julius Macam, tourism and marketing promotions; and Mary Rose Lila-Gana, marketing manager of Moonbay Marina resort, said Subic freeport is ready as a cruise ship destination.

Yambao said Subic freeport has it all in terms of infrastructure, attractions as well as ability and manpower.

What’s the advantage of Subic?

Yambao said Subic freeport has a deep seaport and an airport which could become the logistics platform of airline companies that can accommodate cruise passengers to board on the cruise ships docked at Subic.

He said Subic has the attractions (six theme parks in one destination), duty-free shops and shopping malls which are needed in the home port of a cruise ship. “This is very rare in the Philippines where everything is only about 10 minutes away from these facilities and the security is also very important,” he added.

Yambao said two years ago, the MV Spirit of Adventure cruise ship docked at Subic.

“It’s not yet regular because of destination schedule that should first be set and this is now being coordinated with the Department of Tourism (DOT) so that Subic can become a cruise playground,” he pointed out.

Yambao said cruise ships started docking at Subic starting 2007 with the Clipper Odyssey. The cruise ship with around 700 people on board has a “nostalgic theme” because its passengers were retired servicemen.

He said the ship visited Leyte because of the MacArthur landing. “Our dream is for Subic to become a hub port for cruise ships because of our beautiful facilities that can accommodate even bigger cruise ships,” he stressed.

Yambao said Subic freeport has already accommodated four to five cruise ships in the past “but we still need to push for the promotions of these efforts with the DOT because they have a program for cruise tourism.”

He said cruise ships coming from Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan can easily access Subic Bay freeport “that is why we would like to promote inter-island destination where cruise ships can visit Subic on their way to Boracay or Palawan and even Manila or other Asian countries.”

But he said the planning period for that is one and half years “that is why we are really pushing to move this forward… the platform of Subic with complete logistics facilities which have attractions that is complete.”

For his part, DOT regional director Ronnie Tiotuico said his department supports the efforts of Yambao. “We are promoting Subic as part of the loop in the cruise itinerary. We are looking at Subic as our international cruise ship destination,” Tiotuico, who was also present in the media forum, said.

“We are pushing for the ASEAN destination for the cruise itinerary in the Port of Subic,” he added. Meanwhile, some 300,000 tourists visited Subic freeport during the Holy Week, doubling the number of vehicles as compared to last year, Yambao said.

He said all of the 46 hotels inside the Subic Bay freeport were all fully booked that could accommodate almost 40,000 guests.

While some motorists pass through the Subic freeport on the way to Zambales, still the volume of vehicles was enormous but manageable. This proves that Subic is ready to become a top cruise ship destination, he said.

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