If you’re in the Philippines and poking around Manila or the Luzon Island, there aren’t really many places you’d described as “balanced” or “chill.”In fact, the capital city is so big and expansive that it’s actually split into eight separate cities. Together, they constitute a Black Hole of traffic, pollution, and inescapable streets that is home to about 35 million Filipinos – or one out of every three people in the country. So where can you escape? Some people head to Puerta Gallera (still crowded and the beaches aren’t great) or Tagaytay (home of the volcano) (still plagued by traffic since it’s a weekend getaway for the rich), but I prefer to head north. In fact, along the Luzon coastline you have some nice and very chill areas not too far away. La Union is one of those, and it’s known for its great surfing, but Subic Bay is another.
I actually headed to Subic Bay this Christmas because I wanted to get away from the crazy, loud, and overwhelming city life so I could relax for a few days and just catch up on work. So, I ended up going online and booked the Subiza Resort in Subic Bay, mostly based on the photos and the right price. While I’m on an epic hotel losing streak right now (they just keep getting worse and worse), I was actually pleasantly surprised when I pulled up to the Subiza and started walking around.
Getting to Know the Subiza Resort
I’d describe it as a high-end Filipino family resort, and it was the perfect place to chillax for a few days – just what the Doctor ordered. The Subiza Resort sits on a protected inlet in the Bay, so it’s not only private but quieter, and also with cleaner water, than the hotels on the main strip. In fact, the view is pretty spectacular, and I enjoyed sitting around their restaurant outside on a deck overlooking the water and taking it all in as I sipped coffee and worked.
The restaurant wasn’t cheap at all by Philippines standards, but the food was good enough and you really pay for the view. They had an interesting selection, too, with Sri Lankan and Indian dishes that you don’t normally see at local joints.
I found the room setup to be great, too, with stairs leading four floors high or big, spacious and airy rooms along a big veranda that overlooks the bay view, too. There are couches and chairs outdoors along that veranda, which also made it a perfect place to sit and read, listen to music, or just relax as I looked over the bay.
Since it was Christmas, the resort was understaffed, but you wouldn’t have known it by the service, as the young waitresses, bellhops, and middle-aged manager all ran around and hustled day and night to make sure everyone was taken care of. The Subiza has live bands every night, too
While their swimming pool is nothing special (really just a homemade pool with tiles), there is a ladder from their deck right down to the water, where you can jump in and swim, explore the small slivers of beach next door, or rent out jet skis or banana boat rides.
The Subiza is one of my new favorite getaway places – nothing fancy, but perfect if you need to get away for a couple days and see some natural beauty not too far from crazy Manila.
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