“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Our wedding anniversary in Hotel Mansion Garden (Subic Bay Freeport Zone)

For our 10th wedding anniversary we went this year to an area in the Philippines, which we didn't visit before.
It was partly inspired by the experience of a good friend/cousin of us, who went there recently.
It's only a 2.5 hours drive from our place (almost 200 km), thanks to the new TPLEx expressway.

The week before our anniversary date, we started to book a hotel for the weekend.

Unfortunately many hotels were already fully booked, we should have done this a month earlier. So we ended up in a hotel which was a bit more expensive than we had in mind and not at the beach, but anyway it was a good choice. We went for a King Suite, with a king size bed, sufficient for us and our child.

The hotel is advertised as a four star hotel and I agree as far as the hotel itself, the swimming pool and Spa are concerned. The Spa and kitchen we didn't try, except for the breakfast. This was average.

My experience in the Philippines with hotels is not very positive as far as maintenance is concerned. In most cases they have a large backlog of maintenance. But in this case it was perfect. Everything worked well. The TV (and Cignal satellite receiver) latest model, aircon, hot water, shower, bathtub, elevator, everything worked well. Also the swimming pool, actually two pools, had a nice design and technically working well, so built by experts. Apparently the hotel is often used for wedding ceremonies and parties, we experienced two parties in 3 days.

The hotel is not far from the beach, you can even go there by walking. It is not a beach for swimming, however there are boating and diving facilities around. Undoubtly there are swimming beaches nearby, but due to the relatively cold weather we didn't search for it.

Our main activities were going around at the Waterfront Rd with several memorial places, hotels and restaurants, shopping in the Olongapo SM and in a tax-free shop, trying restaurants around and visiting an attraction suitable for children. The latter was the Zoobic safari. We also encountered some corruption while going around.

Unfortunately we didn't have time to visit the marina and yacht club, which is a must as a former sailing yacht owner.

We returned home on Monday after lunch and went for dinner to a new restaurant (Matutina) in Dagupan, where we celebrated our anniversary with family.

For those who are not familiar with this area in the province of Zambales, these are the geographical entities you have to know:
  • Subic town
  • Olongapo town
  • Subic Bay Freeport Zone
  • Subic bay (bay or gulf)
Here are summaries and maps, which I copied from Google, go there for more details if you are interested.


Below you find a brief selection of  my photo's. Probably I will go into more details later in separate blog posts on some of these topics.

King size bed, plenty of space for 3
Well developed swimming pool

Breakfast, not exceptional

US navy ship, I guess from the Pacific fleet, in port
Canadian WWII memorial
Philippines memorial regarding the exit of the US navy

Philippines memorial regarding the Anthem
Some road name signs have Japanese text (my guess it's Japanese as a WWII heritage)
An old Arc from the Spanish period
Small monkeys on the road to Zoobic safari
No comment, guess who?
Interesting story

Not the biggest snake they have

Even a Dutch cow in the garden

Safari car (jeepney)

Safari tram
Tiger feeding for tourists
The best restaurant we have found, located at the beach

Viewing the menu
Anniversary, sealing with a kiss in Matutina's new restaurant in Dagupan


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