Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Morong, Bataan & Subic

The Beach & Pawikan in Morong, Bataan 
and the Zoobic Safari in Subic

Long weekends have been and will always be a much anticipated time of the year for working people who are lucky enough to enjoy their day-offs longer than usual. "Lucky enough" because for 3 straight years, I didn't have that privilege! Working on a holiday might give you that double or triple pay, but doing that repeatedly for years will eventually get you stressed out and drained. Oh, I so love long weekends!

After spending some “me time” for the first two weekends in November, I spent the remaining weekends with family and friends.
Thank God! Bonifacio Day fell on a Friday and so, I spent the long weekend with one of my closest friends and my travel buddy, BP Nick.

Check out BP Nick’s Mt. Samat & Dunsulan Falls debut write-up and our Bataan Day 1 adventure here.

Our original plan did not have a day two since we only wanted to go to Mt. Samat & Dunsulan Falls for Nick’s Destination in Bataan. But, we got thrilled to see the pawikan (sea turtles) in Morong, which, by that same day (November 30th), was celebrating the Pawikan Festival. However, it was already around 7 in the evening when we arrived in Morong, and because of exhaustion (I was then coming straight from a night shift plus that long bus ride), we opted to rest and decided to see the turtles the next day.

Morong Beach + the cute pawikan

I woke up early the next day as I wanted to see the sunrise. I told Nick that we could go jogging and swimming before heading to the Pawikan Conservation Center. Though still sleepy, Nick got up and accompanied me eagerly. 
The early morning walk by the beach as the sun was rising made us more excited for the day. The weather was perfect and so we wanted to spend the whole day exploring other places there. We were exchanging ideas on what to do and where to go next since it was an unplanned trip for that day. 

Still without a definite plan, we preferred to spend more time enjoying the place rather than stressing ourselves over thinking or planning for our next adventure.

Ready to swim
Morong beach’s charcoal gray sand may look dirty for some who love white beaches, but it is actually clean and the water is clear. You will love this calm and uncrowded beach. 

We enjoyed swimming and floating while looking at the clear blue sky.

Gold Coast Beach Resort
Relaxing & enjoying the view
After eating breakfast and checking out from Gold Coast Beach Resort, we rode a tricycle going to Barangay Nagbalayong, where the Pawikan Sanctuary is located. When we arrived there, all we could see were big pawikans. I told Nick that I wanted to see the baby pawikans. We could not find any after looking around. So we entered the center’s main office and there we found out that hundreds of baby pawikans were released when they celebrated the Pawikan Festival the other day. Aaaaaw!

I thought I would get disappointed, but the lady we were talking to told us that they have a program called “Adopt a Pawikan”. 

Adopt a Pawikan offers visitors a chance to actually interact with the baby pawikans for a short period of time. For only 300php, a visitor can hold and release a newly hatched turtle into the sea. Plus! A t-shirt will be given as proof of participation in the program. 

I grabbed that opportunity! It was a memorable experience for me. I felt like I was the real mother of this cute baby pawikan and named it “Marion”. Hahaha! I prayed that she may be able to survive despite all the dangers in the ocean. “Oh Lord, please don’t let the big fish eat her...” was my prayer. I can actually feel it! She’s alive and swimming and enjoying her life in the ocean right now. By the way, Nick didn’t adopt one. He said he might cry once the baby pawikan is released. Hahaha! Drama King! (Mas madrama pa siya saken?)

My baby pawikan
After a short conversation with a volunteer there at the Pawikan Conservation Center, we left and finally decided to go to Subic, which is just few hours away from Morong. 

Zoobic Safari & the not-so-hungry Tigers

There are many tourist attractions in Subic. So while eating our lunch at Savory in SM Olongapo, we were also browsing and checking some blogs online. After a short discussion, we chose to go to Zoobic Safari. 

BP Marion

BP Nick
Well, we may not be kids anymore to enjoy this kind of trip, but hey I guarantee that you will enjoy the tour whether you are a kid or just a kid-at heart. Yeah, this is a zoo. Zzzzoo what? Nature lovers should be animal lovers too! ツ

Note: If you plan to go to Zoobic Safari without your own vehicle, there are cabs outside the mall (if you are in SM-Olongapo). Haggle if you can. Once finally there, pay 495php to  enjoy the 2 and a half hour tour around the zoo in a 25 hectare land. You will find different kinds of exotic, wild and semi-domesticated animals. You can also get to experience close encounters with some of those animals. If you prefer, you can pay additional 50php for the tram train or ZOOper train, which I recommend you do before the tour.

We hired a cab and paid 1,200php that was already good for the SM to Zoobic trip, then from Zoobic to Victory Liner. It was actually my first time there and I enjoyed it!

Entrance fee:
Adult: 495php

Kids 3ft-4ft: 395php
Kids below 3 ft: FREE entrance

Operating Hours: 
Open daily : 8:00AM up to 4:00 PM (even holidays)

Zoobic Safari has the following attractions:

Zoobic Park

Bird Walk

Rodent World


Zoobic Cave and Forbidden Cave

Tiger Safari Ride

Close Encounter


Animal MuZOOeum

Aetas' Trail

Croco Loco
To know more what about these attractions, please go to:

Animal Shows & Parade Schedules:
Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays: 10:30 AM, 1:30 PM and 3 PM.

After a short orientation, the tour began at Zoobic Park. At the entrance, we saw different species of birds flying freely.

BP Nick and the lovely birds
In the Bird Thrill, you can feed the parakeets/love birds for 10php. They are adorable! 

White Carabao

Then there are farm animals like horses, sheep, white carabao etc.

BP Marion at Serpentarium

Since it is a tour, don’t  expect that the tour guide will wait for you while you’re busy enjoying the view and taking pictures everywhere, so make sure to take a quick look & take some few shots only. 

There was an instance when we were running just to catch up with our group. Argh!

ZOOper train
Rather than walking around, riding the tram train to get to another part of the park is more comfortable. That was the reason why I recommend paying additional 50php at the entrance. People with their own vehicles even choose to ride the tram train to avoid hassle of getting their cars from the parking area. Besides, these ZOOper trains are really cute and you will enjoy the view better.


I enjoyed watching the ostriches and wild boars roaming around while we were on the tram train in the Savannah area.

Our Aeta brothers also showed their unique talents. A li’l Aeta boy was dancing like a caterpillar (a dance step like waving his body, I don’t know what to call it so I think caterpillar would be a nice term. Hahaha!). He was groovin’ though he was not really part of the show, while the others, the bigger ones were performing their native/traditional dances. 

Tigers' siesta time? haha
And I was really excited for the much awaited part of the tour – the Tiger Safari Ride! And guess what? I was disappointed with our Tiger Safari Ride. It was too quick and the tigers were already well fed that afternoon, so our tour guide advised us that feeding them  was over. 

If you want to experience the thrill of being chased by full-grown tigers on the loose, I recommend you go here in the morning or at noon time.

BP Nick

I would definitely come back with my family there. I think my nieces would love to feed the birds and milk feed the baby sheep (which we were not able to do during this trip). And I personally would love to feed the tigers on the Safari Ride the next time I visit this place!

And I hope that when I come back, I’ll be able to maximize my time and enjoy all the attractions and activities the park has to offer. Oh, did I say I missed the Animal Show and Parade? So unlucky! But, I would have to say - better luck next time! hahaha!

Aren't they cute?

"I'm for sale"

It was almost sunset when the tour ended. Our driver (of the cab we rented) was already waiting for us. We negotiated for the 3 hrs waiting time and left.

After eating dinner in a fastfood chain near the bus station, Nick was teasing me, saying “Let’s go straight to Baguio...” And, I was like “What? Are you out of your mind?” with a blank face. Thank God that was just a joke! Well actually, I thought that it was a great idea...  only if time and budget were out of the picture.

When you plan to go to Subic, try to have a side trip in Morong, or the other way around. Happy traveling! ツ

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