Liberty Port Brief
The purpose of this briefing is to inform US Navy personnel of the liberty available in the Subic Bay Area, how to get the most out of it, and to pass our combined “old-timers” experience on to active duty shipmates.
Welcome to the Subic Bay Area from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Posts, Retired Affairs Offices, American Legion Posts, Fleet Reserve Association Branches, Disabled American Veterans, and the US military retired members of our community. We number more than 800 from E-4 to O-6.
This Brief has been authorized by the Post Commander; JimCorrell, Master Chief, USN Retired. Liberty Briefing, Subic Bay , PI. This briefing is needed due to the general lack of knowledge of this port in the current Navy. This brief is completely UNOFFICAL.
We will cover the following subject areas.
Our Post is also very community minded. We do Community Medical and Dental Outreach Programs, and we make contributions to the Clark Cemetery Maintenance program.
Liberty on the “SBMA” or what was and is still referred to as the Base.
The base has a great deal of recreational activities. Horseback riding, jungle tours, fishing, diving, go carts, a race track, golf course, bowling, movie theatre, ocean adventures, swimming pools, beaches, good restaurants, hotels, fast food, softball field, casino, jet ski's, parasailing, shopping in duty free shops, and a lot more.
Liberty in Olongapo City Town Proper.
Olongapo City once could handle the liberty for Three Navy Battle Groups in port at any given time. It has been reduced to maybe three small pubs that cater to foreigners. The majority of the clubs on the main roads have good music and you are welcome, but they have been setup with the local Filipino population in mind. This is not the bar area of old. A few places are setup this way, but are very expensive. This is a good area to watch your P's and Q's.
Liberty in Barrio Barretto.
This is the area where most of the foreigners live and play. VFW Post 11447 is located in this town â€“ on Del Pilar Street , across from the Marmont Hotel. The Barrio has Dart, Pool and Horseshoe leagues, good restaurants (especially the VFW Canteen), and plenty of cold drinks. Being right on the beach, many water type activities are available. Hotels are plentiful and bar entertainment of all kinds abounds.
Liberty in Subic City.
This is what we call our nightclub area. It may only have a few bars, but they are willing to cater to your needs. Liberty usually starts here at 2 pm and continues late into the night. This is an area not to miss. If you're on a Blue Jeepney, make sure you tell the driver “Calapandayan” and not “ Subic ”. Subic is the next town and there aren't any bars there!!
Getting Around locally.
From the base there are taxis that will take you to local points for a negotiated fare. From the main gate you can get a yellow jeepney going to the victory liner station for about 5 Pesos each person. You can also negotiate a jeepney to take you to Barrio Barretto or Subic City , a good price being about 300 Pesos or less (total for all passengers included). If you take the yellow jeepney to the Victory Liner circle, you can then get on a Blue jeepney that will take you to Barrio Barretto or Subic City with a cost of 10 Pesos or less each person. If you know where you want to go but don't know how to get there, get the base taxi or the special jeepney until you know. Just make sure you pay when you get there, pay in Pesos, not Dollars like one ship recently did.
Things to Avoid.
This is just a basic listing of the most popular scams in the Philippines , not so much in Subic , but you should know about them.
Avoid a guy that says his passport has been stolen and he has no money. He says he flew F-4's on the Midway and is a retired Captain. All BS.
Never get into a card game with anyone in the Philippines , it may start out as something else, but you end up losing everything you have.
Never play pool or dart games for money. You lose!
Never take more money with you than you plan to spend. Don't wear jewelry, watches, rings, or anything else that is flashy. Keep your money in a front pocket. You really don't need anything but your ID. Leave the credit cards and wallet on the ship. Most of the pickpockets operate on the local transportation - “Jeepney's. Someone will sit next to you and try to distract you, while the other guy reaches around his partner to get your wallet. If you think this is the case, JUST GET OFF THE JEEPNEY - in a populated area. Be especially careful of someone who has a bag, or briefcase, that keeps poking you in the ribs. It's a “deflector” technique.
Don't smell the perfume they are trying to sell you on the street. It could be knockout gas. (not reported in Subic Bay . Mostly happens in Manila ).
Don't pay attention to someone who is trying to sell you a Japanese Era gold brick. It is as fake as it gets. What seems to be too good is usually no good.
If a guy you don't know says he knows you, you know you are going to get ripped off. He may want to look at your wallet, gives you the money to hold, you don't get it back. He may want to get you to mail a letter, or help find someone in the US . It is all a scam and they are good at it.
Olongapo City/Barrio Barretto Telephone Numbers
(Barangay is a neighborhood form of law enforcement, more serious matters go directly to the police).
Medical Care is normally a matter for your ship to handle. In an Emergency, hospitals are available in the area. Retirees in the area avail themselves of the highest quality care in the Philippines using the Total Life Care Medical Center and Subic Bay Medical Center (the old Cubi hospital). Refer to the telephone listing above which includes all of the local hospitals and their contact information.
EXCHANGE RATE The exchange rate at the Money Exchanges (Arlene's, DBS, April Mae, etc.) is now 47.913 Pesos to the Dollar. The Money Exchanges generally have a much better rate than the rates in the banks. Asian currencies are currently experiencing rapid fluctuations. Money Changers: Unlike Thailand , Moneychangers here will only take cash. So to get cash using a credit card, you must have a PIN (Personal Identification Number) for your card and use it in an ATM. And ATM's on base usually dole out the largest amounts per transaction -- or you can pay a premium price at one of the casino's to use a card.
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)
There are now several ATMs on SBFZ (Subic Bay Freeport Zone). Prudential Bank, Coco Bank, and the Philippine National Bank will process an NFCU CUCARD, VISA card or Share Check card (PLUS system). CIRRUS system ATMs are also available in Olongapo and on SBFZ (PCI Bank, Coco Bank and Bank of Philippine Islands ).
The Retired Activities Office has a good working relationship with NFCU and can send faxes (at your expense) for you to check balances, wire transfers, arrange loans, etc. If you want to check your accounts via internet, be careful of local Internet Cafes. Many have “Keystroke Counters” installed on the PC's and they can retrieve your PINs/Codes, etc... after you leave.
Travelers Checks are not normally accepted unless there is a large service fee. They are not accepted in the Philippines due to the large amount of scams and counterfeits.
Feel free to make suggestions to add, delete, update, or request more information! Let us hear from You. We hope this has given some help in planning you port visit.
A Final Note: Respect is a very dominant trait amongst Filipinos. If you treat one disrespectfully you will be asking for serious trouble.