SubicNewsLink | Subic Bay Freeport News: SBMA, Business, Tourism, Community

09 June 2019

Tim Reed, Caroline Steffen prevail at Subic Bay

Tim Reed ran away from fellow Aussie Tim Van Berkel while Caroline Steffen of Switzerland dominated the bike and run legs to earn the pro titles at Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay.

Reed and Van Berkel overcame a 1:13 deficit to swim leaders Alex Polizzi and Sam Betten with race-best 2:13:26 bike splits that led to a three-way tie at T2 shared by Van Berkel, Polizzi and Reed, while Nick Baldwin lurked 2:10 back.

After 16km of the half marathon, Reed surged to a 3:17 lead on Van Berkel and 4 minutes on Baldwin in third place. After a race-best 1:23:18 run split, Reed finished in 4:04:34 with a 4:03 margin of victory over Van Berkel (1:27:18 run) and 4:33 over third place finisher Baldwin (1:25:37 run split).

Previously at Subic Bay 70.3, Reed won in 2015 and took third in 2016 and 2017.

Manana Iijima of Guam led the swim with a 27:01 split that gave her 53 seconds lead on Steffen, 1:13 on Laura Wood of New Zealand, and just over 4 minutes on Australians Dimity Lee Duke and Lisa Tyack.

After the top of the major climb 13 kilometers into the bike leg, Steffen led by 1:28 on Iijima, 2:52 on Wood, 3:28 on Duke and 6:35 on Tyack. After a women’s-best 2:24:54 bike split – 3:30 better then the next best effort by Duke – Steffen carved out a 7 minutes lead on Duke, 9 minutes on Iijima and 14 minutes on Wood.

With no need to adopt a suicidal pace in the hellish heat, Steffen cruised home with women's-best 1:34:18 run to finish in 4:29:15 with a 13:44 margin of victory over Duke (1:41:26 run split) and 17:08 over 3rd place finisher Wood (1:38:07 run).

Steffen thus added to her third podium finish at Subic Bay 70.3 after a win in 2016 and a runner-up in 2017.(Timothy Carlson,

31 May 2019

Canada trash shipment leaves PH

The chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has lauded the reshipment of trash from Canada Friday, saying it was a joyous occasion. Sixty-nine trash-filled container vans that have been languishing in the Philippines for over half a decade are finally en route to where they came from: Canada.

The Maersk's MV Bavaria docked in Subic Bay around 3 p.m. Thursday, and left past 7 a.m. Friday.

Aside from the garbage, the ship also has 150 shipping containers as it is taking the regular commercial route.

MV Bavaria will make a stop in Taiwan before heading straight to the port of Vancouver in Canada where it is due to arrive on June 22. Canadian media reports have said the garbage will be incinerated in Burnaby.

MV Bavaria is expected to arrive at the Port of Vancouver in Canada on June 22. Local Canadian Press reported, once back in Canada, the garbage will be burned in a waste-to-energy facility in Burnaby.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma Eisma said the departure of the unwanted shipment was a momentous occasion.

"We thank President Rodrigo Duterte for his decisive action that brought about a satisfactory conclusion to this sordid chapter in our history. This is one proud moment for all Filipinos," she said in a statement.

She noted that the SBMA documented the whole procedure from the time MV Bavaria docked in Subic’s New Container Terminal-1 to the loading of the containers Thursday to the ship's departure.

Groups celebrated the event, saying they were "jubilant" after the ship left port.

“We feel jubilant that 69 containers of Canadian rubbish are now homeward bound after being stranded here for so long,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition. “The Philippines is not the world's dumpsite. Never again shall we allow other countries to trash our dignity, our people's health and the environment.”

Kathleen Ruff of RightOnCanada, a rights advocacy campaign based in the North American country, said it was a "victory for the environment and a victory for the rule of law."

“The Canadian government is now finally going to comply with the Basel Convention and take responsibility for its own wastes. This is what environmental responsibility means," said Ruff.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro "Teddyboy" Locsin Jr. said Canada paid for fumigation, ship side loading, and shipping, which was estimated to cost around P10 million.

The International Container Terminal Services Incorporated waived all costs on land.

MV Bavaria is expected to arrive at the Port of Vancouver in Canada on June 22, after a stopover in Taiwan. Local Canadian press reported the garbage will be incinerated in Burnaby.

The 69 container vans of trash are what remains of the more than 2,500 tons of waste illegally shipped in batches in 2013 and 2014 by Canadian company Chronic Plastics Inc. The company declared the trash in 103 container vans as "recyclable plastic scraps."

Customs officials earlier said the contents of 34 container vans have already been disposed of.

Environmental activists from Ecowaste Coalition, however, said only 26 container vans have been accounted for. They called on the government to disclose where the contents of the eight other container vans were dumped

The Manila Regional Trial Court is still hearing cases on alleged violations of environmental and customs laws against Canadian firm Chronic Plastics and customs brokers involved in smuggling the garbage. (CNN Philippines)


[1] The port in Subic Bay in the Philippines where a transport vessel, MV Bavaria, is berthed to load waste (

[2] SBMA Chairman & Administrator Wilma T. Eisma speaks with journalists after witnessing the departure of MV Bavaria from the Port of Subic. (MPD/SBMA)

[3] MV Bavaria sails out from the Port of Subic, together with 69 containers of mixed household waste sent by a Canadian private company to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014 (CNN Philippines)


"Finally, the containers of garbage transported from Canada and stored at the Subic Bay Freeport for several years now have been pulled out as of today, May 31, 2019.

"A total of 69 garbage-laden containers — 67 of which have been in Subic for the past few years, and 2 recently brought in from Manila — were loaded onto MV Bavaria, a Liberian-flagged container ship commissioned to transport the containers back to Canada.

"The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority documented the whole procedure — from the docking of the ship at Subic’s New Container Terminal-1 in the afternoon of May 30, to the loading of all the 69 containers last night, and up to the departure of the vessel from Subic Bay early this morning.

"We thank President Rodrigo Duterte for his decisive action that brought about a satisfactory conclusion to this sordid chapter in our history.

"This is one proud moment for all Filipinos."

Atty. Wilma T. Eisma
SBMA Chairman & Administrator

30 May 2019

Volunteer cleanups propel Subic Freeport tourism

Hundreds of volunteers from the various community organizations, schools and government agencies converged here on Sunday to clean up the beach along the popular Boardwalk Park here in preparation for the Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay triathlon event here on June 2.

The volunteers from the Philippine Coast Guard-Subic, its auxiliary PCGA 111th Squadron, the Philippine National Police, Ramon Magsaysay University in Subic, Zambales, and local schools Aura College and Gordon College, scoured the coast for trash, and bagged them for sorting and eventual disposal.

But this was nothing extraordinary, said SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, who takes pride in a strong culture of volunteerism among stakeholders of the Subic Bay Freeport.

“This Freeport may have its natural attractions to thank for being a major tourist destination in the country today, but it is the culture of volunteerism here that keeps the local tourism industry moving forward,” Eisma said.

“Without the cooperation and support of the Subic Bay area community, the SBMA would not be able to make Subic the top tourist destination in Central Luzon for the last six years,” she added. “Volunteers help keep Subic tourism alive.”

The initiative of stakeholders that include SBMA employees, Freeport business locators, socio-civic organizations, residents, and even visitors to volunteer in clean-up activities here is a result of Eisma’s call for “malasakit” or concern for the common good.

This summer, as Subic prepared to host a mix of sports, entertainment and religious events, volunteer groups led by various SBMA departments buckled down to work to keep beaches, river banks and vacant lots clean and pleasing to the eye.

Today, members of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Subic Station, Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA) 111th Squadron, and the Subic Bay Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SBMPC), conduct monthly coastal clean-up along Malawaan Park and Boardwalk area.

“PCGA is mandated to support and assist the community in the protection of the marine environment and its resources, so we are happy to volunteer in cleaning our beach areas, especially in Subic Bay,” said Commander Eduardo Mabita Jr., director of the PCGA division in Subic.

Other groups such as Toyota Avanza Pilipinas (Olongapo Chapter), Lions Club of Olongapo, Gordon College and Aura College, the Police Regional Maritime Unit (Subic) are among the regular participants of the beach clean-ups along the Boardwalk Park here.

The Boardwalk Area is a favorite place for outdoor concerts, and will be the venue for several beach and water sports events in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games that Subic will host on November 30 to December 10.

Jem Camba, manager of the SBMA Tourism Department, noted that with 1.7 million guest arrivals last year, the Subic Bay Freeport continues to hold its position as the best tourist destination in Central Luzon based on the Department of Tourism’s 2018 report.

“With the help of our Subic Bay stakeholders, we are able to provide excellent customer service and create worthy and enjoyable events, and thus make Subic Bay a perfect getaway destination,” Camba also said. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)


Various stakeholder groups participate in the clean-up along the Boardwalk Park in the Subic Bay Freeport in preparation for the Ironman 70.3 triathlon on June 2. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

28 May 2019

20 new lanes to hike SCTEX toll capacity

NLEX Corp., the operator of the North Luzon Expressway and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, continues to conduct systematic repairs, upgrading and capacity expansion to ensure safe, reliable and seamless travel for the motoring public.

After rushing repair works on cracks and deformations on road pavements caused by the recent earthquakes that hit the Porac and Floridablanca portions of SCTEX in Pampanga, NLEX Corp. engineers are now focused on capacity expansion works.

Due to start in July is the construction of 20 additional lanes in various toll plazas along SCTEX, including vital construction at the Subic Freeport Expressway.

The additional toll plazas at SCTEX is aimed at improving the customer processing time at exit and entrance booths, the company said in a statement.

The toll plaza capacity expansion project, which is expected to be completed by November this year, covers Clark North, Clark South, San Miguel, Bamban, and Tarlac toll plazas.

One new toll lane each will be built in Clark North entry/exit and Clark South B exit. Two new toll lanes each will be added at Clark South A exit and Tarlac entry/exit to serve the growing number of motorists traveling in these areas.

NLEX Corp. will further increase the service capacity of San Miguel (Luisita) entry/exit plaza and convert it to a full interchange. This means that San Miguel will be more accessible to motorists, as those coming to and from San Miguel will now have complete entry and exit points from both northbound and southbound directions.

Meanwhile, two lanes each will be constructed at San Miguel northbound entry and southbound exit and another toll lane will be added to the northbound exit.

The soon-to-open Bamban Interchange will likewise have three entry and three exit lanes. The new interchange will become the direct connection to New Clark City, the main venue for this year’s Southeast Asian Games.

Luigi Bautista, president and general manager of NLEX Corporation, said “the additional toll lanes will help improve SCTEX’s connectivity in its areas, particularly in Clark, which is being positioned as Asia’s next aerotropolis and investment center.”

The new lanes aim to enable speedy toll transactions even during peak hours and holidays when traffic volume on the expressway rises sharply.

In previous years, the NLEX Corporation, together with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, implemented several enhancement projects along SCTEX’s 94-kilometer stretch. These projects include the NLEX-SCTEX electronic toll collection integration, the expansion of Tipo Toll Plaza and the Mabiga Interchange.

CCTV System, LED lights, emergency call boxes, crash cushions, and reflective delineator plates were also installed at the expressway to enhance the safety of motorists. A new traffic control room was also built in Dolores, Mabalacat City to track real-time traffic at SCTEX.

The NLEX and SCTEX are safe for expressway users despite some pavement cracks observed in bridge approaches along SCTEX, following the 6.1-magnitude earthquake that seriously affected Pampanga and other parts of Central Luzon last April 22.

Meanwhile, post-earthquake assessment results conducted by NLEX Corp. and its engineering consultant AMH Philippines, showed there was no major structural damage found in NLEX-SCTEX bridges and slopes following the temblor, except for cracks and deformations on pavements and bridge expansion joints that were immediately repaired and are now 100% safe for expressway users.

NLEX and SCTEX bridges performed and behaved well and the cracks and deformations caused by the quake were all within anticipated range of structural-design assumptions. Comprehensive repairs have already been accomplished to ensure the riding comfort of motorists.

Repaired were four bridges in SCTEX Porac (Pasig-Potrero, Babo Pangulo, Planas, and Porac) and two bridges in SCTEX Floridablanca (Caulaman and Gumain) that sustained minor pavement cracks while steel plates and expansion joints that became uneven were now levelled.

“Our Quick Response Teams are on 24-hour stand-by mode and ready to immediately assist motorists to assure the safety of the public plying our expressways,” Bautista noted.

New expressway lanes, bridges, and tunnel will also be constructed at the Subic Freeport Expressway as the NLEX Corporation and Sta. Clara International Corporation recently signed the agreement for the P1.6-billion SFEX Capacity Expansion Project.

The project ― which involves the construction of two additional expressway lanes, two new bridges at Jadjad and Argonaut, and a tunnel ― aims to better accommodate the growing number of vehicles going in and out of the Subic Bay Freeport.

In addition, expressway-standard LED lights will be installed to keep the SFEX safe and convenient for motorists, particularly for those driving at night.

The SFEX Capacity Expansion is seen to improve traffic in the area and promote road safety as the new lanes will segregate northbound and southbound motorists along separate carriageways. It will also complement the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority’s infrastructure development program which includes the improvement of airport and seaport, the widening of roads, and the construction of an SBMA Corporate Center.

Bautista said their structures, including those elevated ones, were designed and built in such a way that they do not collapse during an earthquake. He also stressed that the NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10, the elevated expressway from Karuhatan, Valenzuela City to Caloocan Interchange in C3, Caloocan City, is earthquake-resistant and can withstand high magnitude quakes.

“Rest assured that our roads adhere to world-class standards as we use top grade materials and undertake regular road condition surveys,” he added. (Orlan L. Mauricio, Manila standard)

PRURide PH 2019 concludes with exciting Subic Bay races

THE 2019 edition of PRURide PH drew to a successful conclusion on Sunday with Marcelo Felipe being declared as the overall winner.

Taking place inside the Subic Bay Free Zone in Zambales, the event, hailed as the country’s largest cycling festival, gathered a large number of participants, both local and international, who took part in the various categories in the weekend of May 24-26.

Veteran cyclist Felipe of the Philippines, riding for 7-Eleven Cliqq Air21, raced to the top of the podium after just two stages before the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the organizers decided to scrap the third and final stage because of “extreme weather condition” brought about by heavy downpour.

Mr. Felipe rode a combined 295.8 kilometers for Stages 1 and 2 with a time of seven hours, 57 minutes and 15 seconds to bag the overall title.

Finishing second was South African Brendon Davids of Olivers Real Food, who clocked in with a time of 7:58:02, just 47 seconds behind Mr. Felipe.

Third was New Zealand’s Michael Vink of St. George Continental Cycling Team with a time of 8:01:27.

Other Filipinos who finished in the top 10 were Junrey Navarra at no. 5 (8:02:02), Jhin Mark Camingao at no. 6 (8:03:28), Jonel Carcueva at no. 8 (8:04:52) and Daniel Ven Carino at no. 9 (8:05:25).

Apart from topping the overall general classification race, Mr. Felipe earned 16 UCI points which were also up for grabs in the 2.2 UCI event, which he can use in trying to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

He was also named King of the Mountain and Best Filipino Rider.

“We are happy to finally hold one of the three UCI-accredited races here in our country… It’s been the [cycling] community’s goal to join the SEA (Southeast Asian) Games or the 2020 Summer Olympics and we are happy to help them achieve this,” said Allan Tumbaga, Pru Life UK Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Marketing Officer, as he spoke of the event which also had other activities catered to amateur cyclists.

PRURide PH 2019 kicked off in April with the successful staging of the Criterium race in Filinvest in Alabang. (Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Business World)


Cyclists at the starting line of PRURide PH 2019 in Subic Bay Freeport (photo from Pru Life UK Facebook page)

27 May 2019

Subic to develop system in cruise ship handling

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) plans to develop a cruise ship-handling protocol to sustain the growth of this booming industry.

SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma Eisma said she had instructed the agency’s cruise ship committee to produce a manual or guidebook for better management and sustainability of cruise ship arrivals.

“We have been successful so far in carving a new tourism niche in Subic with this booming cruise industry, and in order to sustain this growth we have to incorporate best practices into a structured system,” Eisma said.

“We also have to institutionalize the process of handling cruise ships so that we can provide quality service and effective assistance to the passengers and crew of the visiting vessels, as well as their ship agents,” she added.

According to the SBMA Tourism Department, a total of 19 cruise ship arrivals were recorded here last year, with the Italian-flagged Costa Atlantica setting the record at 14 visits. The rest were made by three other cruise ships: twice by SuperStar Gemini, which is operated by Star Cruises; once by Ovation of the Seas, which is owned by Royal Caribbean International; and twice by World Dream, operated by Dream Cruises.

Each of the arrivals brought in an average of 3,500 tourists who disembark in Subic and then go on tours of various destinations in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, as well as the neighboring communities of Olongapo City, Clark Freeport, and the provinces of Zambales and Bataan.

Last year, the Central Luzon Regional Development Council cited the SBMA for developing Subic into a premier cruise ship destination in the country and noted that cruise ship arrivals in Subic had generated more than P85 million worth of economic activity in the first eight months alone.

Meanwhile, 11 cruise ship arrivals have been recorded this year: seven for World Dream and four for Costa Atlantica. The latest was on May 16, when Costa Atlantica docked with 2,000 passengers and 800 crew and officers.

Eisma also said that the SBMA’s successful initiative to develop complementation programs with nearby communities to offer curated experiences to tourists now make it necessary to develop a protocol for handling cruise ship arrivals.

Marcelino Sanqui, SBMA senior deputy administrator for port operations who is also chairman of the SBMA Cruise Ship Committee, said that they will produce a handbook that will contain step-by-step procedures from the moment a cruise ship enters Subic Bay, drops anchor at Alava Wharf, disembarks its passengers, and so forth.

“The handbook may also help inform the passengers of the dos and don’ts in Subic, such as our No Smoking and No Littering policies. This will also include road directions and emergency numbers,” Sanqui added.

The handbook, Sanqui also said, may be uploaded on the SBMA webpage so that would-be visitors to Subic may get to know the attractions in and around Subic Bay area and learn how to conduct themselves while in the area. (Ric Sapnu, Sun Star)


The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority employees line up along Alava Wharf to welcome the arrival of the cruise ship Costa Atlantica. (MPD-SBMA)

26 May 2019

Ironman 70.3 goes to Subic

THE Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay Philippines continues to draw not only a stellar international cast but also another chief backer in Big Boss Cement (BBC) when it marks its fifth staging on June 2 in Subic Bay.

A new player in the industry specializing in production of environment-friendly cement in the country, Big Boss Cement comes in as the event’s presenter at a time when local triathlon is enjoying tremendous boom with top-notch endurance races held regularly across the country the last decade or so.

Sunrise Events Inc., organizer of the biggest, premier triathlon races in the land, recently inked a four-year pact with Big Boss Cement as presenting sponsor of the CT Ironman 70.3 up to 2022.

“The growth of triathlon in the country has considerably increased over the past few years. With Big Boss Cement’s support, we are assured of the sport’s continued advancement in line with our commitment to promote a healthy lifestyle among Filipinos,” SEI General Manager Princess Galura said.

“Big Boss Cement represents innovation and environment conservation by producing super strong premier cement that is eco-friendly,” said BBC Vice President and long-time triathlete Ishmael Ordoñez. “The CT Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay will be a test of human endurance but to be enjoyed in the surrounding nature which Big Boss Cement aspires to preserve through its products.” (BusinessMirror)

IronKids spices up CT Ironman 70.3

The future of triathlon takes the spotlight on Saturday, June 1, as close to 300 kids dispute top honors in various age categories in the Alaska Fortified IronKids at the WOW Recreation and Activity Center in Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

This marks the third time that the local junior version of the Ironman will be held as a swim-run event following the Davao City and Vermosa, Cavite competitions with the Subic cast to feature the sport’s regular campaigners in the 6-to-14 years old bracket.

Fresh faces are also expected to hog the spotlight as they seek to upstage the fancied names in the event starting at 6 a.m.

The IronKids serves as a fitting appetizer to the Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay presented by Big Boss Cement which fires off Sunday with Seychelles’ Nick Baldwin setting out for back-to-back title feat in the country’s triathlon capital following his triumph in the first full Ironman last year.

Also lined up on Saturday is the Sun Life Bike Out and the Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay Expo at 9 a.m., the media conference at 3 p.m. and the Beliinda Granger race tips at 4 p.m., among others.

Launched a decade ago, the Alaska IronKids, then made up of a swim-bike-run event, has become one of the highlights of each Ironman competition. It is staged to promote a well-balanced lifestyle for kids and at the same time serves as venue for family bonding. It is also held to help kids develop the values of discipline, hard work, integrity and determination through a series of races.

The organizing Sunrise Events, Inc., however, decided to drop the bike leg from the usual 400m-swim, 9km-bike, and 3km event to lessen the competition’s barriers to entry of which purchasing a bike is a prime example. (Philippine Star)

25 May 2019

Chairman’s Cup Regatta sails in Subic Bay

THE SUBIC Sailing Club (SSC) celebrated another successful sailing season in a grand event organized by both chairman of SSC, Jun Avecilla and Congressman Ricky Sandoval, which was held at The Lighthouse Marina Resort, Subic Bay Freeport Zone on April 30 this year.

The inaugural Chairman’s Cup Regatta (CCR) provides a platform that enhances the standards of regattas to foster camaraderie among sailors and showcase the natural prowess of Filipinos as sailors and seafarers.

The Chairman’s Cup Regatta was composed of eight classes. There were three classes on the keelboat division: IRC, Cruising and the FarEast 28R Classes. The FE28 had a total of seven boats composed of six crew or less per boat with a maximum weight limit of 425kgs. This was the most competitive class in this division.

The Philippine Sailing Association team, composed of the Philippines’ SEA Games athletes, had two teams headed by Asia’s match racing champion, Ridgely Balladares and Asian Sailing Federation Keel Boat Cup champion, Emerson Villena. Another team representing the Philippines was from Subic Sailing, with Olympian sailor Maria Vidoeira. There were also international teams participating from Hong Kong (Alain Choi), Japan (Yukie Ikawa), China (Ren Feli) and Taipei (Richard Lin).

For the Dinghy division, there were three classes: Optimist, Streaker and Oz Goose. The Oz Goose was the largest fleet in the Dinghy Class with a total of eight boats. This boat was also the latest addition to the Dinghy Class through the support of the Philippine Gaming Corporation, Philippine Sports Commission, and the Philippine Home Boatbuilders Yacht Club, headed by Roy Espiritu together with the Oz Goose designer, Michael Storer, who also participated in the race.

For this year and for the first time, SSC had included windsurfing in the regatta with two classes: RS: X and RS: One. The athletes who have participated in this regatta were also mostly contenders representing the Philippine team for the upcoming SEA Games. These athletes will continue training in Subic Bay throughout the year. “We look forward to working with the Philippine Windsurfing Association in bringing more interest for the sport in Subic Bay,” said Zed Avecilla, Executive Director of Subic Sailing Club.

There were a total of 30 boats and 12 windsurfers who have competed in the regatta from April 25-30. “We had hoped to increase the number of boats joining this regatta by getting more international participants. This year, we had a participant from the inaugural Hong Kong to Puerto Galera Race, which was Rampage II. We aim to get more foreign participants next year, especially those joining the famous Rolex China Sea Race that will finish at Subic Bay on Easter, a week before the second Chairman’s Cup Regatta,” Zed Avecilla added. (Business World)


Keelboats at the Chairman's Cup Regatta (photo from SAGS Subic Sailing)

23 May 2019

P1.6-billion deal signed for expansion of Subic Freeport Expressway

A plan to expand the capacity of the Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX) by building new expressway lanes, bridges, and tunnel has been finalized.

This, after the NLEX Corporation and Sta. Clara International Corporation recently signed the agreement for the P1.6-billion SFEX capacity expansion project, marking the start of realizing the expansion.

Under the P1.6-billion project fund, construction of two additional expressway lanes, two new bridges at Jadjad and Argonaut, and a tunnel will be implemented.

These additional infrastructure projects aim to better accommodate the growing number of vehicles going in and out of the Subic Bay Freeport.

The officials said expressway-standard LED lights will be installed to keep the SFEX safe and convenient for motorists, particularly for those driving at night.

They further said that the SFEX capacity expansion will improve traffic in the area and promote road safety as the new lanes will segregate northbound and southbound motorists along separate carriageways.

It will also complement the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority’s (SBMA) infrastructure development program which includes the improvement of airport and seaport, the widening of roads, and the construction of an SBMA Corporate Center.

The contract signing was spearheaded by NLEX Corporation president and general manager Luigi Bautista, NLEX Corporation chief operating officer Raul Ignacio and Sta. Clara International Corporation chairman and managing director Nicandro Linao.

Other signatories to the contract are NLEX Corporation chief finance officer Ma. Theresa Wells and Sta. Clara International Corporation deputy managing director Fernando Delgado, with Transportation consultant Alberto Suansing as witness. (Betheena Unite, Manila Bulletin)


The familiar Tipo tunnel at the Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEx) also known as the Subic-Tipo Expressway.

17 May 2019

Royal Thai Navy vessels, Japanese destroyer in Subic for goodwill visit

Two vessels of the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) docked at this premier Freeport on Wednesday as part of a goodwill visit to the Philippines until Saturday.

These are His Thai Majesty’s Ship (HTMS) Taksin (FFG-422), a Naresuan-class frigate, and the HTMS Krabi (OPV-551), a modified river-class patrol vessel.

Philippine Navy’s Fleet-Marine Ready Force chief Commodore Toribio Adaci Jr., who welcomed the foreign naval force headed by Rear Admiral Sompong Poowiang, said the RTN, with 500 of its finest naval crew, will conduct training with the Philippine Navy during the visit.

Poowiang and Commander Archarigaruth Noichinda also made a courtesy call at the office of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) on Thursday.

SBMA Chairman Wilma T. Eisma said the naval visit “is not only an opportunity for the Philippine government to further strengthen maritime relations with the government of Thailand, (but) is also a manifestation of the critical role that the Subic Bay Freeport plays in enhancing maritime cooperation between the Philippines and its allies.”

Adaci also underscored the significance of the visit as a “continuing effort to strengthen the relationship between our governments and navies.”

Poowiang conveyed his appreciation for the warm welcome and expressed his keenness in the scheduled engagements between the two navies during their stay.

Meanwhile, The JS Samidare (DD-106), a Murasame-class destroyer of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), will dock at Subic Bay's Alava Wharf for a goodwill visit from Friday to Sunday.

Captain Jonathan Zata, Philippine Navy spokesperson, said the ship will be dropping its anchor around 9 a.m. Friday (May 18).

JS Samidare will coming along with two SH-60K patrol helicopters and 200 officers and enlisted personnel.

This is the second visit of the JSMDF in the Philippines this year. The first one was when JS Ikazuchi (DD-107), another Murasame-class destroyer, came in late January.
The Murasame-class destroyer is the first class of the second-generation general-purpose destroyers of the JMSDF. (JRR/MPD-SBMA with report from PNA)


[1] The Royal Thai Navy’s frigate HTMS Taksin (FFG-422) and offshore patrol vessel HTMS Krabi (OPV-551) dock side by side at the Alava Wharf in the Subic Bay Freeport upon arrival on Wednesday for a goodwill visit in the Philippines until Saturday (MPD-SBMA)

[2] The Philippine Navy brass band welcomes officials and crew of the Royal Thai Navy’s frigate HTMS Taksin (FFG-422) and offshore patrol vessel HTMS Krabi (OPV-551) upon arrival at the Alava Wharf in the Subic Bay Freeport upon arrival on Wednesday for a goodwill visit in the Philippines until Saturday (MPD-SBMA)

16 May 2019

Subic bags PHL sports tourism ‘destination of the year’ award

Subic Bay was named “Destination of the Year” for 2016 and 2017 by the Philippine Sports Tourism Awards (PSTA), a Cebu-based awards body that honors organizers and groups that help position the Philippines as a competitive sports tourism destination worldwide.

PSTA chairman Charles Lim, who visited Subic last week, presented a 14-inch gold trophy to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma to signify Subic’s recognition as a top sports tourism site for two consecutive years.

Lim said that Subic received the PSTA’s nod after the panel of judges took into consideration the consistency with which sports activities were held in the Freeport.

“There’s a variety of sports events held in Subic almost every month, and that’s really a plus factor,” Lim said, noting that Subic has also hosted major events like the Ironman and Alaska races, as well as the annual regatta.

“I hope Subic will continue to keep up the momentum, and we look forward to the nomination again of Subic for 2018,” Lim also said.

SBMA Chairman Eisma, meanwhile, said the new award only shows that Subic remains the sports destination in the country most preferred by local and international sports organizers.

“The award speaks well of the natural beauty and the unspoiled environment of Subic amidst continuous economic development,” Eisma said. “It means that Subic had successfully harnessed the synergy of sports and tourism to make it to Number 1 for two consecutive years.”

The SBMA chief also pointed out that Subic won the gold award for best sports tourism destination in the 2017 Sports Industries Awards and Conference Asia (SPIA Asia) held in Thailand, and brought home the bronze award for the same category last year.

Eisma added that Subic will continue to join competitions in order to improve its tourism services and facilities further.

During the meeting with the SBMA chairman, Lim said that sports tourism is now the fastest-growing component of the travel and sports industry, especially with the current boom in medical tourism, agri-tourism, and eco-tourism.

He said that with Subic’s hosting some of the SEA Games events in November, the estimated 5,000 participants and officials that will join sports events here may bring along an average of three family members or friends, relatives or supporters with them.

“So the number could reach about 15,000 visitors. That means they will need at least 7,000 rooms, which would be a tremendous boost for the Subic economy,” Lim said.

The PSTA was organized in 2015 by the Philippine Sports Commission, Department of Tourism, Philippine Tourism Promotions Board, and Selrahco Management and Consultancy Services, as the lead private group. It is now managed by Selrahco-Primetime headed by Lim.

Lim explained that the PSTA was actually conceived in 2004 as a result of many years of encouraging sports events organizers to promote sports, recognize and professionalize the organizing management skills of organizers, and urging volunteers to be involved in the organization of sports events.

“As we went along, we found that it was a good gesture to start recognizing the people who organize, who take the trouble of travelling to organize the sports events,” Lim said. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)


PSTA Chairman Charles Lim presents the 2016-2017 “Destination of the Year” award to SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma. The Subic Bay Freeport received the recognition for consistently hosting sports events that position the Philippines as a competitive sports tourism destination worldwide.

15 May 2019

Subic port operator gets new container handlers

The Subic Bay International Terminal Corporation (SBITC) has procured two new container handlers from international cargo handling firm Kalmar to further improve port operations in the Subic Freeport Zone this year.

The Kalmar empty container handlers will be utilized for the Subic port’s container depot that will serve the transport of cargo goods in the region.

“Our new containers are part of this year’s port improvement plan and will be used in our empty container depot. In fact, our terminal has increased its mobile stacker fleet by 100% compared to January this year,” the SBITC management said in a statement on Wednesday.

The two new container handlers are expected to be operational by June while other equipment are set to arrive within the year.

“We’re looking forward to the arrival of more cranes later this year to complete our 2019 port improvement plan. We will continue to invest in improving our facilities as a world-class freeport for the benefit of our locators and port users,” the port operator stated.

Empty container handlers are specialized forklifts designed to efficiently stack empty containers and handle fully loaded containers in the Freeport.

Each handler has a lifting capacity of 9 metric tons and can stack empty containers up to 60 feet high, which is essential for port operators to fully maximize space to load and unload containers.

The SBITC is the container port operator of the Subic Freeport Area in Subic, Zambales, and serves the industries in Northern and Central Luzon. (SNL)


A container ship docked at the New Container Terminal operated by SBITC in Subic Bay Freeport Zone

13 May 2019

More Taiwan investors eyeing Subic Bay Freeport

More Taiwan-based companies are now setting their sights on this premier free port, with eight firms expressing interest to invest here after talks with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) officials in the recent Philippine Investment Forum held in Taipei.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, who presented investment and business opportunities in the Subic Bay Freeport during the forum, said two Taiwanese companies had so far committed a total of $9 million in investments right away.

These are FTI Holdings Group (Milagros International Inc.), which plans to invest $6 million in Subic and to hire 600 workers within the year, and Grey Matter Industries Group, which had committed to invest $3 million and hire 200 workers.

FTI Group designs, manufactures and sells luggage, fashion handbags and backpacks, apparel and apparel accessories, outdoor products and pet products and accessories which are sold in the United States.

Eisma said FTI’s chief auditor, Paul Lee, already inspected a prospective factory site in Subic’s Tipo area on April 30, and will conduct another inspection with other company officials next month to finalize the new business venture.

Meanwhile, Grey Matter Industries Group, which is engaged in the manufacture of PET bottles, plastic films and other plastic products, has already sent the SBMA a letter of intent on April 29, Eisma added.

More than 250 Taiwanese investors attended the April 24-26 Taipei trade roadshow organized by the Philippine Investment Promotion Plan (PIPP) in coordination with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC)-Taipei, the commercial affairs section of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO).

The forum showcased investment and business opportunities for Taiwanese industry players who are repositioning their strategy in light of the recent global trade and economic developments and conflicts between major global markets.

Eisma said that in the Taipei trade roadshow, six other Taiwanese firms expressed interest to locate in the Subic Bay Freeport and the Subic agency is now in touch with them to firm up investment plans here.

Among the prospective investors are Rong Shin Industrial Co., Ltd., which is recognized as the world’s leading manufacturer of lawn and garden power tool muffler system; Catcher Technology Co., Ltd., which is a major supplier of Taiwanese computer giant Wistron; Primax Electronic Ltd., which manufactures computer peripherals and accessories for the Taiwan, China and the United States markets; CDStar Co., Ltd., manufacturer of Skechers, Keen, Clarks, Asics, Salomon and Novi shoes; and Ya Horng Electronics Co., Ltd., producer of electrical appliances and audio-visual electronic products for the US, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, and France.

Another prospective investor is Sagittarius Sporting Good Co., Ltd., (Xiamen Feipeng Industry Co. Ltd.), a manufacturer of sports and protective equipment, which said it intends to produce fishing and sports inflatable boats in Subic.

Eisma said most of the incoming Taiwanese investors will locate at the Tipo area, which is being developed by the SBMA as a major industrial site. (JRR/MPD-SBMA)


[1] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma presents investment and business opportunities in the Subic Bay Freeport during the 2019 Philippine Business Forum in Taipei on March 26.

[2] More than 250 Taiwanese investors attended the Philippine Investment Forum organized by the Philippine Investment Promotion Plan (PIPP) in coordination with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC)-Taipei.

[3] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma discusses Subic business opportunities with CEO Eric Lin and COO Adu Wu of Grey Matter Industries Group, a prospective Subic investor, during the 2019 Philippine Business Forum in Taipei.

12 May 2019

Subic workers, managers mark festive Labor Day

They ran, sang, danced and had fun together. On Labor Day, members of the Subic Bay Freeport workforce, as well as management personnel investor-firms here, made a collective effort to promote employees welfare and sound labor-management relations.

With a whole-day program to bolster bonding among workers and employers, delegations from various companies in the Freeport, together with their families, gathered here on May 1 for various Freeport Games and Sports (FGS) activities.

Investor-companies, meanwhile, offered a total of 3,793 job openings in a job fair held as part of the Labor Day program.

As early as 5:00 a.m., hundreds of workers and management staff turned up at the Ayala Harbor Point parking area for a 3-kilometer fun run that kicked off the Labor Day celebration at exactly 6:30 a.m.

Just 30 minutes later, winners started to trickle back in: For the Kids’ Division, the fastest runner was Ryza Joyce Rodriguez, daughter of a worker from Brighterday Subic, Ltd., operator of All Hands Beach. She was followed by Raniesha Quintana, daughter of a worker from DJ Aerospace Inc.; and Prince Gavbriel M. Ilefo, son of a worker from Koryo Subic, Inc.

In the Women’s Division, the winners were: Melicent Quintana of DJ Aerospace (champion); Angeline Centino of Subic Aviary and Bird Park (1st runner-up); and Cindy Obsena of Subic Bay Freeport Grain Terminal Services, Inc. (2nd runner-up).

The Men’s Division was dominated by Christian Denotua of Subic Aviary (champion); Robert John Concepcion of FFP Concept Panning Solutions Corp. (1st runner-up); and Jay Ar Orpilla of Cresc, Inc. (2nd runner-up).

Meanwhile, of the nine entries in the Float Competition, the “best float” award was presented to Subic Bay International Terminal Corporation, while the “best in uniform” award was given to FBM Systems and Electronics, Inc., which bested 18 other companies for the title.

The second part of the Labor Day program brought the competitions inside the Ayala Harbor Point Mall, which was also the site of a job fair organized by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Labor Department.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma and SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator for Business and Investment Renato Lee III visited the fair and lauded the participating companies that offered new positions to local jobseekers.

SBMA Labor Department manager Severo Pastor Jr. said 53 companies in the Subic Freeport joined the Labor Day fair and offered a total of 3,793 job openings.

He added that from the 3,495 applications processed during the job fair, 13 applicants were hired on the spot by various companies. Four of them were taken in by Datian Subic Shoes, Inc.; three by DBA Global Shared Services, Inc.; another three by Sanyo Denki Phils. Inc.; two by Prime Power Manpower Services; and one by United Teleplan Corp.

Meanwhile, the contests held in the afternoon of May 1 yielded more contestants from among the Subic-registered investor companies. Aryan Realon of Datian Subic Shoes, Inc. emerged champion in the singing contest while the Koryo Dance Group topped the dance contest.

The highlight of the festivity was the search for Mr. and Ms. FGS 2019, which drew nine male contestants and 10 lady competitors. In the end, Joshua Pangilinan of Subic Ray Corporation and Jonah Myrll Gocela of Global Architectural Fabrication Subic, Inc. bagged the prestigious titles. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)


[1] Runners from all age groups break out at the start of the Labor Day fun run in the Subic Bay Freeport (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[2] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma greets participants in the Labor Day program involving workers and employers in the Subic Bay Freeport (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

28 April 2019

More business locators join SBMA ‘war on waste’

The country’s premier free port maintains its reputation as home to booming industries and businesses amidst a thriving natural environment due to the collective effort of stakeholders here to minimize waste.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Ecology Center manager Amethya Dela Llana said more Subic Freeport companies have joined the agency’s “War on Waste” program since the start of the Recyclable Collection Event (RCE) project in 2016.

“Our business locators now see the benefits of properly disposing trash: it’s orderly and more efficient, as well as economical,” Dela Llana said on Thursday during the 6th RCE held at the former mini-golf course along Waterfront Road here.

The participating companies brought to the collection event various recyclable items like used car batteries, cardboard and paper scraps, and light bulbs.

“It has been our company’s initiative to properly dispose of our hazardous wastes, being a company that conducts inspection, verification and tests on various products such as gas, oil and other chemicals,” said Marge Lingad, the administrative officer of SGS Subic.

Lingad said the firm used to outsource treatment of wastes generated by their operation. “But now we have found an economical way to dispose of these and at the same time, help raise funds for the environment,” she added.

Recyclable items generated through the SBMA project are sold to recyclers, and proceeds are donated to the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, which funds the Bantay Kalikasan, an organization that promotes healthy environment for local communities.

In the recently concluded 6th RCE, the SBMA Ecology Center recognized Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co., Ltd. for religiously donating recyclable trash since the pilot collection event three years ago, as well as for donating recyclable trash worth P32,160 during the previous RCE.

Apart from Hanjin, the companies recognized for their contributions to the recycling project include Subic Truckboy, SGS (Subic Bay) Inc., Broadband Broadcast Services, Nidec Subic Philippines, Sanyo Denki Phils. Inc., Koryo Subic, Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. (SBITC), Wistron Infocomm Phils., Mateen Tokyo Intl. Inc., and Apollo Subic International Trading Corp.

Among the SBMA departments, meanwhile, the Procurement and Property Management Department (PPMD) was recognized for turning in recyclables worth P297,380 at the 5th RCE in November 2018.

In a short program that kicked off the 6th RCE, Dela Llana pointed out that when astronauts go to outer space, they experience the “overview effect” where they feel how fragile the earth is.

“I hope we do not have to go to outer space just to realize how fragile the earth is. With the series of earthquakes and aftershocks, let us help our environment adapt to the changes by doing environmentally-sound practices,” she added.

Dela Llana also announced that recyclable items like old tires, expired medicines, rubber shoes/slippers, and used clothes will also be accepted in the next collection event.

The RCE is part of the SBMA’s “War on Waste” program that also included an anti-littering drive, regulated use of plastic straws and plastic bags for wet products, and ban of single-use plastics. (RFD/MPD-SBMA)


[1] Companies located at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone bring recyclable items to the 6th SBMA Recyclable Collection Event on Thursday. (MPD-SBMA)

[2] Volunteers teach the art of turning recyclable items into reusable or alternative-use products during the 6th SBMA Recyclable Collection Event on Thursday. (MPD.SBMA)

27 April 2019

Subic remains top tourist magnet in Region 3

This premier commercial and industrial center has maintained its hold as the best tourist destination in Central Luzon in the last six years based on the number of local and foreign tourist arrivals.

According to the Department of Tourism (DoT) in Region 3 in its 2018 Report on the Regional Distribution of Travelers, the Subic Bay Freeport recorded a total of 1,729,435 guest arrivals last year out of the total 4,144,130 posted in the region.

This represented 41.73% of the total guest arrivals recorded the seven provinces of Central Luzon and the two economic zones of Subic and Clark Freeport in Pampanga.

Of these nine destinations, Zambales followed as second best destination with 674,359 arrivals, while Clark was a distant third with 473,162.

The rest performed as follows: Bulacan, 451,426; Nueva Ecija, 305,603; Pampanga, 266,612; Aurora, 176,818; Bataan, 53,339; and Tarlac, 13,376.

The DoT report indicated that most of the guests that arrived in Central Luzon were domestic tourists, with a total count of 3,798,848. Foreign arrivals were recorded at 338,305 while overseas guests numbered 6,977.

Subic recorded the most number of guest arrivals in December last year with 182,885, followed by 166,799 in April and 163,384 in May.

Central Luzon’s top tourist markets, the DoT also said, were Korea at 107,247 arrivals; Unites States of America, 52,249; China, 26,497; Japan, 12,686; and Australia, 9,823.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma took pride in the DoT findings and said that SBMA efforts to surpass its own tourism performance in the last few years were paying off.

“This is the result not only of the SBMA, or of the tourism establishments in Subic to draw more tourists, but of the whole Freeport community to make our place cleaner, safer, more secure and providing more memorable experiences,” Eisma said.

“The SBMA, the residents of the Freeport, and the companies, schools and other institutions that operate in the Subic Bay Freeport have been working hard together to maintain this outstanding tourism rating, and I’m so glad that we’re getting outstanding results,” she added.

The Subic Bay Freeport Zone has registered that highest number of local and foreign tourists in Central Luzon since 2013, according to figures compiled by the Department of Tourism.

In 2012, the DoT also named Subic the “Premier Convention Capital of Central Luzon.”

Subic has also been variously referred to as “Triathlon Capital” and “Theme Park Capital” of the country in recognition of its drawing power in sports and adventure tourism.

Chairman Eisma also noted that Subic has been named the fifth “hottest” destination in the Philippines today by Traveloka, which is Southeast Asia’s leading online booking platform for hotels.

This was after Subic recorded a +95% in tourist arrivals from 2018 to 2019, which was higher than the average 74% increase for the top 12 local destinations that Traveloka has monitored for the same period.

As the fifth hottest destination in terms of visitors count, Subic only came after Basco in Batanes, which was at the top slot with +386% arrivals; Legazpi City, +197%; General Santos City, +174%; and Laoag City, +160%. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)