24 July 2008

$1-M 'sports hotel' rising in Subic Freeport

A $1-million "sports hotel" featuring an Olympic-sized swimming pool will soon boost the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority's thrust to promote Subic as a major sports destination not only in Luzon or in the Philippines, but in Asia as well.

According to SBMA deputy administrator for tourism Raul Marcelo, the Korean firm Platinum Sports Subic, Inc. (PSSI) is now building a four-story, 45-room hotel on a 5,992-sqm site near the free port's main gate.

"This is a benchmark for Subic's sports tourism program," said Marcelo. "This hotel would feature facilities primarily geared to sports professionals and enthusiasts, hence the tag 'sports hotel'."

PSSI corporate secretary Elma Caquilala said the concept was inspired by a similar establishment in Dubai, which has attracted a huge patronage because of its unique amenities.

"We targeted this particular niche since we saw the emergence of Subic as a sports destination, aside from the fact that the investor is a sports enthusiast himself," said Caquilala.

She added that Subic is an ideal location for a sports hotel because of its strategic location, the soothing environment conducive to sports activities, and the security offered by SBMA.

As approved by the SBMA board of directors in August last year, the project would include a state-of-the-art gym, sports shops, a kids' pool, and PSSI's major commitment to the SBMA — an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

"That is exactly what Subic lacks," Marcelo said, pointing out that when Subic hosted the 3rd Philippine Olympic Festival qualifying games in April, the swimming events had to be conducted outside the free port for lack of facilities.

"That would not be the case anymore with this project. Finally, Subic could now host swimming competitions," he said.

The Olympic-sized pool, which is being built according to world standards, will be located near existing sports facilities here like the Remy Field oval, the Subic basketball gym, and tennis and badminton courts.

Construction of the hotel was started on May 20 by contractor Vision 3000, with completion scheduled in December.

Marcelo also said that the Subic Bay Freeport is fast becoming a major sports venue, which has hosted several national and international sports events like the 23rd Southeast Asian Games in 2005, the Philippine Olympic Festival, as well as international chess tournaments, regattas and triathlon events.

He added that the SBMA is continuously improving its facilities to draw more sports-tourism events here, and has recently solicited proposals to convert the golf course here to world-class, professional tournament venue.

He also announced that Subic will be hosting several sports events in the coming weeks. These include the Petron Ladies' Beach Volleyball Tournament on July 25-26, the ITU-Asian 03 Long distance Triathlon on August 2, the Philippine Sports Fishing Club's fishing tourney at the Alava Pier on August 3, and the Jet Sports Association of the Philippines' jet ski competition on August 23. (SBMA Corporate Communications)