21 February 2012

SBMA welcomes UK cruise ship

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Colorful dance performances and a beautiful sunrise greeted foreign tourists here recently as the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) welcomed the arrival of the first cruise ship to dock here this year.

The United Kingdom-based M/V Spirit of Adventure docked at the Alava pier last Friday and disembarked 378 passengers and 201 crew members for a tour of the Freeport, including a jungle survival demonstration at the Pamulaklakin Aeta village.

The visitors, who have recently toured Palawan, Cebu and Manila, were pleasantly surprised to discover “hidden treasures” among the forests of the former Subic Naval Base here.

“When we got off, I was a bit disappointed because the environment was so American, but once we arrived at the Pamulaklakin trails, very quickly after that, we found Subic to be unique, very unique,” said Helen Pollard, one of the tourists from the M/V Spirit of Adventure.

Pollard said that she was impressed by the Aetas’ ability to make anything out of bamboo.

“I’m really impressed by the knowledge of these people, and how long it must have taken to get that knowledge. This is fabulous!” she added.

Pollard also found the people warm and sincere. She said that her visit to Subic was the most interesting part and the best day she had on tour.

The visitors also went to other tourist spots and the duty free shops inside the Freeport.

“It’s been a good experience and a good farewell to the Philippines for our guests,” said cruise director Neil Harrocks, adding that it was a delight to have Subic as their last stop in the Philippines.

“The passengers were very pleased to see that their welcome is extended not just by those who work here, but also by the local residents. The smiling, the waving, it’s been a delight,” he stated.

Harrocks also said that the passengers enjoyed the excursions and that everybody wanted to come back and explore Subic more.

Harrocks also had nothing but praises for the Filipinos. Most of the crew members aboard the ship are Filipinos.

While the M/V Spirit of Adventure was docked in Subic, several SBMA officials headed by deputy administrator for business and tourism Raul Marcelo, deputy administrator for administration Robert Martinez, and deputy administrator for operations Redentor Tuazon boarded the cruise liner to meet some of the crew members and tour the ship.

Marcelo said that with the ship’s visit, Subic has now established itself as a full-blown maritime facility, with its shipyard, ship repair, and cruise ship facilities.

The SBMA has been pushing the Subic Bay Freeport into becoming a top Asian cruise ship destination. The agency is a founding member of the Asia Cruise Terminals Association, which was recently launched in Singapore. (FMD/SBMA-MPD)

Tourists disembark from the United Kingdom-based M/V Spirit of Adventure, the first cruise ship to visit the Subic Bay Freeport this year. The visitors toured popular attractions in Subic, including the Pamulaklakin Aeta village.