27 March 2013

Subic reports “full house” for Holy Week

As temperature soars in this top summer destination, hotels and other lodging facilities here announce a “full house” situation, as hotel rooms get sold like cold “halo-halo” treats in the sweltering heat.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia said that hotels and other housing facilities here have been fully booked for the summer as early as February.

“Our hotel owners and operators are very happy about the huge volume of tourists coming in to Subic for the Holy Week. This only shows that Subic continues to be a favorite destination for vacationers and devotees during the Lenten Season,” Garcia said.

The high influx of local and foreign tourists in Subic only supports the Department of Tourism (DoT) citation last December that the Subic Freeport is one of the “Top Destinations in the Country” because of its “wide array of quality-standard tourist facilities and level of visitation it generated.”

The Subic Freeport was also DoT’s unequivocal choice as the “Premier Convention Capital of Central Luzon” after a careful and in-depth evaluation of all convention facilities in the region in October 2012.

Garcia said that Subic Bay is now better-equipped to meet bigger tourist arrivals after several business locators built a total of 130 new hotel rooms here in 2012.

A 26 percent increase in other tourism-related establishments, like Ayala Land’s Harbor Point mall and 31 new restaurants in the area, further raised the bar for local tourism, Garcia added.

Meanwhile, SBMA deputy administrator for tourism Raul Marcelo announced that in connection with the observance of Lenten Season in Subic Bay, the SBMA Tourism Department has lined-up a mixture of more fun and religious events here.

Starting with the celebration of Palm Sunday, the re-enactment of the entry of Jesus to Jerusalem, the whole Holy Week will be highlighted by the traditional “Pabasa” or chanting of the life, passion and death of Jesus Christ, as well as a procession on Holy Wednesday around the free port’s Central Business District.

On Good Friday, a grand procession will start at 6:00 p.m., to be followed by the Healing Prayer and Musical Concert, “Five Wounds of Jesus” by Rev. Fr. Mario Bije. On Easter Sunday, “Salubong,” a procession for the Risen Christ, will be held at 4:00 a.m. along Manila-Dewey Avenue here, to be followed by Agape breakfast for all and an Easter egg hunt.

Meanwhile, live concerts by local and Manila-based bands, food festivals, inflated playground display, animal shows and encounters, sports exhibition games, bike and car displays, and film viewing, all for free will be featured at Subic Bay's Boardwalk Park.

“Subic is not just a place to enjoy music and food this time of the year. Subic is also a place to turn ourselves to God and find spiritual fulfillment during the Lenten Season,” said Marcelo. (MPD-SBMA)