27 April 2012

Holy Week proved Subic’s drawing power

As expected, the Holy Week again spiked up tourist arrivals in this free port, as visitors from Manila and nearby areas took advantage of a long weekend to enjoy some days of vacation in this eco-tourism site.

According to the data provided by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), around 50,500 vehicles visited the Subic Bay Freeport on April 1-9, as compared to a record of 30,480 in the same period last year.

Using a standard multiplier of four persons per vehicle, an estimated 202,000 tourists came in to spend the five-day Holy Week here.

Meanwhile, data compiled by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) indicated that hotels in the free port posted a 100 per cent occupancy rate on April 5-8, and 75 per cent for the entire week (April 1-9).

SBMA officials said the surge in tourist arrivals here was facilitated by the implementation of a dedicated Subic lane at the North Luzon Expressway and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, wherein motorists only had to pay a one-time toll fee for easy access to Subic.

Events scheduled for the Holy Week, as well as the natural environment and modern facilities here, also proved to be the main attractions for thousands of visitors, the officials added.

Various religious services and events throughout the five-day holiday drew thousands of faithful to the4 Spanish-era San Roque Chapel in this free port. These included the “Pabasa” and Stations of the Cross, and the traditional Good Friday procession, which attracted at least 3,000 devotees.

Visitors attended the Good Friday “Walk to the Calvary” re-enactment at the Holy Land Subic Theme Park here, as well as a healing concert by the Bethesda Springs of Hope Ministry in the evening of Good Friday.

Meanwhile, non-religious activities also contributed to the well-rounded Holy Week activities here. These included the Greater Subic Bay Tourism Bureau’s “Hataw Sayaw” competition that was joined by 14 dance groups from Metro Manila, Laguna, Cavite, Pampanga, Zambales and Olongapo City.

Also, BigBoi Productions set up a shoe exhibit at the Subic Gym on April 7. Dubbed as Sneakerology, it featured DJs and music artists from Manila while shoe exhibitors, collectors and traders went around the exhibit. (FMD/MPD-SBMA)

The Holy Land Theme Park is an emerging tourism attraction in the Subic Bay Freeport.