I’ve visited the Subic Daco beach and the Juag Fish Sanctuary back in 2011. It was cloudy then, and the waves were pretty big, so it wasn’t quite as pretty. We were awed, but the photos aren’t too impressive.
It’s now the beginning of the summer season in the Philippines, and despite the threat of a typhoon coming this way, we were blessed with really good weather. Subic Daco really blew us away.
Subic Beach, as it’s sometimes called, is in the island of Calintaan, just off the town of Matnog, the southernmost tip of the island of Luzon. It’s about 30 minutes away by banca (with a brief stop at Juag Fish Sanctuary).
Matnog can be reached by bus from Cubao or Pasay in Metro Manila (approximately 14 hours), or you can fly to Legazpi and take a combination of van/bus and jeepney to reach the port.
Head to the Tourism Office, which is a small hut directly in front of the Municipal Hall. All visitors to the islands must register with them, and pay the corresponding fee, plus an environmental fee. They can also arrange for a banca to take you island hopping at a fixed price. No reservations needed, you can just walk in. But if you’re worried about not getting a boat, you can contact the tourism office ahead of time (contact details given below).
You can visit up to four sites: Tikling Island, Juag Sanctuary, Subic Beach, and the rock formations/Calintaan caves. However, depending on the weather, they might not allow you to visit certain sites. Personally, I’m happy staying for hours at Subic Beach.
Subic Daco has a long stretch of fine white sand beach. There are plenty of corals washed up on the beach though, so in some parts, it’s kinda hard to walk barefoot. The waves here are pretty strong, so the shoreline is quite narrow. The water’s also pretty deep, so be sure to bring floaters and life vests for the kids and non-swimmers. The water feels really great, and at times cold when you get near the corals.
There are several coral reef that you can swim to from the shore, and my cousin said they’re teeming with life. However, only one resort lends out snorkels, and they only have two, so it’s best to bring your own. The boats have life jackets, so you can borrow from your boatman.
All in all, it’s a really nice beach, and it’s a relatively cheap destination. It’s not as crowded as well, but that could be the effect of the warnings about the coming typhoon.
|April 1, 2015|
|Tourist registration fee||Php 250.00|
|Environmental fee||Php 100.00|
|Adobo & Talong||Php 400.00|
|Total cost for 5 people:||Php 3,070.00|
|Share per person:||Php 614.00|
|The tourist registration and environmental fees must be paid at the Matnog Tourism Office, located right across the Municipal Hall. The registration fee is Php 50 for Filipinos, Php 300 for foreigners, and Php 40 for senior citizens. The environmental fee is fixed at Php 20, with a Php 4 discount for seniors.|
|By registering at the tourism office, they can also assign a boat to your group, which saves you the hassle of haggling with touts loitering nearby. The price is fixed at Php 1,600 for day trips, Php 2,000 for overnight trips. This covers the rental of the boat, the service of the crew, and docking fees. The boat is good for up to 10 passengers.|
|Cottage rental payments are made to the resort directly.|
|We had a cousin cook our adobo and ensaladang talong, and we bought fresh fish and charcoal from the market in Matnog. The boatmen can grill them for you at the resort. We cooked rice at home and brought our own jug of drinking water.|
|You can contact the Matnog Tourism office via email at Matnogtourismoffice@yahoo.com and firstname.lastname@example.org|
|You can also get in touch with Olivia Gumba, the Municipal Tourism Officer via mobile at +63928-5205362. The tourism officer who assisted us was Christopher, and you can reach him via mobile at +63908-2302309. In my experience, the tourism officers seem to change often – the contacts I found online do not respond to my texts anymore. You shouldn’t have any problems getting a boat if you just walk in (unless it’s super peak or there’s a typhoon).|
|If you plan to stay overnight at