Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Off the Subic Coast

Olongapo from the water
Free port
Ibay making snaps of the Subic shore
Grande Island clubhouse
Last November 9, I tagged along with Ibay Sicam and the Abas family on a road trip going to Grande Island in Subic Bay. It involved a boat trip and I grabbed the chance to get off Luzon mainland for the first time in a month. At 11 am we were picked up by the Grande Island ferry and for the very first time I saw the Subic coast viewed from the water.

More pictures on the ruins
Eons ago, I only had the chance to view Grande Island standing at the very tip of the then empty Naval Magazine.  I was doing my undergraduate thesis in architecture and I selected the area to be my site for the theoretical exposition project (site is now the Ocean Adventure). We were told by our tour guide then that the island stands as a recreation area for American GI's stationed in the base. I always wondered how it looked like. That afternoon I had the chance to know what the island is hiding.
The old army hospital is now a hotel
Battery Flake
The disappearing gun
The hotel close up
Grande is still evident as an island resort with recreation `facilities.  But what I did not know was that it housed a few historical buildings and structures. We went up several times to hilly parts of the island and discovered the battery fortifications. The most interesting one is called Battery Flake, looking like a small version of Intramuros.  Ibay says it looked more like Corregidor but I have not gone to that island yet.
The guns share the land with grazing horses
Wikipedia states that Grande was previously called Fort Wint in the American period. It served as additional harbor defense for both Subic and Manila. The batteries were used as outlook and fortifications for gun defense.  Battery hall still holds the remnants of the disappearing gun, which we personally saw.  We hope the resort operators would take care and protect these wonderful heritage sites.   It is always quite awesome seeing Philippine history right in front of you and the resort could bank on th importance as additional attraction.

The Grande Island Resort
Thanks to my friend Ibay, the Abas women and the Grande Island resort for this rare opportunity.

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