Subic is well known as a vacation spot because of its beautiful resorts, scenery, and close proximity to Manila. Many flock here for quick weekend getaways and for longer summer vacations. But in a time like the present when conservation of nature is in dire need of attention, did you know that Subic also is an active foster of environmental pursuits? One evidence of that is the municipality’s active participation in international coastal clean-ups, back in 2013 even ringing in more than 27,000 volunteers from Olongapo, Zambales, and Subic Bay combined.
During the last NLEX Lakbay Norte, a media tour of the northern provinces under the North Philippines Visitors Bureau, we were taken to two venues in Subic Bay where animal welfare is the focus. Here, I, together with my new media friends, had a close encounter with remarkable creatures with stories that will warm your heart.
Ocean Adventure is a marine park in Subic that offers not only entertaining but also educational attractions and acts all focused on the conservation of marine life. Attractions at Ocean Adventure include a dolphin show, a sea lion show, a dance and gymnastics performance, an ocean aquarium, and much, much more.
One of the attractions at the park is an animal encounter with sea turtles and sharks. We all got through the afternoon delightfully full, both these remarkable creatures and ourselves. We fed them tiny fish for snack, while we, my colleagues and I, were fed with such moving stories and information about the lives of these helpless animals.
This beautiful sea turtle, Shelly, is a rescued animal. She was found by a fisherman floating in the waters, immobile. The kind fisherman brought Shelly to the authorities, where they discovered that Shelly’s condition is brought about by plastic waste she accidentally ate—probably mistaking it for a jellyfish, which is what they eat. Shelly eventually found temporary home at Ocean Adventure where they are nursing her back to health.
Over the neighboring pen, on the other hand, are a swarm of black tip sharks, also ready for feeding. Fear not, though, because black tip sharks grow only to about a meter long, and are relatively harmless. We were told that black tip sharks are the gentler breed of sharks, and are more afraid of you than you are of them. They will instinctively avoid anything bigger than they are.
“Sharks are the ocean’s most excellent predators, but not the most dangerous,” our guide tells us. “You know what’s the most dangerous predator?” he asks. “Humans!” I jokingly exclaim. Our guide looks at me with a grin, nods, and says, “Exactly.”
Ocean Adventure will leave you awe-inspired and eyes opened to the truths of both animal and human nature.
Wildlife In Need
Wildlife In Need Foundation or WIN is a non-profit organization focusing on wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, community education, and on an active campaign against wildlife pet trade. The principal projects of WIN are the Wildlife in Need Rescue Center, Marine Mammal Rescue, Sea Turtle Protection, Long-Tailed Macaque Rehabilitation, and their Companion Animal Program where they rescue homeless dogs and cats.
WIN’s Rescue Center is open for visit, and here, you will get a closer look at the lives of the rescued animals, some of which whose species are already endangered.
These Brahminy Kites, for example, who live in coastal mangroves, are now endangered because of habitat destruction, pollution, and illegal hunting.
And this beautiful White-Bellied Sea Eagle named Brownie, also a rescue, is physically healthy yet somehow internally impaired. Brownie here can’t fly. No, not because of any injuries—he simply forgot how to. Or did he ever learn? He was already in this state when he was rescued, so no one can tell for sure. Perhaps he’s a real-life case of Blu, the exotic macaw in the 2011 animated film Rio, who doesn’t know how to fly. “It’s like he doesn’t know he’s an eagle,” said our guide about Brownie.
We know the fun, adventurous side of Subic. At least we’ve heard about it. But this, this is a whole new face of the popular vacation destination being shown to us. That they are more than just the pretty resorts and the luxurious yachts parked on their bay.
In a country of 7,107 lush islands so rich in ecosystem, but poor in awareness, compassion, and action towards protecting the same land (and waters) that which sustains us, it is a breath of fresh air seeing an active community of people, businesses, and a local government, such as in Subic, spearheading a revolution that protects, not destroys—something this country has gotten so used to seeing.
If only the rest of us would follow suit. But as always, education and awareness is a good start. And you can start right here.
+632-706-3344 to 46
Facebook: @Ocean Adventure Subic Bay
WILDLIFE IN NEED
Facebook: @Wildlife In Need Foundation
Special thanks to North Philippines Visitors Bureau and Manila North Tollways Corporation for inviting When In Manila to be part of the 2015 Lakbay Norte media tour. Thank you also to Victory Liner, O+ USA, Blue Cross Insurance, Headware, and the Region 3 Department of Tourism.