Subic Bay & Olongapo

3rd - 5th Mar 2004.

Subic Bay was Jason's idea as it had been recommended by a diver in Sabang. Japanese and American ships lie in less than 30 metres of water in the Bay and it seemed like a great place to get more dive experience. They forgot to tell us that until 1992 the naval base provided them with most of their income from the sex industry, and that Subic Bay was suffering from their lack of funds.

We were expecting a beautiful bay and beaches with lots of restaurants, bars and dive shops.

We found colour coded Jeepneys to stop people getting confused about how to get around the rather large Olongapo.

After a brief intellectual encounter with a security guard who wouldn't let Jason in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone we managed to get in. The Freeport zone commands all of the towns waterfront and was home of half the US Navy until 1992.

Now it is populated by empty hotels, trinket sellers, and seriously confusing signs like this one.

... a rather keen perverted truck driver leered at Claire's blonde hair until he hit the tree in the picture and smashed it to pieces before continuing on his way like nothing happened.

We had to spend alot of our time getting used to people staring at us. We realised that in 3 weeks, Claire was the only white female between 20-40 that we had seen during our whole time in the Philippines.

The Philippine government seems to suffer from the same curse as the other ex Spanish colonies - namely corruption. Their last president was arrested. Most of the citizens are very poor yet they seem to have an obsession with politics and politicians like this dick!

I think I would vote for Dick rather than this pencil mow with generous bouffant.

We are not diving yet as they either wanted too much money or don't fill us with confidence that they knew what they were doing.... that and the fact we have seen the filthy streams that empty into the bay where the wreck diving is.

On a wander through town we found a volley ball match (another hangover from the Navy base and US occupation). The volley play was pretty good but the best bit was watching them fly around like aeroplanes, break dance, bow, skip, holler and high-five each other when they scored. It was like taking all the worst post-scoring-moves from the worlds athletes and having a single volley ball team do them all at once! It killed an hour...

Things aren't quite what we expected.... so we decide on a nice meal and a few drinks and some local bands

.... nice idea... but the chicken for dinner wasn't cooked and the lights were too dim to tell until we had nearly finished. The manager of the restaurant offered to drive us to hospital for a stomach pump but we declined and instead bought a bottle of tequila before returning to the hotel for a bit of binge and purge.

The following day we woke a little groggy and Jason managed to dive that afternoon going down 25m to the wreck of the USS New York a 112m long battleship from WWI that was sunk by the Yanks in WWII to prevent the Japs from getting it when they left in a hurry. After being told a bunch of arse about it being a dangerous dive we then went inside the rotting steel hulk to be confronted by a 6ft Barracuda.... a fish that is apparently a little vicious.

Stuff just kind of happens here. A random stranger gave Claire her native necklace and we found an amusement park walking home.... Filipinos go nuts over dodgems. We have never seen so many middle aged men having the time of the lives... it's also obvious that most of them have never driven a car!

Claire looks smitten with the James Dean at the steak house.

We found some of the people a little negative towards us because we assumed they thought we are American. Subic bay used to known as "Sin upon the Sea" due to the love-you-long-time-G.I. antics of the US Navy and those they paid for R&R.

We can't figure out if they were negative because the Americans were there for so long and there are a lot of American featured faces around town or if it is because they left taking most of the economy and hence the money with them.

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