Subic Bay, A Family-friendly Destination Near Manila


Before I became a mom, trips would mean packing light, having a loaded itinerary, staying up late and choosing a budget hotel that is good enough for sleeping through the night. But now that I am a mom of a three year old toddler and an eleven month old baby, trips would mean overpacking, bringing the entire house, having a relaxed itinerary with several contingency plans and choosing a family-friendly place to stay.

I can't believe we are a family of four already!
Even though traveling with small children would mean getting tired than usual, I still want to travel with them because I honestly would not want it any other way. I love to see my children's eyes sparkle in amazement while experiencing new things. I want to create memories with them that we will all look back to through the years. I want to have a break from the usual routine and relax with them. I want to see them happy because it makes me happier. I guess a tiring/happy/satisfying/kid-friendly trip would be the new normal for me.


I have been wanting to book a flight to either Bohol or Boracay for some peace and quiet time. I wanted to go to a beach resort with a lux hotel feels to recharge and regain my sanity and also to reward myself for successfully surviving a yayaless household with a feisty toddler and a clingy baby. But just thinking of the travel, the stuff I will bring, managing the two kids by myself, the body aches and pains I will endure make me to eventually put on hold my plans.

So, when I got an invite to an overnight trip to Subic Bay recently, I immediately said yes. I told my husband that the heavens heard my prayers and the beach is now the one literally offering herself to me. Who am I to say no? Subic is such a family-friendly place. It is very near Manila and can be reached via land transportation. In Subic, everything is within reach. SM, Ayala Malls and even Duty Free shops are in the vicinity thus grocery, food and supplies would not be a problem. Hospitals, drugstores and even banks are also available. There is also a Catholic church nearby.

Note: This trip is sponsored by ACEA Subic but I am not paid to say the things I will mention below. It is solely based on my personal experience during that overnight trip.

Subic via SCTEX
Though without much preparation, I went to Subic with my husband, my 3 year old toddler and 11 month old baby. Similar to our past trips, the OA mom in me overpacked and brought a lot of baby stuff like the sterilizer, diapers, lots of extra clothes and toys. Thank God we have a car where I can dump everything in high hopes that I did not forget something essential.

Ju-Ju-Be bags + Babyzen bag and Babyzen stroller
We left on a Friday at 6am, passed via SCTEX and reached Subic at around 9am. It was a surprisingly relaxing and fast 3-hour trip. I enjoyed sightseeing the long stretch of SCTEX - the lahar, the mountains and the seemingly endless carless road. I suddenly wanted to explore the North more since traffic was way better compared to the South. Imagine, our recent trip to Tagaytay took us 5 hours in total - 3 hours from my house in Fairview to SLEX and another 2 hours from Alabang to Tagaytay proper.

As we reached Subic, I have little expectations of where we will stay. All I know is that ACEA Subic is a relatively new hotel on the side of Subic where Zoobic Safari and Ocean Adventure are located. It is situated in the same area as All Hands Beach and the famous Bat Kingdom. In my mind, ACEA Subic will be similar to the hotels I usually stay in when in Subic.

First impression

Upon entering the gate, I was so surprised that it has a quite big entrance and parking area. It reminded me of the entrance of Henann Resorts in Bohol and Boracay - but a mini version of it. I immediately felt good upon entering and I silently told myself that I am up for something promising.

While checking-in, I can already see the view of the beach and it made me excited even more.

HII Managed Resort!
Seeing this sign is a plus for me as it gave me the assurance that the hotel I am staying in is not just an ordinary hotel. Hospitality Innovators, Inc. (HII) is known for offering exceptional value, personalized experiences and the best brand of service and hospitality in the properties that they manage.

What I like about ACEA Subic

The private beachfront: 

I really like that it has a private beachfront. The beach is clean and so is the sand. Security is tight and only guests of the hotel are allowed to use the beach. You need not worry of peddlers reaching out to you to sell some stuff. They also offer exclusive beach activities such as the banana boat ride and jetski rental.

Bonding with my firstborn
There are no peddlers here!
The sand is so clean. No garbage!!!

The infinity pool: 

The hotel has a spacious and kid-friendly infinity pool. The deepest part is just 5 feet. There are also shallow areas for the little ones.

I love that the pool "connects" to the sea.
This shallow area is perfect for toddlers and babies.
Parents can also stay on the day beds while the kids are playing on the shallow portion.
The shallow part is connected to the deeper portion so parents can still enjoy swimming.

The play areas:

The resort has an indoor and outdoor play areas. The outdoor playground has several slides and a bucket when filled splashes water in the entire playground. The indoor playground on the other hand has slides, tubes and a ball pit. My daughters loved the indoor playground. In our next visit, we will surely allot more time so we can enjoy these amenities longer.

Outdoor splash playground
Indoor playground
The in-house restaurant:

I particularly like that this hotel has an in-house restaurant, Salt Restaurant, that serves delicious and affordable food. It offers both set and buffet menus. During our stay, we were able to enjoy a sumptuous lunch, a Mongolian buffet dinner and a buffet breakfast.

Buffet area
Dining area
Set menu for lunch

Mongolian Buffet Night

The spacious room:

I also like the room as it is perfect for a family of four. The room has a fridge, a TV with a working cable signal (and Disney channel!), free WiFi and a spacious toilet and bath. The rooms also have a nice and relaxing view. You can choose either a sea view or a garden view room.

The room is big enough for 4 adults.
A relaxing garden view. Love the greenery!
Aside from the resort facilities, the best feature of ACEA Subic that I really like which will make me recommend it to my relatives and friends is that it is not a crowded resort. Families can enjoy some peace and quiet time while bonding with their families. Neither the beach nor the pool is packed with people - one can serenely enjoy swimming, playing and even taking photos.

Staying in ACEA Subic is like waking up to a dream. I had zero expectations at the start of the trip but it gave me a new hotel standard for Subic hotels when I left. In just two days, I experienced really nice hotel facilities, admirable service and an unparalled beauty of nature - clean beach, fresh air, spectacular views of the sunset and the mountains. I cannot stop telling my husband that staying in ACEA did not feel like we were just in Subic. Since I cannot fly often yet with two small kids in tow, ACEA Subic would definitely be my go-to destination when I simply need a breather, some beach therapy for the kids or a quick family get-away.

ACEA Subic is located near other family-friendly destinations such as the Inflatable Island and Zoobic Safari. For this overnight trip, we chose to go to the Inflatable Island as we already went to Zoobic Safari some years back.

1. Inflatable Island
The Inflatable Island is a floating playground that kids and adults will surely enjoy. It is as big as eight basketball courts put side by side and contains inflatable slides, towers, bridges, human launchers and swings. Kids should be 3ft and above to be able to access the Inflatable Island. Since my little ones are below 3ft, we just stayed in the Pink Bali Lounge and watched their daddy as he went to the floating playground. The Pink Bali Lounge is also a nice photo backdrop so we made sure we took a lot of photos.

To those who want to visit the Inflatable Island, note that food and drinks are not allowed to be brought in. There are stores inside where you can buy. The resort also does not offer any room accommodation so you can only rest in the Bali Lounge beanbags or at the covered eating area near the stores.

Someone got thirsty!
Daddy on his way to the floating playground
Mesmerized with the all the inflatables and that giant unicorn!
Daddy survived!
Chilling at the Bali Lounge



2. Zoobic Safari

For children, the zoo is a great place for fun and learning. Zoobic Safari allows guests to have a close encounter with some animals like the tiger and crocodile. We went in 2016 with my family and I only had one baby back then.

Zoobic Safari trip in 2016
Close encounter with the tigers

Upon check-out, we went to the other side of Subic where the restaurants and malls are and ate at Extremely Espresso. We ordered their specialty pizza and nachos to keep us full for the long drive home. We wanted to do some Duty Free / outlet stores shopping but had to skip it since the kids were already sleeping.



To those planning to visit Subic this summer, here are the rates:

ACEA Subic Rates
Overnight accommodation in ACEA Subic for 2 adults, 2 kids (0-7 years old)
Fee is inclusive of breakfast : PHP 7,650.00
You may book via https://www.aceasubicbay.com/.

Entrance fees to Inflatable Island
Fee starts at PHP499. You may book tickets via Klook: https://www.klook.com/activity/8402-inflatable-island-subic-manila/


Entrance fees to Zoobic Safari
Fee starts at PHP487. You may book tickets via Klook: https://www.klook.com/activity/10665-zoobic-safari-admission-ticket-subic-manila/.


***Special thanks to ACEA Subic for this wonderful weekend get-away. You made this super tired mommy happy, energized and rejuvenated.***

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing momsh,,Gusto ko rin makapunta dyan this vacation.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you sa review Mommy Dette. Might consider this hotel for our summer get away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are welcome mommy! It is really the nicest hotel in Subic at present.

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