I was fortunate to be invited by Team Ynah to their 2012 summer outing at Grande Island in Subic, Zambales. GrandeIsland, also known as Fort Wint, was part of the harbor defenses of Manila and Subic Bays during World War II. Thus, remnants of artilleries used during war time can still be found in the island. The fort was names after Brigadier General Theodore Wint who served in the U.S. Army during the Civil War, Indian campaigns, the War with Spain and the Philippine Insurrection.
No Littering sign
How to go to Grande Island
By Car (via SCTEX)
Drive to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), take the Spur/NLE interchange located between the Dau and Sta. Inez Exits of the NLEX and proceed to the SCTEX Clark Logistics Toll Plaza. After crossing the bridge, follow the loop of the ramp towards Subic.
Follow the road directional signage going to the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ). Once inside the SBFZ, go to Rizal Highway, turn into Burgos Street (at the corner of Subic Bay Yacht Club) then right on Sampson Road and go towards Waterfront Road where the Grande Island Terminal is located.
Photo session before boarding the ferry
By Car (old route)
Take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and exit at San Fernando. From the toll booth, turn right and drive towards Bataan. You will pass through the towns of Bacolor, Guagua, Lubao in Pampanga and Dinalupihan in Bataan where you make a right turn towards Olongapo and the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
Enter the Tipo Expressway and proceed to Rizal Highway. Turn into Burgos Street (all the corners of Subic Bay Yacht Club) and then right on Sampson Road. The Grande Island Ferry Terminal is located along Waterfront Road. The terminal is almost across the SBMA Administration Building.
Victory Liner and Saulog Transit regularly ply the routes of Olongapo City. When you get off the bus at Olongapo City, take a taxi cab and ask the driver to bring you directly to the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and to the Grande IslandTerminal at Waterfront Road.
We settled our bill at the front office and did not wait long for the ferry to arrive. From the Grande Island Ferry Terminal, it was a quick 20-minute boat ride to the resort.
Being a big group, we stayed in several chalet rooms. Each room boasts of these amenities:
· Three Queen-sized beds with fiber-filled duvets for mite-free sleeping
· Split type air-conditioning
· Electronic key card control system
· Black marble bathroom walls and countertops
· Solar heated hot water and cold (potable)
· Hair Dryer
· Colored television with cable channels
· Private mini bar and refrigerator
· Coffee and tea-making facilities
· Executive writing desk
Dining at Grande Island
Grande Island has an in-house restaurant and a mess hall. We arranged for all our meals to be served at the mess hall. Breakfast is buffet consisting of standard garlic rice, eggs, tocino, longanisa and salted fish and instant coffee. Lunch and dinner are plated, complete with rice, vegetables and either meat, chicken or fish. Food is just okay, nothing fancy nor extraordinary.
What to do in Grande Island
Grande Island offers water activities for those who are looking for a little adrenaline rush. If you simply want some peace and quiet, you can spend unhurried moments on the sand and then cold down with a quick dip in the clear blue water.
There are also swimming pools if you are not too fond of the waves. And for some physical activities, you may either try biking, hiking or a game of volleyball.
The pool area
Grande Island is a former military reservation, as such, expect to see old gun batteries and ruined military quarters. It is often told that Grande Island gives a feeling similar to that of Corregidor, both being former military outposts during wartime.
All in all, Grande Island is the perfect place for those who are looking for an island hideaway near Metro Manila. It’s a quiet and charming little island that offers adventure, relaxation and a quick walk back to history.
Leaving Grande Island