Road trip to Subic with the Ford Territory: Visiting tourist attractions, pilgrimage sites, & staying at a fantastic hotel

The Ford Territory is an ideal companion for a weekend getaway. Photo by Kenneth M. del Rosario.

When we were thinking of a destination for a quick weekend getaway, the first thing that came to mind was Subic. We wanted a destination that’s relatively close to Manila, with lots of interesting places to check out, and with roads that will allow us to enjoy the drive.

Ford recently lent us a Territory to cover the Ford Territory Club Philippines’ weekend drive to Subic to celebrate the group’s second anniversary. Since we still have the car to ourselves for a couple more days, we decided to head back to the former US naval base in Zambales.

We were already familiar with several destinations in Subic through the NLEX Lakbay Norte familiarization trips we’ve attended in the past. During those trips, we went on a sunset cruise on a yacht and ate at awesome restos. So we knew exactly where we wanted to go. Here are some of the destinations in Subic we revisited (and which we recommend you check out soon). 

Inang Laya monument. Photo by Kenneth M. del Rosario.
  1. Inang Laya Monument

The Inang Laya Monument features a statue of a woman with outstretched hands, looking blissfully upward, and with a dove in her right hand. She signifies the Mother Country that has become “unbound and standing proudly,” having survived centuries of colonial oppression from Spanish rule, as well as the dictatorship of the Marcos regime. “The Hands that Freed the Nation” also honors the 12 senators who, in 1991, voted not to renew the Treaty that allows American military bases in the Philippines. 

Ideal for a photo op. Photo by Kenneth M. del Rosario.

2. Subic Bay welcome sign, Spanish Gate, Hell Ship memorial

A few blocks from the Inang Laya Monument is the welcome sign that greets visitors to the area. With “Subic Bay” spelled out and the bay at the back, this spot makes for a cool photo opportunity. The Spanish Gate, built in 1885, when Subic Bay was declared a naval port by the Spaniards, is located a few meters from here. Another landmark to check out is the Hell Ship memorial, erected to commemorate the inhumane sufferings of the prisoners of war when they were transported via these hell ships for forced labor. 

Mother Mary House of Prayer & Museum. Photo by Kenneth M. del Rosario.

3. Mother Mary House of Prayer & Museum

This pilgrimage site is a relatively new destination in Subic, just having opened in March 2021. With an expansive collection of different Mother Mary statues from around the world, the place is a quiet and solemn respite—a perfect place to reflect and pray. As expected, we’re told it gets more crowded during the Holy Week. But it’s pretty chill throughout the rest of the year.

The San Roque Chapel. Photo by Kenneth M. del Rosario.

4.  San Roque Chapel

San Roque is a patron of dogs, falsely accused people, and bachelors, among others. Steeped in history, the San Roque Chapel that people get to visit today was erected in 1932 to replace the already dilapidated mission church. During World War II, the Japanese used the chapel as a stable for horses. Today, devotees flock to the chapel to participate in such traditions as the Holy Week processions, the Easter Sunday “Salubong,” and the Christmas dawn masses. 

Subic Bay Weekend Eco Market. Photo by Kenneth M. del Rosario.

5. Subic Bay Weekend Eco Market

If you happen to go on a road trip on a weekend, consider going to the Subic Bay Weekend Eco Market, located right beside the San Roque Church. Aside from awesome local food selections and refreshing drinks (and coffee!), an acoustic band serenades visitors at sundown.

Segara Residencias. Photo by Kenneth M. del Rosario.

6. Segara Residencias Subic Bay

After a day of going around the area, we drove to the Segara Residencias for that much-needed rest. With our Ford Territory safely parked (parking is free!), we headed to our very spacious room. It’s so huge you can literally hold a Zumba class inside (ha!). We also appreciated the microwave oven, plates and utensils, refrigerator, and free coffee they provide. Segara Residencias has a cool, fun, youthful vibe to it. But what impressed us is how friendly the crew members are, and how clean the property is. Plus points for the free and reliable WiFi connection, too. Breakfast is provided free of charge at the Segara Spices Restaurant. 

7. Royal Duty Free

The next day, before driving back to Manila, we dropped by the Royal Duty Free to do some pasalubong shopping because why not? It was super cool to bring home a lot of imported items that we don’t normally see in other grocery stores in the metro. Awesome!