The waiting is now over for residents of the National Capital Region (NCR) and the neighboring provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan, who have long waited for the chance to visit beaches, theme parks and other tourist attractions in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
This as the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) released guidelines for leisure activities to visitors from the so-called NCR-Plus Bubble, which recently eased down to general community quarantine (GCQ) under Resolution No. 118-A of Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator Ramon O. Agregado said that the IATF resolution allowed point-to-point travel from NCR-Plus to areas under modified GCQ without age restrictions, thereby opening Subic’s gates to visitors and tourists of all ages—from infants to seniors.
“It’s a significant step forward from when visitors from NCR-Plus can enter Subic only for business purposes, and when we required proof of business appointments,” Agregado said. “But we will continue to strictly implement existing health safety protocols despite some relaxation in border controls.”
“We will conduct 100 percent inspection of travel requirements at Subic gates, and we will continue to strictly enforce rules on minimum health measures and physical distancing in all areas in the Freeport,” he said.
Agregado pointed out that the new IATF ruling also requires those under 18 years and over 65 years of age to present a negative RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test result upon entry in Subic.
On the other hand, the old requirement for negative RT-PCR results still applies to visitors who will stay in Subic for at least four days and three nights, regardless of age and place of origin, he added.
“We have gained this additional freedom, so to speak, because we enforced safety protocols before and we’ll continue doing so to be able to open up more business in Subic,” he added.
Meanwhile, SBMA tourism manager Jem Camba said that Subic continues to be the go-to destination in Central Luzon because of its beaches, rivers, mountain trails, theme parks, and shopping centers.
She said the new protocols already allow seniors in retail establishments, even when customer capacity is still kept at a maximum of 50 percent.
Camba added that as per previous guidelines, travelers 15-16 years old from MGCQ areas can enter the Freeport for leisure purposes without presenting RT-PCR tests results. However, the SBMA is still awaiting advice from the Regional IATF if the same would now apply to persons of all ages from MGCQ areas, she added.
Camba also said that current health protocols in Subic still prohibit those under three years old in beaches and exercise areas, and that wearing of face mask and face shield in public places is still a must.
She said the SBMA previously set the fines for violation of these protocols at P1,000 for first offense, P2,000 for second offense, and P5,000 for succeeding violations.