Ever since a few years back, I’ve gotten a bit allergic, annoyed, and somewhat scared with the usual New Year celebration in the Philippines. All the big noise and pollution just keep getting worse each year, and I definitely feel a need to escape that sort of thing. A year-end getaway was what I thought would be a relief from the usual noise and dangerous firecrackers. What else could be better than Grande Island in Subic, Olongapo.
Grande Island is an isolated island off the Subic Freeport area and can be reached by boat in less than one hour. This was my second visit to Grande Island and I have to say, it has changed a lot in terms of amenities. Before, the island was still underdeveloped, meaning, they only used the facilities that were left by the Americans from the time that the U.S. Naval Base was still operational. Under new management, Grande Island has now been transformed into with the necessary accommodations and facilities for people wanting to get away from the city life.
The boat service to the island has improved significantly from before. Visitors can either do a day trip or stay overnight on the island. Grande Island has around 80 chalets. Each chalet has its own verandah overlooking the beach, a perfect place for relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet. The resort also has a honeymoon suite, which has extra facilities such as a Jacuzzi, a private swimming pool, sauna and steam rooms.
Right after we landed on the island, we took a tour around the island aboard an electric-run tram trailer. The guide took us around the old facilities and ruins of Grande Island. Back in its glory days, the island, which was then known as Fort Wint, served as a fort protecting the country. Remains of the old batteries can still be seen on the island.
Grande Island is not all about peace and quiet. They have incorporated a lot of amenities for people looking for fun. So you can choose to ride a banana boat or a jet ski. To people who just can’t leave their gadgets, it would be good to know the island offers wifi service.
We had a quiet New Year’s Eve, just the way I like it, although we managed to have some bit of fun. The restaurant on the island served guests until late at night, so we managed to have a few drinks to celebrate the year that passed and look forward to the new one coming.
You can book a chalet or the honeymoon suite on the island through the Grande Island Resort office in SBMA or online through their website: www.grandeislandresort.com. You can find the Grande Island Resort office on Waterfront Road. This is also where you take the boat to go the island.