Subic Bay has been known to be the economic hub of the northern part of Luzon. A rich history has contributed much to this repute, as well as to the local culture and festivals in Subic. Read on to learn about two of Subic’s most prominent festivals, the Fil-Am Friendship Day and the Scootourista Festival.
Subic Bay was initially used as a port during the 17th Century by the Spaniards. Spanish colonies realized that the bay area had deep waters ideal for safe harbors for their fleets. By the year 1885, Subic Bay became a naval base. Then came the year 1898, when the Americans took control of the Philippines from the Spaniards and set up a naval repair and supply base in Subic. Subic Bay could only be reached by sea before the year 1932. Roads were then constructed that year to make the bay area accessible to the different parts of the Philippines by land. After a few years in the hands of the Japanese where many air and sea battles were conducted, the Americans took back Subic in 1945. Finally, during the Vietnamese war, Subic became a valuable strategic base for the American operations all throughout Asia.
The Americans had set up Subic as a US military base up until 1991 by virtue of an agreement between the US and Philippine governments. Because Americans have had such a long history with Subic, one of the most important and well-celebrated festivals of Subic is the Fil-Am Friendship Day. Filipinos and Americans lived in perfect harmony in Subic for a very long time, and this history of harmony is the origin of the festival. The feast is held every year on July 4, which is the same date as the U.S. Independence day. The Fill-Am Friendship Day commemorates the combined efforts of the Americans and Filipinos during World War II to achieve independence from the Imperial rule. The American soldiers who fought and helped the Filipinos regain their liberty were considered heroes that continue to receive the sincerest appreciation from the people of Subic. To this day, the festival partakes in parades, street dancing, and various exhibits for both the locals and visitors enjoy. Finally, an amazing fireworks display ends the day of fun-filled celebration.
But even if Subic’s Fil-Am Day comes with a whole lot of history, the other well-celebrated festival is not so traditional in nature. The Scootourista Festival is very commercial in nature but is no less exciting and interesting as the first celebration. The festivity celebrates the scooter as an affordable means of transportation that continues to gain popularity in the Philippines. Scooters parade during the festival in Subic mainly because the bay area is a drop-off point where major companies sell scooters to the Filipino market. Honda, Mitsubishi and even American motorbike brands participate in races between professional scooter drivers. The festival continues with rallies and races, live bands, and an energetic crowd that parties until the early hours of the morning.
Despite being a modern city, locals continue to honor their history through culture and festivals in Subic each year. The town is a mixture of contemporary and past references, and its celebrations are no different.