Subic Bay is a bay on the west coast of the island of Luzon in the Philippines, about 100 kilometres (62 mi) northwest of Manila Bay. An extension of the South China Sea, its shores were formerly the site of a major United States Navy facility named U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay, which is now the location of an industrial and commercial area known as the Subic Bay Freeport Zone under the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.
Location within the Philippines
Subic Bay (Philippines)
1902 nautical chart of Subic Bay
|Location||Luzon Island, Philippines|
|Part of||South China Sea|
Today, water as well as the towns and establishments surrounding the bay are collectively referred to as Subic Bay. This includes the former US naval base at SBMA, Hanjin shipyard, Olongapo city, the town of Barrio Baretto, the Municipality of Subic, and the erstwhile US defence housing areas of Binictican and Kalayan housing, up to Morong in Bataan Province.
In 1542, Spanish conquistador Juan de Salcedo sailed into Subic Bay but no port developed there because the main Spanish naval base would be established in the nearby Manila Bay. When the British captured this base in 1762, the Spanish were forced to find an alternate location and Subic Bay was found to be a strategic and superb port location. In 1884, King Alfonso XII of Spain decreed that Subic was to become "a naval port and the property appertaining thereto set aside for naval purposes."
The Americans captured the Spanish base in 1899 during the Philippine–American War, and controlled the bay until 1991. During this period, the naval facilities were greatly built up and expanded, including a new naval air station that was built in the early 1950s by slicing the top half from a mountain and moving the soil to reclaim a part of Subic Bay. In 1979, the area under American control was reduced from 24,000 hectares (59,000 acres) to 6,300 hectares (16,000 acres) when the Philippines claimed sovereign rule over the base.
In 2012, controversy arose when a contracted shipping firm was accused of dumping toxic waste into Subic Bay. MT Glenn Guardian, one of the vessels owned by a Malaysian firm, had collected some 189,500 litres (41,700 imp gal; 50,100 US gal) of domestic waste and about 760 litres (170 imp gal; 200 US gal) of bilge water from USS Emory S. Land, a US Navy ship. Since the Malaysian firm was contracted by the US Navy, albeit under Philippine approval, this incident ignited anti-American sentiments in the Philippines from a single militant group.
Pamulaklakin Nature Park
The Pamulaklakin Nature Park is a reserve area of Binictican. Part of the 11 thousand hectares of forest is found at Subic Bay. The park was created by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority to supplement the income of the indigenous people. The term Pamulaklakin was derived from the native Ambala language, which means an herbal vine.
Shipwrecks of Subic Bay
- El Capitan was a freighter of nearly 3,000 tons just under 130 meters (427 ft) long. She sank in Subic Bay where she rests on a sloping bottom.
- Hell ship Oryoku Maru: On 15 December 1944, she had 1,619 American, British and Czech prisoners of war on board when she was sunk, under heavy bombardment by American fighters while on her way from Subic Bay to Japan. She was less than half a kilometer off the Alava Pier when attacked. About 300 prisoners died during the short voyage from Manila and during the attack.
- Seian Maru: During an air raid on Subic Bay, the 3,712-ton freighter Seian Maru was bombed and sunk. This was only four days after the sinking of Oryoku Maru on 19 December 1944.
- LST (Landing Ship, Tank): This is one of the large LSTs that litter the floor of Subic Bay. She was scuttled in 1946 in the middle of Subic Bay between the southern tip of the runway and Grande Island.
- The old USS New York, which had been renamed USS Rochester in 1917. At the onset of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, this ship was acting as a floating workshop and storehouse. Already decommissioned, the armored hull of the old cruiser was considered too valuable to allow Japanese forces to capture it, so the ship was scuttled in December 1941 by American forces.
- San Quentin: During the Spanish–American War in 1898, the Spanish scuttled their San Quintín (now often referred to as San Quentin) in the hope of blocking the passage between Grande Island and Chiquita Islands near the mouth of Subic Bay.
- Martin W. Lewis (October 22, 2010). "Subic Bay: From American Servicemen to Korean Businessmen". GeoCurrents. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
- "Official website of SBMA". SBMA official website. SBMA. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
- "History". Subic.com. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
- "Dumping of US toxic wastes in Phl triggers anti-American rhetoric". philstar.com. November 14, 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
- Bloom, Greg; Grosberg, Michael (1 June 2012). Lonely Planet Philippines. Lonely Planet. p. 135. ISBN 978-1-74321-290-5.
- Andy Davis. "The Subic Bay Dive Sites - Shipwreck Heaven". Scuba Tech Philippines. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
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