Reinvigorating tourism in the Philippines

In what is a clear move to reinvigorate tourism all over the Philippines in line with recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. announced a series of moves to achieve their goals and this includes the new project titled “Philippine Experience”, according to two separate news articles (click here and here) published by the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA news article about President Marcos’ speech. Some parts in boldface…

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Monday underscored the need for tourism industry players and stakeholders to come up with “fresh” and “new” ideas to entice more tourists to travel to the Philippines and revive what he described as one of the “key players” in the nation’s progress.

Marcos made this remark as he lauded the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) ongoing efforts to consult with regional tourism offices about ways to support the tourism industry’s recovery dubbed as “listening tours.”

“Following the pandemic, we need fresh and innovative ideas to bring back the imagination and the confidence of our people—from here and abroad—so they will be encouraged to explore the best destinations that the country can offer,” he said in his speech during the Philippine Tourism Industry Convergence Reception (PTICR) at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

He described the DOT’s listening tours as an “imaginative tool” that helps the government see the perspective of those who are on the ground and understand their experiences and situations.

“The avenues you have opened for all regions will be instrumental not only in formulating the best policies, but also in determining better practices and the best projects for the industry,” he added.

Marcos said the government will remain committed to ensuring that the inputs acquired from the DOT’s listening tours will be “optimized” for the benefit of the tourism sector.

“We want one of the key players in our nation’s progress to be buzzing once again with life again—stronger than ever—so that they will be able to keep up with these fast moving times,” he added.

He also praised DOT Secretary Christina Frasco for keeping his administration on their toes by having a clear vision of her plans for the tourism sector.

“She keeps us on our toes. She has always kept a very very clear idea in her mind of what we are trying to achieve. She has brought passion and energy that certainly that we’re going to need. But it is passion and energy that gives us confidence that we will succeed,” Marcos said.

He said Frasco’s strategy of empowering local government units (LGUs) was a no-brainer given her experience as a former mayor of Liloan municipality in Cebu.

As part of efforts to boost the tourism sector, Marcos reiterated the importance of further developing existing travel destinations and developing new ones.

He also underscored the need to ensure that these destinations are accessible through improved tourism infrastructure.

Marcos said the PTICR provides the perfect opportunity to pursue initiatives for greater tourism connectivity and convenience.

“It is my hope that this reception will foster meaningful discourse and yield concrete plans that we can immediately put into action,” he said.

Greatest asset

Meanwhile, Marcos expressed confidence in using the country’s “greatest asset” to revive the tourism sector to what it was prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“…The greatest asset that we have in the PH are the 107 million Filipinos who are a young, well-trained workforce who are as kind of people, who are as hospitable of people, as gracious of people as you will find anywhere in the world,” he said.

He said he believed that Filipinos will be crucial in “reintroducing” the Philippines to the world.

“I am confident because I have said this many many times that there is no warmer, more poignant sight than the smile of a Filipino and that is something that we can introduce to the world,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Frasco emphasized the “Philippine Experience” during the same event President Marcos attended. Posted below is an excerpt with some parts in boldface…

The program called the Philippine Experience would involve the development of caravans featuring culture, heritage, and arts unique to each region.

Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said it would draw inspiration from Suroy-Suroy Sugbo, a Cebuano initiative that sought to promote Cebu towns and cities’ products and give tourists a chance to discover underrated destinations.

Giving industry stakeholders a glimpse of the program, Tourism directors from the Cordilleras down to Mindanao showcased the colors, festivals and “living traditions” that could be experienced in their regions.

“Our goal is to equalize opportunities across the regions and support the preservation of the country’s cultural heritage and artistic resources,” Frasco said during the Philippine Tourism Industry Convergence Reception at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on Monday.

“Through these experiential travel modules, we hope to introduce the very essence of our nation more deeply to our tourists and instill a sense of pride and patriotism among the Filipino people through greater appreciation of our country’s inheritance and legacy,” she added.

The Philippine Experience is part of the list of programs that DOT is implementing in the coming months to help the sector recover from the effects of the pandemic and position the Philippines as a primary tourism destination in Asia.

As seen in the above content from two of PNA’s news articles, the national government just made clear its focus on reinvigorating Philippine tourism which has the potential to create new job opportunities, open up channels between tourism business players and other businesses, and generate the much-needed economic activities around the nation. Having worked and lived in Cebu province myself, I am not surprised that the DOT took inspiration from the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo tourism program which was very active during my Cebu years.

Apart from the collective efforts of the tourism business players, the event organizers, the national government and other local government units, we Filipinos can also take part in promoting the nation as a tourist destination that can be enjoyed. I personally am fond of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone as a vacation destination and to those of you planning to go there, make sure you visit Gourmet Garage Subic and Xtremely Xpresso Café for your meals. Subic Bay also has lots of nice hotels to stay in as well as shopping places. If you are looking for a sports event to join in at Subic Bay, then you should register online for the 2023 National Age Group Triathlon event there set for January 2023.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this recent development? Do you feel encouraged to travel around the country and enjoy the tourist destinations?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

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2023 season opener of National Age Group Triathlon (NAGT) series set for January 29, 2023 at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone; online registration ongoing

For the triathletes and multisport enthusiasts based in the Philippines reading this, the 2023 season opener of the National Age Group Triathlon (NAGT) series is all set to happen on January 29, 2023 at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and the good news is that you can register online right now by clicking here.

This sports event is a joint project of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) supported by Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines, Inc. (ACIP) and Standard Insurance.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt of key race details posted at the event page at RaceYaya.fit

2023 National Age Group Triathlon Subic Leg (part of SEATA Series)

Race Date & Time: 29 January 2023 (Sunday) at 6:00am
Event
 Venue: Start & Finish at The Boardwalk, Subic Bay Freeport


Highlights:
• This is part of the Southeast Asian Triathlon Association (SEATA) Series and the 2023 National Triathlon Trials.
• A qualifying/selection race for the 2023 Southeast Asian Games, Cambodia.
• A talent identification for the Philippine Triathlon Team.

Race Distances:

1. Standard Distance: 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run (Individual and Team Relay)
2. Sprint Distance: 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run
3. Super Sprint Distance: 500m swim, 13km bike, 2.5km run

Participants’ Categories (Top 3):

Super Sprint Distance:

  • 13-15 Boys & Girls Only

Sprint Distance:

  • Elite Men
  • Elite Women
  • Jr. Elite Men 16-19 y.o.
  • Jr. Elite Women 16-19 y.o.
  • Age Group Men and Women: 16-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50 – over

Standard Distance:

  • Elite Men
  • Elite Women
  • Age Group Men:
    • 18-24
    • 25-29
    • 30-34
    • 35-39
    • 40- 44
    • 45-49
    • 50-54
    • 55 & over
  • Age Group Women:
    • 18-24
    • 25-29
    • 30-34
    • 35-39
    • 40-44
    • 45-49
    • 50 & over

Team Relay (Standard Distance):

  • All Male
  • All Female
  • Mixed Team

Registration fees are set at P3,500/US$62.50 plus processing fee for Super Sprint Distance, P4,000/US72 plus processing fee for Sprint Distance, and P4,500/US$81 plus processing fee for Standard Distance. The entry fees cover the cost of participation, swim cap, timing chip rental, race bib, bike & helmet stickers, finisher’s medal, event shirt and post-race take-away snacks. The fees are non-refundable, non-transferable and non-creditable for future races of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP).

For the complete race schedule of activities and other key details, click https://register.raceya.fit/event/nagt2023

To follow or contact the TRAP, visit http://www.triathlon.org.ph/ and follow their official Facebook page.

To those who will really be traveling to Subic Bay for the January 29, 2023 triathlon, there are good places where you can have good meals and beverages at – Gourmet Garage Subic and Xtreme Xpresso Café. Read my feature articles of them.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

SBMA and strategic partners conduct anti-terrorism drill in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone

Have you been to the Subic Bay Freeport Zone lately? Recently, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and its strategic partners the Anti-Terrorism Council – Program Management Center (ATC-PMC) and the Project Management Office of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) conducted an anti-terrorism drill at the Subic Water Binictican Water Treatment Plan within the freeport, according to a press statement by the SBMA.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the SBMA’s statement. Some parts in boldface…

As part of the national government’s thrust to thwart terrorism in the country, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), along with other government agencies jointly conducted a simulation exercise at the Subic Water Binictican Water Treatment Plant.

According to SBMA Chairman and Administrator Rolen C. Paulino, the Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Simulation Exercise 2022 was conducted by the Anti-Terrorism Council – Program Management Center (ATC-PMC) headed by the Project Management Office of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The official added that the inter-agency simulation exercise series (IA Simex Series) included personnel from the DILG, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), ATC-PMC, Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Prevention (BFP), Disaster Risk Reduction Management Offices from Bataan and Zambales, Peace and Order Councils of LGUs, CBRN National Team Observers, Subic Water and Sewerage Company, Inc., and the SBMA.

Chairman Paulino further revealed, “The opening scenario during the CBRN Simex was a negotiation between the terrorist group who took over the Subic Water Binictican Water Treatment Plant with plans to contaminate the water supply of Olongapo City. The terrorist group demanded P10 million, along with the release of their comrades. A PNP negotiator then attempted to communicate with the terrorist group.

“Should negotiations fail, the PNP will cordon off the area while the SBMA Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team conducts a meeting before an insertion operation Following the insertion, SWAT personnel then neutralize the terrorist threat and rescue hostages taken by the terrorists.

“Both the SWAT and the hostages are then thoroughly checked for any chemical, biological,

radiological and nuclear contaminations before they are allowed to conduct further operations.

Debriefing immediately follows after decontamination,” he said.

The official stated that the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams from the AFP and PNP

scout the area for any explosive devices that the terrorist group may have left behind. The SBMA Fire Department and the BFP then carry out extraction of injured victims and live suspects using hazmat suits.

“Medical teams from the SBMA Public Health and Safety Department (PHSD) then immediately attend to the wounded victims, including the terrorists for medical attention,” Paulino said.

DILG Assistant Secretary Brig. Gen. Alexander Macario lauded the participation of various government agencies at the CBRN Simex 2022, citing that with a bit more polishing, the operation would be seamless. He added that the exercise is designed to meet the needs of the particular area in partnership with stakeholders.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What can you say about the anti-terrorism drill that was conducted jointly by the SBMA and its strategic partners? Do you believe that the Subic Bay Freeport Zone is secure enough right now? Does the recent drill make you confident about investing in or taking residence in the freeport?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

For my recent Subic Bay articles, read my features about Gourmet Garage Subic and Xtremely Xpresso.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Over 500,000 foreign tourists counted since the borders were reopened

If you are looking for encouraging news about our country and its struggle to rise up from the COVID-19 crisis, be aware that more than half a million foreign visitors have been counted since the Philippines reopened its borders months ago, according to a recent news report by BusinessWorld.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the BusinessWorld article. Some parts in boldface…

FOREIGN VISITORS have totaled 517,516 as of May 25, since the reopening of borders with minimal quarantine requirements in February, according to the Department of Tourism (DoT).

The DoT said in a statement that the US was the top source of arrivals between Feb. 10 and May 25 with 104,589, followed by South Korea with 28,474 arrivals, and Canada 24,337.

Australian nationals, British, and Japanese were next on the list with 23,286; 20,846; and 13,373 respectively,” the DoT said. 

“Other foreign visitors during the early months of the year include Vietnamese, Singaporeans, Malaysians, Italians, Irish and French,” it added.

On Feb. 10, the Philippines started accepting nationals that do not require visas to enter the country. Since April 1, borders have been opened to all nationals

“The DoT is looking forward to an uptick in tourist arrivals in the coming weeks following the further easing of entry requirements,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Starting May 30, the DoT said fully vaccinated and boostered inbound foreign visitors will no longer be required to have a pre-departure test for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The looser entry rules are authorized by Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution No. 168.

However, the DoT said arriving passengers are still encouraged to obtain travel insurance. All types of vaccination certificates, regardless of country of origin, will also be accepted.

“Based on the resolution, the visitor must be at least 18 years old and must have received the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines and at least one booster shot,” the DoT said.

For the newcomers reading this, more tourists from overseas means better opportunities for local businesses to make more money and recover whatever losses they had as a result of lockdowns and quarantine-related business restrictions. Tourism-related businesses like hotels, resorts and connected transportation and food-and-beverage services badly need the spending of foreign visitors.

In relation to this tourism industry development, be aware that there were foreign participants in the recent Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) which was a big sports even that attracted hundreds of participants on May 1 at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. Speaking of the said location, I personally saw lots of hotels, restaurants (note: read my feature articles about Gourmet Garage Subic and Xtremely Xpresso), stores and other leisure facilities that operated as if the country is back in the pre-pandemic days. The more foreign tourists coming in plus the more local tourists engage in holidays, special events and travel in the country, the better it will be for local businesses to recover (plus pay their fees, taxes and keeping their hard-working employees longer) and the nation as a whole. I believe that the Philippines will continue to rise socially and economically from the pandemic.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction about this tourism-related development? Do you believe the Philippines will be able to attract 2 million foreign tourists by the end of 2022? Do you run a business that catered to foreign tourists?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

SCTEX toll rates increase

If you are planning to visit Subic Bay, Tarlac Province or Clark via the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), you will have to set aside more money for traveling as the toll rates will be raised tomorrow already, according to details in a recent GMA Network news report. This is the result of the Toll Regulatory Board’s (TRB) approval of the toll rate adjustment for SCTEX.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the GMA news report. Some parts in boldface…

Motorists plying the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) may need to brace themselves against higher fees after the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) approved the toll rate adjustment, operator North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Corporation said Saturday.

In a statement, NLEX Corp. said the TRB authorized the implementation of an additional P0.78 per kilometer for motorists using the SCTEX.

The adjusted toll rates will take effect starting June 1, 2022.

Under the new toll matrix, motorists with Class 1 vehicles traveling between Mabalacat City to Tarlac will be charged an additional P31.00.

Those with Class 2 vehicles traveling on the same route will pay an additional P61.00 while motorists with Class 3 vehicles will pay an additional P92.00.

Meanwhile, an additional P49.00, P98.00, and P147.00 will be charged on motorists using Class 1, 2, and 3 vehicles, respectively, traveling between Mabalacat City and Tipo, Hermosa, Bataan which is near the Subic Freeport.

NLEX Corp. said the toll hike followed regulatory procedures and underwent thorough review. The increase also confirmed the periodic rate adjustments due in 2017.

To support the public utility buses (PUBs) cope with the adjustment, they will be provided toll subsidies and allow them to continue to enjoy the old rates for the next three months,” the company said.

The state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority is the builder and owner of the four-lane 93.7 kilometer SCTEX. The construction was partly funded by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

SCTEX opened to the public in 2008 and the management, operations and maintenance was privatized and awarded to NLEX Corp. in 2015.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction about the approved toll rate adjustment for SCTEX? Does this discourage you from using the SCTEX to visit Subic Bay or Clark or other places connected to the said expressway?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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For Subic Bay related articles, read my Gourmet Garage Subic feature, my Xtremely Xpresso feature and articles about the 2022 Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) here, here and here.

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

My return to Xtremely Xpresso Café in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone

During my most recent visit at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, I took the opportunity to revisit key places around as it has been more than two years since my previous visit. On the afternoon of April 30 (just a day before the 2022 Subic Bay International Triathlon happened), I took time out to revisit Xtremely Xpresso Café (social media here, here and here) located at Dewey Street corner Sta. Rita Road.

Xtremely Xpresso Café is more than just a place to enjoy good coffee. It is also a restaurant that sells to its customers a good variety of tasty meals from pizza to pasta, rice meals and others. The very first time I visited the food joint was in the early 2000s. Through the years I had coffee there during my solo visits and there were also times that I was with the family enjoying pizza and their meals. Xtremely Xpresso’s pizzas were always delicious and filling to enjoy with friends or family.

Xtremely Xpresso Subic Bay Freeport branch on the day I returned.

Going back to my April 30 afternoon visit, I easily recognized Xtremely Xpresso upon arrival. What I found interesting was that the place was bustling with customers both indoors (where it is air conditioned) and outdoors as if life was back to normal (note: Alert Level 1 status was in effect on the Subic Bay Freeport Zone back then). I saw some groups of people, couples and individual customers enjoying their meals and drinks on the outdoor area (note: lots of seats and tables with shade) and the simmering heat of the day did not seem to bother them at all.

Then I entered and saw the ever familiar-looking interior. Almost all the seats and tables were filled up by customers who mostly came in groups or pairs. Everywhere I looked, I saw people really enjoying their food and drinks, and having quality time together. As such, I decided to order a drink and dessert and have the waiter serve them to me at a seat outdoors.

I took sat at a place where there was enough shade to protect me from the sun. While the heat was obvious, there were moments I felt some relief in the form of coolness from the occasional wind coming from the sea water several meters away. After about ten minutes waiting, the waiter served to me the cheesecake slice and the Shockwave Xtreme Frappe’ that I ordered.

The cheesecake I ordered at Xtremely Xpresso.
A close look at a portion of the cheesecake.

As I was seated outdoors, I did not want to let the sun and the summer heat ruin the cheesecake so I started consuming it portion by portion. Each bite of it was smooth and in terms of taste, it had a mild sweetness to it. More notably, it tasted like any cheesecake. In terms of content, it is thick and long enough for me. As such, Xtremely Xpresso’s cheesecake slice is good enough.

Xtremely Xpresso’s Shockwave frappe was cold coffee with some chocolate to its taste with a creamy aesthetic. In my experience sipping it moderately, the Shockwave had a moderate sweetness to it and I felt a creamy coffee and chocolate taste. It was during the remaining small amount I sipped when I suddenly felt a sweetened taste. Then the drink ran out. Xtremely Xpresso’s Shockwave is a frappe that is completely different from what other coffee shops here in the Philippines offered. I can say it is a good drink to have at Xtremely Xpresso.

The Shockwave frappe was mildly sweet and had a coffee and chocolate taste.

So my recent visit at Xtremely Xpresso in Subic Bay was good one. I would not hesitate to return there and next time, I would definitely order a meal, a different drink and something else. In my previous dining experiences there with my family, I enjoyed the taste of their Big Ben pizza, the Seafood Pesto pizza, the Creamy Cheese Penne and their Spinach Omelette. All of those and a lot more are still being offered to customers.

While securing an indoor seat and table is challenging, be assured that there are a lot more tables and seats outside. In fact, having breakfast and coffee outdoors is a fresh and comfortable experience as the sun is not too intense in the morning.

For those of you reading this, if you are planning to visit Subic Bay and you want good food and drinks to enjoy, I encourage you to visit Xtremely Xpresso.

Let me end this piece with the following holy scripture…

So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (AMPC)

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Electric transport system inside the SBMA could happen

If initial talks progress a lot, then electric vehicles as well as charging stations could be established at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in the future as the Manila Bulletin recently reported that the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and a private entity formally started discussing a key proposal that emphasized renewable energy.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin article. Some parts in boldface…

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), holding true to its commitment to promote the use of renewable energy, has welcomed its partner Indigo Distribution Corporation in putting into the boardroom a proposal to set up an Electric Transport System inside SBMA as part of a new initiative for renewable energy projects inside the facility.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Rolen C. Paulino and Indigo Distribution Corporation General Manager Gerard S. Galang have started serious discussion on a proposal that also includes setting up solar and electric charging stations inside SBMA to support and promote electric vehicle adoption for private and public transportation.

This is also in line with the ’Renewable Energy Act of 2008′ that affirms the government’s commitment to accelerate the utilization of renewable energy (RE) resources in the country. This is to effectively reduce harmful emissions and achieve economic development while protecting health and environment.

Electric Vehicles (EVs) have started to gain popularity, globally, as many countries decide to pursue the use of alternative technologies that reduce harmful emissions, climate-related effects and reliance on the use of fossil fuels.

Electric vehicles are cars and other vehicles with motors that source power from electricity and not liquid or liquefied fuels.

EVs count among its technological benefits: few moving parts, charging done overnight when electricity demand is low and cheaper fuel cost, running cost and maintenance cost.

The above report ended stating that the SBMA believes that the initiative would bring down the cost of electricity by harnessing the free energy from the sun.

As I mentioned before, Subic Bay is a great place to visit for holidays, shopping, organizing special events, doing business and discovering new things. I was there when the Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) happened on May 1 (for references, click here and here) and I saw SBMA chairman Paulino who took part during the awarding ceremony of the Elite Men category. I also managed to revisit my favorite restaurant there and had a great lunch. To learn about SBMA moving forward with renewable energy and potentially use electric vehicles (e-vehicles) for both public and private transportation is indeed interesting. It would be nice to see electric vehicles in the form of buses, jeepneys and vans be established for commuters to ride and move around the freeport. Think about the tourists, the shoppers and employees who need to move to their respective destinations around the freeport but don’t have their own private vehicles.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you excited to see the SBMA establish an electric transport system in the near future?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

NLEX toll rates hike in effect today (May 12, 2022)

If you are planning to travel along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) very soon, you better adjust your travel-related budget as toll rates on the said highway have been raised effective today – May 12, 2022 – according to the details of a recent report published by GMA Network news based on the recent statement issued by the NLEX Corp.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the GMA Network news report. Some parts in boldface…

NLEX Corp., the operator of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), on Tuesday announced it will increase its toll rates starting Thursday, May 12, 2022.

In a statement, NLEX Corp. said the Toll Regulatory Board gave the company the green light to hike its toll by P2.00 in the open system and P0.34 per kilometer in the closed system.

Under the adjusted toll rates, motorists traveling anywhere within the open system will pay an additional P2.00 for Class 1 vehicles (regular cars and SUVs), P6.00 for Class 2 vehicles (buses and small trucks), and P8.00 for Class 3 vehicles.

NLEX Corp. said the open system is from Balintawak, Caloocan City to Marilao, Bulacan while the closed system covers the portion between Bocaue, Bulacan and Sta. Ines, Mabalacat City, Pampanga including Subic-Tipo.

Meanwhile, those traveling the NLEX end-to-end between Metro Manila and Mabalacat City will pay an additional P27.00 for Class 1, P69.00 for Class 2 and P82.00 for Class 3 vehicles.

“To help cushion the impact of the toll increase, public utility jeepneys (PUJs) under the NLEX Passada and Tsuper Card discount and rebate program will continue to enjoy the old rates,” the company said.

“Provincial buses will also be covered by a graduated rebate scheme for a period of three months,” it added.

NLEX Corp. said the adjustments followed regulatory procedures and underwent thorough review.

The toll adjustment is also part of the approved periodic adjustments of NLEX due in 2016 and the completion of the new Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX) in 2021.

Motorists have been enjoying safer and more comfortable journeys brought about by the new SFEX since it was partially opened in December 2020 and fully completed in February 2021. A total of 16.4 new lane kilometers, two new bridges in Jadjad and Argonaut, and a new tunnel were constructed for this infrastructure project,” the company said.

The tollway company said it spent P6.9 billion to complete several major projects and enhancements at NLEX-SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) since 2015 that “improved the region’s landscape, increased accessibility, enhanced safety and provided travel convenience to motorists.”

“To name a few, these include the expansion of San Fernando Interchange; the new toll lanes in Marilao, Bocaue, Tipo, Balintawak, Meycauayan, and Mindanao; the pavement upgrade at NLEX; the new exits in Meycauayan and Valenzuela and entry in Balagtas; the rehabilitation of bridges in Bigaa, Bocaue, and Meycauayan; and the improvement of drainages in Balintawak, Valenzuela, and Meycauayan; retrofitting of San Simon and Sta. Rita bridges,” it said.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Do you often travel along the NLEX? When was the last time you experienced a heavily congested trip along the NLEX?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

Amiladjid and Stawicki register best times among standard distance age-groupers in SUBIT

Al Shrynel Amiladjid and Rhia Mae Alexandria Stawicki emerged with the best standard distance finishes in their respective age-groups and genders during the recent 2022 NTT AST Subic Bay International Triathlon at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

Amiladjid finished the 1.5 kilometer swim – 40 KM bike – 10 Km run in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 9 seconds which earned him the gold in the Male 25-29 age-group. Next to him among the males were Male 40-44 champion Jet Ramos with 2:12:55 and male 18-24 champion Charles Jeremiah Lipura with 2:14:30

Among the women in the event organized by Triathlon Association of the Philippines in cooperation with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Olympic Committee, Rhia Mae Alexandria Stawicki easily outclassed her competitors with a fast 2:17:17 to win the Female 18-29 age-group. Next to her were fellow 18-29 competitor Jaquelyn Ann Cruz with 2:42:32 and female 40-44 champion Maypette Ng with 2:43:33.

Other standard distance age-group champions declared in the race recognized by the World Triathlon and Asia Triathlon sponsored by Standard Insurance, Asian Center for Insulation Phil (ACIP), Pocari Sweat, Aurora Suites & Pavilion and FINIS were Maryfel Aumentado (female 35-39), Celma Hitalia (female 45-over), Mike Kramer (male 30-34), Luigi Victor Robles (male 35-39), Rene Tayag (male 45-49), Dante Macalintal (male 50-54) and John Villanueva (male 55-above).

On the sprint distance (750 meter swim – 20 Km bike – 5 Km run) age-group competition, the champions declared were Daniel Nazarro and Katrina Salazar (16-19), Cathery Ayessa Manalastas (women 20-24), Leonides Sollegue (male 20-29), Nicolle Arielle Andaya (women 25-29), Mitch Otsuru-Park (women 30-39), Charles Cruz (male 30-34), Micah Munoz (male 35-39), Toni Camille Favis (women 40-over), Jeffrey Real (male 40-49), Benjamin Villagracia (male 50-above) and Alex Silverio (sprint male para-triathlon)

For the complete race results and lists of winners, visit https://register.raceyaya.com/event/subit2022

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The above information was sourced from an official press release issued by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines. Some parts were modified for this website.

For related triathlon stories about the Subic Bay International Triathlon and the SEA Games this year, click here, here, here and here.

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A wonderful lunch at Gourmet Garage Subic

When I arrived in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone just a day before the 2022 Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) took place, I was very hungry as I left home very early without any breakfast and I was not able to stop at any of the gas stations (and their respective food joints) along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) as we took the counter-flow going north.

After settling at a hotel in close proximity to the triathlon venue, I drove to the one restaurant located at the Argonaut Highway-Rizal Highway corner that I’ve been eager to revisit…Gourmet Garage Subic (social media here and here).

The front of Gourmet Garage Subic!

Coming from the parking area of the business establishment, I entered Gourmet Garage Subic through the rear door and immediately I felt this atmosphere of class with classical music being played as I walked on and recognized their fine interior. It was a very welcoming experience and already there were people enjoying their lunch.

As I was pretty hungry and somewhat worn down by the long drive from Metro Manila, I ordered myself a Caesar (their version of Caesar’s salad) to enjoy something fresh. From the restaurant’s Main Event section of the menu, I chose the Lamb Madras Curry.

While waiting for my orders to be served, I took the time relaxing, enjoying the aircon and the continuous music, looked at the products displayed and browsed the web with my smartphone via Wifi. And then just like that, the waitress served me the Caesar which was faster than I expected. Upon seeing the salad placed in front of me, I was impressed with the way it was presented. There was some food art to it visually.

The Caesar of Gourmet Garage.
A closer look.

The Caesar was prepared with really fresh romaine lettuce topped (on a key portion) with Gourmet Garage Subic’s very own dressing mixed with parmesan shavings and bits of bacon. Right from the first bite of the salad (note: I used the fork and knife to cut myself a portion) that had the lettuce and dressing together, I experienced this very flavorful and pleasing taste! It was very delicious, I went on to cut portions of the Caesar and slowly consumed it along with the bits. I really enjoyed the salad as it was prepared by the cook to be flavorful, fresh and very satisfying! Gourmet Garage Subic’s Caesar is easily the best fresh salad I’ve had in a long time!

Just a few minutes after I was done with the salad, the Lamb Madras Curry was served to me. Right from the start, I noticed it was very well presented and the subtle heat I felt from it showed the lamb was newly cooked. I also liked the pleasing smell of the meal.

The Lamb Madras Curry was so nicely prepared and it tasted great!

The Lamb Madras Curry came with basmati rice on the bottom topped with the finely cooked lamb (itself topped with yogurt plus onion pieces and vegetables). On one side was a small tomato with a roasted onion and other onion pieces. The other side had more leaves. The meal was served with two sauces – garlic and chili.

As a first-timer of this particular meal – noted as a Chef’s Recommendation on Gourmet Garage’s menu – I decided to try out a small piece of the lamb without any yogurt on it and I found to be tasty on its own. There is no doubt that the lamb pieces were very finely cooked and the way it was prepared showed that special attention to details was done by the cook.

A piece of lamb by the fork.

I tried another piece of lamb and dipped it on the garlic sauce. The flavor of the said piece was enhanced by the said sauce as I chewed. I can say also say the same about the lamb pieces with yogurt on them. As for the spice level, I can say it is tolerable (pretty mild to be precise) and I never had a problem moving from one bite to another, also consuming the rice (really fragrant) and the vegetables. Along the way, I managed to cut some pieces of lamb placed on the fork along with the vegetable for that meat-and-veggies taste.

The Lamb Madras Curry from the side.

Every bite I had with the Lamb Madras Curry really had great flavor and big satisfaction. It is so great, this is easily the best lamb meal I had in years! Whoever designed the Lamb Madras Curry knew exactly how to ensure great taste, solid satisfaction and freshness (in terms of vegetables prepared and the cooking of the meat)!

Gourmet Garage Subic’s Caesar and Lamb Madras Curry are both highly recommended to all of you who love food! Make sure you try either of them once you visit the restaurant.

Apart from serving meals, drinks and desserts for diners, Gourmet Garage Subic also has a nice selection of imported products for your home consumption. On display for sale were lots of bottles of fine wine, fruit juices, frozen meat, condiments, snacks, pastry and other good products to take home! They also sell fresh bread products.

Looking for a new bottle of wine to buy? So many to choose here!
Bread and pastry offered.
Drinks, snacks, condiments and other nice products on display.

As mentioned in my past article, Gourmet Garage Subic also caters. Through their website, customers can also order Gourmet-in-a-Box (meals by the tray) and Party Trays (varied types of food with parties in mind). There is something that will surely interest you when it comes to good food! That being said, I urge you to check out Gourmet Garage’s website as well as their presence on Instagram and Facebook.

This is a great place to have your picture taken inside Gourmet Garage Subic!

The next time you visit Funtastic Subic Bay, I highly recommend you visit Gourmet Garage Subic at 1143 Argonaut Street (very near the Starbucks Coffee shop there) for very good food with your family, friends or business associates. On my next visit to Subic Bay, I’ll definitely come back to try their other meals.

Let me end this piece with the following holy scripture…

Whether you eat or drink, live your life in a way that glorifies and honors God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (TPT)

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/