Grande Island Resort: A Historic Island Playground in Subic, Zambales

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Grande Island Resort offers a truly leisurely island experience to travelers because it accommodates only a limited number of guests.

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Grande Island Resort offers a truly leisurely island experience to travelers because it accommodates only a limited number of guests. Also known as Fort Wint, Grande Island was part of the harbor defenses of Manila and Subic Bays during World War II. Thus, remnants of artilleries used during war time can still be found in this island resort.

Rocks at the beach of Grande Island Resort

Grande Island Resort: A Historic Island Playground in Subic, Zambales



    The fort was named in honor of Brigadier General Theodore Wint who served in the U.S. Army during the Civil War, Indian campaigns, the War with Spain and the Philippine Insurrection.

    This year, I was able to visit Grande Island in Subic, Zambales because I was fortunate to be invited by Team Ynah to their 2012 summer outing.

    Flag poles at the harbor as we wait before boarding on the way to Grande Island Resort
    Flag poles at the harbor

    No littering sign at the harbor where we waited before boarding the ferry on the way to Grande Island Resort
    No Littering sign at the harbor

    How to go to Grande Island Resort


    By Car (via SCTEX)


    Drive to the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), take the Spur/NLE interchange located between the Dau and Sta. Inez Exits of the NLEX and proceed to the SCTEX Clark Logistics Toll Plaza. After crossing the bridge, follow the loop of the ramp towards Subic.

    Follow the road directional signage going to the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ). Once inside the SBFZ, go to Rizal Highway, turn into Burgos Street (at the corner of Subic Bay Yacht Club) then right on Sampson Road and go towards Waterfront Road where the Grande Island Terminal is located.

    Photo session while we were waiting to board the ferry on the way to Grande Island Resort
    Photo session before boarding the ferry


    Whilte waiting for our ferry ride to Grande Island Resort


    View of the port where we were waiting for the ferry ride to Grande Island Resort
    Port


    By Car (old route)


    Take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and exit at San Fernando. From the toll booth, turn right and drive towards Bataan. You will pass through the towns of Bacolor, Guagua, Lubao in Pampanga and Dinalupihan in Bataan where you make a right turn towards Olongapo and the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

    Enter the Tipo Expressway and proceed to Rizal Highway. Turn into Burgos Street (all the corners of Subic Bay Yacht Club) and then right on Sampson Road. The Grande Island Ferry Terminal is located along Waterfront Road. The terminal is almost across the SBMA Administration Building.

    Statues at the port where we waited for the ferry ride going to Grande Island Resort
    Statues on the harbor where we waited before boarding

    The ferry that would take us to Grande Island Resort
    The ferry


    By Bus


    Victory Liner and Saulog Transit regularly ply the routes of Olongapo City. When you get off the bus at Olongapo City, take a taxi cab and ask the driver to bring you directly to the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and to the Grande IslandTerminal at Waterfront Road.

    We settled our bill at the front office and did not wait long for the ferry to arrive. From the Grande Island Ferry Terminal, it was a quick 20-minute boat ride to the resort.

    View of the sea on the way to Grande Island Resort
    View from the port while we were waiting for our ferry ride going to Grande Island Resort

    An old boat as viewed from the port while we were waiting for our ferry ride going to Grande Island Resort
    A smoke-belching boat


    Ferry boat that took us to Grande Island Resort
    Boarding


    Barges that we saw from the ferry going to Grande Island Resort
    Barges that we passed by on the way to Grande Island Resort

    LOCATE GRANDE ISLAND

    Accommodation


    Being a big group, we stayed in several chalet rooms. Each room boasts of these amenities:

    • Three Queen-sized beds with fiber-filled duvets for mite-free sleeping
    • Split type air-conditioning
    • Electronic key card control system
    • Black marble bathroom walls and countertops
    • Solar heated hot water and cold (potable)
    • Hair Dryer
    • Colored television with cable channels
    • Private mini bar and refrigerator
    • Coffee and tea-making facilities
    • Executive writing desk
    • Free WIFI access

    Reception Hall of Grande Island Resort
    The Reception Hall

    Garden at Grande Island Resort
    A garden beside the reception hall


    Dining at Grande Island


    Grande Island has an in-house restaurant and a mess hall. We arranged for all our meals to be served at the mess hall. Breakfast is buffet consisting of standard garlic rice, eggs, tocino, longanisa and salted fish and instant coffee. Lunch and dinner are plated, complete with rice, vegetables and either meat, chicken or fish. Food is just okay, nothing fancy nor extraordinary.

    Set meal at Grande Island Resort
    A set meal of pasta and chicken with mango sauce


    What to do in Grande Island


    Grande Island offers water activities for those who are looking for a little adrenaline rush. If you simply want some peace and quiet, you can spend unhurried moments on the sand and then cold down with a quick dip in the clear blue water.

    Water activities at Grande Island Resort
    Water activities at Grande Island


    Relaxing at Grande Island Resort
    Relaxing after a day of activities


    View of the port at Grande Island Resort
    View of the port at Grande Island Resort


    Flaglets at Grande Island Resort
    Flaglets at Grande Island Resort
    There are also swimming pools if you are not too fond of the waves. And for some physical activities, you may either try biking, hiking or a game of volleyball.

    Swimming pool area at Grande Island Resort
    The pool area

    Grande Island is a former military reservation, as such, expect to see old gun batteries and ruined military quarters. It is often told that Grande Island gives a feeling similar to that of Corregidor, both being former military outposts during wartime.

    View of the beach at Grande Island Resort
    View of the beach at Grande Island Resort


    Beach benches at Grande Island Resort
    Beach benches


    The segment of the beach near the port at Grande Island Resort
    A segment of the beach near the port


    Shot of the beach during dusk at Grande Island Resort


    All in all, Grande Island is the perfect place for those who are looking for an island hideaway near Metro Manila. It’s a quiet and charming little island that offers adventure, relaxation and a quick walk back to history.


    Black and white photo of the beach at Grande Island Resort



    Leaving Grande Island Resort

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    11 comments

    1. So interesting to see and hear all about a place I had never heard of before. Great photos!

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    2. Thanks for the history lesson! I would love to visit this Island someday just for the history of it!

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    3. I love taking ferries! The food looks awesome. Beautiful and very interesting place.

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    4. Sorry - I see you said the food was just okay. The presentation is nice, though!

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    5. I think it's nice to be able to go here with a large group, makes you enjoy the place so much more. The accommodation is not that bad and it's not so difficult to get there! I'd much prefer going to Subic by bus or by car, though.

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    6. I'm ashamed to say that I've never heard of Zambales before but it certainly looks like an interesting place to visit with good food and good views! All the better if you're with lots of nice people :)

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    7. I love the picture gallery-- I haven't heard of this place either. Thanks for sharing!

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    8. TBEX is in Manila this year and reading this might be the final push I need to book my ticket!

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    9. This looks like an amazing time! I love all of your great photos! XO

      Anna || A Lily Love Affair

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    10. WOw what a great place to visit. Looks like you had a great time!

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