SBMA kicks off 25th year anniversary celebration

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — A helicopter dropping confetti from the air and tugboats giving water salute highlighted the opening of the month-long celebration for the 25th founding anniversary of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority on Monday.

Led by senior officials of the agency, the program officially started with a flag-raising ceremony that was followed by a motorcade from the SBMA administration building to the Harbor Point Ayala Mall where a job fair and a regional oratorical competition were held.

In his message during the opening program, SBMA Director Tomas Lahom III noted that the dream of transforming the former US Naval Base into a bustling free port like Singapore and Hong Kong has not yet been fully realized.

“Fortunately, the SBMA now has a chairman and administrator in the person of Atty. Wilma Eisma whose vision is that the agency can reach its target by the year 2022,” Lahom added. “So, perhaps, we should now aim to do in five years what we have thus failed to do in 25 years — the full development of Subic Bay.”

Tugboats execute a water salute near the Alava Pier during the kick-off of the SBMA 25th Anniversary celebration on Monday, Nov. 6.

Meanwhile, SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator for Operations and 25th Anniversary Committee Chairperson Marcelino Sanqui said the theme “SBMA @25 Celebrating the Past, Forging the Nation’s Future” was chosen for the occasion in recognition of the historical role that the Subic agency has played in the economic growth of the country.

Sanqui pointed out that Subic literally rose from the ashes of the Mount Pinatubo eruption and the subsequent pullout of the US Navy in 1991 to become the premier free port in the country, and a model for military base conversion in the world. “If only for this, the SBMA has a very rich history worth remembering,” he added.

Under the month-long celebration, the SBMA has scheduled various events on the following dates: Nov. 11, 5:30 a.m. onwards — Color Run, Zumba Party, Water Salute (Waterfront Road); PAF Static Aircraft Display (Subic Bay International Airport);

SBMA vehicles and a motorbike group join a motorcade during the kick-off of the SBMA 25th Anniversary celebration on Monday, Nov. 6.

Nov. 18, 7:30 a.m. onwards — SBMA LED Brass Band Exhibition, Games (Remy Field); SBMA’s Got Talent (Subic Gym); and Lighting of Christmas Tree (Boardwalk Event Center);

Nov. 24, 8:00 a.m. onwards — Ecumenical Mass, Awarding of Pioneer Investors and Employees, Air Show, Water Salute (Bldg. 229/Waterfront Road); PMMA Silent Drill, PAF Band Drill (Mini Golf Open Field); Opening of Photo Exhibit and Memorabilia Display, Unveiling of New Museum (Harbor Point Ayala Malls); Float and Foot Parade (Waterfront Road); and Tribute to Volunteers, Fireworks Display (Volunteers Shrine).

Meanwhile, on Nov. 24 to 26, there will be the Subic Bay Grand Sale at the Remy Field and all tourism establishments in the Freeport, which shall also be the venue for the nighttime Entertainment Bazaar and Food Festival. The participating hotels, restaurants, theme parks, and shops will offer discounted prices on products and services, with booths offering items from Subic locators and the surrounding communities.

The SBMA will also sponsor a music festival with the country’s top DJs performing at the Remy Field for two nights.

The anniversary program will be capped by the Subic Pride Parade at 3:00 p.m. on Nov. 26 from the Magsaysay Gate to the Boardwalk Event Center. (Dante M. Salvana)