SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is preparing for a grand celebration this year in connection with its silver anniversary this coming November.
According to SBMA Administrator & CEO Wilma T. Eisma, agency officials have approved a month-long schedule of activities to mark the organization’s 25th year of existence and the establishment of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, now considered as one of the best success stories of military base conversion in the world.
“Turning 25 is a very special milestone, and so we are going for some very special program for the SBMA,” said Eisma, an Olongapo City native who was among the legendary volunteers that helped protect and preserve Subic Bay facilities after the U.S. Navy withdrew its forces here in 1992.
“Subic has come a very long way—thanks to the sacrifice and hard work of a lot of people over the years, and honoring these people for what they did will be a big part of the celebration,” she added.
The celebration will carry the theme “SBMA at 25: Celebrating the Past, Forging the Nation’s Future.”
Under a program prepared by the SBMA 25th Anniversary Celebration Committee, activities will start on November 6 with a flag-raising ceremony at Bldg. 229, which is the SBMA main office, followed by a motorcade around Subic’s Central Business District.
All the while, some aircraft will undertake streamer and confetti drops, while boats will execute water cannon salutes at the bay.
Also on the first day of celebration, the SBMA Labor Department, in collaboration with registered business locators in the Subic Bay Freeport, will hold a job fair to match job-seekers with prospective employers.
The next event in the anniversary program will be a fun run in the morning of November 11, a Saturday. With 2-km, 5-km and 25-km categories, this sports spectacular will kick off at the Remy Field and progress along the length of Waterfront Road.
Nearby, some water cannon salutes will again take place on the bay, while the Philippine Air Force (PAF) makes some aircraft formation and skydiving display overhead.
The PAF will also present a static aircraft display at the Subic Bay International Airport.
On November 18, also a Saturday, Remy Field will be the venue for several events, including the SBMA Family Day that will feature fun games like the Amazing Race, giant volleyball, and “Laro ng Lahi.” The latter will include traditional Filipino games like “kadang-kadang”, catching the greasy pig, and “patintero.”
At 2:00 p.m., the talent show “SBMA Got Talent” will start at the Subic Gym, to be followed by the lighting of the Christmas tree at the Boardwalk Park.
Meanwhile, there will be a three-day “Subic Bay Grand Sale” at Remy Field and all tourism establishments in Subic from Nov. 24 to 26.
This will include night bazaar and food festivals, night entertainment, discount sales from tourism stakeholders, and fireworks display.
On Nov. 24, which marks the actual turnover of Subic Bay from the U.S. Navy to the Philippine government, the activities will start at 8:00 in the morning with an ecumenical mass in front of Bldg. 229.
This will be followed by an awarding ceremony to recognize pioneer investor companies, as well as pioneer SBMA employees. The awardees will also be honored with aerial and water salutes. (Dante M. Salvana)