Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, February 26, 2005

2,000 US, British retirees on QE2 tour Subic

About 2,000 American and British retirees aboard the international cruise ship Queen Elizabeth 2 arrived here on Thursday for a day-long visit to various tourist sites inside this former American naval base.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Administrator Alfredo Antonio said the arrival of the luxury ship "evidently showed the successful transformation of the former US naval (base) into (a facility for) progressive industrial and tourism purposes."

"We provided our guests with the traditional fiesta experience to give them a taste of the Filipino hospitality and charm (which) we are known for. We also hope that, through the cultural show, our foreign visitors were entertained and at the same time had learned something about our culture," Antonio said.

The travelers took time to visit Subic's Safari Adventure, whale and sea lion shows, bird park, butterfly garden and the beaches of Grande Island.

After docking at Subic Bay, Queen Elizabeth 2, which is considered as one of the world's most famous luxury liners, will set sail for Japan and other destinations in the Asia-Pacific rim.

To fast-track the transformation of what was left of the former US military port facilities, the SBMA has tapped the participation of the private sector in developing a P160-million passenger terminal to accommodate international cruise ships traveling within the Asia-Pacific region.

Global Terminal and Development Inc. (GTDI) is set to inaugurate next month the first phase development of the Rivera Wharf located inside the former ship repair facility, which has been converted into a world-class port terminal.

Rose Baldeo, GTDI president, said the company would promote and market the Subic Freeport here and abroad as an international port destination for luxury liners while developing a one-stop cruise ship facility complemented with a world-class passenger terminal and tourist parks.

"The visit of Queen Elizabeth 2 in Subic Freeport would hopefully (convince) other luxury liner ships to come here and include the freeport as part of their regular route for Asia or even their world tour packages," Baldeo said.

Commissioned into service in 1987, the ship has sailed over five million nautical miles and has carried more than two million passengers on more than 1,200 voyages.


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