Subic’s primary tourist attraction
AN enterprising group of foreigners, which include 10 Americans, one British and one Chinese, have proven that the former US Subic Naval Base, which the US returned to the Philippine government in 1992, can become one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions. If it has not become one yet, then this group is at least succeeding in attracting tourists—most of them Filipinos. While the former US base was home to US soldiers for a hundred years or so, today, Subic Bay has become a big lure not in the arms and ammunition of American military but in the Ocean Adventure.
Ocean Adventure is a unique offering of Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium Inc. It stars, among others, Madison, the environment-conscious five year-old sea lion, together with whales and dolphins, one of which shows tourist spectators how to train an animal trainer to fly high.
John E. Corcoran, the company’s president, says his group is in the Philippines—specifically at Subic—for good. Ironically, he did not even know if his group had leased one or five hectares of Subic Bay in the beginning but one thing he is certain of: he and his fellow investors are looking long term, i.e. 50 to 75 years lease contract over 500 hectares of Subic Bay with the government to turn the former US military base into a prime tourist destination without destroying the forests which have been neatly grown and preserved by the former occupants.
Company records on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) show Subic Bay Marine has been here for almost 10 years. It was registered with the SEC on July 18, 2000. With paid-up capital at PP266.749 million, the company has yet to gain from its investments. As of end 2007, it had deficit of P140.10 million, down from P158.332 million in 2006. Apparently, 2007 was a good year for the company that continues to pour money into its venture that employs 1,000 workers—half of them in the company’s construction division.
Incidentally, Ocean Adventure says its sea lion family has six new members from South America and three pups which were born into the resident population.” These additions will be featured in its animal shows starting this month. Written by By the rule / Emeterio Sd. Perez - Business Mirror