Lenten season, sports events heat up Subic Freeport summer
As the scorching summer heat begins to creep in, this free port is getting prepped up for a series of Lenten shows and sports events designed to draw domestic and foreign visitors to this top tourist and vacation destination.
Highlighting Subic’s summer events is the week-long Lenten season program from April 15 to 23, and back-to-back national and international sports competitions that have already become a traditional summer attraction here.
Raul Marcelo, deputy administrator for business development of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), said that while religious activities form part of Subic’s time-honored Lenten tradition, “we have also added some contemporary activities to appeal to a wider range of audience.”
“So aside from the somber rites of the Holy Week, we will have an egg hunt for children, musical concert for teenagers, triathlon and biking for sports enthusiasts, and Santacruzan for the culture type," Marcelo said.
The traditional Lenten rites in Subic will include the “Pabasa,” which is the chanting of the life, passion and death of Jesus Christ; processions on Holy Wednesday and Good Friday; the Last Supper Mass and Washing of the Apostles' Feet on Maundy Thursday; the Stations of the Cross and Veneration of the Cross on Good Friday; Easter Vigil on Black Saturday; and the “Salubong” on Easter Sunday.
Other special Lenten activities are the “Visita Iglesia” at the St. Augustine Cathedral in Iba, Zambales; a healing concert on Black Saturday; and an Easter egg hunt for children.
Meanwhile, sports competitions slated at the Subic Bay Freeport this summer will start with the Annual Kick Sand Tournament organized by the Beach Football Association on April 16 to 17.
This will be followed by Padyak Pinoy’s Le Tour de Filipinas 2011 on April 17, 19 and 20; the ITU Triathlon Asian Cup and the Subic Bay International Marathon on April 30 to May 1; the Subic Mountain Bike Festival on May 1; the Labor Day “Freeport Games and Sports” organized by the SBMA Labor Department, on May 1; the 1st Pinoy Cup Level 3 PPSA-Sanctioned Pistol Competition on May 26-29; and Gravity Games Asia’s Subic Bay Downhill Freeride on May 28.
Special summer presentations this year include the Subic Bay Auto Show on April 8; the Couples for Christ-FFL World Youth Congress, April 15-17; the “Farmers Market at the Waterfront” products fair, April 22; and the Subic Bay Grand Santacruzan and Serenade Night sometime in May.
Because of the expected surge of tourists and visitors going to the Subic Bay Freeport and other destinations in the Zambales area during the Holy Week, SBMA administrator Armand Arreza has announced that the SBMA will temporarily open the Kalaklan bridge to light traffic from April 16 to 24.
Arreza also said that the SBMA intends to attract more visitors this year by staging more events at the Subic Bay Freeport and encouraging tourism stakeholders to invest more in facilities and attractions.
According to the SBMA Tourism Department, overall visitor arrivals reached more than 5.5 million in 2010, a 33 percent increase over the 4.1 million total arrivals in 2009.
The 5.5 million total was the highest number recorded here in the last six years, SBMA data indicated.(SBMA-PRD/AMV/WLB-PIA3)