The ‘Most Convenient Camping’ I ever had
I was in my first (1st) year in my secondary education (or high school) when I was able to ‘set foot’ at Olongapo City, particularly in Subic Bay. It was another wonderful experience for me since the place was a bit advance than the usual city settings in the Philippines in terms of design and overall facilities.
Since the Americans left the base, they left high class infrastructures and facilities and it is up to the assigned or appointed chairman of the place how to maximize these state of the art ‘junks’ they left behind as well. Since then, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority or SBMA had become an icon of progress in the Philippines. The place was able to sustain jobs and businesses making it a vital factor in the economic venture for the Philippines.
My First Camping
During our stay in SBMA, we were informed that we would be setting our camps outside the barracks. We were so excited that we would be able to assemble our own individual tents. Nonetheless, our senior scout leaders forgot to remind us something about the tents. Unfortunately, they were not really waterproof. The announcement was quite late and we were already set up. As for plan B, we were asked to occupy the empty barracks. None of us, at first, would like to move a muscle to transfer until Mother Nature forced us to relocate because of the rain. When we entered the barracks, we were in unison saying, ‘parang sa palabas lang o sine lang ito!’ (It is like in the movies or films!) We then raced to hop in and occupy a bed that was bigger than the average bed we have in our homes. The best part of it was the management allowed us to us their air condition units. It was indeed a ‘cool’ camping!
JEST: Jungle Environmental Survival Training
Since we were boy scouts, we hiked our way to the Jungle Environmental Survival Training Camp (or JEST Camp). The name of the place had already explained itself since the camp was meant for jungle survival. The Aetas or indigenous people of the place were the ones teaching the ways of the jungle for survival. They were very accommodating indeed! I would definitely not forget the trainer, a native, who handled and gave us some pointers how to endure the harsh jungle environment or scenario. He was Freddie Friday (as the Americans called him; his real name is Freddie Biernes or Viernes which literally means ‘Friday’). He showed and demonstrated for us how to cook meat without fire by simply clamping or fixing it between your armpits and go on with the usual activity. After two (2) to three (3) hours one can now enjoy ‘burger ala pit’. I was not sure if he was kidding or joking but I believed that one could do anything for survival. We were able to learn the value and versatility of the bamboo and its usage. Practically speaking we were taught to cook and make fire just using bamboo. The best part of it was when Freddie gave us a chance to taste at least a drop or two of water from a stem of a plant that could hold water.
As for me, my experience at Subic had left an impression that improvement and advancement are possible. With the aid of foreign investors and right management of the local government of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, nothing could hamper this place’s economic growth. Since it has been a landmark for tourists, SBMA continues to maintain and improve its status. My latest visit in the place manifested that things were really getting better.