Grande Island Resort is a recreational resort facility located 110 kilometer northwest of Manila at Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Zambales or about 2 hours drive from Manila via the North Luzon Expressway and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.
They have an office at Subic and to get on the island, a ferry boat awaits.
It takes 45 minutes to get to the island by ferry, nevertheless, the ride is an experience in itself.
There is a beach bar, basketball court, a restaurant, meeting halls, swimming pool, a wave pool that is still under construction, a trekking track and tour guides so you will never get lost and be eaten by giant Pythons,(just kidding…)and of course the stunning beaches.
This is the Chiquita Island. The smaller one beside Grande Island.
This 42-hectare hideaway is a protected area. The island is big. The resort facilities occupy only a small part of the island.
After swimming and playing basketball, we decided to trek the island and see the historic cannons that date back from the 1900s.
Grande Island played a significant role in the defense of the Philippines since the 16th century.
Its fine harbor enticed the Spanish government to develop Olongapo in 1885 and fortify Grande Island as a key defense for Manila.
This is the blast wall. A wall fortified with heavy metal for protection during war attacks.
The Spanish were indeed correct in judging that Subic Bay was the key to protecting Manila.
This assessment is born out of the fact that Admiral Dewey, first inspected Subic Bay before attacking Manila in 1898. Judging Subic to be unprotected (the Spanish had not completed arming Grande Island), Dewey attacked Manila Bay. Filipino insurgence troops captured Grande Island and Subic with the aid of the American gunboats Raleigh and Concord. With the signing of the peace treaty between Spain and the U.S., the U.S. Army purchased the 96-acre island and beganto fortify it in 1905.
The military reservation on Grande Island was given the name Fort Wint in Honor of Brigadier General Theodore J. Wint, U.S. Army. Guns were mounted in the batteries. The batteries were assigned the following names: Warwick (10-inch guns), Woodruff and Hall (6-inch guns), and Jewell & Flake(3-inch guns). The remains of these batteries and some of their cannons can be seen on Grande Island to this day.
As a fortress that guarded the entrance to Subic Bay during World War II, Grande Island, formerly known as Fort Wint, used to be a restricted area among locals. Years later, realizing its potential as an island resort, the Americans developed it to a recreation place that caters the servicemen and their families during their stay in Subic Bay.
All in all, it was an awesome experience. The downside is, you have to bring everything you will need, because there are no stores here.
Thanks for reading!