Subic: Tree Top Aventure

As promised this post is about something you can actually do in the Philippines. Subic Freeport Zone is around two or three hours drive north of Manila and is a sprawling set of resorts and theme parks. I think it’d take a few days to
visit all the attractions, and you’d probably want a long weekend to get some sitting-on-the-beach time, but it makes an excellent day trip if you have a plan and make an early start.

One attraction that’s definitely worth visiting is Tree Top Adventure, set in the virgin rainforest around Subic this is primarily aimed at tour groups and team building but is one of the few places that you could visit and enjoy in a smaller group or even on your own. As it happens there were around a dozen of us, which does help with the atmosphere.

There are a few different things you can do here, they have a canopy walk — essentially a nature walk on bridges suspended 100ft in the air — and a canopy ride which is basically a mini-cable car. We didn’t have time for the canopy walk and the ride looked a little tame, we were here for something that would generate slightly more adrenaline.

Hal drinking from bamboo But we started slow with the ‘Trekking Adventure’ which was a wander through the forest with our guide pointing out various things and demonstrating survival techiniques. Stuff like starting a fire with bamboo, make utensils out of bamboo and getting water out of bamboo as you can see demonstrated to the left. Yes, there was a lot of bamboo use. To be honest it’s nothing you’ve not seen Bear Grylls, or someone similar, do on the Discovery Channel, but it’s pretty cool to actually see it working in front of you in real life.

After that we headed to the superman ride, which is a zipline with a harness set up so you’re hung horizontally and can fly out like superman. If you can find the courage to stretch your arms outs rather than hugging the bar like your life depends on it.

Backwards Superman Backwards Superman II

Tree DropThat’s not me in the pictures but I can confess that I also wrapped my arms round the bar. Finally we headed to the Tree Drop. This is exactly what it sounds like, you’re roped up at the top of a tree and then dropped off trusting the guy at the bottom to pull the rope to slow you down. It’s good fun but it is scary as hell. I’m not fond of heights at the best of times but with four of my team following me, and one videoing, there really was no backing out. Still it took a supreme force of will to step off the platform, even though there’s still a guy holding on to you, worse was resisting the temptation to grab onto something while you’re just hanging there being lined up for the fall. But it’s over in seconds, and it’s fun. It did certainly get the adrenaline flowing, and I look forward to getting the chance to do something similar again.

Overall the Tree Top Adventure is good fun, run by friendly staff and pretty cheap. You can do everything for under a tenner, each individual activity is around two pounds. Safety-wise it seems OK, they do seem to be careful about everything, much more so than I’ve seen in similar places abroad. Although the state of the safety bolt after the superman ride was worrying. At least they noticed and changed it, and I think there were at least two safety systems on that ride.

And yes, you can make jokes about my being too heavy and almost breaking the ride.

More options for what to do in Subic in a later post, more pictures (including a preview of the other place we went) are on Flickr.

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