Returning to where my life began...

Pretty Summer By Pretty Summer, 8th May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Asia>Philippines>Manila & Around

My return to the Philippines after many decades and my amazing response upon returning...

Subic Bay, Philippines

When my parents were assigned to Subic Bay, Philippines many years ago, it was not a terrific place to be. Subic Bay U.S. Naval Base was surrounded by slums, and the very nearby city of Olangapo was not much better. However, about 30 years later, the base is now fully decommissioned and has become a resort town of luxury and beauty.

The following is an excerpt from my journal during our visit in 2009:

"The weather is no longer very cooperative, but that's okay. It was raining when we arrived in Subic today, and it is still quite muggy, even though it stopped raining many hours ago. However, it is the kind of heat that I am able to adjust to it because I am so busy appreciating this environment.

I was very teary eyed and easily cried today when we arrived in Subic. The Lighthouse Marina Resort upgraded us to a view of the bay, with two free massages because we are celebrating our wedding anniversary. I was just so happy to be here, that I could no longer contain myself. Thus, while Pogi arranged our "anniversary stay," I went to the other side of the lobby to look out over the water and recompose myself. I am overjoyed to be back near the place where my life began. It feels a little bit like a coming home of sorts. Anyhow, it was such a revelation to me at lunch time when I asked one of the servers to orient me toward Subic "Ospital in the jungle." Imagine my surprise when I learned that I had been looking towards it instinctively while I was in the lobby and throughout lunch! Furthermore, our room looks out in that direction as well. WOW! My past is calling me, and I have been here less than 24 hours!"

The next day, we met my the daughter of my husband's brother-in-law and her family. They drove us around Subic, and took us up to the hospital where I was born. Unfortunately, the hospital was privatized at some point, and then it was not being used when we arrived. My tour guides explained that I had been born there, and that all I wanted to do was see the property, so the guards looked in at me, saw my pleading smile, and waved us through. What a delight! We did not get to go into any of the buildings, but my husband took video as we slowly rolled along the grounds and learned what each building was. It was so nice to see the building where my life began and where my parents, especially Dad as a hospital corps man, spent so much time! I now have visual memories to go with those family stories I have heard so many times that I feel almost like I have lived through them myself.

After the hospital, we went down to All Hands Beach. I recognized it immediately. There are pictures of me in my sun hat and ruffled swimsuit diaper as a baby with my feet in the sand of this same beach. I did not care that it was so hot and humid outside that the van windows were fogging on the outside because of the temperature difference, I had to get out and put my feet in the sand again. (Unfortunately, that picture did not turn out well as the camera did not like the adjustment between the air conditioned van to the very muggy beach! Notice that even this picture is "foggy" from the humidity!)

I think the most satisfying part of my trip to Subic Bay was my husband's reaction. For the first five years of our married life, he would tell me that he wanted to retire in Cebu, Philippines, where he grew up as a boy. After visiting Subic Bay for only a few days, he decided that he liked Subic Bay even better as a place to retire in the Philippines! I look forward to our return. :)


Hospital, Jungle, Lighthouse Resort, Naval Base, Nostalgia, Philippines, Rain, Subic Bay

Meet the author

author avatar Pretty Summer
I am an English teacher at a local community college, and I am a lifelong bookworm. I also love photography, travel, nature, and my family most of all.

Share this page

moderator Steve Kinsman moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar Songbird B
8th May 2013 (#)

Sounds like a lovely nostalgic trip back Pretty Summer..Sometimes you can just go back to a place where your soul feels it belongs..Lovely personal share..\0/x

Reply to this comment

author avatar Pretty Summer
11th May 2013 (#)

Thank you. I'm glad that you picked up on that! Yes, when I first landed in Hawaii, I had a similar reaction. Apparently, being born in the tropics permanently influenced my body's thermal preferences. :)

Reply to this comment

author avatar Tranquilpen
14th Jun 2013 (#)

Great article and here's hoping that your dream of retiring at Subic, becomes a reality one day.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Pretty Summer
15th Oct 2013 (#)

Thank you, Tranquilpen! If you ever have the chance to vacation in the Philippines, I strongly recommend it! It is a beautiful country with open, warm, and happy people. What's more, the tropical environment is so beautiful in comfortable, in my opinion anyway, that you may choose to never leave!

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?