Business As Usual

Subic’s development gem

SPARE TIME - The Philippine Star

More than a decade ago, when entrepreneur Marianito Fernandez decided to spend his retirement days in Subic Bay with wife Nancy, he stood on a forlorn and neglected part of the former American naval base and wondered whether the place can be transformed into something more than just habitable.

Fast forward to today. At that exact place now stands Moonbay Leisure Resort, an integrated leisure community located at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone that was developed by Subic Coastal Development Corp. and masterplanned by renowned architectural firm Palafox and Associates into a prime tourist and family destination.

With its wide array of luxurious hotels and villas, specialty restaurants and bars, music and entertainment venues, as well as sports and wellness facilities, Moonbay Marina has established an enviable reputation as a popular tourist and recreation destination in the north. 

The Fernandezes through SCDC were able to secure a 50-year lease over the area from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to convert an erstwhile junkyard with an 18-hectare beach area into a high-end rest and recreation area, a first-class mixed-use residential and commercial community.

Marianito or Nani then collaborated with architect Palafox to come up with a master plan for Moonbay Marina.  The following year, SCDC started the rehabilitation and reclamation of the beachfront area and construction of a three-meter bay walk. Construction of road networks, rotunda parks, and installation of drainage and lighting systems for the entire area soon followed.

And then the locators and investors came. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Fernandezes continue to transform the area into a premier tourist destination of Central Luzon with the establishment of malls, spa, casino, convention centers, and more hotels within the one-stop shop entertainment resort complex. According to Nani, the construction of a hospital will also boost medical tourism.

Centerpiece of all these developments is The Villas developed by SCDC. All 45 suites in The Villas are fully-furnished, spacious and cozy, with a veranda overlooking a courtyard pool with a panoramic view of Subic Bay. They sit on green landscapes and are influenced by the seaside Renaissance homes in France and Spain.

All the guest rooms in The Villas are equipped with elegant custom-made furniture, queen-size bed and safety deposit box. The spacious living room includes sofa, hardwood flooring with windows providing natural light. The floor-to-ceiling sliding doors in the bedroom lead to the balcony. The kitchen offers granite countertops, hardwood flooring, refrigerator, cooktop, sink, microwave, toaster and coffee maker, while the bathroom features white marble, granite vanities, custom-made cabinets, hot and cold shower and bath amenities. Guests also get to enjoy free Internet connection, NDD phones and LED/ LCD cable television.

The Villas offers a choice of four rooms: La Luna which is a nautically-themed suite ideal for large families and groups; El Viento which is suitable for backpackers or those on business trips;  El Sol; and La Estrella which is ideal for couples.

Investing within the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, and consequently Moonbay Marina, has its perks. Locators are exempt from all local and national taxes, in lieu of which they pay five percent final tax on gross income which is computed as gross sales less allowable deductions. SBF enterprises depending on their activity may also be eligible for tax and duty-free import of raw materials and capital equipment, among others.

When Nani Fernandez conceived this project, he did not have any training or background in property development. But through diligent study and hard work, he has managed to transform this part of Subic Bay into one of the most vibrant tourist destinations in Central Luzon. Not bad for someone who only wanted to retire in peace and quiet in this obscure part of Subic Bay.

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