A Cubi Point Update
By: The Bubman
Since the Navy left in the early 90's, two factors have greatly influenced the area. First, the Taiwanese have invested heavily in the building of computer component manufacturing and production facilities in the Subic area. It has included factories, resorts with casino's, yacht club with condominiums and improved recreational facilities. Second, FedEx has utilized the airport area as a major Far East Hub for time-definite delivery to that part of the world. As such, let's start at the airport.
The area, previously known as VC-5, VRC-50 and Flag spaces, is now all FedEx, which has numerous Airbus, DC-10 and MD-11 aircraft transiting Cubi on a daily/nightly basis. The runway is the same, and pilots have to be mindful of the mountain to the west and the terrain to the east. The area toward the bay, known as 'The Air Wing Maintenance Hanger' is now deserted. There is a small racetrack in the lower aircraft parking area and a restaurant adjacent to Leyte pier. Not much activity down in that area. Around to the south is the old ammo pier which is also deserted; however, the dungaree beach areas are still active for tourists, such as the Taiwanese. At the east side of the runway, there is now a commercial international airline terminal with 6 or so gates. That's about it for the airpatch.
Next, Cubi Point, and it's probably most fitting to start with the O'club. It is now an office building; no more club, however-the Catapult room is still functioning and is now known as the 'Flight Deck' with a disco. I walked completely around the O'club and still marvel at the beautiful view of the bay and surrounding area. There are benches there for those inclined to rest and reminisce. Now, as I walked around the club, I did find a few old shoes, khaki shirts and smelly socks and if I was real quiet, I could here some sounds from the pass-like somebody calling "Main Gate" or something about a "Klondike" game. I also found an old pair of dogtags; but the name was hardly legible-there was a J, an e and a Sat or something. Anyway, it's not the same, boys.
OK... as you come out of the club, in your mind eye and to the right would be the gym and bowling alley. There are now restaurants and stores. Facing up the hill toward the BOQ, you'll notice a new casino hotel and resort right in the area that used to be barracks. That is some of that Taiwanese$. On up pass the chapel, the BOQ is now a hotel with another across the street between the Q and the A-5 which is still there. I went into the Q and looked for a barber shop, and inquired about a Cubi Dog and San Maguil at the back bar. Also, wanted to buy some belt buckles and patches. Boy's (weep), it's all gone. Listening real hard, I could hear some splashes out back, pool is now part of the resort and, well-it's just not the same. By the way, the Cubi exchange with Martinez model shop is all closed and deserted. You can still, however, visit JEST; which still has a zoo, run by the Negrito's including a camp-out, if you so desire.
Well, that's 'bout it for Cubi. In many respects, it's a ghost town. Some activity; but most of the activity is down toward Subic side; which will be the subject of another story later. Hope you enjoyed the tour. I did. I still in my mind's eye, see the carrier arriving pierside with transportation waiting, the exodus from the ship and the high speed pass to the club and BOQ and the aviator's blowing off some steam. Bodies crawlin' around the jungle, tomorrow's duty officer meandering back to the ship, the XO wanting to know where everybody is and has ANYBODY read the message board in the last week. And, of course, the Skipper's leading the charge. "Binictican come in-Main Gate".