Thursday, June 16

missing subic: hill 394

i miss subic!

the last time i was there was a day trip to hill 394 plus celebrating a friends' birthday with dinner.  i couldn't stay overnight so adri & i decided to leave early to make the most of the birding day.  for a change, we didn't do our routine which usually start with birding at the nabasan trail.

instead we went up hill 394.  hill 394 is the highest point in subic, rumor has it that it was once a "secret" helicopter landing site.  recently, we have heard news that the entire area has been leased by ocean adventure.  this seemed confirmed on our last visit, when, while we (kitty, ivan, drew, adri & i) were whiling away dead time at the naval magazine at the foot of the hill, what should come rushing by but a small power cab with two uniformed employees and the ocean adventure logo painted on the doors.  it went up the forest "trail" and came down again in 20 minutes!  we were joking that there were actually dolphins and a giant aquarium up the hill.

later, i heard from nicky that the "trail" was actually now a graded road! passable to any suv (or even maybe a sedan of a brave owner!)!  this came us a surprise because the trail is a good hour or more hike (birding pace)... through what used to be muddy ground, overgrown, rocky and some times narrow trails.

well, that morning adri & i saw for ourselves how clean and wide the road (no longer fit to be called a "trail"... at least when it's dry) was!  thankfully, the birds were in abundance, despite the disturbance.  at the beginning of the trail we were welcomed by a pair of pompadour green pigeons.  a wonderful surprise also was a lone amethyst brown dove (on top of my most wanted birds list in subic... second only to the white-fronted tit!) eating happily away at fruit, unmindful of us gawking underneath it.  we also heard and glimpsed a pair of white-lored orioles!  usually we would have to walk up half way to see these birds... but there they were having an argument of sorts with crows. the crows seemed in the mood to work up all the birds... they were also bothering the more common black-naped orioles and a small flock of blue-naped parrots.

it was the most fruitful birding for us at hill 394 ever on that morning!  doves, parrots, malkohas, bee-eaters, falconets, woodpeckers, even the tailorbird (which i caught on video) and the shama  made appearances.  plus, love seemed to be in the air... we caught the pomps AND the green racquet-tails doing it!

in addition to the birdy-ness (maybe even one of the reasons for the birdy-ness), we also enjoyed the various plants in bloom and fruit!  it seemed that the big trees had bloomed earlier and now it was the smaller trees and shrubs in bloom.  i loved the colors and textures!

i hope that i can go back to subic soon!  (isn't there a long weekend coming up?)


  1. nice collage of the plant photos!

  2. thanks karen!
    the only ones i could ID are the honeysuckle (1st pic, top row), the bamboo (2nd pic, 2nd row) and the wood rose (last pic bottom row).

  3. Ganda ganda. Like the bells! hahaha
    Subic ulit!

  4. the dried wood rose flowers? i still have a bunch in the car and i gave them a good shake-shake-shake every now and then. :-)