ZAMBALES | Subic’s Jungle Survival at Pamulaklakin Forest Trail

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

He flips the bamboo, scratches off thin strips off its outer skin using his sharp jungle bolo then clumps them together and starts vigorously rotating a small piece of wood over it. Seconds later a puff of white smoke emits from his work and fire eventually flare all over the bamboo strips.
Meet Kasuy, an Aeta jungle guide at Subic Bay Freeport’s forest, he’s gonna be our survival instructor inside the Pamulaklakin Forest Trail. He has been teaching American G.I.’s how to survive inside jungles before and he’s gonna be teaching those same things to us.

Kasuy is quite the character; dressed in his native garb, he spats out funny anecdotes and jokes as well as he manipulates his bolo to transform a single trunk of bamboo from a water cup, a rice cooker, a fire-maker, a spoon and fork (or a chopstick if you’re Japanese) and finally a toothpick. Producing a whole kitchen with a single trunk of bamboo is one mean feat.
After his cooking demo, he led us into the jungles of Subic; passing a mini bridge and into a trail. Thirsty? He began chopping a tree branch and lo and behold, drinkable water! Droplets of water that is, but I bet your ass you’d be more than happy to have that if you happen to get stuck in a forest with no Gatorades in your backpack.
He then directs us to plants that can be used as medicines and went on to demonstrate traps that can be used for monkeys. All these he did with such gusto and comic that you can’t help but be convinced that he really enjoys what he’s doing.
I had my misgivings at first regarding the show that they’re putting on. At first glance it looks as though their being Aetas is somewhat being exploited for show, making an entertainment industry of the country’s indigenous tribes. But after reading H’s take on this, I began to realize that this may be one of the few ways that they can still retain and share their culture with city dwellers like us.The short hike ended at a clearing laid with a buffet of traditional Filipino dishes; ensaladang talong with ampalaya, crispy tilapia, chicken barbeque, sinigang na hipon and kalderetang baka. Paired with rice cooked in bamboo, who could ask for more, really.There were tables and chairs set up along the banks of a small stream and I hurriedly saved a seat near the water, washed my hand and didn’t bother to use a spoon and fork; there’s nothing like eating Filipino dishes with your bare hands. I dig the chicken barbeque and the crispy tilapia so much! Our refreshments were of course served in bamboo, similar to what Kasuy made earlier in his demo.
A lesson in survival, a trek through tangled growths mixed with lots of laughter in between and an excellent lunch afterwards; when we’ve already seen quite a lot of what North Luzon has to offer during the pass few days, it’s not a bad way to start the seventh day of Lakbay Norte.

    Subic Jungle Survival Training
    Pamulaklakin Trail
    Binictican Heights, Subic Bay Freeport
    Subic, Zambales
    Telephone: (047) 252-4242 | (047) 252-4123 | (047) 252-4032
    GPS Coordinates: 14.805722,120.330162 | Click to view location on Google Maps

    Rates & Fees:
    Sightseeing (with Guide) - Php50.00
    30-Minute Mini Jungle Tour (with Guide) - Php50.00
    2-Hour Ecology Tour (with Guide) - Php250.00
    Overnight Jungle Tour - Php500.00 + Php50.00 every succeeding night
    Picnic - Php50.00
    Picnic Table - Php150.00

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  1. like Anny nagutom din ako,and it was like experiencing the tour while reading this, at nagsecond look pa ako sa ampalaya he-he-he!!

  2. Galing nito, dapat lang talaga mapagaralan mga ganito bagay.

  3. Anny, Mayet
    Haha oo nga sarap talaga ng food sa Lakbay Norte :)

    Good for getting lost in the jungle :)

  4. This should be replicated hopefully in Bukidnon. A survival training. Galing nito bro. limot ko na yong sa boyscout ko....:-).

  5. we also experienced this at Subic Tree Top Adventure! pero parang mas authentic sayo, may food pa! =)

  6. I remember more than 10 years ago I was in Subic too where we watched a similar survival demo done by aetas. 2 years ago, my Subic experience is more on animal shows. The good thing I see here is local employment for the Aetas.

  7. Bonzenti
    Oo nga pang boyscout to hehe

    Kami naman di nasubukan yung tree-top adventure

    Dee Quixotic
    I agree with that Dee :)

  8. who was your food provider? Was it an outside caterer? :)

  9. Laira
    I think the caterer was from the place too, but I'm really not 100 percent sure, we just sat down and ate :P

  10. Hi,

    I saw your blog post on the Pamulaklakin forest trail in Subic bay. Thanks for the information. I used it as a guide during my recent trek in Subic bay - Pamulaklakin forest.

    I have posted photos of my Pamulaklakin trail and my trip report here -

    Do go through it, and let me know how you find it.

    You can see photos and details of my travels around the Philippines
    here -

    1. Saw your post about this trail and I must say my article pales in comparison! :)

  11. But do the packages include food? Or the foods are there just because of the Lakbay Norte? I mean, if I'm gonna go there, should I bring my own food?

  12. I was there last week, took the 2 hrs ecology tour and didn't experience the jungle survival. To be fair, the tour was more on herbal medicine. The forest trail was exciting and aetas are friendly =)

    1. Nice, glad you enjoyed the tour! Are the rates still the same?

  13. Replies
    1. Hi there, our food was prepared as part of the media tour. There are a few small stores selling food before the trail, but if you want to do a picnic, I suggest that you bring your own food with you.