Trainings which involve intense and strenuous physical activities is not new for me.  I have hiked and camped a lot on river banks, lakes, beaches and of course, mountains.  But if given the choice to do away with those and find comforts on steady and relaxing hotels and destinations, a no-brainer I shall choose the latter.

But this weekend was quite different.  While everybody is of the notion that our team is always for a never-ending drinking spree.  Think twice and you’ll be surprised.  We came from varied backgrounds and interests, yet we complement and share the same passion – to discover and embark any adventure no matter how it takes.  This time, we are up for a Jungle Environment Survival Training.  Are we serious? 

On an early Saturday morning, while my friends converge to go direct to the Jest Camp of Subic, I went straight to my office for work.  Lunch time came and I went direct to the Victory Bus Terminal bound for Olongapo via the SCTEX (fare of PhP223.00) to catch up.  Travel time was approximately two (2) hours.  I went off the bus at Harbor Point, a shopping mall in Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Zambales and rode the cab in a surprisingly PhP300.00 fixed fare to the Jest Camp.  The bus fare from Manila is a way cheaper than the taxi rates, I so complain.

But no need to elaborate my qualms as the most important thing is, I am now in the Jest Camp ready for another weekend.  I did miss a few shows like the Wings of the World, but as I enter the Magaul Bird Park, I was amazed of the walk-in aviaries featuring varied species of birds.

your guide to the park

General admission of the Magaul Bird Park is inclusive of the following attractions:  Jungle Survival Demo, Winged Wonders show (daily at 11AM and 3PM), Bird Park, Walk-in Aviary, Flightless Birds, J.E.S.T. Museum, Enchanted Bonsai Garden, Magaul Maze Quest, Bird Discovery Center, Butterfly Garden, Insectarium and the View Deck.

The View Deck became a constant dining area for the group.  It is a good vantage for a birds-eye view of the Subic Bay and surrounding communities.

the view

sinampalukang manok cooked on bamboo stalks

Dining experience is even made memorable by the set of dish served from the Kawayan Kitchen.  For dinner, we had sinampalukang manok (PhP180.00) as one of the main entrées cooked and served in a bamboo complemented by rice cooked in bamboo (PhP120.00) (Luto sa Kawayan) as well.

Local dishes at Kawayan Kitchen cooked in bamboo stalks is good for two (2) to three (3) persons per order.

Kawayan Kitchen provides a unique dining experience.  The exquisite art of cooking in Kawayan (bamboo) were taught by the natives living in Subic Area called the “Aetas”.  It has been passed on from one generation to another and now, we are given the opportunity of having to experience the same first hand.


Fear of heights is my waterloo.  And I am weak in balancing.  Thus, combined act of balancing in a high elevation is definitely death-defying for me.  Though I have experienced a few in the past of the same stint and I managed to finish the same without a clue how I dreaded the activity, my confidence and vigor today I must admit have diminished. 

Nevertheless, we still tried the Aerial Adventure Walk (PhP200.00) consisting mostly of stints moving from one platform to another, crossing one tree to another interconnected by wobbly bridges, tight ropes and some surprises.

There are five (5) stunts to conquer:

Burma Bridge and Barreling
Burma Bridge – constructed with a single cable for the feet to walk on and two parallel rail cables for the hand hold.  The suspension ropes are just there to give added support on both foot and hand cables from swaying or sinking too much.

Barreling – as a break to the usual walk through, Barreling is actually comprised of two barrels that are hung to its side on a horizontal plane.  In which case, while clipped on the safety cable overhead, users are just to crawl in and through to the next platform

Monkey Vines – known as the multi-vine exercise, several vertical lines drape down from the top cable as available hand support. 

Jacob’s Ladder – comprised of 8 hanging planks that are spaced equally apart so that when the user steps on this, each one will give a forward and backward motion

Cargo Net – typical cargo net that is setup horizontally. 

After the aerial adventure walk, we decided to return to the Barracks, our home base for the weekend and freshen up for the dinner and the bonfire to take place after.

the barracks - BOOK ONLINE

Our first day ended with a bonfire.  The session of marshmallow and hotdog roasting commenced as if we were in the cold mountains or by the beach.  It was fun despite the scorching heat emitted.

After a few cans of beer and random conversations, lights turned off at midnight and we’re ready for the competition the following day – the much awaited JEST Camp Hunger Games.

Who will be crowned the victor?

JEST Camp, Upper Mau, Vubi-Triboa,
Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Zambales, Olongapo,
2200 Zambales
Phone: (047) 252 1489

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