One week after all the teaser videos went viral, Inflatable Island in Zambales officially opened its shores to the paying public. Some call it the biggest floating playground in Asia (It’s as big as 8 basketball courts), while others are comparing it with the game show, Wipeout. Whether your plan is to just lounge on the floaters or join your friends for an obstacle course battle, here are tips and tricks to maximize your visit.
Before the trip:
1. Buy tickets online. It’s ₱100 cheaper if you reserve online instead of paying as a walk-in guest. Your ticket includes: all-day access to the beachfront, access to the parking area, entrance to the Bali-inspired cabana, use of shower rooms, and a scheduled time slot on the Inflatable Island. Click here for more info.
2. Choose your time period based on your personal stamina. There’s the whole-day pass (₱1,399), half-day pass (₱1,199), and two-hour pass (₱799). I booked the two-hour pass and that was more than enough for me. After 1.5 hours, I wiped out so many times that I had little strength left for exploring the rest of the island. ICYWK, my personal stamina rating is semi-athletic, meaning I do Yoga and dance classes bi-weekly, on top of occasional mountain climbing trips.
3. Decide if you want to stay overnight or just go on a day trip to and from Manila (or wherever you’re from). There are plenty of hotels, restaurants, tourist spots, and shopping districts around the Subic area.
4. Prep your battle gear. Best attire for girls is swimsuit under a rash guard and board shorts. For boys, wear a rash guard and board shorts. It will prevent wardrobe malfunctions and keep you from getting sunburns, scratches, and other potential hazards. You may strip down to your bikini and work on evening out your tan after getting out of Inflatable Island.
5. If you’d like to document your experience, bring waterproof gear. The management allows GoPros on short selfie sticks, and cameras/phones in waterproof bags. Use them at your own risk. The management won’t be in charge of retrieving sunken items. Not allowed: zippers, buttons, sharp objects, and anything that could damage the Inflatable Island or cause harm on other living creatures.
6. Stretch and work out a few days before the trip. You will need a lot of flexibility and upper body strength to survive the obstacle courses. Imagine being a contestant on Wipeout.
When you get there:
1. Arrive earlier than your time slot. The cabana gets full fast, and it’s on a first-come, first-served basis.
2. Rent a locker. Don’t leave your valuables at the beachfront or cabana while you’re on the Inflatable Island. Rental fee is ₱100 (half day) or ₱150 (whole day) for big lockers, and ₱50 (half day) or ₱100 (whole day) for small lockers.
3. You’re not allowed to bring food you didn’t purchase at the beach. But if you insist, there’s a corkage fee.
4. Bring cash to purchase food and drinks at the stalls. Note that everything there is pricier than usual. For example, a can of Coke goes from ₱75-90, a serving of fries is around ₱120, and a family pizza is ₱500.
5. Attend the briefing class 15 minutes before your time slot.
6. Get a life vest after attending the briefing and signing the waiver.
7. Stretch and hydrate before starting. According to my colleagues at Spot.ph, you will burn around 800 calories an hour on Inflatable Island. That means I burned at least 1600 calories last weekend.
While exploring Inflatable Island:
1. Keep your life vest on. Inflatable Island is a short swimming distance from the shore, but the water goes as deep as 4-15 feet.
2. Don’t remove your wrist tag. It’s waterproof and color-coded to let the lifeguards know if your time on Inflatable Island is up.
3. If you need help, there are manong lifeguards around to help you, pull you out of the water, or encourage you to take a plunge.
4. When you find yourself tired and unable to get to the other side by crossing the difficult obstacles, there’s a shortcut: jump into the water and float to the other side.