Saturday, April 2, 2011

Potipot Island, Zambales



Almost all of my summer vacations were spent in Cabangan (a town in Zambales), I never had time and the yearning to explore other towns in the province. For me, Cabangan is enough. Not until my friends were constantly urging me to go to Candelaria, Zambales for Potipot Island. It's a 1 1/2 hours drive if you're coming from Cabangan. One fine summer morning, my friends called and they were telling me to get ready for they will drop by Cabangan to fetch me. When they arrived, I brought them to the beach but they still insisted on going to Candelaria. I surrendered and packed my stuff for the trip. Haist.
I know my Zambales geography. I know that after Cabangan is Botolan then Iba, Palauig, Masinloc, Candelaria and Sta. Cruz. Going to Cabangan (from Metro Manila) will consume you 3 to 5 hours (depending on the transportation). Plus 2 hours on top of that to reach Candelaria. You do the math.


At around 2:30 p.m., we're off to Candelaria. We're heading to Barangay Uacon (the jump-off point to Potipot Island). The plan was to go straight to the island till the sun sets and go back to Uacon and find a nice play to stay in while we're in Candelaria. 


At 4:30 p.m. we were at Uacon (2 hours due to stopovers to buy some stuff). All in all, they spent almost 6 hours on the road (Manila-Cabangan-Candelaria) just to reach this remote barrio in Northern Zambales. 


We first looked for a place to stay- for our stuff and to park our car. Every resort was fully booked given that it's a Saturday. We found a nice place to stay that night at La Trinidad Bay Resort, but it's already full because of a wedding to be held there the next day. We begged and even talked to the owners thru phone and they offered their own private villa for only 2,500 pesos (originally, their villas are 5,000 pesos). It really pays to speak your native tongue. We said that we are from Cabangan and we just need a place to stay for the night. 




getting ready for the wedding
It's a deal! We checked out our room and it's amazing! Every furniture is either made from Narra or Kamagong wood. There's a receiving area, dining area, 1 bedroom, toilet & bath and a private veranda. Nice! We roamed around and saw the preparations for the wedding next day. Nice setting right in the middle of the Agoho trees (similar to the "pine trees" in Anawangin cove in San Antonio, Zambales) which are scattered around the whole Zambales shoreline. 


dining area
toilet/ shower area
bedroom
We checked the resort's facilities. The beach and the shore is not that nice considering their rate. But it's the jump-off point to Potipot island so that explains it. The sand is grayish-blackish, like most of Zamabales' shore. 


floating restaurant
We then went to look for the "floating" restaurant along the main highway. And guess what? The cook was from Cabangan and I know her- Tita Sarah (we call everyone Tita and Tiyong even if they're not our relatives). We ordered and told Tita Sarah if we could use the videoke machine. Each song costs 5 pesos and just because I know Tita Sarah, we sang for free! woohoo! We had seafood- sweet and sour fish, calamares, pinakbet and soup. The food was nice and the balsa-like restaurant is a thrill in itself. Each move you make will gently rock the whole restaurant. hehe. I dunno how much our food was 'coz my doctor-friend paid for it. It's her treat for passing the Physician's Licensure Examination. 


yes they're twins!
We played tong-its and right after, we boozed up that night. When we're done, we watched the stars from the clear skies. Nice.


We woke up at 5 a.m. to find a boatman for our Potipot island trip. The resort allows and encourages its guests to cook their own food. You can borrow utensils and stuff if you don't have any. We just had bread and 3-in-1 coffees.


off to Potipot (take note of the grayish-blackish sand of Uacon)
We haggled with the first boatman we saw for 1,000 for roundtrip boat ride. It seems expensive because it's summer that time. We then said that we're from Cabangan and spoke again in our native language and it went lower. hehe.


It was a 5-minute smooth ride from Uacon shore to the island. 


abot-tanaw


Potipot island is a private island (I know who the owner is and he's a very famous politician in Zambales) and there's an entrance fee of 50 pesos for a day trip and 100 pesos for overnight. The overnight fee doesn't include your accommodation. Theres' a separate fee for the nipa huts. But if you have your own tents and stuff then it's fine. The sand is white - thus Potipot - and the water is clear. The sand is not as white and fine as Palawan's. I dunno if it's comparable to Boracay's 'coz I've never been there.


There's a common toilet and shower area. The caretaker also sells some stuff in case you need food or whatever. But don't expect it to be cheap. We didn't even bother to ask how much. There were some who sell ice buko and hammocks.









There were many tourists and if you opt to rent a hut, your stuff are safe. We didn't do that. We found a very nice, shady area and settled ourselves. We took a dip, played tong-its, ate, slept, boozed up and just chat there. It's serene and all you could hear are the waves (except if you have a bunch of group nearby). Nice to bum around and chill.




It was a nice daytrip. There's really so much more to Zambales than I know. Go there during summertime to enjoy the clear waters of Potipot. During rainy season the boat ride can be hard because of harsh seas. 


If you plan to go there without your own transportation, just go to Victory Liner (Pasay and Caloocan terminal). Ride the STA.CRUZ bus. Not the IBA bound. Because if you ride the Iba bound then you have to ride another bus to get to Candelaria. 


If  you purchase the ticket, ju'st say "Uacon, Candelaria" (they have different rates for different towns). Uacon is pronounced as "wa-kon". The fare is about 350-400 (they just had a fare hike). If you're already in the bus, just tell the conductor that you're going to Uacon. Alam na nila 'yun. 


They have hourly schedules and you need to book in advance if you're planning to take the midnight trip (11:30p.m. and 12:00 midnight). You can be a chance passenger for the midnight trip if you didn't get an advance booking. But otherwise, just go there and purchase the next available trip.


Going back to Manila, you have to ask the locals for the bus' schedule and just wait there along the Zambales main highway. No need to go to Sta. Cruz's terminal :)

Check out Candelaria, Zambales accommodations here




4 comments:

  1. thanks for visiting my blog :) in any case, i've always wanted to visit potipot after it was featured in a pictorial in Digital Photographers for a pre-nup. Amazing lovely place. It's also great to see such passion for Zambales. The Philippines is beautiful indeed.

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  2. thank you so much cacho! Ganda talaga ng Pinas!:)

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  3. i was in Sta. Cruz about a year ago, i didn't go to Potipot although it's a jet ski ride away. next time! looks very nice sana lang wala masyado tao para tahimik and i can write poetry.

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  4. sayang naman, actually may mga nakikita akong naka jet ski na pumupunta dun..you should go there next time..astig... poetry! i remembered na i have this "notebook" where i gather my thoughts and sketches and whatever.. continue being a poet.. you should publish those in the future..:)

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