If you’re stuck in the metro and want to quickly escape to where sand, sea, and sun all make your day brighter, Zambales has always been the go-to place, as it is near Manila (3-4 hours via SCTEX), and has good beaches, islands and dazzling sunsets too.
I went to Pundaquit in San Antonio, Zambales and checked in at Pundaquit Luxury Hotel. The room was small compared to standard hotel rooms. But that was okay, since I wouldn’t be inside the room anyway.
I chose this hotel because it was at the beach front. Some hotels in the area are situated farther back and the guests would have to walk a few meters to get to the beach front. There are also transient rooms and houses available in the area, but I opted for this resort.
The resort directly fronted the famed Capones and Camara islands and they were such beauties to behold. I got there late in the afternoon, just in time to check in, leave my bags in the room and roam the beach that waited.
The resort also has a pool, as it is not allowed to swim in the beach at night.
I’m not sure if it is to be believed or it’s just an old folklore, one friend who is originally from San Antonio, told us may nanghihila daw sa Pundaquit. Like an unexplained phenomenon, people start disappearing at night when swimming the waters of Pundaquit. There’s no harm in being extra careful when you’re there, then.
The sinigang na hipon was a welcome dinner treat for me as it was cooked to perfection. After that I spent more than an hour in the pool, which I felt like I rented all to myself, since I was the only using it.
I went to bed early because the island hopping the following day is supposed to start early.
I checked my things out very early in the morning, and left them at the reception, since I was schedule to get back there at 5pm. So instead of extending, I just checked out early since there was a shower room for day tourists, anyway.
I brought water, snacks, and my packed breakfast along with us to the island of Camara. The first occupants of the island left shortly after we arrived. It felt, again, as though, I rented the whole island.
The water was very clear. The waves, a little strong since we are already facing the South China Sea. The island is mostly rocky, has white sand, and enough shade for those who wanted to stay a little longer.
I packed and headed for the next island: Capones.
If the boat ride from Pundaquit to Camara took 5 minutes, this one took like 20 minutes. I was scared because it was only a motorized boat and somehow, the sea we’re at, although well within Philippine areas, is already part of THE South China Sea. By the time I got to Capones island, it was already a little after 10am, and the sun was already scorching. Seeing that the people who are in the island are fighting for what little shade is available in the island, I decided to go straight to Annawangin Cove. It took us another 20 minutes to get there.
Annawangin, in contrast to Camara, was very peaceful. It was very protected with the mountain side of Zambales. There was a little store at the entrance. Since this is a famous spot for overnight camping, we saw a lot more people here than in Pundaquit, Camara and Capones combined.
It had huts, bathrooms, a poso, and a lot of pine trees. A lot of campers were there when we came. we saw tents, dogs, cats, and even an ice drop vendor.
I swam for less than half an hour and headed back to our resort, as advised by the boatman who said that the waves get bigger in the late afternoon.
Non-swimmer that I was, I heeded his advice and packed my things thereafter. Needless to say, Camara proved to be my favorite. It would have been better if I went to Capones a lot earlier, so I could go to the Lighthouse. But enjoying Camara seemed too hard to resist.
Short, but sweet, as they always say. That’s how our Pundaquit stay was.
Below are a few more information you may find useful in case you wanna go there:
How to go to Pundaquit
1. Take Victory Liner bus bound for Olongapo Fare: PhP 207 per pax
2. From Olongapo, take a local but air-conditioned bus to Iba, which passed by San Antonio. Fare: Not more than PhP 100 per pax (about 1 hour travel)
3. After getting off the bus, take the tricycle to “Pundaquit” Fare: PhP 50.00 (special)
Where to stay in Pundaquit (Accommodation):
Visit their website at http://www.pundaquitluxuryresort.com/
At the time of my stay, it was being renovated / expanded. I think it’s a lot better now than last year (2011).
They also arranged for the boat, which was PhP 1200 from 8am to 5pm.
1. Camera and other gadgets
2. Shades / Sarong /Hat
3. Sunscreen / Sunblock
4. Water, food for snacks, medicine (paracetamol, loperamide and my favorite-Kremil S)
What are you waiting for? Go and plan your own weekend escape. =) Keep it short, sweet and exciting…