Travels, Zambales

Discovering Pundaquit, Camara and Annawangin in Zambales

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.

Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales - Lazy Afternoon
Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales – Lazy Afternoon

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.

The larger building of the Pundaquit Luxury Resort
The larger building of the Pundaquit Luxury Resort

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.

A beautiful sunset indeed.  The sun and Capones Island from Pundaquit Luxury Resort
A beautiful sunset indeed. The sun and Capones Island from Pundaquit Luxury Resort

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 PundaquitLike 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.

Dinner @ Pundaquit Luxury Resort
Dinner @ Pundaquit Luxury Resort

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.

Good morning Capones Island, view from Pundaquit Luxury Resort
Good morning Capones Island, view from Pundaquit Luxury Resort (unfiltered shot)

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.

Approaching Camara Island
Approaching Camara Island

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 other half of Camara Island
The other half of Camara 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.

Lovin the waves @ Camara Island
Lovin’ the waves @ Camara Island

I packed and headed for the next island: Capones.

View of Capones Island from Camara Island
View of Capones Island from Camara Island

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.

Approaching Annawangin Cove
Approaching Annawangin Cove

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.

Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales - Camara Island
Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales – Camara Island

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.

Drop-off point in front of the Municipal Hall of San Antonio, Zambales
Drop-off point in front of the Municipal Hall of San Antonio, Zambales

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.

Don’t forget:

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…

Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales - Camara Island
Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales – Camara Island

7 thoughts on “Discovering Pundaquit, Camara and Annawangin in Zambales”

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  2. Hi!

    Is camping allowed at Camara Island? Actually I’m planning to go straight to Camara Island, spend a night there then go to Capones Island the next day skipping Anawangin. Is that possible?

    Thanks! 🙂

    1. I dont think that is possible though. Camara is too small an island to camp. But you could probably hire a boatmat who would be on standby with you and your group in the island and to take you to capones in the morning. Good luck and have a safe trip =)

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