We wanted to spend the weekend with a quick relaxing getaway. So we decided to drive to Pundaquit, San Antonio Zambales. We were not disappointed, because we were treated to some “vitamin sea”!
On our way to Pundaquit, we made a short stop over in Castillejos, Zambales to visit the ancestral house of the 7th president of the Philippines – Ramon Magsaysay. It is now owned, managed and maintained by the local goverment.
It was greatly damaged by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, and was renovated and reconstructed in 1999 by the National Institute.
After about 3-hours of travel from Manila, we reached the Pundaquit town of Zambales.
The sound of smashing waves along the shoreline is Pundaquit's way of welcoming its guests.
Pundaquit is a fishing village located in San Antonio, Zambales. The primary livelihood in this small, yet lively and beautiful town is fishing and tourism. Locals who speak both Ilocano and Zambal, also speak Tagalog as well. They will be more than willing help you if you ever lose your way to the winding roads from the town traveling to the beaches of Pundaquit.
This town is primarily known for its calm and clean beaches compared to its neighboring towns. Even if Pundaquit is facing the open ocean of the China Sea, it maintains its calm shorelines as it is sheltered by Capones and Camara islands. It is also the best jump off point if you want to visit the Camara Island, Capones Island and Anawangin Cove since it is the closest shores to these destinations.
The beach of Pundaquit is proud of its beautiful sunset.
PICTURESQUE ANAWANGIN COVE:
Anawangin Cove can be reached via a 30-minute boat ride from the Pundaquit proper or a traverse hike through its mountains and cliffs.
The crescent shaped Anawangin Cove covered with pine trees has off-white lahar sand brought by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in the 90’s. Behind the trees is a stream flowing to the sea giving visitors another place to enjoy.
The absence of resorts or other developments has preserved the natural beauty of Anawangin that became a favorite relaxing destination for anyone who wants to escape the hustles of the city. One can go for a day tour or camp for the night. Anyone may bring along a camping equipment or have it arranged with the guide. Take caution in observing safety, in preserving nature and in respecting the camper next to you.
Capones Island is one of the main attractions in Pundaquit Zambales. The island is actually a big lump of rock formation with very little soil. Beaches around the island aren’t that attractive for the usual tourist mainly because of the sand and rock mixture from the crashing waves of the open ocean.
One of the best things to do on the island, aside from just hanging around and not being able to enjoy the beach, is go up and take a tour of the lighthouse. The lighthouse is at the back of the island when you’re facing the open sea. The steep steps up to the lighthouse is no walk in the park. So be ready and carry only what you need. If you do need to carry a lot of stuffs like camera gears, make sure you put them in a sturdy bag with a strong strap and ask your guide (boatman or sometimes another local) to carry them for you.
SOME IMPORTANT NOTES ON THIS TRIP:
- There are not so many restaurants in the vicinity, just a few small eateries and neighborhood ihaw ihaw. You might need to drive further if you are looking for big restaurants.
- the sand in Anwangin gets too HOT during the summer. Don't forget your slippers. I did not enjoy it when I was there :(
- The ride going to Capones Island is just a 5-seater small boat. Don't risk going during the rainy season for the waves may get very rough. We were there summer, still the ride was bumpy and we got scared!